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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fishin' off the Pier

Fishing off the Pier, 24x24, oil on panel
Here is the finished painting of my brown pelican. I was struggling with the block in for this piece. Getting the Pelican correctly drawn should not have been a problem but sometimes these things happen. It seems the simpler the shape the more the errors show!

This is local tone, or three main values: light, medium and dark. Just as a reminder, local tone is usually a gray or overcast day.

Once I got my pelican drawn in the rest was fun to paint. This image was taken on the inter-coastal river along the eastern seaboard of Florida when my aunt and I were on a road trip. She was so gracious to stop whenever and where-ever I got a fancy so I could take photos. I zoomed in when taking this handsome portrait as I did not want the bird to fly away if I got too close for comfort. Not to worry. He had his eye on bigger fish than me.

Not only was I taken with the bird but I liked the graphic structure of the pier as well. A nice break up of the space. The juxtaposition of the organic on the linear intrigues me.

Sitting on the dock in the bay? I may have to take that for the name of this piece with a nod to Otis Redding.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Blood Moon - Denver Skyline

Blood Moon hitting the city at dusk, oil, 24x36
A couple of days after the Blood Moon rise a coworker showed me some photos on her phone. She and a photographer friend of hers had gone up to Lookout Mountain that evening to watch the moon rise. She initially showed me a photo with the moon in it, a big red orange ball in the evening sky. I really liked the photo and I asked her to ask her friend if I could possible use her image for a painting. She sent the original image along with another without the moon; shot earlier in the evening as the moon rose. The photographer was using her professional equipment that evening but I viewed them on an iPhone.
Image I thought I wanted to do of Blood Moon
After looking at the two images she sent me I decided I liked the orange light without the moon, so that is the one I ended up painting. I like them both and I may still end up doing the moon.  This skyline was not the 'piece of cake' I thought it would be. After I had it all done, I realized I had painted the skyline in a different manner from the rest of the landscape so it did not have an overall cohesive feel to it. I had to go back in and repaint the city so that it blended in texture wise with the rest. It was fun using orange and red in all the colors to unify the light. That was one of the most valuable lessons I think I ever learned; to use color in that manner. A blue green foreground has a lot of orange in it yet not as much as the middle ground so in relation to the middle ground, the foreground reads more blue green. Likewise, the sky has orange and red yet next to all the orange and yellow greens the sky looks more purple.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Flooded St Johns River

Flooded St Johns River - Fall, oil on linen, 24x30

Here is a painting I started a year ago. At that time I thought it was pretty much done but then I did a touch up that just destroyed it for me. It wasn't much but it doesn't always take much. Into the closet it went, face to the wall!

Feeling like it was time to salvage that 'so close and yet so far away' piece I got it out of 'time out' and decided to take a whole new approach to it.
Original "finished" loose painting
In the first rendition I was going for a loose, impressionistic approach, which as many of you know is not really my style, but sometimes you just have to get out of your comfort zone and try something foreign. I enjoyed the loose strokes and thought it a successful painting. Until I decided to darken and add depth to the trees at the water line. UGH. I used an almost black color and it just killed the painting for me. Not a hard thing to fix but I could not face it. So be it. I also felt that the reflection was getting too fragmented and not reading so much as a whole shape.

On this approach, using the same painting, I decided to break up the loose brush strokes with smaller, more directional individual strokes but still keeping the impressionist tone to it. The scene just calls for that. But this approach is also not 'normal' for me. I have done the broken stroke application before but I am still feeling my way around it. It certainly has its place I am discovering.

On this second run through I had finished it but it seemed to have taken on a somber tone that I was not thrilled with so I did another pass through lightening the colors back up. It is still a bit somber from the original finished painting, but for now I like it as is. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Block in for St Johns River-going for large color shapes