Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nov 1 - The Andalusian Boy and Beginning Another Big Painting

Here's the value structure for the next large landscape with horses. This painting is 30 x 30 inches, and will be the larger version of the painting of the aspens featured last Tuesday (opens a new window with just the painting). You can tell, even at this early stage, that I'm thinking of one of those six value plans (from Edgar A. Whitney, and the workshops I teach). Which one do you think it will be? Not chaos, not large dark in midtones. Not small dark, large light in midtones, not gradation. Two left....Hmmmm? Well, perhaps tomorrow will shed some light as this painting progresses.

The next question everyone had was, "Where's Chiron?" So herewith I submit a photo of him in his new home here at Two Trees, with Vincent van Goat, companion extraordinaire (head in the feeder, of course!). This image shows Chiron's coloration best--I'm seeing a dark bay, but with his head being black, I wonder if he might shed out in the spring to be a black? No matter, bay or black he's beautiful to me.
It has been a week now and he is settled in nicely. The Andalusian personality is coming out--yesterday we had workers trimming the tall pines in back, and I came out to see how it was going. As I walked up, I started talking to them. Chiron, standing at the far side of the pen, perked up his ears at my voice, and then came over to the near side to greet me. What fun! Having him on the property means I can visit/train him any time. Good for my busy schedule.

His only white are on his two coronets near his rear hooves. Ok, I'm a bit besotted. Bear with me. Yes, he'll be in paintings!

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Oct 31 - A Ghoulish Change to an Old One!

I thought you might enjoy the transformation of an old painting into what you see to the right. This was a 16 x 20 oil painting, that I did on location many years ago. The location was in the Temecula Wine Country, about this time of year. Why did I alter it? Because in those "old days", I was using a limited palette of five colors--Ultramarine Blue, Thalo Green, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, and Cadmium Yellow Light, plus the workhorse Titanium White. Adequate to get the essence of a scene, but no drama nor color singing. I've repainted over about 95% of the original surface. (Note: there was no varnish on this painting.)

I'm so pleased with the Color System I'm using now, that painting over an old work allows me to practice what I've learned, and also to measure my growth as an artist. I've attached the original painting, and I'd like for you to notice the less-than-successful depiction of a backlit subject. It is weak in values. I didn't work out a good composition--at that time I was going to a place and immediately sitting down and trying to capture it. Now I let a place "speak" to me before I lift my brushes.

If you enjoy this process of changing older work, please let me know.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oct 30 - "High Summer", Finished 24 x 30 Oil

I know many of you have been waiting for this one, and I'm pleased to present it to you in its finished state. Called "High Summer", it is a 24 x 30 oil. And I am very pleased to call this one of my own. In line with the series I'm working on, the horses are in there, but not so obvious to the viewer on first impact. First, the structure and sense of place come to you.

Howard Pyle, the recognized "Father of American Illustration", used to say to his students at the Brandywine School in Delaware, "Thirty minutes, thirty yards." What he meant by that is the design structure of the painting needs to be done early enough in the painting process that it holds up throughout, and strongly enough to catch the viewer's eye from across the room, drawing him or her to the surface where details and brushwork and subtle colorations can continue to interest. I am striving for that goal, and with this series am truly seeing it happen. Below is a closeup of the focal point, which is NOT the strongest color, contrast or texture in the work. But doesn't your eye go there only after the first "oh my" when you see the painting? If it did happen that way, then I was successful.
Sorry about the glare on the smaller image--it's after dark now and my lighting isn't the best.

Congratulations to Dawn Burdine of College Station, Texas, on acquiring "Sunrise Aspens" directly from me after a lovely tea here in the studio today. She and her husband are out visiting family, and came by to see the studio. What a wonderful world of artists we are!

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Color System information can be found HERE.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oct 28 - The Acrylic Question, Open/Interactive?

Many of you are awaiting my take on the Interactive (Atelier) and Open (Golden) acrylics--those paints that increase working times so that one can change or rework a passage of paint well after the traditional drying time of "normal" acrylics. I went to the workshop at the Art Expo in Pasadena last Saturday, and in the company of a couple of friends painted with these acrylics.

This post will be rather long as I go into my impressions, and I hope you'll bear with me. If you're not an artist, perhaps you'll skip to the end for the information about these two paintings.

I first got ahold of the Atelier Interactive acrylics, at the booth for Atelier and with the palette of the artist doing the display. I pulled out a pre-textured canvas (fiber gel) and after asking permission, painted the landscape with the fence (second image, left on the bottom). It is 7 x 5 inches on textured canvas board.

The Atelier Interactive colors were not nearly as bright--although I must admit that Atelier didn't have available my Color System Twelve, and I was working with two blues, two reds and two yellows--the popular idea of having primaries in "one of each temperature"--which is NOT my System--and the painting shows the limits of using that formula. This painting is bland, to say the least.
The colors available to me in this quick, out-of-my-head study (kneeling by her chair, painting in my hand) were:
Thalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Napthol Red Light, Napthol Crimson, Cad Yellow Light, Arylamide Yellow Deep. No earths, no greens. All that you see mixed there are created from these six colors plus white.

With these Interactives, one has to use a mister of water and/or an "Unlocking Formula" mister to reopen the paint for working on it again. In other words, it did dry, and this was the HUGE drawback for me--I didn't know if it was dry, and thus would put a layer on top of it, and without unlocking or rewetting it, the Interactives would mislead me into thinking they were wet, or dry, or who knows what. I was looking for the re-working phase and length of being able to work the paint. Didn't find it, as I had to spritz BEFORE I painted--an extra step for this artist. Even though this painting is bland because I didn't have my Color System colors at hand, I was very dissatisfied with the working structure of these acrylics in having to add a second mister bottle to the mix.

Now, on to the Golden Paints "Acrylics Like Oils" workshop, where I spent a much longer time working with the colors, and was able to assemble the entire Color System pigments before beginning work. I did three paintings during the session, and the one above was the second. You can immediately see that the Color System comes through in giving the brilliance of the cadmiums a place to "play". But I'm not comparing the colors here--both manufacturers have a full range of the pigments. However, I liked one feature of these Golden "Open" acrylics--the device to increase working time was contained in a little bottle that was dripped on the palette, just like any medium. No spritzing, although a spray bottle of water can be used if one needs to thin paint. The "Thinner" which is what they call it, allowed me to really work the paint WAY beyond normal drying times after making my mixes and applying them to the canvas. Glazing with thin paint over semi-dry passages was fantastic. Blending was outstanding on wet passages. The paint stayed wet on the palette longer, too. It was more what I'm used to using with oils, and the handling of them is more equal to that medium.

So, to compare: I prefer the Golden Open Acrylics, because it is based upon a firm platform of current knowledge in how to handle paint. Only limit--no thick impasto passages (thicker than a penny, e.g.) because thick passages take a longer time to set up. Had I had the full Color System with the Atelier, I might have had a different opinion, but the need for another spritzer bottle was a major turn off.

I've filled out my System colors with the Open Acrylics, and in the weeks ahead will be painting in more traditional oil-like fashion with these new acrylics. Ought to be interesting! But first I'll finish up the horses in landscape tomorrow.

Both of these 7 x 5 inch acrylic paintings are available for $100 until next weekend, when the second one will be going into the Riverside Art Museum's Show, "Off the Wall". The second one is also a small study for the next larger landscape painting with horses.

And Chiron the Andalusian is HERE! Such fun to have a young horse around. Pictures with my next post!

You can see my entire blog here.

Color System information can be found HERE.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.