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.

January 13, 2017

Still Life in the Studio

During the 2nd Friday Art Walk, I  set up a little still life to paint.  I had about an hour to work on it, and got this far.

Next week I'll have a chance to work on the rug in the background that I'd just left untouched and get back into the colors and patterns in the foreground.

January 6, 2017

Livingston Montana Streetscape

Livingston, Montana looks like a movie set -- and it has been used as one for at least one recent movie ("Certain Women") and probably a lot more in the past.  I couldn't paint when I was there this past summer, so I took a bunch of reference photos and brought them into the studio to play with.

I've been trying to vary my palette, using colors that are brighter and more vibrant than the standard palette I'd been working from (I added prussian blue, phtalo green and cadmium lemon, took away alizarin, among other changes).  The image of the painting here is a bit darker than the end result in real life, but I made the choice to make the shadows on the brick buildings in cadmium red medium and keep other shadows in purples, blues and greens rather than going darker and duller.  I think the result works -- I've been playing with this for a while and I'll get a fresh look at it next week to see if other changes are needed.

November 15, 2016

Maine Still Life

After spending the recent workshop in Montana talking about value and painting preliminary value sketches I was thinking that some still life paintings I'd done over the summer lacked the range of values needed to make the paintings work.

I took another look at this one, and repainted it with a dark blue under painting to get the values right.  After I added color, I went back into all the "white" highlights and evaluated them for color.

All of which inspired me to make my Maine plans for next summer!