oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″
Getting out of the house to paint on some days just isn’t possible. This pepper was in the grocery bag a few days ago and begged to reside on canvas. So I obliged.
This is the last post of the month . . .the 38th post! Frankly, with all the goings on here, I am surprised to have been able to paint as much as I have been. Am looking forward to the next few months to see what comes in my painting explorations. . . .so far, I am very happy to have had this chance. Thanks to all you visitors who stop in, look and sometimes comment. Still looking to put some of these on Ebay . . . .soon, I hope.
Gotta go to work now . . . (yes, I have a jawb!) 😉

Gray Day

“Soup Stock”

oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 10″
Painting on gray days is VERY different than on sunny days. There is no shadow . . .at least discernible shadows. Then there is the insipid magnetism into the details of the rocks! EeeGads I got lost on this one. Then, out came the palette knife . . .not accustomed to using it . . . to see if I could do something with this painting.
There are some who love this painting. I guess you can’t please everyone all the time . . . . . ………especially the artist!! But, I remind myself, this is practice . . . .a means of learning . . . . . . . . ……. . . .trying new stuff . . . .and one cannot expect glorious results every time.

Mother and Daughter

“Mother and Daughter”
oil on canvas on panel, 12″ x 16″

Happy Memorial Day! If you read my last post under the radishes, you read about my disappointment at not being able to paint two gorgeous trees. I had to go elsewhere. Sometimes, misfortune is the best way to steer ourself away from a certain kind of trouble. I had a ‘scene’ in mind that afternoon. Now that I think of it, it was way more complex than I should have been painting . . .too many ideas and not enough emphasis of one thing.

This painting and I were out in the field for four hours . . .and I came away disappointed. I had an epiphany in the shower this morning about making some key changes in it so I ran to the studio to implement the changes. This is the outcome.

For you painters out there, these eucalyptus trees are absolute rascals to paint. I am beginning to understand the nuances I must build into these beauties to really set them off and it seems those nuances and subtleties must be laid in first. Next time, I ‘ll be wiser. Already, I can see progress from the first of this month. We may only gain inches, but we learn best by hard won experience.

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

Diappointed !!

oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

Yesterday, after scrambling around in a real estate transaction, I headed back to the site where I had painted on Thursday afternoon. I couldn’t wait to get there and try again to paint in that gorgeous light those incredible Eucalyptus trees . . .two of them with 8 foot diameter trunks stand on the edge of the little road, dwarfing everything in sight. These two trees, I estimate, are appoximately 125 feet high!
When I arrived, the road was blocked off and a crane with a crew of men were cutting down the trees!!!! I was sick to my stomach! I had formed a strong attachment to those trees, as you could tell from my previous post. I chose another set of trees close by, and struggled for nearly 4 hours to bring some control to that painting. More dissappointment!
Today’s painting is another color challenge. These radishes actually change color to purple when left out to come to room temperature! In their own way, they offer a change of pace of shape and color . . . .especially when massed together like this.
Have a great holiday week end! I won’t be posting tomorrow . . . . .but I might find my way to a paint brush. I just can’t stay away.

Still Concerned With Simplification

“Quail Hollow”
oil on linen on panel, 10″ x 8″
Good Morning! I am reeling a bit from my plein air outing yesterday.
While I believe I captured the feeling of the place, I am still a little cranky about how I manage to paint Eucalyptus trees. These guys are magnificent labyrinths of light and shadow and have a personality all their own. The traditional California Landscape artists painted these gorgeous beauties in a way that completely mystifies me. The shapes alone are enough to arouse! They stand close to our roads here and I sometimes nearly drive into the ditch while staring at them. Scary! There is a mezmorizing and dazzling array of light coming from inside the tree and the long, slender silver-ish trunks and branches.
I am trying my darndest to paint them . . . .with simple strokes. But I am not following my own teaching . . . .”Don’t paint things! Paint Shapes, Textures, Color and Values.” Instead, I catch myself trying to paint “trees” not spots of color or making strokes of light and shadow. Yesterday, I came closer . . . . .but I am still cranky about the attempt. See for yourself.
Oh, and there is more to say. But I fear there will be no readers if I go on. I’ll save it for another day.

Last Night’s Class Lecture

oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

Last night, I spent 90 minutes jumping through hoops, showing charts, wheels, paintings and scribbling on the white board about the four aspects of color: Hue, temperature, intensity and value.

It is always amazing to watch the looks on peoples’ faces as the truth unfolds that few painters are willing to face: It takes work and study to fully internalize these aspects and be able to mix colors well. The blank looks and twisted brows say much about wanting the ‘quick secret.’

There are countless hours under my belt doing these studies about intensity and how that differs from value. There is as much or more study about how temperature changes imply light and shadow and can reveal depth much more so than a simple value change. I received an email from a long time friend this morning which said, “To be a great artist you have to work harder than other artists. . . .and that isn’t so difficult! Most aren’t willing to put in the work.”

I have much more to master with color and much more work to do to really make it become second nature. As I painted this subject, two hours into it and nearly done, I happened to actually see some new colors in the shadows that I hadn’t noticed all morning. A small little dark shadow edge, right under the edge of the carrot, showed up as violet suddenly! Why didn’t I see this two hours ago, I asked? It must be that my observation powers click into gear after spending a LONG time looking. Or is it that after almost 30 paintings . . .and a dozen more practice workups . . . .I am beginning to see? It that possible?

And someone in class, last nite, said that shadows were gray! I wish they could have seen what I saw this morning!

Today’s Studio Work

“Partners in Pink”
oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

No chance for plein air work today. Real Estate duties beckon . . . .actually they are screaming! . . . . . . and I have to teach class this evening.

This piece is that little vinegar jar again. It has a beautiful glaze on its surface with all manner of blues, greys and violets. The textures and reflective surface makes for an interesting lighting challenge each time I attempt it. As for the geranium . . . .this time, I wanted to simplify it down to its essence . . . one or two simple strokes of color for each petal, then leave it.

The end result made an interesting abstraction of contrasting sizes from multiple tiny shapes against the larger negative shapes. Just another in the endless string of ‘experiments.’


The Creative High

“Facing West”
oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 10″

Aaaaah!! A nice dose of vitamin D was gathered yesterday. I got out into the beautiful day and painted en plein air! Whooopppeee! It has been three long weeks!

What is it about the successful painting experience that gives us artists such a high? After a day standing at the edge of our lovely town, looking at the waves and foam, breathing the fresh, misty air . . . and making a painting that sings when in a frame, I am so high I can hardly sit still!! And that is no exaggeration. I feel like singing at the top of my lungs!!

I can remember when I was first learning to paint and how I carried frustration most of the time (this is years ago) . . . . but when I got one that spoke to me at the finish, I was high for a full week. There must be a huge endorphin release when we have a successful experience. Maybe that is why we artists are on a continual chase for more paintings!

This little painting took but 90 minutes and really feels like the conditions of the day . . . .a slight mist hanging over the cliffs as the sun penetrated in and the glare from the water bleached all color from everything near it. Wooo Hooo!! I feel good!!

More Schmutzing on Canvas

oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

Schmutz? Whaaaat? You don’t know what schmutzing is? Well, doesn’t the sound of the word sort of suggest what I’m doing? Making little schlimey schpots! 😉

Well, after yesterday’s vow to go out and paint, the world caved in here. Never made it out. Maybe today. Nevertheless, I rose early to insure that today received its creative beginning.

I am feeling more comfortable with the paint and the techiques, but I still have a long (and exciting) journey of discovery ahead. Glassware is a major challenge of observation and subtlety of paint. Jeff Hayes arouses envy in the way he makes use of color and value in his glassware paintings. I have much to learn!

Also, thanks to Ed Terpening for the suggestion about photo images. The shine is driving me nutz! I’ll have to explore that, Ed.

Sunday . . . .

oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 6″

Oh, I know. I am not supposed to paint today. But what if I wanna paint anyway?

Old habits never die. I did four sketches of this flower and vinegar vase in my sketch book trying to decide on a good layout. I like every one of them. So here is another.

I used a neutral background on this painting to set off the tints in the flower. A little bit of Naples Yellow in the foreground and graded back provides a warmth and adds depth, too.