Saturday, March 27, 2010

Santa Ynez Valley

"Near Santa Ynez"
5" X 7" Oil on panel

This little painting was one of those ones that go so fast you hardly had time to drink your coffee. Well, not that fast but a few hours anyways. This scene is of our valley here minus all of the domestic trappings that are present now, fences, vineyards, sheds, the occasional well house...those things are for another painting.

I've had to stop painting for a few days due to a major waterpipe leak that took forever to fix. I've got to go back down to Pasadena to check on my Dad since he's out of the hospital for knee problem he has...been going back and drive drive...I wonder how much of my life has been spent behind a steering wheel. Lots!

Anyways...I think this is a cool little study that just might generate a larger piece.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Into Spring

"Spring Oak"
6"x6" Oil on panel
Another small painting on 6"x6" panel. I really like how this one turned out. I feel I'm getting much better at painting flowers and the plants beneath them. It's easy to get that floating look so it really benefits an artist to work a little on the plant underneath these flowers. I'm working on that, hahaha. It's always great to work on things in your work and I think this painting has taught me a success!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Moment

"A Moment"
5x7 Oil on panel

Another painting on the trial run of prepared boards. I wondered what it would like to paint on a surface full of ridges caused by the acrylic gel but it was really no different than painting on a board with just layers of gesso. The textures from the acrylic gel are not really that thick to begin with. Once the oil paint is on there the texture really shows up well though. I think it adds an interesting look to the overall painting.

Little Rock

"Little Rock Shadows"
5x7 oil on panel
I recently drove out to the Mojave Desert heading for the roads just above the desert town of Little Rock. I planned to get there just before evening light and took my time taking reference photos as the light got better and better. This scene was painted back in the studio as a little painting...5x7". I had an idea of trying various scenes on small masonite panels that were prepared with a layer of texture below the gesso. You can see the thick lines of the texture in the painting. To do this I bought two sheets of masonite panel and cut them to the sizes I wanted. I then brushed on a layer of Liquitex Acrylic Gel Medium (Gloss Super Heavy Gel). This gel is white while wet and dries clear. You can apply it in thick strokes and it will retain the shape and dry that way. After that layer dried I applied my 2 layers of gesso so I'd get a good primed surface for the oil paint.

The acrylic gel actually seals the board so very little oil from the paint soaks into the gesso or board. I use copal painting medium with my paint mixes so even 5 days later the paint is dry but as shiney as when it was first painted....usually after a painting dries it turns pretty flat until you varnish the paint. If you were painting in a plein air paint out this method of prepared boards would allow you to frame the finished painting and sell to a buyer knowing that painting would look like the day you painted it weeks later with no varnish applied. The only downside is you have to paint very thin with your darks so that you can apply your mids and highlights over them...remember, the paint doesn't soak in like a board just prepared with only gesso.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Spring In The Valley

" Spring In The Valley"
9" X 12" Oil on canvas
More work using a lot of the premixed colors from the previous painting that were still on my palette. I keep my palette in a refridgerator when I'm not painting so whatever colors are there, mixed or not, stay fresh for days. I've got plenty of mud from previous paintings kept in a jar for mixing greys so the fridge keeps me from wasting a lot of paint.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Painting Atmosphere

This is an alla prima painting started and finished last night after dinner. I wish all paintings could be done alla prima. The trouble is too many times something comes up or something is going wrong or just not working. I can see why artists in the past would hibernate away in their studios away from the world while they painted. Getting your concentration broken while on a painting is the worst. I used to think painting took little concentration...just keep that brush moving. How wrong I was. Painting really fools you. Without thinking about it you become immersed in every little detail as they happen and each time someone walks in the door and asks a question or says "look at this" it breaks that concentration. Then they walk out and you lose that momentum and have to work at getting it back....about that time someone walks in again. We have a second refridgerator here in the studio and in summer someone was always walking in here to get a coke or something out of it. Do you know how loud it is when someone gets something out of the fridge? Well...when your into a painting and that fridge is 15 feet away it's deafening!! hahaha.

One could write a book on the things that annoy artists as they paint and man that would be one funny are some of mine....
1. Questions regarding something so far out in left field it's amazing they asked at all.
2. The squeeking castors on my chair.
3. Cats prowling outside sounding like children
4. The howling of coyotoes in the field
5. The UPS guy slamming down a box next to the door.
6. Hearing the same repetitive commercials on the radio...I've got to move the controls closer to me since it is across the room.
7. And my favorite question of all...."whatcha doin?"....I could write a book on the many smart assed answers I have for that one alone....mowing the lawn, checking my transmission oil, doing math, figuring out how to achieve global peace, wood carving, tree trimming, using this brush to hold up the canvas, juggling, checking to see if this brush makes musical sounds if you wipe it across the canvas hard enough, excercising my left arm (only).....painting would naturally be my last answer, hahaha.

Anyway...this one was created using a picture of a painting I did a year ago as a reference. I sold the painting back then but I still have the image of it on the homepage of my website so I just pulled up my website and worked from that. I ventured off from the original a bit, most notibly in using a tinted ground of Indian Yellow. I've messed with that for skies on practice panels here in the studio and liked the results. I really like the effects you can get with your blues and clouds using the Indian Yellow underneath. Fun stuff.

Here is the halfway point into the painting. It was here that I really liked what was put down already and that gives you the boost to pursue to the finish. And here is the finished work.