Friday, May 10, 2019

Afternoon at Eagle Harbor, 2 x 8.5x11


There Have Been Three Practices.....
.....that have greatly influenced my art.  I mean, besides all the great artists I've had the privilege of studying with.

Drawing with Valued Markers, from the morning I accidentally picked a marker up and tried it, has opened my eyes and instructed the hand.  Using just three marker values and white (or sometimes toned) paper has made it so easy for me to quickly create form and study composition.  And cheap!

Yesterday I started out the door with my paints but didn't feel the urge to use them once I got to Eagle Harbor.  Since I have a marker workshop coming up (see below) I thought I needed to hone my skills a bit...and I was too tired to haul out the paint.

That's another thing I like about them.  A sketchbook and very few tools are needed to catch a mood, a place or and effect of light.

Here is another from the same day:


That Marker Workshop is on May 18th, about a week away.  Because I like to share this technique I'd love to see you there.  Find out about it by going to the Winslow Art Center website HERE.

Hope to see you.   (If you can't come, check out my book on it in the tabs above.)

More on those other two practices to improving your art in later posts.

Thanks for looking!



Saturday, April 27, 2019

Spring, 10x12 and 11x14



These were painted about a week apart in response to having the Spring colors begin to show, the winter colors quickly fading.

There is such vibrance in the landscape as the greens start to poke through, and even the winter colors seem more intense and vital before that green appears.  My intention is always to spend every day exploring and painting the landscape but the reality of Spring is also that there is a lot that needs doing.  There never is enough time or energy for all of it.


'At the Head of the Harbor' (top) is 10x12 and 'Port Blakely Spring' is 11x14.   This second one was interesting for the challenge in all the doo-dads of the ground litter.  The only way I found to make it work was to eliminate about seventy-five percent of the stuff, just hinting at what was on the forest floor.  Hopefully the viewer fills in the 'stuff' from their own experience in a forest.

Maybe I'll go back again and explore the changes and colors...tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy.  That would be interesting.

I'll be back.

Thanks for looking!



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

What I Don't Understand Is This.....

After the Party, 20x24 plein air
 So There are a Lot of Things....
......I don't understand, but today's 'stumper' is one I've heard other artists mention.  It's this:  How are there days when absolutely nothing works (and it may go on for a week or more) and other days when the whole painting process is easy and satisfying with half the work?

Last Thursday was one of those days.  In the morning I painted the portrait below.  In the afternoon, after a great 'Nancy lunch' (picture the French countryside with a table set outdoors, wine, fresh home made soup, music and more, plus great art friends laughing and clowning around).  We all began clearing the table but I shouted 'Stop!', ran to the car for a larger panel and painted.  Others drew.

After about 90 minutes I had to leave but had gotten most of this finished.  It was easy.  There was no painting angst.  Like the portrait of the morning, my hand just took over and did it.  It felt like I was just an involved spectator.

So how does that happen?  And why can't I do that every day?  Is it some sort of mind set or did the leaves in my tea suddenly align?  I'm thinking that, when it happens, I've been able to get out of my own way, not tripping over my own artistic feet.  I just want to know the mental trickery to have it happen more often.

If you are an artist or musician, do you also have those kinds of days?

This is my friend Alec the Model Maker.  He works with architects, creating scale models of their buildings so clients can get a better feel for the structures.  He is an artist in his own right.  We are going to do a larger painting inside his shop while he works on his models.

The Model Maker, 18x24
Thanks for Looking.

I'll be back.... and don't forget!  Marker Drawing workshop on May 18th!  Go to the Winslow Art Center to sign up.







Friday, April 19, 2019

CB's Nuts and Using a 'Ruler'


Marker Workshop coming up.  Check it out below.

When Doing a Complicated Drawing.....
......I will often find a 'Ruler' to help simplify the process.

 My 'Ruler' is something I find in the scene that I can use as an anchor and guide to make things much easier to draw accurately.  This one was done at a peanut roaster in the area, CB's Nuts.

I first decide what the most difficult thing will be to draw, in this case the bicycle.  The first line, however, was the track the garage door runs in.  The placement of this line is done by visualizing on the page what the resulting drawing will look like and then putting it down with some care.  If you look closely at the bicycle you'll see where the line goes through the hand grip and handle bars and lower down through the frame.  Likely, without my pointing it out you didn't see it because subsequent lines and value tones make those 'errors' unnoticeable.

Then came the outside railing and the bicycle.  From that point it was much easier to line up all the other objects by seeing how they compared to the bicycle.  Where exactly was that table top?  Even with the bell on the handle bars.  Where is that scale?  Directly above the axle of the front wheel.

In "Eric's RV Service" I couldn't readily find a 'ruler'.


Instead, I made the shapes a kind of stand in for a 'ruler'.  I began with the hill in the background and the square front of the old RV sitting in the upper right corner of the drawing.  Then, the fence was used  to get over to the dark bush and house.  Once sketched in that whole section became the way to 'hang' the stuff closer to me.  It made it all easier.

I will be having a one day Marker Workshop at the Winslow Art Center on May 18th, 2019.  We have a lot of fun and learn a ton.  Your drawing confidence will greatly improve once you realize that you can create convincing forms quickly and easily even if the drawing is wonky.  I could easily point out some wonkiness in these two pieces but I find that those things disappear within the cumulative effect.

Anyway, give it a try.  You'll enjoy the process using a minimum of materials.  Click HERE to check it out.

I'll be back.  Thanks for looking.




  


Sunday, April 14, 2019

On Not Being Able to Draw

'Checkstand #4'

Every So Often I Get in a Total Artistic Funk.....
.....convincing myself that I've forgotten everything I might have known about painting or drawing.  It starts as a small voice but after a week or so of not doing any art it's pretty much a full out of tune chorus.

On one of those 'funk weeks' I began a Tuesday morning by having breakfast at Whole Foods.  The table I was at was maybe 15 feet from this checkout and after mentally battling the out of tune chorus for as long as I could stand I pulled out the pens and did this quick sketch.

I began with what I felt was the hardest part, the checkout person, looking for something I could visually grab on to.  That 'V' right behind her head where her pony tail was tied was the spot.  After all, anyone can draw a 'V'.  Then the top of her head and down her bangs, then on to the pony tail itself.....and I can't tell you what came next.

Ok, says the chorus, now reduced to a duet, but 'you just got lucky'.  So, for a slap down on the duet,  on the ferry to home I did these two charmers.



The naysayers have now been quiet for a bit so I can finally announce a Marker Workshop coming up on May 18th, 2019 at the Winslow Art Center.  Check it out HERE.

This is a painless one day class that will increase your feelings of artistic accomplishment as well as give you the skills to find sketching both faster and more enjoyable.  Marker Drawing greatly improved all my art after I stumbled on to this technique that uses just a pen and three toned markers.

Hope to see you there.  You get a Free Stress Reducing Sketchbook.  Did I say 'FREE'?

I'll be back with some more drawings.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Intuitive Painting Class


'Oksana'  16x20....
.....was done at her sister's home in January of this year.

I'm posting it because I'm teaching a class called Intuitive Painting that starts this coming Tuesday, March 5th at the Winslow Art Center.  It is filling up but still has a place or two.

The conditions for this painting were difficult.  The light behind her hit me in the eyes causing a glare in both my face and across the canvas.  The more paint I put on the worse it became.  Once the canvas was covered I actually couldn't tell what color or value I was mixing.  I was doing it by the seat of my pants.  I assumed it would be an absolute failure once I got it into good light and could see.

Well, it seems OK,  and reminded me of all the times that when it was the last pose of a model or when the sun was rapidly setting or during a night painting that many painters go into 'automatic mode', painting like a whirlwind and just trusting to gut instinct.  So often the best things happen when we are forced to get our rational minds out of the process and allow our intuition to take over.   Somehow it works.

Perhaps we make painting too much of a intellectual thing, not trusting to all our years of training, doubting our own guidance system.

I haven't taught this kind of a course before so I'm giving it all I have to see if increasing the ability to  use intuition can improve and strengthen our art.  Perhaps getting all our internal 'stuff' out of the way will be a good thing.  By the way, Art and Fear is a good book to start the wheels moving about all kinds of art things, including intuition and trust.

Come if you can.  I'd love to see you.

I'll be back.  Thanks for looking.