April 18, 2017

Fly Fishing Success

This is not only about the success of catching the fish, but also about finishing a painting I'd started months ago.   I hadn't painted any features into the shadow on the face, and I'd been thinking about how best to address the deep shadow cast by the baseball cap.

Yesterday I decided to work on this and I think I've got the face finished.  I also added the yellow sun-lit grasses to near and distant mountains.  The water may still have too much intensity as it goes into the distance and I'll tone that down ... and maybe it will be done.

The fish, by the way, is a rainbow trout.  We caught (and released) rainbow trout and cutthroat trout on the Yellowstone River last summer just a few weeks before the river was closed to fishing due to a concern about bacteria and warm water temperatures.  Today on NPR there was a report about how the native cutthroat trout are being weakened by breeding with the non-native rainbows.   Fishing is regulated, licensed, managed and monitored and it bodes well, I hope, for a plan for the future to protect the Yellowstone River and the native cutthroat trout.

April 5, 2017

Bison Painting -- Done (and work in progress, days 1 & 2)

The bison painting is done -- it's 3 feet by 4 feet -- oil on linen.

2nd day working on the painting

first day's work
When I was in Yellowstone in March, I had the amazing experience of seeing a herd of bison walking down a snow-packed path.  To be
on the safe side, literally, the group I was in on snowmobiles all got off and stood with the machines between us and the bison as they walked just a few feet away from us.  I took a lot of photos and brought the images into the studio to work on a painting of the bison walking.

This is just the beginning, where I'm trying to lay down the basic shapes and colors.  I may be adjusting the size and position of the bison in front to make him larger and darker, I have to work on that.

The white areas of the painting are just blank canvas showing through.  A lot more work to come.

March 29, 2017

Frog Pond, Matthew Henson Trail

I'd never been to the Matthew Henson trail before, I found it only by looking at the  Montgomery County Parks website.  What a spectacularly beautiful and trail.

The frog pond was near where I parked and although I walked a short length of this very long trail, this spot kept calling to me.

Early in spring, there's no leaves on the trees (such a contrast to Montana, where I was last week and evergreens far outnumber any deciduous trees) so I was looking at trunks, reflections, dark shadows and deeply colorful water.  I brought this into the studio this afternoon to adjust some of the color.

March 28, 2017

A River Runs Through It - updated

The movie A River Runs Through It was filmed along the Gallatin River.  A few weeks ago, I went fly fishing there and took photos to use as a reference for a future painting.   The fish were cold and sluggish -- I was even slower to set the hook and can only tell tales about the ones that got away.   
finished painting
early sketch

March 22, 2017

Unfinished view

I hadn't appreciated how much I'd miss a real studio easel ... until I was working on this large 4 ft x 3 ft canvas which was attached to a dining chair with a bungee cord.

Aside from the challenge of painting a view that truly changed every 5 minutes -- you could see the mountains in the distance, then they were covered in clouds, then the sun would break through, then it would rain/snow/sleet, then the snow melted etc.  -- it was hard to paint the whole canvas when to reach the bottom edge I had to crouch next to the canvas or bend over.  A studio easel lets you raise the canvas so you can paint the bottom at eye level and lower the canvas to focus on the top.  What a difference it makes!  I'm going to ship this back to my Maryland studio and finish it there.

March 17, 2017

View from the Deck

I started this a week ago, today I finally got back to work on it.  It's been brilliantly sunny, so the color is much more intense than in the initial sketch.  The snow on the railing is gone now, but I did leave that in the painting.

March 10, 2017

Painting, Snowing, in Montana

I bungie-corded a very big canvas to an old broken chair so I could paint on the deck in Montana today.  I didn't count it starting to snow while I was painting -- this is going to be fun!

March 7, 2017

Painting in Montana

Working inside this morning while looking out at the Gallatin River Canyon.

February 17, 2017

Gallatin River Sketch - updated and done!

this is how it started
I'm headed back to Montana in a couple of weeks and to get ready, I've decided to work on smallish sketches from some reference photos I took in December.   This is a 14 x 18" oil on a burnt umber toned ground.

The Gallatin River is beautiful all year!  In the winter there's snow and ice along the cliffs and on rocks in the water, and red berried shrubs on the banks.  I stopped to take a photo at many of the pull outs on the road between Bozeman and Big Sky and I think they'll be a fine place to paint plein air (if it's not too cold!) next month and maybe do some larger paintings on site and in my Montana studio.

this is the next stage of the painting

Update -- this is the next stage of the painting.  I felt like the color needed to be adjusted and both made the rocks bluer and the water less green.  Although each section of the painting seems more satisfying to me, the water and rocks just aren't relating to one another properly yet.  More work on this to come.

Study of the latest iteration of the work helped me realize that the reflection in the water and the intensity of the color (curse the pthalo pigment I'd mixed into that paint) was in conflict with my intention that the water should look like it's moving.  The color and broken reflections made it look of a piece with the rocks and that was what wasn't working.  Done now!

January 25, 2017

Still Life with Rubik's Cube and Collie - updated and finished!

This is the finished painting!

I started working on a new still life in my studio, mixing it up just a bit by changing the teapot from the last one and adding a Rubik's cube that we had on our shelves.  As I put this together, though, I decided that I needed to add something on the floor.  Shoes didn't seem right.  A tote bag didn't add much.  So I put in my dog, Ollie, a tri-color smooth collie who is almost 10 years old.  I also ended up making the my round table a rectangle.

Still life symbolism is much studied, what with skulls and such in old paintings by masters.   The symbolism here, well, hmmmm.