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).






Friday, January 16, 2015

further pursuits of the landscape.....in plein air, no less

i got my act together earlier this week and got outside to do some plein air painting. granted it wasn't any further than just off our driveway, but such is the environmemt around our abode, paintings in all directions.

i decide to do our neighbor's house as it was simple and convenient, if not terribly interesting. when it was done, my observant spouse joan noted that i had made that "p-o-s" look way better than it actually did (look). who's to argue? at least i tried. so here is the first plein air of the year: " casa borrego nos. 22 and 9"(don't ask).

"casa borrego nos. 22 and 9" (10"X14")

Sunday, January 11, 2015

values, values, values.........and did i mention values

i think it always bears re-stating that values carry a painting. colors are nice......sort of like the sauce on a meal while the values are the "meat and potatoes." when a painting just isn't working for me, i almost always discover that there is a problem with interpreting and rendering the values. the problem sometimes comes in translating values to colors and vice versa. there are some gizmos that help in "seeing" values like a red lens or tinted viewer. one thing that i do to help in the interpretation is to work almost exclusively with black and white photo references when i am in the studio. this leaves only the reproduction of the desired values onto the painting. for this (and admittedly somewhat after the fact) i sometimes resort to taking a photo of a partially (or almost) finished piece, download it into i-photo, and change it to black and white.....voila a value study. this clearly shows me where the values are and whether i have rendered them the way that i intended.

in this cityscape the first time i thought that i had finished (or gotten pretty close to finishing) there was still something that bothered me about it. thinking it was the values i did take a photo and translated it to b+w. this showed me as the first pair of photos depicted below that the values in the mid-page were not strong enough (at least in my opinion).





so back to the easel and i added some darker glazes to the right mid-painting area. i also thought that the darks around the windows and doorways was too dark....so i lightened them. this resulted in the pair of photos depicted below.




i think it is better. what do you think? so, whenever you are in quandary about values this technique may help sort it out.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"labradoodling" (11"X15")

shortly after arriving in borrego springs, i managed to get everything set up and painted a small "portrait" of my sister's dog. i usually try todo a lot of experimentation while out here on the desert. i'm not sure this is much of an experiment, but i did just splash and sling much more randomly and with abandon than usual. as usual, though, just after i decided i couldn't improve on it by further painting, i really didn't like it. however, also as usual, it grew on me with the intervening days and now i actually think its alright.

"labradoodling" (11"X15")
my sister and her empty-nest family are arriving shortly for a two week stay at the local state park campground. i'd love for them to stay here but we can't have pets and, as you can see, a large, sloppy, but lovable labradoodle just isn't going be okay. if my sis likes the painting i will force it on her as she departs for points east

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"lakhota proud"

back in early october i posted a nearly-done photo of this painting. i decided at the time that i didn't like it and put it on the shelf. the other day i came across it and decided that i did, after all, like it. so i added some stuff and lifted some stuff, reinforced some stuff, and lightened some stuff..........and came out with this. the lesson here is not to throw anything out until it has aged a bit and one can look at it with "fresh" eyes. the change in one's opinion can be surprising. of course, sometimes one's initial opinion holds up....then , i suppose, it does become one for the bin.

a brief word on the shapes along both upper sides of the painting may be due.  i looked up a variety of pictographs from digs and finds in north america. i drew the shapes that i liked and those that had a known meaning on small pieces of foam core. i then followed those lines drawing with a thick bead of that craft glue "tacky glue" in the brown bottle that i am sure most have seen in craft and hobby stores. this dried leaving a slightly resilient raised line. since it was water soluble i sprayed it with fixative to seal both the glue line and the foam core. to make a mark i simply painted thickish watercolor paint onto the design and pressed it onto the watercolor paper. i spritzed each of them with small droplets of water to varying degrees to loosed them up and teased a few drips down the page for both looseness and interest. this is what i got. i can't take credit for this.....dale kendrick showed me this technique many, many moons ago during one of his workshops.....a great artist and wonderful instructor. may he rest in peace.

"lakhota proud" (13"X16")

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"table for one....non-smoking, please" (9"X18")

i had painted this little girl before in the same pose but with a totally botched background and a composition i didn't like. so, i had another go at it. i think this came out better, pretty much in every dimension. i didn't take any process photos during this endeavor, however.....sorry.

i hope you enjoy looking as much as i enjoyed painting.

"table for one....non-smoking, please"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"the colonel has a lovely daughter": finale

i think that the last brush stroke has been applied to this painting. as one nears the end it is always an interesting time in a painting's life. when i get to the point where i am making small enough changes that they absolutely no difference in the quality of the painting or just ill-advised, detrimental additions, i quit. i think i am at that place with this. i am happy with the likenesses, composition, and skin tones. the colonel came off more sun drenched and older (vermilion, raw sienna, and cerulean blue) and charlotte younger, more "peaches and cream" complexion (scarlet lake, brilliant orange, and cerulean blue). there is one thing i'm not too happy with and that's the intersection of charlotte's shirt strap with the exact right lower corner. i think a little crop will take care of that. i apologize for the fuzzy photo.......should have used a tripod as the light was waning. here is the finished masterpiece:
"the colonel has a lovely daughter" (11"X17")