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Sunday, September 30, 2012

After the Rain

After the Rain, 24x36, oil on linen
My latest in the alley series. I like the mood of this one and it is very different from any of my other alleys because it is summer. I have not explored summer much because of all the green, but this scene caught my eye due to the orange and green and a nice balance between organic and hard edged objects. Capturing atmosphere has never been my strong suit but I think I succeeded in this one. I love the little spot of the blue dumpster that draws your eye in, too.

A side note: I took this photo the beginning of August of this year and then went back 3-4 weeks later when I started the painting just to do a quick sketch and get acquainted with the subject. Much to my chagrin, the great brick building near the rear was gone! Just a big gaping hole.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Abstraction Week 2

Mea Culpa. This post was scheduled for Sept 29 but did not publish for some reason. Here I am ready to add the finished painting without the lead-in! So here you go. A few days late but who is to know?

Since I was not quite on the right track after the first class day of painting, I went home, took a photo of the painting where it was at, printed it out, and then used colored pencil to block in new areas and then took a brush with paint thinner and spread the color around. That is the lower right sketch above. Realizing that was not the most cost effective way to do it, I printed out a second copy and then used tracing paper and oil paint to do the two ideas at the top. Kevin picked the one I did first with colored pencils for me to work from. Below is what I did in class this past Monday. He was very happy with my progress but said I was "not done" and more layering needed to happen. I will print out a copy of the painting as shown below and play around with ideas of where to take it further for class on Monday. Monday is the last day to paint on this assignment. I offered to obliterate the buildingness of the composition, but he said no, the composition is great.
It is an interesting lesson for all of us in this class. I don't think there is one person not struggling. Eeven among those whom I think are doing quite well with the assignment say they are struggling. I am looking to Richard Diebenkorn for inspiration for this project. Others are trying Franz Kline for their inspiration, to name a few.

We are also charged with bringing in ideas for the next months assignment which will be dark light pattern. I will miss two of the four classes for that assignment so I am hoping to do a simple example.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Washington Park Garden's Edge

This was the second painting I did during the Denver Plein Air event. I decided not to enter it for a number of reasons. I did enjoy  being outside on a lovely morning and people have responded to the color. Ultimately, I like just submitting the two bird paintings. Lots of people painted these gardens over the month or so of the event, and I would bet fewer did the birds. We shall see!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Drying Rack, or third in a series at Washington ParkT

The Drying Rack, 11x14, oil on canvas
My third trip out for Denver Plein Air was last weekend. After doing the egrets and a bit of garden, I went back to birds. The Cormorants are another staple of bird life in our park. They are a prehistoric looking bird and just fun to watch. I am not sure if this device was built for them, but they use it to dry off, preen and just sit. If you do not know the Cormorant, they are diving birds and they are shaped like a torpedo for that reason. I thought this scene had such fun shapes and I enjoyed painting this very much. I had to go out early to beat the heat of the sun as I had to stand out in the open to get the view I wanted. An interesting side note is that this is near the main parking lot off or Downing and Exposition, so I was in a high traffic area. Five or so people stopped over the two mornings I was out; One recognized me for the previous morning when I was painting in the garden area, and asked about that painting; One wanted me to join a nature group! and the other three were all eastern European. I have not been out painting plein air for almost 2 years and I had forgotten not only how much fun it can be, but how much I enjoying chatting with people who appreciate art.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First Day, Second Week

False Start, 30x20
I just started taking the Advanced Master Painting class with Kevin Weckbaugh. The first day of class was last Monday, which I missed. A friend, who is also in class, was kind enough to call me and give me the gist of what I missed so I could prepare for today. Well, I must have willfully read into it what I wanted to hear because I am off to a false start. I understood that this month's project is about abstraction and that we could take a photo reference but we had to abstract it. I picked this photo my son had taken downtown a few years ago as it is already fairly abstract. I have been told I must get it beyond the "feel" of buildings, so I did start on that before class ended today, but only after I had a really good start on it looking like buildings. It was hard for me to start "erasing" all that work as I really liked what I had going. I am tempted to wipe the whole thing off and start a new one, but then on the other hand I would like to try and pull this off.

The notes from today are pretty sparse. We were told to be aware of line quality. To vary the line and create a dialogue with it. One of my buddies was using Franz Kline to get that dialogue, while Kevin prefers Willem deKonig. I am going to look at Richard Diebenkorn this week for inspiration. Kevin really wants us to play with the visual dialogue this month and for us to ask questions of ourselves while we work. ie What is working, what isn't working; is there too much of something or too little? how is the color working? is there harmony? To keep in mind that the easiest way to create shape is with line, and to try to incorporate line into the painting and to think about soft edged line and sharp edged line - ie to vary between the two. AND most importantly, to not be afraid or "ruining it" since this is all about playing and getting out of our comfort zone. Since we paint on one painting for a month, all canvas must be large.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Last Day to Paint for Denver Plein Air

The Hang Out, 11x14, oil on canvas
Today is the last day to paint for this years Denver Plein Air. I did not decide to participate in the event this year until a few weeks ago. Life has just been full enough without adding one more pressure. I went out 5 times over 8 days for three paintings. I had set myself a goal of one. "The Hang Out" was my first order of business as I have been watching the Snowy Egrets at Washington Park since late Spring. First there were 2, then 5 or 6, until the weekend I decided to paint them, there were almost 40 hanging out on this fallen limb! Lucky for me, they come in sporadically, so I could do enough to make it interesting without going crazy. If you have an idea for a better title for this piece, I am open to suggestions.

The opening for the juried show will be in early November and run through the end of December/early January. It is held on the 7th floor of the Main Denver Public Library downtown. It is always an interesting show if you have not been. I will be sure to post the dates and opening information when the time comes whether my work gets accepted or not.