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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Santa Ana Canyon

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This plein air painting was done on pastel mat.  It measures 19"x25".  It was done with soft pastel.  As with all of my recent plein air paintings this one was done in under 2 hours.  My goal is to work as quickly as I can to get a complete painting within a short period of time.  There are several reasons.  I have never entered a plein air contest and I want to.  By painting quickly I have to sharpen my ability to see the subject and put it down is such a way that I am saying what I want to.  I believe this will also sharpen my compostition skills.  I want to get to the point where I see the best subject and to be able to touch each area once and step away.  There will be time later for the paintings where I go back to the same spot over a period of time.  I think pastels have a distinct advantage for quick draw contests.  Most of the contestants are painting on a rather small scale.  I want to paint larger and better.  Right now I am painting larger.  I want to get up to some really large plein air paintings.  I also think that the more paintings I can crank out over the course of a week the better chance I have of creating something worthwhile.  When I finally enter a contest I will have some stupid goal for the number of paintings I will want to crank out.  If I have 8 hours of painting in a day I could go about it in a couple of ways.  I could work on a large number of paintings on a daily basis for a short period of time or try to complete 2-3 paintings per day.  I will have to build up to that level of skill and concentration.  So for now I am working on speed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Clouds From Mount San Antonio

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This plein air painting is done with soft pastel on pastel mat.  The painting measures 19"x25".  This painting is from a horse trail in Yorba Linda.  The clouds were amazing as they rolled across the sky.  The wind was strong and they were changing very quickly.  I would have been better served at painting them from memory once I saw a pattern I liked.  I felt like I was chasing shapes.  The beauty of pastel is that you can go after transitory light and shapes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunlight Through The Eucalyptus Santiago Canyon

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This pastel painting is done on Wallis paper.  There is a water color underpainting with soft pastels over it.  The painting measures 25"X17".  This painting was done from a late afternoon hike.  There was a strong atmospheric effect that afternoon.  The color of the light filtering through the trees onto the dry grass was beautiful.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Amongst The Sycamore Shadows In Laguna Canyon

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This oil painting is based on a trip to Laguna Canyon in early October.  The trees must be over a hundred years old.  They are twisted into unbelieveable shapes.  This painting is on canvas and measures 36"X20".  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chino Hills Backlit Sycamore and Oaks

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This painting was done from a hike I took in the Chino Hills State Park during December.  This painting measures 28"X35".  It is done on Wallis paper.  There is a water color underpainting with soft pastel over it.  There were several challenges for this painting.  Getting the values of the shadows while still showing the color within them in contrast to the bright colors in the sunlight was difficult.  Another challenge was taking these very bright greens and making them seem realistic.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dusk From San Antonio Road

click on painting to enlarge
This pastel painting is done on La Carte Pastel Card.  The painting is done with soft pastels.  This painting measures 23"X29".As I prepare to become a serious plein air painter I have decided to develop my skills in quickly rendering my subject.  I am tempted to call this a sketch rather than a painting based on the amount of time I am putting into the painting.  I started this painting at 5:30 pm and finished at 6:50pm.  I have the ability to chase the light with pastels because of their amazing abiltiy to cover the surface quickly.  At the end of this painting I gave final touches all over the surface to reflect the quickly fading light.  To develop this skill I am putting myself on some kind of internal timer.  I am not timing the painting but I know when to stop.  Most quick draw competitions seem to run from 1.5 to 3 hours long.  I have decided to not sacrafice the size of my paintings in these practices; instead I am looking to increase the quality of my paintings within this time limit.  I find myself intentionally going out to paint when there is only a little amount of time left in the day.  Once I feel I have accomplished this goal I will start my next focus.  The next focus will be painting even larger plein air paintings with several return visits.  That will present a whole new series of challenges.