Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Lake Los Carneros Park Trail" ©

This little painting is in the same area as the last one, near Santa Barbara in the small town of Gaviota.  The lake is just to the left, surrounded by paths meandering around the lake and across the golden fields.   The houses that boarder the park are invisible once you start walking and it feels as though you are in the middle of no where, all alone with just bird songs breaking the silence.

Oil on canvas, 14" X 18"

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Los Carneros Lake" ©

Lake Los Carneros is located just above Santa Barbara in Goleta, California.   The spot is a great painting location, safe, quite, lots of different views all day long.  As I was just about ready to leave the little fellow on the other bank showed up to fish, so I popped him into the painting.  

Oil, 16" X 20"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Huddled Up" ©

Herd animals have a unique way to huddle, some facing out, others buried deep in the pile of hide.  This little study explores the idea of a small group of cows huddled up in the warmth of the early morning light glazing the snow.  Anyone that had ridden a horse can imagine the amount of heat generated by a large animal and appreciate the "huddle".  

Oil on panel, 8" X 10"

Friday, January 17, 2014

"Wintery Morn" ©

This week I traveled up to San Francisco to view the Anders Zorn exhibition at the Legion of Honor Museum.  Zorn is considered Sweden's Master Painter of all time and viewing the exhibition, it was easy to see why.  A friend asked me what I learned from the exhibit and I made a short list, sharing it with a few artists.  They seemed to appreciate the reminders and observations so I'll share it here for everyone.  

1.  Be really thoughtful about what you leave out of a painting or add to support the main idea.   
2.  Use diagonals to add drama, whether it be a stream of light or a shape etc.
3.  Don't be shy about painting the odd part of the scene, embrace it.
4.  Notan is the foundation to the composition
5.  Thickest paint on the lightest highlights
6.  Big painting, huge brushes
7.  Paint as if from 20 feet away from the canvas
8.  Be sure the painting has it's "own" light and isn't dependent on room lighting
9.  Paint fearlessly, confidently and with a main idea in mind
10.  Never loose sight of the main idea and emotion you want to depict, another way of putting it, never let the painting take charge of the outcome, stay in control till the end.
11.  Use every tool (paint, composition, brushes, color choices etc.) available to tell your story in paint and then know when to stop, earlier is better.  

The little painting above is oil on panel, 8" X 10" 

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Red Rock Creek" ©

 Recently I read an article by Marc Hanson  about focusing on the one thing that inspired you to paint a particular painting, especially in plein air work.  It's so easy to get distracted with the world around you painting outside that you can easily get lost.  This piece is a studio painting, created while also painting crown moulding, floor moulding, walls and so on during our never ending remodel job.  Even so, I kept Marc's words of advice up front and really concentrated on the brilliant golden tree.

Oil on canvas,  14" X 18"

Monday, January 06, 2014

"Sunset Splendor" © and books, books and more books......

Years ago Maggie Price taught me how to paint water using pastels.   For this painting I used her method and painted this scene of Hansen Dam just as the sun was setting.  Maggie passed away, a huge loss to the art community, but as so many great teachers her lessons continue to benefit all the artists she instructed.  

Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20"

I LOVE books, real books with pages to turn and weight to hold in my hands, especially art books.  Yesterday we pulled all the books off the shelves and re-organized the titles.  It's so hard to not sit down with one and dive in.  

The art books are sitting pretty in the case and now I know where each title is for quick reference.  It's a nice way to start 2014.  Here are some of my favorites books on painting methods:
"Brushwork" by Emile A. Gruppe,  "Composition of Outdoor Painting" by Edgar Payne, "Problem Solving for Oil Painters" by Gregg Kreutz,  "Alla Prima" by Richard Schmid and "Oil Painting, The Workshop Experience" by Ted Goerschner.  Happy painting, reading and New Year!
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