Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jan 17 - Welsh Springer Spaniel and Pheasant Continues

I've had some surprising comments on these paintings, and I need to share that I did a marathon of painting to get them done before the 14th deadline for the Art Show at the Dog Show. Now I share them with you as they had been developed, and at leisure, so these were all finished by last weekend. I talk about them in the present tense, because I wrote the draft messages while I painted them.

Now that that's explained...I'm still working in the cool box as I paint the pheasant. One way I can convey action in a flat, two-dimensional surface is to lose the edges of anything that is moving--such as the wings of the bird. He doesn't look "stuck on" when we lose edges, but rather blends in well to the rest of the canvas. Why do we feel we need to outline every edge of whatever it is we paint? To do so means we're relying too heavily on source material--generally photographs--and the action captured without the illusion of movement creates a static, flat image. So I spend a lot of time deciding which edges need to be lost to create that feeling of life and movement in my subjects.

I still have a ton of work to do on the background, but the initial values are in place now. And of course you can see the position of the dog, now, too.

The value plan for this one is called a "keyhole" because of the circular pattern with the lights in a generally round shape near the middle of the canvas. As far as which one of the six value plans, it's destined to be a small light, large dark in midtones.

And on other news, an American icon of painting passed away yesterday--Andrew Wyeth--died in his sleep at 91 after a long life of art and expression. His father, Newell Convers Wyeth created some incredibly beautiful works in value and design that made him the pillar of American Illustration of the first half of the last century. Andrew was most well known for his delicate portrait of "Christina'a World"--the young girl in the field looking away from us toward a farm house.

I hope that all my friends in the southernmost area of the country (Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina) will take note of the Florida workshop, where you will live and work for five incredible days on the grounds of the Carriage Museum while we paint the distinct times of day. The wonderful person organizing this workshop will be going on a trip in April, and hopes to have all the slots filled before she goes. If you're on the fence about this one, email me so we can chat about it. I'd hate for you to miss this opportunity!

Workshop Information can be found here.
You can see my entire blog here.
Color System information can be found HERE.
If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jan 16 - Hunting Dog flushes a pheasant

Can you see the misty morning light? Yes, I'm using the same colors and general design of the earlier "Misty Morning Horses" painting to get this one done quickly for the Art Show at the Dog Show deadline. It's always faster when I don't have to solve complex problems anew. If you look over the total body of an artist's work, you'll see many versions of similar subjects. We build on prior levels.

I'm covering the canvas with the cools--over 85% and because of the warm underpainting, the color excitement is already in place. When I use that phrase "color excitement" I remember one Walter Foster book (#63) by Merlin Enabnit. Even though the paperback is long out of print, I was always amazed at how he could get the "Color Excitement" (his term) for the juxtaposition of various pigments. It was fun to see all the ads he did for the foundation garment and soap industry (1940s) when I googled his name. One can still find his Foster Books on ebay.

You know I prefer to have a good background in before painting the focal points. And that's what's happening with this one. Tomorrow, more layers of color in this acrylic, and the pheasant. Then the painting will go to the dog(s)!

Workshop info for Florida, Maine, Georgia and California in 2009 can be found HERE.
You can see my entire blog here and Color System information can be found HERE.
If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jan 15 - Acrylic Lesson for the Art Show at the Dog Show

This is the lesson painting for the 12 x 16 acrylic that is entered in the Art Show at the Dog Show. For the next three days, I'll be depicting a Welsh Springer Spaniel. Yet again I'm focusing on the landscape being a strong supporter of the dog in action, flushing a pheasant.

A rough sketch starts me out in acrylics, done over the burnt orange underpainting, choosing a warm because of the predominance of the Cool Box Colors as the painting progresses. I do a cover-the-canvas every time to get rid of the white. I see so many paintings with those itty bitty white spots showing through--very distracting to a trained eye. By getting rid of the white, I have a surface that unifies if/when any of that warm peeks through.

The dynamics of the design are already apparent if you see those vertical strokes supporting the action in the center--just like the curtains on a stage. I'll be using a modified familiar background from another, earlier painting to make this get off my brushes faster. I will be looking for that "aha" moment when you recognize it--and when I paint to deadlines, I don't try to break new ground (except for "Guardian"). One thing about this, I have painted so much, that the repertroire of materials available is vast. If you haven't painted much, every painting is a discovery and challenge. I remember those days!

And as I hear from you about the cold in the majority of the continent, I want to send along an image from our recent 80 degree days. This is our driveway, looking out toward the street, taken in the morning with the outside temperature at 71. I fed the critters this morning in a tee shirt, and will be taking the scooter to the store just as soon as I finish this. I know, we pay for nice winters with hot summers, but it's hard to not enjoy such beautiful weather. I send it to you hoping it will warm up the room a bit.

You can see my entire blog here.

Workshop info for Florida, Maine, Georgia and California in 2009 can be found HERE.
Color System information can be found HERE.
If you need to email me directly, please click HERE.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jan 14 - "Incoming" acrylic is finished!

Here's the finished painting, dog and girl in bright sunshine on the water, holding a pole and reeling in the red bobber. Compare this finished painting with yesterday's, and you'll see how I developed the three-dimensional forms with the additions of distinct layers on top of the underpainting. This is especially viewable in the distant trees.

On the design, look at the line that the distant water's edge creates. It is just above the girl's knees, showing that we are looking UP at her--and she is drawn with that in mind--her shoulders are in perspective with the nearer one higher than the opposite one. The dog is below the horizon line, and so we're looking DOWN on him. You can see this in action by laying a straight edge along the dock edge and also through her shoulders--the lines will intersect at the water line on the right side!

The entry for the Art Show at the Dog Show has gone to Express Mail, and now I wait for the reply to see if this one or the others are going to get in. While I wait, I can't sell any of these, although you've asked about them. If they go to the show, they can be purchased online through their web site. None of them are over $500, and this one is $300.

I really like the painting, because that kid could be me at about age nine, however the dog would have been a dachshund instead of the wire hair terrier. (And my hair never looked that good!) In using the Color System on human skin, I flip the boxes, and paint the shadows warm and the lights cool--thus she seems to glow with life because of the reversed contrasts of temperature. Come to one of my Color Boot Camps to see this in action! My goodness I have four in 2009, one's already filled.

Tomorrow I share with you the third acrylic done for this art show, in three stages.

You can see my entire blog here.
Workshops for 2009 are HERE.
Color System information can be found HERE.
If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jan 13 - The Dog on the Dock, Part Deux

This 9 x 12 acrylic is further along than I planned, but I got so captivated by the water and light, I just couldn't stop to take a photo earlier. The girl is even being blocked in, and the wire fox terrier even has 3-D form. Dang!

This will be called "Incoming" with the humor in whether the girl will be reeling in something or the dog will be going into the water after it--or both!

Interesting to note that I don't even sketch in the figure with pencil before painting directly on the background layers. I just pick a middle value hue that's close to what I need and put a "cutout" shape to localize the object. Then I paint over that to create the illusion of three-dimensional form. The dog went in as a white silhouette first, then warmed and cooled depending upon light sides or shadow sides.

I love acrylics for the ability to create layers--this is SO effective on water. I love oils, too, but hands down acrylics have it for creating the illusion of depth and transparency. I keep adding layers to the sky as well, continuing to go lighter with each application.

Shadow has settled in, and today (another 80 degree day) finds him saying, "What koi? I don't see any koi," at our pond on the front patio. One of the reasons I love painting water is because I can see and study it every day. Oh, that isn't a real crocodile, but it does make folks do a double-take!

You can see my entire blog here.

Color System information can be found HERE.

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

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan 12 - Another Dog Painting--Lesson in Acrylics

The second painting for the Art Show at the Dog Show comes to you with this 9 x 12 board on which I have painted some semi-transparent acrylic layers. The scene is a dock on a river, and there will be a girl and a dog fishing from it. In doing this painting, I want to have the scenery be a strong supporting player, so I've put the focal points up and away from the mid-point of the canvas (they aren't even sketched in at this point).
I'm using traditional acrylics for fast drying time and quickness of application. These quasi-translucent layers are painted over that burnt orange under painting, and are always with the cool box colors. We're off and running with another one!

Pesto, one of the cats in residence, wanted her picture taken since she hasn't quite adjusted to the newest arrival Shadow. Here she poses on the cat balcony off the large workshop room of the studio, eight feet up. She came out a little archway that goes through the studs and onto the large cat tower inside. We built the balcony to exit into the large enclosed "cage" under the eaves behind her--safe from coyotes and owls no matter what time of day! And safe for the songbirds that come to the feeder, just visible behind the bamboo. OK, today it was 82 degrees and sunny. Not even a jacket....

You can see my entire blog here.

Color System information can be found HERE.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jan 11 - Guardian is Finished.

"Guardian" is finished now, and I'm quite pleased with the final image. Why I didn't make the wings black and tan as well? I thought about it (knowing that if this were a real creature, they most likely would be), and then decided that with the amount of bounce light coming and going on the dog and child, the white wings would enhance that, which I really wanted. So white they stayed, even tho' I deepened the shadow sides with the "sky trio" (you Color Boot Camp graduates know which ones!)

Paintings get to me sometimes, and "Guardian" does that. I have a hard time explaining it. In a feeble attempt, I'll say that, to me, it embodies the response of being loved, cared for and safely watched over. I may continue with this concept and express it visually in different ways in upcoming works.

Tomorrow the image goes off to the Art Show at the Dog Show (opens a new window), and who knows whether the judge will accept it? Will he/she have the need for the safety this painting conveys? Some people might think it is too sci-fi. Not me. Now, if it doesn't get accepted, I do not take it personally, nor think less of the work. Sometimes paintings don't fit with the wholeness of a show, or they've already juried in enough of that type. I'm at a point in my career where I paint for me, and if that doesn't please a judge, that's their loss. My work now touches enough people that one or two judges can't dent my belief in what I do.

So why enter juried shows? I find that when there is a gathering of specific people interested in a specific type of art, it is in my best interest to be a part of that. ASaDS is a show where the gathering of dog people validates my entry fee, the shipping and time involved.

You can see my entire blog here.

Color System information can be found HERE.

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