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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Greenland Open Space

My friend Cynthia met me at the Greenland Open Space parking lot on Friday afternoon. It is the half way point for us; she coming from Colorado Springs and me from Denver. Douglas County off of 1-25 is loaded with wonderful spots, so we had plenty of options. But we  stayed in Greenland. Here is Cynthia near the end of our session. We both painted the same set of farm buildings (ranch, more like it). She did a long view on a smaller canvas and I did a more intimate view, filling the 11x14 canvas with the buildings. It was a tough decision, but I ultimately decided I liked the shapes and angles of this set up. Only one train came by during the space of our painting session, because as is evident in this photo, we are pretty close to the tracks.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Entry to Oil Painters of America National Juried Show

The above painting was accepted into the OPA National Juried show that will be held this year at the Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. I have been a member of OPA for about 6 years; this is the second time I have submitted to one of their shows. I was rejected from a regional show a few years ago, so I did not expect to get into the National show. So right now I will have High, Wide and Lonesome starting on a national tour begining in Oklahoma next month with the Paint America 100 show, two plein air paintings going to the Nomades del Artes show at Southwest Gallery in Dallas, TX, opening April 2 and this one to AZ opening the end of April. This all started because I read one of those short artist spotlight articles and the artist said his one regret was not submitting to national juried shows sooner. So here I am, starting to submit to more national juried shows. It takes time and energy and effort, not to mention having a body of work to choose from, all of which are in rather short supply with this particular artist. But as a friend of mine at my day job says "baby steps."

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Alley Progresses

This weekend saw some work on the road which included putting the winter refuse from the tress in and working on the big shadow (snow and melting snow) in the middle of the alley. I did not get a lot of time in on this painting this weekend but not because I have lost interest, which was my fear. The above update was done on Saturday. I also dabbled on a few of the WIPs (works in progress) that I have all over my studio. (to see one that I think is just about done: Deadheading: before and after)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Deadheading - before and after

This is a painting from 10 plus years ago. My daughter looks to be about 12 or 13 here and she is now 25. Again, I left the compostion pretty much the same but tried to improve it. I was a tentative painter back then, and so I want to give some of these older paintings a freshing up. It is so much easier to just paint when everything is pretty much there already but to play.

For this particular painting I wanted to fix the central figure trimming her up a bit as she seemed to be wallowing in the oversized t-shirt,and fix the arms/hands. Afterall, she is deadheading and you can't even tell where her arms are or what they are doing. I also darkened the garage wall in shadow and lightened the side facing the sun. I added more color and shape to the grass and now it definitely needs to be mowed. I totally revamped the clematis to bring more unity and flow to it; same thing with the sedum, the lilies and the dianthus that Liz is deadheading. Darkening the garage wall sure made those lilies pop. I removed the poppy seed pods as they were just confusing the issue I think. I left a few of the still blooming poppies in for color; I also fixed the garage roofline and basketball hoop and added the Masters lock, which is still in use today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Harvard Gulch Alley-Work in Progress

This may be disconcerting, but I wanted the most recent version on top of the blog post, so the progression of the painting itself is going backwards; start at the bottom of the post if you want it in order.

Here is where I left off yesterday afternoon. I spent more time playing with the light and dark pattern of the main body of trees. I tidied up the dumpsters and fine tuned the recycling bins going down the alley. There is a 50's car hiding out down the alley that I also tidied up. I will see about a close up of that area, but it is located just about dead center. I worked on correcting the fence colors and values, although I did not complete all of them. I lightened the red shed but darkened the roof of it and the roof of the house behind it in preparation of adding lighter color and value to add texture to the shingles. While doing that I carved out the top of the fence posts. I also toned down that bright ochre color on the fence by the red shed as it was starting to be distracting.
This is number 2 from the blockin and here I decided to take some of the evergreen out while going over the sky color with a darker blue. felt that the painting was feeling top heavy. I added the cast shadow to the roof of one of the garages to bring the branches into more of a complete circle, so to speak.

On the right hand side, I darken up those trees and gave them some shape as well as lightening the roof of the garage and lightening the side of the yellow garagae facing us. They both needed to be lighter than the sky. From the original blockin, I started on the mass of the tree tops. I knew the values weren't correct and I wanted to get some color in there. There is a contorted evergreen behind the deciduous trees that creates a back ground for the branches. I wanted to unite that with the darker brush of the trees going down the alley and the darkest parts of the tree trunks. I also worked on uniting the shadow shapes throughout as some of them were too light and to get the relational values to work, I needed a starting point of the darkest value. I should have done this in the blockin, but for some reason, I hardly ever manage to do it, concentrating first on the shapes with approximate color and value depending on whether I think I will want the lighter color coming through the next layer or the darker.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let the Painting Begin

I finished blocking in this painting yesterday; it is 3o x 40 which is ambitious for me. This is being done from photo reference and the painting I did a few weeks ago: Alley Scene off Harvard Gulch park. I have not touched the original alla prima painting wanting to keep the freshness of the brushstrokes and the angles I played with. I must remember to keep that going in this piece; my husband had to remind me to knock the telephone poles off kilter, which you can see I did do, but I think they may need a bit more of an angle. I am going to try and post photos of the progression of this piece as I paint it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Activity in the Alley

Yesterday, coming home from walking the dogs I noticed the lineman down the alley across from my garage. I have painted this alley before, "A Great Fall Day" so I am somewhat familiar with the subject, but I zoomed in on this one to get the truck and worker at the other end of the alley. It was about 11 a.m. and I figured that gave me an hour to capture this before they broke for lunch. With that in mind, I picked a 9x12 canvas and worked quickly. The same van on the left side was at work at the same house-again. I would love to know what is being done that requires so much attention. The house is a Denver bungalow and I think it is an electrician's van. It was another beautiful day in Denver and I am thrilled that I was home to be able to take advantage of it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Recycling anyone?

What made me want to paint a brown paper shopping bag you may ask - and with good reason. While sitting in the Saturday class a month ago, Kevin was telling us the next assignment; to paint a large field of one thing and try to make it interesting. His examples were painting a landscape where the majority of the painting is just a field; or take the side of a building, but make it the major force of the composition. Paint this large expanse of one color and make it interesting. Sitting on the floor while this was going on was a chiptole burrito take out bag, which, if you are not aware, is a more vertical brown paper bag with black graphics and a handle on it much like this one. The juxtaposition of the bag and where it was on the floor and the lighting made me think, why not paint a paper bag? All one color and a large field. BUT, once I got started, I realized there really were too many plane shifts on this bag to fit the assignment. It is not yet finished, as I want to put the logo on it - a clothing store. I have no idea where I got this bag, but it sure was a fun project. And there is so much variation in color in just a "brown" paper bag!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cows in Normandy

This painting was one of my favorites. It was originally painted in 2005. It was actually still hanging in my dining room until I took it down a few weeks ago; it was time for a makeover as I couldn't stand it any longer. I knew there were a myriad of flaws, but at the time it was a break through painting for me. In the new version, I corrected both cows proportions, general anatomy, and form. I also wanted to complete the feeling of fogginess that in the original was relegated to the upper left corner...and with that, as usual, I needed to simplify the grass and unite it and the same with the bank of trees and bushes in the background.

Playing with abstraction

This study is from a little park near our home in south central Denver. I walk this park often and have really taken a shine to it. It is overshadowed by Washington Park which is just north of where we live, so this park gets relatively little use.
I had fun playing around with the shapes and I can see know that I should go back and integrate more of the flow I developed in the foreground into the silouetted trees in the center.