Friday, December 11, 2015

Lost at the Dahlia Farm....

Lost At the Dahlia Farm, 10x12

October Dahlias, 11x14
Painting on a Dahlia Farm.....
......doesn't really require much movement.  Standing in one spot will give you any number of ideas for paintings.

I was at a workshop with the immensely talented Colin Page (HERE) and back at a spot I had been to in 2013.  That was another workshop of his and, when he came around to look at our paintings, he looked at mine and said, 'I have only one thing to say to you....think "lyrical".'  Then he smiled mischievously and walked away.

For two years I have been pondering what he meant.  Sometimes I got a bit of a glimpse of a meaning but no clear, of course, I bugged him about it this time.   When I came away from this workshop I actually think I got closer but don't think I can yet put it into words.  I think it has to do with what a writer does when being poetic.  With words it is a unique and creative linking of word meanings, sounds and literary picture making.  In painting it is the same thing but using design,shape, tone and color to invite people into your pictorial world.

I might be getting closer.  Like getting lost at a dahlia farm....

Thanks for reading.  


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Piggy Blue, 10x12 and How Oils Dry

Trapped inside the day that nine feet of rain came down......
...... (Yes, that's correct.), we painted still life.

Because I was leaving Maine in a few days I switched to Gamblin's Fast Matte pigments so my paintings would be dry in time to be packed.  I don't think I got the hang of using FM paint.  After two paintings I abandoned trying because, even though they got tacky while I was painting them, in three days they still weren't dry enough to pack.  Plus they didn't exactly 'flow' like real oil paint.

This was my second attempt using them and was better than the first, which I may still post someday.  I confess that I did sneak in a little non-FM Quinacridone Red into this one  for that pinkish cloth.

Flying back I was thinking about a person who has taken several classes with me and is a retired chemical engineer.  Who better to ask about what happens when paint 'dries'?

His name is Chuck Witham and he spent some time writing up the following short description of what happens to paint on the way to being solid and ready for varnish.  At my request this is a simplified version for non-techie consumption.  Chuck said he could have gone into much more depth of how and why certain pigments dry faster than others or all the chemical changes that occur within the paint structure.  I didn't know, for example, that at one point it gives off hydrogen peroxide.

Anyway, for your interest and edification this is what happens.  Remember it the next time you are in a hurry to get a painting into a frame.  Thanks to Chuck.

Drying Oil Paint
Monday, November 30, 2015

Before we start, we need to understand what the paint on the canvas really is.
  * Pigment.  Finely ground particles of an insoluble material in a variety of colors.
  * Oil Medium.  Polyunsaturated fatty oil (linseed, walnut or other oils known as drying oils).
  * Thinner.  Any volatile organic solution (turpentine, Gambol, Terpenoid, etc.)
The pigment and oil is mixed together until a uniform mixture is achieved.  This mixture is placed in sealed tubes until used by the painter.  When we squeeze out an amount of paint, we add thinner until the desired consistency is reached and spread it on our picture.

Now we are ready to understand what happens as paint 'dries'.
First, we get rid of the thinner.  The thinner evaporates off the surface but the rest of the thinner within the paint mixture must travel to the surface before it can evaporate.  This travel is controlled by diffusion and/or capillary action and is drastically influenced by the thickness of the paint.  A paint film twice as thick will require four to eight times longer to get rid of the thinner!

Now the oxygen in the air can permeate the oil and start the process of curing the oil through oxidation followed by cross linking of the oil molecules.  The result is a firm flexible film that is stable in most normal environments.

Can I speed up the 'drying' process?
Room temperature air blown over the surface will help evaporate the thinner as it reaches the surface, and provide an ample supply of oxygen to start the curing.  Providing a gentle heat (100 degrees F) to the BACK of the picture will aid in the removal of thiner and increase the rates of oxidation and cross linking.  Do NOT blow hot air on the paint surface as this will cause the paint to 'skin over' and drastically INCREASE the 'dry' time.

There you have it.  Hope it helps.

Thanks for reading and checking in.

Back soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Waiting for Alice, 32x42

Alone in a cabin in Maine....
....I spent the evenings contemplating what I was going to do.  Roby-King Gallery had decided to make their December show based on the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland.   This was not exactly in my comfort zone.....but why not give it a whirl....

One evening, with sketchbook sitting in my lap, I began to let my pen wander across the page with only a minimum of conscious control.  As the drawing developed I realized that I was putting down what was going on just before Alice happens to enter Wonderland.

From where she is she can't really see Lewis Carroll riding by behind the tree, or the other characters behind and above her.  It's one of those quiet moments just before something momentous happens.

We have all experienced these pivotal points and how, on one side of that life changing event we are going along pretty normally, and on the other everything has dramatically altered.

Here is the initial sketch plus some of the extra drawings I did to work things out.  Not all made the cut.  The opening of the show is this Friday, December 4th at Roby King here on beautiful Bainbridge Island, WA.

There are more drawings but you get the idea.  Thanks for stopping by.  Leave a comment if you have time.

ADDENDUM:  Here we are on opening night....

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Megunticook Isle, 12x16

The warmth of the Maine afternoon sun....
.....was just waning when I got my big idea.  It was an idea I had been wanting to try for several years but when I saw a photo of Colin Page doing it, and on this very lake, how could I resist?

My only problem was I didn't have a boat.  Yet here I was staying in a cabin not 60 feet from the shore and there were, after all, some kayaks hanging about....and one was open cockpit.  Admittedly there was not a place to set up my easel in it and it didn't have an anchor....and the wind was blowing hard.

And yet I had to do it.  So I found a hunk of cord and an old propeller to use as an anchor, threw my stuff in the bottom and headed up the lake into a brisk wind.

Finding a sheltered spot I carefully climbed over my gear to the front of the boat and threw in the anchor and played out the line.  Making it back to the seat, again carefully, I jammed my palette between my legs and began painting.  Only one foot was wet by this time.  Not bad.

All was going really well until the paddle fell overboard.  The physics of a kayak are interesting.  Something about for every action an equal and opposite reaction kept coming to mind.  Reaching for the paddle caused the boat to move in the opposite direction.  The paddle was now further away.

Scooching my butt to try and wiggle me over had a similar effect.  

I began using my hands to paddle to it yet each time I got close the action of my hands made it drift away again.   The wind was beginning to catch the blades. 

As a last effort I grabbed my largest and longest brush, stretched out as far as able without getting swamped and tickled the paddle back to me.  My seat was now wet.

So.  Basically that's how I painted this one....but I haven't told you about the cramp in my leg from being bent up around the palette for so long or how the wake from motor boats came over the side.  

I came back smiling anyway....they call this plein air.

Thanks for reading.

Be back soon with a larger piece I've been working on.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Helene, 14x18

Vocal artist, attorney, supporter of the arts,......
......I first met Helene when she was hosting art displays of a mutual good friend, Bill Johnson, at her home.  She probably appears a bit older in life than you see in this painting, but I paint what I see....and sometimes what I want to see.

I think the first task of an artist is to convey a feeling, and, secondly, to make an interesting painting.   Hopefully I did both of those successfully.  After that, if you can get a likeness, so much the better.    We are all working toward better.

The colors are pushed slightly and the reds, especially in her face, are not that intense.  I still like the result.  

Thanks for looking.  I'll be back soon with some of the Maine paintings.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Kathy's Red Scarf, 14x18

The approach of winter....
.....brings with it the switch to working indoors more often.  In this case it was painting Kathy who came to sit for our weekly group.  I couldn't tell if she reminded me of elf or someone getting a jump on the coming cold.  (Kidding, Kathy, you did a good job.)

Driving to the model session I began to wonder how much I purple I could work into a portrait and still make it work.  I had two different ones with me just because I threw a handful of paint tubes into my bag as I was heading out the door...but I can't remember what they were.

Knowing how they would likely effect the color I overstated the reds and yellows at the beginning and then worked in the purple as much as I thought I could get away with it.  It didn't take much of the stuff to twist the colors to grays so I had to be careful.  For example, that background is brilliant yellow, purple and white.

I had fun with this one and it went along pretty easily.  Sometimes I like to leave unpainted parts of the canvas.  I think it's because it retains the magic of how a flat panel can begin to look so dimensional with a few strokes of value and color.   It's only paint.

Less than two months until the days begin to get longer.  Yes, I'm counting.

Thanks for looking! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Water Experiences

Port Blakely Harbor, 12x24 plein air
Here are three....
....paintings with water, harbor waters actually.  This is one I did last weekend while the weather was very uncertain.  Most of it was done before the rain got really heavy but I still had to come back the next day to nail down some details.  It's a long piece that was challenging to compose but I think I'd like to try another one.

The pilings are what remains of the town that was here, the posts being the support for the boardwalk and the buildings that rode high above the water.  It was the Largest Sawmill in the World for a couple of decades and I've seen pictures of this harbor with wall to wall tall ships loading on the lumber.  It stopped when the old growth trees were gone.

Port Madison, 11x14 plein air
Port Madison Harbor, normally a harbor teeming with boats and kids and all, was very quiet on this day making for a nice experience.  I liked the patterns and shapes set up by the docks and the water between.

Originally I painted what I saw which made that far zig zag dock similar in darkness all the way across.  Of course that split the painting and prevented the eye from getting out to the far I used a little lighter reddish paint to still represent the dock but give the eye a path to get through.  Seems to work.

Water Shack, 8x10 plein air
Poulsbo Harbor.  Notice how the sky in these paintings is very similar.  Gray.  We really do get blue skies and had a great summer yet all of these were on 'iffy' days.  I like the orange glow from the underpainting and that spot of glowing yellow.  I also like the perspective and wish I had been able to do a bit larger a 20x24.  That would have been fun.

Thanks for looking.
 (I got the blogger comments turned back on if you care to leave something.  Don't ask me why they went away.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Quayside, 12x12

It's been two years.....
.....since I was last in Maine, but I will be there again soon.  Later this week, so lucky me.  As I was walking along it was the vibrant color in the evening that struck me, quickly followed by the simplicity of shapes.  It had to end up in paint.

The same thing happened the other day when I was walking down Seattle's Second Avenue and happened to cross over to see what was so interesting in the Patricia Rovzar Gallery.  Z. Z. Wei was having a one person show of his large evocative landscapes.

Their impact kept me mesmerized long enough that the ferry left without me.  Terrific pieces.  I came home and looked up his website, saw more work but, if it hadn't been that I had just seen his paintings in person I wouldn't have been half so impressed.  His website is HERE.

I kept searching the web for more about him and came across an interview at Triggerfish which is one of the best interviews of an artist I've read.....or maybe it just hit me where I'm currently at.  Some of the things he says remind me of the lessons I learned from Sunny Apinchapong Yang, who I was fortunate enough to study with several times.  A link to Sunny is HERE.

Among many other things, Sunny taught me to not take it all so seriously.  He said it once as he was flinging a demonstration painting into the woods.  "I suppose now I'll have to go pick it up...." but he was laughing.

 In this interview with Steve Parker Z. Z. Wei says things which also give me a fresh take on it all.  I encourage you to go read the whole interview but here is a segment that said volumes to me:

SP:  That’s fascinating, thanks. It sounds like some sort of shamanistic relationship with paint. Does the paint represent part or parts of yourself in that process, or do you think it has some objective life of its own?
I’ve been wondering how I would describe you to someone who had never seen your work. Do you have a name for what you do? I mean as in do you in any way see yourself as part of a school or a movement? Who have been your biggest influences or mentors? We mentioned Giorgio de Chirico a while back. What other artists do you like or see as important? I know that’s another big question.
ZZ: I am not familiar with “shamanism”, but for sure I am not“possessed” when I paint. I like the scientific, analytical approach of your questions, but I might disappoint you. My answers are likely allegorical/fabular. I think that my relation with paint is more like life’s relation with air. Is it parts of a whole? No. Can they be separated? No. (This is oriental thinking.) I think you have a difficult task. We don’t know each other and at the same time I am a person without “stories”. I understand stories are a big part of any article (even so for articles about art) and I am sorry that even the materials I can provide you are also scarce. I always feel strongly that artists are on the back stage of their work. It’s enough to just enjoy my work. If you like the eggs, it’s not necessary to meet the hen that lays them.
I don’t belong to any schools or movements. (I know that art history, especially history of modern art, is mostly about the evolution of schools and movements.) I am merely an “individual” living in today’s world, who enjoys painting. I express my feelings, and I hope to move others. I know it’s comfortable to “swim with the flow”, but I prefer those styles that are different from what’s trendy, and the artists with unique artistic skills and feelings. The list is actually very long, and should include roadside graffitis and shop signs of some country stores. Let’s just forget about listing the names. Once we start labeling, we are limiting and restraining ourselves. As a poet, you must be agreeing with me that we learn about art not just from art history. Life and living are what’s most important.
As for mentors, I think my father, an unknown art enthusiast, is my most important influence. The reason why I say this is not a “gesture”, but is based on facts. Because of him, I am passionate about art, nature, painting and reading. In my childhood, only when I was painting and reading was I allowed to stay up late way passed my bedtime. He taught me that art has to be “real”—to truly express one’s true feelings, not as a tool to obtain fame and wealth by pleasing the crowd with bombastic words and deeds. I think it is the traditional value of the Chinese scholar gentleman of his generation. Arts (in the forms of string instruments, strategy game of go, Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting) are their required accomplishments and important part of life. Of course, it won’t be practical in today’s society. Art is still my “occupation”.  (Maybe they were a group of people who didn’t have to worry about their means of living.) However, my father’s belief in honestly expressing oneself still deeply affects me. It enables me to remain independent from the often massive and momentous, “populars”. Behind the Dazzling forms there are often commercial hypes. Obscure terms and theories are usually created in need to fill the void of substance (or lack of contents?). What do you think?
That strikes a whole keyboard of chords with me, especially his comparison of paint to air.
Hope you enjoy that interview.  I hope to meet him someday.  
I'll post more when I return.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fort Casey Deere, 11x14

Waiting for other people.....
.....there was time on my hands until they arrived.  Glancing around I saw her standing alone waiting to be asked to dance, this well loved tractor resting glamorously in the setting sun.  'Perhaps', says I, 'just a few color strokes to see what might happen could be good.'  I think she had a crush on me.

My friends took their time getting there so I just kept putting down strokes until they showed up and ended with this...but adjusted it slightly the next morning.  I had a good time playing with how the light flowed over that bank, not unlike water over a falls.

With the two from the last post, that ended day one on Whidbey Island.  After not enough sleep parked behind a garage it was the second day and it began with this one looking down toward the ferry landing.

Morning Light, 11x14
Keep Drawing.  Keep Painting.  ....or keep doing whatever you do....

Thanks for looking.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Peek Through, 14x18

Fort Casey and Ebey's Landing....
....are pretty much next to each other a ferry ride away over on Whidbey Island.  They are both historically foundational to the Puget Sound area and still, along with Coupeville and the local farms, form one of the more beautiful areas of the State.

I spent two days....well, a day and a half....over there with the Plein Aire Painters of Washington and the Washington Pastel Association.  Plans were shortened as I had originally planned to be there the week turning out as many paintings as I could.  My plans were changed and the paintings were limited to six.

This is the second one from the first day; below is the first.  Someone stopped by and told me that this is the second oldest house in Washington and it is Federally protected.  I spent two days there and only saw one person come to the property so I'm not sure who they are protecting it from.... but I'm behind whatever it takes to keep these old structures viable.

The wind about beat me to death but it was very nice to paint all alone.  I realized that I talk to myself while I work, mumbling away and admonishing myself when things aren't going smoothly, asking myself questions about what to do next.  About drove me crazy listening to all that drivel.

Ok.  So here is the view from the road.  A pretty cool place to spend an afternoon.

Ferry House, 11x14
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hazy Morning, 14x18

Amber color....
......and haze suffused everything.  Standing on the shore my eyes burned....but the early morning color was so unique; unworldly but yet softly beautiful.

It was from fire smoke on the other side of the Cascade mountains and, while the source is very sad, the effect on color was certainly out of the ordinary.  Normally this scene would be of deep green trees and very blue or blue green water sparkled with sun reflections.

Because little was as expected I had to do a lot of careful looking and mixing.   Curiously some parts of the scene seemed to have ramped up color saturation.  It was an interesting painting to attempt.  The abstract patterning in the water was the most fun, not only to make it look like water but to lead the viewers eye around and about.  This deserved a bigger canvas.

And I got to meet a lot of nice tourists and residents of the boats who stopped to chat.  Unusual, no one mentioned that they had an aunt who could really paint.

On another note, have you checked out John Crump yet?  I mentioned in the last post that he had a new video which I like....but I've really enjoyed all of his vids.  Yes, I feel like an art pusher....but I don't even benefit from mentioning him....except to send you some place I think you'd enjoy.  Head to the last post for the link.

Thanks for looking.  And wishing safety for the fire fighters and the people living through hell....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Woodland Roses, 14x18

An Overcast Day.... a garden on the edge of a dark wood....and these roses were glowing.  It was fun to try and capture that effect.  Since 'stopping when you don't know what else to do' is a pretty good guide that's what I'm doing even though feeling a bit flummoxed.

I like the painting, especially the subtle hint of trees in the background...yet I feel that there is something that could make it better.  Perhaps if I wait six months it will all come clear.  You know, one of those 'the clouds are parting' ah-ha moments.

Lately I feel I've been searching for something that is elusively just beyond my awareness.  The waiting for it to surface is testing my patience....but I keep on with the belief that it's going to happen.  This sounds like an essay on fishing....

Moving on.

 John Crump (and his grandson Sam) just posted a new video that is part of a series he is doing.  John is from the small town of Glenorchy on the south island of New Zealand and is one of those painters who I find mesmerizing to watch.  His command of the canvas is impressive.

He uses big brushes on large linen panels that he paints plein air.  Juicy paint, impeccable composition, great brushwork and someone who is willing to share his extensive knowledge.  The video is available currently for download on Vimeo or through his website HERE.  You won't be disappointed.  He also has a couple of others for sale.

Additionally there is a video about him through Color in Your Life, an Australian art television program that is currently expanding to the U.S.  That video is right at the top of John's dvd page for you to watch free.

Thanks to all who venture here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Johnson Farm Cub, 12x16

Headed Home....
....from delivering a painting I noticed the sign for Johnson Farm Trust, an old farm site set aside for the public to wander around and grow things.  The late afternoon sun, a red tractor in a mostly green choice, had to paint it.  Plus, I have always wanted a Cub.

While Noelle the wonder dog slept behind me in the van I raced the lengthening shadows to pull this together.  I especially like how the background trees turned out considering how fast it was done.  The tractor took longer.  Nice evening.

Noelle thought she deserved an extra treat for putting up with she got one.  Only fair.

After drawing a box and circle for where the tractor would go, a couple of lines for the poles, a triangle for the distant shadow and a single line for the bottom of the tree line, I began painting.  First that triangle shadow to establish it's size as well as to value key the rest of the painting, then on to the tractor.  I can't remember the order of the rest except for the fun of scratching in those slender lines for the wires between poles.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Coastal Ledge, 10x12

Now That I Have.... ticket I can begin to get excited about my almost annual trip to the Maine coast....interrupted last year by going to Italy.  It's a tough life but I'm doing my best to keep up.

I love painting in Maine.  It has all kinds of quirky twists and turns and the fiberglass luxury yachts take a back seat to real working boats, net sheds, farms and towns with as much anglo history and dignity as can be found anywhere in this country.  Interesting shapes and color are everywhere.

With that in mind I thought I'd post this painting of rocks at a beach I don't remember exactly how to get to anymore.  I think I did it two years ago.  Check out those big and little shapes of color that bounce around everywhere.  Mostly variations of blues and reds except for that green ribbon weaving itself from side to side.  Immensely satisfying to me.  I wish more of my paintings had the qualities of this one.

So think of me during the last half of September working away on as many paintings and drawings as I energy for....but with a smile on my face.

Thanks for looking....

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Blue Pottery, 12x16

The First Two Were....
......boat/harbor paintings and were a bust.  Actually they didn't even make the 'bust' stage as I scraped them down at about the half way point.  Later I realized I was doing them as an intellectual exercise and not because they aroused any passion in me.....not the best way to go about it.

So, a bit bothered with myself,  I drove over to Nancy's for lunch and a glass of wine, which helped.  There were other painters there doing some fine work and eventually the bug again got to me.  Wanting to make sure that I stayed away from anything involving my brain I began to just block in color on a bare panel.  No line drawing or guidance marks, just smears of paint.

Someone took a picture near the beginning.  I like this open way of working, letting the shapes evolve into things and carving out form.  It doesn't always work but it keeps me so involved in the process that I almost don't care how it comes out.....but it actually works pretty well....and I don't think too much.

There is really only one leaf on that geranium that has much definition on it, the rest being inferred from everything else.  It's all illusion, isn't it?  Perhaps that is how we lead our lives without being especially aware of it.  Uh-oh.  Getting too close to the edge.....

But on a more important note Colin Page posted a photo on FB.  I've been thinking about this for years.  He may be pushing me to it.  I suggested he name it the 'Filbert Flyer'.   There is a flavor of Wind in the Willows here.

Colin's Floating Studio
Later.  Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rocks and Water

Lost in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica, 8x10
Rocks and Water....
.....I find continually mesmerizing.  Rocks, because they have just been around so long....these were likely sitting pretty much like this when Columbus breezed through the Caribbean....and water because it is constantly moving and changing.  What counter play.  The unmoving slowly being moved by the perpetual soft force of liquid.

Cascade Stream, 9x12
Over time and impulse my style has changed a bit and I am currently feeling a pull back to more of how I used to paint.  I like spots of color next to quieter areas, often in more vivid color relationships.  Broken color excites my eye, keeping it moving through a painting....a bit like watching an old gaudy  carousel with kids going up and down on baroque horses.  Round and round goes my eye.

Up the Kootenai, Montana, 11x14

Likely I've painted as many R&W's as I have anything else all together although some have been a bit of a struggle.  This scene I've painted at least a dozen times but this one is the only version I think I've posted.  Rob Weiss and Bob Phinney (the rats) both got it on the first try.  For me this one has been elusive.  No, I don't know why...if I did you'd have seen more paintings of it.....but it's always worth the hike up to try again.

Thanks for checking this out.  From the number of unposted paintings I have it looks like I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Artist's Home, 10x10

Hiding behind some bushes.....
.....enabled me to stand and paint without being disturbed.  They weren't home but, being artists themselves, I didn't think they'd mind.  I've had an urge lately to paint things architectural or, at least, with architectural elements.

You can tell it's a home of artists because they have a fish diving into their shrubbery.  Look can see it.  It was actually one of the things I had to repaint several times to make it believable....if half a fish in your front yard can ever be believable.

This painting was from just the other day.  The drawing is from about two weeks ago waiting to meet my friend Marsh for lunch.  It is continually amazing to me how a blank sheet of paper and some ink scribbles can turn into a symbol for a recognizable scene.

If you haven't tried drawing with markers I recommend it.  They are great for travel, amusing yourself, studying composition or waiting for someone to show up for lunch.  A book on it is in a tab above....but just try it and maybe you'll get as hooked on it as I am.

Thanks for looking.  I have more to post soon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Prickly Pear, 20x24

Cactopus Meets Rock Monster.....
.....was my original title but I chickened out.  I kept thinking of folks from Russia, India and those other far flung places who visit my blog and what Google translator might end up giving them.  Lost in translation.

This is why I can't seem to get my studio cleaned up.  I keep running across these things and deciding they might be salvageable.  This one is the result of a trip to Tucson.  I painted a 10x12 field study that was mostly blue and blue-green gray.....well, here it is:

In my memory the scene had much more color so when I got home I whipped out a 20x24 large weave canvas and started playing around.  After working for several hours it didn't sit right so away it went in the 'scrap/maybe I'll know what to do with it later' pile.

It surfaced the other day and I thought it was not too bad, tweaked it for twenty minutes and here it is.  You be the judge.  I couldn't think of a better title either.

I visually like the texture on a large weave canvas, but I don't like the work it takes to get it someplace...pushing lots of paint.  It would likely be easier if I mixed paint more with a palette knife.

By the way, have you heard of Larry Moore?  I may have mentioned him before but I like to read his blog for both his terrific paintings, artistic sensibility and his off beat humor.  HERE is his blog.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Island Congregational, 16x18

After Several Years.....
....of trying to get an acceptable drawing or painting of this church I think I'm able to live with this one.  The problem for me has always been composition.

There are great views of this island landmark from the middle of almost every street that surrounds it but if you move to where you won't get run over or block pedestrian walkways it's more difficult.  For this one I ended up sitting canted in the handicapped parking space with the sharp edge of the sign gouging into my back.  More nuisance than pain....and a hole in my shirt.

My favorite part is the large tree that I wasn't sure wouldn't totally dominate the scene.  It seems to work OK.

This was my standard palette of a warm and cool of each primary.  I've taken to premixing and tubing a lighter version of Pthalo Blue for ease of use and have been experimenting with Transparent Earth Orange to gently warm things up when needed.

Speaking of palettes, A.B. Deneweth has a page on her website (HERE)  that lists the colors found on the palettes of many well known painters both current and long ago.  It's an interesting thing to look at and then sit mystified about how they can/could come up with such beautiful paintings using the same stuff we all do, but in variations.  Worth your time.

Here is a quick study out of my sketchbook.  I like the way the paper accepts the paint and, since it's my sketchbook and not meant to be archival, there is a feeling of freedom and experimentation when painting.  Cheap toned paper on sketchbooks I make for marker drawing.  I'm continually amazed how a few marks on a flat surface can convey so much.....and there's that Transparent Earth Orange!

Pickup Soccer, oil on paper

 Thanks for reading.....

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kiss Me Quick, 16x20

My Only Fish Painting....
....occurred about a year ago because a friend bought a special kind for a dinner.  He ran the risk of sacrificing them by setting them on a platter under warm lights and letting some of us paint them.  Those fish ain't cheap....

So about six of us had a great morning.  I remember using a 2 1/2 inch brush for as much as I could.  When finished I liked the fish but was lukewarm about the composition.  The original had a bowl of fruit on the right hand side behind the platter.  It's size, spacing and color was too similar to the wine jug.

Getting back to the studio I scraped that part off intending to put something else in it's place.  Eventually it drifted into studio obscurity, lost amid all the other canvases.

Last month someone asked me about the painting so I thought to dig it out and take another look.  The hole left by my removal of part of the image gave me an idea and this is what happened.  The onions were in the original as well as everything else.  I added the wine glass.  Not bad.  Obscure enough that it didn't subtract from the fish yet echoed the reds in the head and gills.

I couldn't get around the red of the lips so hence the title.

This is a Public Service Announcement and has nothing to do with painting:
  Periodically I've wondered where plants, especially large trees, get all their mass from.  (Isn't that what you lay awake nights thinking about?)

If they got it from the ground they'd eventually be growing in a hole from everything they removed to make bark limbs and leaves.  Nope, not from the ground, except for the water which is admittedly a lot of their weight when alive, plus a few minor elements.

However, after you chop them down and let them dry out they still have a lot of mass after the water is gone.  The fir and hemlock outside our house are four feet in diameter and way over 100 feet high.  Huge amount of material.  Where does it all come from?

Well.  Why didn't I think of this?  It comes from the air.  All that carbon that we can't see but is overheating the earth turns into these huge well as the small ones.  Nitrogen too and probably a bunch of other elements are in there...but it is mostly CARBON.  (Go HERE to see a video about it)

Go hug a tree.  They really are your friends.

Be back soon.....

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hacienda Evening, 12x16

Coincidence.  Really?
.......Every once in a while the forces that are around have to remind me that what I 'think' is going on is probably only a sliver of the picture, if that much.

Some old and good friends have just returned to this island, escaping Arizona just in time, in my opinion.  While living there and visiting Mexico they bumped into a 350 to 400 year old hacienda in one of the oldest towns in North America, so old that it is where the priests left from to found Los Angeles and San Francisco.  At one time it was the richest town in the western hemisphere.  Of course they bought it and, of course, invited me/us down occasionally.

The other day we were talking about their need to sell the place and, as we talked, I was flooded with memories of tres leches cake, tacos on the street, balmy evenings, the smell of flowers, good talks and lots of time painting and hanging out.

So.  Yesterday, in another attempt to clean my studio I ran across this painting from just after they had bought the place and one of my initial attempts at painting in Mexico.  I haven't seen this piece for years and, to my knowledge, haven't shown it to anyone.  Why do I do these things?

I'm posting it now for my friends to tell them how much I appreciate the times we were able to spend there together.  It was emotionally very rich.  Thanks you two.

Where?  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico and the bridge across the arroyo joins the Hacienda de Los Santos, one of the classier hotels I've seen.

Ok.  Now if the forces that be will stop pulling out these oldish paintings so I can get the place organized.....

I'll be back.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Oksana's Summer Hat, 18x24

When the message came through.....
.... my day had been all scheduled, and art was not figured in any of the time slots.  Sometimes it's necessary just to buckle down and 'take care of business'.  It was a locked up schedule.  No changes.

The text message said that Oksana could stay in town an extra day and pose in Nancy's garden.  Schedule got unlocked, changes were made, rock solid intent went by the wayside.   I had enjoyed painting her once before so jumped at having another chance, especially outdoors where color is at its best.  Here is the 10x12 portrait done last year indoors.

About ten artists showed up so it became a Working Party.  A covey of quail, a pride of lions and a brush of artists.  I made that up but it seems right.....although maybe a 'party of artists' is more apt.  It usually is one.

I toned the 18x24 canvas on board, sketched the major shapes, blocked it in with major color shapes and went for the finishing  doodads.  During the ninety minutes to do the majority of the painting the sun had swung over and began hitting the canvas so I quit and spent another half an hour tweaking it when I got home.  It only meant adjusting some values.

Outdoor trick.  Want to find out where the sun will be later?  Hold your first and index finger together at arms length and count over.  Each two finger segment is about 15 minutes.  This only works in the temperate latitudes.  The earth turns much faster near the equator so maybe two fingers is ten minutes.

I used this trick to pose her in the filtered shade of a tree.  It was easy to see how long I had before the the sun cleared the tree.  It was great focused fun.  Working fast it became lots of colorful dabs of paint.

I like it and am glad I abandoned my schedule.

James Gurney, one of my favorite artists and who has a terrific blog, just published a video on Gouache.  He is the author of the book Dinotopia among other things.  Anyway, this is a very good video on painting with gouache with many demos, a complete run down on equipment and how to do it outdoors or when traveling.  The download is only $14.95 and well worth it.  I've watched it twice, soaking up everything I could get.  Check it out HERE.

And, speaking of videos, Catherine Gill just released a new DVD on 'Ooze', Mixing it Up With  Watercolor and Pastel.  If you are a watercolor artist you likely already know about Cathe through her book.  I've been doing the camera and editing work on all her videos and the publishing under 'Candy Corn Productions'.

We are especially excited about this one and it has already gotten good reviews from those that have purchased it.  She goes back and forth, mixing the pastel with the watercolor, watercolor with pastel.  At some point magic happens which she calls 'Ooze' where the two take on a fluidity and unique quality.  You can find the DVD on Cathe's website HERE as well as a dozen downloadable vids and two more DVDs.

Thanks for looking.  No doubt I'll be back soon.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Watty-Melon, 20x20

Watermelon Tales began.....
.....when it was a hot day and I really really wanted some so bought a terrific looking seedless one.  I was more than set for the taste of summer, but when I cut into it there were seeds all over.

You think I perhaps was disappointed.?  All I could think about was painting it.  It is really difficult to find seeded watermelons anymore and, while seedless are wonderful to eat they don't make much of a painting.  We all expect seeds as our symbol of the fruit even though we won't buy it.

So.  Coincidentally, Tannis invited some of us over to paint her garden which is very beautiful and if it hadn't been for this watermelon we would have done just that.  Bright red on a blue and green table setting is difficult to resist.  The fruit of the watermelon is an interesting combination of warm and cool reds, sometimes a little yellow.  At least that's the way I read it.

We painted.  Tannis fed us.  We had a great time.

I was going to throw the melon away but got reminded that chickens love watty-melon (which is how my youngest sister pronounces it as in "We better hurry and get some watty-melon, brother of mine!").

Anyway, today I was over at Nancy's feeding her chickens.  Recycling.  We eat the eggs.  While they were eating and the dogs were playing I sketched and white gouached this quickie.  Pretty much a three value piece.

  Thanks for looking.  You keep me on the straight and narrow...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sunday Sketch, 12x12

Port Madison...
....was once a harbor for the tall ships when they were shipping out milled lumber from the Northwest.  Now it is an upscale area of the island with little easy access.

My friend Mick and I went there on last Sunday's overcast afternoon looking for a little bit of color.  This scene was about a block and a half across the water and, while it did get back in this position several times, the boats were swinging around in the wind and tide.

We stood on a wobbly floating dock making it challenging to get down an intentional stroke of paint.  Much of what I tried to place would end swooping up like a duck's tail or get moved an inch or so in another place altogether.  For the mast lines I remember waiting and planning for just the right calm....but still they went in several times before being sort of right.

Remember I titled this a 'sketch'.

This second painting is one I found stuck in a box because I was dissatisfied with it.  It's from about seven years ago over on the Teanaway River and can see some different thinking going on and some experimentation in places.  It looks better than I thought it did at the time.

Speaking of experimentation, changing the colors on your palette can be liberating.  It makes us look and work differently, coming up with new color ideas.   I found a website that lists the palette colors of many well known artists, some historical and some current.  Some of my favorite artists are on this list which you can find HERE.

Cool Water, 12x16
Thanks for looking.  I will be back soon.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Gazebo, 12x16

A Beautiful Day....
    .......some shade and an invitation to paint.  Oh, and a free lunch on top of it.

This was a 'no-brainer' to select as a painting and so terrific a subject that I think I smiled all the way through it.  Most of it was painted with the largest brush I carry with me, about an inch and a quarter wide.  Detail was with a smaller brush but still larger than you'd think.  Just using lots of paint and the corner of the brush can make surprisingly small bits of color.

The large brushes let me simplify the bigger shapes, preventing them from being too fussy.

Marilyn, owner of the property and my new friend, enjoyed watching it come together and invited me back to paint some spectacular flowers.  I love this time of the year.

Finished with the gazebo, we ate lunch and I had time for another smaller 10x12 piece which actually gave me more fits than the larger more detailed gazebo.  This is one of those that I'll have a revelatory moment over in about six months.  I'll likely slap myself on the head realizing what small adjustments would have made it work so much better.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hidden in the Studio

Docked Up, 10x12

I'm Cleaning the Studio.
......That may not sound like ground shaking news but I swear there was a rumble under my feet just now.  In doing so I've uncovered all kinds of paintings that didn't get posted or shared.  Some I tossed aside because they missed the mark and I couldn't figure out why.  After finding them and looking with a fresh eye it took about three minutes to 'add the touches' that moved them from acceptable to downright interesting.  I'm posting a few.

Before I do, however, I know another artist who has also recently culled through his work and found some treasures.  Dan Corey, terrific painter and inspired colorist, is selling a bunch of quality paintings at ridiculously low prices.  Dan is a big shape and color person, simplifying landscape to just the essentials.  I like that.  Paintings from 12x16 to 24x30.  Over 100 paintings.!  Very much worth a look at his Facebook page HERE.
Here is just one 20x24....awesome, huh?

Back to my finds.....
The first one has hung around the studio being moved from box to box.  I threw it away at least four times and it snuck back in.  This was so easy to fix once my brain kicked in.  Just tying together the blue zig zag in the water and some branch variations.

Fallen, 10x12
Here is this one from a valley in Montana.  I didn't do anything to this one to 'doctor' it.   It's got some good things in it.  Another 10x12.

Homestead, 10x12
And a last one for today.  This is a gift for a friend who has ties to this place.  The photo is a little off color wise but you get the idea.

For a Friend, 10x12

Thanks for looking.  Be back with you in about a an errand to run.