Thursday, May 17, 2018

Cottonwoods along a Bank

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
This was painted yesterday. It's a painting of cottonwood and willow trees southwest of town, looking toward the Lake Mountains. It's a warm day in the middle of May, and clouds were building - but not too much. It was a fine day for plein air painting!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Creek Side Shade Tree

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
Pictured above is a recently made plein air painting. I've painted this tree before. Like so many other subjects, though, it looks different each time I paint it. Sometimes the same landscape can provide a number of paintings, all different. Different times of day, weather, seasons, or years; also what I'm thinking or feeling at the time, all give the subject a different appearance. If development doesn't overrun these fields and trees, I'll probably return at some point in the future to paint them again.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Little Practice


Not every painting I make is intended for a gallery wall. At times it's good to paint in ways and/or choose subjects that are out of the ordinary for me. Doing so can lead to discoveries that influence in positive ways the methods I use and things I normally paint. A week or two ago I took one of my neglected 6" x 8" pochade boxes down to the lake. Because of the way this pochade box is made, it will also hold 6" x 6" and 4" x 6" panels. The tiny 4" x 6" panel is a good quick sketch size.

Making little pochades is also a contributing factor in getting out into nature on such a pleasant day!

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.