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...