Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 4 - House on 9th

My second painting of the day at the Corning Plein Air Paint Out. After some lunch I needed to paint someplace where I could stay in the shade. This old house sat in the sun while I set up under the shade of a maple tree across the street.
I started to paint this on a pre-toned panel that was dark grey. It really helped to get the lights down fairly fast.
click on image to enlarge the picture

House on 9th
oil on masonite

I was standing right behind the library so I had a lot of interested children coming over for a look. One neighbor came by and said the little old lady who used to live in that house had a cat that always napped on the porch. I was very tempted to try and put a cat in the painting, but by the end of the day I was exhausted and decided to stop.

At the end of the two day paint out I needed two paintings for the judging. I entered yesterday's posting and this painting. I was very grateful just to have something I liked... This one won second place. What a surprise! Now that is a confidence builder.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Daily Plein Air Practice Day 3 - St. Patrick's Spire in Corning, Iowa

It's a miracle!
I am cured of the fear of painting in public. How did this happen? Was it because I chose to paint a church as my first subject after entering my first Plein Air Paint Out?
Or was it because I met several wonderful artists who were very encouraging? Or was it the friendly people of the town of Corning, Iowa who made me feel so comfortable?
I think it was all of the above.

(Debra Groesser), a wonderful plein air painter with whom I took a (day class in May), invited me to participate in the second annual EnPlein Air- Paint Out in Corning. I am so glad she did.

Corning is about a two hour drive from Omaha. I arrived about 9:00 AM, registered at the Corning Center for Fine Arts and walked a few blocks before I noticed the sun hitting this church spire in the distance. The orange tile rooftops have a European look. I set up in the shade of a building about 10:00AM. The sky went from overcast to brilliant sunshine and back again. "What did I get myself into?" I asked myself.

By the time I got near the end of painting, I was standing in full sunlight. But the effort was worth the sun burn.

click on the image to enlarge the picture

St. Patrick's Spire
oil on masonite

I ended the morning with a painting I liked and with a surprise. Not only did I really enjoy the experience but I had no fear once I started. I think I am hooked. But wait there is more... This painting sold the next day. What a blessing...I should paint more churches.

I'll post more of the paintings I did at Corning over the next few days. With a surprise ending.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Daily painting practice - Plein air practice day 2 - House with a Red Roof

Day 2 Plein Air Practice- This is a view from my front porch. (How brave am I?)
Already I see one big lesson to learn. Painting shadows. Getting them dark enough but transparent. Compared to studio painting the feeling of being rushed outside is both stimulating and nerve racking.

House with a Red Roof
oil on masonite

I brought the painting back to the studio for some clean up again after going as far as I could outside. I hope by the end of this year I will not feel the need to do this.

Self Critique time - That shadow of the tree bothers me. Even though that is what I saw, I think some artistic choices should have been made to change or eliminate it. Also, next time I will try and get more color into the whites.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice- Day 1

Day 1 of my year of plein air painting begins. Feeling a little uncomfortable going out into the neighborhood the first day I thought I would start out in my own backyard. The garden shed looked like it had possibilities. The sun was behaving itself staying behind the clouds until....
the painting gods must have noticed me. The clouds disappeared and brilliant sunlight flooded the painting. Time to adjust...Better yet time for lunch.
This is how I ended the outdoor painting.
click on the image to enlarge the picture

Blue Garden Shed
oil on canvas board

I brought the outdoor sketch into the studio and cleaned it up a bit.
Not bad for a first go. Maybe tomorrow I'll venture to the front yard.

I have to admire people who can paint out of doors and make you feel like you are visiting their town or area. Several of my favorite artists are in Europe. They make it look so easy.
Check out anything painted by(Rene Westervroot) in Holland.Then go to Wales and see (Rob Ijbema)Then to Brittany and (Sarah Wimperis)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Daily Painting Practice is 1 year old today

Yes it is true!
I have completed one year of Daily Painting Practice!

Enough celebration back to work. Remember yesterday I said I thought challenging yourself was important? Well, I really dove over the edge in challenging myself. My second year of Daily Painting Practice will be dedicated to doing Plein Air Painting. Yikes!

Of course I need to equip myself properly. Most Plein Air painters I see use a pocade box on a camera tripod. But my art supply budget is currently being spent on frames for my show. What can I do?

The art gods whisper in my ear , " You can build it yourself. we think"

So the handyman in me gets out an old paint box and a few tools. "I'll just cut this thing in half...."

I need a few more tools. This may take a bit longer than I thought but it still might work. " All I need is..."

A few more tools ...and some really good glue.

Of course I don't read the instructions on the glue where it says DO NOT get any on your skin until I have it on my skin. Also I am in bare feet and have walked through a few drops of glue that dripped on the floor. This is not going as smoothly as I thought.
Finally, if all else fails. Get the Duct Tape! It holds (3) 9"x12" panels, paint and a prayer book.
Here's the set up. Not bad. I even made some wet canvas carriers for 8x10's and 5x7's.

The best part is it all fits in this handy carry on case. I am good to go. All I need now....... is the nerve to do it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - back-lit bouquet

Painting everyday is challenging work. If I am not careful, I find it is very easy to get myself boxed into a dull routine. My paintings then begin to suffer and I can feel my creative juices start to evaporate.

When that happens, I tell myself I can do one of two things... quit and do engineering or give myself a challenge. If this happens to you I suggest you take the challenge (the other choice is too horrible to talk about in an art blog)
My challenge to myself? Back lighting and bright sunshine. I know, I know...you think I'm going crazy. Not to mention the star of the painting is in motion....walking towards the viewer (one of my personal, all time, freeze up and run away subjects in painting)
Not only that but then I throw in a busy background.... I need a stiff drink?.....Ice tea please.
click on the image to enlarge the picture

Weekend Bouquet
oil on masonite
I am a survivor of the ultimate artist challenge. But I think it has scrambled my painting psyche. Wait until you see tomorrow's blog....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Daily painting Practice - Cherries still life

Sometimes I use pencil most times I use charcoal because a charcoal drawing blends in with the oil paint. I don't usually spray fixative on the drawing, just jump in and paint or paint over the lines with Liquin and thin paint to keep the under painting.
I dove right into the cheeries. Almost as much fun as grapes.
This arrangement is a little different. The star of the show is the cherries which have the only real darks in the painting. The rest is a very high key or in very light halftones.
click on the image to enlarge the picture

Cherries Still Life
oil on masonite

I may do more paintings of cherries. You could say a series of cheery cherries is a chance for change. Check my choice tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2007

daily painting practice - Any Day Now

This painting is was conceived (pun intended) while thinking about my first grandchild. We are waiting for his arrival which should be any day now.
I love the expression on this duck's face. "Is he here yet?"... No, still waiting.
I had moved my studio down into the basement a few weeks ago. I needed the room to back away from the easel. If you stand too close to your painting when evaluating tones and colors you can get very tight. I find it helps me keep the brush strokes loose if I to step back every now and then.
Yellow is a very difficult color to get bold and brilliant. I think there may be a trick in bringing out the yellow if I use a gray/purple in the surrounding areas.
click on the image to enlarge the picture

Any Day Now
oil on masonite

Just hanging out waiting for the games to begin.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Roses

I started with a very warm pre-toned panel. I think I toned 5 or 6 of these panels two weeks ago using mostly cadmium orange. When they dry I stack them up. This way I have a cool pile and a warm pile of dry pre-toned panels.
Quick block in. This took about 10 minutes. I wish I could paint this care free at the end of my paintings.
I start to block in the darks of the roses. I think it would have been better to paint them a one dark tone instead of thinking of them as rose petals at this point. Sometimes my mind gets in the way and takes over. If you start out thinking about painting flower petals instead of painting tones it can get very frustrating. That's what happened with this one.
oil on masonite

Looking back I should have been more careful painting the roses as tonal values rather than as individual flower parts. This is why we practice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

daily painting practice- Omaha Veteran - work in progress

click on picture to enlarge the image

Here is a painting in progress for my show in September that I have titled (tentatively) Omaha Veteran, because the idea came to me after watching the HBO series Band of Brothers. The story of these men who fought in WWII touched me deeply and I felt compelled to honor them and all those who have sacrificed so much without asking for anything in return except the time to live out their lives in peace.

If you walk through my neighborhood, the Benson area of Omaha, you can''t help but notice how many homes have American flags. There are so many. I think for most it is more a display of affection than of pride. The flags are shown not in an ostentatious way but in a humble and unassuming manner. This flag hangs on the porch next to the front door almost like a worn welcome mat.

click on the picture to enlarge the image

Omaha Veteran - work in Progress
oil on canvas

In gratitude to all who have and who are sacrificing for others.

Monday, July 09, 2007

daily painting practice - JUst a quick inside job

Piano Interior
oil on masonite

I am so bad. Another day and no progress photos. And to add insult to injury the one photo I put up has a glare on it. I guess I get the poor blogmanship award. That's what happens when an artist rushes things. Slow down...... take a breath. Tomorrow is another day, and another chance to redeem my blogging grade.

Friday, July 06, 2007

daily painting practice - painting home grown flowers

click on the picture to enlarge the image

oil on masonite

I love to paint our home grown flowers. I feel a connection with them knowing their history. Our garden gets bigger each year thanks to my gardener/wife and each year she plants newer varieties. We planted this Larskspur last year and this is our first blossom from it.

I started painting last night close to midnight. Thats the reason I don't have any progress pictures. I'll be sure to get some on the next post.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

daily painting practice - two lemons study

Quick colorful darks map in the composition.
Followed by some bold color and loose brush work.

click on the picture to enlarge image

Two Lemons - Study
oil on masonite

I thought doing some quick studies would be a good thing for the blog since I need to spend my time on the larger paintings this month. So here's a quick warm up and then I need to get to work.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - And the Winner is...

Thank you all for the wonderful titles. In last week's blog I could not come up with a name for one of my daily paintings so I offered the painting as a prize to whoever could give me the best title. I think there were 17 or 18 great suggestions. Some were very funny and clever. Some were very thoughtful and thought provoking. Others were very creative and even poetic.

The suggestions came from all over the world. Some came as comments to the blog and some came directly to me via email. Here is the list: What is your favorite?

Grill Master's Momma
Silent Resignation
Green Blouse
Green blouse effect
Grandma's Wearing Green
Turn the Other Cheek
I'm Listening
Go on I'm Listening
My My My
Looking for Good Peaches
Wisdom in a Glance
Patron Saint of Peas
Counting Bird Shadows
Willing Her Garden to Bloom

Making a choice was very hard. I actually could use any of the titles. But I did settle on one. So without further delay. The winner is.....

I'm Listening
oil on wood

Congratulations to the winner and thank you all. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

daily painting practice - Woman with flowers

I started this one with softer washes, almost like watercolor, to try and capture the soft feel of the subject early in the painting process.
Then I started with thicker paint. I like to follow the form of the face with my brush strokes when I am underpainting. It helps me visualize how the light reveals the planes of the face. Then occasionally I just swipe a larger brush stroke across an area to blend tones or define a plane better. It is a strange process... starting loose, getting tight, swipe/blend to stays loose, then pick out highlights and darks to tighten up. On and on I go...
click on picture to enlarge the image

Woman with Flowers - Study
oil on masonite

This is a color study for a larger painting I am about to start. I left this one rather rough because I just wanted to work out some of the composition and color challenges. I think a darker background with a cooler color will help make her stand out better. All in all it was a good painting exercise.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Still Life Study

A nice little gathering of interesting shapes. I am always amazed at how little it takes to start creating the illusion of form.
I need to tone down that warm orange underpainting.
click on picture to enlarge the image

Still Life Study
oil on masonite

These are a few treasures from the thrift store that I think make an interesting combo while doing different things with the light. The small gold pitcher catches all sorts of color and throws it back at the viewer. What fun to paint!