Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Morning Rocks

"Morning Rocks on the Coast"
12" x 16" Oil on Canvas covered MDF panel

I've been enjoying painting coastal scenes lately. I really like painting the water but painting bluffs and rocks along the shore is such a challenge, a fun challenge. I don't know what it is about rocks but at times they seem to be really hard for me but other times they fall together almost on their own. I'm learning that with rocks "less is more...always". Seems the less finessing of brushwork makes for better rocks. A little knife, some slapping paint in with the side of the brush and bang! Rocks. Whenever I labor over them to make them look "right" they never do. Maybe I'm just expecting too much working like that. When I work the faster slam-bang method I'm happier with my results.
The one thing I did do on these rocks were to play with edge variation...keeping some edges loose and painterly and other edges sharper....some with knife and some with the softer brush edges. I'm happy as a clam with all of that. Fun stuff!
A detail showing some edgework....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cambria Seascape Demo

Thought I'd post this one as a demo if it worked out in the end....yes, I'm not one to post a demo that goes south, haha. This scene is of an area south of Moonstone Beach, Lampton Cliffs to be exact...the edge of that bluff you see to the top left is actually the beginning of the old Harper Sibley Ranch which is now known as the Rancho Marino.
Off to the demo.....

This is the initial sketch, kept very simple and used as just a guide for where things will go...and that's always negotiable as the painting progresses. 

After the sketch blocking in colors will begin. Took me a while to understand the importance of blocking in colors as a method of painting certain paintings. I only do it with about half of my landscapes I think. For more complicated paintings blocking in seems to be the best way to do it....especially for water. After I took this picture I went back in and readjusted the colors of the water in the foreground...that green tint was too light. I discovered that only by beginning to paint in the other colors over the top of that green tint...sometimes you just can't judge a color without something to reference it by.

After the block in of colors, I call them base colors, I started painting in the details which really is the hard work to the painting. I started with my foreground water, into the background water. then rocks working from the front back. This stage takes the longest time. The previous two steps are done quickly because most of the time on the painting will be spent right here...painting, tweaking, tweaking, tweaking and add too the mileage you will rack up walking to the other side of the studio to take a look from a distance, smile or frown, and back to the easel to tweak some more.
Finally, the last stage is making small adjustments to the entire painting until you feel it is done. Each artist has to make that call. When I can't seem to make any more brushstrokes that make sense in making it better I stop. Hopefully at that point Linda won't walk in an say "shouldn't the water be more blue???" Ugh!"
"Cambria Coastline"
20" x 24" 
Oil on canvas

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Moonstone Beach Boardwalk

"Moonstone Beach Boardwalk"
16" X 20 Oil on Canvas

This one is just about finished. I saw this great scene while on a visit to Cambria. There is a boardwalk they have built there and this painting came from one of my reference photos. I only had about an hour to be in Cambria so I snapped shots as fast as I could. It gets cold up there and my lens was getting fogged up once outside for long. Great place to be though and one of these days I'm going to go up and stay overnight.

This photo of the painting isn't as good as I wish. My camera always picks up certain colors. On this one it decided to pick up the bright reds...they really are not bright at all on the painting. They are more subdued but in this photo they get overemphasized. The water came out great I think. The photo doesn't really show that well but on the painting it looks really good. There are subtle shifts in the blues of the shallow water and the water heading out to sea. Also, the distant water has these nice bits of white caps you can't make out here. It seems anything larger than 16x20 tends to not work as well with my camera. Of course, it is only 6 megapixels so one day a larger megapixel camera will be in order.  

Friday, October 04, 2013

Into the Magazine It Goes

"Deer Crossing"
12"x16" Oil on Panel
I couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a person working at a magazine in England asking if I'd be willing to allow them to use my painting "Deer Crossing" for an upcoming issue. The Magazine is called Resurgence and Ecologist and has been published since 1966. The magazine deals with environmental issues, art philosophy, sustained living and more. I've checked out the magazine and also watched a pretty cool video made for their 45 year anniversary of the magazine. What an honor it is to be included in one of their issues. I received an email this morning that the painting had made it into one of the upcoming issues and they are going to send me a copy. I was pretty delighted about that.     

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Cambria Surf

 "Cambria Surf"
20"x 24" Oil on Canvas

On Thursday our modem died on us. Of course, we didn't know it was the modem for at least a day of checking other things first. During a test with the phone guy he decided our modem was too old and he'd send us a new one. By Sunday I couldn't take waiting any longer and we just bought one to get back online. I hated using my phone to check my email and not being able to post with easy from using my desktop computer....the new modem arrived yesterday of course so it is now my spare.

While all of that was going on I was doing some research into painting more marine scenes. I've done them in the past but it is good to read and check out images online to try and improve ones work. The scene above incorporated some things I hadn't tried yet and I consider it like all other paintings as another step towards being a better painter. I'm really not finished with this one yet. I was to glaze the background to push the distance and ad some haze to the bluffs and rocky waters. I was going to paint that in but I hadn't glazed in a while and glazing is fun...well, waiting to glaze isn't fun, I actually hate waiting for the paint to dry enough to glaze. The thing about glazing is brushing on the glaze and watching the background develop into what you want it too with each pass of glazing....fun stuff!

Speaking of marine paintings.....when I was stationed in Germany I acquired a book by a well known marine painter. In this book were the most awesome depictions of water I've ever scene. The trouble is to this day I cannot remember the artists name. Yes, I've already hunted all over for his work online but have never seen any. He did a lot of merchant marine ships in East coast harbors such as NY. One of these days I will stumble across his work I'm sure....you can't paint that well and not be well known.