Monday, July 25, 2011

Reworking A Painting

The original version of this painting painted in Fall/Winter 2010
I am framing up some small ones with the new little frames I made. As I was doing this I saw this painting which I painted last Fall or Winter. I always liked this one but I wanted to try adding some flowers in the foreground to add some interest to the dry Summer grasses. When I got to the easel that tree to the left was competing with my right side tree. I decided to lighten and make the shape slightly smaller. Eventually, I ended up readjusting the base of the eucalyptus tree too....reworking a painting, even a small painting, can lead you into more work than you might think. Having two shapes with close sizes and close lights and darks was a compositional error on my part and I'm glad I caught it.
 My reworked painting July 2011
Reworking is strange too. I see things that I like in both versions. Some of it though is the camera. My original Nikon 5200 took the first pic and the second was taken with a Nikon L11. Both Coolpix models but the L11 is newer, has more megapixel capacity but the white balance and lens cannot even come close to the older 5200. was fun to make the adjustments to this painting...taught me some lessons and reminded me of how easy it is to get sloppy and forget some things.    

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hillside Evening

"Hillside Evening"
12x16 Oil on Panel
Trying to improve an older painting that I felt was never quite complete back when I painted it. I went back in and repainted the background mountain, added moredetail to the foreground hillside and slightly adjusted the tree tops. I'm happier with the finish now. I don't usually go back over older paintings but this one grabbed my attention the other day while I was going over my older work. There is just a yucky feeling I get when painting over dried paint. I don't prefer painting over wet paint either. I like painting over tacky, sticky paint which is where my paint usually is by the end of the day or the next morning. Despite all of that ,this one ended up with a decent look to it so I'm calling it quits at this point. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Santa Ynez Hillsides

"Santa Ynez Hillsides"
12 X 24 Oil on Canvas
I've painted the view from our deck looking across the valley many times. A lot of times I focus on a neighbors oak tree or the ridge you see in the mid ground of this painting. In reality, there are homes that dot the ridge line there and I decided to paint this one minus the homes. I love the color of the hills against the distant blue Figueroa mountains. The foreground here is all out of my head since there are nothing but dry grasses on the hills at the moment. Fun to throw in some color and a tree or two....actually, that tree looks a lot like my neighbors!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Building a French Companion

Above you can see the French Companion I recently built. The French Companion is smaller than the French Mistress but they both look and do the same thing. I decided to build mine because I had the scrap wood laying around from past projects and didn't feel like waiting for the FC to be shipped had I ordered one online. At this moment the FC is on sale at ASW for $52.99.

Here is how I built mine. The panels are 3/16 Luan I had purchased a while back at Home Depot. First I cut three panels of luan. These measured 13x16 and two 13x8. Then I cut pieces of 5/8 x5/8 strips of wood to fit along the edges of the panels. These are just butt jointed, nothing fancy. The frame strips are just pine that was cut from an old piece of 2x4. I glues these to the panels and then shot in a few brads to reinforce them (you could use short finishing nails too).

I then went to Ace hardware and bought 2 12" piano hinges for $8 a piece. Once I had those I lined up the panels and installed the hinges.
 I then stained it with red oak stain and then waxed it with the Howards Feed N Wax. Here is the view of the box closed. for transport.
A view of the box open ready to be sat on the drawer of the French easel. I was going to buy some small latches to keep the doors closed but couldn't find any. I'll hunt online for those. A bungy cord will work for now.
Ready for action! It's that simple...cut panels to size, glue and nail on wood frame strips, screw on hinges, stain and wax....Use! It gives ample room now when using the French easel to lay out your paints, palette knives, turps, coffee cup, donut, and has a nice amount of room to mix paint. Very easy to build.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Landscape

"Summer Field"
12 X 24" Oil on Canvas
I've been doing other art related things keeping me away from painting so it was time to jump back at the easel. Yesterday I finished building a French Companion for my French easel and I painted this one to try out the French Companion. Works great and it's nice having the added room when using the French easel.
I started this one out trying a darker sky...sort of a slate grey. It really popped those pink mountains and gave it the look of when the sun starts coming out at the end of as storm. I called it quits, went inside to eat dinner and when I came back I decided to lighten the sky. I hate messing with the sky once a painting is done but that "after the storm" look was a little intense. Ya had to be there. 
Anyway....good painting to get back to the brushes with. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Small Oak Frames

I needed some small 6x6 and 5x7 frames for smaller works and decided to make some. To make these frames all that's needed is a table saw, a palm sander, a large rubber band and some wood glue. I have a mitre saw, or "chop saw", as they are known so I used that to speed up cutting chores.

I purchased red oak strips from Home Depot that measured 1/2" X 2 1/2".
I  ripped that down the middle to make two strips of 1/2" x 1 1/4. I then cut this into an "L" shape on the table saw. All cuts are done at the same time to keep the wood thicknesses identical which is what you want later when glueing the wood pieces together.
At this point you just cut your lengths of the sides of the frames by cutting your mitre cuts at 45 degree angles. To make it easy, cut the end of one strip of wood at a 45 degree angle. Use one of your paintings to measure out where to make the next cut.
After cutting you just glue the pieces together. I used a large rubber band to hold the frame together until the glue dried enough to hold which was about 30 minutes. I let them sit overnight to let the glue dry completely.
The next day I sanded the pieces smooth. Put a slight radius on the edges, which means to just lightly round the edges or the frame and corners
After that I then applied Howards Feed-N-Wax which contains bees wax and orange oil. This is gives the wood a nice luster finish. After that you give yourself a headache trying to decide which painting to frame! If you have a table saw and a bit of time that's really all you'd need to make these frames. You can sand with sandpaper if you didn't have a palm sander. It is an affordable alternative to buying frames. I enjoy wood working, gives me time to think and by the end of a few hours of work I have something in my hands that will outlast me and it looks good. I can say I made it and saved some money too. It might sound like a lot of work but after you do this once you will realise how easy it is to make these.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Frames...and Making Lemonade

Straight out of the box....
I order my frames from a company who, for me, has the best prices and some of the best looking frames. I dig their frames and they have a good selection. Unfortunately, I've had to repair some of these frames and usually wait up to 2 months to get them. But, you can't beat their price and they have great looking frames that I like. I'd buy my frames locally, and that means most of central and southern California, but I'd have to pay about 1/2 to 2/3's more cost...and for the same frames. But that's California, we love paying more for gas, milk, real estate, cereal, meat, and frames.

In my shop it goes....
Being a starving artist who orders frames as needed, which means as needed really soon for a show, I end up repairing the damage so life can go on. I received a frame today, dusty and about half of the inner part wasn't stapled together so I took it all apart and then fixed it. I made lemonade.

All fixed!
This economy is horrible to art sales and you have to do what you can to keep costs down and things moving. Yesterday, I finished making 8 small 6x6 oak frames for some smaller pieces and was on cloud nine with how good they came out. Up down, Up down...hahaha. Thank God I took wood shop in high school.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Los Olivos Quickdraw

August is going to be a busy month. I was fortunate to be invited to paint in the Quickdraw event in Los Olivos on Saturday, August 20. The event will begin around 10am and will be followed up with a live auction and then paintings by the artists on display at St. Marks In The Valley Episcopal church right down the street from the Quickdraw. This event usually draws a great crowd and is the highlight of art events in Los Olivos. Los Olivos is very laid back and has all the charm of a small town life. There are plenty of wine tasting rooms and art can be seen at Gallery Los Olivos, Youngs Gallery and the Wildling Museum. It's a cool little town. 
 Ted Goerschner and Marylin Simandle painting it up
There are some real favorites of mine in this event, Ted Goerschner, Richard Greene, Joe Mancuso, Joe Milazzo, Marylin Simandle just to name a few. I've met Milazzo and Richard Greene...nice guys. Many of the other artists I know very well and have much repsect for.

Gordon Luce starting to add detail after block-in
In the past they have also had Gordon Luce and Mark Greenaway whose work I like a lot too. I'm not sure why they are missing this years event.

Here is some more info on the event....
The day will feature live music, a silent auction, and more Quick Draw artists' paintings offered for sale nearby at St. Mark's In The Valley Episcopal Church. The Los Olivos Rotary will be offering lunch for sale too!
Come early and spend the weekend! Friday night a special preview Wine & Dessert Show will be held 7:00-8:30 p.m. at St. Mark's. Pre-sale preview tickets can be purchased for $20.
Tickets at the door: $25

Participating Quick Draw Artists
Vicki Andersen, Betty Carr, Howard Car,; Gwen Cates, Jim Farnum, Julie Fish, Priscilla Fossek, Ted Goerschner, Richard M. Greene, Ron Guthrie, Gary R. Johnson, Sheryl Knight, Lee Kromschroeder, George Lockwood, Joe Mancuso, Joe Milazzo, Vel Miller, Linda Mutti, Richard A. Myer, Cathy Quiel, Camille Renga-Dellar, Ray Sevilla, Marilyn Simandle, and BJ Stapen.