Friday, September 26, 2008

Carpinteria Show

Carpinteria, California....this is a cool town to have an art show at. The artist community down there is one of the best group of people I have ever worked with. They are a close happy group with a love of being from a special small of those beachside towns that has kept it's small town look and feel....not an easy thing to do for most towns that "once were" on Californias coast. If Santa Barbara had hung on to what Carpinteria had that would be a great place to hang out. Parking in SB is worse than any part of Los Angeles and I have been all over the LA basin and all of the outlying cities.
Anyway....I have a painting in this show and the reception is tomorrow, Saturday 27, 2008. It is from 5-7 PM so if you are in the area drop on by. It's on 855 Linden Ave, south of the 101 freeway.
Atmosphere, Wind and Shadows
***855 at the Arts Gallery***
Sep 27 - Nov 10 2008
Tel - 805-684-7789

A Summers Day

An 8"x10" frame is usually very inexpensive which was the sole purpose of doing this painting at this size.....well, that and I don't usually do that size very much. I'm not crazy about those dimensions for landscapes and it is very limiting in how much canvas you have to actually paint on. The one good thing about an 8"x10" is it makes you really think in the planning stages. It also is fun to see how much of a scene you can squeeze into it. I went vertical with this one just wanting to do a tree and once again practise grasses.
This painting was done strictly from imagination. I suppose these scenes can be monotonous but I think if you want to get good at them you need to do them a lot. I've noticed some of the works of California painters, namely Grandville Redmond, and their backgrounds seem to have as much work in detail as the foregrounds. I tend to "diffuse" my backgrounds leaving the detail for the foreground. I think I'm going to begin to work more on the backgrounds with added detail but paying attention to aerial perspective. This should start happening in work to come.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Night Tree

This image was inspired after I saw a small detail from another nocturne I painted a few days ago. The detail image looked very much like it's own painting so I decided to go larger with just that detail as my reference. This experiments with a dark sky and low light below the tree. Nocturnes are done on so many light levels so it is fun to experiment with that aspect of a nocturne. The light adjusts the colors and shadows and you could really paint the same scene a dozen times and no two would look the same. If I painted this scene plein air I could move my easel 5 or 10 feet to either side and have very different paintings due to the dark shadows.

"Night Tree"

12" X 16"
There is a slight bluish glow right above the trees that my camera picked up but you can hardly see that at all in the original painting....the sky just looks very dark there. Here is a detail of the same painting. This is the foreground grass area which I think came out great...a little grass and a little dirt.

More foreground grass and some of that low light foliage work. Pushing the dark shadows on this one was too fun. Hoping to get better at the next painting!

Summer Meadow Nocturne

" Summer Meadow Nocturne"
9" X 12"
Being on the nocturne craze lately I did this one last night in record time, (for me), about 2 hours tops. All I wanted to do was do another nocturne with a lighter sky and that's how it all happened. Not much planning at all. The nocturnes I'm doing all teach me things and they really are experiments on variations not so much being painted to be paintings at all....makes sense??? I did this one for varying the sky colors....the one below was done to splash light in a nocturne....the next one was to go with a darker sky and throw shadow/contrast more. These are all lessons self taught to me by just painting them and seeing how it goes. In the least it is damned fun!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nocturne...A Splash of Light

"Santa Ynez Nocturne"
9" X 12"

This nocturne was painted for the purpose of 1) having fun with another, and 2) wanting to practise adding a splash of highlight in the otherwise usual dark nocturne. Well, I guess it makes must first learn to paint the night and then comes the part of starting to have fun with it. Adding visual interests...spicing it up...making it pop...adjusting the mood or light. Soon I'll start to play more with color in the sky.

a detail....
I am starting to do grasses better I think. Grasses are funny, my best grasses seem to be when I am almost just throwing the paint on there with a knive stroking vertically. After that I just sweep up in short strokes with a fan....scumble in some dirt patches again with a knife. It seems the more haphazard I do them the better they look. If I approach them with some sort of planned pattern or concerted effort they suck and in the end I go back to my "could care less" sort of method and BAM! Good looking grass. I've seen some artists who do grasses so lifelike it is amazing! I'd love to learn that method but it looks like it is done in that preplanned method and feels like a ton of dissapointment coming on, hahaha. I'll stick with my careless method for now. It has a more impressionist and painterly feel to it anyway.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Morning in Green and Gold

"Morning in Green and Gold"
16" X 20" Oil on canvas

The season is going to change and the trees are starting to show it. This large sycamore is close to where I live and shows some of the leaves just starting to turn brown. I love the trunks on these sycamores. Sometimes white, blue, pink, brown, and a huge assortment of greys. They are dusty and have bark flaking off at times...awesome textures too. I could probably paint oaks, sycamores and eucalyptus trees for the rest of my life and never tire of doing it. These are the trees I can remember growing up with in Pasadena. Many were here before I was and will be long after I'm gone. You have to respect that!
Trees are like huge ancient elders put here on earth to watch the trouble us humans get ourselves in! Imagine the stories a tree could tell us if they could speak.
some details....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wine Label

A year ago I was approached by a local vineyard to do their wine label for the 2007 wines they would produce. I thought that was totally cool since at show receptions I had heard suggestions to do this with my pen & ink work. Trouble was I didn't know much about approaching a vineyard to do their label. I knew an artist who approached a vineyard to do their label but they were having them made by an artist in Italy and they were sold on his work. I figured I'd just keep working to get better at painting and not worry about it.
The winery owner and I tossed some ideas back and forth and in the end agreed on adding their sheep they were raising and training to mow the grass that grows between the rows of grapes. It was Winter so I had to borrow grape leaves off of reference photos I had taken at another vineyard the summer before. It all worked out and I handed over the label drawing in about a week. I was told they would not bottle the wine until August of 2007 and I could get some bottles for myself then. They sure look cool and I got a big kick out of doing the commission.