Monday, April 21, 2014

New Edition of Sketching Book


Finally!   I Finished It.....

....and the printer delivered it this morning.  The updated version of my book Value Sketching With Markers, A Guide for Turning the Visual World into Artistic Ideas is back on the market. 

This book shows you how to use simple markers to find compositional possibilities for your paintings, prints, or just for your own amusement.  It's easy and there are very few tools you need to carry around with you. 

Best of all, markers with gray tones of 30%, 60% and 80% (or 70% and 90%) encourage you to move values one direction or another, simplifying your visual statements.

'In art, the hardest skill to learn is to be simple.'   Sergei Bongart

Click on the Page link above to find out how to order.  The price, unfortunately, will have to go up a few dollars on May 1st, 2014.  Right now I have it at the old price but will have to raise it by the end of the month.

Keep Drawing!!

Just ONE marker makes form and dimension!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Portraits Three




The faster I go....

....the more in the dust I get.  I'll never post everything, so here is a group of portraits done in the last couple of months, in an effort to get more of it out.

I decided to spend some time with profiles because they are a hit or miss kind of thing for me lately.  There isn't much room for error. 

'Red Beret', 12x16 was of a friend whose likeness I have always had trouble with, this one included.  Still, I like it as a painting.  I used Raw Umber, Cad Red and Yellow Ochre.   Rim lighting.


'No Wrong Notes', 11x14 is the daughter of another painter.  Get this.  She also races sailboats, is a computer programmer and a couple of other things I was too blown away about to remember.  She is sailing solo from Seattle to Hawaii just to be in a competition.....and then sail back.  My usual split primary palette.


'Daily Dress' 18x24, is of a woman living north of here who has decided to dress like someone in the early 1900's.  She has done it for the last ten years.  Her corset has given her the tiniest waist.  The hat is from the 1870's but the other clothes she makes.  She speaks frequently to groups who want to know about period dress.....and to others who wonder where her internal organs have gone.   Split primary palette again.  Another backlit scene that affords those wonderfully colorful shadows.   When she first took this pose she had a defiant kind of stance which as the session went on became much more relaxed.....I'm glad I was able to keep the 'attitude' in this one.




Friday, April 4, 2014

A Safe Rest, 18x20


Envy....

.....is on my mind and in my heart.  Ever since I realized the Plein Air Convention was in progress down in California I've been wishing I were there.  Not enough, however, to actually spend the time and money to go to it.  But the desire is building.  Maybe next year. 

The scene is the California coast near the convention area so at least I'm there in spirit.  This is from another photo lent to me by Tim Deibler and used to create the painting.  Lots of interpretation going on here.  I think I'm making some progress on this paint from photos thing.  Still, I'd rather be there, standing on those rocks.

Here is another one from photo.  It was a quick 30 minute one and, since I'll be gone a week, maybe the last posted until I get back.  Remember that Spring Training for Painters begins on the 15th.




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Snow Fields Summer, 18x20


It's the colors in the shadows.....

.....that most intrigue me.  Back lit things appear to exude more life.  The shadow in the mountain and foreground, even though darker, have more luminosity to them.

The scientific reason is that, having little or no white pigment, they have greater transparency and the underlying board, like in watercolor, reflects through the paint.  In the sunlit areas opacity from the pigments, white especially, traps the light and prevents that 'see-into' effect.

If you look at natures shadows, from a face to a forest, they look like they have transparency about them.  Rembrandt, even with his limited palette, played the transparent/opaque thing to the hilt.

I think I'm getting better at this 'paint from photos' thing.  When glancing at the photograph I find myself continually asking 'what would I see if I were really standing there'?  You know, breeze in the air, sun on the face....bugs on the arms.   It helps.
This photo source was generously loaned to me by Tim Deibler.

'Spring Training for Painters' begins April 15th!  I'm planning on having fun!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Orchestration, 12x16


Ken Auster's words rang in my head.....

.....while I was wandering around the Winslow Art Center during my painting class.  Ken is an intriguing and talented painter from Laguna Beach who said 'good painters paint what they know, not what they see.  What you see is just resource material'.  His website is HERE.

Having dealt with the 'am I a camera or an artist' syndrome myself, I wanted a way to demonstrate for the next week's class what orchestrating a painting could mean.  So, while the class was doing other things, I painted this one when they weren't looking.

I had this panel with me that, for some unknown reason, I had toned green....but it was all I had.  In looking at the still life setup....and this is a picture that doesn't describe the side lighting....the white coffee cup and the cloth around it was by far the most strongly lit area.  That's not where I wanted a viewers eye to go.

Here is the sequence.....remember the photo of the setup is not true.



Sketchy drawing just to place shapes.

Beginning color block in.


Just before 'going for the finish'.

From here I threw in a few lighter portions and called it done.  The cup now takes the role of supporting actor.  The 'Lady Gaga' flowers lure your attention.

My workshop in Italy, Simplifying the Tuscan Landscape: Drawing and Painting, has been officially announced HERE.   Susan Ogilvie is also teaching pastels there a week earlier.  The place is spectacular.

  Also, my workshop in Spring Training for Painters, begins on April 15th....so come get your painting arm and eyes in shape for the summer season.  Find out about that one HERE.

Keep painting.  Summer is coming.....really!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Four in One,18x24


Tim Deibler.....

.....came to town to teach a workshop and needed a car.  We worked out a deal where I could sit in on part of his workshop as an exchange for some wheels.  Seemed like a good idea to me, so for part of his time here I put myself over in the corner of the studio and just painted.

When I was learning how to paint outdoors I used to take a panel and tape it off into squares similar to this.  I tried to get 8 or 12 little areas filled in a day.  When the tape got removed they were self framing little snapshots of what I had gotten done.  It made for easy comparisons and reflection on what I could have done better.

These rectangles are larger, as this is an 18x24 panel.  Here are some closer views:



Tim is a very good painter and teacher.  If you happen to be one of his regular students you are extremely lucky.  If you aren't in his area he has some well done videos on his website and another coming out soon, plus a book.  All the videos are good but my favorite is 'Finding Geometric Shapes in the Landscape'.  Go to his WEBSITE and check out some wonderful paintings.

I'll post some more in a day or so.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Switch, 7x8


Artists know.....

.....when 'the switch' happens.  The more you do art the easier it is to get to that 'switch' when the right 'spatial artistic' side naturally takes over from the left 'rational symbolic' side of our brains.....the one that's usually in control.

Here it went the other way.

There I was having a peaceful time sitting in our living room putting pen to paper, letting the shape relationships easily seen by my brain's right side just take over and guide where the line went.  It was nice just floating along with those lines and shapes.....and..... 

Then the phone rang.  And it 'picked up' the call.  And 'they' left a message.  Can you see where that happened?  Where my left side listened to the call and, as long as it was in control, let my line go where it 'should' based on its bent toward symbolism. 

Phone hangs up.  Right side of the brain gets control again and back we go to finish the drawing....except for that wonky lampshade.

I still had fun....and the toned markers again did their magic.

Tentative announcement:  We are putting together a week long workshop in Montisi, Italy, an old hill town, for this Fall.  I'll be teaching Marker Drawing and Painting and pizza eating.  I may have to practice that last one.  This promises to be fun.  Stay tuned for details.....or write me an email if you want to be on the list for the actual announcement.

Ciao.  (I'm practicing)



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ragland 5, 30x36


Neil Young....

.....had his boat, Ragland, moored in Eagle Harbor for a year or so while he was selling it.  During that time I painted it plein air at least four times.  I thought the island should buy it just for it's ambiance, especially since long gone harbor businesses used to build boats like this by the score. 

I liked the paintings I did which you can see Here (at a distance), Here (similar to this view) and Here (another at a distance) and this one, which I never posted:


My paintings, although I enjoy them, never quite matched my impression of what it was like to stand out there as the sun set.....so I decided to do another in the studio that spoke more to the experience.  Thus, Ragland 5.

On a totally different note.....Exquisite Corpse.....
......I was out having lunch with the Balcomb boys the other day.  Put a paper covering on a table with three artists, a photographer, a musician and a painter, and what you get is a table full of drawings, doodles and ideas.

Somewhere during our meal we began adding on to one another's drawings and the musician asked me if I had heard of 'Exquisite Corpse'.  I had no clue.  It began, as much as anyone knows, as a parlor word game where each person added on to a sentence.  Then it became add on written stories and, eventually, even the surrealists used it to explore visual ideas.

Then, this morning, I ran across a recently posted example of it on a grand scale.  Three well known excellent watercolorists paint together on a huge piece of paper to create a spectacular work.  Joseph Zbukvic, Alvaro Castagent and Herman Pekel.....all well known artists.  It's 30 minutes long but worth your time: HERE    Enjoy this one!   You won't believe the size....



Monday, March 3, 2014

Morning Painting, 30x30


So, Here Is How It Goes.....

Wake up very early last Thursday.  Check.
Answer email.  Check.
Go buy some flowers.  Check.
Figure a still life set up and gather materials.  Check.
Drive to Studio 12 and set up before others arrive.  Check.
Begin Painting about 9:45.  Check.
Don't stop.  Check.
Paint until 1:00.  Check.
Drive Gail to an appointment.  Check.
Grab some quick dinner.  Check.
Ride bicycle to clay studio.  Check.
Spend three hours sculpting a ridiculous caricature.  Check.
Ride bike home.  Check.
Pet Noelle, Hug Gail.  Check.
Fall into bed.  Check.
Don't 'grow up' (whatever that means).  Check.

Tough work but someone has to do it.......


Thursday, February 20, 2014

No. 8 Venterol, 11x14


Excuses.....

.....for not following our hearts, for not doing what we love, for abandoning our dreams....are plentiful.  'No. 8 Venterol' is a case in point.  For years I didn't paint from photos, believing that I could only paint well from standing in front of a thing....but, where I live, that meant for half of the year I was very limited in my choices.   Not using photos was just one of those excuses.

Now, before you assume I think photos are just fine as sources for paintings, I still believe that the best way to do it is from life.  Only the true colors and values can be found that way.  But.  If combined with lots of plein air experience and awareness of what photos distort it can be rewarding.....but only a few paintings a year come that way from me.

And so that excuse goes out the window.  This painting is from a photo....but one that first became sketches and color studies before brush ever met canvas.  I especially like the way the wall texture came out.

Will Terrell is a cartoonist who puts out YouTube videos so you can watch him work.  The best part, however, is that he talks as he sketches and inks up his stuff.  His words apply to many things in life.  Here is video of him working on one of his field sketches back in the studio......and he talks about those pesky 'Excuses'.  I often like to sit back for 20 minutes and watch him work and listen to him talk.

About ten years ago Will was told repeatedly that he shouldn't be a cartoonist or an artist because he 'just didn't have the stuff'.  He was told his work was horrible and to find a different line of work.  But now he has been a full time, family supporting cartoonist with a YouTube following of around 12,000.  He is worth listening to......besides, he has a great laugh.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Not The Demo, 18x24


The Intention was.....

.....to demonstrate an initial block-in of a painting and stop....just a large amorphous transparent shadow shape.  I did that and hopefully made the point but, while I was wandering around talking to people, I'd stop and take a few strokes at it.  It was just a pot of flowers stuck in a grey green corner and not really much to work with.  Seemed like a good challenge.

By the time class was over this is what I had which, considering the subject, isn't so bad.  It will have a new owner by tomorrow. 



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Seahawks Playoff and Primary Colors

It was GAME DAY....

.....and I had to go to Seattle....so I left on the first ferry I could, figuring I'd miss most of the fans heading to the game.  Wrong.  The boat was wacko with yelling fans...and they still had six hours until the game.

With a few minutes to kill, I sat in the terminal and drew what was in front of me, a guy dressed in green tights and a Hawks jersey waiting in line with one of the K-9 cops.  Getting a Subway at some early hour.....

And here is another marker drawing done just before the painting I posted recently.  You can compare the drawing to the painting and see where I decided to change values to make the painting more readable.
One is in warm gray tones and the other in cool gray.  I once tried mixing the two figuring that was a great idea....but later decided it wasn't.  Sticking with either a warm or cool seems to work the best.  You try.  Maybe you can pull it off.

Thanks for looking.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Dinner Guests, 18x24


I suspect they knew.....

......that bringing beautiful lilies to dinner might have ended this way.  How could it not?  So logical a couple of days later to gather some friends together and have a inspiring painting party. 

I figured when I started that the painting would be a bust.  Lilies aren't the easiest thing for me to paint....but are they any more difficult than anything else?  After all, it's just 'big shapes and doodads'......which is what I think I'll call my new blog (more on that later).  It's just that there are so many doodads.....

Thanks for the flowers 'you all'.  I hope I did them some justice.

Painting class begins on January 28th and is filling up.  Marker drawing workshop is on February 1st and has a couple of spots still open.  Come.  Sign up.  Help keep me out of mischief....






Sunday, January 5, 2014

Primary Colors, 16x20


It Was Studio Clean Up Day.....

.....until Rob Weiss called and suggested I join him down the road to paint ....so that was my first new year resolution to go by the wayside, but for a good cause.  I had been looking at this scene every day for the last few months, wanting to give it a try but not realizing the chairs were there until I got out of the car.

(By the way, is anyone else having problems uploading photos and having them remain unaltered?  I've done three different versions of this photo, adjusting it each time, and still can't get it to look like it really does.  It's close but not as vibrant as either the painting or my adjusted photos.  The last post was over saturated.  What gives, Blogger?)

Anyway,  it was a better start to the new year than having a clean studio.  By the way, Rob has been doing some wonderful paintings lately and has a show at the Treehouse Cafe right now as well as Alki Arts.  His blog is HERE

Oil Painting classes begin again later this month at the Winslow Art Center.  The Marker Drawing workshop on Feb 1st is filling up.  Come join us for either one.  We have a lot of fun and even learn a bit now and then.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Neck and Neck, 10x12


"Time flies when you're having fun"......

From that I can only conclude that this past year I have been having a blast of a good time.  I'm in for that and more.  Good to have that feedback.  (Here's a study on it!)

Going through my end of the year 'toss 'em out' party I've been running across paintings I never got around to posting.  This is from one of my favorite places, Rockland, Maine, home of the Wyeth Museum, great fish and chips, thousands of boats and pretty nice people.  To be fair, I need to also throw in Camden, Rockport and about a hundred other little coastal towns.  Beautiful places.

This is the last post of 2013....  It was painted on a September evening in the company of Dan Corey.  He has a nice video on his blog of painting a snowman.  Worth a watch.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Best to You, 16x20

  

Wherever you are....

....in this tiny world, may life be kind and generous to you and your family.  While we may seem far away from each other, a little money and a little time is all it would take for us to be face to face, greeting one another.  So I greet you now and hope the best and most peaceful fulfilling times for us all.




Friday, December 20, 2013

Emma, 18x24


Demonstration paintings....

...are surprisingly fun to do.  Painting 'Emma' was stressful, time and performance pressured and immersing, but because she was such a great first time model we both had a good time.  She was so helpful and attentive I'm giving her the painting.

I had volunteered to do a demo for my class thinking that, because it was mostly interpreting and painting landscapes from photographic reference, that they would like to see me do a landscape....or at least a still life.  But 'portrait' was the vote.

The people there took photos of the process and perhaps if some one of them could forward a few pics of the process I'll post them later.  In lieu of that, here is a closeup.  The demo took a bit more than two hours but that included model breaks and a bit of talking and explaining.

 
Painting classes begin again the last week of January at the Winslow Art Center.  I'll also be teaching a Marker Workshop in early February....plus some other courses.  Come join us....we have a lot of fun.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Emile Gruppe Is My Friend


We all have our 'turning points'....

....and one of mine was reading the book 'Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green'.  That was awhile ago but I think you can still find it on Amazon.  Worth your time.

Reading that book and its insights on color led me eventually to Emile Gruppe's books and paintings.  Most of his life he used a simple palette of colors consisting of a warm and cool version of each of the primaries....plus orange.  Seven colors.  Simple.

So for the last many years that's pretty much all I've used.  Occasionally I'll cycle in some different hues to see what they do or I'll squeeze out a color that might work for a particular painting...but the foundation is always that simple Gruppe palette.

With a warm and a cool of each primary it takes little effort to get nice color vibrations going.  In 'Island Farm' it is easy to find warm and cool yellows, reds and blues sitting next to each other and creating the kind of visual stimulus that keeps a viewing eye interested.

Of course it takes more than just color to make a good painting but fluid and related color mixing sure helps.

From that limited palette I can make most any hue but I do add some other colors just to play and see what they will do.  Currently I'm experimenting with Burnt Carmine and Kings Blue Light.  The Burnt Carmine is getting a workout but the KBL is pretty much sitting there and drying out.

Oh.  My palette?  Cadmium Lemon Yellow,  Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Red Light, Quinacridone Red, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Thalo Blue.  Occasional hues: Raw Umber, Ivory Black, Thalo Green, Yellow Ochre Light.

The Roby-King Miniature Show begins tonight during the Friday Artwalk.  I'll be there.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Blakely Breakwater, 8x10


Blakely Harbor, Bainbridge Island....

....was once the site of the largest sawmill in the world, and the largest town on the island.  The harbor was lined with boardwalks and filled with tall masted sailing vessels of all types.  Now it is a sleepy place with a few homes along the edges.

Walking in through the woods this is what you see.  I don't know if it is really a 'breakwater' or just the foundation from an old bridge that connected the two sides of the harbor....or maybe something else.

What my eyes saw was all I needed to know about it when I decided to stop and paint.  Just cool and warm shapes, a few reflections and the occasional Fall leaf floating on the surface.  It took me a while to see the right color for the water behind the rocks.  My 'head' said it was dark green or blue but finally my eyes opened up to the deep reddish coloration.  The painting wasn't successful until I figured that out and stopped being a 'timid painter'.

Noelle was finally happy too as she thought I had taken 'waaay tooo looong' to paint this.  Those are her words, not mine.  In one small spot there are only so many things a dog can smell.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bloedel Pathway, 11x14


The Bloedel Reserve...

....is one of those Northwest treasures.  I call it the Downton Abbey of Bainbridge.  Once a private estate it has been generously preserved as a botanical and wildlife reserve open to the public.

Since I just broke for a membership you might be seeing a few paintings from there in the near future.  This was done about a week ago.  It is deep in the forest and I was initially interested in the little waterway....but just after beginning the sun found its way through and everything else became secondary.  I jotted down the color notes just in that area and was glad I did as within ten minutes it was gone.  The rest of the painting followed that lead. 

I'm happy with it as I think the eye moves around the painting the way it felt when I was standing there and the colors are interesting.  I'm also playing a bit with atmospheric perspective.  It shows up in the subdued background.  You can see the painting at the miniature show at Roby-King Gallery during the month of December.