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.

Monday, January 16, 2012

51. Cow Pony

8x10 oil/linen

Just a nice looking cow pony for today.  Nice to be back working on some small dailies after finishing up one big deadline!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

50. A Little Surprise

16x20 oil/linen

Okay, technically, this is not a daily painting. It's about 2 day's worth -... but I am posting here because, well, I haven't had a chance to paint any small dailies lately because of some deadlines.  And, some of the things I've been working on in paint application I put to use in this little painting.  There's still a little bit of work to be done, but I wanted to leave it sketchy and there's some nice impasto brushwork in there - my bad photo doesn't show alot of it.
I found an old photo with the side of this barn, and knew I wanted to paint it.. love that old lean-to shed with the rusted tin roof, and the rest of it.  I invented the chickens and the little boy entirely, and the little girl is loosely based on another photo....  
I titled it "A Little Surprise"  - that proud mama hen is bringing out a new clutch of chicks for the first time, and the kiddos have just noticed them.  Nothing cuter than baby chicks, except maybe ducklings and puppies. Okay, kittens are pretty cute too.  
Going to be out of pocket for a few days, so no posts... have a lovely weekend everybody!

Monday, January 9, 2012

49, Her Pet Chicken

8x10 oil/panel

Hmmm... sometimes things that seem like they should be straightforward and easy... arent!  And it's usually a problem of seeing the big shapes and values... I had some trouble with this one, and it's certainly not "perfect" now, but I reached my time limit (and then some) so I let it stay as it is....
Maybe not a perfect painting, but who doesn't like a little child holding her pet chicken? (well, perhaps the chicken isn't thrilled - it's hard to tell with them).

By the way, you can always click on the image and it will bring up a much larger version.  You'll see lots of thick paint on this one... my solution for being frustrated and needing to just get it done!

Happy day, everybody!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

48. Green and Red Study

9x12 oil/panel

I had these green apples and they are such a great color, just had to use t hem somehow.   It was fun seeing how the color bounces around in shadows, and reflects off t he white surfaces...I'm back to working quickly, so this was maybe 2 hours, or a little less... 

Here's the set up and the painting.  Yeah, I made my pitcher slightly taller - just wanted to created a more interesting negative shape.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

47. Winter Baby

7.5 x 8 oil/panel

Yeah, I know, it's been more than a few days since I posted... I'm working on some important deadlines and something's gotta give... so the dailies have had to take a back seat. But today, I felt the need to "warm up" and have some fun in the middle of the hard work of finishing some more serious painting. I limited myself to an hour, and this took just under that.

I took the photo of this little Hereford calf when I was out on a run one day.It's usually not a great thing for calves to come in the middle of winter, though it happens. It was a really bitter morning, and I remember thinking this baby must've been cold, but he and mom and the rest of the herd seemed just fine. I think that wooly coat serves him well....