Tuesday, July 15, 2014

John Deere, 24x24

When I was two I drove my first tractor....

....and I've loved them ever since.  My grandfather used to drive his around the orange groves visiting his Mexican neighbors and friends with me on his lap.  Those memories are vivid.

This one has sat in a Roslyn, WA field for at least the last 4 years or more.  It began as a field study posted below.  The buildings, the tractor and the bank in back weren't exactly canted as much as you see here but it seemed to work better with the raking shadows of those trees .....that you only see the shadows of.

Delivering about a dozen paintings tomorrow to the Roslyn Fest being held this weekend.  And after delivery we will find a cool mountain place and.....get this.....paint.

There is one spot open for the trip to Italy.  It's not too late to be adventurous and have a blast painting and drawing.....or eating and sleeping, take your pick.  Winslow Art Center has all the details.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Claudia's Roses, 14x18

Just outside of....

....her studio, fabulous painter Claudia McKinstry, has a most wonderful garden.  She is known for her extreme blowups of flowers and plants in which every nuance of color is  expressed in a big way.  She was working on a triptych that must have been 4 x 8 feet of lilies.  I don't know how long they take her to do.

Well, mine aren't as big or as nuanced or as impressive, but I am a bit faster.  This one took about ninety minutes to do standing in her yard, plus another fifteen back in the studio.  As I was finishing Claudia showed up with a bowl of home made rhubarb desert.  Little does she know that when you feed an artist they tend to return.  A bit like a stray dog.

Carrie Goller, another talented artist, took this shot of Mick and me....'tandem painting' someone called it..... using our Soltek modifications.

Villa Maddalena is where we will be staying in Italy.  Go HERE to their site and click on 'Photo Gallery' for a photo tour of the place.  Good food, grape terrace, a pool......  I think with my strong resolve and courage I will be able to survive it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pond Reflections, 12x16

Wednesday was sunny....

....so Mick, Linda and I headed back to the same spot we had painted the other day when it was heavy overcast.  Soon Rob Weiss surprised us showing up to paint the Japanese bridge again....and he did an excellent job but hasn't posted it yet.

The effect of sunlight changed the appearance of everything.  Color was bouncing all over and the light direction and shadows changed quickly.  It meant painting fast.

I wanted to see what the differences would be so I did a variation of 'Reflecting Magenta', posted a few days ago.  Gone was the reflected sky and the dull orange bank.  In the sun the magenta flowers caught a reddish glow.  A fun piece to paint but actually more difficult to orchestrate the values and colors.  I expected it to be easier.

This next week I think I need to go find some boats or large machinery....maybe some urban scenes.  Stay tuned.  I'll be back.

Ciao!  (I have to stay in practice for this Italy gig.)   

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Birch Forest Path, 12x16

The Birch Forest at.....

....the Bloedel Reserve was new to me.  There must be around twenty trees there growing out of the laurel hedges, not exactly my conception of 'forest' but I was game.

After I began composing, that pie slice of orange like path just had to be an important shape and a nice horizontal part.  I picked up the color in the branches of the trees....the warmth was there but got pushed just a touch.

I like the liveliness of the brushwork and the colors in the trees.  In my opinion, the best birch tree painters I've seen are Colin Page and Sonny Apinchapong.  When I see their birch paintings I'm tempted to take up golf.

Not really.

Montisi, Italy just got some award for best undiscovered hill town or something like that.  I'll find out and post more about it tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Japanese Maple, 12x16

Being innately lazy.....

.....it was easier the other day just to move a few feet to find something else that caught my eye.  After all, I was in a place of visual wealth.

The flowering tree in the upper right was the subject of the post the other day, 'Reflecting Magenta', so you can see how close I was.  I was most attracted to that maple and the little jutting of shore in front of it..... so I subdued everything else slightly to give it a bigger role on the stage.

Originally I put in the reflected sky that would have been seen along the bottom but it did nothing for the painting but be a visual distraction.  I'm currently puzzling why it worked in the other one but wouldn't work in this one.

I have heard that there is only one room left on the Italy trip so if you are interested you had better jump on it now.  Contact Martha at the Winslow Art Center....the phone number is on the page.

Ciao.  Man, I am getting so good with Italian....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Snowballs and Poppies, 12x12

Snowballs in Spring....

....are one of those blossoms I always look forward to.  They are the consolation prize for just missing the lilac season.  They were all over Roslyn, WA but this one had real character....and obviously some survival skills.

I should have taken a before and after shot; that background hill was actually higher and, at first, I painted it that way leaving no room for a sky.  In terms of composition it wasn't the best so I lowered it and let a little of the morning spill in.  Much better.

It was hot.  How hot?  Hot enough that my white kept sliding down off the palette.  Had to catch it several times before it cascaded onto my shoes.

That's why my next stop was the shade of a big Ponderosa pine and a jug of water.

 I suffered for my art.

Quote of the day:

"Understate, overstate but NEVER tell the truth."
                                                           Charles Movalli

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Reflecting Magenta, 11x14

On an overcast day......

.....colors catching a little of the bright sky can appear very intense. The effect is enhanced by the subdued shadowed hues around them.  It was true the other day at the Bloedel Reserve and the constant unchanging light made it easier to study the effect.

The sky reflecting at the bottom of the painting is an idea I stole from Monet.  Those reflections were there but another time I might have overlooked them had I not been looking at some of his waterlily paintings the other day and realized what he had done.  It is a nice effect but that sky value has to be just right not to overwhelm the rest of the painting.

I like this piece.  It makes me feel calm yet intrigued.

For those who asked about the gel, I occasionally use Gamblin's new solvent free gel to improve paint handling and reduce drying time.

The idea of going to Italy is exciting me.  Montisi is in the hill town area of Sienna.  Small twisty roads, farms, streams all topped off by these old narrow streeted villages.  If you are interested in going you can find out more HERE.   Use Google Earth to actually see Montisi closeup.

Friday, June 6, 2014

June In The Hollow, 12x16

Roslyn, Washington....

....is an old mining town nestled in a valley on the other side of the Cascade Range.  The aging farms and steep roofed buildings (to keep off the winter snows) make it a unique place.  It has some good beer too.

This old cottonwood was once a large tree that got whacked off by storm or someone's hand but the new shoots are now making multiple new trees....and somewhere in there is an old apple. 

In keeping with my latest fanaticism, it was painted without any solvent to clean brushes or dilute paint.  Just stuff right out of the tube on a dirty brush, occasionally mixed with a little of Gamblin's new odorless gel medium.  I let Rob Weiss and Mick Davidson try some of the gel and got two more converts.

I'll post some from the Bloedel Reserve tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

One Red Oar, 11x14

Sittin' on the dock in the bay.....

....a few years ago and I came up with this.  A friend thought I should post it so here it is.  I'm not sure why it never made it to the blog.

I like the strong craggy uprights of the pilings with their various colorings and the walkway jutting out of the picture plane....that actually sucks my eye into the painting and to the boat.  I think it was half filled with water and had been there more than a few nights. 

Painted today with my friends Mick Davidson and Rob Weiss at the Bloedel Reserve.  Had a great time.  Once I decide which ones passed the grade I'll post them.

Italy is a GO.  Too bad you aren't coming.... oh, maybe you are!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

David's Woodlot, 12x16

'That's a fanciful painting....'

.....said David, but it looked about right to me... and I had some fun painting it.  As it was mostly in shade I did have to push some colors a bit to get a good read....but 'fanciful', David?  Really?

OK.  Guilty as charged.  It's my job.

This is another I tried to paint without any medium or solvent but it was on a rough canvas, causing me to have to spend too much time and energy just getting enough paint on to be able to move it around.  I don't recommend that kind of surface....but on a smooth canvas or linen it works very well.  The last post was over an old painting which is the best.

I'm beginning to get jazzed about painting and drawing in Montisi, Italy when I take a group there in August/September.  It will be a far cry from David's pile of wood.  Come along.  We'll have a ball.  David is.

Winslow Art Center has the details.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yin and Yang, 12x12

Little Red Sparkles.....

.....would catch my eye each time I drove past.  It was only a matter of time before another pretty face lured me in.  A whole bevy of pretty faces.

Yin and Yang.  The balance of one thing against another.  Not just the red against the green but also the trees against the sky, the roses against the trees, the foliage against the lighter water, the shadow against the light.......plus soft edges against hard, detail confronting broad shape, sharp line yielding to amorphous form ....and more. 

It's how a painter thinks.  At least it's how this painter thinks.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Gig Harbor Drawings

This rainy Friday morning.....

.....I found myself in Gig Harbor, a beautiful working harbor about an hour away.  Since the Marker Workshop is tomorrow I thought it would be a good opportunity to work on my chops.

My friends found a boat shed with an open end that we could draw from and I did two from there.....
.....and another from inside the wooden boat shop.  I find it so relaxing to do these but I have to admit that the first pen mark on a fresh expanse of white paper is always with some trepidation that it might not turn out.  Fortunately, I don't think that's a reason not to try....it's only paper.

This is the kind of thing we will be doing on the trip to Montisi, Italy....at least when we aren't smearing paint.   Come join us.  Visit the Winslow Art Center site for details.
Just keep drawing......

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Beach Rose, 12x12

Cannery Cove....

....was on the way home from the grocer store and I figured I had time to do a drawing or two before the rain came in.....but when I got there these wild roses reached out and seduced me to paint them.  I always fall for a pretty face.

It took more time than a drawing and when I quit after 45 minutes the drops were just beginning... but I had a good time doing it.  I changed a couple things when I got home: the hue of the water became bluer and the bush to the right became a little darker, both done to help the foreground pull closer and be better delineated.

Like the last one, this is a painting done with no solvent.  It's a great freedom not to have to use it, even for brush cleaning.  While I dirty more brushes, I also use fewer paper towels and the paint is more fun to move around.  Who knew....

There is an absolutely full Marker Workshop next weekend that I am looking forward to.  It's a terrific way to draw and experiment with your art.  Maybe between now and then I can post a few drawings.   Be well.  Keep drawing....

Friday, May 16, 2014

Montisi, Italy

What is it about doing art....

....in another country?  How do these places let us look at the world with a fresh eye, not only when there but for long after coming home?  I've done painting and drawing in England, China, Hong Kong (before it was China), Mexico, France, Jamaica, Canada....and if I keep typing I'll likely remember other places.

Each time I sense I've grown as a person and an artist, and that feeling hangs with me.  It's a feeling of greater personal depth, of appreciation of another culture, of finding that no matter where I go that I like the people, their food and their customs.  My fears are their fears, my joys are their joys, my family is their family....it's just the little 'don't matter a bit' things that are different.

 I'm writing to invite you to paint and draw with me in one of the more unique places in the world, a very old hill town in Italy.  I don't know all of its long history but I do know that 'long' is the correct term, that it has suffered the wages of war over and over and rebuilt itself each time.  In WWII it was almost leveled, the population decimated, becoming close to a ghost town.  Yet here it is again redefining itself as a place for the arts and artists.  How could I not want to go and experience that kind of persistent spirit.  It must breath out of the bricks and stone.

Here are some more pictures and, if you are interested, you can go the Winslow Art Center website and investigate further.  Martha Jordan would be happy to answer any of your questions by mail, email or phone.  Ciao! (see how good I'm getting?) 

Most of these photos were taken by one of Martha's daughters who drove over to Montisi for the day.  Seeing these makes me just want to sink into the flavor of this place.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nancy's Chickens, 12x16

When the sun shines in the Pacific Northwest.....

.....and someone invites you over to paint, is there really a choice?  So off I went to paint with Nancy and Gigi.  Today was obviously an adventure into how many greens I could think up.  Perhaps I had a few more in the quiver but this went through a lot of them.

This was also an adventure into painting without solvent or brush cleaner of any kind.  Usually I thin the paint slightly to mass in the major shapes but I thought I would try doing without any at all, even for cleaning, to see the result.  It took about 6 brushes but that's not too many more than I usually use.

I read on a blog recently, Lori Putnam's I believe, that she travels with just Gamblin's Non Solvent-based Gel Medium and uses that for brush cleaning.  After today's painting I can see how that is easily possible.

According to the grape vine people are signing up for the Italy trip.  What a great time that will be.  Tomorrow I'm going to post some pics of the town and area and you will see what an enticing place it is.  Of course, you could also go to the website of the Winslow Art Center and scroll through yourself.


Oh Wait!
Here are some progress shots that my friend Nancy took. 
That's Bella at my feet.

Look closely and you can see the unopened can of solvent.

 Ciao....again.....I think my Italian is getting better.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spring Runoff, One and Two

Field Version and Studio Version.....

......can you tell which is which?  The one from the field is 12"x12" and was painted standing on the only vantage point I could get, a slanted rock that I was half falling off of.  The studio version is 20"x20" and was painted from the study in my friend Tannis's home studio on a day that was too wet to be outside.

I like them both and found the grays intriguing to mix.....but there are parts of each I like better than the same parts on the other.  This art thing drives me crazy.....it's so elusive and complex.

But maybe that's why we keep trying.  I talked to an artist friend recently who had decided to quit, hang up the brushes, throw in the paper towels.  We didn't get through even one cup of coffee before he realized even quitting was a lost cause.  The art thing finds you, you don't find it.  He could no more quit than stop breathing.

Here is the other one.....the field study.  Which do you like better?  Tell me, I'd like to know.

The energy is building for the Painting and Drawing Trip to Tuscany!  The hill town we are going to looks to be a superb place to do art.  Martha at the Winslow Art Center can answer all your questions.  Don't miss this!  Imagine painting for a while, relaxing for a while, eating Italian food for a while......sounds good to me. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

No Trespassing, Rail Yard!

Since I got kicked off.....

.....I thought it deserved a drawing.   "Whhadya tink yoo doin'?", he asked, "get off our prop'ty!"  It's OK, I didn't mind.  He had a job to do and keep....and likely a family to feed.  I just thought it was funny that he referred to it as property he was part owner of.   I'm not sure the railroad company would have agreed or he'd be sharing the profits.

Here is the drawing that caused the ruckus....drawn from my vantage point sitting in the street.  He said they didn't own the city streets but he was reluctant to admit it.

You can meet the most interesting people doing art.....

The Marker Workshop on May 24th is already filling up so if you have an interest call Martha at the Winslow Art Center.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

'Net Shed'

The Historic Net Sheds....

......of Gig Harbor were unknown to me until last night.  Scheduled to do a Marker Drawing presentation for the Peninsula Art League I had just enough time before to spin down to the harbor and do a drawing of one.  There are seventeen of these interesting structures and most are still in use.

Working harbors are rare in this area, so this one has me excited to return with some paint and canvas to explore the area.  Usually I have to travel out of state to find this sort of thing.  If any of you know of working harbors in the area I've missed, let me know.

The Peninsula Art League members are gracious hosts.  They evidently have art demonstrations regularly at their meetings and it's open to the public.  Last month they had Ned Mueller.

My next Sketching With Valued Markers Workshop is on May 24th at the Winslow Art Center.  Find out more HERE.  Take the one day workshop and get up to speed for some good summer sketching.

Plans for the Italy Drawing and Painting Workshop continue to evolve and you can sign up or get more info HEREMontisi is a small, undiscovered by the tour buses, Tuscany hill town with a strong artistic community.  Good food, good company, drawing and painting sources galore.....I'm looking forward to taking a small group there.

Go do a drawing....send me a picture!

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.