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Friday, July 27, 2012

Painting at Heisler Park Laguna Beach

I got down to Heisler Park in Laguna Beach at about 5:30 pm.  I had been painting up in the canyon at Big Bend for about 2 hours.  It had been in the high 80's and I had to hike about 1.5 miles each way with my 40 pounds of gear-so when I got to the beach I thought I would just take some reference photographs and head on home for dinner with my wife and kids.  I had been down here the week before and made two really nice paintings.  I thought the light in the late afternoon would be amazing because of the way the rocks faced the setting sun.
So I get down to the beach and there is Frank Serrano.  I did not know it at the time because I had never met him before, but I knew of his plein air painting. 
After talking with him for a moment I had to go get my gear and paint.  I only had about an hour and a half to paint and the only surface I had was huge.  The masonite panel I had made with the pumice gel and acrylic paint measured 22"X48".  I had no time for second guessing.

Painting in Black Star Canyon

This painting trip took place earlier this week on TuesdayI wanted to beat the heat so I did not leave the house until about 3:30 pm.  I was on site and set up by 4:15 pm.

The surface I was working on was one of my acrylic, pumice, and masonite panels that I have been making for the last couple of weeks.  I really like how durable and steady they are.  The one pictured above measures 22"X48".  The backlit walls of the canyon were very warm and subtle in their range of color.  
The colors in the walls of the canyon are a little different from what I usually paint.  I had to trust my judgement.  There was not enough time to do anything over again.

I really liked the contrast of the back lit trees and the muted colors of the canyon walls.  The dark ground of the masonite really helped the back lit trees pop and it helped keep the canyon subdued in the distance.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making Panels Out of Masonite

I chose Paynes Gray paint because it was a dark gray with  a touch of blue in it.  I like the effect of light pastels on a dark ground or underpainting.  
For my purposes the Fine Pumice Gel worked best.  I also tried the Corse Pumice Gel but it had too much tooth on the surface and ripped my pastels up at an amazing rate.  It made painting almost an excercise in abstraction.  You had to stand about 30 feet away to see the subject I was painting.  I ended giving the painting to a bus driver at Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach as payment for the ride to the parking lot.  The best thing I can say about the experience is that I learned from it.
The process of creating these panels is very simple and quick.  I have never been a formula or recipe kind of person.  Each time I have made these panels I have experimented with the amount of Pumice Gel and Acrylic paint.  Other than using the wrong size pumice all of my panels have turned out really well.

As you can see I use standard house painting stuff.  I am using a Purdy 1 and a half inch all purpose paint brush.  I really like the thickness of the bristles for adding texture to the panel.  All I do is make my mixture of pumice gel and acrylic, mix it up to an even consistency, and brush it on with random strokes.  I insure that I have covered the entire surface.  Sometimes I try and imagine the type of landscape I will paint on the surface and do a rough sketch of that subject with the pumice gel mixture.  The panels have been taking about 10 minutes to dry once I have completed covering them.  This is a very economical way to create surfaces.  The surface below measures 24"X36" and would cost me around $30.  I figure my cost is about $8 for the same size panel.

I purchased acylic paint, pumice gel in small and medium grit at Ultrect.  Both the pumice gel and the acylic paint were Golden products.  I bought 2 4'X8' sheets of 1/8" tempered hardboard.  I got them as a special order at Home Depot.  It took 4 days for them to come in.  When I picked them up I had a sales associate cut them to the predetermined sizes I wanted.