Search This Blog

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spring in my back yard

Tulips springing forth, 14x11, oil over an old painting on canvas/board
This spring in Denver has been particularly beautiful. Not only for the blooms that come out most every year, but for the length of time the blooms have stayed out. Denver can have snow and or hail up and through June so from year to year we may or may not have blossoms around for very long. In an effort to get outside during this amazing time, but also fighting allergies big time, I opted to stay close to home and sit outside in my own backyard to paint.

For this painting, I set my chair atop my hostas that were peeping out against the fence. There was not much room between the fence and the tulips but I managed to squeeze in the chair so I could be a bit closer to the subject. I reused a panel that had an old plein air on it as I try to keep my inventory to something manageable. And some pieces are just not worth keeping after a few years. I do like the way these tulips were snaking around, all in different phases of development. The sun was coming from across the fence over my shoulder so this view had the best light too.

Because of the lighting situation, on the first day I figured out my composition and got it blocked in before the light was too different. I had plans to go back the next day but it ended up I could not get back out for another 2 days. Not good in the life-cycle of bulbs. In 2 days, so many changes have taken place. With my composition and block in already to go, it wasn't too bad and I just worked on getting my values put in.

I do enjoy painting outdoors!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gustave Baumann at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Gustave Baumann, long a favorite of mine, just 'happened' to have an exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of Art where I had gone to see the Joseph Kleitsch show that I had read about in American Art Review. If you don't subscribe to this magazine (artists in particular) I highly recommend it for learning about not just American Artists, but the history of American Art through our founding. It is a magazine that compiles shows going on all across the US. I have learned so much over the years from this well written magazine. For instance, there was another article in this latest issue on Maynard Dixon and a show in Reno, NV of all places, currently going on. Since we were driving, I had hoped to get to that show as well, but I am grateful that I got to Pasadena, so I knew two stops, out or our way,would be pushing it.

For those who do not know Gustave Baumann's work a brief introduction. He was born (1881-1971) and raised in Germany. His family moved to the USA when he was 10, but he studied art and wood block print making back in Munich, Germany. He settled in Santa Fe, NM in 1918 thinking Taos was too crowded! His color wood block prints from NM are perhaps his best known. He also built marionettes.
Gustave's printing press.
There were a few of his gouache studies included. I had not realized that he did these studies for future block prints. The simple graphic shapes show that he is thinking all the time about how it will work in a block print.
I took this photo of one of his blocks (the finished print is below the tools) to show not only the size but the 'yellow' denoting the color of the block. Good reminder! Some of his prints had, and I am guessing, 8 individual blocks for color per print. I can only image having to register that many blocks on however many prints he was making! I struggled with 4 and my foray into block printing was nowhere near the level he took it to.
The tools of the trade. I liked the turquoise handles...
Gustave did love to do trees. I had not seen the mighty redwood print before. They showed this particular composition in each of its separate colors. I can't remember now if it was 6 or 7.
One of his early works from Germany. Simple, with only a few colors (3?) but I liked it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reading on a Jet Plane

Reading On A Jet Plane, 20x16, oil on panel

Sung to the tune of "Leaving on a Jet Plane, Don't know when I'll be back again..." I could not help myself with this particular title.

Another more challenging painting for me as it is back lit which makes the figure a silhouette. And most importantly, painted from a 4x6 photograph as this image was taken BEFORE digital photography!  I just never got around to painting it before, being spoiled with technology. It doesn't seem that long ago but counting back, it has been 16 years since our family went to Germany. This is my son, with his sister by the window. It was to be part of a series I wanted to do on people reading. I think I have done a number of pieces on this theme but never have they been shown together as they do span 20 years now.
Lost in a Good Book, 18x24, oil on canvas, 1996ish with a few updates along the way
For giggles and grins, I will add a few others from this drawn out series. The above painting is of my daughter at 7 or 8 years old. I originally painted it sometime in the late 90's. I did work on it again after that.
@ The Metropolis, 20x16, oil on canvas, 2009
Another one of my daughter. She had agreed to be my model so I could paint her plein air for the Denver Plein Air Event back in 2009. I did a 9x12 while she patiently read a Charles Dickens novel (Great Expectations?) all for a cup of coffee. I did this larger piece in the studio and it won Best of Show at the 'Own an Original' juried show at the Littleton Museum. It also sold at that show, which is always a wonderful thing for an artist. The gentleman who bought her said she looks like his daughter.
The Butcher's Son, 6x6, oil on panel, 2012
To throw in a non-family member, here is a young boy reading at the Dijon, France Saturday market. His parents had a butcher shop and he was perched between to cases of prime meats of all kinds.
Liz Reading, 20x16, oil on canvas, 2009?
Here is another one of my daughter when she was in college. It may be 2009 as well (no date on the back). I did this one from life sitting on the couch opposite her in our living room.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Joseph Kleitsch at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Joseph Kleitsch; who the heck is he? Most of us have never heard his name before. I sure hadn't. He was born in Hungry and immigrated to the US at the turn of the last century. He lived in Denver (who knew?), Cincinnati and settled in Chicago by 1912. He was a very well known portrait painter and made a decent living at it. I have included some portraits for that reason. He was called to California to do a few portraits of Hollywood starlets, and after enjoying the warm climate there, moved to Laguna Beach in 1920. (He became friends with Edgar Payne) There, he started to do landscapes, and noticing how fast Laguna Beach was changing, started to document those changes. He also loved painting the Missions of the area. After his untimely death in 1931 he was largely forgotten. This is the first exhibit of his works since his death. So happy that he has come to light again.

The Pasadena Museum of California Art has no permanent collection. It holds exhibits of artists who lived and/or painted in California. This show is up through August 6. A must see if you are in the LA area. The icing on this cake was that there was a second show, on Gustave Baumann, as well. I have always liked his work but have rarely seen his prints in person. The exhibit included some of his wood blocks and print proofs. That may be its own post. Stay tuned!
I particularly love the painting above; the commentary on it was that this could be his wife, but more than likely is an 'amour' from his stay in France. No matter; it is a a beautiful tribute not only to her but what a stunning view of the reflected windows and into the room as well.
Another one I liked; Who knows if she is looking at a portrait of herself or if she is evaluating her own work? It is so graphically pleasing overall and I like the color harmony. Joseph's use of windows to frame his subjects was evident in a number of his works.
I cannot remember who this gentleman is. But he looks like a banker. I liked the look on his face.
This is a detail of an early self-portrait of the artist. Who could resist those blue eyes? The commentary said you could tell by his portraits of women that he held them captive with his charm and good looks.

Another early painting from his time in Paris. Not his normal subject but I thought the composition particularly interesting.
 Here is one of his scenes from Laguna Beach. Notice what seems to be dirt streets. This is a crop of the scene. Below is another closer in view to see how he showed how bustling Laguna Beach was becoming in the late 1920's. And a third, closer detail below that one. I noticed a number of loosely, almost nude appearing females in his paintings of Laguna Beach. His later works did get looser with more paint texture.

Last but by no means least, another stunning portrait using the window to frame his subject.