Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trees, Trees, and More Trees

Towering Trees, 12 x 9
Since many of the artists in my Wednesday class do plein air painting, I thought we'd focus on tree shapes.  When painting outdoors and dealing with the changing light, it's important to work quickly.  But sometimes it's a good idea to slow down in the studio and really take the time to learn how to "sculpt" a tree.  Copying tree shapes exactly as we see them typically produces a boring tree.  As artists it's our job to improve upon what we see, whether from a photo or while painting on location, and this means learning how to create interesting shapes within a tree as well as the overall shape of a tree, or group of trees.  This painting was begun with massing in large dark shapes, focusing on the positive and negative shapes of the large group of trees, while also making sure the lower third of the composition worked with the overall shape of the large trees. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Desert Path

Desert Path, pastel, 16 x 20
This was a demo from my Monday class for which I used an alcohol wash underpainting.  I enjoy working on gatorboard panels that I prepare myself because they can really take a beating and withstand being reworked many times. I wiped it down and used an alcohol wash many times to redo several sections of this painting until I was happy with it.  I took the reference photo in Arizona, and I guess I'm not used to the southwestern colors, which differ drastically from what we see here in the southeast. It took me several attempts at this one, but I'm fairly happy with my final result. Can't wait to paint some more scenes from my Arizona visit!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oil Version of a Previous Pastel Painting

Morning Light on the Hay Bales, oil, 11 x 14

Previous version of the above scene in pastel.
 As I work more in oil, I'm enjoying using previous pastel paintings as reference for new oil paintings.  What's most enjoyable is that I've already worked out decisions regarding composition, value and color temperature in the pastel painting. In the above oil version, I wanted to adjust the color to more of a golden hue rather than the greenish gold in the pastel.  I had intended to let more sky holes peek through the trees like I did in the pastel.  If you've been following my blog, you might remember that the pastel painting was a redo of the same scene I painted almost 10 years ago, and one of my main objectives of the redo was to open up the trees a bit to let the sky peek through.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just a quick note...

I'm going to make some updates on my blog, and will be deleting the "Followers" section.  So if that's how you originally subscribed to my blog, and wish to still follow my postings, just scroll to the bottom of my blog page and click the "Subscribe" link, and you'll then receive an email each time I post something new.

Plein Air Painting at Smith-Gilbert Gardens

Rounding the Bend, 12 x 14

The Potting Shed, 12 x 14
This past week I spent two days at Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, GA for a plein air painting event.  We were fortunate to have great weather for both days, and it was a wonderful opportunity to paint among many talented artists. Here are two of the paintings I completed during the event.  The top one, Rounding the Bend, was one of the seven award winners!