Thursday, October 9, 2014

"4th street, actually": new cityscape

"4th street, actually": (14"X11")
i think these are slowly, but surely, coming around. the improvement is certainly in baby steps, but seems steady. at least, i am feeling more like i know the next step and am not groping around as much as i was a few months ago. the biggest challenge appears to be that initial wash and amassing all those shapes that share a fairly common value. that and leaving all the white patches where i want them....its very difficult to lift out to white....only a light value gray. so with that minimal rhetoric here is the next offering in the cityscape series.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

a pot pourri for you blogging pleasure

one of these days i will get back to my stated mission of "process"............but this isn't one of them. i am going to try to put some process in on the next project on video. wish me luck.

today i have a mish-mash of reference photos, completed landscapes, and wip's of people painting. i'm not really sure why i am posting this. probably to keep the blog active and to stay "out there".

plein air site and view, the gray, blustery day
the first is a photo of the spot from which i painted my last plein air painting for the "event" and the only one that i actually took down to studio gallery 1311 to be entered and displayed. it is taken down by the river on the west side of the main channel under the newest bridge looking back across at a barge being loaded with something from the elevated tanks. it was a bit of a challenge to paint this as the first day it was gray, blustery, and actually started to rain after about 90 minutes. this obviously halted painting for that day. when i returned the next day at about the same time in early morning it was bright, sunny and still. i sort of had to fake it a bit. i am sorry i don't have at least a finished shot of of it, but.....oh, well. as soon as it comes down from the gallery wall i'll take a photo and post it.

"i am lakhota, too" (wip, 11"X15")
these next two are almost completed paintings of folks in our life. one is of a lakhota native who graciously let me take her picture a few years ago out at pine ridge. i have painted her before but in a bit of a different setting. i made up the feathers. the other is one of our third child, born on april fools day which happened to be a thursday the year of his birth.

"thursday's child" (wip, 11"X15")
 last offering today is a completed landscape from a view just entering borregosprings, ca, from the east, turning off pegleg road onto henderson canyon road. there is a homestead with all the accouterments necessary to make a go of it in the desert. the palm trees are fiction to add something compositionally.....just what i don't know........and i really wanted a reason to try painting their silhouettes. i intentionally spelled borrego with only one "r" as back then the original town on site was "borego". the town of borrego springs  actually sprung up a little north and west of the original settlement which still sports a rundown and abandoned store and some non-descript buildings.

"making it work in borego" (11"X15)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


we ventured up to the statewide wisconsin regional art association annual (WRAA) exhibit over the weekendwhich was held in wausau this year (a city about 160 miles northwest of here). the awards luncheon was on saturday. i was prepared to receive the carol betts chaplin portraiture award as i was notified of same a few weeks earlier. what took me completely by surprise was that the painting that i had submitted also won the "peoples' choice award". this left me at a loss for words when i went up to receive that honor. at this point i would like to personally thank all those who voted for me and all the other worthy contenders.

this was especially meaningful to me as the quality of the art exhibited was absolutely stellar but also the judges were for the most part extremely talented artists, their families and fans. i will always cherish this honor. thank you!

so in case you missed it the other several thousand times i have posted this, here is "needing more than a tattered hat".

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Plein air #2: on the eastern shore she looms

again this morning bright and early....around 0800 hours today. sun still fairly low as witnessed by the sparkle on the water. stood on the eastern shore of pettibone island in the park looking east at la crosse about at the level of the radisson hotel i took some liberties with the size of the cathedral. same general methods as yesterday. used roughish sandpaper to put the sparkle on the water but i didn't wait long enough for the paper to dry and it came out sort of and learn.

on the eastern shore she looms: (11"X15")

plein air #1 (pa#1): rabbit rail marsh

had my first foray into the real world of plein air painting this morning. i ventured down the rabbit trail  y UW-L about 200 yards and came across a great blue heron keeping watch over his part of the marsh with the bluffs reflected in the water. here it is......11"X15" on fabriano artistico rough 140# paper. worked pretty much light to dark, a lot of wet-in-wet, just a touch of white gouache on the heron-dic sentinel........

on first frog watch (11"X15")

Monday, September 8, 2014

carrying on and portraiture award at wisconsin state exhibition.

i have been very lazy with respect to this blog and for that i apologize. summer's too busy to do everything without feeling more hassled than one might feel necessary. so the blog loses out. i am far enough into a variety of painting projects that i can not really remember exactly what i did so i will not try to reprise a blow-by-blow of the process(es).

before i go into the current group of paintings i should tell about a recent award  received. at the state WRAP (wisconsin regional art program) exhibition in wausau i received the carol betts chaplain portrait award. it would be a gross understatement to say i was surprised and at the same time thrilled. my thanks to juror diane budde for this singular honor. the painting was "needing more than a tattered hat" which i have posted so many times in regard to this that i will refrain at this time.
stage of current abandonment

i decided on this one that i would play around with a brick wall behind her as there was one in the reference photo. however, i decided that this made the painting more about the wall than the girl....i think i can fix this but for now i ran out of good ideas and steam......not in the bin but the shelf next to it.

in my quest to improve my land/cityscape paintings i offer this for review. working title is "just after five". i like the atmospheric  and linear perspective, respectively, of the buildings and the march of the vehicles into the distance. the figures, however, are a bit sloppy. on to the next and hopefully better one later this week.

not quite....but close

and now the newest of the "people" paintings. i have done this girl before but i felt compelled to paint her again with a bit of a different composition and background. i do have a few "stages which i will post sequentially without any comments. i will note that i made extensive use of wet glazing in the background and in the neck shadow. for those not familiar with this techniques, it involves painting over wet washes with a different color(s). very interesting mingling occurs if one doesn't monkey around with the final version before its dry. the subtlety of color mingling is not altogether apparent in the photos, but i can be quite striking. the only place i have seen this described is in don andrews book on painting the nude in watercolor where he uses these glazes to paint beautiful and unique skin tones in stylized/abstract nudes.

"i once was you" (11"X15")

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"table for one, non-smoking, please": new painting

drawing, reference, and initial washes
when i saw this photo taken and sent to me from my almost lifelong friend dan darigan i know that i would have to paint this lovely inquiring african girl from the village of njala in sierra leone. the only questions were,"when?" and, "how?".  in the past the few portrait type paintings that i have done of folks that had darker than caucasian skin were usually done using the same colors only a bit lower value as i used for caucasian skin and made the anatomical differences speak to the ethnicity. in this one i not only wanted to capture her look, but also her unique features and her deeper colored skin tones. so here is the start.

detail from above photo of first wash
apparently she used to come into dan's abode frequently to watch him making dinner and this is one of those times he caught a photo of her. i will have to find out her name and possibly change the working title.

i decided to place her almost in the center of the long horizontal format...she is actually a bit more to the picture's right meaning the negative space is smaller on the right side of the figure. this just gives me a challenge for which to find a solution.

these colors are french ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, mineral violet, quinacridone gold, and alizarin crimson permanent. everything painted with a #14 escoda versatil round brush.

darker but cooler washes
i thought the *right* side of her face was getting a little cool and the *left needed a bit of pigment so i warmed things up with light glazes of vermillion and burnt sienna. the table top was the same colors but streaked in wet-in-wet to simulate wood grain.

adding a bit of warmth
the last close-up is where i left off work for yesterday. i put in a graded wash of manganese blue nova, mineral violet, and mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna in sort of horizontal stripes as i sort of thought that i needed more horizontals with the strong vertical of the figure. this is the first thing i am starting to question. it is looking too boring and predictable to me. i may have to use this as a first wash and darken while adding some structure to it later. i also started working on her hands by adding some small washes of burnt sienna and alizarin crimson to the areas in shadow while staying away from the lighter nails.

so the final photo is the painting as it was at the end of painting yesterday. needed to get some golf in with joan as the day was just too nice not to partake. worked out well as it was the first sub-80 round (78 actually) since i "burned out" my hip last february.

"table for one, non-smoking, please" interval step