Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Capitol, Anoka

I Come From the Halloween Capitol.....

..... of the World.  That's World.  Not just town, county, state, country or regional area.  The whole bloomin' world.  Our town is proud.  I'm surprised it wasn't the universe.  Being Minnesotan I guess we have limits on 'proud'.

Every year the school they still do this?....dress up in elaborate costumes and parade through the town.  One year my brother and I were two 22 foot white worms made from coils of wire and bedsheets.  Another we were robots....silver cardboard from head to toe.  Our parents were creative.

It was/is also the day of the Pumpkin Bowl where football was/is played with devotion, vigor and in protection of our sacred Halloween rights.  My sister collects memorabilia of Halloween's past from our innocent little town.  I haven't been back in years but without a doubt it hasn't changed much. 

So, every year I do my tribute with a painting or a drawing about the hallowed day.  Here are two from our island pumpkin patch.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

She Wore Her Party Dress, 11x14

She Almost Broke Her Face.

Sitting on the edge of a couch, her hands on the edge of the cushions to prop herself up, head canted and turned to one side and Smiling for several hours.....I was waiting for her face to develop fissures.  In all the time I have done portraits there has never been a model who could broadly smile and keep the same exact pose for hours without even a whimper.  Her name is Kathy.  Super Model.

So it seems I'm on another of my 'kicks' that I periodically go through.  This one is about painting using just three primary colors.  I think I'm trying to get a sense of color compatibility and possibility.  Cad Lemon, Cad Red Medium and Ultramarine Blue in this one.

Most three pigment painters I have seen end up with paintings that are somewhat gray, lacking in vibrancy, in my opinion.  I was looking through my library the other day and pulled out one of Kevin McPherson's books in which he talks about the three or four pigment palette.  His paintings weren't gray.  Zorn's paintings, using an even more limited palette, aren't gray.

So I'm giving the whole thing another look and working on my color vocabulary.         

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back Street Montisi, 11x14

Rain, Sun, Clouds, Wind....

.....It was an afternoon that provided everything.  Marianne and I had wandered around our Italian town looking for an interesting place to paint that was a little protected.  This alley was IT.

I liked the way this little road disappeared around the corner and how a 'local' would suddenly appear, obviously taking the 'short cut'.  They weren't sure what to make of us but they were all friendly.

Since painting all those weather conditions wasn't going to work I had to pick one so whenever the sun peaked out I memorized the light pattern.  It is all just shapes and bit of color but I like how it all goes together.

Every town in Tuscany has it's own charm....and we will be going back in 2015.

Marianne painted that little door peaking out on the right.  I'm going to bug her to get it posted.  It was a nice painting.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

Running Into Fall, 14x18

It was an experiment.

I got some unexpected energy last week.....pneumonia recovery is I wondered what would happen if I painted a piece using only three colors.

There was an old plein air work hanging around that was done on a Montana autumn afternoon while deep in the forest.  It seemed a likely candidate to be put to the test.

In the Tuesday painting class I've been talking about using three primaries (red, blue, yellow), or colors close to primary, as a way to expand color mixing vocabulary.   On pieces I've done before like this the results have been intriguing.   For example, I like to paint in acrylic outdoors using only Thalo blue, Cadmium Yellow and Burnt Sienna.

Below is the original plein air sketch.  I've modified the scale, format and paint application to do the larger piece and I like the result.  Being a bit wider I think it better represents the sense of flow and the bottleneck caused by those two large boulders.

What colors?  Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red Medium and Quinacridone Gold. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Afternoon Sketch, 11x14

There was just enough time.... squeeze in an afternoon painting if I worked fast.  Standing in the garden of the villa I could look out over the hills and fields and even see the next town in the distance.  I didn't know Italy was mountainous and I found it a pleasant surprise to be able to include that peak in the distance.

Simplifying all the fields, trees, shapes and colors was a challenge especially with the in and out changing light.  Like I said, a quick sketch.  It was equally hard to get it to adjust on the computer screen accurately....or at least almost so.

I'm looking forward to another attempt next year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Montisi Nocturne, 11x14

The meals at the villa in Montisi were.......

.....incredibly good.  Thinking I needed a walk before tackling the endless courses of food, I decided to take a short walk.  About a block away I ran into this glowing tower and got a little feverish with a painting attack.

I waited a polite amount of time before bolting from the dinner table and heading back with my paint kit.  The streets are narrow so the only place to stand was on a darkened corner at the top of a stairway....well, my easel was at the top.  I was on the first two steps down looking over the edge of my palette and reaching up to apply paint.  

There was very little light.  I had to remember where the colors were on the palette and mix them as best I could.  What could I actually see on my panel?  Here is an idea.

Really.  Occasionally I could run down the stairs so there was more light on the panel but this was what it looked like most of the time.  The car and background were complete mysteries.

When I got back I was pleasantly surprised by the result.  With very little doctoring up this was what I got.  Reminds me of a couple pieces I did in Mexico in similar circumstances that turned out well also.  Wonder if I should always paint in the dark.....?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Villa Garden, 8x10

'Off the grid' have I been....

.....due to a dance with pneumonia.  I wouldn't recommend it.....but I'm almost 'normal', whatever that means....but  I guess it means I'm interested in painting again.

Anyway, this was the first demo painting I did at the Italy workshop  (plans are afoot already for another next year).  Wanting to do something relatively simple I decided on this.  OK.  To be honest it was the most comfortable seating area in the garden and THEN I decided what I could see to paint.

I taped a loose piece of linen to a board, toned it with some burnt sienna and talked my way through the stages.  It's a quick little piece but I like the way the colors came together.

Here is a pic one of the other painters posted on Facebook about a week ago.  I'm taking the tape off just prior to final touch-up....can't judge it as well with all that blue tape so the refinement takes place with it off.

By the way, my Fall 2014 painting classes begin this next Tuesday from 9:30 to 1:30 followed by open studio time.  Open to oil, acrylic, gouache, casein or pastel.  There are a couple of spots still available if you can make it.