Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Desert Nocturne

High Desert Nocturne
16"x20" Oil on Canvas

I painted this nocturne of the high desert here in California about 4 years ago I think. At the time I was really painting a lot of nocturnes. I think desert nocturnes have a really cool look to them....reminds me of going to see a Remington show at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Griffith Park back in the mid 90's with my Dad. There were some Remington nocturnes there and it was really impressive to see them up close. Since then when I think of nocturnes I usually think of that show first. I've seen nocturnes by Charles Rollo Peters which were pretty awesome to see in person. He painted the mission here in town, Mission Santa Ynez....a beautiful nocturne scene.

This painting was really a daytime scene since I have no photos of the California high desert at night. I just used artist license and turned it into a nocturne. If I repainted this scene today there are totally some changes that I would make, softening the edges on everything for one. Night time makes all things have blurred soft edges and so that is one thing I'd change now. Another I think would be to have less detail in the plants of the foreground. They were there in the daytime scene but at night a lot of detail would get lost with the dark so I'd change that part too. Looks good in the frame here and I won't go back at this one to make any corrections. It's all up in the brain and will be used in new works.     

Monday, August 20, 2012

Show is Over

Well, the 2012 Quick Draw is finis....the show went well, good sales at auction but low bids for the first bunch of artists including myself, my painting was the 5th one auctioned....being one of the first up at bat in the auction is suicide and most artists would pay not to have those slots. Takes a while for the crowd and auctioneer to warm up. I was happy to have sold both paintings that I had in the silent auction so it wasn't too bad.
Painters being announced before the timed event begins.
I'd say the best part of the auction was seeing some of the artists who received auction bids last year do better this year. A lot of these artists I know personally and are good friends so it was nice to see them do better this year around.
I thought about my painting, and it was a good painting, better than my last years painting in this event. Things came to mind but in the end I smiled and figured this is probably the painting Gods way of making sure my head will still fit my hat.
Dialing the painting in by adjusting the tree branches. This puppy looked great in the gold frame I had for it. 
  After the auction there was a show at the local church where we all had work hanging. I was pleased that I was approached by a person inviting me to an invitational show later in November. Not sure how well the show will do, especially since it is my first time, so I was busy checking into it today. Also there are the logistics of being in this particular show and I'm still working that out. I really want to do it though just for the location...Death Valley! I know, not the hub of civilization but that place is gorgeous! If I have to do a 4 day show it would be neat to do it in a place with a view! Hope it happens.
I was so lucky to have Linda helping me with the hanging and everything else that had to do with this show including hearing the alarm going off so we'd be on time. I would hate doing this without her helping me out....she's a real trooper.

Linda hard at work with the hanging.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

26th Annual Quick Draw Los Olivos

I was invited again this year to particpate in the Quick Draw event up in Los Olivos. This is a really fun event (nervous fun for painters) and we had a good time last year. Some really good artists in this event and a fun day spent in a small country town. I was so nervous last year it took most of the fun out of it for me personally but Linda had a good time, haha. They had this really cool BBQ going on too, BBQ'd tri tip sandwiches....oh man!

I met some really cool artists, some who had driven very far just to be in this event. I've always been involved in other art things going on the same day they did the Quick Draw before but managed to get there in time to see who painted what. Big crowd and pretty fun to see these artists go from nothing to a finished and framed painting in 1 hour. After that they auction the paintings off which is almost as nerve racking as doing the actual painting under a time limit. If something goes wrong or isn't working out you don't have the extra time to correct it...Then you have to stand there and watch your goof being auctioned to a very large crowd....ugh!

Anyway....if you are up around Los Olivos California on Saturday the 18th try and stop by. I'll be the guy with the large beads of sweat pouring down his forehead whispering little prayers to the art gods....On Friday the 17th they are having a preview wine & desert show too....you can see all of the details here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"High Desert Rabbitbrush"
24"x36" Oil on Canvas
I painted this scene about 2 years ago but something didn't feel right so I put it in storage. The other day I was hunting in the storage room and came across the painting again. Right away I spotted what it was that didn't look right to me. In the foreground rabbitbrush I had painted the values of the flowers and the plant itself too extreme. I went back at it and made my changes and now I like the painting much more....no more storage for this one.
I really enjoy the California high desert desert. The area in this scene is not far from the small desert town of Littlerock. The desert starts to raise up as it nears the foothills and just after winter the desert plants begin to bloom. Rabbitbrush is one of my favorite plants from the desert. In spring the plant is a grey blue color and in afternoon light looks just beautiful....of course, the entire area as barren as it is can be very beautiful. Obviously you don't want to be standing there in the dead of summer becuase it can get seriously hot. These plants thrive in the desert climate. I've learned that the Mojave yucca trees on average can be anywhere from 200-300 years old and the oldest creosote plants, near Lucerne valley, were carbon dated to 11,700 years old! They are some of the oldest living organisms on earth.        

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

"On The Ridge"
12"x16" Oil on Canvas covered panel

This area is just north of where I live, about a 10 minute drive maybe. Summer grasses are always great looking around here. The grasses and their warm color tones give the trees and background mountains a great looking color contrast. This is one of those paintings that took two days due to all of the distractions going on...I hate that because it is really hard to get back to work on the painting and sometimes you can begin to loose interest if you had stopped at a point where you were not happy. This painting started out as a summer painting but after a break and coming back I changed to to a winter scene, green grasses, but then came back from another break and went with summer again. I hate wiping paint off. Glad it ended up as it did and calling it finished.

Some of the work on the bushes here in this detail shot of the painting...

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Santa Ynez Valley Fog

"Summer Fog"
12"x16" Oil on Birch Panel

This scene catches the summer fog we tend to get here in the Santa Ynez Valley in summer. We haven't had much this year and I miss it. The nice thing abouyt being a painter is that I can just paint the scene and wish it was like that painting now, haha. Was originally going to keep the scene muted down like it would be in nature but then decided to just get a little colorful in the foreground area. I like it anyways.

Here is a detail of the trunk area.....looks cool...and it was fun to paint!