Sunday, January 31, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Here is a demo as the painting progressed.....
The sky...easiest part. I block in my white and blues letting them slightly overlap and then fan it till it looks good to me. I left the tree area unpainted at this point. The distant landmass is just a darkened mix of the blue sky color.
After that I added the basic distant bluff color and then added the foliage. I get the colors close to what I want but I'll go back in later to adjust it near the end...greying down the greens and adding little specks of white here and there to suggest detail. A while back I used to try and paint these sections as finished sections but I've found it is easier not to waste all of that time and to allow myself to dial in the colors once the painting is just about completed. It's easier to tie in the fore,mid and backgrounds together as the painting is in that almost completed stage. Now I begin blocking in the foreground bluff and then using a knife to apply thicker textures of paint and small details. I will go in and smooth areas with a large brush switching back and forth between filberts and flats. It was a chore here and I'd go so far, stop...go check my email or eat and then come back for another look...or another beating, haha. I didn't like that right top corner of the bluff and lowered that area. Eventually it came together and got to a point where you say "this is it. it's time to take the lessons learned on this painting and move on to use them in the next painting". That is how I usually end a painting. You see where you concourged and where you were just along for the ride....you have to stop and really study where you were just along for the ride so you can make improvements there. Ususally, you can't really see the answer to the problem there because if you could you'd get out your brushes and fix it. So, you just take a good look, think and make yourself try that area in another upcoming painting. You go look at other artists work to see how they handled it. I don't subscribe to the theory that if you paint paintings like a machine gun spits out bullets that somehow you will suddenly one day do it right...you have to actually stop and think. You have to be intellectual and figure out what is going wrong. Call an artist friend and ask how they handle it. Get out your art books and read...look...and paint again. Hey, they aren't always going to end up a masterpiece but you give it the best try you can...each and everytime you paint. Keep doing that and you can't help but get better. I'm happy with this one and think it will enable me to one day crank out a masterpiece.... "Gaviota Bluffs"
22" X 28" Oil on Canvas
Sunday, January 24, 2010
At Christmas time I was visiting my parents in Pasadena and had the chance to run up to Eaton Canyon to take some reference photos. Eaton canyon is a great place to go and I've been doing that since I was a kid and raised 5 minutes from there. I think my first memory of the San Gabriel mountains was when my Dad took my brothers and I hiking in Eaton and up to Henneger Flats a few miles above the canyon. That was a hike and half because I was really very young when that happened.....maybe 10-11? Back in the 60's. Yes....they had hiking back then and no it wasn't because they hadn't invented the car yet.
I love Eaton in the evening because the light is intoxicating then. The mountain sides light up in pink and orange tones while the canyon floor goes into this wonderful shadowed look of various ochres, pale violets and crimson with great olive drab greens of the oak trees. All of that with these splashes of flaming yellows and oranges in the fall months. The Eaton color display and best yet....it's free!
There have been a lot of changes in there since I was a kid. The only thing they had there was a really simple indoor/outdoor nature center where I saw my first rattlesnake...stuffed of course. They used to have this cool series of pictures of a hiker who had been bitten by a rattler and you could see how bad the leg got as the time went by...awesome stuff for kids to see. Aside from that you just hiked around the canyon's riverbed and along it's walls. There was usually hardly anyone around that I remember. On a busy Saturday they might have 10 cars in the parking lot. I was almost run over by surprising a mule deer hiding in the bushes. That dude was hugh!!...well, when you are inches away from a frightened hopping mule deer it looks hugh...and smells gamey too.
Nowadays they have a brand new Nature Center...and indoor one with air conditioning and snack machines and a gift shop, hahaha. They have a nature walk with various plants and picnic tables. Joggers and power walkers abound cluttering up the trails. You see people there who have come by for a walk after going to dinner wearing very nice clothes. It's almost surreal at times and I always find myself wondering where did they all come from and why is every other one carrying a waterbottle. Do people seriously believe they are going to somehow run out of personal water or dehydrate from a simple hike at Eaton canyon??? I think people are watching too many fitness commercials. They even have the president doing it now at the podium. Whatever happened to a glass of ice water for the President as he gives a speech.
I took my daughters to hike up to Echo mountain a few years back and it was the same way...a million joggers, power walkers and even mountain bikers...pretty soon they will pave the trails up there because people will begin to complain of the wear and tear on their Nike, New Balance and Ugg shoes. There was a time getting up to the mountains was a way to enjoy some solitude. You have to hike back further now to do that. Sorry to gripe but I liked it back then when rustic meant dirty and people didn't dress up to just hike, hahaha, and besides....it's my Blog.
Well, here are some detail shots of the painting.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Anyway, here is the painting....
and my fun to paint birds near the waves....