Monday, February 20, 2017

In the Studio: February 20, 2017

Here are 4 works in progress - I like seeing them in the frames even before they are finished.

The bottom left (3 x 5") and center oil (3 x 4) have been seriously redone, painted over and in the case of the center one, painted over a couple of times more.

Currently in the studio there are nine works in progress and the closest to finishing are the 4 in this photo. 

The studio is always an interesting place with plenty to explore and paintings to improve on. To get where I want to go as an artist, I have to push ahead and create more problems - to be in a place where the artwork is full of unknowns and unfinished business. Some require big moves and others small improvements.

I have learned that sometimes the most efficient way to finish a problem painting is to redo it in a very big way. The two oils being redone here are in a far better place than before and it is wonderful to see them further along as more interesting paintings.

Friday, February 3, 2017

New Work: Aglow in Purple, oil on canvas 40 x 40 inches

Aglow in Purple, oil on canvas 40 x 40 inches

For a couple of years I had a canvas in the corner of the studio with a start that never went anywhere. There were trees on the left and right, but it just didn't work and the composition needed a fresher start.

So I put the canvas on the easel and made a simple plan. The idea was to use a lot of greens and make something interesting from that poor start. Different compositions were tried but nothing was working until I added the purples to the center of the scene. It was an experiment, but once that color made contact with the canvas, everything else just fell into place. Soon I was tuning the other colors to accommodate that far purple. All was going well.

Not really.

After putting the oil away for a couple of days and bringing it into the studio again, it was lacking something. Again, just to see what would happen, I put in a few bright lime notes up in the trees and everything clicked.

I really enjoy going for the unexpected result. Big thrills await!

Friday, January 27, 2017

New Work: Soft Sunset, oil on canvas, 24 X 48

Soft Sunset, oil on canvas, 24 X 48

Occasionally there is a canvas that never makes it to competition. Soft Sunset was one of those pieces, continually evolving, presenting more problems and demanding a good finish.

I have a few of these problem works currently stacked in the studio, patiently waiting for the last brushstrokes to pull it all together. 

This canvas was started at least three years ago and for whatever reason, I found the solution last week. The painting was too bright with a number of colors competing for attention, keeping it out of balance.

I made a big move by adding grays to almost every part of the canvas, allowing just a bit of the original, brighter colors to gleam through. After that, it was a matter of some color and contrast adjustments, a pleasant task.

Perhaps this same strategy will work on some of the other old canvases.....

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Grateful Notices: View through the Orange and Red Woods, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches

View through the Orange and Red Woods, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches
Private collection
This is a simple concept really, bands of trees with a small foreground and glowing background. At least that is what I thought when I began this work. The foreground was kept simple but a number of decisions had to be made as the painting progressed. The tree trunks are not smooth but the ones in the background are. The foreground and background glow but the middle trees do not.

A number of color combinations were tried. I was insisting on the orange / reds, but I couldn't get the primary trees to work to that idea. After many sessions in the studio, I allowed the greens and suddenly, it all began to come together. The dark blues went in, giving interest to the dark areas. That being done, I could finally tune up the yellows and add the rose reds for additional interest.

Finally, I was back working with the original idea of the light coming in behind the trees, adjusting the color and brightness until everything came together as one complex, appealing chord.

My many thanks to the couple that purchased the painting and to Mirada Gallery, CO for your kind help.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Work: Winters Morning II, oil on canvas 60 x 60 inches

Winters Morning II, oil on canvas 60 x 60 inches
Saks Galleries, Denver  $13500 framed

This was a very enjoyable endeavor. This oil is very freshly done, starting with two sessions of turped-thinnned paint. 5 feet square is a lot of area to cover, so using the thinned oils in the first two painting sessions allowed me to completely fill in the canvas and put the composition in a good place for a finish. 

In this version I've added more light, greener foliage and detail.

This canvas is extrapolated from a previous one, Winters Morning 36 x 48, that just sold last week. As it turns out, the 3 x 4 foot canvas was something of a sketch for this larger one.

I did a video of that oil explaining how I painted over an older canvas with a newer idea. You can view the earlier blog about the oil and video here.

Being an artist is a real privilege and the joy flowed into these works.

Winters Morning I, oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches
sold, private collection

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Grateful Notices: Haze in the Distance, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Haze in the Distance, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

My sincerest thanks to the collector that took this home.

This is the first of a series of paintings using this scene.
In this painting the sun is apparent but it is not having a big effect on the light and color in the scene.

All of the colors are in a natural palette with the exception of the purple foothills and some of the low foliage in the background. I set out to do something peaceful, with a limited amount of color and each color in it's own distinct place. 

It was a purposeful exercise, much like keeping your peas and carrots from touching on the dinner plate.  In the end, each separate element is comfortable in the scene with the others. Interesting how the greens made it all come together... those were the last colors applied.

You can view more versions of this oil and all of my works on my website.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Grateful Notices: Lake Palette, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

Lake Palette, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

A special thanks to the Dallas collector that had this delivered in time for Christmas!
Exhibited at the Arden's Gallery, Houston

Here's a bit about the painting from my earlier blog post:

I am always drawn to the calming interaction of land and water at the lake. This oil was made from a photo and it contained considerably more detail - nice to have it, but the point of the oil is simplicity.

Rather than use the colors of the photo, I opted for a tranquil, blue effect. There are a lot of blues here and they are limited to certain parts of the painting in order to preserve their power and unique effect.

It took a lot of tweaking to bring it all together. The pinks at the foreground went in first, an off-balance move to set things in motion, a small risk.

Once the oil began to take shape, lights and darks were increased for depth and interest. Just a touch of green and the red/darks provided a sense of realism to the right land form, setting it apart from the etheric left side. From there it was a matter of setting up the various blues, some receding, others glowing to bring the oil to life.

In the end, the aquas slightly glimmering in the water and the yellow / purple sky in the far distance lift the somber blue mood and allow the eye to move through the scene.