Mother’s Day

In the course of blogging (and all else) one must pause to pay homage to those who gave us life . . . and life’s lessons . . . our moms. I am formally tipping my hat to all you moms out there. IN so tipping, I also bow to you because you ladies have a presence here on earth like none of us males. You manage patience and hold to a code of protection that is so consistent. We males could learn much by those special blessings you wield. Were it not for our moms, we would be but mere animals! Eh, Guys?

On another subject, my webmaster phoned late last nite to inform me that the blog is now a link on my website. So, now there is a synergy between the two places in cyberspace. For those of you in Europe and other parts of the world who visit my site, let me say thank you and welcome here to my blog. This is a little different than the site, because it is mostly devoted to oil painting and a painting a day in that world . . .sometimes watercolor . . .but it is intended as a place for sharing knowlege. If you have a comment or two, please feel free to make note of it here. Another point . . .you might want to consider subscribing by using the link in the uppermost left corner of this blog.

If you are a mom who is visiting, know that all of us here in the USA honor you and all that you have done for us! Happy Mom’s Day!!

(Incidentally, I will post a close up of yesterday’s garlic painting for you who would like a better look-see.)

Today’s Painting

“Tomatoes”
Oil on linen on panel, 5 1/2″ x 8″

This daily painting idea is terrific! I have always done something in the studio nearly daily. This just confirms my belief in compressed experience. This was a fun one!!

The Value of Blogging

A few weeks ago I dug through the archives of Jeff Hayes’ blog (link in the list). Jeff had photos of a shadow box he built for the purpose of painting still life.

This was a revelation to me!! I could not believe I had never heard of one of these tools before. I looked very carefully at his photo and tried to find out more about the tool . . .but, alas, all he had was one post. Another artist also picked up on it and set up a temporary arrangement with foam core boards ‘n stuff. I was fascinated.

After looking carefully at Jeff’s set up, I made an emulation from a cardboard box painted flat black. Here’s a photo.

Mind you, this is not intended to look like the Taj Mahal. Its purpose is to regulate light . . . . . . . . . ..especially reflected light and light coming from other sources. My studio has can lights in the ceiling and track lighting . . . .thus providing MANY shadows and no discernable pattern of light. As you can see here, the flood light shining into the slots above the subject and the ceiling of the box (and walls) make for one source of light and shadow. The recessive darkness into the back of the box gives the subject more depth and interest. Above is a photo of how the subject looks from my easel.

You can see that the subject receeds nicely into the dim light and the portion of the subject that I wish to emphasize is lit up like a Christmas Tree. Wow! No guessing here.

All I need to do is move the flood light (you can see the lip of it in the upper left corner of the shadow box photo) to the side, or the rear or forward to gain the kind of light I want.

I have spoken here of making the mundane extraordinary . . .and this tool does it! Thanks, Jeff, for being so generous with your information. Apparently, other artists have used similar arrangements if they paint still life paintings, but I sure had no clue!! There is a ton of vital information about almost any subject in the blogshpere. . .art in particular. Aren’t we lucky to be granted this privilege of these accesible resources on the internet?!

There Are A Few Of Us . .

“Sourdough”
Oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

I am one of those guys who has had multiple jobs and careers in my life. Most recently, teaching art / painting and being a realtor. Before that it was business owner, hi tech manager, salesman, marketing guy . . .all kinds of stuff . . .most of which had nothing to do with art. At a late age, the bug bit me. Age 46. And now, 18 years later, the bug still chomps down on me. Art is the only thing that has ever held my interest for any length of time beyond 2 or 3 years. Or, should I say that art is my compulsion.

A while ago, I had my studio on the same floor as my office and bedrooms are. . . .near the bathroom. If the door to the studio was open, it was a rare thing to pass that door without entering the studio to fiddle for a minute or two. Time stood still in that room. And often to the detriment of everything else in my life. That sort of access fed my compulsion and taught me much. What I learned over time is this: There are only a few of us who can even tell the difference in two colors of red . . .there are only a few who study value patterns, or shape design, or who feel that it really DOES matter to be concerned about what is going on in the world of art. There are only a few who really ‘get’ why people paint or make art. There are even fewer who will give painting a place in life that has priority.

And when someone else recognizes the compulsion . . .and sees it as honorable (ahem!) . . . .it seems that someone becomes a lifelong friend. That someone knows our heart . . and knows how much art really does matter.

I celebrate those who paw a keyboard daily in search of good art . . .or make it their business to find artists and see their work in some other way. They may not be the reason we do this, but they certainly provide validation. They, along with the few of us, really do understand that bread alone does not nourish us!

Confining The Subject

“Surf Watch”
Oil on linen on board, 8″x 10″

Yesterday was one of those rush rush days. Ran to the painting location on a beach here, set up and had to ‘scram’ fast. There was much going on there last nite. Beach visitors, houses on the cliff, nice sunlit patterns on the cliff walls and houses. Even three guys lounging around against the cliff on the beach. It would have / could have made . . . .well, um, now that I think about it . . . . .a rather trite painting. And besides, there was too darned much to spend time on with a small canvas. I had exactly an hour of light left.

So, it was cut to the essentials and get on with it . . .without dithering. This game is about putting down what you see, trusting that it is right, then moving to the next spot of color.

Let’s see, what color is the color of sand? ? ? Gotta choose something! Better mix something. Whaddabout that shadow? What color is that? Can’t name it. Just match it and move on to the next spot of color. (Under my breath I am thanking my stars for all the studying and experimenting I have done with color and mixing!)

So, here is what came out . . . . .”Surf Watch” . . . .

The First Plein Air Oil . . .

“Late Shadows”
Oil on linen on panel 12″ x 16″

Here it is . . .Not especially the best technique, but a two hour effort to capture the light through the trees. I had an absolute BALL painting this!!! 12 x 16 inches, oil on linen on wood panel.