Monday, September 21, 2009

"Black Plums"

I have post-ums all over my studio with scribbled reminders. Thought I'd share a few of my favorites. Most are from various art teachers and art friends from the past ten years.
*Paint the light and shadow
*See it, mix it, put it down
*Color temperature is relative to other colors
*A painting always has movement, find it
*Open edges continue, hard edges stop
*Simplify everything into shapes and value
*step back and observe
*fewer values=greater impact
There's so much to think about when your painting. It's nice getting lost in all that.
8"x8" oil on gallery-wrapped linen

Sunday, September 20, 2009

another animal painting

If the heading doesn't make sense to you, "another animal painting," please read yesterday's blog.

Last night I jumped outside to tackle The Beast, cityscape's once again. Wow, what a totally different feel you get painting in the dark. The dark rather insulates you from the craziness and tones down the city clatter. I wish I had more time to resolve more issues in this piece but mostly I just wanted to blop in some temperature notes. Now I can't wait to get back outside and do more night paintings. (used a book lite to illuminate my canvas and palette.) 12"x9" oil on linen

"Filtered Lights"
Oil on Linen
Here's my shameless plug for the art competition which opens on Wed. It's quite unique in that it is a peoples choice award only art competition. So please, go to the website (under search type my name or title of my painting) or openings and look for my painting. I'll be in Grand Rapids, MI this coming weekend to do the meet and greet thing.
This painting was created in my studio and is the direct result from numerous plein air paintings of my neighborhood's sugar maples. I used a bakers spatula and palette knife.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A different kind of animal

This morning was my second attempt to paint in a section of Bucktown called six corners. This is the loudest place I've ever tried to paint. I can not express strongly enough just how loud painting at this intersection. I spent half the time with my fingers in my ears because the sirens combined with motor vehicles, subway and general hustle of a day sounds hurt my head. After a second attempt, I realize this animal had me and I didn't care. Time to pack up and find another location to paint. Someday I'll be back but not until I'm better equip to mentally and artistically handle "the animal."

p.s. I called it "the animal" because Karen Phipps best put her finger on the situation. We were discussing what went wrong and what went right and why it was a tough experience. Wisely she said, "Cityscapes are a different animal."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

8"x8" untitled oil painting

After watching Michael Van Zeyl demonstrate four different still life block-in ideas I was excited to make a new still life painting myself. Michael is an amazing artist and a wonderful teacher. I recommend that you check out his art.
Painting in my studio is such a different experience from plein air painting. There are no distracting city sounds or people stopping to admire or harass you as you paint. But I work from life and today used natural light so I still had that pressure of a limited amount of time to paint. My focus was on the shadow and light, so hard and so challenging.
I think this will be one for the "Adornments Show", a fundraiser for the Hinsdale Art Center in Illinois.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Pond Gazing" (Caldwell Lily Pond, Chicago)

Caldwell Lily Pond is another favorite retreats of mine, not just for painting but for day dreaming too. The textures in this smaller city lily garden always change and the sounds of the city itself is greatly muffled by the thick grasses, shrubs and trees. So this morning I headed here to paint and also, to embarrass myself. I'd been painting about an hour totally focused on my work and enjoying the secluded little nuck I had planted my easel when I heard a group of people approaching, loudly. It was so out of place because people always are so quiet when wandering through these paths. Of course they parked themselves as close to me as possible all the while talking excitedly. Before I knew or even thought about it I "shhhhed" them all in this awful snake-like sound. I was immediately ashamed and apologetic but one can't take back a shhhh. It's just out there. Fortunately after a quiet moment they started to laugh and apologise back and so, all ended well. But I'm still really embarrassed that I did that. They were just so happy and excited to be there together in this beautiful place.
As for the painting, the lily pads are almost all gone. Some remain in almost a skeleton form floating on the surface. But I felt the colors were more varied than in the summer when the lily pads are dark greens and cover the water almost totally. This one is larger, 8"x10." Also painted on oil primed linen mounted on board and created with a palette knife.
Anyone else willing to share an embarrassing plein air moment???

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Tranquillity" (Savanna Oaks Forest Preserve)

Yesterday morning I had planned on returning to the city to finish a street scene but I woke to a beautiful misty fog. So I switched gears mentally and ran to a neighboring forest preserve. I was anxious the fog would burn away before I had a chance to paint. Well, the whole experience was soothing to the soul. I didn't see anyone or hear any traffic and even though the fog was quickly disappearing, within the woods it lay heavy enough for me to paint.
So I like this painting but maybe because I so enjoyed the whole process. I like it because I feel I captured a tranquil mystery that is present with mist as well as a sense of depth to draw you into the painting. 6"x8" oil on linen mounted on board. Once again painted with my favorite palette knife. ($145.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Riverside Ramblings"

Today I returned with a friend and fellow plein air artist to one of my favorite paint sites. I've been painting this same area for a couple of years through it's various seasons and changes and many moods. Everytime I come here, it's different and new. It's been interesting to look at paintings from a few years ago and compare them to my present works. I see a drastic change in how I'm explaining/painting the scene. I feel I'm doing less copying what's in front of me and more personal interpretation. Also, I'm really curious about painting something that looks almost like a "nothing" but hopefully the painting will tell the story.
6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival museum board. ($145. framed)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

oil sketch (8"x10")

I love teaching and today was the first day of classes. I'm teaching at a new place with mostly new faces, so fun. We made a huge mess, took lots of chances, and made mistakes which resulted in the creation of some really excellent pieces. By the time for my second class I was out of canvases for their demo. So I took a canvas which I intended to plein air paint on tomorrow. I love plein air painting on top of an old palette knife painting because the paint sticks so well. The surface is really texturally which I think at times is quite fun for a palette knife landscape. I never used such a "textural" surface for a still life but since as artists we're visual learners I like to do mini demos as I teach. Here is the result. Maybe the edges are to hard???

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

sketching and playing with oil paints

I started painting three fishing buddies on a dock because their reflections were beautiful. Unfortunately shortly after I started they packed up and left for the day. I took this as a sign to focus on just sketching some ideas and not worry about going for a full finish. My premise was to focus on the abstract and simple shapes. But of course I couldn't resist getting fussy at the end. I really loved painting today despite the heat and humidity. I know I'm blessed to have such a supportive and encouraging family.

Friday, September 04, 2009

"Meadow in the Morning"

I'd like to recommend everyone to check out I won't say more you'll know why once you go there.

For some reason I wasn't able to finish this piece. I think it's because I didn't have a good start. But I really love this area in the woods, so much to paint. I plan on returning soon to try try again. I could kick myself for goof up my start. I firmly believe if the start; design/compostition, establishing the values, etc, is poor, the finish will never be very strong. So after struggling on it I just decided to scrap it away and try again later.