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.... 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..... 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.... 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!