Friday, June 29, 2007

daily painting practice - work in progress

Work in progress
oil on canvas

Here is a preview of one of my paintings I am working on for my show in September at the (So-Oh Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska). I call it Before the Plow but that may change. You know how I am with names.

I received some great news this week my painting (Orange Picot) sold from the Gallery. That painting was a real bench mark for me I am so thrilled to have it sold.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

daily painting practice - Morning Cafe

Continuing with the theme of the week... figuratives. Today instead of just one I thought maybe trying to do a group would be fun...and challenging.

I like to put blotches of color into a painting sometimes to test how they go together.
The composition is a zig zag that leads your eye through the painting.
click on picture to enlarge the image

Morning Cafe
oil on wood

The Omaha Farmers market is in the background. Sitting in this cafe is the perfect location to watch the action on a Saturday morning. I almost called this one Breakfast with the Girls but the large guy sitting on the right didn't approve of it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

daily painting practice-name the painting contest

I have been waiting to do this painting for a while.
I started much looser than yesterday's painting. I think that helped keep the painting fresh for a longer period of time.
Almost there! She's wondering what am I going to call this painting.
Click on the picture to enlarge the image

Name the painting
oil on wood

I could not think of a good title. So I'll put it out to you. Help me give it a title. Send me your suggestion and I'll pick a winner on July 4th. The winner gets the painting. Be sure your email is in the comment so I can contact you if you win. Good luck.

Monday, June 25, 2007

daily painting practice - from flowers to figures

Something different this week. I thought I would change from painting flowers to painting figuratives. I also wanted to use some bolder color. You can't get much bolder than a flame red shirt.
One of my favorite artists is (Dean Mitchell). He does it all in watercolor and oils and he is a great example of someone who is able to capture and highlight human characteristics that make each subject an individual. He also has this great ability to blend abstract design with realism.
Click on the picture to enlarge the image

Grill Master
oil on masonite

I deliberately painted this guy out of the picture frame in order to capture the strength and size of his character. I don't think it would have worked as well if I had made the figure smaller and left space around the shoulders. Some people have a huge presence and this guy seemed to be that kind of man.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Painting Yellow Day Lilies and thinking of Van Gogh

I painted the background first this time and never touched it again. I think I deserve a treat.
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Yellow Day Lilies
oil on masonite

I look at this painting and I can't help but think what Van Gogh would have done with the subject. It would have been larger and definitely bolder brush strokes. I am thinking of doing this one again larger and having fun painting it with Van Gogh looking over my shoulder.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Backgrounds can kill

I liked the composition right away. This was going to be a fun painting.
I started putting in the darks then got carried away. I was enjoying the painting too much and forgot one important step....
Decide on the background first.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Lavender and Petunias Study
oil on masonite

I find one the the hardest things to do is to stop painting when things are really cooking and step back to really objectively think about how to finish a painting. I either plow ahead then evaluate when I am finished or I get very tentative and don't finish strong.

On this one I plowed ahead. After evaluating the final piece I think my error here was fussing with the background after I started painting. (an old habit ):O(

Take a look at these paintings by (Henri Fantin-Latour) The backgrounds are so simple yet perfectly compliment the paintings. Oh well, Back to the drawing board!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Last trumpet vine series

I thought I needed to try a totally different approach. So I used a square format and a very cool blue/green pre-toned board. I also used a lot more Liquin for the underpainting of the darks. This gave me a very transparent and thin shadow color to start on.
I kept using Liquin with my paint to keep the color transparent even when over painting the shadow color. I am thinking dark shapes and halftones at this point but I am also aware of form.
It always is a thrill to put the highlights in.
click on picture to enlarge the image

Trumpet Vine study No.3
oil on wood

I really like the color and texture of this painting. But the best part to me is the strong horizontal element of the cloth. Even though this is a square format the horizontal lines in the cloth seem to trick the eye into thinking there is much more width than height.

Friday, June 15, 2007

daily painting practice - Trumpet Vine Study No.2

Trumpet Vine Study number 2 - I am back to using a pre-toned panel. I like the spray of the leaves on this one. It fills the painting with a lot of movement.
I have a hard time with the warm oranges in the trumpet vine. They are so intense even in the shadows.
The cool background helps offset the warmth of the blossoms.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Trumpet Vine Study No. 2
oil on masonite

I have one more painting in this trumpet vine series I want to try. Then back to the garden. My garden manager/wife has some beautiful lavender growing. That might be a good match with the purple petunias. I'll get the clippers.

I wonder if I can deduct the garden as a business expense since it supplies most of my subject material?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

daily painting practice - Trumpet Vine series

No pre-toned panel today. The stark whiteness on the panel takes some getting used to again.
The trumpet vine is a favorite flower for hummingbirds. It grows in our yard like dandelion though. Sprouting up all over the lawn.
I signed the painting and was ready to move on but something started to bother me. The background was too warm. So I cooled it off with some Titanium White and Cobalt blue. It was a toss up to change it. One of those artist's choice moments.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Trumpet Vine Study
oil on masonite

I am having fun with this idea of painting a series of the same subject. So I think I will do more trumpet vine paintings this week.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Painting Miss Daisy

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Painting Miss Daisy
oil on ArtBoard
Sorry no progress photos today. I had some left over flowers from last week's Omaha Farmer's Market flowers. I stuck them in the white pitcher and thought I was good to go. But my ever on the lookout to improve my arrangements set designer/wife came up with an idea that really added some color and punch to the composition. She threw in the blue checkered towel. ( OK she was rrrrrrrr again).

This was pure fun.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Peaches and Peonies No. 4

Brush in the dark over the pre-toned panel. If you like the abstract design of light and dark at this stage you will most likely enjoy the final painting. Of course, if you don't like the design at this stage of your painting there is little that can help you later when you start adding detail. Better to begin again than waste a lot of time.
Darks and lights, darks and lights. I should have a parrot in the studio trained to squawk at me and keep me from going into detail too soon.
I began adding the flowered print on the backdrop. It stole the spot light from the focal point so I removed it.
click on picture to enlarge the image

Peaches and Peonies No. 4
oil on masonite

This is the last of the series. I could go on and on but there are so many flowers blooming now and I don't want to miss any of them. What a great problem to have. How many people in this world get to wake up and say to themselves "What beautiful thing should I look for today?"

Friday, June 08, 2007

daily painting practice - Peaches and Peonies Series Part 2

around the Day 2 - Continuing the series of painting Peaches and Peonies. Only this time I left out the peaches. Painting a series allows me to experiment with many of the ingredients that go into the recipe of a painting. Here I changed the size (from 5x7 to 8x8) and the format from rectangular to square. I also added a peony to the arrangement and started with a darker pre-toned board. I painted the lighter background to create a silhouette of the form.

The paper is a list of focus points I keep attached to my easel. It reminds me of the main ingredients I should be using in my composition.
Another benefit of doing a series - Comparing one painting to another before adding the finishing touches.

click on the painting to enlarge the image

White Peonies in a Green Glass Vase
oil on Artboard

I like the composition of this painting. The leaf on the rightside pointing down adds just the right amount of movement and balances the fan of leaves on top.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

daily painting practice - Peaches and Peonies Series part 1

Blocking in the darks and lights is so much easier when the background is already toned. I have lightened the background just a touch but I have not painted in the halftone in the shadow of the peonies. This gives the illusion of form very quickly.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Peaches and Peonies
oil on masonite

It occurred to me that I have not yet done a series of paintings using the same objects. So, using these peaches and peonies, I will arrange several compositions. Stay tuned, this sounds like fun!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Study study study

A quick sketch in charcoal to place the composition. These are more flowers from Saturdays Farmer's market. I think I should get an artist discount the next time I go there. ( by the way... the grapes are plastic... sssshhhh! don't tell)

I think I read someplace recently that values are more important than color. I tend to agree with that. I would add to it though. Values are more important than detail.
Here's a better look at the block in of lights and darks. I left a lot of the pre-toned orange panel poking through. It helps tie the colors together.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Color Study
oil on masonite

This is a study for a larger studio piece. These still life studies always seem to have more expression than my more finished or more detailed daily paintings. I think that spontaneity has its own song in paint. Being more spontaneous with the brush can make the painting be more engaging to the viewer also. I think it's the freedom of the brush strokes that leaves the viewer more space to enter the picture and more time to use their imagination.

Helping people use their imaginations ( especially in today's world) is one of the magical gifts art brings to the world.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

daily painting practice - flower color study

I recently moved my studio to the basement of our house. It gives me more room to arrange a still life and also allows me space to back up from the easel. I bought these beautiful flowers from the farmer's market in downtown Omaha on Saturday. I thought they would make a great center piece to a larger figurative painting. I have constructed a backdrop that imitates a more formal setting. The wall and curtain actually are hanging from a pole. The wall is cardboard.

I will show more of the composition and final piece in later postings.

click on picture to enlarge the image

Still Life Study
oil on masonite

This is the color study for a larger painting that will have a figure sitting in the chair. I will use this painting and a color study of the figure together with photos to do the final painting. The color study helps on several levels. First, it helps me capture the mood and the lighting. It gives me another way of comparing values and colors that the camera and monitor can't do. Second, it helps me get familiar with the subject. It is like practicing a piano piece before the teacher says " OK, let me hear you play"

Monday, June 04, 2007

daily painting practice - everybody goes through a slump

Everyone goes through a slump. Baseball players that are paid millions of dollars a year do it. Moms that don't get paid anything do it. CEO's, writers, sales people, students, even industries go through slumps. So it should be no surprise that artists can go through a period where things just don't flow.
I can say this now because I feel I have just gone through one. I define an art slump as an emotional disconnect from the creative process. Here are the danger signs of going into an art slump.

1. You begin to talk to yourself, doubting your ability
2. You begin to worry what others think about your art
3. You are not enjoying the process, instead you are thinking about results.

Peony Study
oil on masonite

This painting is not one of my best works. It is a practice piece and I love it because I had fun painting it. The best way to end an art slump you ask?

1. Be grateful - Gratitude propels all things forward!
2. Enjoy the process, results are the gifts others bring to you not what you bring to them.
3. Keep repeating 1 and 2.

There is a reason we all enjoy art. What is yours?