Thursday, November 30, 2006

Daily Painting Practice 101- Pumpkin and Crock

Starting with a good solid composition always helps. Keep it simple and basic and you will not be fighting with the painting trying to make it into something it never was.
Basic block in of color. For me orange has got to be the most difficult color to paint. Wait a minute... didn't I say that about yellow a few weeks ago? Or was it red I can't do?

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Pumpkin and Crock
oil on masonite
I painted this because I received a message on Ebay from a person asking if I had any more paintings with pumpkins. She didn't say why. Maybe she just likes to look at pumpkins. I don't have any pumpkin paintings laying around but I still have the pumpkin from (my previous painting). These things last forever! I thanked the person for suggesting the idea because if she didn't, I would have been roaming the halls looking for something to spark my interest. After 100 daily painting practice posts I need help with my spark ;o)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Number 100

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100 daily paintings
Self Portrait
oil on masonite

I reached a blog milestone today. This is post number 100 of daily painting practice! I feel like I have just finished my mid terms in a daily painting self instruction course. Now onto bigger and better things.

I am starting to think that all good art comes with a great deal of introspection. Learning and experimentation with technique will continue to be my daily painting practice mantra, after the new year I will be focussing on larger work. I will probably reduce the postings to 3 times a week. But before I move too far ahead.....

I must thank all of you who have read and commented on the work I have posted. Your words of encouragement, advice and support have helped me tremendously. The wonderful thing about this new world of art and blogging is that we can all benefit from and contribute to so many.
Thank You!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Daily painting Practice - Teapot and Lemons

No preliminary this time, just jump in and do a block in of the darks and lights.

A little more fussing with the highlights and I'm done.( I am still sticking with my 2 hour time limit) I have yet to do a lemon or orange skin that really pleased me. The texture and the highlights are a puzzle I have not figured out. More practice!
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"Teapot and Lemons"
oil on canvas board
Teapots are so much fun to paint. I think it is the strange shape that makes it so interesting. I changed the background and the base color in my little shadow box by using colored paper. It is good to switch things around a bit and get your eyes exercising with new light and color.

Monday, November 27, 2006

landscapes are mindscapes

You have seen this before. I previously posted several of these sketches. It is one of 4 color studies I have done for a larger painting I am starting. In fact it will be the largest landscape painting I have ever started. 36" x 40".
I had to re-arrange the studio space in order to get enough room to step back and evaluate the progress and compare to my large color study and photos on the computer screen.
I am just starting to finish the under painting. Now the real painting begins. I have so many little demons I face when I do studio work. Seems like most artists have something to work out. I worked on several of them this weekend with my art therapist/wife guiding me through the dismal swamp of doubt. I have a theory, the larger the painting the louder the fear rings in my head. The louder the fear gets the easier it is to get past. The only way to get past fear and doubt is to walk right through them. No amount of talking or procrastination will erase the little buggers. Humor and gratitude are the remedies to use. That, and several good cups of tea.
Choose a Path
oil on canvas

I did this painting years ago as a wedding gift for my brother-in -law. This was when I painted one painting every few years. I invented the scene and put my whole self into it. I don't remember having any fear or doubts painting it.. I am sure I had them but the point is the painting is what lasted, the other stuff is gone with the wind.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

painting - looking out my studio window

Don't let your children see this. Here's a real photographic nightmare. That's enough to scare most adults. I couldn't get the exposure adjusted quite right.
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My Neighbors Chimney
oil on canvas board

Today was beautiful outside and by the time I got around to my two hour daily painting practice the sun was starting to go down. This was one of those days where I could not find something to practice on. I refused to do another apple! I sat there looking out my studio window and then it hit me. Why not paint what I'm looking at? So, I did!

I should do more of these for practice. I certainly need to sharpen my outdoor painting skill. Here are three painters I would love to have a week to paint along side of (Justin Clayton) probably my first choice because I think he captures outdoor light like very few do and being a daily painter I would like to learn more about economy of brushwork. I found (Stephen Brown) on-line, I'd want to learn dramatic composition from him, and finally( Linden Fredrick) because that's what I want to paint like.

I guess I'll settle for learning through admiration. Thank God for Blogs.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

orange and rice bowl

I started with a tonal approach. I like how the light breaks up the darks in this composition.
I'm ready to start the design on the bowl. Most beginners make the same mistake I did for years. They try to paint around the design rather than having the confidence to lay the design on top.
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Orange and Rice Bowl
oil on masonite
I love painting this little rice bowl. I have painted it several times. Each time it shows me a different side to itself. ( That's quite a feat for a bowl)

Monday, November 20, 2006

painting 2 cups

I don't have any progress shots of this one. I set up late in the day and had to use a spot light instead of north light.
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2 Cups
oil on masonite

I really was scrounging around for something to paint. I opened closets , drawers, went into the basement hunting for something interesting. I finally hit the kitchen again and found a few items that made a nice composition. I stuck to my schedule and completed it in the two hours alotted. (I didn't count the time I spent searching)

Friday, November 17, 2006

painting interior scene- the dining room chair

It started as a very gray overcast morning. Of course just when I was about to finish, that all changed. And people wonder why artists like to work from photographs. Working from life is hard, the gods of painting like to play mind games, like bring out the sun just after you lay in the shadows.
Here is my travel around the house painting box in action.
Here I am at 1 1/2 hours. The only thing I should do is pull the details out.
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Dining Room Chair
oil on masonite
I really like the light in our dining room it fills the room from dawn through evening. This is the first painting I did on my new schedule( see yesterday's post). Actually, I should say I tried to do on my new schedule. I am supposed to only allow two hours for my daily practice painting. I kind of slid right by and did 2 1/2 hours. Whoops! Not that the extra time helped. I think most times it is better to quit early. Danger lurks in muddy colors for the artist who sticks around longer than he should.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

painting eggplant and garlic

A big block in of lights and darks starts off this practice painting.

I have a new schedule that I am going to try and stick with because I need to get to my larger studio paintings. I have not been very good at production and it will hurt me in the future if I don't deal with it. The problem of how to produce studio or gallery work while maintaining this daily blog needs to be addressed. So here is my new schedule.
I will limit my Daily Painting Practice to ony 2 hours a day. If I need to finish a practice picture in two days so be it. For me this is all about the process of learning to be a full time artist and that means paying attention to what needs to be worked on.
I'll figure it out of these days.
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Eggplant and Garlic
8" x 10"
oil on masonite
I really gobbed on the paint in this one. I wanted to feel what it was like to move a lot of paint around. I think if I do another with gobs of paint I may use some kind of medium to help smooth things out a little.

Good thing we just went shopping. There are lots of goodies in the refrigerator to grab and paint.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Daily Painting Practice - grapes and yellow bowl

I started sketching a little larger than my normal sight size method. It helped with the composition.

I love the compliment of the grapes and yellow dish.
I used a spot light on this one. I really like that shadow across the bowl it gives the bowl the form it needs to feel solid on the base.
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Grapes and Yellow Dish
8" x10"
oil on masonite

I was reading my copy of Linda Cateura's book on David Leffel's teaching and painting methods. "Oil Painting Secrets From a Master". That book inspires me to paint bolder and to break away from just copying the subject. I want to be more of a painter than a copiest. It will be a long journey. But what fun along the way.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

painting interior - the painting over our piano

Here's the set-up. I sat on the couch and put the painting box on a stool in front of me. The shadows quit just after I snapped this photo. The wall became a very even tone. Arrrrgh! Who said art was easy?
The painting above the piano is actually a print from a magazine of a painting by John Newton Howitt (1885-1958) called the Symphony. Howitt actually was an illustrator who painted covers for Pulp fiction magazines. He hated it but I guess it paid the bills.

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Picture Over the Piano
oil on masonite
I like trying these interiors. They are very challenging exercises. The light changes rapidly just like painting outside. Trying to find an interesting spark in the things that we walk by everyday inside the house isn't always easy. I walk around the house squinting and bending, twisting and turning. If someone walked in on me, they may think I am suffering from some disease of the nervous system. Artists are so misunderstood.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Painting a Thank You - Veteran's Day Tribute

As many of you who have been visiting my blog know, I occasionally will post a painting as a (tribute). In (previous posts) I have always been moved to paint what I feel and the idea is given life on the canvas. Today I have a tribute but in a different form.
Saturday was Veteran's Day here in the USA. I woke this morning thinking what would today's post look like if those who fought in world war two never stepped forward to say, "I'll go." I think my world would be entirely different and the art we share everyday would not be. The comparison of what I get to enjoy everyday and what they sacrificed is to wide for me to bring together in a composition. So I thought a blank screen would say to all veterns and those serving today what words and paint could not.

"Thank you to all who serve us"
painted in my heart
limitless height X limitless width

Here is the true story and(link) that got to me, and started me thinking of a Veteran's Day tribute painting.

The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood!
Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a
Delray Beach, Fla.eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speakerand musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event. He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly. At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, "Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you." Then the old soldier began to cry. "That really got to me," Bierstock says.

Fast forward to today. Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach - a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band - have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die."If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them."The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren. "It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss "the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach. "I can never thank them enough," the son wrote. "Thank you for thinking about them."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Class Trip in Omaha - Something from the website

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Class Trip in Omaha
16" x 36"
oil on masonite
available on my website

I haven't done this for a while. I had to post a painting from my website because yesterday's daily painting was a .... learning experience. That's a nice way to say my mother wouldn't hang it on her refrigerator if I gave it to her. It was that bad. Not to fret though, I did go out to paint and I did actually learn something from the experience. I learned I need a seat when I paint outside. Squatting in the back of my truck has a negative impact on the quality of the work.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this piece. I worked from a photo and enjoyed painting the expressions on the children's faces as they spotted some city wildlife in the park.
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Backlit figures are an interesting challenge. If you catch the light the figures really glow.

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Class Trip in Omaha - Detail

Class trips were always an adventure at his age. Of course the adults body language speaks for itself.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A day in the Life of a daily painter

I love articles entitled Day in the LIfe of... Here is my version.
I am standing in the back of my 1990 Toyota pickup truck painting this on the roof of the cab.
This is Benson Park. A nice little pond and park here in Omaha. We actually voted yesterday here in a building at the park. I liked this tree and came back to do a quick study.
I did a quick underpainting in cadmium orange to warm up the panel.
Then it was back to my other park. I think they call it Bemis Hill Park. This is my way of dealing with my fear of painting outside. Do it large! (actually, it was my art therapist/wife who suggested my get out and paint therapy.) That is a 30 X 40" color study! I must be crazy.
I had two problems painting like this. One, I can only cover a small portion of the canvas before the light completely changed. Two, a large neighborhood dog paid a visit to my painting space and left a dangerous pile just behnd me. How careful are you when you back up to check your painting?
Now it is getting late at night. What to do, what to do? Have you ever tried this set up for painting a self portrait?
"That hairline can't be that high! Better check again"
"Make sure you capture that goofy smile"
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Happiness is Being an Artist
oil on masonite

And so the day ends. It's time for all good little daily painters to go to bed and dream of Ebay sales.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Daily Painting Practice - Beets & olives

I put a glaze of cadmium orange over the burnt umber background wash. It really warmed things up.
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Stocking Up
8" x 10"
oil on masonite panel
How many artists get up in the morning and instead of looking for something to eat, raid the refrigerator for something to paint. This jar of canned beets was a gift. It has been in our refrigerator for about 5 months. I guess we are waiting for Thanksgiving to open it. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to paint it, so out it came and off to the studio. I really love the color of canned beets. The softer green olives I think works well as a compliment to balance the composition.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pleine Air painting study

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Park pleine air painting study
oil on canvas board

Yesterday was the perfect Autumn day here in Omaha. I still have to force myself to paint in public. This is one hangup of mine I am determined to conquer. I went back to this lovely park. I have painted this scene several times and I think this was the most beautiful time to be there. I am challenging myself to paint this scene on a very large canvas, perhaps something like 36"x40". However, I would like to capture the light and color from life not from a photo. My plan is to use my color study to help keep the colors fresh when painting the final piece in the studio. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Another try at a self portrait

Here's the palette I used. Titanium white, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium red, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Hansa Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Light, Pthalo Green, Cobalt Blue
This is how I started. Wash in the background with some Pthalo green and raw sienna and make placement marks with the darks. Then connect the dots.
I just put value next to value. Try to catch the little positive and negative shapes. Don't think about anatomy. Not too refined but loose and effective.
Note the slight hint of wearing my glasses on top of my head.
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Self portrait practice
oil on masonite panel

I like how this one worked out. I attempted two more studies after this that I wiped off. I discovered an interesting hitch in my technique. If I paint with my glasses on and standing up I mess up more. I painted this study and the previous study sitting down and without my glasses. With my glasses off I don't see the details well enough to distract me from just painting values. The hard part is if I am any farther than an arms length away from the canvas I need my glasses, if I get to close I can't see the canvas. Getting old has it's challenges.