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Thursday, June 22, 2017

From Here to Eternity II

From Here to Eternity II, 12x24, oil on linen panel
As a movie I was watching was beginning recently, I noticed the beautiful abstract landscapes of the intro with the credits. The images were so abstract that they did not at first read as a real place in any landscape. I had to go back a number of times to really note what these photographs were saying. They so impressed me I decided to translate them in my own way. Here is the first of these images that so captured my imagination. I call it From Here to Eternity II for, I think, obvious reasons. The road is straight for miles without end. The film took place in Australia. The II is because I named another painting recently the same title, also of a road. In the blogpost it did not have that title yet.

It is a good vehicle for me to keep things simple; to try and add visual interest to very basic shapes.

I think it does beg the viewer to ask themselves some questions. For me, I was thinking about the road I am on. It isn't really as straight and narrow as I would like. In fact, the next painting from this movie inspiration is more like the road I believe I am on which is full of circles which I hope I can break out of soon to get on this road in the twilight of my life. Much calmer and straight forward.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rolling Tundra

Rolling Tundra - Guanella Pass, oil on panel, 15x30
Last fall on a beautiful day, a friend and I went up to hike on Guanella Pass. We headed the opposite direction of most hikers who stop here. The more 'usual' hike is to go to Mount Bierstadt. There is no cover from the sun and as you continue to wander up the path there seems no end. Around every bend the path goes around some willows or another roll in the landscape. And then you stop to catch your breath and there lies before you these glorious colors. It was incredibly beautiful and this particular scene off to our left was a marvel to me. The fall colors of the willows looked like polka dots as they tumbled down the hillside in oranges, reds and purples. It was one of those clear blue, not a cloud in the sky, Colorado days.

I started this painting right after the hike itself, but so much has been going on. Finally finishing it just recently. I did saturate the colors just a little bit but not as much as you might think!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Growth and Renewal

untitled, 30x20, oil on linen
“It is with art as it is with trees, constant growth and renewal. Seeking new forms of expression is a vital necessity for art. When art doesn’t put out new shoots, it is dead.” Birger Sandzen, 1913

With this quote in mind, here is a piece that shows something different for me. I have been digging through my old works lately and I am surprised by what I am finding. Lots of good work hidden below. It energized me. My roots are more graphic and flat before I opted to move to the more representational arena.

For this painting I used a photo my son had taken of some old buildings downtown Denver. Since the same rules apply in abstraction as they do in any other painting, I was not only thinking what colors to use but also what colors were in which value group. I was also thinking about repeating patterns using the 'windows' and architectural details to break up the bigger shapes whether they were there or not. The light group is used to help move the eye around.

Here is the image in B and W to illustrate the values and how the colors group.
untitled in B&W
If anyone has a brilliant idea for a title for this piece, I would be happy to hear it. I am stumped. Thank you in advance.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Kicked off Vans

Vans, 16x12, oil on panel
I have been doing some major spring cleaning the past month or so and one of the projects led me to stored paintings of questionable value. Here is one I pulled out from that pile. I am seeing it with fresh eyes and thinking, 'now what is so very wrong with this little piece?' It is not so bad after all. I must not have thought it awful, as those get wiped off or painted over.

So, here is a study I did of a pair of Vans sneakers I inherited from my then teen-aged daughter. I had wanted to document them before I threw them out after miles of walking the dog in them. Oh good and faithful servants that they were.

What is it about shoes that I get so attached to? I sure enjoy painting my shoes. I have a very hard foot to find comfortable shoes for so when I find a pair that doesn't give me blisters or great pain. I am then so overjoyed, no matter how homely they may be.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Beach Trinity

Beach Trinity, 6x6, oil on panel
I liked this little vignette I saw on a beach in Florida. That it included the dog was a bonus. I am glad that he was somewhat connected to the sea grasses as I did like the family group of three.

This being a simple little composition, I tried to maintain that without getting too involved in details.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Critique

Critique, 30x24, oil on linen panel
 I don't believe I have posted this painting before. It is really hard to put out there a portrait of sorts of someone so well known in the local art community here in Denver. This is from the Master Painting class I took a few years ago with Kevin Weckbach. I am very grateful for the time I was able to spend under his tutelage so the last thing I want to do is put a bad painting of him out in public.That happens to be my easel behind him with my nifty tennis ball tube turned brush holder hanging on the wall. People who have seen this painting ask if that is me sitting on the left, but alas, no; I took the reference photo and then used it as a class project for dark/light pattern.

I have explained dark/light pattern before so to briefly review what that means it is to find a pattern either in the light or the dark values and then push the medium values either to the light pattern or the dark pattern. This one I used the darks to carve out the light. The dark values marry to one another to create a circle that moves the eye around. To do the assignment, for instance, the brown hair highlights of Tomiko on the left were toned down so as to not be disrupted by her highlights and to blend from Kevin's black shirt to his navy pants to her brown hair, etc. Her sweatshirt was overall a darker gray to unify with the darker areas of her hood folds. Kevin's blue cargo pants were overall darker and flatter too. I brought the mediums back out after the critique but still keeping the pattern in mind.

The other things I liked about this composition were the repeating square shapes and the angles both in the painting being critiqued and the easel and the brush holder. That is what we call the "abstract quality" and in this case, help guide the eye as well.

Here is Kevin critiquing the start of the painting where you can see what I was talking about marrying the values.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Lilacs

Lilacs, 14x11, oil on panel
Another recent plein air piece painted in our backyard. As I mentioned in a past post on painting tulips, this year has been particularly beautiful for flowering trees, shrubs and bulbs here in Denver.  I managed to remember to take a photo of my block in (it is in the shade which is why it looks a bit dull). In the block in below I was looking for the dark pattern within the bush to give shape and structure to it. I wanted to block in the lilacs themselves with a unifying mid value so that I could then have fun putting the lilacs in on top in a lighter value as well as adding texture. Because at the end of the hour (I started about noon) the light was shifting and where I was sitting was now getting sun in my face, I stopped to come back the next day. Painting on your own premises allows for that more easily than going out to another location and I enjoy taking my time that way. I like that the block in is mostly dry and you can layer more easily than when painting wet into wet in one sitting.
Day One first hour