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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Abstracted Dawn - Migennes

Block in, 18x24

Seriously blocking in.
I decided to paint over a bad abstract painting and let the colors from that painting peak through the new image. I wanted to see if I can come close to the effect that Richard Diebenkorn was so amazing at doing. Layering. Layering my paint is something I am working on and this seemed an easy way to get me going in that direction.
I like how this came out although it is a far cry from where I hope to get to. I have scavenged more paintings from yesteryear to play with this concept.
Dawn in Migenes, France; 18x24, oil
Migennes is a town on the L'Yonne River in Burgundy, France. We were there to pick up our boat to explore the river for a week. This was myy sister's idea on how to spend her 50th birthday. The boat came with an operating manual and the men took turns being captain. Timing was everything as there are locks on this river and the lock keepers are state employees. That meant that we had to be through the locks by a certain time or you were stuck until morning. Below is "our" boat with my sister talking to one of the lock keepers. I got pretty good at tying the boat when we docked and then recoiling the rope after we cast off.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Windswept, 9x12, oil on linen
A fun little painting I did last week. I was playing with texture. I used a different brush size for each of the main components. i.e., a big brush for the sky, a medium brush for the tree and a small brush for the grass. For the path I used the large brush first and them the small brush. The exercise was to equalize the texture within any given area. That is why the pattern in the grass is a different pattern or texture than the greenery of the tree or the ocean or sky.

The scene is the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean at Half Moon Bay, California. We were there for Easter and a walk on the beach seemed so perfect. It was a beautiful day, though still a bit chilly. The cliffs are so amazing. I hope to do at least one painting of the cliffs. Here is an image of these same cliffs viewed from the beach although the photo is a bit north of where the tree was. The painting I highlighted in this recent post was also painted from our walk that day. I do love being on a beach no matter what the weather. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sunday Morning-Dun Laoghaire side street

Sunday Morning Side Street, 30x24, oil on linen
We don't often think of Ireland being sunny, but here is an example of a beautiful, quiet Sunday morning in the coastal town of Dun Laoghaire which is just south of Dublin by commuter train. It is pronounced Dun Leary I learned when I was trying to catch the train and I was making sure I was on the right side of the tracks. My sense of direction was not tuned to the area yet. It was not that early in the morning but I felt like I had the town to myself as I wandered around. Although the sun was out it was quite chilly near the water so I explored the town first. 

This little street scene reads more like an alley but it was a street as you can see by the stop signs. I was attracted to it because of all the colors. and repeating shapes. Pink, green, blue, yellow and that great terracotta in the sun at the end of the road. I was in Ireland in March but the planter boxes were already green and flowering.

The visual approach for this painting is light and shadow. This is my first painting from Ireland but I do intend to do more.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Young Artist at Work in black and white

4. Young Artist, color started; 5. above finished dark/light pattern
3. block in for painting, 24x18, oil on pane.

2. Study for Young Artist, 9x12, oil on panel
1. study for Young Artist, graphite on paper

  1. This was my first attempt at a dark/light pattern for this painting. (In doing a dark/light pattern you have to think of the mediums values going either towards the dark or towards the light while maintaining a good flow to the pattern created.) In this version I joined the stool and the taboret (artist storage shelves) together and it seemed too heavy, not enough pattern, even though the colors of the two are very closely matched which made me think to tie them together.
  2. In the small oil study I carved the stool she is holding on to out of the dark shape and also a tube of paint that is standing up on the lower shelf within the shape of the legs of the stool. I decided I had to leave parts of the legs tied to the dark pattern and I am liking #2 better. 
  3. On the full sized board I decided to start the color version with a black and white block in to help keep me within the pattern I had created. I added on more section of the fourth leg into the light pattern but I am not convinced it will stay there. At this point in time, I don't think it adds anything to the whole. 
  4. Here I am starting to add color. In the dark recesses of the taboret is dark blueish red, which reads as a dark as does the blue black of her jeans. Distinct color shifts but not value shifts. This is not going to be a "color filled" painting overall, but you can see what color does to the overall image already. Her shirt is a solid black but I was leaving the black of her shirt that is in the light separate for the subtle value shift that will come. This is just where I ended my day.
  5. This is the completed dark/light pattern although technically I would force a few more areas now that I see the photograph. In the light hitting her shoulder for one. I forgot to go back in and tone that down. It is now too late as I am moving it into a local tone painting. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Miniatures and more at Elements Gallery

Opening Friday night at Elements 5280 Gallery
November 21, 2014, 6-9 p.m.
5940 South Holly, Greenwood Village

Hope you can make it! The show runs through December 24th
 One of my minis in the show.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Studio Interior with Library Chair

Interior with Library Chair, 30x20, oil on linen
This scene from my studio I painted from life a few years ago and always wanted to revisit. I recently came across the old painting and decided the time was now. This is not painted on top of the original which I often do but a fresh start. I did not set this scene up as a still life. I just happened to see that the tableau worked as it was. That chair was a catch all when I had it there by the door. I set my hat there when I came in from painting outdoors.

In the bookcase are mostly art books and art magazines; the books include: "Modern Painting,"  "The Art of Richard Diebenkorn," "Carl W. Peters" and a John Grisham novel! That bright green adds a nice discordant note, don't you think?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trail Down Herman's Gulch

Block in, 18x24, oil on oil paper
Here is a studio landscape that I was determined to try and maintain a more loose or painterly approach throughout. So far so good on the block in. Keeping the big shapes very simple.
Next phase
I tightened up on the background area but still keeping loose up front. I can live with that since I want the distant hills to recede and quiet down. I added more blue to the back hills but they are still retaining too much color variation and not enough depth. The trees had light added to them but still must remain darker than the hills behind them. Played with the path a bit to give it some depth.
Trail Down from Herman's Gulch, 18x24, oil on paper
Here I blued down the distant hills is amazing how much blue you have to use to get them to recede! I added the clouds, still keeping the strokes loose, added some flowers to the hillside and more motion to the path calling it done. Sure love this hike and have always wanted to paint it. There is a view from up top that is still on my radar to paint.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Venice Crossroads

Venice Crossroads, 30x30, oil on linen

This painting was in a somewhat completed state last February.  I have sat on it all this time wondering how to finish it. Sometimes one just has to put a painting away until you are ready for it or it is ready for you. This was not an easy painting for me but I was really attracted to the scene for all the repetitive shapes as well as the activity. So many ways to go in and out of the alleys in Venice.

I actually did more work on this than I had thought was needed as once I get going I see more areas that need attention. I started in the shadows leading the viewer in. I darkened it down a notch or two and added more details though still trying to keep it simplified. Just enough to have some interest as you go into the painting and to also lead the eye in to the visual motion I was going for. That made a huge difference. So I went into the interior and deepened some colors and lightened others. I was in a groove so it did not take me that long once I figured out what it was that needed doing. It is such a good feeling when that happens.

This is my second Venice painting from my two days spent there wandering the alleyways. I sure loved every minute of it and hope to go back and explore other areas of the city. We were staying in the area that is called Cannaregio. It is the old Jewish Quarter and is on the outer rim of the city to the northwest. Across the Lagoon from our vaporetta stop is Murano, where the glass factories are. So we stayed pretty much on that side of the Grand Canal.

Venice Laundry blog post. This painting has sold.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

quotes to ponder

A book was recommended to me not too long ago, and it finally came in at the library. Guess it is popular little tome. I found a few quotes within it I want to share.
"We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can't steal. You will take what we give you and yo will put it in your own voice and that's how you will find your voice. And that's how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you."
Francis Ford Coppola
I found this quote to be spot on. It is so true that we try to mimic what we like, but it does come out with our own imprint on it, unless of course,  you are purposely forging, which is not what this is about.

I like the chart from the book (Steal Like an Artist) by Austin Kleon on this subject. It puts in two columns Good Theft vs Bad Theft; I have added a few words to his one word list here and there for those of you who have not read his book.

Under GOOD Theft:
  • Honor who you steal from
  • Study works of those you steal from
  • Steal from many
  • Credit those you steal from
  • Transform what you steal into your own voice
  • Remix 
  • Degrade who you steal from
  • Skim
  • Steal from ONE
  • Plagiarize
  • Imitate
  • Rip off
Austin on TED Talk

Friday, October 3, 2014

Studio Tour - a peak inside

Easel in front of North facing windows
Today we take a studio tour since nothing in process do I want to post yet. Here is my easel area. It looks cramped but actually works well for me. I know a chair in front of the easel is not the ideal image of a painter at work, but I forgot to remove it from the scene. OOPS. I have had sore hips (bursitis?) which has made standing for any length of time hard, so I only stand when I really must and then I switch back to sitting when it gets to be too much. And yes, I use color charts. Sometimes I just need help if it is color I may not use in my everyday arsenal.
moving to the right of the easel
Fritz the Wonder Dog was hounding me for a walk or he would never have lowered himself to come into the studio. I think he must be sensitive to the smells as he has never liked to hang out with me here. He will lay in the hallway at the door. In this area of the room is where things are stored. The teak china cabinet I inherited  is full of art supplies. The dresser holds my CD's, extra oil paint and other mediums. The doorway connects to the second studio. The paintings stacked around the room are awaiting attention.
moving to the right again is my desk area
There is a doorway to the hall between the chest of drawers and the desk area. Here is where I do my blog, develop and upload my photos, correspond, and all other computer related tasks. Nothing is level in this old house so the drawers never stay shut...yes, I know I could level the desk...but the desk is solid walnut and it is heavy. I never think of it when I have brawn available to assist. The old radio cabinet to the right is not very useful but I love it. It stores books I am referencing and other things I want close at hand but it does make the area a bit tight. It should have probably stayed with its original finish (and yes, it did have the fabric front on it when we found it but the inner radio parts were gone) according to Antiques Roadshow, but I stripped it to show the beautiful burl wood veneers.

opposite the desk and behind the easel is where I store small panels and found objects
This fits nicely behind the closet door, an otherwise useless space. It has objects I found of interest that may find their way into a still life and small panels for plein air painting. Does anyone know what the metal object is in the upper left hand top shelf?
2nd studio where I gesso, varnish, frame, etc
Moving into the next room is where I do the nuts and bolts associated with my work. I think this room was once a nursery as it is small and has no closet. It was also used as a kitchen when our house had been divided into two units during the Great Depression. While in use as a kitchen, it had a fire! This is one room that now has drywall as opposed to lathe and plaster.
opposite wall in 2nd studio. Trunk and suitcase stores old paintings and frames
We end here with the packed trunk and suitcase. I can't help myself. I would rather have interesting furniture than more space efficient studio furniture. In the trunk are old paintings and smaller frames. In the suitcase are plein air paintings on canvas that never made the grade to be mounted and displayed, but I somehow can't throw away yet. To the left and behind the trunk are various sizes of canvas. I store only one of each size here to keep them close at hand and the bulk of blank canvases live in the basement.

Thanks for coming along on the tour. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my world.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Texture and Paint Quality - painting without a brush

Anyway you turn looks interesting...and reads well

oil on linen panel, 11x14, Abstraction
Here is an exercise in paint quality. What is meant by that is the texture of the paint applied. I have had a tendency to paint fairly thin over the years. I have been working on a more painterly approach the past year or so but this exercise was helpful as it took me out of my comfort zone in not using a brush. One does get attached to painting with a brush! The tools used to apply paint to canvas were: a credit card, a putty knife, oil sticks and a plastic tool used in printmaking. I had some old paint on my palette that was not quite dry but had started to dry and I used that in places (notice the "white block toward the center) with those flat edges to get some interesting textures.

Painting a "non-subject" does not come easily to me but I did find this freeing in a way. It is also harder in that there is no subject to rely on. I had to think of varying the shapes, the colors and the values to make something pleasing and interesting. I was quite stunned when my husband asked to see it and then said he liked it and liked it whichever way I turned it. Now that is high praise! My daughter also likes it and the two images above are her preferred directions.

In case you are curious, the original way this was painted is husband wants me to frame it but I can't decide which direction. I am open to suggestions. Let's go with 1, 2 or 3 in the order they are posted.Thanks!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Day on the Delta

Locke, CA, 20x16, oil on canvas
I heard about the "town" of Locke, CA through a plein air workshop a friend of mine went to called Delta Funk. It is put on through a local gallery in the area. On a visit to family I was able to take a day trip to some of the towns that are included to explore the funk around the Delta towns of Sacramento. Locke is a small China Town, built by and for the local Chinese of the time (early 20th century). It contains only a few blocks but it did fit the bill for a funky little town. I took quite a few photos for reference, this being the first view I have chosen to paint. I have another view of this covered walkway from the other end of it that I want to do as a companion piece.
The day we were there it was dead as you can see, but I was told it was packed on the weekends.

I started this painting two years ago and finally brought it out again this summer, determined as I was to not start anything new before trying to finish up some of those I had left hanging out there. It technically is a light and shadow painting but I painted it as flat local tone because most of it is in shadow with reflected light bouncing in.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Study in the Garden

Garden Study-Black-eyed Susans, 12x9, oil on panel
This painting was started on a recent gray overcast day, which gives you a lot of flat light. I did not have to fight with light and shadow everywhere although there was lots of ambient light. I painted right through the rain shower but then the sun came out and that changed everything. I finished this little piece in the studio. I was trying to capture the happy buoyancy of black-eyed Susans in the garden. The red Maltese crosses were on their way out but I thought they added a nice spark of color and the purple salvia tied in with the reflected blue light on the leaves. I don't paint outside near enough anymore. It does feel good.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Roof Line Jumble - Semur, France

Zigzag of Roof lines, 24x30, oil on panel, Day One
Day 2 photo taken on my easel (blue tone)

Day 3

Here is the other painting I started the day I blocked in Jersey Shore. This painting has been on my "to do" list for years. Every time I think I want to start on it, I would talk myself out of it. Full  of conflicting ideas of how I wanted to paint it. This is not normal for me. I had painted another smaller painting from this town which I think is the root of this discord. After all these years I still had not settled these questions in my mind. The problem is a made up problem, as so many problems are. So for this particular painting, on this particular day, after doing a couple of drawings I decided to go with my normal style of painting. BUT I do want to do another version of it after I finish this painting and try to do it totally different. I won't say "have fun with it" as truly, I am having fun with it going in the direction I chose to go with.

This is the town of Semur en Auxois in the Burgundy region of France. It is a medieval walled town built on a hill, of course!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jersey Shore Fellowship

Fellowship, 24x24, oil on board

Since I have spent the summer working on older paintings to bring them new life, I decided a few weeks ago it was time to start something new. I began two new paintings in one day. I am always excited by the prospect of a new start! This one was the easier of the two although sometimes it is harder to be successful with a simple subject than when there is more going on in the scene. The reference photo was taken when I went to the Jersey Shore the year after Hurricane Sandy (last year). It is the first painting I have done from that trip back East; hopefully one of many. I spent two days in NYC; one day exploring the city on my own, and the other at the Brooklyn Museum of Art to see the amazing John Singer Sargent show and then the Botanic Gardens next door. I was there in April and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. And then I had one day walking the beach and eating seafood! Being landlocked now and having spent my very early years going to the Jersey Shore, I think adds to my love of beaches. I seem to be doing my share of around the world beach scenes lately. Walking the beach just begs contemplation and washing troubles away. Even looking at this painting helps me remember to let the wind take my cares away.

No need to spell it out, but this painting is using light and shadow as the visual approach. Any title suggestions are always welcome.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Interesting Interlude

I knew I had been gone awhile but had not realized it was a month already. Not to make excuses, but first I damaged my rotator cuff, then shingles developed on the same arm and this 10 days before my son arrived from Japan for an 8 day visit. In other words, life just took over. I will get back into mode here shortly, but for now I wanted to share the fact that I met a young man today whom I think will go far. He contacted me via my website just about the time all the aforementioned was going on. He introduced himself as being of Indian descent but growing up in Dubai and studying art at Cornell University in NYC. He would be in Denver visiting relatives for two weeks, arriving the day my son left. He wanted to talk to me about life as an artist if I would be willing to meet up with him for coffee. Truthfully, I did not need one more thing to do this week still not fully recovered from a compromised immune system and out of town visitors. But my curiosity got the best of me so I agreed to meet him. He was such a nice young man, I am glad I did. He is not afraid to ask questions, has already been to the arts district on Santa Fe and RiNo talking to artists and gallery owners. He says he is looking for the side of art that the schools do not address. He wants to be a famous artist, and with his personality, he just might succeed! I certainly could not give him any words of wisdom on that one! When I looked him up online, I found he had done a TED talk at the age of 16 on Pluralism. Not the average topic for a 16 year old.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Auvers sur l'Oise street scene

Auvers Street Scene, 24x24, oil on board
Here is a painting you may have seen before. I posted it this past winter. I determined that it was not really where I wanted it to be after all. Something was not quite reading as I wanted it to; That what drew me to paint the scene in the first place was not quite reflected in the painting. Back to the easel it went! A few changes to note: I redid the tiles of the roof, downplaying them. Then I pulled out the stones and the varied patterns in the different buildings to create interest and directional paths for the eye. I have learned not to say a painting is finished until it is actually sold and out of my hands, so though I am pleased with this piece now, it is not the same as saying it is "finished."

Just a reminder that this is the town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and was under the care of Dr. Gachet when he was tragically killed. It is a village built on a hillside and the field where Vincent painted the famous crow painting sits above the town on the plateau.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Montmartre and Sacre Coeur

Montmartre with Sacre Coeur, 15x30. oil
Here is a new one for you. I started this months ago but only now have gotten it close to where I want it. The first draft I went very graphic with heavy outlines on the buildings. But I kept the cathedral more realistic which made it feel like two paintings in one. Since the idea of outlining the cathedral did not seem appropriate I painted over most of the lines in the rest of the painting and also removed windows and blended buildings together, leaving just some here and there. The trees remained the same, just one dark shape broken up by lighter shapes. I may at some point paint this scene again with a very graphic fun style. I am seeing it in my minds eye as I write this post. Take it in a totally different direction. Maybe paint it a little larger than this one.

This is a local tone painting, meaning it has three distinct values: light, medium and dark. The lower half is also a study in equalization. Equalization is a visual approach which brings a uniform sense of pattern to a painting. The goal is to create a visual rhythm out of the pattern. It does not mean all shapes are equal in size and shape but are similar in size and shape, no two alike. I also was doing color harmony as an element where every color has blue in it. That is still true but I did not take it as far as I could have.

The reference photo for this painting was from my two weeks in France 7 years ago. I have so much reference material from that trip I am still discovering. A real treasure trove. This is not the typical view of Sacre Couer but I love the fact that it shows so much of Montmartre a great little village built on a hill in Paris. Be sure to visit this landmark when in Paris. The cathedral is beautiful inside, the view from there across Paris is amazing and the streets are so much fun to explore. There is a funicular for those who can't walk that much.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lost in a Good Book nee Junior Great Books

Lost in a Good Book, 18x24, oil on canvas

This painting is a blast from the past. I started it at least 20 years ago when I first started to paint in oils. It is of my daughter at the age of 6 or 7. I must not have taken a photo of the painting in the early trial of the life of this piece. I was going to scan it if I had one, but luckily, I never saw any reason to photograph it. I had stuck the painting in the basement hoping to one day resurrect it, which I did about 10 years ago. Here is what it looked like from that point in time (below). I did put this painting in a show and had lots of positive feedback on it. But it went back to living in the basement as I decided it did not meet my standards after all. Everything outlined and not very clear as to the fact that she is in shadow! She definitely looks too light and bright for that. There are two light sources coming in, one as you see is an west facing window and the other is a small window that is higher up and faces north. The drawing is good and I like the composition so a few weeks ago, when I came across the original 4x6" photograph (remember now, 20 years ago there were no digital cameras!) I went looking for the painting to see what I could see. I saw that I could definitely improve it so set to work to do just that.
Junior Great Books, circa 2004
Having the composition already in place makes the work a lot easier. The drawing had to be corrected here and there along the way. I started from the top and worked my way down. From window/wall, to couch/pillows and finally placing her on top. The light was made blue instead of yellow and lightened considerably. The white background of the quilt had to come down in value to read as in the shadows. I had added the quilted "flower" above her head even though it was really just stitched in as a white on white on the quilt. I decided to take that out to see how it worked; I don't miss it. While working on that I noticed that the angle of the top of her head was off-that it needed to slope down into the pillow. Her profile also had to be restructured so she is not so flat faced, which she was not! I darkened the shadows on the couch to match the dark of her shirt and sink her into the couch. Her skin had to be darkened down and since the light is blue, I could use the red shadows I originally had used and have it be more believable. The book had to be given depth and the curve accentuated.

I was surprised to feel nostalgic about this old couch while I was reworking the painting. It is the couch I grew up with and it was called a studio couch. These are hard to find these days. It opened into a double bed by lifting it from the bottom of the front of the couch. You brought that up and then folded it towards the back until it clicked it into a flat surface. There was storage under it for blankets and sheets. The springs were a little tired by this point in its life, but boy did I love that silly couch.

These were the days when we lived month to month so I made most everything I could, including reupholstering the couch.The quilt was my first attempt at such a thing so it is by far not a piece of art but it was functional. The pillows I made from old curtains I had bought at a yard sale. The pink tropical patterned curtain fabric was from the 50's but I found enough to to salvage for these pillow cases. My daughter is in hand me downs from her cousin. "Those were the days!" Every picture tells a story...and speaking of that, I am curious to know if people who view and or buy paintings like to know about the painting or prefer to make up their own story for it? I was counseled at the opening a week ago by an art consultant to never tell the history of the scene in the painting to a viewer. That was not the way to sell a painting! I am not sure how I feel about that. I personally can rewrite the story if I choose but I am curious about where it is and what drew the artist to paint that particular scene.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Repeat until Complete

In the Name of Blue; 20x30; oil on linen
A bien Mesdames et Monsieur
Here we are yet again as I continue to tweak and fine tune to get the painting correct. Every time I get to it there are things that are gained and some that are lost. I made some changes that I hope make the scene read as it should. Misty fog, mysterious light and a road less traveled. I await the verdict with baited breath. I am not inclined to give away what the changes are hoping someone will notice and comment.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fritz the Schnoodle

Day 1: 20x16, oil on panel (photo taken with iPad under florescent lighting)
I am working diligently to be more aware of paint quality. By that I mean having the brushstrokes be visible. I have always tended to paint smooth when in the studio. I can be very expressive outside painting but that does not necessarily come inside with me. I thought my dog, Fritz, would be a good subject to practice "paint quality" on. He just lends himself to it. I got him pretty well blocked in on the first day, shown above. There are definitely things that need to be corrected and finished, but his personality is already coming through.
Day 2: photo taken with iPad under florescent lighting
Not as much progress as I had expected was made on day two. I did get the whole canvas covered finally. I moved his left eye over a bit but I am not sure it doesn't need to moved closer in. I worked on his face, chest and front legs but they are still not quite finished. The background and rugs got more detail and refinement as I worked my way around the composition trying not to stay too long in any one place. The box in the background is coming to far forward and I hope it is just reflecting glare from wet paint. It was one of the last things I did, but if it is not the wet paint, it has to be toned way down to be pushed into the dark recesses of our kitchen.
Day 3: 20x16, Fritz, oil on panel
Day three has Fritz looking like the sassy boots he is. I did move the eye on the left further to the right; I did work on pushing the background further back as well as the depth of the rug he is standing on as it recedes and finally, some fine tuning on Fritz including adding his tags and melding some of his fur a bit better. I also had to bring his front paws over the threshold as it just wasn't reading correctly with them stuck below that level.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

River Fog again or In the Name of Blue

I took this painting to work AFTER I posted it. As is usually the case when I hang a piece in a different environment, I saw some things that needed to be rectified. It only required some minor fixing to give the piece more of a sense of the fog and how it plays with depth perception but I thought it worth another look see. What I did is to push the tree without any leaves more into the fog. I also gave the bush which is right behind that tree softer edges so it was not so pronounced.The wall in the very back I shaved off the top 3/8 of an inch or so. I realized it was too tall and so I think now the perspective is a bit better going down the road. The sky/fog is reading too light so I still need to bring that value down. Part of the lightness is from the photography and how the light is hitting the brush strokes but not all of it. The value in the painting is reading as it should when compared to the photo reference but there are times you just have to do what works best for the painting and I think darkening the sky/fog might be what is needed. I will "sit on it" a bit longer before making a decision.

One of my readers came up with the name In The Name of Blue.  If you Feel French about it, Au Nom de Bleu (which echoes Au Nom de Dieu, which is how I got there in the first place.) If anyone has any thoughts on that please let me know. I am never sure how well received French names will be but sometimes they just work!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

River Fog

River Fog, 20x30 oil on linen
We are still on the Yonne River in Burgundy with this piece in the town of Gurgy that is fresh off the easel. We will call it blue harmony again. The painting I posted a few posts back, see below, was also blue harmony and is not far from this painted scene. You can see this intersection in the distance in Docked Dinghy. I had mistakenly called it "Blue as a Visual Approach" in that post. Not sure what I was thinking as I definitely knew better. Blue Harmony means I added the same color of blue in every color mix used. Blue as a visual approach would have used a variety of blues and the overall color of the painting would have been definitely blue. In blue harmony you see other colors but they all harmonize due to the "mother" color used in everything. I am normally a very graphic style of painter so I have been using the fog to teach myself to soften edges

Docked Dinghy, 24x24 oil on canvas
For those of you who did not read the last few posts, Gurgy was a happenstance stop on our river trip. In France, the lock keepers are government employees. Therefore they work set hours, even if they live right by the lock. We were running a bit behind on this particular day and we knew we would not make it to the lock in time to make it to where we had planned to dock for the night, so we stopped at this tiny place. The pad in front of the dinghy is where you tie up. It was just the dinghy and us that night. But I must say, this little town has provided a plethora of reference material. For an overnight stay I think this latest painting makes five.
The Lock keeper, 30x15, oil on canvas
Above is one of our lock keepers going to the other end of the lock to let us out. Notice the sun! We ran into a lot of fog along the river both morning and evening, which was lovely, but the sun burned it off most days which was even better.
Boats in the Fog, 12x24 oil on panel
Just for fun I will throw in another painting from the river. We were docked in Joigny and surprise, surprise, there was fog when we woke up that morning! This is a quick sketch I did a few years ago. We were seven people in a small yacht type boat. We piloted it ourselves, so not some exotic barge trip. Although we did see working barges.

This has turned into a mini travelogue post but it is rather fun to see the variety of work I have gotten from this little 5 day "cruise" all in one post.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gurgy sur l'Yonne aka the Painting from Hell

18x24, oil on canvas
We all have something in our lives which humble us along life's journey. Here is one of mine. I called this piece the "Painting from Hell" for many a year. I started it in the fall of 2009. I can't even show you how far it has come over the years. It is just not pretty. I try to look at these "hit the wall" times as a time of growth. I am obviously not where I need to be, but with persistence, I may get there. I know intellectually what needs to be done but I haven't quite figured out how to apply that knowledge. I walked this painting to the dumpster at least three times and as it hovered over the abyss I would ask myself if I was really going to let this defeat me. (Please note that I do throw paintings away; that is not a difficult thing to do when it is called for.) When I started this painting, I was trying to harmonize the color using the sludge out of my brush cleaner can as the color base or "mother" color. I am still using a mother color in this painting just not sludge. I went to the color of the fog instead. That was not the problem holding me up however. I think it was my very strong natural graphic approach coming up against the subtleties of fog and bringing objects into clarity as they came closer to the viewer. In Colorado where the air is thinner, we do not often have such shifts in the atmosphere. I am not sure this painting will ever be done as long as it is in my possession but it is now acceptable and I hung it at work where it was well received.

This is the village where the previous posted painting was also located. That painting was in the evening, this one in the morning, but they both shared fog. I was on my into town to find a Patisserie to buy breakfast before we headed up river.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Docked Dinghy

Docked Dinghy, 24x24, oil on canvas
For this painting, I used "Blue" as the visual approach. I painted this as a local tone (three values with a flat feel) with the street lights providing the subtle light and shadow. For this to be blue as the visual approach, it means that every color in this painting has blue mixed into it. I used the same blue throughout, a very strong color, thalo blue. I rarely use thalo blue since it is so hard to tame, but it was the only blue that would give me the color I wanted for the fog/water.

This scene is along the Yonne River in Burgandy, France. We were on a 5 day boat trip. We were behind schedule this day and therefore what we thought would be our last lock was closed before we could get there. We found this little village to tie up to, Gurgy sur l'Yonne. Just like this dinghy, we were next to a small concrete pad which signified a place to dock. I have done more paintings from this little village and our unplanned pit stop there. The painting I am currently working on is a scene taken from just about where the road starts on the right side of this painting.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Day Remembered...

Out of the Dark and into the Light, 16x10 oil on linen
This is a smaller painting that had me stymied for a number of years. I started it and then let it sit; then I would pull it out, and dabble, and then back away it went. FINALLY, since I am trying to not start too many new paintings right now and just try to salvage what I have laying around that I never finished, I think this one is now done. It looks so simple, so why the struggle? If I tell you, it might bother you too, though now it does not bother me, I don't want to plant those kinds of seeds. If you see something that niggles at you, post a comment. I will let you know. The thought behind it was to do a black and white painting, so, along the lines of dark/light pattern. This one is more local tone with the light and the mediums tying together.

We were spending Christmas in Germany that year, staying at a German farmhouse in Bavaria. We were close to Salzburg, Austria so we drove over on a Sunday to spend the day. I am not sure if it was the gluhwein we drank at the Kristkindl market that may have drained the blood out of our extremities, but it was the coldest day ever. Oh my word. The cold that gets you right through to your bones. We don't get that kind of cold here in Denver. Here is my daughter at the Salzburg castle that overlooks the city. What a view it was and a nice hike to try to warm us up.