Sunday, March 22, 2015

"busker's got a squeezebox" (15"X15")

"busker's got a squeezebox"
here's one i finished yesterday after about 2 weeks labor off and on. there are a few tweaks i might make now that i see it in a photo rather than at the end of my nose, but, all in all, i am pleased with this. i think it may go the watercolor west jury call and see.

i took the photo of this fellow on the public market at pike place in seattle as he played his accordion one sunny but rather cold, blustery day last fall. hope you enjoy it as much as i did painting it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

very little happening art-wise 'round these here parts

our daughter has been here the last week making any painting-like activities take second seat to hiking (for them, not me), eating, drinking, laughing, making fun of the passers by on the golf course.........the usual. the truth be told, we are starting to get ready for our trek back across the country to la crosse in about a week, as well. the easel and such will probably be the last stuff to get taken down, but usually the first to go in the trunk (boot, for those across the pond). but, this morning while the rest of the hearty were out exploring a new trail i worked a bit on potential project for the class. i had a bunch of city photos from our trip to rochester, ny, last fall and tried using one of these as a model in a quick, monochrome way. i concluded it was probably too difficult for a beginner class, but i had some fun. in the end, i couldn't stand not putting in a bit of color so the tail lights, bus side,  and flag went in. this was taken about dusk just after a storm as it receded off to the east. i really admire everything jeremy mann paints and i can see i was most likely influenced by some of his city scape work, only in watercolor (he paints in oils). if you are unfamiliar with him, look him up. i think you will be rewarded for your time.

just a sketch......14"X10"

Sunday, March 1, 2015

class exercise #2: "#6, double taper"

here is another exercise that i worked on today that i think i will use in the class. its fairly small (10"X16") on cold press 140# paper. the lesson here will be composition, preserving the whites, mixing greens, tying a figure into a landscape, lifting paint.

pretty much all of these greens were mixed on the paper. colors were in addition to hooker's green which i mix with burnt sienna or raw sienna to get a de-saturated green, were ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, mineral violet, cobalt turquoise, burnt umber. all painting except for the figure which was painted with a #10 round escoda verstil, were painted using isabey squirrel quill brushes. i have started using them for landscapes as they are softer and hold more water thus giving the illusion of less control and softness to the procedure. here are the three steps. the top background woods was initially washed in with a light colors of a variety of greens mixed on the palette. the next layer was put in wet-in-wet using the same colors only much thicker and mixed on the paper. then the various rocls along the shore and the figure all wet on dry. then the water which is mainly reflections of the woods and therefore the same colors streaked in vertically. as a rule reflections in water of light value objects reflect darker than the object and dark objects reflect lighter. the woods being dark, reflect lighter as you can see i did, mostly. at the very end i lifted out the ripples and lighter rock reflections (please note that these reflections, while lighter than the surrounding wood reflections, are still darker than the rocks themselves). darker ripples painted in with the tip of my smallest isabey brush and something dark.

the title, for you non-fly fishers, comes from the line which plays such a major role in this painting. fly lines come in a variety of weight, no. 6 being possibly the most common weight, and a variety of tapers at the end of the line. a double taper line has a taper at both ends and can be reversed when one end gets worn out from casting and rubbing against rocks, sticks, what-have-you in the stream.

"no. 6, double taper", (10"X16)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

trial exercise for watercolor class

i am working on a 6-week, 12-session curriculum for a beginner watercolor class that i am going to teach this summer; just as soon as i am mobile after the planned hip surgery in april. in contemplation of that i wanted to experiment with a little landscape for the second or third session that would use most , if not all, of the techniques we had learned in the prior classes. so, this isn't meant to be finished, regular painting, but and exercise that will leave the students with something to take home that will be at least decent. something they could be proud of. as an aside i am planning to do something like this with increasing complexity each week. that way they will have more than sheet after sheet of random brush strokes, a variety of washes, etc. i am planning the grand finale to be a portrait.

anyway, this starts out with a flat wash for the sky. then a bit of a graded wash over that to bring out the darker value higher in the sky.  some watercolor type of scumbling, scratching out wet washes, wet-in-wet, wet on dry, and dry brush.

i sketched the horses when i was out at kay's ranch last week. i'll let folks know more about the class when i am more certain of the dates. i do know that it will be at the studio gallery 1311 in la crosse. it will be called, "the new golf: a watercolor class for beginner and intermediate painters.

simply and exercise (11"X15")

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"hot day, cool drink" yet another plein aire offering from borrego springs

two days ago i went out to the mustang sanctuary here in borrego springs. kay levie is the owner, rancher, proprietor, chief cook, bottle washer and mucker. she also was our landlady for a couple of years when we stayed at her bunkhouse studio casita. cool place with burro alarm clocks (not models....real donkeys braying at sunrise), 3 border collies, a bunch of horses.

anyway i set up just outside a several acre plot housing a number of animals from the burro, bays, paints, and some mustangs. it was a bright almost clear day with a bit of atmosphere on the surrounding santa rosa and jacinta mountains. almost perfect. this is pretty much what i saw except that i moved the shade-producing tarp to the far left as it was obscuring some of the details i wanted to emphasize and put an opening between the near fence so the rails, etc. wouldn't run over the horses.

the background and sky are pretty well done if i do say so myself. the horses while accurate are a bit stiff. i may redo this on a bit smaller scale (this is 15"X22") to try to get them a bit more relaxed appearing. i like the way the dark shadow from the trees off to the left bring the middle ground into sunny focus. for ease of painting i made the fence wire instead of 2" round "bars" of galvanized pipe. this may have been a mistake.....i'll have to look at this a bit longer. nothing to do abut it now, just for the future.

so, for your edification. "hot day, cool drink".

"hot day, cool drink" (15"X22")

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

...and yet another.....

this view is south out the back of our driveway. painted in two settings with wildly different lighting at opposite ends of the day, it has a bit of a schizoid feel to me. in the second sitting i had to try to remember where shadow, etc. had been. all in all i am fairly pleased with the result. every painting out and about en plein air is a learning experience with a very steep curve....i must say i am really liking it. i got a sorely needed umbrella to shade the painting and me. can't wait to use it later this afternoon.

hope you enjoy "casa borrego nos. 26 and 16" (14"X19") on 300# arches cold press paper.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

four for the road

gotta run with an early tee time but i wanted to post these plein air pieces from last week. more to follow....narrative and everything....the whole shootin' match(never did understand the derivation of that saying).