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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Auvers-sur-Oise Street Scene

Auvers-sur-Oise, 24x24, oil on board
Here is a new piece I have been working on in conjunction with a few other "local tone" paintings.  I started this painting when I started "Tomales Bay." I like to work on a few paintings at the same time, and to have them similar in approach. There is a third painting on my easel that I started about the same time and it is mostly local tone with just a sliver of light coming in, which turns it into Light and Shadow. It is now at the point where I need to give it a rest and come back to it with a fresh vision. It is a complex piece overall. 

The town of Auvers is best known for the final resting place of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo. This is the town where Vincent was living in order to be under the care of Dr. Gachet. It is less than an hour's train ride outside of Paris. I highly recommend it as a side day trip when you visit Paris if you can build in the time. There is the most intriguing "Impressionist" Museum at the chateau. However, there is nary a painting to be seen in it. It is one of the most memorable museums I have ever been to. We had a delicious lunch at the cafe there as well. I read some reviews on this museum that people thought it pricey and too much multi-media, so I guess, to each his own, eh? We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The town itself is very walkable, and you will see reproductions posted of Vincent's paintings before the scene of what he painted. This town was a popular spot for other Impressionist painters who came here to paint along the Oise River. There is a river walk that we did not have time to do while we were there. There is a map that pinpoints spots along the river where other well known paintings were painted from. Pissaro, Monet and Renoir among the artists.

We were there in October and it was very quiet and almost sleepy. We only saw a handful at most of other tourists. This was almost 7 years ago - but I still have not come across anyone who has been there.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brothers on the Beach-Sea of Japan

oil on panel, 18x24
Here is a painting in need of a good title. I am calling it "Brothers" for now, but if anyone has a better idea that comes to mind, please let me know! I am always open to suggestions.

This visual approach is light and shadow. This painting still maintains the strength of a local tone in that there are three main grouping of values: light, medium and dark. I was drawn to this scene for a number of reasons. One was the brothers working together so intently. The other was that it was just a good composition and then them being just kids no matter what the nationality.

I have had this photo reference for a number of years, but that is what is great about timeless subjects. I was visiting my son in Kanazawa, Japan, which is a port city on the west coast of Japan. We had gone to this beach to see a kite or hang glider competition but we had the wrong day. What is not to like about a day on the beach, windy or not.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mini Drawing Class on the Beach, San Jose del Cabo

Everyone Busy at Work,  minus one
Last month I went to San Jose del Cabo for a friend of mine's birthday. She invited family and friends to join her in celebrating in the sun, on a beach, in January. Hard to refuse that little trade-off to winter. Behind my back via email she announced that there would be an "art class" on the beach so to bring pencils and paper with them.

I was told upon arrival that I would be teaching a drawing class, so a time was set, and then changed and set again. Not everyone got the memo for the new time, but we had 7 hearty souls show up. I did a basic demo of using the whole page and not stick your drawing in the middle of the paper unless you drew a frame around it, think about how to compose and to look at the shapes not just the object.(s). I did not specify what to draw. We all then set to work, as you can see, facing different directions. Most of the class was willing to share their work for this blogpost. I was very pleased with what they did and went around one on one to give them more specific guidance. This was a short one hour time frame. Most had little or no art since HS or college, so I was very pleased with their work.

Nice view of the boardwalk. We talked about values and their relationship and also to watch the direction of the sun on the umbrellas.

I talked with her about values. Her spatial relationships were pretty darn good but how to get depth and variety of darkness out of a pencil.

Dale got some good patterns going here in a very nice graphic display.

On this one we talked about perspective and  how to gauge that when trying to draw a row of something as in these posts. You can see where I showed her on the far right post how to use value to carve out other shapes. The buildings that are behind the palm trees were all in shadow with the palm trees so I explained how to think of the whole shadow as one big shape and then bring out some details to separate out the smaller shapes for future reference.

I love that she put in a dog and the life guard tower. This one was monotone when we talked so I showed her how to add depth for a feeling of distance and form.

the only one besides myself to add a figure. She thought her figure looked like a tombstone, so we talked about how to remedy that and also what to do to get more form through light and shadow, although over all the "umbrella" has a good shape to it. The figure was in shade so we made his head darker to break up the solid dark shape and gave his shoulders a bit less of a stiff appearance.
I must have done a decent job with this little mini class as I was told that they want to do it again next year when we all go back for a mid-winter break in the sun. And the people who were "late" want to be included. Can't wait!