Monday, April 25, 2011

Savanna May

"Savanna May"
16" X 20" Oil on Canvas

This painting is all finished up now. Took longer than normal but more importantly I've learned a few things on this one. The funniest thing I learned while painting this one was that my D40 camera does have a White Balance setting! hahaha.

I wanted to take work in progress shots while painting this but my 5 year old smaller digital camera that I've used for all of my artwork finally conked out on me. It took the best shots of my artwork simply because it had a White Balance settings. This setting allows you to choose the lighting you are working under. By reading through my manual for the D40 camera I finally found out it had this and how to find it...once I tried a few shots all worked out fine, whew!

Another thing I've learned is to get away from using a pencil for my initial sketch. Way too much messing with those pesky pencil lines so no more of that.

And finally, I'm learning to see color better...not the color things are but the colors that are actually in front of me. Water is not really blue or can be brown, black, yellow, grey or any hundred other colors. What it is is right there in front of your eyes. What it's not is what your mind tells you it is. An important lesson and I'm getting the hang of trusting my eyes more and more.....and one more thing, if you paint bright red floats that have been faded by the sun you're going to end up with what looks like giant salmon eggs in your painting and there's just no way around that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Painting & Pencils

" Savanna May", 16X20, is coming along nicely despite the pencil line fun

A few years ago I asked an artist friend of mine if he used a pencil to do his initial sketch on his awesome portrait works. You'd think I had asked him if he enjoyed using dog food when making meatloaf. That guy hates the idea of using a pencil for sketching prior to painting. Comes from experience. If you use a pencil many times the pencil lines will show up through the paint....especially the lighter areas of your painting. This is the normal look when using watercolors but you don't see it so much in oil painting.

I have used pencil to do my sketching for landscape work which is fine because I hardly sketch much at all when doing landscapes. Usually the line of the mountain tops is the only problem area I have with the pencil showing through so I just scrub it lightly with the brush and it goes away. Other times I will wipe that line down with turpentine...just enough to leave just a trace of it but the paint covers it no problem. And of course, a lot of times I do the sketching with a small liner brush using a wash of turps and yellow orchre...that method works the best. The problem is I sketch a lot due to the to the detail when painting marine scenes. I can't paint a marine scene over a loose sketch. I have to have the drawing pretty exact before I paint. For a marine sketch I go back to using a pencil simply for the control I have with it. is easier and faster to erase a pencil line than it is to go back and wipe out a line when using paint. With pencil though you have tons of line work to cover with paint. I've been thinking about maybe trying to do my initial sketch with a light grey marker pen. Tombo & Prismacolor both make markers with various greys. I'd think a 10% cool grey would probably work great for this and the oil paint should easily color this.

Some of the pencil lines still showing through in this detail shot of the painting...when the paint sets up I'll go back over them but it is tedious.

So, the next time I'm down in Pasadena I'll stop into the Blick art store and pickup a couple of these guys to try out.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Bandon Oregon Sailboat

"Shade In Bandon Oregon"

16"x20" Oil on Canvas

Ok, just finished up the sailboat in Bandon, Oregon today. Geeze this one took forever to finish. Too many distractions lately. This is why an artist needs a studio up in the hills. I'm happy with it but of course there are always things I wish I had done the boot stripe color. By the way... a boot stripe is the line of color (here a pale greenish blue) painted above the bottom paint (here a dark red). That boot stripe is actually the same color as the stripe just under the cap rail and gunnel (the deck edge). I made a slightly darker mix of it when painting the boot stripe but it blended too much with the still wet paint of the hull so it reads lighter now. Also, the bottom paint should have been a true red darkened down with ultramarine blue but I used alizarin crimson just because that is my normal operating red. In this painting I don't like the crimson. Most bottom paint red is a dull true red color. Also, there is that loose thing...hahaha.

Still, I think it works and now on to the next painting.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Current Work In Progress

I haven't been posting much lately but not because of not painting. I've finished off about 3 or 4 paintings but they were versions based on a particular painting and I don't want to post 5 similar paintings on here. Also...the normal things that life brings, family and winter storm damage has kept me busy too. Winter storms bring not only bring rain but high winds which knock branches, and at times, trees down. We also have our usual bout of water getting into the barn and workshop so it can get really busy around here with back to back storms.
Bandon WIP...working title
So anyway....this is a painting I'm working on right now. Figured I needed to post something. This scene is from the coastal town of Bandon, Oregon. I passed through it on my way back from Coos Bay last year. Beautiful small town with great fish and chips, crab, quaint little shops and nice marina and waterfront. I haven't painted hardly any sailboats so I thought this one being worked on would do. Hard to not love the lines of a sailboat even if you are a powerboat person. I should have this one finished in another day or two. This image isn't the greatest since it was taken with a diiferent normal camera had a dead battery and it's charging now. I'm trying to keep my edges soft but my marine work always has a totally different look than my landscape work. I'll go back in the end and try and soften up some more on it.
A Detail of the painting....

Well...back to the easel...I want to get everything painted in so I can get to the part of dialing it all in. This one is taking forever to do...usually the marine pieces always take days to do. It's all of that detail and line work. I'd like to paint them looser but that never happens with me. I think I'm just going to have to live with my work like that, at least for now.