Monday, April 16, 2018

Early Spring Ranch

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
Spring weather is crazy. Short sleeve shirt weather one day, snow the next. It'll be a month or so before trees are fully leafed out, but I can't wait. I want to go out and paint. The painting shown above was painted a few days ago on one of the fairly nice days.

I still use the first pochade box I ever built.
The scene is one I've painted a couple times before. The trees were fully green then. Even leafless, though, the trees are interesting, along with the collection of sheds and other ranch things around them. It was a wonderful day and a wonderful place to go paint!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Last of March 2018

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
Yesterday the weather was great! For the first time this year I was able to paint outdoors in short sleeves. As I drove through ranch land west of town, I saw another plein air painter and briefly stopped to talk with him. Feeling motivated, I headed for a trail near the lake and made the painting shown above. The painting is of a view through tamarisk brush, over marsh grasses, and across the lake to the snow capped Oquirrh Mountains.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Happy Vernal Equinox 2018

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
And what a nice Equinox to go out and paint in! It's still kind of "stick season," that is, the time of year when there's no leaves on the trees. But trees are budding, birds are singing, and frogs are croaking in the marshes. I'd originally set out today with the idea to do a really little painting; 5" x 7" or even smaller, but when I saw this scene, I decided it deserved at least a 9" x 12" panel. That's the finished painting at the top of this post.

Here's the pochade box I painted in today. After toning the panel, the composition was mapped out. This photo shows the sky painted and the mountains blocked in. Where the tree trunks were in the initial composition was largely obliterated when the sky and mountains were painted. That's OK. They're easy enough to find again.

In this photo we see the middle ground blocked in and the tree trunks getting painted again. I didn't follow how the trees were exactly, but modified them a little to suit the painting.

This photo shows the finished painting. By this time, the light had changed and the scene no longer looked as it did when I started painting. This is the phase where I paint more from memory than direct observation, and instead of copying what's in front of me, focus on making a painting.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Up the Canyon

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
Last Saturday was the nicest day yet this year, so I took an 8" x 10" pochade box for a short hike up a local canyon. A side trail led to this overlook, and that's where I set up and painted. There's still a little snow around the lower slopes, but I think it won't hang around much longer. There will likely still be a spring flurry or two, or three, but those kinds of things are only winter's last gasps. Spring is gaining momentum!

Another sign of spring: There's a bug stuck to the painting near the upper left corner. In plein air painting jargon, we jokingly call that an "eagle." See it up there in the sky? It'll be easier to get off of the painting once the paint's dry. No harm done, except for the poor bug.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Paint, Scrape, Paint

12" x 9" Oil on Panel
You could say I made two paintings at the portrait session last Wednesday. Or maybe two paintings in one, neither of them finished.

These sessions are for practice, pushing your abilities, and sometimes trying new methods. Rarely do I ever "finish" a painting at these sessions. Generally, when the timer goes off at the end of the session, I'm through with my sketch.

Some sessions seem to go better for me than others. Last Wednesday my sketch didn't begin well, but I continued on, trying to force the painting to be better. Halfway through the session, I had to admit to myself that the sketch wasn't working and couldn't be corrected. So, out came the palette knife. The paint was scraped off of the panel, leaving a faint image on the panel. Over that, new paint was applied, with better attention to drawing. Now I had only half a session to work in - an hour and a half, minus breaks. The image above shows how the second half of the session went for me. Better, I think.

Colors used were cadmium yellow light, yellow ochre, cadmium red, quinacridone red, ivory black, and of course, titanium white.

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Last Day of February 2018

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
I'm looking forward to getting outdoors and painting plein air again, but in the mean time, here's my sketch from last Wednesday's portrait session. 

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Couple More Charcoal Sketches from February

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
I decided to stick to sketching with charcoal at the live portrait sessions this week. The first sketch is from last Wednesday's portrait session at Howard Lyon's studio. The second one is from a session at Casey Child's studio on Thursday.

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
No, that is not a drawing of Howard Lyon. It sort of looks like him, but it's not. Thursday evening's model could be Howard's doppelganger, though. The beard, bald head and classes are mighty close, but his height and general demeanor were a little different. He certainly was a fun person to draw!

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".