Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Saturday I am driving down to the Anza Borrego State Park area to participate in the "Borrego Springs Invitational". As a necessary treat (is there such a thing?) I bought a new plein air backpack to replace my little Ross Store backpack that only holds paint and paper towels and is ripping apart. The new one is a Kelty Redwing 44 . I wanted to take it out on it's maiden painting trip, so we headed out for a quickie at Towsley Canyon. The pack will hold an EasyL 11" X 14" easel and everything else needed to paint. I have graduated from carrying 3 items (backpack, easel and tri-pod) to just 1 item on my back, leaving me hands free. This is a great feature if you start to fall while hiking or just need to grasp rocks/trees for balance. So far I give the Kelty a 5 star rating....
Oil on panel, 8" X 10"
Friday, February 21, 2014
I painted this scene as a trial for a larger painting. The process helped me see how to create a better design and decide what to feature in the landscape. Now the real work comes, going big.
Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20"
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
For this little painting I zoomed in on this palm tree to really play up how the beard and fronds shifted color in the sunlight. Hard to believe but this particular palm tree stands right at the back entrance gate to the Phoenix Zoo.
Oil, 10" X 8"
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
One of the many things that Matt Smith taught me was to not work the whole painting to death, something I am very good at. On this one I tried so very hard to keep a lot of the painting rather loose and just have fun in the paint. If it flies with collectors, this is just a super fun way to paint and I'll do more.
14" X 11"
Monday, February 10, 2014
This is another painting that Matt Smith critiqued for me. His suggestion was to simplify the tree mass in the background and add some interesting color here and there in the foreground. He also commented that the sky I had painted was the right value and that many artists paint their skies too dark. Of course I took his advice and here is the finished painting.
Oil on panel, 11" X 14"
Friday, February 07, 2014
This week I had the opportunity to study with Matt Smith, a painter that I have admired for many years. A long time ago I was told by a top painter that it's a good idea to study with another artist once a year to kick up your artistic game. Matt has been on my wish list ever since I saw his original work in Scottsdale at Trailside Galleries. One of the many gems that Matt told the group was to spend a month painting in the field, 6" X 8" panels. I photographed the little painting with the easel so you can see how tiny the panel is, yet the scene is huge. Here are the main nuggets that Matt passed along:
- Use the best equipment and materials you can
- Always work large to small shapes, dark to light and thin paint to thick paint
- If there is a warm light source, the shadows will be cool
- Earth colors are only used as modifiers
- Save the painting of the sky for the end, otherwise it may be too rich/dark
- Value does all the work and color gets all the credit
- Rules can be broken / laws cannot
- Balance the painting front to back, not just left to right
- Always, always establish your horizon line, even if does not show in the painting
- Study the masters / look at and learn from great art
- It's easier to rich a gray color then gray a rich color
Here is a list of the artists that we showed take a look at on Google images he mentioned:
Frederick H. Waugh
Frank Tenney Johnson
Sir Alfred Munnings
William Herbert Dunton Frederick H. Waugh
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Yesterday I installed new paintings for sale at Gale's Restaurant in Pasadena. A new artist has been added to the mix, Jose de Juan. His brilliant street scenes got me all excited and I you know how it is, as an artist you can't wait to hit the easel and quench that desire. What could be brighter and more fun the a giant sunflower? Now looking at the painting on my easel, it really does bring a lot of sunshine into the room.
Oil on canvas, 18" X 14"