Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 25 - Our House

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Our House
6"x6"
oil on canvas board

Some family portraits include the kids, the dog and the cat. For my wife and I this is our portrait. The morning sun hitting the front of our house. A small cape cod style house, flowers and fruit trees in the in the front yard. The title reminds me of that Crosby, Stills , Nash & Young song. "...our house is a very very very fine house..." Now I'll have that tune is stuck in my head and I'll being singing it all day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Mentor

I haven't done a figurative in a while and since Grandpa duties limit my outdoor painting time, I thought in between diapers and bottles and during naps I would give this guy a try.
One of my favorite contemporary artists is (Mario Andres Robinson). I think he has a special talent for capturing the soul and individual character of the people he paints.
My background is very thin and so is the underpainting. I also tried to keep the heavier paint as dry as possible. I like the effect of painting with a dry brush.
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Mentor
9"x12"
oil on canvas board
I don't think it is necessary to show the eyes in every portrait or figurative to convey personality or character. This guy seemed to display all the characteristics of a mentor, strength, heart and a keen sense of observation. All of this while half his face is in the shadows.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Flowers in a spice Jar

I could have named this experiment in yellow. I was trying for a low keyed painting in yellow without getting my colors all muddy. For me the shadows of yellow objects are a tricky business.
My white marigolds still have some life in them. I think I managed the yellow shading. Now to add in the detail work.
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Flowers in a Spice Jar
8"x10"
oil on canvas board
SOLD

I thought the spice jar was a great base for the white marigolds. The flowers actually look more like chrysanthemums than marigolds, which is the design on the spice jar.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 24 - The Sunny Side of the Street

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The Sunny Side of the Street
9"x12"
oil on canvas

There is a lot of new construction and re-building in Omaha's downtown and mid-town areas. Parts of old Omaha will be gone in a few years replaced with new condos and apartment buildings. This is not a bad thing, some of the locations need a face lift. However, there is a quality to the old or rundown that should be celebrated for lasting so long.

I was freezing in the morning looking for someplace to paint. I am not properly outfitted for cold mornings yet. I waited for the afternoon sun to warm up the day and traveled downtown to find this gem of a building. It might be a more interesting subject if I were there at night. Something to come back to maybe.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 23 - Train Outside Omaha

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Train Outside Omaha
8"x10"
oil on canvas board

You can't live in the Midwest and not paint trains. I think it is a right of passage (no pun intended) for any Midwest artist. So here is my first attempt. A line of rail cars on the track always has a sense of mystery for me. Where are they going? What are they waiting for? Are they forgotten? Who picks them up? And who writes all that crazy graffiti on the cars?

This group is sitting just outside the old market area of Omaha just past the (Qwest Center) our sports, entertainment and convention center.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Fall Flowers

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Fall Flowers
8"x10"
oil on canvas board
SOLD

These yellow mums grow just outside our front door. They are radiant yellow. Chrysanthemums are my favorite fall flower. They bloom forever and need little care. Best of all they give me a longer flower painting season.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Waiting for the Parade

I usually don't start with a charcoal drawing that is this far along. Most of the time I only use an outline drawing for guidance. I wanted to see if the abstract shapes made an interesting composition before I started painting.
I should have sprayed it with fixative before painting. The charcoal came right off the canvas as I applied the paint. I think because I didn't use any turps to thin the paint. It made the beginning a little tricky.
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Waiting for the Parade
6"x8"
oil on canvas board

Kids get the best seats for a parade because they don't care where they sit. The adults stand behind on the sidewalk or use chairs. I can't think of a parade I have seen that didn't have children sitting on the curb or in the street waiting for the parade to begin.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 22 - Lake Study at Sunset

My inspiration coach/wife got me to run out to the Benson park before supper the other night. She was rrrrr again. The light was beautiful. The only problem I discovered was how fast the light changes at this time of the evening.
I only had about 15 minutes to try and paint.
Before it got this dark. The idea is there for a large painting but my color sketch was just starting before I had to quit.

Lake Study
8"x10"
oil on canvas board

I think painting plein air at sunset may require several return trips. Either that or, I need a better plan to paint faster. The benefit which I see to this quick draw practice is that each brush stroke must be the correct value and color.( I missed that) You only have time for one shot so each brush stroke is a final brush stoke(missed that too), I'll need to practice this more.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - The Yellow Chair

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The Yellow Chair
8"x10"
oil on canvas board

Sorry I am late posting this. Another Grandpa paints in the studio day. This white house is about a mile from my house. I often take walks through my neighborhood and look for interesting things to photograph or paint. It is so much fun discovering the simple beauty my neighbors display for me. The yellow chair on this porch seemed to shout out a friendly hello to me as I walked by. I almost heard it say "come on up here and sit a while."

I painted 90 percent of this with one brush. A no. 8 round. I took a 1" flat out paint a broad stroke across the grass and a size 0 to hit some details like the porch posts and window frames.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Cherries and a White Vase

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Cherries and a White Vase
8"x10"
oil on canvas board
SOLD

Another in my, Grandpa babysits so he paints in the studio, series. I made the lighting on this one a bit different than my normal side lighting. I put the lamp over top the arrangement. It makes for strong shadows. I also noticed I needed to work hard at making the vase and background step back. It needed that sense of distance. Otherwise it would have been a very flat looking composition. The tapestry was also interesting to paint. It needed to be painted very soft so as not to compete with the cherries.

This was a challenging little piece. I think tomorrow I need something easy and simple. What are my chances?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - The New Rider

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The New Rider
9"x12"
oil on masonite
SOLD

I have never painted a horse before. The best place to start I figure would be the back end. (Not much going on back there) I caught this group last year when I was taking photos for a different painting. It looked to me as though there were two experienced riders and one new rider. He sat up very stiff in the saddle and did not look very comfortable. The other two looked as though they were having a good time keeping an eye on him.

I feel like my plein air practice has really helped me with this type of studio work. The loose brush strokes and the color are definitely a result of starting to paint outdoors. I can't wait to see the difference in my work after doing this for a year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 21 - Old Garage

This old garage caught my eye the other day. Simple I thought...then I tried to paint it. Look at the shape of the shadow. (This is actually later in the painting process)
Look at the shadow in this photo taken earlier. The shape is changing before my eyes. One of the most difficult things I find about composition in Plein air painting is the changing light conditions. Everything about the light changes minute by minute. Intensity, position, reflections, shadow shapes, even the hue changes. With all of that going on however, it also offers an opportunity.

click on the image to enlarge the picture

Yellow Garage
8"x10"
oil on canvas board

The opportunity is for the artist to add something personal. Since it is impossible to copy the changing scene directly, I find myself improvising. That is the very thing I like to look at in other artists work. Their improvising or personal touch.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Plein air Day 20 - Steps to the Joslyn

Last week I received an email from Martha. Her blog (Your Daily Art) is a great way to start your day and learn a little art history in the process. Martha used to live in Omaha and asked if I would paint the Joslyn Museum of Art on one of my plein air outings.
Great idea I thought. But the building itself did not inspire me at first. It is made of a strange pink/orange quartz like stone and it took me a while to warm up to it. Then the sun started to help me out casting some cool shadows.
The banner hanging from the wall is a painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau called Whispering of Love. It is part of an exhibit of paintings rescued from the New Orleans Museum of Art. This is the only way I would ever try to copy that guy's work ... from 100 yards away. He is one of the best figure painters of all time.
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Steps to the Joslyn
8"x10"
oil on canvas board
SOLD

Here you go Martha. I hope it brings back pleasant memories of Omaha.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Yellow Rose in a Tea Cup

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Yellow Rose in a Tea Cup
5"x7"
oil on masonite
sold
I should start a new series of paintings and call them the grandpa paintings. This was done in between naps and feeding time. This quick sketch reminds me of what can be done when I could normally use the excuse, " I don't have time to paint".

I will go back at some point (perhaps another day when I am short on time) and tighten this up a bit and perhaps add some color and atmosphere to the background. It will make a nice little finished painting. The point I am trying to make is that daily painting does not mean you must complete a painting everyday...Just be sure to paint everyday.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Artist at Work

Since I am now a baby sitting Grandpa three days a week my plein air adventures are going to have to be limited to Monday and Tuesday (and weekends if I can sneak out)
So I'll keep my daily painting practice going with figuratives, still life and larger studio pieces. This small figurative started with a guy at a bus stop.
I got a little ahead of myself and signed it too soon. I thought the expression on his face warranted a story. So I made one up to go with it.
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Artist at Work
6"x6"
oil on masonite

I could have named this Concentration and Bi-focals but Artist at Work seemed a better title.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - - 72nd street in the rain

My new studio buddy is busy studying color and texture. I now have the honor of watching this little guy several days a week. I guess my plein air work schedule is going to need changing. That's not the only thing that needs changing...back in a minute.
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72nd Street in the Rain
9"x12"
oil on canvas board

This is actually a studio painting not plein air. I was out looking for interesting subjects to paint in the rain as I drove up to a stop sign on 72nd street. I sat there at the stop sign, in my truck, studying and absorbing the color and the light for about 15 minutes. People must have thought my truck broke down. Soon after I noticed a car had driven up behind me so I had to move. I quickly snapped a few photos out the car window and drove on.

I thought I could catch the feel of that rainy day if I kept everything low keyed and grey. My favorite part is the truck's lights reflecting on the wet pavement. Ever since I was a young kid, I have always enjoyed looking at art books with prints of rainy day street scenes like the ones (Charles Burchfield) painted. I now one of my own.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Plein air Day 19 - Joe's Cafe

Every town in America must have a Joe's Cafe. This one is only a few blocks from my home. It is everything you think it would be. I think these small cafe/family restaurants help make a community a neighborhood. I like them much better than the fast food chain stores. This little group of stores add so much more character to the area. Next door to this restaurant is a small modern art gallery and a record store. Yes a record store It sells only used albums. For people under the age of 30 those are like 12" CD's that need a needle and a phonograph to listen with.
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Joe's Cafe
5"x7"
oil on canvas board

I brought this home and added the detail in the studio. I could not figure out how to do such tiny lettering. I finally sharpened a pencil and dipped it into the paint.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Cherry Day

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Cherry Day
6"x6"
oil on masonite
SOLD

This past weekend we were very busy. I managed to squeeze in this little painting in between chores and visitors and the rain that passed through Omaha. In Nebraska weather doesn't stick around for long periods of time. Clouds move across the sky as if they were late for an appointment in another state. Last evening we had a Tornado watch. The sky was completely dark on one side and bright and clear on the other. Today will be a perfect day, with sunshine and 77 degrees. A pleasant cheery day.