Thursday, December 29, 2011

46. Orange and Blue

Orange and Blue 6x8 oil/linen

I have a couple of very important deadlines looming, and not much time to work on them, so I might default on a few dailies till I can get these done.  As it is, I am working early till late. But I did think it a good idea to 
warm up today with something simple, and I determined to work only about 45 min..  I found this blue goblet at a thrift store recently and wanted to paint it... and I love the combination of orange and blue - opposites or "complements" on the color wheel.
I've never painted cobalt blue glass before... very interesting.
Anyway, it's a simple set up and nothing fancy but to try to be purposeful with the brushstorkes and let them be.  And, for you painters out there, it's really important to keep your shadows thin and transparent... and remember the old adage, "cool light, warm shadows" - all the shadows here are warm in color, except where the blue of the glass really colored the white c loth as the light went through it...

Monday, December 26, 2011

45. Trail Crew, Pecos Wilderness

12x16 oil/linen

Actually started this one before Christmas, but had to put it aside until today.  The image was inspired by an old (1950's?) photo of Santa Fe National Forest rangers building cairns.  I think they were up in the Pecos Wilderness from the looks of the photo, but not totally sure.  This crew is wrapping up for the day and heading down off the ridge.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

43. Star of Wonder

Star of Wonder 9x12 oil/panel

I just thought today about those Shepherds out watching their flocks of sheep the night that Jesus was born.
They saw the star, the angels and heard the message of the baby's birth, mostly because they were out there, outside, watching the night sky.
So, what if the Savior had been born in a different place and time?  Maybe it would have been somebody like this to see that Star.  Some ol' cowpoke, just watching the herd. 
Well, if was fun thinking about.
On a "painting" note, I found that painting moonlight meant two t hings.
1. all colors are practically gone.  They all fade to a greenish gray.
2. It's not as easy as that.
There should be no warm colors under moonlight, and though my photo seems to show a bit more warn tones than is actually there, just remember that in  painting moonlight scenes, use colors from the cool side of the spectrum.. For example, instead of cadmium yellow, use yellow ochre. Instead of cad read, use alizarin... But almost everything is mixed with ultramarine to cool it even further and lower the value as well...

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, full of joy and peace and hope!

Friday, December 16, 2011

42. Connie's Cabin, plein air

Connie's Cabin, 8x10

Real quick, because Steve is waiting on me to go out for our run this morning. This was done very quickly (again, because he was waiting) maybe 30-40 min. looking out our window at my neighbor's cabin. It's a great view both morning and evening. 
There was so much glare coming in our big south facing windows that I absolutely could not see, sometimes wasn't even sure what color I was putting down, so I just trowled on the paint with th e palette knife to get the feel of it, and left it as is, pretty rough, but it was fun trowling on paint for a change! :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

41. Team Ropers

Team Ropers 8x13 oil/panel

I started this one several weeks ago... put it aside till I could figure out where I wanted to take it, and then finished it a few days ago.   I wanted to try a little more palette knife, especially in the background with the spectators... So I left that whole area really sketchy and yet, hopefully, still communicating "spectators and bleachers"...  Thanks to artist friend Max Nelson from for the photo reference.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

40. Jenna and Thomas

Jenna and Thomas 12x16 oil/paper

This was actually from a few days ago, but I didn't post it till I made sure it was okay with the subject!  Jenna is an artist friend, and she absolutely loves cats. I think they had about seven kittens recently, and this little guy, Thomas, was one of them. Though the photo was low resolution, and there wasn't really any dramatic light to work with, I still thought this one was just so perfect of Jenna and her little furry friend.   
I do learn something every time I work on a portrait... sometimes its just small things about values, or maybe about mixing skin tones or shadow tones... there's always something to glean. That's what's been valuable about this 120 painting project... you always learn something every time you pick up a brush!  (sometimes you learn that it's just time to stop and go get a cookie)

Friday, December 9, 2011

39, The Parting

The Parting 8x10 oil/panel

This is based on another old historic photo. I'm going to guess that these friends are either Navajo or possible Apache, based on the dress and where the photo was taken.  There was something about the way that
these two old friends reached out to shake hands in parting that touched me.

That nice feeling was quickly forgotten in trying to paint them from an old, grainy, black and white photo!
I finally kept saying to myself "simplify, simplify"... the entire background was done with a palette knife and I tried to keep the figures themselves very painterly.  Those poor old Indian ponies look pretty forlorn, don't they?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

38. Chickadee

 Chickadee 5x7 oil/panel

Today I wanted to explore using the palette knife for a simple, unconstructed background.
Palette knife work will lay on pure color without picking up what's underneath. It can create some beautiful effects.  I know of some artists who paint completely with a palette knife.  I consider it just one more tool in the painter's toolbox, one that I'd like to use more often.

I have a friend , Jim Connelly, a fabulous painter, who uses the knife to great advantage in his work, and that's really what inspired me to try it on this little daily today. Jim's work has graced the cover of Southwest Art magazine, and been in numerous national shows. He does wonderful things with backgrounds!  Here's an example:
Isn't this great? It's one of my favorites of his.With his perfect use of color and value Jim has created a sense of a sunny, dusty arena without one shred of detail.  It's like magic.... More beautiful work can be seen on his website here.  Jim also does illustration and digital work - there's some really cool stuff - check it out!

So, I enjoyed using the knife.. I might even go a bit darker with the background.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

38. A Copy of One of My Favorite Artists

After Frederick Remington's 
"The Cowboy"
11x14 oil/panel

Today's project involved making a "copy" - more like a close approximation, of a painting by one of my all time favorite painters, Frederick Remington.   A trip to the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art when I was about 7 did quite a bit to motivate me to become a painter.  Even at that young age, I was enthralled by the work of Remington and Russell - they painted horses! And cowboys!!! I was amazed!  I think at that time I knew I wanted to draw and paint and become an "artist".  I'm still on that journey, and now, 50  years later (yikes) I am just now painting the things I love (horses! and cowboys!)
 For those of you who might not know, it is acceptable to make a copy of a painting, as long as you label it as such.   This painting is a secret Christmas gift for someone who does not really care much about art, per say, but seems to relate to Remington's work and likes it.  I think he'll be pleased.

Even making a "close approximation" is a learning experience.  I was not trying to go brushstroke for brushstroke, but just get close enough that someone would see the painting across the room and recognize it.
But the kind of close studying one must do to even 'approximate" gives real insight into how this master worked.  I am still in awe.

I had a small printed postcard and a page in a book to work from, and they were very, very different as far as color goes. So I picked the card to use for color, and the book page was slightly larger for some of the detail.

Here is a short video of this painting in progression.  I may still touch up a few places, but I need a smaller brush!  That cowboy's face is only about 3/4 inch, and it was tough to even approximate the detail that Remington achieved.  First I show the set up, with the little postcard as reference, and then a series of progress shots.  After the first bit of covering the canvas with an average color for each shape, the changes m;ight be quite small, but they're there!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

37. Iconic Cowboy

Iconic Cowboy 11x14 oil/panel

Today's is a little larger;, 11x14, because I wanted more room to "move" with the brush.  And okay, because I have a couple of 11x14 frames that'll work.
The aim was to get a sense of brilliant sun.  One of my favorite artists is  Winslow Homer, and he had a way of creating this sense of really bright sun by actually darkening the sky and landscape - which seems rather counter intuitive, but he sure made it work.   So I thought I'd go for rich color everywhere, a slightly darker sky, and anything in the sunlight is infused with a cad yellow to create a sense of  warm sunlight.
This was an old historic black and white photo of a real cowboy - he seems to me to epitomize what that was.   

Sunday, December 4, 2011

36. Calf Roper

Calf Roper 8x10 oil/panel

I put together a little video of this one in progress.. just still shots in progression. Sorry, there's some glare  from my easel light;  You'll notice that in the last final frame, the guy's shirt suddenly changed color. The whole painting, I had fought the value of that white shirt, so, heck, why battle it? I just changed the color.  That's the nice thing about painting - it's your own little world and you are the king of it - so change what you want!  It's good to be king.....
Here's the little video...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

35. Drought Conditions

This Drought is Tough 8x10 oil/panel

This drought IS tough.... ranchers around here have it better than some, since we're in the mountains and tend to get a little more rainfall than those at lower elevations, but  every one of them will tell you it's been a hard year. And of course the Las Conchas fire damaged huge, huge tracts of grazing land and forest.   With hay going as high as $15 a square bale, they have a hard row to hoe.

My job isn't so tough.. I just have to paint.  That's hard enough some days, though.  I am really working on being more "painterly".  I ask the question, "how can I put down a brushstroke that represents this piece of light and color?"  rather than "how can I make this look like a stirrup?... or whatever...".  That's the hard part, because what we are doing is painting how light affects things - we're not painting "things". You've all heard me harp on this before.  Sometimes I feel like I am pulled in two directions, though.  These type of scenes just scream for  DETAIL!!!   Part of me would just love to get out the tiny brushes and draw in all the details of the saddle, or whatever.  But growing as an artist, for me at least right now, means learning to put down purposeful brushstrokes that represent a chunk of value and color, so I squint even though I'm using a photo reference here, and I use the largest brush I can. I also did a fair amount of negative painting - I do not start these  paintings with any drawing, just some rough thin brushstrokes to place the objects. so for the horse and rider in particular, I sort of carved them out of the background.
And, can I just add one random thought:  cows ARE fun to paint.  Especially Herefords.

postscript.I reworked the background on this one because after looking at it, I decided it was too chalky and too busy.   I think this version is much better now....what do you think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yikes! No daily today!

This WAS one of the daily paintings.. here it is hanging in the show in Keene, NH.

I started a small painting this morning, but I had all these errands to run,and I've just now gotten home.... I stopped by our local gallery on the way back, and one of the other artists was there, playing Irish fiddle - it was absolutely wonderful, so of course I had to stop and listen and talk with him.    The main reason for my trip to the "village" (what we call Jemez Springs) was to ship a painting  and  to make a DUMP RUN.  When you live in the sticks, there is no such thing as trash pick up.  You gotta take your own trash.  And since the dump and recycling center is more than a 50 mile round trip, it not only takes quite awhile to get there, but I always try to combine it with other errands so as to make the best use of the gas. So, in addition to the other errands,  I stopped at the general store to talk to the gal there about a painting commission, and while there, the UPS guy came by, recognized me, and gave me a package he had on the truck. (art supplies!). Small town life is cool.  That wouldn't happen in the city.    I also stopped at a local resale shop to see if they had any goodies for painting. I've found cool stuff as still life props in places like this.  Today, I did find a beautiful blue goblet and a little brass cup.

soooooo.... I didn't get home in time to work on the painting for today - You'll just have to wait.

Now, I gotta go light the wood stove and get some warmth going in this house!  And start supper! And feed the dogs!  (the dogs are hoping it is not necessarily in that order).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

34.. Portrait Study

Don 11x14 oil

Today's painting is a portrait study of another artist friend.  I asked on one of my painting forums if folks would send me photos of themselves, so I can practice painting portraits.  Don generously supplied several.
Working from photos is never as good as working from life, but it's still good practice, and I learn something every time I do one of these.   And not only about painting...
 In our correspondence, Don told me that he is a musician/songwriter, used to tour, but now writes...and this photo is actually one of photos from a CD he has in process at the moment.  He plays sort of "Texas red dirt" country music, which is sort of rocked out country as he explains it.     It's really interesting to connect in these small ways with folks, even using a photo as a "model".!

Monday, November 28, 2011

33. Copper Creamer and Rose

Copper Creamer and Rose 6x8 oil/panel

Today I've got lots of "stuff" to do, so I concentrated on making a quick study with purposeful brushstrokes and simple subject matter.  Roses drive me nuts, so I'm not sure why I picked that today...I had a bit of trouble photographing this - the overall color is still sort of "off" - the inside of the creamer is not that blue - but I just couldn't get it right, and I gotta run!  
I've been working more than usual from photographs, and really, I prefer to work from life, and it is better study to do so.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nothing new, just an update

Little Pals 10x10

After checking the value structure on this, and getting some helpful suggestions from some artist friends, I decided to re-work the background on this painting of little foals.  Now there is greater contrast between the foals and the area behind them, and I think the spring-like colors go well with the idea of new babies - I think these two are about to bound off any second now....

32. Grace

Grace 8x10 oil/panel

Grace, not a name, but a quality. This was a study done from an old Smithsonian photo, black and white.  Again the challenge is to add color - skin tones are the most difficult thing (I think) to paint - because skin doesn't really have a color of its own - it  shifts and changes with the light and surrounding colors more than any other "thing" that we paint.   
I'll be off to visit family for Thanksgiving, and though I'll take my paints, I don't have much hope of getting any work done, so it'll be several days before I post again.

Blessings on you all for Thanksgiving - I hope you can enjoy  being with family and friends.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

31. Three Running Horses

Three Running Horses 8x8 oil/panel

I am sick today. So I thought I should keep it simple and paint just one thing.. well, okay, two if you count the feather.  Normally, I'd probably had painted this pot, let it dry, and then glazed on the design. But I wanted to do this alla prima.  I liked painting the feather though.
Maybe I just should've stayed in bed. :-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

30. Cowboy Jim

My Friend Jim 8x10 oi/panel

Today's sketch is a portrait of one my online artist friends, Jim.  He graciously sent me some photos to practice with, and this is a close up from one of those. He is actually riding a beautiful gray  horse in this photo, but I like the  angle of this - looking upward with him framed against the western AZ sky.  I told him it makes him look larger than life! 

The light was tricky  - shadowed from the hat, but at the same time a spot of sun, and also reflected light from his shirt - all of this light bouncing around in various way.  Working from photos too requires some ingenuity, or maybe "make it up as you go along" because the values and color are never spot on like they would be working from real life.. so you gotta sort of choose a color palette and go with it. To top it off, my pr inter is almost out of ink, so I had to work with a really less-than-stellar printed copy of the photo.  

Anyway, it is all good practice - and that's what we're here for, right?

29. Searching for Strays

Searching for Strays 8x10 oil/panel

The other day, I took the pooches, Gibbs and  Marley, for a run in an area I had not explored yet. I wanted to check out some trails and see if I could make a connection with some other routes we like to run.
On the way back to the truck, we, well, actually, the dogs, spooked up some stray cattle.  

We have open range here, which means cows are pretty much all over the place in the national forest.  But usually, by the first of November, the ranchers have moved their herds down to lower pasture, where it won't get as much snow and there will be better grazing for them.  I knew that the guys who graze cattle up in this area had already moved their cows out, and I figured they'd be looking for these strays, who somehow got separated from the rest of the herd.   So I checked the brand on these cows, and called it in to the district office to let them know where to go look for the wayward bovines.

Inspired by that encounter, I decided to paint one of the ranchers going to do just that.  They almost all have cattle dogs of one sort or another, and often drive the cattle on horseback, because the terrain is too severe for any other means!

I tried to remember to take shots of this in progress.. I forgot to take as many as I intended, but did put together a little animation for you to view.  I didn't plan this one out - (not recommended!) so there are numerous changes to the background as I played around with several options.  Mostly, I was using this as a test to see if I could figure out the animation software.  I think I got it, but it took me quite awhile!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

28. Camp Coffee

Camp Coffee 8x10 oil/panel

 I totally failed today in trying to be "looser" in my brushwork!  So, I took the palette knife and scraped around - does that count?  

That's an old enamel coffee pot I found in an abandoned hut, and an old Maxwell House coffee tin - good to the last drop! We had a similar old coffeepot that we took on camping trips.  Now, I use a french press. :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

27. Some Kids Bring Home Puppies.......

The Little Runt Pig 7x7 oil/paper

... but not this kid!  How would you like to see one of your young 'uns show up at the front door with this little bundle?  Actually, this is a photo of a friend of mine, Jenna,  who grew up on a family farm.  She hasn't changed a bit. She was caring for the poor little critters then, and she's doing it now.  

I was having a real "off" day today as far as painting goes. I always wonder why that happens. It's like you woke up and forgot how to paint.  I don't think my dad ever got up one morning and forgot how to do his job, but it seems to happen to me with painting now and again. Anyway, after a whole day of frustration and failure, Jenna sent me some pics, this one among them.  I loved this image so much that I put everything else away and painted - it's just a small sketch I know, and could actually use a bit more work, but I had the biggest grin the whole time I was painting because this image is just so darn cute.    So, thanks, Jenna! You saved the day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

26. Old Cowboy

Times Have Changed..... 8x10 oil/panel

Today's challenge was to see if I could take a black and white photo, and insert my own color.  I could probably do this without much problem on most subjects.   Turns out this photo had REALLY WEIRD LIGHTING.. that I didn't notice till I got to working.  There is the obvious shadow from his hat, and the sunlight hitting his face on the right... but there was also BOTTOM LIGHTING -  like light bouncing up from something and hitting the under surfaces of his face, and then there appeared to be slight rim lighting too.. it was all way confusing... But it's all good practice!!!

By the way I should mention that most of these dailies are for sale at very reasonable prices, unframed.  Here's a link to the folder on my website  to see all of them.  Because some are in a gallery framed, and some are for sale directly from me unframed, I do not have prices listed.  If it says "available" then its, uh, available! And if there's a red dot on it, then it is (happily) already sold.  :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

25. Wisdom... another Value Study

Wisdom  8x10 oil/panel

This is another painting done in the "wipe away" method, using transparent paint and wiping out the light areas.  
Some folks asked if I would post some "how to" photos and descriptions of this method, so I will do that on my "regular" painting blog, which is more focused on instruction.  
You can find that

Thursday, November 10, 2011

24. Value Study of Young Souix Brave

Dignity   8x10 oil/panel

This is painted from a photo reference that is part of the Smithsonian, and in the public domain.

Larry Seiler, the guy who gave me the inspiration to start this 120 paintings project, talked alot about values in the last session of the webinar.  Truth be told, values are the structure that holds a painting together - they are the framework on which you hang color.  If the values are good, the painting can work.  
Well, anyway, so I thought this was a good time to do a value study, but not just any kind of value study.

This painting was done by the "wipe away" method.  I used one transparent color ( a mix of transparent oxide red and ultramarine blue, for you inquiring minds out there) and laid a thin wash down.  Then, by both adding more color for darks, and wiping away the color for the lights, the painting comes to life.  No white paint, or opaque color. This must be done in one sitting, with the paint still wet, pushing paint around, adding and subtracting.   You gotta have a non -absorbent surface (I used one of my homemade panels) and it helps to have  a brush with a nice sharp edge.  I used two flats, size 4 and 6.

Native American Wisdom:
"If you talk to the animals
they will talk with you
and you will know each other.

If you do not talk to them
you will not know them
and what you do not know, 
you will fear.

What one fears, one destroys."
- Chief Dan George

23. B is for Bear

B is for Bear  7x7 oil/panel

Our power went out in the middle of the night and was not back on until just a few minutes ago.  I can paint by natural light, of course, so this wouldn't stop me from working..  We have a gas stove, so I could even heat water to make coffee in the french press we use for camping.  Coffee and a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast and I'm good to go!

However, the studio room I have is a really small spare bedroom.  The corner in which my easel is set up is sort of dark and I always use an easel light so I can see the palette.  I didn't have that today, so thought I should paint something simple, with big simple shapes and colors that wouldn't be too tricky to manage since seeing the colors on my palette was kinda hard.

This is my granddaughter's teddy bear, bought on a trip to Colorado some years back.  The little Fisher Price figure (remember those?) I found when doing some remodeling at our old house.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

22. Little Pals

Little Pals  10x10 oil/wood panel

I've had this reference for quite awhile...  Is thee anything more precious than a new foal?  These two are full of hope and promise.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

21. Frosty Morning

Frosty Morning 5x7 oil/wood panel

We had a frosty morning this morning  too... But now the sun is up, frost is melting, and the day is still ahead!!

I do these pretty quick, obviously, and that's part of the point, but after putting this one away and looking at it again I saw a couple of things I thought should happen. And I thought you might be interested in the thought process that goes on.
A. The head is the focal point.  We just sort of naturally are drawn to faces, animal or human..
B. That being said, if it's the focal point, then it needs to have the most contrast, sharper edges, etc.  So I beefed up the light around his face.  Just because something is a certain way in a photo reference, or even in painting from real life,.. doesn't mean we have to paint it that way!!!  Make your statement visually, and do what you have to do to make that happen.
C. I also warmed up the tops of the weeds... light shining through them would be halo'ed around each stem, creating a sort of warm glow in general, since they are thin little blades of grass and stems.... This better portrays the sense that sunlight is hitting them from behind. At least I think so.... What do you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

20. Jes' Talkin' Cows.....

Jes' Talkin' Cows.....
8x10 oil/wood panel

Two ol' cowboys, talking about... what else... cows! They've been ranching their whole lives.. it's just who they are. I've had the photo reference that is the basis for this painting for quite some time.. my favorite thing? Those suspenders.  Gotta love it.

This is the first painting on the new batch of panels I just made.(thanks, honey, for cutting all of them for me!)  These are such a pleasure to paint on... the roller gives the panel just a little surface... sort of an eggshell, pebbly type surface, which still grabs the brush, but the surface is totally non-absorbent and paint and color stay fresh.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just a Finish for today....

Got 'Im!!
8x10 oil/panel

I often don\t get to paint on Saturdays, and today is my wonderful hubby's birthday, so I won't get to do a daily.. I did however finish yesterday's work, so thought you might like to see it. About another hour of just finish work.. mostly the background and a bit of the riders...  This one will go to the new gallery here - they are asking for western horse images and I am more than happy to oblige!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

19. Ropers 1

Ropers 1     8x10 oil/panel

Boy, did I have fun with this one!  A friend posted some photos of a local Arizona rodeo he attended, and gave permission to use them for drawing or sketching.  I couldn't wait to start on this one, so actually did it last night late.  I am trying to re-use some old panels, so had scraped down an old 8x10 to use.  Because it is hard (for me) to paint with all the old painting showing through, I just tried to quick sketch the ropers into position and start filling in basic color shapes to cover up what was underneath.  Just was blocking in the basic light and shadow colors.  Once I got to this stage, I decided I liked the loose, rather choppy feel of it. I don't think I'll do much more finishing.. but there's a few details I still need to add, like the guy's rope about to catch the steer, and the fence rails in the back,... small things to add just enough detail to bring it into focus.
Technically, this was more than my allotted hour's work time, more like 2, but what the heck... it's all practice and I had an absolute blast just laying down color.  You can still see a little of the old color in the bottom corner, and around a few edges.. i think I'll leave it!
I called this, optomisically, Ropers 1, because there's a couple more shots I want to paint.  Look for more I hope!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

18. Perched Pear

Perched Pear 5x7 oil/linen

Well I thought about titling it "Pear Perched on a PartidgeWhich is Perched on a Tree" (tree not shown) but  that seemed a bit lengthy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

17. John Deere and a re-do

Ol' John Deere 5x7 oil/linen
from photo reference kindly supplied by Ron Swearingen

Today's effort  was to practice "a brushstroke laid is a brushstroke stayed". (quote from artist Larry Seiler).
In other words, make each stroke count - look before you leap, pay attention,  hold hands before crossing, etc. etc.
This was fun... picking a subject that, for me, was not the usual, meant I couldn't slip into blending or painting what I know.  I briefly sketched this out with some thin paint, just to get the general lay of the land, and then started filling in color.  I did pre-mix 4 greens - a cool highlight color, the local rich green color, a darker warm green, and finally a very dark shadow color.  I didn't mix enough and had to re-mix, not exactly matching (note to self for next time: use more paint!)  The pre-mixing did help basically choose one of those four categories for the shape I was painting.
Now's a good time to remember a very simple, but extremely important adage from fellow artist Stapleton Kearns.  That is:
Everything is either in the light, or in the shadow.

I know that sounds simple, but if you will look next time you go to set up to paint, and categorize every shape - is it in the light, or is it in the shadow?   - then you will be able to manage both your values and colors to create a believable image.  Knowing what parts of this ol' tractor were getting direct light, indirect light, and shadow made painting it a breeze.

and the re-do?  From yesterday.. I realized I had set myself up for failure having not planned my values well.
So, I scraped down that white pony and re-painted him in a dark value. duh... makes so much more sense. I don't know if this made a huge difference in the appeal of this particular painting, but, I had to try it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

15. Above Jemez Springs

Above Jemez Springs, 5x7 oil/panel

Well, today is another effort to combine the daily painting exercises with a more complete work.  I have to do this because of time constraints. I worked hard to make purposeful brush strokes - the horse started out as just a thin wash of shadow color all over, and then came back later and painted thickly where the light would hit. A tiny bit of reflected light on him, and that's it. If you click on the photo and view the enlarged view, you can see there's a good bit of impasto.  You can probably also see I really need new brushes!
The original plan was to have the foreground figure against a very muted, very pale,background. However, when i started working on a white horse against the light background, there just wasn't enough value contrast.
So the background got a bit darker.  I'm thinking I might go back in and re-state it REALLY light, but for today, the allotted time had passed, and I needed to get on to other things...
Though the horse and rider are mostly from a photo reference, the landscape is real.. it is on top of one of the mesas above our little village of Jemez  Springs...  That's our winter training ground because while we might be buried in snow up here, it's usually not..

Monday, October 31, 2011

14. Checkin' on the Herd

Checkin' on the Herd 9x12 oil/linen

Today's effort is perhaps a little more of a finished painting rather than an exercise. Why?   Well, a couple of reasons.
1.  Mainly because I just wanted to paint this!
2. The gallery is asking for western horse images - so it was a chance to practice some of the edge control in a more completed work, and at the same time meet that obligation.  
I allowed a little more time than an hour.. probably more like 2, for this.  The objective was to use purposeful brushstrokes,and not get bogged in detail...hard to do on a subject like this because all those little parts of the saddle just scream for attention.  I think it is sufficient, what do you say?

13. Adjusting Stirrups

Adjusting   Stirrups 5x7 oil /panel

Sometimes you gotta paint something just because you love it. I love this image - I think it might be a riding lesson, or perhaps just a new rider, and the stirrups weren't quite right.  The pony waits patiently while the instructor gets everything set just right .  The back lighting was probably what really attracted me... I especially love the way the light pours through that pony's tail. Painting something back lit requires very subtle changes in value - the back lit object is almost a silhouette but there are slight changes in tone to depict the form.... but not much.
Did you know that there are really very few white horses?  Most of what we would call a "white" horse is really a gray - it has to do with the color of their skin under their coat.  Take that and use it in conversation this week!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gotta make more panels!

a row of dailies on masonite panel

Just thought ya'll might get a kick out of seeing the daily paintings as they are before I cut them. Normally, the panels are cut to size first, but didn't have the right blade for our table saw.  I had this sheet of prepared masonite, and marked off several 5x7 panels (and one oddball size)....
Sorry about the color... this was under incandescent light, which is just all wrong for real color.
Bought another sheet of masonite today, and will be priming and cutting that down to panels this week....

Friend and fellow artist Judy Palmero suggested I describe how I make these panels. Here's a link to that  from my other blog, :making painting panels  and a link to Judy's blog   

Friday, October 28, 2011

12. Just Peachy

Just Peachy 5x7 oil/linen

This was a fun little arrangement - mostly because I had three white objects.... the background, the creamer, and the cloth are all... WHITE!!!  Of course you all know you don't paint white things just white... (you DID know that, right?) and with all this white floating around,  I had to select a different color white for each thing.
the background is a pale purplish bluish white, the creamer is a warmer greenish white, and the cloth has a tiny bit of red in it.  
It was fun playing around with edges in this one.. I  realized all of a sudden all my brushes are getting worn out - it's sort of like your underwear and socks.. they all seem to go south at the same time.  I've been using rather large brushes on these little paintings too... using a big, fuzzy, worn out brush will sure keep you from getting bogged down in detail...... 

Catching up!

Waiting for Daddy 5x7 oil/linen

So, finally replaced the keyboard, but still waiting on the roofers to come and fix the leak.  Meanwhile, we have to keep the new keyboard off the desk in case the drips start again!
So, here's the next painting.  This was a fun experiment, but, lemme tell ya, it was NOT EASY!!!
First, working from a photograph is never really that good.. the colors and values are usually way off, but I wanted to try a difficult subject (and it doesn't get much harder than the portrait of a child) because the exercise was to only see pieces of color... no drawing, no trying to "paint a nose, or an eye, or a chin..".. I figured if I picked a hard subject, I'd be more likely to not slip into drawing mode. So, I just started by putting a few marks on the canvas to indicate where the top and bottom of the head would be, and started putting down pieces of color. I even blurred the photo on purpose so I'd see values and color, not details. It was a great exercise, and I'll do this again... to train my eyes to see value and color.. After all, we're not really painting "things" - we're painting  how the light affects things, and so if we can accurately judge value and color, we can paint any subject at all.....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A little mishap

Our roof sprung a leak in yesterday's rain - right above the computer desk.
The keyboard and mouse got soaked and are not working.
Since that's the only computer with camera software and Photoshop I am unable to post paintings till we get it up and running again. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10. Last of the Summer Pansies

I made this one a wee bit more "formal" because I needed something this size to send to an upcoming show.. so I figured this was a good opportunity to practice some edge variation and purposeful brushstrokes in a "real" painting.  I guess the pansies are gone for good for this year. What few were left got eaten by one of our free range cows.... and then these were really getting wilty, but I whipped out my artistic license from my pocketbook, and painted them fresh! :-)
I found that little green bottle in a meadow during a hike last summer.  I love the color of it.  (the peach I stole from the fruitbowl).

Monday, October 24, 2011

9. All About Orange

5x7, oil/panel

Back from our trip to the Grand Canyon... wowee, wow, wow, is all I can say... amazing!!! I didn't have any time to paint, but you can bet I sure did want to!
Here's today's little daily - just working on edges. That's it - no big painterly explanation!!
Thanks for looking.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Can I Be in the Club?

Oil/panel 5x7

I dunno.. just  looked like that slice was trying to talk the other two guys into letting him in the club.
We're packing for our Grand Canyon trip and I have a ton of stuff to do, so I only had literally like 30 min. to
put brush to canvas (or in this case panel).  So, without alot of explanation, this is just trying to put down a brushstroke and leave it...similar to yesterdays.  No blending, honest!!!
Gotta run! See ya'll in a few days!!! yee haw!!!!! Grand Canyon here we come!

7. Paint by Number Horse

oil/panel 5x7 

Remember paint by number?  I loved getting those when I was a little kid.  And really, they are genius.
Very small variations in color and value are laid down next to each other, and if you got it right, it looked really great.  After all, isn't that what painting is about? Showing form by shifting value, color, and color temperature.
So, today's experiment, which was sort of fun really, was to pretend I had a paint by number kit.  I could not blend colors at all, but only lay down pieces of color next to each other to portray this horse.  Some pieces of color are very small... detail is still possible, though not much because I only used a #4 and a #6 flat, one of which was getting fuzzy on me.  If I had a larger painting surface (have I mentioned I don't like working this small?) and different brush sizes, this method could convey a very convincing image.  
Paying close attention to temperature shifts  and value is key to making this work. I think I'd like to try it again.
All you folks out there, give this a try!!! No blending, just lay down color, and then wipe the brush, and lay down the next color.  Pretty cool!!
PS  The background is just painted in regular method.  (in case you were wondering).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

6. Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer 5x7 oil/panel

I didn't have much time today to do a daily, and didn't start this one till after supper.  Been painting for an upcoming show and just need to finish up the last details of a big still life, which, by the way, contains this same Brandy bottle.  I didn't really have any big plans for this one, just to keep the process going, and thought it'd be fun to paint the glass. Glass can have some really interesting abstract shapes, and if you just concentrate and  paint what you see (with careful observation) it'll usually come out looking like glass.
A couple of observations.
Glass is best painted wet into wet, with fluid strokes. After all, glass is fluid.
Using brushstrokes that follow the form is necessary, especially on the side where light is coming from.
Anything transluscent, like glass, is actually lighter on the side AWAY from the light, because light travels through and refracts on the far edge.

 And lastly, it's best to wait till the painting is finished if you are going to consume the props!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

5. Two Feathers

Two Feathers, 5x7 oil/panel

Today's experiment was about textures - which of course means edges.  Shiny pot, sharp reflections, quick color changes... the little pot (which by the way was made by a local Jemez Pueblo artisan) is matte, so no highlights, soft color changes and transitions into shadow.  And the feathers of course,, fluffy and soft and then a "hard" wing feather (believe both of these are turkey).  
This 5x7 is just too small to be working for such small details on the feather.  

And, you know how when you drop a piece of bread it always lands jelly side down?  I dropped this painting, and of course, it landed paint side down.   The damage wasn't as bad as I would have thought, but I did have to repaint the fluffy feather.  It was better before the fall.  
Hmmm... there's a philosophical thought.....