Thursday, December 24, 2009

Koho, Santa Barbara Harbor

My Reference Photo taken abour a week ago.

I was trying to fight off the "boat bug" but that's not going well. Funny story, I always worked in pen & ink in my very early days doing horses, the occasional portrait and a lot of boats. During break at work I would sketch boats really quick and then add color using highlighter markers just for fun. Somewhere during all of that I thought it would be even more fun to learn to paint boat scenes using oil paint so I began to take painting classes in college. We never once painted water or learn that I ended up going with Walter Foster books. I have wondered many times if Mr. Foster ever had any idea of just how many millions of budding artists he helped with his series of art books. There just has to be a killer story behind those books and Walter Foster....I'll be off to Google soon.
Anyway, I decided to paint one of the fishing boats in Santa Barbara harbor. I wanted a cool looking boat with some of the dock in it. I didn't want an image showing too many boats because that would need a ton of editing by me and I'm so detail-retentive that I like to leave too much in. I've seen this boat a zillion times down there and I really like her looks. Learning to handle the water was fun and I think I'm getting better at it. So much of it is really just an illusion. I thought about leaving out the floating kelp but I need to learn painting that too so in it went. Not the best looking kelp but I could have done it much worse too, hahaha.
Up top is my reference photo. Here is my final painting. I sketched this directly on the 12"X16" canvas covered panel which I hate doing when it has to be detailed. Not much room for mistakes which causes a lot of erasing. One of these days I will try painting one of these boat scenes with no initial sketch...forcing myself to paint loose as a goose.

"Koho At High Tide"

12" X 16" Oil on panel

Details of the painting.....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chalk Hill

"Chalk Hill"
9" X 12" Oil on panel

This is such a familiar scene to me...this is the view once I pull out of my driveway. I see this seen everyday and have seen it in all sorts of weather. Those big clouds are a pretty common occurence most of the year. I really like the contrast they give the hillside with that one big eucalyptus tree. In summer the grasses are wonderful ochres which really pops the cloud formations. Here is my reference photo I worked from.

This one was done alla prima in a little over an hour. Christmas is almost here and it is really difficult to work on a larger painting. Too many errands popping up! I hate starting and stopping on paintings. I was in Santa Barbara a few times this past week which gave me time to run down to the harbor to snap some reference photos. I've been going through them and there is some really nice ones which will probably become paintings in the next month or so. I'm dying to paint another boat scene while I'm still in that Marine Art mode. I spend so much time throughout the year concentrating on landscapes I don't seem to find the time to work on things nautical.

I was speaking to an artist friend yesterday and the subject of seascapes came up. We both seemed to agree that they are very hard to sell. One of the gallery owners I know wouldn't even carry seascapes because she said they couldn't sell we are not 10 miles from the ocean and it is hard to sell anything with water in it. I remember once deciding to show my work in Morro Bay because I figured it would be the place to sell my marine work...the first year I was there I only sold one painting and it was a scene of the mountains behind Sana Barbara! There might be something to Marine art taking a back seat in sales to most other subjects. So, if you are a painter of seascapes living in Kansas and think heading to the coast would be the thing to do to sell your work you should think twice about that, hahaha.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Before Sunset

"Before Sunset"
9" X 12" Oil on panel
This painting was finished and left to dry before glazing a final layer of light orange tint. This process is something I have recently been toying with to achieve an overall color to the painting. I've done a few other paintings I had drying with a light Indian Yellow tint and it worked great. I'm now tempted to try it with a light pink tone using Alizarin Crimson and Titanium White. When sales are slow....experiment! Hahaha.
A couple of details of the painting....

Michelle Goodrich of Mandarin Design

In working on my blog today I was hunting down a website called Mandarin Design and an old online friend, Michelle Goodrich. Michelle's site had all sorts of codes for free to use on your blog or website...a site designers heaven. Michelle taught you the how to do's of creating a better site of your own with all of her knowledge. I discovered her website way back around 1998 when I was first building my website and trying to promote it. I wanted to leave a banner link on the links I was creating to my website and Michelle had a code to create a really nice banner. I had problems with it as I was still very much learning "computereeze" and contacted Michelle for advice. Michelle helped me figure it out and we kept in touch. She liked the site I had made and offered more help. We sent emails to each other and eventually she bought some of my notecards with horses I had drawn....or I might have just gave them to her for all of her help. Michelle also used my website in an article she had written for her website and offered a free link to my site in return. Naturally, I used the banner above to link to Michelle's website from mine.
It has been years since I last spoke to Michelle or had been to her website. While looking for it today I found that her site was offline and that she had passed away back in June of 2006. Terrible would be an understatement of describing how I felt. I spent the last hour or so reading through various blogs of the other people Michelle had helped over the years. Michelle's generosity was above and beyond that of most people. The closest I ever came to meeting Michelle was when she and her husband came down to see the Long Beach Grand Prix...back in the 90's. I only found out because I was trying to contact her with yet another problem or to ask a question and she mentioned they had just returned from that trip. So at one time we were just 30 miles away from actually meeting each other.
I feel bad that it took me so long to find out she had passed away from cancer, breast cancer I believe....You know, the thing about the internet is you have so many people you can meet in various ways, but more importantly, is that they are all very much real people. Michelle was as real and down to earth as you could get. Willing to share her knowledge which is the most beautiful thing about the internet. Beautiful things come from beautiful people. Michelle epitomized what the world of the Internet could be to all of us...a place to share, learn and teach without always expecting something in return for it. Helping your fellow man is always good karma. I will very much miss my friend Michelle.

Motor Lifeboat CG

Motor Lifeboat Training
18" X 24" Oil on canvas
Just finished up this painting that I will be submitting to the Coast Guard soon. This is a Motor Lifeboat training in the heavy surf up in Bodega Bay in Northern California. You've got to admire Coasties for their determination to train for the worst in their efforts to help out the stranded mariner. Who you gonna call?....the Coast Guard! My reference photo for this painting was taken by a CG member and he caught this ML in a great scene busting through a hugh wave that evokes the danger and the determination of these men to do the job they train for. All I did was try to capture the scene on canvas.
This type of painting is very different from my usual soft landscapes. Detail and crisp edges are best for this type of work and my training with pen & ink has long prepared me for detail and sharp edges. Using a brush is just a bit slower. Going larger, 18" X 24" made the detail work much easier too. I like doing these CG paintings as it fulfills my love of Marine art and gives me a nice challenge to learn painting water and waves. I admire the work of Blossom and Thimgan, both now gone. I also like contemporary painters Byron Pickering and Martin Clarke. Both have a unique way of painting the I actually know these guys! hahahaha. Marty was the first artist to help me out when I was learning to paint the ocean and has been a great inspiration and friend since those early days and I have a great DVD by Bryon who is a wonderful gentle soul.
Some details of the painting....

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Nocturne Verde

" Nocturne Verde"
6" X 8" Oil on panel
The title sounds like something you would order at a Mexican restaraunt. This is another painting done with that eerie green glow that the night is sometimes portrayed with by artists. Done for variation in the studio....I like the color and the change of doing nocturnes with my usual dark mix of Ublue, Acrimson and Twhite. Variety as they say is the spice of life. Ever since seeing this color back at the nocturne show in Los Olivos I've wanted to mess with it and so that's why green...I like it. I'm going to try a reddish tone soon (Nocturne Rojo!). I've seen that used a few times too so it would be cool to try that variation. By the way....that yellow area near the moon is barely perceptable on the actual painting. It stands out like a sore thumb here because my camera snags that color up like it was whipped cream. I tried to edit it down but I lose too much of the other colors up there when I do that so imagine that yellow much less than you see here....yes, you have to do some of the work on this Blog.