June 19, 2008

These two paintings are my last for a couple of weeks as I am off on a grand painting adventure out west. I plan to paint during the day and gaze at the stars at night (rather than the laptop), so I will not be posting anything until I return. Ciao!
"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream"...Vincent Van Gogh

(199) So Grand...
6 x 8, oil
Both these were painted from photo-references that were upside down. If you haven't tried this--do. Looking at a photo upside down allows your brain to see shapes abstractly and objectively, and it is easier to judge your drawing. Another trick is to look at your drawing/painting in the mirror.

(198) Hay Bales
6 x 8, oil
"My oils are finished alla prima in the field...decorated with suicidal bugs...my shirt soaked in sweat. This is authentic "guerrilla painting, backpacking everything into remote locations...enraptured there until the light fails"...Alan Craig

(197) African Violets
private collection
6 x 6, oil

I knew I only had 20-30 minutes to paint this before the violets would be completely in shadow, so I jumped in, pre-mixing the colors and focusing on getting the values correct. I tried to memorize the light conditions and shadows, and ask myself to identify the lightest light, darkest dark, highest chroma before painting. My focus was to stick to the time limit, avoiding tweaking and corrections back in the studio--whew-a fun, but demanding challenge.
"Once artists have set a course, they need to stick to that course and not allow the ever-changing on-location process to interfere"...Kenn Backhaus

June 17, 2008

(196) Pink Hydrangeas
6 x 6, oil

"I don't believe in making pencil sketches and then painting your landscape in your studio. You must be right under the sky"...William Merritt Chase
(195) Lavender Hydrangeas
6 x 8, oil

"Every time we go out to paint, we are full of reason why painting right this very minute isn't such a good idea - the ferry is about to leave, it may rain at any moment, there's no comfortable place to sit...our brains come up with a hundred reasons not to pick up the brush"...Eleanor Blair

June 15, 2008

(194) Yellow Day-Lily
5 x 7, oil

As I was watering the flowers, I was intrigued by the sky and flower reflections in the water droplets, so I chose that for today's challenge.
"Plein air painting is my response to the moment - the reflected light in the water or the mood created by the shadows'...Keith Bond

June 14, 2008

(193) Twin Roses
private collection
6 x 6, oil
"There is an undeniable urgency when painting outdoors - nature's so grand, the canvas so small. It takes the human mind with all its grand abilities and complexities to sort through the overwhelming visual feast set before it and re-create on canvas the essential components of such beauty and wonder"...Jan Blencowe

June 13, 2008

(192) Blue Iris
5 x 7, oil
This challenge involves an overcast day where the colors are a little more vibrant, and the subtle shadows appear slightly warmer in the muted, cool light. I love the color of this flower-somewhere between blue and lavender; just gorgeous against the spring green.
"I strive to capture the moment, that fleeting light or atmospheric effect, tackled with a sense of urgency and an awareness that the prevailing conditions are transient and will not be precisely repeated"...Trevor Chamberlain

June 12, 2008

(191) "Sisters"
private collection
8 x 10, oil
Today my focus was muted lights and colorful shadows.
"There is no bad weather for painting en plein air; only bad painting clothes"...Barbara Jablonski

June 11, 2008

(190) Red Roses
5 x 7, oil
This Macpherson assignment was to tone the background with the same color as "an area in the scene and paint around it; keying the painting to this color note." In this case, I chose one of the reds in the rose. This is the opposite of what I did yesterday when when I chose the red background because it created a contrast with its compliment--the green trees.
"God's world is very beautiful and aesthetically superior, so when we paint directly from live subjects, we learn colour, light and brevity from the most indisputable teacher"...Serquei Quissik

June 10, 2008

(189) Summer Light
My focus for this painting was to simplify by painting flat color masses instead of drawing in the shapes. Macpherson suggests using as few colors as possible, preferably one for the sky, one for the trees, etc; all the while
imagining each mass as it would appear if cut out of construction paper. I used a canvas panel that had been toned red so I allowed some of that to peak through for contrast, and stayed loose with the brush strokes. I think the leaves are a little more broken up than they should have been (not flat enough), but perhaps next time...I enjoyed this exercise more than I thought I would.
"To finish a work within the limited time frame outdoors, I am compelled to abstract the forms and organize the value and color patterns, which pushes me to clarify what I'm trying to say in each painting"...Ann Templeton

June 9, 2008

(188)Orange Trumpet Lilies
8 x 10, oil
Today's assignment was to paint the purest color note first and key everything to that. (I normally start with the darkest dark)
"Paintings outdoors is a distillation of time, a capturing of the essence of existence during a specific period in the artist's experience"...Charles Muench

June 8, 2008

(187) Daisies
5 x 7, oil
This is a study in analogous colors: (those near each other on the color wheel) I love it when pinks are juxtaposed with oranges. Add a little yellow-green and it feels like spring...
"There is no other resource so plentiful, ever-changing, and full of information than nature around us. Get ready to dive in with both feet and don't forget to bring your sense of humor"...Lori Putman

June 7, 2008

Thanks so much to all who came by to see the exhibit at the gallery last night! My friend Rhonda and I were honored to have such a lovely reception in our honor. And special thanks to gallery owners Melissa and Lynne--phenomenal women, and wonderful supporters of the arts.
And finally, for those of you who asked--the show will continue through the month of June, with new works "hot off the easel" replacing the sold pieces throughout the month. So stay tuned for more...
(186) White Irises
private collection
6 x 8, oil
I painted this earlier in the week and didn't have a chance to post it yet. My Macpherson "assignment" for this one was to observe and paint "spots" of color--and avoid blending the paint on the canvas. I also toned the background a pale orange and left some areas peaking through for contrast with the green.
"I only paint one thing--the effect of light. If I can do that, then anything worthy of being painted will appear on paper or canvas--a tree, a forest, a mountain...It will have been worthy because of the unique river of light and shadow that flowed across it for that one brief hour or two"...Michele Cooper

June 6, 2008

(185) Magnolia
6 x 8, oil

So, how DO you paint white? White is never really white because it is influenced by everything around it--the blue sky, the green and brown leaves reflecting into it-and in this case, the wind reshaping it every few minutes...and all those colors shifting back and forth...it can be maddening. Needless to say, I was just about to throw in the towel when my young neighbor dropped by to say hello. He is so charming, such a breath of fresh air, and brings so much positive energy with him. As we talked, I suddenly realized that the painting had begun to look more like a magnolia because I was no longer over-thinking and obsessing about what I was doing. Thank you my little friend. You are such good chi.
"It is all that reality--you are in the world that you are painting. The light changes, the wind blows, things are constantly moving. You are forced to paint quickly and spontaneously" ...Sherrill Cooper

June 5, 2008

(184) In the Garden
5 x 7, oil
My challenge for this one was to try a new medium: Galkyd Lite. It becomes sticky and dries really fast, so discourages going back in. I've been using a standard combination of linseed oil, Gamsol and stand oil which dries slowly, but I felt this was a nice change.
"The act of painting outdoors is like a dance to the tempo of the evolving day, following the lead of the wind, impelled by the measured meter of shadows moving in their eternal celestial rhythms"...Louise McElwain

June 4, 2008

(183) Red Peony
5 x 7, oil
"Working on-site is hard and fast. You have to work it out and get it done. It's like a sword fight. On the other hand, studio work is quiet, contemplative and internal"...Grace Paleg

June 3, 2008

(182) A Little Night Music
10 x 20, oil

This Macpherson assignment is about testing values by taking black and white photos to compare the finished painting (top) with a photo of the subject. It is a good comparison exercise allowing one to determine if the lights are light enough and the darks dark enough-also helps to see problems in drawing...
And here are some of the paintings for my upcoming show (couldn't display them all here because I ran out of steps, but you get the idea). If you are in the neighborhood Friday (June 6th) stop by the reception at the gallery between 5-7 p.m. (CDT) and say hello!
"Life is like a piano...what you get out of it depends on how you play it. One man gets nothing but discord, another gets harmony. No one claims the piano is at fault. Life is about the same. The discord is there, and the harmony is there. Study to play it correctly..." (anonymous)

June 2, 2008

(181) Back-lit
8 x 10, oil
This challenge involved keeping everything in the light family neutral while putting all the color in the flowers because they are in the shadow side. I'm not sure this is the best expression of this assignment. Perhaps a back-lit building or a cliff with reflected light in the shadows would have explained the intention a little better. But the point of the exercise was not lost on me-I can see the advantage in choosing to organize neutrals and color. I'll try it again on another day.
"Do console your poor friend, who is so troubled to see his paintings so miserable, so sad, next to the radiant nature he has before his eyes!"...Corot

June 1, 2008

(180) Peony Bouquet
private collection
8 x 10, oil
Continuing the Macpherson exercises, this assignment was to choose a subject that is 2/3 in light and keep the shadows neutral, while rendering everything in light with more color. Kevin suggests using Portland Grey Deep for the shadows but in this case, I felt it made the flowers much too dark, so I lightened them a bit. I loved this assignment. Perhaps it was because of my wonderful subject? Tomorrow I will switch it around and attempt more colorful shadows with neutral light.
"Plein air painting and painting from a reference: The first is like going to Paris for two weeks with your girl friend, the second is like reading a book about Paris at the local library"...Sylvio Gagnon