Thursday, June 21, 2012

90. On the San Antonio

On the San  Antonio
8x10 oil/linen

Fishing season is in full swing around here, so maybe that's why my thoughts have been going in that direction.  We have two rivers  whose headwaters are both about 6 or 7 miles from my house... The San  Antonio, and the East Fork of the Jemez.  They converge  about 14 miles downstream to form the Jemez  River, and both are beautiful, wild, and scenic, and cut through some rugged canyons with waterfalls, cascades and TROUT.  I reckon that's what this fella is after.
Terrible photo of a decent painting but I've been offline so much, thought I better check in so you'll know I'm still out here!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

89. Helping Grandpa

Helping Grandpa
8x10 oil/linen panel

I gave myself a limited time to do this one,  on purpose to try to keep things sketchy....
I did like the thought of this old guy and his young grandson "helping" him... How often do we say to our childrend or grandchildren, "wanna come help me?" and really, we are doing all the work, we're just letting them be a part.   And that's important stuff.  Worthy of a painting, I thought!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

88. Relic

The Relic
8x10 oil/linen

This is an old abandoned adobe cabin down in Ponderosa, NM.. not far from here.    The recent Bear Springs fire  threatened this area, but thankfully, they have it mostly contained now.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Not exactly dailies, but....

 These are not daily paintings.. slightly more complicated than I usually do in a daily, but it actually didn't take me much longer than that... But with these larger ones, I tend to spend lots of time just staring at them and thinking.  
Never underestimate the value of looking at your painting and deciding what to do next... look at it in a mirror, look at it upside down, just look at it... Sometimes I spend as much time looking as I do painting!

The first is a morning light scene, called Dawn Patrol.   I like coyotes.  They are survivalists - they can adapt to almost any environment. We hear them nightly here at our house... yip, yip, yip!   Drives our dogs nuts.

Dawn Patrol
oil/linen 12x16

And here's my favorite song about coyotes, and the west in general, actually....

The second painting is evening light. Seems I managed to do two paintings and bookend the daylight...
Notice that late day shadows are "dirtier" - not as clear as the morning shadows.. maybe because of the accumulated dust in the air... Morning light is cooler, can be pinkish, or a clear yellow. Evening light is a warm red, and in the last daylight hour, that light is so powerful as to overtake the natural color of everything, and it all becomes tinged with red. It has to do with the refraction of light, but don't ask me to explain it.
So, here is "A Yearling for His Son" (title changed from previous)

A Yearling for His Son
oil/linen 16x20

Thursday, May 31, 2012

87. On the River

On the River
8x10 oil/linen

This was about an hour's effort, and I was determined to keep it sketchy and free.... This photo doesn't do it justice, but I have to run out, and don't have time to try to get a better one. So there...
What doesn't seem to show up in the photo are nice areas of very thin transparent paint - mostly in the darkest areas, which adds a nice feel next to the thicker opaque color...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cows and Angry Rocks

After painting like mad, and finally shipping off the paintings for my Keene, NH show, I took the day off and went on a hike and run  through some territory we haven't explored yet.  It was real pretty country.. the range cattle are back, and the new calves are everywhere. I just thought  you might like to see them - running and jumping as babies do.
At the very end of the short video, Momma cow calls one of the calves back.. the black angus calf that turns back and answers her... soooo precious.

And, then, there was the angry rock....

and just for "art content" here are a few sketches I did while waiting at the Dr.'s office...
it was  from some sport magazine.. which figures, since it was the physical therapy office.... I hate just "waiting". Sketching with a pen mean no erasing!   Good practice for careful observation and measuring....

I have a week of  out of town plein air painting planned for next week. I will be without access to the computer (gasp!!)
so won't be updating till I return, but hopefully will have some new paintings to show for it!

So I usually bring a sketchbook with me...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

86. Dandelion Wishes

10x10 oil/linen

 One of the things I consider when putting people in my landscapes is how to make the painting
"universal".  Unless it is a specific portrait of somebody, then I think figures need to represent
a life experience to which we can all relate.  
Many times you will notice I put such figures facing away, or otherwise not a straight on view of the face.. this also helps to "symbolize" something with the figure rather than portray an individual person.

This little girl making a wish and blowing the dandelion fluff is, to me, a rite of spring.. the dandelions seem to be just about the first thing that pops up in the yard. Haven't we all done this? Right now, our yard (if you can call it that since its mostly just a pine forest clearing) is full of beautiful yellow dandelion flowers and white seed pods.... Personally, I love them and am happy to let them grow.  I have a 'dandelion garden" behind the chicken coop where it is wetter and they grow large... the hens love them, and I go out and pick a handful of leaves for them every morning.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

85. Wren and Cherry Blossoms

9x12 oil/linen

For a seeming simple subject, this one had me pulling my hair out.   I still think a few adjustments are in order, but I need to let it "rest" for awhile.   My neighbor's cherry trees are blooming.  There's just nothing that says "spring" like cherry blossoms and apple blossoms.  He also has apple trees.. I wanted to plant some last fall, but time got away.. maybe this year I can do that...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

84. And So It Begins.....

8x10 oil/linen

Today's painting of this little roper-in-training is just for practice, done in the spirit of the daily, ie, about an hour and a half.  I mostly just wanted to capture that great morning sun, and the light glowing through his too-big cowboy hat.  
Looks like he has his sights set on something to wrangle with that rope.   I wonder if we panned out if we would see all the barnyard critters scattering in self defense! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

83. Grandpa's White Pony

5x7 oil/linen

Did ya think I'd fallen off the face of the earth?  No,, just springtime is so full of chores!  I've been trying to catch up on some work around here and putting in a garden and building a patio...

You might recognize the horse and rider in this one,  - I've used them before in an earlier painting, with some changes this time of course.   Here's the older version.
I tried for more colorful shadows and better brushstrokes in the newer version.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

81. and 82.

 81. Early Color  5x7

82. Feeding Ducks

I have been so busy that I just didn't have time to photograph and post these, both little 5x7's.  Unfortunately, trying to photograph at night with light is never as good as using natural light... which means I'll probably have to do this again... but since it's been a few days since I posted, thought I better let you know I'm still around.

Besides painting today, I ran 9 miles with the pooches, raked about half the yard (I hate pine needles) and spread the pine needles on the driveway (dirt) to get broken down. (you can't compost those suckers)
 Cleaned out the flower bed and fluffed up the mulch, transplanted a few things from the cold frame to the garden,  raked out the chicken pen, and cleaned the kitchen. Whew!

Friday, April 13, 2012

80. Lazy Autumn Day

5x7 oil/linen

One more little panel for a special event - I was playing around with some ideas, and these little ones are a good  chance to experiment with a few things.... This one has alot of thin wash - in fact the whole tree line is basically just the initical wash of paint. I wanted this to be quiet.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

79. Loose in the Garden

5x7 oil/panel

Again, too small a panel, but I gotta do a couple of these small ones for a special event.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

78. Who Dat??

5x7 oil/linen

Okay, I should have known better.. 5x7 is simply too small for this subject matter, at least the way I want to paint and swish that brush around....  but I still had a bit of fun.  The title came to me because these guys are looking mighty intently at that person with the camera.. friend? or foe? or maybe they have a treat in their hand?

Monday, April 9, 2012

76. and 77. Cluck, cluck.....

Decided to post these together...  both small, 5x7, oil on panel, and the photos could sure be better.... but it is what it is at this point.  Trying to find the fundamental essence of the object and paint that without trying for detail.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

75. Arroyo, Dry Season, and a Re-do of an older one

8x10 oil/panel

This little arroyo is one that we cross frequently in our "winter training grounds".  These trails are lower in elevation than our house, and not that far away, so when we're socked in with snow everywhere, we can drive down a bit and reach dry trails.   Everytime we cross this wash, I think "I want to paint that".  So I did remember to snap a photo one day, and working from that, and alot from memory, I painted today's work. This took about 2 hours I'd say - had to simplify alot of things...
Backlit scenes are fun, and reflected light is so exciting to paint. This one was a real exercise in color temperature and reflected light and color. Sorry there's a bit of glare in the upper left I couldn't seem to avoid.
One of these days I'll get a photo box... maybe.
Next is a re-do of another daily.  It accidentally got smeared, and it's been sitting in the studio waiting for me to fix it, but I decided to change it up a bit.  The original looked like this:
I liked the feather alot.. it was fun to do.  but I felt it was too crowded, so I changed the foreground and here's the result. That is a Santa Clara pueblo seed pot, and my turquoise necklace and cross.
So, which do you like better?   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

74. Cooling Off

5x7 oil/panel

This one really was done in the spirit of the daily exercise.. about an hour's time total, with concentrated effort of making each brushstroke right.   I am pleased with this one, even though its just a simple scene and small (5x7 because I'm out of my 8x10 panels).  
The fun thing about painting something white, especially something white where there is lots of light bouncing around.. is seeing all the color in it.  You can intelligently deduct some of these color even if they are not real obvious in what you are looking at.   As mentor Stapleton Kearn's says, "it's not WHAT a painting is about, but HOW it is about that makes it art".  So, enhance some of what you see to make a beautiful statement.
In this case, the sunlight is warm, so everything in direct light is going to be a warm  white ( I used cad yellow light and white)
Everything in shadow  is a cooler blue, but, because of the surrounding elements, some of the color of the water, etc. can't help but creep into the shadows, so it's got a bit of warmth in it too. I used a blue with a whisper of an earth red - 
The reflected light is where it really gets fun.  Things on the bottom of the horse, where the sun is hitting the water and then bouncing back up to the horse, will be warm.    Areas of the horse where his form turns upward towards the sky, will have sky color reflected, so you'll see some stronger, purer blues there.

Hope that gives you some ideas to try on your next painting... I'm planning a larger work with this same horse in it . We'll see how that one works out...

Friday, March 30, 2012

73. Saturday on the Plaza

12d16 oil/linen

This is not technically a daily - it took me several days off and on to finish it, but this was a conscious effort to apply some of the things I've been practicing in the smaller works.   I'm still not where I want to be, but at least I am still making an intentional effort to get there...  And really, that's all any of us can do, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

72. Spring Chickens

  1. 8x10 oil/panel
So much glare in our lviing room, so the background is really "glarey" (is that a word?)... Just wanted to keep it loose and pretty fast.... 
I'm hoping we get some little chicks this spring too... Ours will be all brown because they are New Hampshire Reds... 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

71. The Boatman

8x10 oil/panel

Here's something a little different!   I had this photo from somewhere.. it was a really bad, pixelly photo, so blurry that I couldn't even see the guy's eye at all.... had to make all that up, but for some reason, it still
really struck me as something I wanted to paint.  Love the red scarf... so I went for it... using this as an opportunity for quick painterly work, and broad brushstrokes... and some knifework for the background.  My photo doesn't show some of the knife work very clearly, but I was pleased with the overall effect.

And now I am officially out of my 8x10 panels for daily work, and will have to make more.  I have a sheet of masonite that  will need to be primed, marked and then cut into smaller pieces.. but it is so very cold today that I can't do it outside (and the fumes from the oil based primer are too noxious to do inside...)  Later this week it is supposed to return to spring weather, so hopefully I will be able to make some more.. Meanwhile, I have some linen pads of various sizes I can use....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

70. Miniature - Paint Foal

1.5 x 3.5 oil/panel

Yeah, this one is tiny. I found one more frame for miniatures and decided to paint this last one.  I could not, no matter what I did, get a decent photo of it... So, this'll have to do.   This one was hard, mainly because I just don't have the right size brushes to work t his small, and it is on one of the slippery panels....
Here's a size reference for you.

I found that working this tiny requires a different approach.. where I might like to put down thick paint, with looser brushstrokes, these miniatures pretty much call for a tighter approach and thinner paint.  This is the last one for a while I think!!

69. Old Copper Kettle

5x7 oil/panel

So.. i n keeping with my "getting back to the basics" idea of why I started this project and blog, I decided today to try to paint by laying down brushstrokes using careful observation of temperature and value and color, without doing alot of blending.  You can probably see this best in the copper pot and the stoneware jar.   This is still a little different for me, and doesn't come that easy. Additionally, I'm t hinking about edges, and the last thing I wanted to do was paint each petal of those sunflowers with sharp pointy edges, even if that's how they appear to be... 
This was one of those "slippery" panels again, only this time I lightly sanded it before painting.   This left a less desirable surface for some reason.... so not sure what the s olution is....

Monday, March 12, 2012

68. All Boarded Up

All Boarded Up, 5x7

This project was started so I could explore some new ways of putting paint down. It seems to have morphed into more than that, so today I thought I should get back to the "roots" of this and just have fun laying paint down... This was very quickly done, maybe 45 min. (hey, supper was on the stove!) and I was trying out yet another panel from artist friend Catherine. This one has a nice matte surface, but no absorption, and was nice to paint on. Normally, on a building, I'd use a knife, but the smooth panel with no texture doesn't lend itself so much to scraping with a knife... plus the small size.. so I just used brushes.

Painting tip for today.. snow is never white.  Find a mix to be the "local color" of the snow, and then select your color for the shadow and the areas in sunlight.   My local color was a mix of ultramarine and a tiny tiny hint of alizarin.   the shadows were a darker mix of that, and the light is white with a whisper of cad yellow light.
oh, and here's today's painting along with a couple of others... compare size.. my poor little studio is so small and crowded....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

67. Trying out a New Painting Surface

5x7 oil/panel

A friend Catherine sent me a couple of samples of a different kind of masonite panel.  It is coated in a sort of enamel.   I honestly did not think the paint would adhere well, but I wanted to give it a try, as she liked it alot.

It is maybe the slickest surface I've ever painted on, but, incredibly, the paint did adhere.  It is a great surface if you want to do a wipe-off technique, as you can get back to nearly the white ground with no problem... It was actually quite pleasant to paint on.  She sent me a couple more, and I'll give them a try also... 

I do have a few reservations about long-term archival quality.. I will let this one dry and see if the paint has any issues with flaking off.. but it seems so far like it will be a nice option if you do not want to go through the trouble of gessoeing or oil priming your boards.. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know!

Monday, March 5, 2012

66. A Patch of Sun

8x10 oil/panel

Well, this was fun.  And a real exercise in color temperature... and reflected light.. there is alot of light bouncing around and shadowed areas were warmer and lighter than you might think they'd be at first glance... 
I'd love to be soaking up some rays right now too..... 

Friday, March 2, 2012

65. Where'd They Go?

Oil/canvas 4x5

another small one because I was cleaning out some things in my studio today and found this little canvas.
This guy is looking for strays You'd think they'd be easy to see out there... but those bovines are tricky.  They hide.   One might even be behind that bush! 
So I call this, "Where'd They Go?"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

#63 and 64... Two for One Special!

I didn't get to post yesterday's, so I'm just gonna throw 'em both in today's post... I've been working on some miniatures... these are 4x5 and 3x5 respectively....   I'm almost out of panels and will have to make some more pronto, so using up these tiny canvases has given me a pass till I can get some more larger ones ready...
Paint Filly 4x5 oil/canvas

3x5 oil/canvas

Friday, February 24, 2012

62. Rounding Up Strays, miniature

3x4 oil/canvas

Today's is really tiny! about 3x4... It was hard to photograph it without getting all the grain of the canvas showing.. it actually does look better in person.   Here's a size comparison.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

61. Under a Texas Sky

5x5 oil/panel

This is a little one today, only 5 inches square... and dont ever think that smaller is easier!  It's not.. especially when you don't have brushes made for small sizes! I've been working bigger, so I did have a few moments of swearing trying to get my big brushes to work on this tiny panel.   

Anytime there is bright sunlight, you're going to have reflected light. That can be the thing that really pulls a painting together.. In this little study, check the white portions of this longhorn steer's coat.  There is the white in sunlight, then the white in shadow, and then there is also the white that has reflected light from the grass bouncing back up to it. Can you see that?
Try adding some reflected light and color in your next painting!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

60. The Famer and the Rancher

8x10 oil/panel

I really liked the apparent good-natured conversation going on between these two fellas, who seem to 
typify their respective professions so well...  That old stock trailer with its fading, chipping paint was pretty cool too.
I did not do a "drawing" for this... just sketched in with some thin paint the basic placement of the figures, and then tried to find the right color for basic shadow, and basic light, on each object. I'm pretty pleased with the farmer, not quite as much so with the rancher... 

Monday, February 20, 2012

59. Slim Pickin's

8x10 oil/panel

Not much to say.. was just trying to pay close attention to values....
I always wonder when I see cattle pastured in these high desert areas how they survive.. there just isn't much real grazing out there.. but they seem to manage somehow...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

58. Headed Back Down

oil/panel 11x14

I am really tired today, and I finally just pooped out trying to finish this, so I'm calling it done.
There is a lot going in here with light effect, and it required lots of concentration.  My brain is full, can I stop now?

Monday, February 13, 2012

56. Portrait from life, but I forgot to bring my paints....

Well, trying to get back into painting since the surgery.  We had to go to town and there was a free portrait session at the art center,  so I popped in.. had everything ready... except I forgot to bring my paints!  How silly is that?   and it wasn't even brain surgery!
Well, I dug around in my stuff and found one tube of burnt sienna. It's a color I do not use anymore - instead I use Rembrandt's Transparent Red Oxide, which is a much richer, darker, and transparent color perfect for creating lovely darks.   So I squeezed some of that out, and then one of the other painters was kind enough to give me a dab of white.   I don't know what kind of white it was... but it seemed to have no mixing strength at all.  Actually, I felt like I was fighting  with my materials the whole time.  I painted on a paper canvas, which is what I usually use for these studies, not wanting to commit to a more expensive support.. but it just seemed like the paint was soaking right in and it took multiple layers to just get the canvas covered.. Well anyway,
here's what I got for my efforts.. nothing to write home about, but always good practice working from life.
The lovely Chinese gal who posed for us was very sweet.  I never did quite understand her name, as the other gal who organized the session is Korean and speaks only broken English herself.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

55. The Pack Trip, last post for awhile.....

8x10 oil/panel

This one came along rather easily.. not sure why that happens when it happens..  I did not draw this at all other than to scrub in some shapes with a thin wash of transparent paint, and just started placing color, paying close attention to values.  For this one, I used much thicker paint and more  palette knife work for the background, and left that distant row of trees only suggested.  Part of me sure wants to go back and put in more detail, but I'm refraining...

This composition is what is known as a steelyard - or balance - format. The main players of the horse, rider and pack mule front and center, even though larger, are still balanced by the smaller,  distant  rider, by placement, and also by the fact that the distant rider is contrasted against the lighter background.

This will be the last post for awhile... A precious new grandbaby was born a month early, and he's in the NICU, and will be for about a month, they say. I'm flying out to help my daughter, so won't be able to paint while there...  Stay tuned, I'll be back!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

54. The Red Feeder

The Red Feeder 8x10 oil/panel

My artist friend, Don Gray - whose work I admire greatly, recently did a winter scene - he does them so well, that I was inspired to try one myself.  His is better.  But it was fun playing around with the colors of snow and sky on a gray day. And then the one spot of color with the red metal feeder.

We don't get many gray winter days here in New Mexico - when it snows, sure - but so often once the storm has passed, the sun comes out and the sky is clear.   It was sort of nice having the subdued colors and values, no shadows - just the shapes with very slight indication of form here and there..

oh, and here's an update on a previously posted painting. I decided to re-work the background a bit...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


8x10 oil/panel

I did sort of an experiment today. I started this painting and timed myself for 30 min. I wanted to see how much I could get done in that amount of time, and would continuing on improve it greatly.

  At 30 min. I probably could have stopped and had almost as good an effort as what the finish was.  It was just the finessing of edges, and a bit of the background stuff that wasn't done much.   I wish I had taken a photo at that stage, but was just having too much fun painting, so kept on going after taking quick stock of where I was.  

One reason 30 min. was enough time is partly due to the simplicity of the shapes in this painting... and partly due to the way I usually approach something like this.. That is to block in major shapes, put down an average color for shadow, and an average color for light.  Doing that gets the canvas covered, and from there it's just adjusting little colors and values along the way.

Well, it was an interesting little experiment. The funnest (is that a word?) part was getting the fur... soft fur and more chunky fur... all about edges on that...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

52. Cow Pony II

8x10 oil/panel

Another purty horse today... Playing around with some warm/cool lighting options. For some reason, I just can't get a good photo of this today, sorry about the glare...
One of the things I always do is to photograph a painting and put it into grayscale, so I can judge whether the overall values are working.. is there enough light/dark contrast?  Does one value dominate, or are lights and darks too equally distributed?  Those are some of the questions I ask myself.  Here's this one in grayscale.

It is sometimes hard to judge colors for their value (Lightness or darkness).  Warm colors we tend to judge as lighter than they are, and cool colors as darker.  don't know me why, I just know it's true.  With this grayscale you can see that the very lightest thing in the painting is the white "sock" of the horse's front leg.  I would have guessed that the cowboy's hat was equally as light, but as you can see, it isn't!

So, I will probably let this set up a bit and do two things..
lighten the cowboy hat and lighten the sky. I knew that had to be done, but was waiting for it to get a little "tacky" before trying to touch that up.