Saturday, December 28, 2013

commissions done now back to business.......oh, and a print is offered

i have been asked if there were prints available for this painting entitled, "a quiet moment before the ride," watercolor, 15"X11". i looked into it and there is a print maker in town who does just wonderful work. he prints from his own high density scan on quality archival paper using exact color matching. the final price will be determined by the number of copies in the run and the size and type of paper. despite that, i think the price will be in the $75-100 range, also depending on whether one might want it framed or not.

if you would like to purchase one please send me you name, address, and e-mail address via email and i will get back to you.

since the painting is currently hanging in a gallery and i won't be back in town until the end of march from an extended trip, the prints would not be available until april of next year.

next post from borrego springs, california.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

wip: new painting....untitled

drawing on 300# hot press (22"X15")
i have just picked up two commissions that are intended to be christmas presents, so i will be busy with work that won't be posted here for want of spilling the beans, so to speak. i have also gotten about 2/3rds of the way through a current painting that will probably go either into slow motion or the backshelf until i finish the commissions. that being said i decided to post that which i have finished on the current painting as a series of steps that are about 30 minutes work time each. everything is done similarly to my usual and i have used a #16 round cosmotop brush for all. flesh tone either vermillion/aurelian/raw sienna or scarlet lake/brilliant orange/raw sienna or alizarin crimson permanent/quinacridone gold. the cool flesh color was cerulean blue. some of the light over- glazes in the shadows was occasionally either hooker's green, prussian blue, mineral violet, or ultramarine blue depending on my mood. these lent a spot of arbitrary color here and there, as well. so here are the steps thus far.

initial washes (blue is manganese)

haven't figured out what to do with that
nasty backrun across the second
figure's face (what a rookie)

maybe i won't have to do anything with it
(the blossom on the second figure's face)
the names are being with held to protect the innocent. title starting to emerge "swimming in the deep end" or "my friend...she is party girl". until later, be well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"a lovin' spoonful sort of afternoon": the grand finale

"a lovin' spoonful sort of afternoon" (15"X22")
i really didn't do a lot more on this painting. i finished the folds and shadows on her shirt using a desaturated and darker value version of the shirt color. for this i made a loose mixture of scarlet lake, alizarin crimson permanent, and a touch of hooker's green on the palette and applied it with my #16 round davinci cosmotop brush. some work needed doing on her neck and upper chest which was just the same flesh colors that i had been using: vermillion and raw sienna. after about 2 days of looking at this painting on the wall of my studio, i decided it needed a little something at the top....not too startling but maybe unexpected. i felt it needed to be a color already used in the painting. so i chose red (scarlet lake). i rather like it even though it may have been unnecessary. the last thing i will say about the painting is that this is on cold press arches paper. it is strikingly different to paint on with the distinct tooth and the sizing almost seems to resist the paint at first application.  the result is......i don't know.....grainy........hmmmm, here's something new i am at a loss for words.

has anybody gotten the connection between the title and the painting??????

Friday, November 15, 2013

"a lovin' spoonful sort of afternoon" : next painting

initial washes and features
more face, neck, and hand
i got started on this one about a week ago. i liked the dreamy look on her face and the pose with her hand up by her head. it is a fairly large painting (15"X22") on 300# cold press arches paper. i haven't been too fond of painting on the cold press lately favoring the hot press surface. so, this will be interesting. here are the sequential steps in the process as of last evening. there are a couple of things that i noticed when painting this piece. the first is that i have to be careful of this kind of background to not go too dark too quickly. additionally i should add some arbitrary and varied colors first before settling on a dominant hue. the second is that i am continually amazed at the effect of a very thin glaze of ultramarine blue over the top of other colors. on warm colors it cools them down and makes them recede. that shouldn't be too surprising and isn't. but it also can brighten up an otherwise drab green or bluish gray, which is the case here at the top background. it seems to be able to do this without a huge value price. by this i mean it doesn't change the value much, if at all. not sure why but there you are!

decisions about shirt color and some background

hair modeling, chair and shirt wash

initial background washes (raw sienna/cobalt blue) too gray
i think-those are shadows from the window on the left

more hair and shirt, cooling facial shadows with
ultramarine blue

finishing her hand, begin wrinkles/folds on shirt,
brightening background on top with ultramarine wash

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

trying a landscape

its pretty obvious that i gravitate toward painting figures and portraits, but every once in a while i try something else. i sort of cut my teeth on the still life, but have only tried a handful of landscapes. i did one earlier this fall based on a photo i took of some weathered buildings outside ovando, montana. i was leafing through southwest art magazine after we got home from our trip and made the observation that most of the landscapes that i liked were oil (a few were acrylic). the infrequent exceptions were usually from such watercolor masters as dean mitchell. while out in the tetons in september we came upon a stretch of the snake river somewhere after the jackson lake dam and before the oxbow bend that was pretty still, given the low water, with brightly colored bushes along the far side and some rocks and debris sticking up through the surface. farther downstream closer to jackson were saw a moose chomping on vegetation in the river. this later area was not terribly picturesque. so i thought i might combine the two into a landscape with the moose chomping on stuff in the pretty part of the stream.

initial washes (the shape in upper left is a shadow
 from the sun shining in an adjacent window)
in the september 2013 issue of southwest magazine i came across a painting of a lake in autumn by david mayer that portrayed the stream almost exactly and it was painted in oil. i thought it might be a good exercise to try to emulate this in watercolor. so i combined my photos and thought a bit on how i might do this. since this is only an exercise and for educational purposes, this is for my (and your) edification only. here is a link to the actual painting "autumn at hessie lake" by david mayer (link) that served as a technique model.

background darks representing trees
 and modeling on the moose
more moose modeling and some refinement
of stream side bushes

the main difference between what i did here and my figure/people painting is that except for the figure of the moose (which was done in several thin layers of paint) much of this was done in one take trying to get both the color and value right with the first pass. this is more like what charles reid preaches. the brush i used was a #16 round cosmotop from da vinci. the colors for the greens were ultramarine blue/quinacridone gold, hooker's green/burnt sienna, raw sienna/manganese blue. the bushes were combinations of vermillion,  raw sienna, quinacridone gold, brilliant orange and carmine. the moose was cobalt blue and burnt sienna with the shadows having the addition of carmine and ultramarine blue. the biggest challenge for me was the reflections in the water. i had 5to think "upside down" and get the values about the same as the objects (or perhaps a little darker) and the colors a little less saturated. streaks of ripples were lifted out with a 1" synthetic flat that was damp and formed to a thin profile and painted in with a #2 round in darker colors. this was done on a piece of 300# arches cold press paper that measured 11"X15".

so here are the sequential photos of work completed in about 20-30 minute increments.

start of the reflections  (sky reflection a
graded wash at the bottom)

almost finished (just modeling of his *right*
antlers and toning down the bush reflections on the far right
remaining to do)

i think you can see how derivative this is of the original so this is just for learning. i do like the overall effect though and will try an original soon. we saw a lot of moose and have lots of photo shots of them and the teton area from which to draw inspiration. 

if you reference any of this blog please give credit to david mayer for his original oil painting that served as a model for this exercise.

Monday, November 4, 2013

"…mule man…." finish and start of "just a girl and her bowler"

"behold! the mule man cometh" (17"X15")
i've been getting ready for a holiday show at the studio gallery 1311 here in la crosse and have neglected the blog. i will try to catch things up here today. i finished the painting that i entitled "behold! the mule man cometh" and saw not that much difference between the finish and the last post image. i know that i darkened some values in the shadows to bring them into congruity and added some texture to the background mountains and desert. i believe some washes were added to his cap and the railing from which is hanging the canvas and on which he is leaning. other than that i think that was all that i painted. here it is.

i also started a painting using an image that was shot at the modeling session with "anna". i have photos of pretty much all the stages in about 30-45 minute increments of work. i think most of the steps are self-explanatory to those following this blog and i have described how i go about getting myself in the trouble i often do many, many times…..just you can avoid them! old habits die hard.

i started this painting with the idea that i wanted to use different colors in the background than i usually do (away from the dark grey/black/blue) and a little warmer. i also wanted another of my challenging compositions and depicting the figure in unusual light as if she were illuminated by a spot light low and in front of her. other than that, it was free-wheeling all the way. i will just post the sequential photos. if anyone has any questions, please post them in comments and i will get back to you posthaste.

drawing…darkened over real life so details show

initial wash of manganese blue, vermillion, raw sienna

starting to model her features (same colors)
ditto…adding burnt sienna and ultramarine blue for derby

letters lifted and then painted with vermillion

"just a girl and her bowler" (12"X22")
darks balanced and shirt shadows cerulean blue, carmine, raw sienna

so there we are. there is a lot that i like about this…unusual composition that i think, arguably, works, the unique background colors for me, the multi-colored shadows on the wall, and the lighting. i enjoyed doing the letters but i am still in a bit of flux whether just a dark shape would have sufficed. well, as i am heard to say on occasion……it ain't horrible.

Monday, October 28, 2013

return of the wayward blogger: a few new paintings

"a tale of prejudice and pride" (17"X15")
first of all the diptych of custer and sitting bull is finished and framed. this proved more difficult than i suspected to get the two paintings somewhat harmonious. here it is without a lot of to do.

i had a pretty good start on the painting of "behold, the mule man cometh," but i hadn't posted any of it. the process is pretty similar to those figure paintings of the past. i laid down an initial light value wash with flesh tones and some manganese blue and then started carving out the facial shadows and features. the last few paintings have had a more abstract approach to the background but in this one i decided to add a more representational background: a sky with clouds and the landscape around the anza-borrego of the santa rosa's and desert. at the point i finished painting yesterday i decided that i needed a splash of (unexpected) color or two and haven't really figured out just what to do, but the barrier in front of the figure or his hat (or both) might be deserving locations.....we'll see.

"behold, the mule man cometh!" not finished but getting there
lastly, i did a painting of a friend, landlord, photographer, rancher and owner of the mustang sanctuary in borrego springs. she rarely sits for any length of time and i got this candid shot a couple of years ago when she took some time to relax with friends during the quick draw portion of the borrego springs plein air festival.

"bosslady kay takes a breather" (15"X21")

Thursday, October 3, 2013

i can see finished from here: "a tattered hat future"

" a tattered hat future" (11.5"X20.5")
i put what i think are the final touches on this portrait of a young african boy. i didn't like the hard straight edge on the dark shape in front of him at the bottom of the painting. so, i lifted out some of it. the hat needed some work especially the tattered, frayed edges and holes. and i needed to darken some of the shadows in his clothing. the hand was only started when i last left off so i completed the painting of that. lastly, i thought that the upper left corner needed a splash of color so i added a spatter of manganese blue and teased it out a bit with the brush, finger, and spray bottle. the consequence was that i got a nice little organic dash of blue with a little run down the side, which i liked. so, i am declaring this finished unless i see something else while it hangs for a few days on the studio wall.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

continuation of new, as yet untitled, painting

i showed the beginnings of this painting a couple of posts ago. the inspiration for this painting comes from one of steve evans' great photos of a young man hanging off of a wagon. i am deeply appreciative of steve allowing use of his photos for these purposes.

intial washes and features
in the previous photo i had just put down some initial washes and worked a bit on the eyes. on subsequent steps i continued work on his features and the large shadow making up the planes of his face. as in other paintings i have done of non-cuacasians i have used the same colors that i use in caucasian skin only in different proportions so that the overall color is a warmish brown and the value deeper. up until now i have avoided using "brown" out of the tube such as burnt umber or burnt sienna.   i chose instead to make the color with glazes of complements going from warm to cool in subsequent applications. so, if i put down raw sienna on one coat i will put down mineral violet on the next. vermillion on one then hooker's green on the next. this always trying to make sure that the over all color is warm over the center of the face. i will at times allow cool to enter over the temples or forehead as those structures often are cooler than the rest of the face.

a little more detail and darkening background
with cool skin tones
after this step i decided that the face was too cool so i put a glaze of raw sienna and then brilliant orange over the whole thing except the sclerae. this looked better to me. as i moved forward on the face and figure i tried to keep his apparel (hat/shirt) moving in a forward direction as well. initially i put down a wash of manganese blue graded to ultramarine blue on his shirt and a wash of alizarin crimson dulled with a touch of hooker's green on his cap.

additionally, i worked some on the background with the somewhat abstract dark behind the figure trying to keep the colors varied and interesting but not so much that it will compete with the face. i also am trying to tie the figure into the background along the shadow side by having a change in color when moving from one to another but maintaining the same relative value.

warming things up and more detail
one of the things that i learned (relearned?) at the jozwiak/nelson workshop was that "design" was as important or perhaps more important than "composition". charles reid has often said when asked about the compositional feature "center of interest" that he didn't understand the concept fully in terms of what the intent was. he has said that the concept of center of interest meant to him that the rest of the painting should be  less interesting

or uninteresting........a concept he rejected. instead he preferred to fill his paintings with warm next to cool, dark next to light, lost near found edges....all over the painting. this i think is the concept of design.

face starting to come together and darks in clothing, etc.
with that in mind i started putting in some darks around the face (not really on the face) in the clothing and a little in the background. that is depicted in the last photo. also in the last photo i am starting to bring the skin tone to the final temperature and color.....a rich, warm, milk chocolate brown over the shadow areas. with the multiple thin transparent glazes these areas just glow with a depth only accomplished by this technique (i'm not sure it really shows up in the photos but irl it is striking).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"a handful of posey" : finished.....i think

i worked a little on the painting of our grand daughter nalah yesterday morning. there were some niggling little things that were bothering me about it. i had these doubts in the jozwiak/nelson workshop and put this little painting up for a critique. i got some good feed back and decided to act on it.

the first thing was that her face is just too warm. this i knew going in as i hadn't cooled it off with dilute (really dilute!)  glazes of ultramarine blue as i often will with caucasian skin. so i added a couple glazes and i am happy with the color temperature now. this trick of glazing with the ultramarine blue rarely changes the value much but really does cool down the area and, if in the right place, makes it recede.

the second thing was that that her jacket was a bit drab and the manganese blue in the upper background looked a bit lonely. i thought i could remedy both of those with some addition of manganese blue to her jacket. done!

"a handful of posey" (11"X11")
i thought the dandelions needed a little more color so i put some streaks of cadmium yellow medium over the upper flowers. with the large dark area below the flowers being separated by a more definite transition than i wanted, that area competed with the face more than i desired. first i tried losing some of the inferior edges.....not quite there. then i decided that i could make the whole thing smaller. so i cropped much of it off. so, now the painting is about square, which i find interesting and makes it unusual, and i like it much better.

leave a comment if you like....good or bad.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

just some odds and ends from the last few weeks

i have been working on some paintings off and on over course of our travels around the west. of course, i also painted a lot during the workshop with bev and vickie. without a lot of fan fare here are the results of the last few weeks. some are finished and some are not.
"a hand full of poseys" not quite finished

"quiet time before the ride" finished (15"X11")

untitled as of yet and just started

"these here cherries is mine" finished (15"X20)

finished...can't remember the exact title (15"X8")

"suka, always ready for play" as finished as its gonna be (15"X11")

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

beginnings: prejudice and pride

stage #1
stage #2
i have painted a portrait of sitting bull before and in fact was my first sale. i have wanted to do another. there are so many great archival photos of him that are in the public domain. i had a piece of 300# paper that was really a scrap left over from another drawing i did for the workshop with bev jozwiak starting next week. not wanting to waste it (the scrap) i searched for a subject that might fit the shape. the iconic photo of sitting bull seemed to fit the bill. so i drew it out and started in. the composition will be a challenge to make it work with the problems that i have set up for myself. the more i thought about this i decided to do it as sort of a diptych with a corresponding painting of the same size and shape of our good friend george armstrong custer in one of his humbler poses. right now i am thinking of float mounting both with exposed deckle edges in a single double cut matt. the whole thing would be roughly 21" square with the paintings about 15"X6" each. we'll see.

stage #3
here are the stages to date on the sitting bull painting. i am not sure i like the "solution" to the the composition problem yet. it is still light enough in value that i can obscure or lift it out if in the final analysis it was a bad idea. it may be something more organic and amorphous might be better rather than this geometric "headband" sort of thing.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"catch me, grandpa," redux finished

"catch me, grandpa, redux" (11"X15")
here is the final result for this painting which i finished a few minutes ago. just a little to complete her nightie and a little on her hair and the background.