Monday, August 29, 2011

Finished version from 8/23 post.

Snowmobile Tracks at the Hoeft Farm, 16 x 20
This is the completed version of the painting that I showed in my earlier post.  I'm pretty happy with the finished version, and I think I succeeded in making it look like a cold, Minnesota winter day. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One more week of still life.

Red Watering Can and Flowers, 9 x 12
We did one more week of still life in my classes this week.  This time I wanted to bring in some plant life to the set up, since we tend to work from landscape photos a lot in my classes, and I wanted to get some form of greenery directly in front of us.  Above is my demo from my Thursday (today's) class.  The goal with this piece was to begin the greenery and yellow flowers by massing in large areas of similar values.  I purposely chose small flowers with small leaves for the set up to challenge the class to do these large value masses rather than rendering every small area seperately.  Next week we'll be back to landscapes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Workshop Report

Snowmobile Tracks at the Hoeft Farm, 16 x 20

Rounding the Birch Trees, 12 x 16
I spent this past Friday through Sunday at a wonderful, inspiring pastel workshop with Marc Hanson, one of my favorite artists.  Above are the paintings I completed during the workshop.  I still plan to make a few tweaks to the winter scene to incorporate a few more comments Marc made regarding how to make it truly look like a cold, snowy day in Minnesota, where the scene originated.  Hopefully my "tweaks" won't be fatal, since I'm hoping to give the painting to family members who own this property in Princeton, MN, where we visit each winter around the holidays. If my finishing touches are successul, I'll post the finished version.

Friday, August 19, 2011

White-on-White Still Life

Coffee Cups, 10 x 8
This past week in my classes, I thought it was time for still life.  When I'm not able to get out for plein air painting for a length of time, I find it helpful to get away from photos for a bit and work from life, even if it's still inside the studio.  Since we should (hopefully) have some cooler temps in the morning in a couple of weeks, and with my son back in school, plein air outings will soon be on my calendar.  Still life work can serve as a good warmup!

This painting was a paint-a-long I did for a private class.  It was a completely white-on-white set-up, so with color out of the picture, we could focus more on value (using any color) and "lost and found" edges.  I find this to be a great exercise to revisit every once in awhile. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Starting with big shapes.

Aspens in Sunlight, 10 x 8
This was my demonstration from today's class.  Painting busy tree foliage can be challenging, so we worked from a black and white photo to help simplify the subject matter.  This made it easier to combine similar values at the beginning stages and start with large shapes.  I first created a very simplified value thumbnail sketch to work out my composition and the large shapes for the tree foliage and sky holes.  The thumbnail primarily divided the scene into light and dark areas.  Working first from the thumbnail, I began the painting with just two values: dark for the tree foliage and grass, and light for the sky holes and tree trunks. I used an alcohol wash to flatten out these two values so I could more easily work on top of this base layer, adjusting values as I proceeded. I then softened the edges of the foliage using a middle value and further broke up the large areas of foliage, adding a few more small sky holes and adjusting values. Since I was working from black and white reference, I decided on a color scheme beforehand which used a nice balance of warms for the highlights and cools for the shadows.  This made it much easier to choose colors that made pleasing combinations rather than trying to "copy" the existing color that would've been in the color photo.

Hopefully cooler weather is around the corner to ditch the photos and get out for some plein air painting!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rocks in the landscape.

Rocks Along the River, 12 x 16
In class last week we continued with rocks, incorporating them into the landscape.  In this demonstration, my objective was to sharply define only a few of the rocks at the center of interest (or the area of interest, as I've heard it called, which is the case here). The other rocks were kept very loose with mostly soft edges and less contrast than the center-of-interest rocks.  Also, since this painting is mostly about the rocks, the other elements in the scene--the trees, water and sky--were kept simplified with little detail.  Otherwise the painting overall would be much too busy. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Playing with Color

Toward the Sunlight, oil, 8 x 10
This is another oil version of a previous pastel painting (To the Chattahoochee).  I actually started this painting many months ago and set it aside.  At the time, I knew my colors were all wrong but I wasn't sure what to do with them.  I went back to it recently and made some adjustments to some of the values and toned down the vibrancy in a few areas with some muted colors.  This made the vibrant colors still remaining really sing.

Also, I'm excited to announce that an oil painting I posted on this blog back in February (Trees on the Chattahoochee, also one of my pastel "do overs") was juried into the Atlanta Fine Arts League's 5th Annual Juried Exhibition "Georgia Only."  The opening reception is this Friday, Aug. 12 from 7-9 pm at the Roswell Visual Arts Center Gallery.  The exhibit will remain there until Sept. 30.  Details are on my website.