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.....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

4 Green Creamer and Peach

4. Green Creamer and Peach
oil/panel 5x7  45 min.

Okay so it's a fairly simple subject, but I wanted to concentrate, as usual, on laying down intentional pieces of color, rather than willy nilly putting something down or "licking" the canvas by repeatedly brushing one area over and over.  Sorry, there's a bit of glare on the photo.
Things I was trying to keep in mind:
cool light/warm shadows
opaque vs. transparent
edges - soft, hard, and lost
intentional brushstrokes.

I think overall, this one is okay.. I stopped from overworking it, though I'm still finding I do not enjoy working this small... but I don't have any other size panels right now.

Random thought:  New Mexico is a free range state, meaning that ranchers have access (by lease agreement) with almost any public lands. We live adjacent to national forest. The law is that if you don't want cattle on your property, fence them out.  I looked out this morning, and there are cow patties on my patio.  I just wonder, what are they looking for on my patio? Silly cows.....

Friday, October 14, 2011

3. Chirp!

3. Chirp!! 
oil/panel 5x7, little more than an hour.

This one had me almost swearing as I had some specific goals in mind which just weren't happening. What I really wanted to try was to use very slight changes of color and temperature to make the form turn on that fat little ceramic bird, (Isn't he a hoot? He makes me laugh)  This is not the usual way I work, as I tend to find an average shadow color and an average light color, and put those down flat, and then finesse the edges between them and add any reflected light or highlights.
I guess when you try new things, you can't expect  to succeed 100% of the time.  I should know that, I'm also trying to learn the banjo and it DEFINITELY doesn't happen all at once!
I see several things I'd like to change on this one, but I spent my allotted time, plus a little, so I'll move on to the next thing!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2 Any Container Will Do

#2 Any Container Will Do
oil/panel 5x7 

Okay then, second one down.  The main object with this one was to try to see the colors in that can. (I think it was a can of pinto beans. Admit it, you were curious)  The more I looked, the more colors there were. Rather fun, actually.  Metal in general, and especially this steel can, usually has sharp edges of reflections and color changes, so blending was at a minimum.  The mantra was: "see a color, mix it, lay it down. See the next color, mix it, lay it down."
My other objective was to AVOID drawing little lines for the rings around the can. I think that part worked.

This is thicker paint than I'm used to, and I still wanted to get more darks in the flowers than I have. But it was time to stop!

I'm leaving this afternoon for one more day of painting at Ghost Ranch.  Weather looks good!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Journey Begins

1. Pansies and Creamer

This is my new blog to document my journey in trying 120 daily paintings. (well, okay, almost daily).

The idea for this came from fellow artist Larry Seiler, who states, "It takes 120 bad paintings before you start seeing good ones."  

I'd like to think that I've made a few decent paintings, but I recognized this year a real need for change- for growth.  I don't want to do the same ol' thing, make the same ol' mistakes, and produce the same ol' stuff. I want better.  In order for that to happen, something has to change. 
These 120 paintings will have a specific purpose. I'll be experimenting with brushwork, color, and maybe subject matter too. I will limit myself to an hour.  
Right now, I don't know exactly where this journey will take me. But isn't that the way it is? This is an adventure.  Adventures by definition don't have guarantees!  Come with me on the journey. If you are an artist who is tired of being in your rut, try this experiment. Do 120 paintings with me. Feel free to experiment, to push yourself in new areas.  Start a blog about it, and send me the link. I'll add it here.. Let's see what happens!  
Oh, a little bit about this first painting.  It's 5x7, oil on panel, and done in about 45 min. with one #6 bristle and a knife.  I tried NO BLENDING.  Put the paint down, and leave it.It's thicker paint than usual, and I'm also using a very limited palette. White, Ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cad yellow light, and cad red light, and transparent red oxide. I don't like working this small, so I'm going to find some inexpensive, larger surface to work on.  

Well, I'm on my way. Wanna come?