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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Silver Plume with PAAC

Taking the day off from work, I joined Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) yesterday on their weekly paint out. It sure was nice to get out of the city as it has been remarkably hot the past week or so. And I haven't been up to the mountains yet this summer. There were lots of artists set up around Main Street so I went looking off the beaten path. I had set my mind on trying the little church in Silver Plume which had housed an Art Gallery not so long ago, and I just didn't like it from Main Street. BUT I found a place that looked up to it from below with lots of great shapes, and though I was in the sun, I was on a bridge over the creek so that kept me cool enough. I started painting on this little guy around 10 a.m. and wrapped it up by noon. I went with a 9x12 to get a more complete painting and not just a "study." There was so much information even though I did go for simple shapes. I had fun and got pretty close to what I was going for. Will wonders ever cease?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Something to Ponder

I had a comment from a coworker on the Alley in Spring that has had me thinking. (I take paintings to work to see them with fresh eyes.) Her comment was that she wanted to like the painting but she just could not get past the dumpster that is front and center. These alley paintings are a reflection of the soul to me. I equate the alley to the inner person. We have so much garbage we carry around, and lots of tidying up we should do, and will do, tomorrow. Yet there is light and hope, and joy as well. To me the dumpster is overshadowed by the happy little dog (joy) and the burst of spring in the new green trees (growth) and the blossoms in all their glory (hope). There is no 'light" in this particular piece, as it is a gray, rainy day; called "local tone," meaning that the local color of the subject is what is shown, ie not influenced by light or shadow.
This photo was taken after I did the fixes that Kevin suggested; ie lighten the sky. He said I then might not have to darken the tree, but I did that as well, but not by much. I also lightened the white garage doors to the left of Pearl and darkened patches of the foreground alley surface to tie more into the dumpster.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oh, those embarrassing moments...Black and Blue all over.

Here is a painting (lower) I thought was "really quite good" when I completed it in 2006. I had been deadheading in my garden when I saw these amazing blues when I looked down on my patch of Black-eyed Susans. Amazingly enough, the photo I took captured that color. I had an open studio that fall, and this painting received the most positive comments of anything I had up (oh the shame of it all). I was so pleased with it that I took it in to show off when we were working on "equalization" in the Master Painting class I took starting in 2007. It is "equalization" which is the good news. Kevin was kind enough not to critique it. And I still think it has merit so I decided to rework it. And what a difference. The flowers now have depth because of the color correction and that there is more of a sense of light. I almost totally did away with the orangey color, though leaving it some areas. I used mostly cadmium lemon yellow instead of cadmium yellow medium, and mixed that with green and/or blue with some purple to get the shadow side of the petals. Added white to both the light side and the shadow side to get some of the aging washed out tips. In the "before" the flowers mostly appear to be the same "age" while now there is more transition between the life stages of the flowers. The leaves I toned down quite a bit, though still keeping them bluish. I used cobalt blue, viridian green, some mars violet in varying amounts with white. Originally I think I used thalo blue and thalo blue green.  I did a lot of drawing correction and may still do more of that.
Equalization is a visual approach and it is about all things being equalized, but having more value shifts to create the "equalized" shapes since it breaks down the object more.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Painting at Cherry Creek Resevoir

Friday morning I met up with Jeanne Echternach to paint at the marina. Here is the sketch I did. The guy working the marina asked for my card as he said he was friends with the owner of the yellow boat and he thought I had done such a nice little painting he wanted to tell his friend about it. This painting is 9x12 and I did it in just over an hour and a half. It was hard for me as there is so much to simplify, and that is not something I am that good at yet but I am working on it. I thought I would get less glare off of the wet paint by waiting until today to photograph it, but it didn't quite work out as well as I would have liked.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless America on Her Birthday

Today I worked a few hours for the Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) Juried Show at Saks Gallery during the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Some of us worked inside while One of Us, painted outside. This is Mark Coulter, a founding member of PAAC, doing a still life set up he had outside and talking to an interested passerby. I am glad I volunteered, as I always learn something of value, plus, I was able to study the show more closely. Every time I went through the gallery again, I saw something different. There really is some excellent work hanging in this show. One thing I learned: that the people coming in from the Cherry Creek Arts Festival said that our show was better than anything they saw outside and the art was so much more reasonably priced. I do believe there have been a number of sales because of that fact. (none of mine, I am sorry to say).  Another thing I learned is that the new "trend" in art coming out of NYC is that realism is back. Good thing for me, I would say. I heard it from two artists so I will be watching to see.
Yesterday, I finally went outside to paint another alley, surprise, surprise. (I apologize for the glare coming of the wet paint) This view is across the alley from our garage, standing in the shade of our neighbors trees, looking south. I honestly did not think I would like summer in the alleys as there is so much green, but I managed to find what I needed right outside my back door. Lots of green to be sure, but enough other colors to offset it. I also was able to camouflage the dumpster, as I was told, in no uncertain terms last week at work, that my Alley in Spring was a painting that my friend really wanted to like but she just could not get past the dumpster and why did I have to put it in "right there!" That is a story for another post, as there is a story behind the alley paintings of Denver, which has nothing to do with Alleys. I started a larger painting of this scene today in my studio. Decided it was good to go. I don't know why I am surprised that when I do a plein air painting and then take it back to the studio, the studio painting just goes so much smoother. It is such a no-brainer. This piece is 11 x 14 inches and was completed (including set up and take down in under 2 hours.) I felt I had been out there much longer as it was so hot outside.