Saturday, February 09, 2008

Wine Label Commission

As things were winding down at the end of the year, or so I thought, I was contacted by a local vineyard about doing a wine label drawing for them. This is an organic vineyard with a very limited production of grapes to be sold to other labels. They do however hang on to enough grapes to make a small run of their own label in various types of wine, Pinot Noir, Chardonney and a red I can't think of. For their label they choose a local artist of their choice to do their Artist Series wine label.
I drove out to the vineyard and snapped a lot of ref photos with an idea of putting their dog on the label...fat chance, about 3 previous artists did that same dog. They were at the time training a sheep dog to watch after sheep they would use in the future for mowing the grass between the rows of grapes...remember, organic vineyard. I got the idea of putting their sheep grazing in the vineyard so here is how I came up with my label.
Problem 1... it was December so no wonderful thick grapeleaves in sight. Here you can see my angle I would use with the distant mountains...the only thing in this scene I would use. This is one of the refs of the actual vineyard.

Next thing to do was come up with some cool rows of grapes with leaves. I had snapped some ref photos at another vineyard while doing a show there so I used their grapes.

Here are the vineyards sheep who posed for me while eating lots of grass....any grass!I took these images into Photoshop and put together an image that worked...sent it off to the vineyard for approval and then drew the image on illustration board in light pencil to begin inking. They wanted an oval format and I played with the values in black and white to make the image work better for their sake.

My drawing is lighter here. I tend to draw light but that's ok because in working with various printers I found the printing ink usually darkens any drawing a few values. They use the blackest ink I've ever seen for printing. I let the owners know about this and even asked them to reduce the vlaues a bit to make it look better. I didn't like the values in my original drawing...too light and it looks better notched down a bit.Here is a preview of what the label will look like. They liked it a lot. They will bottle the wine next August and release the wine in Feb 2009. A long wait but it will be fun to see the label.

Santa Barbara Streetscene

Tried another streetscene. This time one in downtown Santa Barbara close to State street. The mountain ridge with all of the houses is an area known as the Riviera. Wasn't looking to paint that but it was my background and ads more to the depth of the painting.

12"x16" oil on Canvas

This one had more detail and took about 3 days to finish. Longer than the last but there was more to learn on this one. Here is a detail of the mountains. I like the way they came out, very subtle work there and I'm liking that more and more in my work.

I like keeping some degree of detail in the distant backgrounds but also staying very suggestive with it. Balancing suggestive and detail takes work. It looks easy but it took me a while to get them the way I wanted.

Here is another detail...

Keeping from painting too tight and too detailed on the cars is something I'm reminding myself as I paint. I painted that front van where it looked pretty straightedged but then went back in and loosened it up a bit.

I think the flags look pretty cool in this painting. I don't know why the city had them up but they looked cool. Tried to keep very lose on them. The hardest part of this painting was finding the right colors for the foreground street....shadows still mess with me. Anyway, I think it came out ok for only the second in street scenes that's I've done. They really are very different types of work. Lots of new things to figure out in doing these.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Monrovia Alla Prima

I love when things go right painting wise...your colors are close, the image looks cool and more importantly, the paint tacks up like you want it to! I started this one last night at around 10 or 11 and finished around 4am. Alla Prima work can be so fun and just a fun challenge to finish with a decent painting.
Here I snapped a shot of my darks going in. The sky and base paint for the mountains was done already. I thought I'd add my darks and go to bed but you know how that goes when the painting is going good. Next thing you know it's morning.

Here is the finished's a scene looking up Myrtle Ave in Monrovia, CA. I've been up this street many times in my life. When I was a kid my Mom used to drive us to JC Pennys which was on the right hand side in this scene. My older brother had to have JC Penny t-shirts so that's where my Mom would take us. Pennys moved to the Arcadia Mall way back in the 70's but all of the buildings on this street are all the original buildings from back then. I used to work just down the street in the 90's. I've been amazed at the work of Brian Simmons who has put out some really cool street scenes in Vancouver so I thought I'd give it a try.

Myrtle Ave, Monrovia

16"x20" Oil on Canvas

And some detail shots....

(Looks like an old rambler!, hahahaha.)