Sunday, May 31, 2009

Plein Air painting is Hard.

Union Flat II
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Whew! I decided today to go back to Union Flat Creek to try my hand at the rocks again. Getting there, but they still just look like globs of paint rather than rocks. What am I not doing that I should?

I may have to do some up close and personal rock studies...

I also decided to concentrate on the drawing bit of this painting, and found that helped a lot. I've been reading Richard Schmid's Alla Prima so today, I was trying to look at the subject as a specific problem that I needed to work out. As I was painting, I realized how little attention I have been paying to the exact placement of objects in the view.

Color. All the greens really get me. Subtle changes make all the difference, I suppose...

I need more drawing practice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Multitasking: Completed Castle, another plein air painting, and Kreativ blogger.

Castle on Anderson Road
11" x 14"
oil on canvas

Woohoo! Finished! I fought with the fence for a while- scraped it three times. Finally I daubed some paint down and holy-pamonie! it looked like a fence. How did that happen!?

Thank you little painting elves.

Sunset Cloud Study
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board
Click here to purchase.

I got to paint outside again last night! I ended up with this high key painting of the view from the parking lot in front of the apartment. I wasn't chasing shapes this time. I sketched out the basic design first and then went with it.

And, thank you Jared Kelly for passing the Kreativ Blogger award on to me. I will happily pass it on to seven other people whose blogs I really like. Check them out- it is worth your time.

Marian Fortunati
Laurel Daniel
Liz Holm
Perry Brown
Dana Cooper
Lee Brown
Rick Nilson
Terry Miura

So that was eight... I can't count.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yet another lovely plein air painting day

Break Time
8" x 6"
oil on canvas board

Painting number one: My first ever attempt at painting sheep! I like it. I practiced rearranging the scene to suit my needs. Which was kind of a necessity because the sheep kept moving around as they belched at their young. These sheep didn't bleat. They belched. It was the strangest thing I have ever heard.

8" x 6"
oil on canvas board

Painting number two: Same location, facing a different direction. I don't care for this one. There is not enough definition in the trees- they just sort of blend in with things they shouldn't. There isn't enough contrast to suit my taste either. I also don't care for the way the trees all sort of line up. Irritating.

The sheep were very obliging and moved to this side of the field when I started painting it.
I'm going to try this one again another day.

Union Flat
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Painting number 3: I have driven past this scene like fifty times and never stopped to try it. The rocks are what drew me, initially, but I ended up concentrating more on the water so my rocks are pretty indistinct. I enjoyed this painting, and will definitely be stopping there again. Next time I will focus on the rocks a bit more...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Progress? Aaarrgh!

It always gets me when I drag my feet.

So here is what happens.... I let a painting sit on my easel for more than two days without hitting it hard. I feel like I am not making any progress... which I am not, because I am not taking the time to paint, and frustration sets in because dog-gonnit, this painting is just not painting itself! What is up with that!?!

I am incredibly intimidated by these greyish shrubs. So I stall. Part of me wishes little elves would come and fix the shrubs on my painting in the night so when I wake up, everything will be perfect and la-la.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Plein Air Magazine

Oh Oh Oh!!! The publishers of Fine Art Connoisseur are thinking about bringing Plein Air Magazine back, but they need to know how much interest there is out there. If anyone is interested, please please please go to the website and fill out the survey. It just takes a second. They just ask you if you are interested, what you would like to see in the contents, and what materials you prefer...

It was a real shame when they discontinued Plein Air Mag. I canceled my subscription when they changed the magazine but will re-up the second they start printing it again.

Oddly enough, I was pining over the magazine just last night. I found the link on Facebook a few minutes ago and am hoping to get the word out so we can get this incredible resource back.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The picture from Anderson Road - WIP

Doodling on a painting's packaging is really turning out to be a great thing. I did this one last night and started the painting today.

This is the first sketch. I didn't like it. Way too centered. So I wiped it and sketched again.

I like this one much better.

This is a real building. It is a bunch of rusted scrap metal pieced together to make an incredible little castle on the hill. - I see a washing machine door, car door, three iron head/foot boards, what looks like some sort of giant drill head, and all kinds of other things I couldn't name even if I wanted to. I saw the tip top of one of the little towers from the road and fell in love with the place.

Its really cool.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rue DeFaubourg Brasserie

Rue De Faubourg Brasserie
14" x 11"
Oil on canvas

That was fun! I liked this one so much I submitted it on my application for OPA's Western Regional Exhibition.

Big brushes. And Flat brushes... I usually use filberts, but a while back I got some super short handled flats for my plein air set-up. I love them! I love this painting... It feels good. It felt good the second its bones were laid on the canvas.

Bones... that reminds me of an old wives tale-

An old woman wanders eternally throughout a desert collecting the bones of wolves. When she has all the pieces to make an entire carcass, she lays them out in the sand, aligning them in their proper positions with the greatest care.

Then she sings over them.

She sings of the life, death, life cycle, and of joy and sorrow, and of creativity. And as she sings, the carcass at her feet grows ligaments, and organs and muscle and skin and hair and soon the heart begins to pump blood through the veins of the wolf, and it springs up and runs off into the desert night, howling... The wolf's form changes in the moonlight and the howl turns into the light-hearted laughter of a woman.

An empowering tale from Clarrissa Pinkola Estes, PhD's book Women Who Run with the Wolves. A good read!

Back off the bunny trail... I did something else different with the painting process this time. I had two reference photos made of the same scene, one was normal and the other was posterized in Photoshop. In one of his books, Kevin Macpherson said to check out the posterizing option on Photoshop to help you see things in blocks of color rather than as things. Wooo-boy! That really did help! I think I will be doing that for a while until I really get the hang of seeing things that way on my own.

This is exciting. Good learning experience!

I've been chatting with my mom and we are going to take a painting holiday together! Southern France, I think. She is a master of "going with the flow" and said we should just save up, visualize taking this wonderful relaxing holiday, and the perfect vacation will present itself. I agree. (She knows, man!)

I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Virtual Paint Out, Paris- WIP

Here's the start for my Paris painting. I started it yesterday and the sketch went fast. I had to make a few tiny adjustments, but I like the composition. I wanted to post it yesterday, but couldn't find a charged battery in the house. Isn't that just the way? I realized my dilemma after a frantic attempt to get a photo of an incredible cloud formation that was tearing across the sky just outside of my apartment.

Stepping it up- there are actually people in the picture! Ooooo! I haven't painted people in a very long time. These guys are so indistinguishable, I'm hoping they will still read as people even though I plan to do very little modeling on them. I am trying to keep this painting pretty loose- big brushes!

I am really excited about this painting. Makes me want to learn French and take a painting trip. Someday, I want to go on one of those painting "tours" with a mass of other painters.

Mmm... dream vacations....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moving on! - The Metisse

The Metisse
8" x 10"
Oil on canvas board

I took too long with this one- started fiddling with it. Darn tiny brushes!

I'm going on a virtual paint out to Paris now with Bill Guffey and crew. I got my prints from Kodak the other day and am sooo ready to start!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Plein Air and Chocolate - Its a Good thing.

Lazy Daizies
8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas Board

I had a good painting session today!

I picked up a box of chocolates on the way out of town, which was something of a big deal for me because I hadn't had chocolate (or anything else with even the slightest bit of caffeine in it) in almost three years. Count 'em- three.

I enjoyed my chocolate. And I enjoyed painting. I am attributing some of my success today to the chocolate. It may become a part of a weekly plein air routine... But then I will have to start hiking to my painting destinations to burn off the extra calories.

Three out of four of the sketches in this picture are now paintings. The lower left one is today's sketch. You might recognize the top two...

I really liked the curl of yellow flowers on the hillside and wanted to make that the center of interest. I had to nix a tree and move the purplish shrub over to the left a bit. Good ol' artistic license!

I was painting out of the back of my 4Runner so I and my canvas were in shade, but everything else in front of me was washed in glaring sunlight. I had trouble seeing the colors on the canvas. I didn't like the painting until I got home and had a chance to see it in even lighting.

All I can say is "Yippee!"

The Metisse - WIP, almost there...

The progress photo of the Metisse as promised. Not long now- just the water and reflections and maybe a little tweaking here and there...

I was a nervous about the composition at first because the boat is pretty close to dead center. I like it right now, we'll see if I still like it when the painting is complete.


Another shipping box sketch. Scribbling on cardboard is fun. There is a sort of freedom in sketching on something that you know will be beaten up by USPS and then thrown away.

I am halfway there with the Metisse boat painting. I'll post a picture tomorrow. I have to wait for real light, otherwise the colors come out all jacked.

I decided to give membership with the Oil Painters of America (OPA) a shot. Membership is juried, but I'm not terribly sure how exclusive they are. I need more exposure for my work, I believe I can get some with OPA. I won't know for sure if my membership application will be accepted or not until around the 23rd of May, but I was told to go ahead and enter the 2009 Western Regional Juried Exhibition. I guess if my membership is denied, they can just chuck my entry into the show. Easy enough.

They get around 2400 applicants for that show and only accept 200. I saw last year's paintings, and they were very good. I'm a little nervous, but not really. This will be the first time I entered any juried show, so it is more of a learning experience than anything. Whatever happens, it will be fun!

The show will be in Kirkland, Washington August 6-30, so I hope to go see it whether my work is accepted or not.

OPA is also having a paint-out (painting outside, not like a shoot out or anything) in November that I hope to attend. It will be on Willow City Loop just outside of Fredericksburg, my hometown.
Oooo! How exciting! Just the thought of painting with a bunch of other oil painters gives me wonderful little chill bumps. Oh the excitement of it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Metisse - WIP

I was getting a painting ready to ship and got a little carried away. I couldn't help myself- the box was so perfectly clean and blank... It was just begging for a sketch. The boat is called the Metisse. I fell in love with it at the dock. It was smooth, slender and red red red!

This was another reference photo I had been avoiding for a while, but I had so much fun sketching it that I started a small painting of it.

I am enjoying working small. This one is an 8"x10". Soon I will have a mass of 6"x8" canvas boards to work on as well.

Let me tell you how much I love Gamvar (Gamblin's super awesome archival varnish). It dries to the touch relatively fast and doesn't make your head spin from the fumes... in fact, I hardly noticed a smell. Hurray for Gamvar!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy
8"x 10"
Oil on Canvas Board
Click here to purchase.

Hee-hee! I love working small. I started this painting this morning and finished about an hour ago. Talk about instant gratification! Um... well, its more instant than spending weeks on the same painting.

Two paintings ago my husband pointed at the reference photo for this painting and said "Why don't you do that one next." First thing I thought was Ick! A horizontal! I've been on a bit of a vertical kick. You may have noticed.

I sketched the clouds a couple of times and something about it just didn't feel right- until this morning.

Last night I hung the picture on my handy dandy little reference photo holder that is attached to my easel, and set a "blank" red primed canvas in place, ready to go. This morning I sketched it all out again in my little Moleskine to work on the composition, and this time I felt good about my little blue print- except it wasn't blue, it was gray and paper colored....

I also didn't scrape my pallette from the last painting like I usually do. A lot of the colors were, if not the same, very close so I could alter them easily. Having most of the colors already mixed helped. Its that whole P.A. (Plan Ahead) thing again. That has been one of the greatest lessons of my adult life so far- thank you Brad.

Remember how I was fussing a couple of posts ago about how hard painting was and I was ready for it to come easily again? Partly Cloudy basically painted itself. It was wonderful!

I made a mental shift in my personal life and was rewarded all around. Awesome. Once I realized what the problem really was, my shift came quickly and easily. Would you call it submission... release... ? Whatever the word is, it was good. It was like a great big Ahhhhh and the creativity flowed like peanut butter. Um... warm peanut butter (smooth, not chunky).

And now I have another horizontal painting under my belt- Dun-Dun-DUN!

It has been a good day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunset Clouds III

Sunset Clouds III
8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas Board

Look familiar? I loved the reference photo for this one, and I have been wanting to do some smaller paintings, so here it is... again. The last one, Sunset Clouds II, was on a 16" x 20" canvas. I think clouds are so huge and dynamic that they do well on a large canvas, but it feels good to whip out a painting every once in a while.