A Perfect Day !

“From the Point”
18″ x 24″
Wow! There are days when all conditions just seem to be purrr-fect!!!
Elio Camacho sent and email and asked if I wanted to go with him to paint at the coast. I live here, but don’t get out to do that often enough. Do you think I jumped at the chance? You can count on it!! We stood on a point 150 feet above the rocks . . .our easels would have been perfect sails had the wind come up. It didn’t. It was 72 degrees and we could see forever.
“E” is great company and took on a 30 x 40 piece that he finished in the same time I did this canvas. It was just one of those days when all the ions are in alignment.
Hey Elio!! Where is your painting? Let us see it!! [He posted it. Go see!]
WI watched it develop and I wanted it!!! It was gorgeous!
This photo, I have to apologize for, since there is so much glare. But you get the idea! I may give the photography another go. If it works well, I’ll post it in leiu of this one.

Caught Between Impressions and . . . .

“Ripples and Light”
oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 10″
SOLD
Last night after work, I scooted out of the office and went directly to the yacht harbor here. This place probably contains over a thousand boats of all kinds. The working boats are my favorites. The problem with painting in the yacht harbor is the challenge of simplifying. There is such a twisted morass of shapes and lines and different whites that it boggles the mind . . . . . .especially if you are painting it!

I had only an hour and a half to get something down on canvas. We were to be dinner guests someplace, so I couldn’t fudge the time. The fog was rolling in and had half covered the harbor. I set up and went to work. 30 minutes later the fog lifted magically and the light was frying my eyes. I already had a grey sky and backdrop in silouhette . . .when suddenly there were contrasts and colors that weren’t there 20 minutes previous! The pleasures of plein air painting!!
This painting has good spots and not so good spots. I see now that I really need to work on my whites and the light and shadow therein . . . . . .not just on this painting, but any other that has a lot of white. Maybe that is why Ken Auster is so good at what he does. I should spend some time studying his work. . . . . .and making more paintings with a lot of white in them.
In one and one half hours last night I was able to make enough to walk away and make a few adjustments in the studio this morning. I think, however, the next adjustment should be done in the fireplace! In looking at this, I find I am caught between impressionistic brushwork and detail. I need to land at one place or the other.

Puttering Day

“Surf Stump”

oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 10″
SOLD
Big family events are afoot. Today we are meeting our daughter’s future in laws and entertainting them. As well, Daughter and mom are out seeking wedding locations for a not so far off date. I got stuck with tidying up. Stuck might not be the right word. Shall we say ‘elected?’ 😉
I know what will happen this evening. Everyone will want to go to the studio to see what goes on there. And it is a big mess. I gotta git bizzy!
Today’s painting really isn’t done today. It has been held back for a few weeks waiting for a day like today when I simply cannot paint. I almost got my feet wet doing this one. I was perched on a rock with my easel and the waves were lapping at my feet while I tried to characterize this ‘stump’ of a rock and how it is being clobbered every single minute of every day.
enjoy!

Macpherson Was Right!

“Try Another Path!”
oil on canvas, 36″ x 24″
sold
Kevin Macpherson was right. The power of doing little studies outdoors, then using them as reference in the studio is the only way to go.

This is the largest piece to date . . .and I itch to get really big . . . .at 36″ x 24″ I had to reach to get at it (okay, I’m a short guy!) . . .

Those studies I did over the weekend in the wind, and the photos I took set this piece in motion. I used the photos for a few minutes to get a general idea . . .then in the drawings, stretched the height of the big cliff to exaggerate the feeling of altitude.

Then I buried the photos. Yup! Totally hid them so I couldn’t be tempted to get near them. This painting had to come from the heart. I propped up the studies (the three posted paintings from the last few days) . . .looked at what I liked and didn’t like and set some small goals for this studio piece. I let the plein air pieces be my guide then improvised from there.

We can always improve on everything we do, but I think this painting says what I wanted it to say. It is loose in areas, tight in others, the colors are harmonic and there is a sense of space and atmosphere that works. Could it be better? Of course! But considering the few pieces I have done so far to date, I am happy with it.
Now, of only Macpherson would say the same thing!! :-))
(P.S. I wonder what I’ll say a year from now!)

Terrible Tuesday

“Pink Toes”
oil on linen on panel, 10″ x 8″
Tuesday. It arrived too early this morning. I was involuntarily aroused while painting in my sleep. I sprang awake at 2:45AM and with my mind in high gear. I was awake. For the day!
🙁
So, I did what I always do when that happens. I got up and went to the studio . . . . after a cup of joe, first. Now, however, I am stumbling around and bumping into things. Just too little sleep, thank you.
This is a rescue from the weekend workshop. A little sketch piece that needed work.
I also began a larger version of one of the weekend’s pieces and am nearly finished with it already. It needs tuning yet, but most of it is in the finished stages. Maybe tomorrow or the day after, I’ll post it.
Meanwhile, to rescue this one, I used a hint of pink and violet to stir it awake.

Some Days Are More Difficult

“Before the Wind”
oil on stretched canvas, 16″ x 20″
Sunday was the same as Saturday. Wind, Wind and more wind!

I have terrible difficulty seeing the colors on the palette in bright sunlight. So, with the wind, I couldn’t put up an umbrella in the wind. It was a struggle. Then, I got caught in the details . . .and I know better!!! So, an hour in the studio this morning, tweaking values and reducing the details helped immensely. Not that a night’s sleep and rest from the wind had anything to do with it!!

This piece might be a little too illustrative, but what the heck! It’s a workshop piece. One thing I did notice is that I hit the right values and colors early in painting then, stupid me, I painted right through it! Serves me right for not stopping soon enough.

I could stand on those cliffs and paint for weeks on end! In fact, I could make a career out of the 50 mile stretch of our coast line! What a place we live in!!!

Color Harmonies

“Casino Dawn”
oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″
Today’s piece was a serious one. Not just practice, but one that I hope will be accepted into a museum show honoring the 100th anniversary of the “Boardwalk” . . .an amusement park here that boasts an old wooden rollercoaster . . . .and the site of several movies in the past.
I have been ‘working on’ this piece for over a ten days without ever lifting a brush. I mean it! Really! I looked at and sketched several points of view. Went to the site several times, but never in this lighting conditions. Then photographs were taken because there was no way I could paint from this angle without being squashed by a car or truck. It just wasn’t possible. So I had to use a photo . . .something I almost NEVER do. (I shall save that commentary for another post.) Once the drawing was done, color harmony and value emphasis had to be reasoned through before I painted it. I wanted the feeling of dawn with golden light, while the streets are empty and I wanted the emphasis to be on the building with the dome . . .the casino, as it is called. . . . .or the Coconut Grove. Reasoning wasn’t enough . . .I had to resort to a very abbreviated palette and force myself to stay in it so I could establish relationships between every single color in the piece. Cad Orange, Cad Yellow Medium, Violet, Cad Red Lite and Green and, of course white. Every brush load was a mix of at least two of these colors and most often of three to insure it would all relate. Frankly, as I worked through the painting, I was amazed at how many different colors I was able to arouse on my palette. Again, it seems I am gaining some ground in this new medium.

Last Day of Event

“From The Stairs”
oil on canvas on panel, 12″ x 16″
This is my last painting for the plein air event here in town.
Having never tackled urban subjects much, I figgered (yes, I know how to spell it) I’d give it a shot. The cool thing about this piece is that it is a very unusual point of view of the town center. As paintings go, it is hardly a prize winner, but the light and the subject will have great local appeal.
As you might guess by now, I don’t care to paint comfortably. It just isn’t my style to crank out paintings without challenge . . .even when the painting is going to a show. I’d rather put it all on the line in favor of forcing myself to overcome the next painting challenge. I learned a bunch with this piece and will paint it again and agin. Next time, I intend to exaggerate sizes more and add some lively activity to the intersection. Meanwhile, I will prolly fix the windows and clean up the center of interest on this one before Monday afternoon.

South County . . .

“Thompson Road”

oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 10″
This was one of those days that when we drove round the corner, the voice in my head screamed YES!! Right here!!! We had the glorious shade of a biiiig oak tree, a pull out on the road and perrrrfect light. We could **smell** the mist lifting off the hills!!