I no longer post to my blog, but it contains several years worth of short articles I've written regarding various painting tips, thoughts, and inspiration for pastelists and oil painters. I began the blog in 2011 simply as a resource for students I taught at my studio at the time. I stopped posting in 2018, but even though I've grown in my artistic journey since then, much of what I've shared here is still relevant, and therefore I've kept it visible for anyone who cares to skim though it.
I demonstrated similar paintings for both of my pastel classes this past week. Autumn Glow was from the Thursday class and Autumn Evening from the Monday class. The latter was from the same reference photo as the studies shown in the earlier post, but both are from the same location. After reveiwing my color studies, I favored the glowing warm colors for this particular scene and incorporated those colors in both paintings. I especially liked the color combination of the pale lavender against the warm red, used in both paintings but emphasized in dfferent places. We'll be switching from autumn to winter in our next class!
For many of my paintings lately, I enjoy using a very loose alcohol wash for my underpainting. Since it's been my goal to develop a looser style, I find that this keeps me from getting bogged down in details too soon. I use a wide brush for my underpainting, so details are impossible to fuss with at this beginning stage. In the underpainting (top), I'm concerned with large shapes and dark/light values.
I find the middle stage the most difficult. This is where lots of decisions need to be made as I start breaking down the larger shapes into smaller shapes. I still often get hung up in too many details here. On this painting I focused on emphasizing the changes in value, but needed to be sure the value changes in the foreground stayed very subtle...a challenge, since most landscapes typcially have high contrast in the foregound. The dramatic morning light hitting the top of the barn and trees in this scene put a spin on this "rule of thumb." Except for the dark icy/water patches on the road, there's very little range in value in the foreground here. It's actually the road that attracted me to paint this scene, so I wanted to be sure to capture that, and I worked very slowly on that part of the painting.
In the end, I was happy with the finished piece, although it's a bit tighter than I had envisioned. I almost like the middle stage better and wish I stopped sooner!
With my son having an unexpected week off from school during "Snowmagedon 2011," I still haven't been able to get completely back into my painting groove. But in trying to steal tiny blocks of studio time here and there, I've been working up small color studies. I find that it's the thought process that gets rusty when my painting routine gets interrupted, so these little practice studies are a less frustrating way to help me get back up to speed. In these three 5x7ish studies, I varied the colors as well as the areas of contrast for each. As rough as they are, notice that they still each convey a very different mood. In my Monday and Thursday morning pastel classes, we'll be examining this some more.
I'm just getting back into the studio after the surviving the crazy holiday season. Each year my painting time seems to get severely interrupted during most of December. Since this is my first posting to my new blog, I thought I'd start off with where I left off with my last painting of 2010, Early Morning Reflections. This is a 20" x 30" painting, a bit larger than I usually work, but I thought it was about time for a large piece. I had a particular color combination in mind with the splash of red of the tree up against the gray-blue and orange, and also wanted to stray from the typcial bright blues for the sky and water. I used a reference photo, but changed so much of the colors and composition that it doesn't look much like the original scene at all. I tend to have more successful painitngs when I ditch the photo early on! Hoping to do more of that in 2011!!