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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Beach Trinity

Beach Trinity, 6x6, oil on panel
I liked this little vignette I saw on a beach in Florida. That it included the dog was a bonus. I am glad that he was somewhat connected to the sea grasses as I did like the family group of three.

This being a simple little composition, I tried to maintain that without getting too involved in details.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Critique

Critique, 30x24, oil on linen panel
 I don't believe I have posted this painting before. It is really hard to put out there a portrait of sorts of someone so well known in the local art community here in Denver. This is from the Master Painting class I took a few years ago with Kevin Weckbach. I am very grateful for the time I was able to spend under his tutelage so the last thing I want to do is put a bad painting of him out in public.That happens to be my easel behind him with my nifty tennis ball tube turned brush holder hanging on the wall. People who have seen this painting ask if that is me sitting on the left, but alas, no; I took the reference photo and then used it as a class project for dark/light pattern.

I have explained dark/light pattern before so to briefly review what that means it is to find a pattern either in the light or the dark values and then push the medium values either to the light pattern or the dark pattern. This one I used the darks to carve out the light. The dark values marry to one another to create a circle that moves the eye around. To do the assignment, for instance, the brown hair highlights of Tomiko on the left were toned down so as to not be disrupted by her highlights and to blend from Kevin's black shirt to his navy pants to her brown hair, etc. Her sweatshirt was overall a darker gray to unify with the darker areas of her hood folds. Kevin's blue cargo pants were overall darker and flatter too. I brought the mediums back out after the critique but still keeping the pattern in mind.

The other things I liked about this composition were the repeating square shapes and the angles both in the painting being critiqued and the easel and the brush holder. That is what we call the "abstract quality" and in this case, help guide the eye as well.

Here is Kevin critiquing the start of the painting where you can see what I was talking about marrying the values.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Lilacs, 14x11, oil on panel
Another recent plein air piece painted in our backyard. As I mentioned in a past post on painting tulips, this year has been particularly beautiful for flowering trees, shrubs and bulbs here in Denver.  I managed to remember to take a photo of my block in (it is in the shade which is why it looks a bit dull). In the block in below I was looking for the dark pattern within the bush to give shape and structure to it. I wanted to block in the lilacs themselves with a unifying mid value so that I could then have fun putting the lilacs in on top in a lighter value as well as adding texture. Because at the end of the hour (I started about noon) the light was shifting and where I was sitting was now getting sun in my face, I stopped to come back the next day. Painting on your own premises allows for that more easily than going out to another location and I enjoy taking my time that way. I like that the block in is mostly dry and you can layer more easily than when painting wet into wet in one sitting.
Day One first hour

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spring in my back yard

Tulips springing forth, 14x11, oil over an old painting on canvas/board
This spring in Denver has been particularly beautiful. Not only for the blooms that come out most every year, but for the length of time the blooms have stayed out. Denver can have snow and or hail up and through June so from year to year we may or may not have blossoms around for very long. In an effort to get outside during this amazing time, but also fighting allergies big time, I opted to stay close to home and sit outside in my own backyard to paint.

For this painting, I set my chair atop my hostas that were peeping out against the fence. There was not much room between the fence and the tulips but I managed to squeeze in the chair so I could be a bit closer to the subject. I reused a panel that had an old plein air on it as I try to keep my inventory to something manageable. And some pieces are just not worth keeping after a few years. I do like the way these tulips were snaking around, all in different phases of development. The sun was coming from across the fence over my shoulder so this view had the best light too.

Because of the lighting situation, on the first day I figured out my composition and got it blocked in before the light was too different. I had plans to go back the next day but it ended up I could not get back out for another 2 days. Not good in the life-cycle of bulbs. In 2 days, so many changes have taken place. With my composition and block in already to go, it wasn't too bad and I just worked on getting my values put in.

I do enjoy painting outdoors!