Sunday, April 19, 2015

first la crosse plein air and continuing with "sorting grandpa"

yesterday was the first plein air paint out that i was able to attend since returning to wisconsin. about 10 painters....mostly watercolorists oddly enough.......met at a local park to paint for 2-3 hours. i wasn't all that inspired by the scenery, but the early morning light was nice. i picked an area where i could sort of border the scene with the natural objects like trees, sidewalks/streets, and try to create the sun-drenched look by use of the crossing shadows of the adjacent trees. here is the painting that i did. about 2 hours, 140# cold press lanaquarelle paper, 11"X14".

later in the day i did about 45 minutes work on "sorting grandpa." i mainly worked on my face to try to add a bit of color using vermillion, raw sienna, and at times a touch of cerulean blue. i did finish out both my and sophie's eyes with over washes of cobalt blue/burnt sienna and adding pupils with ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. a note about eyes: with light coming in on the side, the edge of the iris on the shadow side will sort of catch the light as i exits the cornea creating a light spot. the light is a bit schizoid here as it seems to be coming from the front (and indeed i think it was in the form of a flash) so i decided to just call one side of both figures the one that will catch the exiting light. i have found that this gives the eyes a "real" and watery look. you, of course, will have to be the judge.

in the background i put down a wash of manganese blue nova going over the back of sophie's head, the left side of my head (note: these directions are relative to the figure, not the observer), and the top 1/3 of my t-shirt and then allowing some drips- the illusion of spontaneity, if you will. i think that's it for yesterday. as it is cold, blustery and rainy, i suspect more will be done today.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Sorting grandpa" : continuing efforts on current painting

i got quite a bit more done on this painting in the approximate hour I have spent on it this morning. I mainly worked on Sophie's face. Continuing to explain her facial features. For this I used scarlet lake, brilliant orange, and cerulean blue applied with a #10 escoda versatile round. Areas of her hair were mixtures of quinacridone gold, burnt sienna, mineral violet, and touches of alizarin Crimson. My shirt was mainly oxide of chromium dulled with abit of alizarin Crimson. The background is a medium value manganese blue nova that I allowed to run over the back of Sophie's head, the left side of my head and the front of the t-shirt I am wearing. It's getting both sunny, but also warm out so I am going out to scout some areas for plein air painting later this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Until next, be well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gotta get back to work.......

well, we got home about two weeks ago and I haven't done much except get unpacked and straightened up the studio. i started this current painting before we left for warmer climes but decided to leave it on the easel during the trip and finish it when we got home. Guess what? We're home. So, I better get back to work.

reference photo
This reference photo was taken about 11 years ago or so and is of our grand daughter Sophie (she's now 14) and me on the porch. Joan got the pic at just the right time. I have been wanting to paint it for quite a while. Now is the time. I wanted Sophie center stage so I decided to only show part of my face. When doing this I have to be careful to not bring an apparent or implied tangent to the edge of the painting. Here that would mean the vertex of my head bumping almost parallel with the top edge. It could also mean the right side of my jaw running into and parallel with the left edge of the paper. as the process wears on i will have it be a bit darker and cooler to let me recede and sophie will be warmer and hopefully come forward.

status at day's end
I am using some watercolor board by arches. I think it is #90 hot press paper on some sort of archival pressed board. The whole thing is about 1/16" thick. First time so I am anxious to see how it goes. Btw, it is cheaper than #300 arches paper by quite a bit.

So I drew it out, put a light value variegated wash of scarlet lake, brilliant orange, cerulean blue, vermillion, and raw sienna over all the flesh areas and out into the background. I couldn't resist putting in a few features such as a couple first washes on the eyes and Sophie's nose. All done with a #14 round cheap joe's pseudo sable brush. Then we left for California.

Yesterday I noodled around abit, put a wash of quinacridone yellow on the background, redefined the right side of my head, put a second wash on one of my eyes, started on sophie's dress. Again the #14 brush. I worked for about 45 minutes, took some photos, and went off to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.

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")