Monday, September 28, 2009

Pacific Fog

Pacific Fog
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Years ago I recorded this scene in my Moleskine sketchbook. I had a very vague memory of the colors, so I used whatever I thought would look right.

Again, my main focus was brushwork. Practicing laying the paint down and leaving it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hill Country Morning

Hill Country Morning
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

So, I have a confession to make... I did not paint this today. I painted it Monday. In fact the next post is from last week as well. Call me a slacker.

I had the chance to meet up with my girlfriends (whom I have not seen in 13 years!) from high school, this weekend. So I have been rationing out some of last weeks paintings in my posts.

The Monday paint out was wonderful- I honestly thought I was the only person that showed because I was all alone at the top of the hill (the locals call it a mountain) with the fabulous views and the lovely breeze that occasionally morphed into hurricane winds and threatened to blow me away. Experience. Now I know why I was the only one at the top. Still, it was beautiful up there- well worth the possible threat of being blown away.

I have been processing Calvin Liang's sky paintings in my mind, and am so looking forward to capturing that luminosity and subtle, but diverse range of cool and warm colors in the clouds. Subtlety. It can be tricky.

Funny thing, sometimes people can get their point across a lot better by not saying as much, but using body language and a few carefully chosen statements, rather than blatantly announcing their intentions. I think painting is the same. When a painting is created with as few brushstrokes as possible, with carefully chosen colors and deliberate execution, the finished piece can sing its own praises without an explosion of color or extreme contrast.

THAT, my dear friends, is the lesson that has been forming in my mind for some time now... I love how the non-art world can give me answers to questions I have been asking about my work. Human behavior is so amazing. Art is just an extension of our nature.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Middle Creek Mesquites

Middle Creek Mesquites
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Sorry about the washed out photo. I did a rush job on this batch of images, but will have a better one when I put it on my website. I'll let you know when I do that...

This was right down the street from the previous post's painting spot. I went a little haywire with the color. Well, with the red swath of earth.

Again, working on distance and laying down the paint and leaving it. I enjoyed working around the branches and foliage clumps on the Mesquite trees. I love these trees. They are so variable and limber looking in the shapes they take.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Middle Creek View

Middle Creek View
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

I have been concentrating on my brushwork and portraying distance. I adjusted some of the colors on this one last night. The distant hills were so dark, they were barely distinguishable from those in front of them.

I have always been intimidated by the thought of putting down the paint and leaving it, but its actually a lot of fun! A challenge. Challenge is good. Plus it forces me to concentrate on the exact color I want to put down.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Better late than never....

I have been trying to process all the information I gathered from Calvin Liang's workshop.

Day 2 at Becker Vineyards

Here is what I have been mulling over:

Block in the big shapes, but do not close off the shapes by butting your colors directly against each other- at first. This gives you some leeway on the shapes.

Work from the foreground to the background.

Demo: Lovely

Always have warm colors next to cool colors- within highlights AND shadows.

Be careful when laying paint. Each layer should allow any under layers to shine through.

Architecture is tight at the top and loose at the bottom.

Day 3 at Luckenbach

Shadows in trees are up high in the canopy, and the lower part (trunk) is lighter.

You can see his grays are full of color.

Use liquin mixed with color to soften edges.

The bottom edges of everything should be soft.

Always test a color before laying it down.

Day 4 back at FAS, it rained shortly after this. Completely obliterated the scene.
Oh to see all the colors in that wonderful sky! This is my favorite.

Now get this- I asked him if he had to drive around a lot to find his painting spots. (That is what I have been doing.) He paints wherever he is. That is the kind of plein air painter I want to be! Imagine... every spot is a good spot! I'll add that to my list of goals.

I am still learning from that workshop. Money well spent!

Monday, September 7, 2009

FAS Calvin Liang Workshop

Sauer Beckmann Farm
9" x 12"
oil on canvas board

Let me start by saying day one was TOTALLY AWESOME!!! For really and truly, if you ever get a chance to take a class from Calvin Liang, do it! I kicked myself all morning for not bringing my camera. I wish I had a photo of today's demo to show you. It was beautiful, and so simple, a lot of implied shapes and lines. Just amazing! I aim to paint with that kind of control and confidence.

Above is my painting for today- I took the photo after getting home. I have never tackled dappled sunlight before. It was a little daunting. The shadows kept moving and disappearing and reappearing and rearranging themselves into new patterns.

At one point, I was painting away and feeling a little frustrated and disappointed with my progress, and Calvin came by and said "don't touch this part anymore, and make this cool color warm." Wouldn't it be nice to have someone standing over our shoulders every time we paint telling us how to improve our work? Instead of a Shoulder Angel, it would be a Shoulder Artist. My problem came from trying to paint what I knew and not what I saw. The shadow colors were warm oranges and pale purples, not the blue and greenish-gray I had been using.

So here are some of the things I learned today:

There are 4 elements of painting.
1. Shape
2. Value
3. Color
4. Edges

Always start your painting with a preliminary thumbnail to work out the design. -And don't just copy what you see- create a good design.

Color Structure: Think of the color wheel, and paint with the full circle of colors within highlights, shadows, and mid-ranges. Everything goes in a circle.

Now keep in mind, these are Calvin's tips after being digested by my mind. When you take a workshop from him, I would love to hear what you get from it because we all gather different information.

I am now off to rearrange my plein air set-up... I made the mistake of taking my French easel instead of my Thumbox, because I thought it would be easier to paint on the 9 x 12 canvases. I have a clip for the Thumbox to keep anything larger than an 8 x 10. I'm going back to my beloved itty set-up. Someday I will have a larger pochade box for larger canvases.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Spy Something Red

I Spy Something Red
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

I was scrounging around my aunt's kitchen yesterday looking for something to paint. I had planned on painting in her garden again, but it was hot outside and I was much more inclined to work in the air conditioning. I really like the way this one turned out. I had my doubts in mid-process, but it all seemed to come together the same way clouds and reflections on water usually do. I am intrigued. Painting glass is fun!

Next week is going to be a little different. I get to go to a plein air workshop with Calvin Liang. I am so excited!


6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

I was in a bit of a hurry to get this one posted, and I am afraid the colors aren't living up to reality. As it turns out, I really like this one, so I am putting it aside as another possibility for the Whistle Pik show in December.

I got my website set up and thanks to Fine Art Studios Online, it is beautiful!
Years ago I made the mistake of building my own website. It was a nightmare. I love the set-up on this one, and it is so easy to update!

Check out my fabulous new website: