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Monday, May 27, 2019


 For the first time in 2 years I took some time to plein air paint.  As usual, I was a little too ambitious.   The size and scope of this painting was not in my green zone.
This painting is mixed media.  It has an under painting of watercolor with a finishing  layer of soft.pastel.on sanded paper.  The painting measures  approximately 32"X 46".

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Finishing Your Thought

Finishing your thoughts in art is a simple idea which some of my paintings have trouble expressing.  The expression of your ideas is central to effective communication within the painting. Competing ideas have to be eliminated.  Spontaneity balanced by a well articulated plan. Distractions must not be allowed to take center stage. Stick to the plan. Whether painting in the studio or en plain air, your attention span will be tested.  Decide what your effort is to convey. Do the thinking on the front side so you can paint without conflict later.  Have your idea be strong enough to hold your attention to the end.  Write it down and refer to it before your work begins. Your stronger paintings are most successful because you did not have conflicting ideas or messages.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday, December 10, 2018

The light refraction from the door on the wall.  A simple daily reminder of the beauty that surrounds us.  If we choose to look we will see.

Friday, December 7, 2018

15x18 graphite on museum  board.  Sunset at Crescent Bay.  In order to get the darks dark enough I had to expand my materials and techniques.  I first tried using a litho pencil.  Although it helped darken areas that needed it, it still had too grainy a finish.  I then rubbed down the drawing with rubbing alchohol.  This did darken and blend the drawing but it also made it impossible to erase or blend further.
This was the first time I tried this technique.

Technique is a function of the artist's need.  To further your vision you must be willing to take chances and risk the outcome in order to grow.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Fall Morning in the Canyon

A quick sketch to place the shapes.  Early corrections completed before moving to the next step in the painting lead to a better overall painting.
In this painting, I wanted to establish the atmospheric perspective at the beginning.  
Normally I would establish the darker colors first and then work semi-progressively towards the lighter colors.  
The main shapes are in place.  There is room within the shapes for the values to get darker or lighter.  You can see how glossy the surface is from the saffron oil.
Working to get the shapes and the values of the shapes adjusted.
Adding the smaller shapes within the composition and balancing them to the other shapes in the painting.
It is critical at this juncture to not disrupt to proceed too quickly.  The accuracy of the shapes and the placement of them must keep evolving in relation to each other to make the composition believable.
I now have 28 colors in my pallet.  I am not sure how I would characterize my pigment choices.  You could call it a split compliment or prismatic pallet.  My most recent additions are transparent orange and brown pink.  I know a lot of painters talk about keeping their pigment variety simple so that they can master their paint mixing.  I really enjoy the mystery of the possibilities.  The discoveries made are not slavishly committed to memory.  What is the benefit to dialing in your four color pallet if all of the colors you can make with it are dull and uninspiring?  I believe in complexity.  I like the idea of having a lot of different paths to finding a color.

As the painting progresses, I am using additional colors and values to redefine the shapes and add progressively smaller and less critical shapes.
Refocusing on the atmospheric perspective by making the shapes in the foreground darker and the background lighter.  Balancing all of the values between to insure a natural flow.
Creating larger contrasts in value in the foreground will make the background push itself back further.
Developing subtle changes within the shapes and adding smaller and smaller divisions within the painting.
Now some of the highlights come into play.  Trying to push myself to push the value dynamics.  How far can I push the contrast between the lightest lights and the darkest darks?
Bringing the middle ground into balance with shape differentiation, color variance, and value.
Final value adjustments.
Final details being added and refined.
Is it done?
The finished painting 24"X 36"
The value shot.
The detail shot.