Monday, January 21, 2019

New Work: View through the Meadow oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

View through the Meadow  oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

When I step outside my studio and look to the foothills, I see this view. On one of those occasions I caught this orange sky at sunset and it prompted me to start this oil. Since the sky is a bit surreal, it compelled me to push the colors of the trees rather than using the drab greens in real life.

Once I started the canvas, things were going along nicely but after giving it a pause for a few days, the painting was lacking more punch. Obligingly, I added more colors  to the line of trees and more changes to the back hills and foreground.

Two days later, I had just finished up a private lesson and in the corner of the studio, this meadow view was calling out for more work - a bigger move. There were a number of colors still on the palette from the class and a pale cobalt blue stood out. I loaded up a brush, walked over to the big oil and added the glowing blue across the top of the foothills. That made a larger change than I had counted on, but the result was a good one.

That blue really moved the painting forward and more changes would be needed to bring the rest of the oil up to that higher mark. The foreground was lacking something, being in its present green meadow state. To correct that, my first move was to add the blue-purple banding at the bottom of the meadow and then overpaint the meadow grass with the yellow-orange color.

The oil was essentially finished and the rest of the time was spent in what I call 'tuning up' the canvas with a variety of brighter colors, giving attention to edges and working on small compositional elements.

Looking back, the painting is quite simple, two light areas divided by one dark one but hundreds of brushstrokes make it happen. I feel so fortunate to be a painter.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Grateful Notices: Gathering Light II, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

Gathering Light II, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches Private collection
Exhibited: Dominique Boisjoli Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

How far can you push red and orange in a landscape? As it turns out, quite a bit. The wall of colors in this background pushed the whole painting into a hot and surreal scene that demanded more bold moves to make it work - high contrast darks and bright yellows. 

it is always a pleasure to do a high-key oil like this but in order to do so, the real world has to be abandoned and given over to this new world of delicious brights in a red atmosphere. The real-world subtleties of greys and soft tones are burned out, leaving the a chord of bright, clear notes. Sometimes you just wanna shout!

My thanks to the collectors that purchased this oil from Dominique Boisjoli Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Workshop: Moving to the Next Level with Ken Elliott / Colorado 2019 / Sat - Sun, February 23-24

Evening Patterns
Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches $12500 unframed
Saks Galleries, Denver
More about this oil on Ken's blog, For the Color
Video: Ken discusses this oil

Next Workshop:

Making it Fine Art: Moving to the Next Level with Ken Elliott


Castle Rock, CO, 2019
Sat - Sun, February 23-24


2 1/2 day Workshop
Sat - Sun, 9-4pm
Sat evening after break, 4:30 -7pm, Photoshop Tools and discussions.
Limited to 6 artists, $390 each Workshop flyer   Register online
Contact Ken

Open to artists in all media. Ken will discuss strategies for creating better artworks with a variety of common and creative tools. The workshop will focus the strategies for making better artworks, going to new places in your work and how to make fine art. He will use informative videos and pass on strategies not in the literature, but handed down from the very best teachers.

We will be going deeper into making better and more appealing artworks with a variety of strategies. 

Saturday evening, I will show you Photoshop techniques for taking your works to the next level and creating better pathways for finishing your artworks. You will be given a Photoshop guide and have access to a large photo file of over 1500 inspiring artworks.

Ken will demonstrate painting using oil and pastel. He will discuss the idea of making strong starts and keeping the way open for more interesting and dramatic finishes. Ample time will be given to live problem solving and creative options.


We previously had a fabulous Making it Fine Art Workshop where we launched new directions, had artistic thrills, great conversations and new friends were made!
Thank you all for coming and I’m very appreciative that you took these photos, Maureen.

Some of the canvases begun during a recent Workshop


Art critique
Art critique








Art demo on a work in progress, Red Progression, oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Grateful Notices: Color at the Edge of the Lake, oil on canvas, 30 x 48 inches

Color at the Edge of the Lake, oil on canvas, 30 x 48 inches
Private collection
Exhibited: Dominique Boisjoli Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

It was a nice surprise to get a call from Dominique with the news that one of her clients had just purchased this painting for their home. I was in the Colorado mountains at the time with views of a snowy paradise all around and the gallery call just capped an already perfect day. Thank you!

Here are the earlier blog notes describing this painting:

I was visiting a friend in the Baltimore area some years ago and came across a photo from that trip, a small stand of trees at the edge of a lake. The photograph was very different, with even lighting and all green foliage.

Regardless, I liked the composition and began the painting with a somewhat subdued palette. After a few sessions, the painting evolved into scene with the light coming in from the back, accentuating the dark trunks in the foreground,

There is a lot of color involved, each with its own part of the tapestry. Earlier, the foreground was darker with more blues but I later opted for a soft carpet of jewel tones spaced among the slightly glowing greens. 

At this point, the subdued palette idea went out the window once I added the more powerful colors to the wall of trees beyond the lake. It was a delight to push the color back there and now I'll pass it onto you.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

New Work: Saccade XII, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

Saccade XII, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches  $10950 framed
Dominique Boisjoli Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

It is good to have a series of paintings to work through, In this 11th Saccade, a very textural painting developed because I worked over another from 4-5 years ago. The heavy impasto took me back to those Monet's and it was a joy to create a forest with all of that ready-made texture.

The purpose of the Saccades is to create a painting without a singular point of interest. It presents a number of problems, first being that all the areas on the canvas are equally interesting. This is a good practice for most paintings anyway, so this oil puts that idea to task.

There is the additional game in play here and that is depth. The viewer gets the impression of being in the darker part of the forest looking out. The light is there, but nothing much is revealed. 

There is this considerable forest pattern effect across the 4 x 5 foot space. It has an abundance of complexity and juuuuust enough depth to be an intriguing presence on the wall.



About the Saccades Series shown here:
"Since the late 19th century, researchers have been aware of the phenomenon of saccades, the rapid movement of the eye as we shift our attention from one thing to another. As a result, vision itself is discontinuous. We construct a “map of reality” from saccades much as a film editor puts together a scene from individual camera takes." From an article by the film maker Errol Morris, NY Times

Monday, December 17, 2018

New Work: Iridescent Lake II, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches

 Iridescent Lake II, oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches  $2450 framed

Sometimes you just want to do a painting in a different way. This #II version is very similar to the first version below and the obvious difference is the yellow color shift. With this newer version, I opted for more open brush work and it yields a different quality to all of the elements in the scene.

Each time a new work is started, it presents new opportunities for learning and experimentation and as these two works show, so-called small changes can produce big effects.


Iridescent Lake II
Oil on panel, 24 x 24  $2450 framed
Dominique Boisjoli Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

Here's the earlier blog post for this oil



Friday, November 30, 2018

Grateful Notices: Forest Surprise, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches

Forest Surprise, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches
Privarte collection, Denver

My dear thanks to the couple that purchased this work for their new home.

This particular oil wasn't easy but it wasn't made to be. I wanted a row of red trees showing through a lattice of tree trunks and foliage. Simple enough, but many of these elements began to take on a 'need' for the light to filter through in various ways, leaving a lot of possible options.

Another consideration presented itself: how much front to back depth should I allow? I went for a number of layers of depth in the foreground and out beyond the red trees.  This was going to be a intricate forest, so how to keep it interesting?

Complexities continued to be added but I kept to the idea of light illuminating that line of red trees. Knowing what the painting is about is very important. In this case, that knowledge kept me from getting lost in a convoluted forest.

It took numerous sessions to complete, with the final two in the company of Terry, who flew in for private lessons. A lot of information was imparted with this oil as different colors and compositional elements were tried. It was a bit of a circus at times with all of the artful juggling, but an enjoyable process as all the elements finally found their optimal places and the painting was declared done.