Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fishing Boat New Hazard..finished

"New Hazard"
12" X 16" Oil on Canvas
All finished up with the New Hazard. You know...painting a scene like this takes me forever because of the boat and surrounding details. No matter how hard I try to loosen up to speed things up it just doesn't happen. I almost hated this painting after working two days on everything but the water. I'd paint for a couple of hours and then walk away to get away from it. It got to be like hating to get back to painting it each time I stopped. Some paintings are like that though....not just marine paintings. Still, in general, marine work always take much longer to work on for me. I paint the water last so I can hardly wait to get to that point, haha.
I'm always reminded when painting marine scenes that you just don't have much control over your "style" of painting. Your painting "style" is governed by the painting gods and not you. I used to look over the marine (and cityscape) works of a painter friend of mine from Canada named Brian Simons. I absolutely love his loose, effortless style of work and drool looking at his boats and harbor scenes. Brians' work has that fresh look of a painter who is at the top of his game and the work looks vibrant and spontaineous. I used to wish I could paint in his style, or that style..any style that had that look. But....you don't make your own style the way you want it. It just comes out of you subconciously. I like to think that "your style is what happens while you're busy painting". So, I don't worry about how my marine work looks anymore, I worry about not painting more of them.
I'll let this one sit and dry and take another good long look at it to see if there will be need for improvements somewhere that I don't see at this moment. I'm happy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Painting Water

....painting in progress.
....and no, I'm no expert at painting water at all. I do think at times I do it good enough to get away with it and each time I feel it gets better than my last job of it. The water scene here is of a fishing boat down at Santa Barbara harbor. This boat has so much character that I just was dying to paint it....God knows I've taken enough reference photos of it. I loved the bright sun here and the water reflections. That water was lower in value but I wanted a more high key painting and decided to lighten the boat hull shadows instead of sticking to the reference photo.

Painting water always looks so daunting at first. I've found that calm waters are actually a blast to paint if it is done in order....it just looks daunting when you view it complete. Some artists will paint it totally different but this is just my method. What I do is break down the colors to the "Base" colors and then the colors that will overlap those Base colors. Lastly, I will paint in specks of white as the suns brightest reflections. Above I have began to block in some dark shadows along the hull and started adding my initial Base colors.

Below, I finish up the base colors, the cool grey and the warmer grey as well as the sky reflections and shed colors. If you look at calm waters you will see these base colors...you need to paint these first and then add all of your detail colors overplapping them. This method is just an orderly way of painting water that at first may look confusing to an artist. It's just a matter of breaking the parts down and assigning some priority.

Now the details are added. This has to be the most fun step of painting water. You use what you see as a reference and please remember that your photo or actual location image is only a reference...you can get as creative as you want and there is no need to paint every single detail or paint these details just as they are in front of you or in your ref photo. I've left some things out, added some things, changed colors to what I wanted or embellished what colors were there....it's my painting anyways.

I'm still working on this painting so nothing here is concrete. As soon as these colors a dry enough I'll add my white specks of "sunlight" reflections to give it some sparkle. I think it is all headed in the right direction though and I'm getting close to calling it done...a day or two still.

So, that's it. Paint in the base colors, add detail colors and then a few white (or close to white) highlights to finish it up. This is a method that works for me....give it a try sometime and see what you come up with.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grey Morning Near Lompoc

"Grey Morning Near Lompoc"
12" X 16" Oil on Canvas
Was looking back over the paintings that are drying and caught this one that I thought I had posted but apparently not. This was painted back around July or August. I had bought a case of 12 X 16 canvases made by Winsor Newton, yep, the paint company, and have been painting up a bunch of those. These canvases have a great price but many of the ones I've used are slightly tweaked, meaning not square. I fix them as I go but it's more of a slight irritation than anything else. Nice primed canvas with a good weight but whoever is putting them together needs some help, hahaha.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lupine Afternoon

"Lupine Afternoon"
18" X 36" Oil on Canvas
I was going for more dramatic evening light here. I highlighted the treetops down to mid-tree height and kept the lower parts toned down...that last afternoon light hitting only the tree tops. I added the lupine lining the meadow floor for some added color but kept their intensity down a notch of two since they wouldn't be catching much of that late light.
I have a framed painting at this size leftover from last years studio tour so I plan on putting this in that frame to change it up. It's a wood grain frame that always gets lots of compliments from those who see them. Should look pretty nice once it is in the frame.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"it's not done till it's done"

"Farming Corn Off 99"
12" X 16" Oil on Canvas
(When I first thought it was done)

"Farming Corn Off 99"
12" X 16" Oil on Canvas
(....now finished)
As you can see a little time out of sight and then a second look and boy did I need to make some changes here. I liked the finish the first time but right away I wasn't crazy about the foreground grasses. I wanted a simpler look to the grasses there and figured a few times looking at it would convincve me I would like it. Nope.
I let it sit while working on other paintings and finally came back to it today for a second look and gave in to make my changes. I added more detail to the grasses until I was happy. While the paint was out, (as if it ever gets put away...), I decided to add some lines to the barn roof to suggest broad flat panels up there and go back and add some better highlights to the trees.
Adding the highlights to the trees really increased the atmosphere in this painting...that was one of those very very welcome surprises. I really love this painting now.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Mighty Eucalyptus Tree

16" X 20" Oil on Canvas

I wanted to paint a vertical format eucalyptus tree for the upcoming studio tour and finished this one up today. I like a lot of parts in this painting and the overall look. I am still tinkering with painting a very large painting similar to this. I have some gallery wrapped canvas put away that are pretty large so I might use one of those to do this if they are big enough. I hate painting anything large at the moment because sales are so slow that there is no telling how long they will be with me...it's a matter of storage, hahaha.
Here is a detail of the painting....I like the grasses and light work on the background trees. Going larger will give me more room to add more detail to a painting like this so I'm looking forward to that if I painting a bigger one.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Evening Approaches

I painted this little 5"x7" painting a few months back and really liked the scene. I painted this small one to work on grasses and also play with the background mountain colors. Things worked out in it so in that little frame it went. I had recently picked up some 16"x20" canvases for a good price and wanted something to paint on one of them so I decided to go larger with this little painting trying to pretty much keep to the original painting.

In going larger the only thing I really lost at first was some of the atmosphere in my background. It wasn't really lost...just wasn't as pronounced as the smaller painting had it and my guess is the larger canvas through me a bit. Took me 2 days of letting the painting sit to notice it. I've corrected it and now all works with the larger piece.

"Evening Approaches"
16" X 20" Oil on Canvas