Friday, June 06, 2014

Elverhoj Show

Art From The Groves
I have a couple of paintings that were juried into the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art here in Solvang, CA. I feel pretty good about that because getting into any show is good. I know many of the artists in the show so it will be nice to be together and talk shop. One of my paintings is a studio piece and the other is a plein air piece done last Winter along the olive groves below the mission.
Sales have been practically non existant for me in this economy, and yes, the economy still sucks, so the occasional show is something to look forward to. I like's fun to see your peers and meet new painters....see the talent out there. Shows are good for inspiration. As a person it is great to see really fantastic art but as an artist it really inspires you to do better work. I've always been honest about my work and when I see something else painted better it makes me want to paint better so shows are a good way to push your(my)self.

Teaching yourself to paint....I hate that term because nobody really teaches themselves to paint. Books, the internet, art teachers, seeing other painters all effects us even if some of us want people to think they were some naturally gifted miracle that discovered painting all alone. Baloney. If you want to learn to paint you turn into a sponge and soak everydrop of inspiration in no matter where it comes from. Thanks to nature what you take in will become your own vision and have your own look unless you're trying to go after some other artists style and you don't want to do that. Be who you are....even in art.

Anyway, if you are around Solvang on June 14 between 4-6 pm come by the show reception. The rest of the show runs June 14 - September 28, 2014. The Elverhoj is located at 1624 Elverhoy Way in beautiful down town Solvang, the land of Danish bakeries and wine tasting rooms !    

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Arroyo Seco, Pasadena

"San Gabriels Over the Arroyo"
18" X 24" Oil on canvas

      I think this is my 3rd attempt at painting the Colorado bridge spanning the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena. The first attempt was too close casuing me to get hung up in details so I just completely scrapped that one, haha. Somewhere around here is a nice landscape covering my feeble attempt. I like this view only because you can see more of the San Gabriel mountains in the background and the nice vegetation in the arroyo. The fact that it also causes the bridge to be in the distance is a not overlooked by me bonus.
      Many, many painters have painted in, near or above the arroyo over the years so I feel honored to be able to paint it along with them and with decent results. If you want a foliage workout the arroyo can give it to you. I took more time to work on these treees and plants wanting not only to get better at them but to experiment and also to just enjoy myself painting's funny because at first there is so much canvas to cover and it can be almost overwhelming. Enjoyment wasn't even in the picture then but it soon became that. Everyone had gone to bed, it was quiet and so I just relaxed and took my time.
      When I look at this painting I think of  my Dad. He's gone now but I spent so much time as a kid being taken to these mountains to camp by my Dad...and besides, on the otherside of this bridge, about 1/4 mile, is the Rose Bowl. I played football in it in high school and also graduated there. Right next to it is Brookside Park golf Dad was the golf starter there for years. My Dad also worked at another golf course, Carmilita, which is long gone but over it was built the Norton Simon museum. My Dad, Pasadena and I share a lot of things in common.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Refugio Road Alfalfa Field

"Alfalfa Field"
12" X 16" Oil on Panel

There is something about farm fields that just draw the eye in. I guess it's just the immense size and geometric patterns they can have...linear draws to the eye. This field is about 10 minutes drive over in Santa Ynez enjoying late afternoon sun...the cut alfalfa just drying away. In case you're not a farmer, they cut the alfalfa when it's ready but freshly cut alfalfa is too rich with water in it so it has to dry laying in the field in rows like this...then it's turned over to dry the other side. After that it will be scooped up by the baling machine and then stacked to further dry and store until it's sold or eaten.
I'd just like the drive the machines they use to do all of this because they look so cool. I'm sure it's hot weather doing all of this too. In Oklahoma in 1976 they payed you a nickel a bale to lift the bales onto flatbed's all done by machine now.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Summer Light

My reference photo

If I had about 10 sets of arms I could paint all day long paintings inspired by the area I live at, the Santa Ynez valley. Late afternoon light is the best I think and many of my paintings have come from that time of day. Seeing the bluish/purple mountains with their pink highlights from the setting sun was enough inspiration for me to paint this scene. I was driving down the road and had my camera so I took some reference photos. I didn't want the entire image, but maybe one like that will happen, so I located a nice spot in the photo and away I painted.
I am out of larger canvases at the moment so I did this one smaller at 12"x16"...should have gone larger though. Maybe I'll use this later as the study for a larger painting.
"Summer Light"
12"x16" Oil on canvas covered panel
....and a detail image from the painting:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mission Bluffs

"Bluffs at Mission Santa Inez"
16x20 Oil on Canvas covered panel

Paintings that are inspired by our local mission, Santa Inez, are always fun to do. This painting was inspired once again by the bluffs next to the mission that overlook the entire eastern part of out valley. I've hiked many times up and down the bluffs. Below the bluffs is a large filed used for planting. Right now they have olive trees growing in that field and once they are established it is going to look great. This view looks southwest towards the santa ynez mountain range that borders to southern end of the valley...on the otherside is the Pacific Ocean about 600 feet lower than here.
This view is looking the other way, to the north. I was standing on the trail you see in the painting. I've painted from this same spot too overlooking the valley. It's nice and quiet here.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Coast Guard Painting for 2014

"AMLEP Boarding Mission"
18" x 24" Oil on Canvas

A couple of weeks ago I was notified that my painting "AMLEP Boarding Mission" had been juried into the 2014 Coast Guard Art Collection. This painting makes for my 8th painting into the Coast Guard art collection and I'm pretty proud of that. Long after I am gone I'm hoping these paintings will still be in the collection and shuffled about the country being seen in various shows or maybe even hanging in some government office. Leaving something behind that my two daughters would be proud of and remind them of me was my original point in becoming a painter in the first place. I'm on my way to doing just that. I'm hoping for even better paintings to be left behind to really show them what their Dad was capable of doing.
Being a member of COGAP, Coast Guard Art Program, has been a lot of fun so far. It has also been my way of helping to support the troops that serve our country. These paintings in the collection are sent all over the country to be displayed in shows that show the mission of the Coast Guard and maybe will inspire some to one day volunteer to serve. I'm happy to be a part of that.      

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Morro Rock Surf

I remembered to take some work in progress shots with this painting. This is titled Morro Rock Surf but shows nothing of Morro Rock which majestically juts out of the waters edge in Morro Bay. The title just sounds better than Morro Rock Jetty Surf...and I wasn't that far out on the jetty. Morro Bay gets some huge surf so no messing around out there for me.
Here's the start. Not much of a sketch but that's not needed much in's all done on the fly and with color.
Painting in the base colors of the rocks and water. I try to do 2 things here...get it as close to what I'm looking for and to fill up the canvas fast so it seems like you are making progress, haha. You are painting over these base colors so the sooner they are in the sooner I can begin the "real" painting.  
Adding detail to the rocks while the water sets up a bit. I don't like working wet on wet so I will move around to let areas get as tacky as they can.
 Adding the water detail and shaded foam of the wave. This is the beginning of dialing it all in which really is more of the work. As this stage progresses things get altered and changed around quite a bit to get the finish I want. In looking at the final image you can see how many changes were made from this stage. 
The final painting. In the upper stage you can see how the rocks vary in color. In my final version I went back over some of them to tie them in more with a tan/reddish tint leaving only foreground rocks grey. The last two marine paintings were primarily blue colors so for this one I wanted something different...reddish grey water, tan rocks with a reddish tint and an overall lighter value to the painting. 
"Morro Bay Surf"
12" X 16" Oil on Panel

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Work Work Work..on the website

            Late last night I went to check something on my website and realised I was way behind in keeping it updated. So I started updating the pages of the website....what a chore that has become. I built it and maintain it but it is way larger than when I first built it 18 or so years ago. It's a beast!
           My website is divided into two galleries, pen & ink and painting galleries. The painting gallery is keeping me plenty busy when it comes to updating pages, adding new paintings etc. I spent most of today fixing glitches on pages and adding 8 more pages for new paintings. I still have other work that needs to get posted there but that's going to have to wait.

The ftp program I use to load pages online sometimes works slow. I was having a boatload of problems with my computer too the last few months. A slow computer and an iffy internet connection is no fun. I got a cool Christmas present from Linda that I was begging for, a Toshiba 3 terrabyte desktop harddrive ($80-90). I moved almost all of my images and all of my music files onto that which made my computer speed back up and work better...gigabytes and gigabytes of photos/music were moved over to that puppy but because it holds so much it hardly put a dent on it's storage capacity. I also made a complete backup of my computer on it too. I think I've used about 1/10th of it's disk space. I love that little black box on my desk. For the bad internet connection I bought a Netgear WiFi Range Extender ($60.). Plugs into any wall outlet halfway between my computer and our router and bam...a way better signal here. I went from a connection of around 20-30 on a good day to 80-90 now....much faster connection. Life is good. If you store a lot of image files, like most artists, having more storage helps a lot.


Thursday, January 02, 2014

We Move On.....

Welcome To 2014 My Friends
Today is Jan 2, 2014. I'm glad you are here and wish you and your family the best the New Year that truly deserve. I hopefully will continue down the twisty road of art and if things go right I should be a better artist by the end of the year, if you are a painter the same should apply to you if you work at it...nothing is free except doing nothing, that doesn't cost anything but you get what you pay for. We continue to pursue being better painters in 2014.

I couldn't paint yesterday because of the holiday. I even went to bed at 11:30 but because of that I was up at a dark 4:45. I made coffee and headed for the studio. I had planned on starting work on a new painting I have in mind as a good way to start out the year but instead I decided to go back at one I had painter in early 2013 but over the year had grown less and less happy with the mountain colors. In the original painting the mountains were painted a more violet color. I've done that before but for some reason in this painting the violet was just too intense. To me the painting looked like 3 horizontal stripes moving across the painting. I know the compositional move to fix that and in future paintings will do just that. For this painting, adjusting that color of the mountains will do for now.

"Valley Evening"
12" x 16" Oil on panel
Now it feels better to me. I like the atmosphere in this painting. A few birds in there too which is the easiest way I can think to add some life to the scene. I'm still no big fan of including people in landscapes....they just draw too much attention. I know a lot of painters would disagree but that's ok. They can paint their own paintings.
My trees are always slowly evolving as I learn to paint them more and more. Each painting is another race, another lesson, another test of how much better you can paint compared to the last painting. Of course, how you see your progress and how fast they happen are variables all of us painters have to deal with as we learn.