Sunday, January 27, 2008

Figueroa Mountains

Figueroa Mountains
Oil on stretched canvas

I received some Grumbacher Pre Test oil paints for Christmas and thought it was a good time to give them a try...good thing because I was out of Windsor Newton cadmium yellow pale! favorite yellow for making my greens with. The pre test paints work nicely and I did this one with them.
This scene is looking across the Santa Ynez valley. I just love the colors of our mountains up here. There are so many shades to them and at given times of the day they are luminous shades of blues and greens. Sometimes I think if I paint those people wouldn't believe it. I tried to capture some of that wonderful blue here...I think the intensity is a little strong in this photo but it's pretty close to this. If I painted this scene again I'd lighten the background. I worked on this one and another one at the same time. The other painting is below and you can see how light I lightened the mountains to push the distance more. When painting two paintings of the same area you tend to guage your colors off of the other painting. Fun stuff.

Deer Crossing WIP

I came across this reference photo and decided to paint a scene of it. I liked the distance of the mountains coupled with the dark contrasting oaks in morning light. I was about to paint it and then decided to try something new...add a deer crossing the road. We have lots of deer around here and so it only seemed natural to try and add one to a landscape painting.

Here you can see my initial sketch. Very simple lines of the treeline, road and the deer.I began with my sky colors and then the mountains base colors. I'll add the mountain shadows next. I've also added spots of sky color that will be behind the trees.
Now I put in my mountain shadows and at the same time fill in an area that is toweards the valley floor...fields etc...nothing exact, just suggestive work here.
I now begin adding my darks. This is various mixes of Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow and Alizarin Crimson.
It's time to put in thwe road and my mid greens. It's starting to come together now. I felt my deer looked a little low so I will move him up a bit before painting him in.This is how I will move my deer up. I first paint in the area under the deer to fill in that area.Now, I will scrub out the painted area that is still wet on the road where my new deer position will be. I use a small clean brush with turpentine to scrub the shape of the deer out. Wipe it off and soak up more of the now diluted paint until the area is clean.

I scrub out just enough of the wet paint to have a nice pretty dry area of canvas to paint in the new deer. I'm not the greatest wildlife painter so please excuse my deer. Maybe if I do a lot more deer I'll get them down better. I tried to keep good loose edges on my deer but I could have gone a little looser I think.

My favorite part of this painting is the nice contrast of the dark green oaks and the far side of the canyon mountains....nice!

And finally, the finished painting. I like it. It was fun adding some wildlife to this piece and really catching the distance of those mountains. I also like the very dark greens in the foreground which adds to the atmosphere of this painting. Trying to catch the light of the day is always a workout and there are a lot of painters who do it very well. It's always some thing to aspire to.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gallery-Wrap Oak Frame

I have seen some paintings by a few local painters here in the valley that are gallery wrapped paintings in natural finished wood frames....I know, gallery wrap pieces are not usually framed but they sure look cool floating in a wood frame. So, I decided to make one since buying one for a 20"x40" painting I had done was between $130 and $150 at online prices....I didn't even want to ask my local framer how much he'd make one for. I bought some oak at Home Depot and cut it down to a thickness I wanted and began cutting the bevels and mitered corners. I glued and nailed it together with a new air-powerd brad gun since my old electric one couldn't handle the toughness of oak wood. The airgun made it a piece of cake to shoot the brads in. Once the glue had dried overnight I shot the brads and then began sanding. After that I wiped it down and rubbed oil/sealer/polisher to bring out that awesome golden oak finish. I mounted in to the frame and snapped pics to show you. I might make more of these later on when time permits since I have it figured out now. I'm still trying to build a workbench in the garage to work on these frame pieces but I'm backed up in painting since I've spent so much time preparing for the shows lately....all of that uis done so it is back to painting.

Featured Artist Show

I've just finished hanging the new work at the Morro Bay Art Association Gallery in the seaside town of Morro Bay, California. This will be a Featured Artist show with 2 featured artists, myself and watercolorist, Shirley Puttman. Shriley won a show when she was 16 years old and the Honorary judge was Salvador Dali, so I'm in good company.
The gallery at MB is of the best I've had my work shown in. The members are a great bunch of people and of course if you want awesome fish and chips you can't beat Morro Bay while on your trip to see me, I know! Anyway, this show will run for the month of January. An indicator of how well the show will be were all of the great comments made by members dropping off their art for the current show yesterday. Both Shirley and I were given some hearty pats on the back. The best thing of showing your work is the positive comments from your fellow artists.
Linda and I quickly had my work up on the wall with nothing more than some nails, hammer, step stool and a tape measure. Linda and I have hung shows at out local guild and I swear we are like pros! I'm familiar with the gallery at MB so the night before we went to eat at McDonalds and I sketched the wall out and drew the way we would hang the work on a napkin...that helped a lot. We had the image in our minds and slammed it up in about 20 or 30 minutes.
The Artist Reception is next Sunday, the 13th from 1-3 PM so if you can make the drive to Morro Bay please stop by. Wine and refreshments will be served and we can talk. The address is 835 Main Street, Morro Bay, CA. (type that in on Google Maps to get directions.)