Search This Blog

Monday, January 18, 2016

Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren, 8x10, oil on panel, available
Last month I thought I might participate in the 30 paintings in 30 days again this January. With that in mind I went online to morguefile to look for some interesting but not too involved royalty free photos. I had heard about this website but this was my first visit. I pulled a bunch off to be ready but then decided against doing the 30 day challenge. BUT that doesn't mean I won't play around with what I found or go back to visit again when I get tired of my own morgue file.

I liked this image for the little birds intensity and to play with keeping the background loose and somewhat abstracted. The block in was fast and fun and then I would add detail to the bird from time to time over the past few weeks. I did this painting with the thought of donating to a raffle for the Governor's show. They asked participating artists to consider donating a painting but that doesn't mean what you offer will be accepted for the raffle.

I am enjoying doing these smaller pieces while working on the bigger paintings; it helps break up the monotony and keeps things fresh. And then there is that feeling of accomplishment, too.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Another repurposed painting-Wynetka Farm

Block in for Wynetka Farm, 12x9 oil
I saw a friend of mine was painting this image. I was taken by the simple shapes and the obvious light and shadow on the white house with red roofs so I asked her if she would mind sharing it with mes as I would like to paint it too. She was willing. Wasn't that nice of her? She is painting it in a much larger format. I just wanted to do a small sketch. I did this initial quick sketch in an hour or so, using the Douglas County plein air painting below as the substrate. That is what I consider a failed attempt at abstracting the landscape. My husband came in after I put this up to look at it and said how much he liked it! Then I didn't want to touch it again for awhile. Don't mess with success right?
Wynekta Farm, oil
But this weekend I decided to finish it and not be distracted by a positive comment. I did try to leave some of the original painting coming through but not so much that it was overly distracting. You can see some of the rhythms still showing through. I quite like the finished product for a small diversion from the bigger pieces I have been doing recently. Feels good to feel finished without spending months on it.
Underpainting, Douglas County Plein air from 2009

Monday, January 4, 2016

The cliffs along Half Moon Bay

A few years ago I was in Half Moon Bay, California to spend Easter with Richard's niece. Richard and his brother and I spent the morning walking along the cliffs and then back via the beach. My brother-in-law is still on the cliffs as he did not join us on the beach walk. That would be him scanning the horizon.
Cliffs-Half Moon Bay, 24x24, oil
I know this is somewhat of a 'gutsy' composition. Not only does it slash the square into almost two identical shapes, but the cliffs fade off the canvas! I have the bird soaring to act like a period to stop the viewer as well as the hills in the distance to go back into rather than off to the left.  The figures in the foreground also help to anchor the viewer in the composition. So the thought was the viewer would start with the figure (my brother-in-law) go off towards the left, see the bird, drop down to the figure and come back across the beach.

My aim was to keep each large shape in one value group yet keep those shapes interesting. So, sky, cliffs and beach. As a graphic designer I want to make each shape a flat color so this is my continuing struggle to add interest with texture (paint quality), subtle value shifts and layering of paint. Layering paint sounds so easy but for me it is not. I want to cover the previous layer, every speck of it! Sand is a particular favorite of mine to practice using texture and value shifts. There is so much blue (reflected sky after all) in that sand with some rose and ocher too.