Monday, September 24, 2012

High Desert Painting

"Song of the High Desert"
12" X 48" Oil on Birch Panel

This is pitiful because once again this painting came from my winter trip to the Little Rock area in the Mojave high desert...I have other desert reference photos but the pics I took that late afternoon are ones I really like. I headed out there to paint but got a late start and when I finally got there it was freezing. Instead of painting I decided to just take reference photos waiting for the sun to set down in the town of Little Rock at a McDonalds enjoying hot coffee...yeah, I'm getting soft in my old age, haha....hey, I'm going to be 55 tomorrow! Life speeds up!

The only bad thing about this painting is I'll have to make a frame out of oak for it because of it's odd size. Of course I like working with wood so no big deal....unless one of you framers out there wants to donate some killer frame for it....I'll wait up late tonight to hear from you, hahaha....that's going to be a long wait, haha.

A detail of the looking bushes. The desert has a great assortment of plants to contend with in...or to drive you crazy with depending on how you look at it.  

A closer look at three of the plants....actually, the larger prominent plants are easier to paint than all of the background plants in between these larger ones. Slowly I'm getting better at those "filler" plants in between the larger ones.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Carneros Finish

Well I finally got around to finishing and photographing the Los Carneros painting. In the first image you will see the point at which I stopped on location. At this point there was enough there to just have to dial in smaller bits to finish it up. I looked at the grasses area as the base for what I would do to it once I was back in the studio. The image is slighty different because I snapped this pic as it was on the easel out there.
In the final version you can see the slight alterations to the trees and then the additional grass work. Not bad for a little over an hours work stannding in the shade of a tree that was probably over a hundred years how many artists do you think stood right where I was painting the same scene in that shade before I was even born???

Friday, September 14, 2012

Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

I painted today with PACC, Plein-Air Artist of the Central Coast, at Los Carneros which is the home of the famous Stowe House in Goleta. This is a cool area to paint and one I've painted before at a few years back. Great views of the Santa Ynez mountain range,, wild grasses, trails, a lake, eucalyptus trees,'s got a lot to offer an artist.

The weather was warm and after taking pictures of the group of artists we split up to do our painting. I headed for a big eucalyptus tree for some shade and setup. I had a mechanical problem with my tripod and didn't feel like heading back to the truck for some toold to fix it so I just adjusted things to work and got to painting. Despite the wonky tripod things went ok and in about 2 hours I had a good enough painting to bring home. I like the background mountains and tried painting the trees a bit differently than usual which was fun. I like how they came out but tweaking will make them better. The foreground grasses are there but they too need tweaking. I was going to add a trail but between visits with hikers I was running out of time. I used to want to make a complete, finished painting each time I went out but now have found going back into it the next day makes for better results. This is just because the paint gets really tacky the next day thanks to the copal medium I use and the grasses are always better finished on tacky paint.
There are certain parts of this painting that would make a great larger painting so using it as a sketch is another option down the line. Some of my paintings have come from small parts of other paintings. In fact, I was painting a small 6x8 painting a while back and ended up using just part of it as the inspiration to paint an 8x10. That 8x10 ended up being picked to be used for the invitation cards for one of the California Art Club shows I was in last summer. I still have the smaller painting and each time I look at it I think of how far that quick little painting went. Tomorrow I'll finish this one up.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Foxen Canyon Road Cows

"Shade Below Zaca Mountain"
20" X 30" Oil on Canvas

I took an early morning drive up Foxen Canyon to snap pics of cows and found these guys lounging in the shade as the day warmed. Cows are such noble creatures and I've wanted to paint them more than I have in the past. This field is used for growing alfalfa and it was cut and the cows left to graze on what was leftover. They had it wittled down to mere stubs. Gainey Ranch has cows and they grow their own alfalfa too and when prices are right I buy from to drive in on their place surrounded by hay fields.

Tree and cow details.....
I know, I know...repeating shapes but heck, that's how they posed for me and that doesn't bug me that much anyway doing it every now and then.
I had a great time painting these oaks. Must be the right time of year, lots of greens and browns which was rather fun to paint...trying to add more branch work too.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Central Coast Sunset

"Central Coast Sunset"
12"x16" Oil on Canvas Covered MDF

This painting was my warm up painting for the Quick Draw in Los Olivos this year. I used this to work out what I had in mind in painting for the event. It wasn't quite this finished looking so after the event I went back at it touching up things here and there. No sense in not finishing it up since it was painted and dry enough to go in and do the small adjustments. I like it, has that low light that I like and a really nice sense of atmosphere to it. If anything bothered me about it it has to be the canvas I'm using when making my boards. It has a tighter weave compared to most stretched canvases I've been using. Also, there is no flex to board mounted canvas compared to stretched canvas. I've been painting on stretched canvases a lot for the last year and have gotten used to that little bit of flexing of the canvas....panels are solid as a rock. What a little nitpicker I am, haha.
Here is a little detail of the painting....