Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grateful Notices: Soft Sunset, oil on canvas, 24 X 48

Soft Sunset, oil on canvas, 24 X 48 private collection

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.....

My sincere thanks to the collector that purchased this for her home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Grateful Notices: Saccades I and VI, oils on panels, 24 x 24 inches

Saccades I   24 x 24 inches    Sold by Saks Galleries, Denver  private collection

Saccades VI   24 x 24 inches    Sold by Saks Galleries, Denver  private collection
It is always a thrill for your gallery to call and let you know that a painting has sold... even more when you find out that the client has inquired about a second work as a possible pair.

When your artworks are selling around the country, artists don't always have the pleasure of meeting with their collectors. Happily, I delivered the second oil to the clients home and we spent the evening getting to know each other with laughs and insights.

After looking at different locations for the oils, their original idea of the dining room was the best. It's always tricky to hang two works side by side perfectly so I was happy to have the husbands help. I should take him along next time.

What a delightful evening! Many thanks to the fascinating couple that purchased these works and again to Saks Galleries for their wonderful support.

More information about the Saccades Series of oils

Monday, September 4, 2017

New Work: Bright Patterns, oil on canvas, 48 x 60

Bright Patterns, oil on canvas, 48 x 60  $10959 framed

At it's essence, this oil is a simple composition but with a lot of complexity. There are layers of leaves  in essentially two colors: variations of red-orange and green. The dark band helps to intensify the foliage and the sky coming though creates a delicate counterpoint.

To further accentuate the diaphanous foliage, the foreground complexity is kept to a minimum, even substituting what would usually be dark shadows for light lavender passages in the middle left

There is a gentle rhythm and flow as the short grasses move across the bottom of the canvas. They set up the tree and leaf patterns as they move upward and burst out a bit like fireworks.

Monday, August 28, 2017

New Work: Contrasts on the Lake, oil on canvas, 36 x 48

Contrasts on the Lake oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches  Framed $8450.

I had this very basic idea of light moving from right to left across two lines of trees along a lake. Once that was painted in I felt pretty good about it. Later that evening I was showing it to another artist online and it hit me that I didn't fully pull it off.

In the course of working on these canvases that is often the case when viewing them later. Improvements can often be made and I was a bit excited about figuring out how. My plan was to make the front line of trees more distinctive than the back row and to add more contrast in the sky in order to heighten the effect of the brightest trees on the right.

First things first - more contrast, so I loaded up some dark purple and quickly brushed it in along the top of the trees. It immediately changed everything! Suddenly the painting had a lot more power and drama.

The second move was a subtle but important one, adding the vertical trees along the front tree line. Now the painting gained complexity but not at the expense of the original idea of simply moving light across the picture plane.

There is only a glancing reference of trees reflecting in the water, just enough to anchor them. Now I felt free to use the rest of the water below for whatever I felt was best for the composition. I wanted more light in the painting overall, so the addition of the modulated yellow band made that happen. I felt it was also important to run that yellow ribbon across the entire canvas. Because the yellow design is wider at the left, it gives the impression of a left to right movement and creates a counter point to the bright yellow trees at the far right. There is a nice complexity in this work but it is understated almost to the point of abstraction.

The trees hold their position as the light moves over them and they are further enhanced by the contrasting color and movements of the sky and water. What was once a wisp of an idea became a real place were the effects of nature can be observed and enjoyed.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Video: How to Make a Gunpowder Painting with the artist Cai Guo-Qiang

Video from the NY Times by Jason Schmidt

From sketch to explosion, a close look at the artist Cai Guo-Qiang's process.
Since 1984 he has created over 1,000 works with gunpowder.

New Work: Light Effects, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches

Light Effects, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches  $6950 framed

I began this oil as a demo for the workshop that Casey Klahn and I put on earlier this year. The dark trees in the upper left are just as they were painted in that day. For the demonstration, I wanted to offer the example of a very direct and strong start.

The background was also laid in with strong colors but as the painting progressed over the last few months, what remained was the strong lighting at the top as the the strong colors in the background were toned down, causing them to recede.

All of these moves were done to improve the painting rather than create a more realistic scene. This is what makes painting enjoyable for me - trying to get more out of the artwork with a variety of strategies.

During the last painting session today the lighter areas began to take the lead. I made the sky brighter and insured that the glow travelled down into the background. Once more light and shadow variations were added to the grasses below, the entire painting fell into place. After a lot of patient trials, this forest came to life with color, atmosphere and in a somewhat abstract way.

I really like those original dark trees with their high contrast and the motion they give to this work.

More information about my Workshops

Monday, August 14, 2017

Video: Actor Jim Carrey: I Needed Color

In this 6 minute video, Jim Carrey he discusses much and his works are very revealing. It's always interesting to hear artist's motivations.

From the video:
"What you do in life chooses you. You can choose not to do it. You can choose to do something safer.'"

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