Friday, November 30, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Two Pear

I started this on a canvas recycled from my life drawing class so somewhere under there is a nude woman.
Having a dark neutral gray background helps me jump right into the color.
I should have taken a progress photo sooner than this but I was having too much fun painting to stop. All of the color in this composition is in the fruit. The whole picture is a contrast against that color.
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Two Pear
oil on canvas board

I cooled things down a bit. Not quite as much as you think. The previous photo had an extra incandescent lamp on in the background when I shot. It shows how your light source can really alter a photo.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Sun Rain Down on Me

I haven't done a figurative for a few days. I am finding that the outdoor work actually helps me with the colors and the brushwork on my figures as well as my other studio pieces.
I once read an artist interviewed in a magazine, he was asked what he learned when he studied Andrew Wyeth's people. The artist replied, he found he was always drawn into the thoughts of the people Wyeth painted, when they were facing away from the viewer. I find that a fascinating observation. And I think it is true with Wyeth. But I find it strange, because I feel the opposite with Rembrandt's people. I am pulled into a Rembrandt face when they look at me.
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Sun Rain down on Me
oil on canvas

I love that expression. "Sun rain Down on Me" Is it a prayer for help or a shout out in gratitude? With the man casting his eyes away from the viewer it asks the question and makes you look for clues. It makes the viewer study the painting longer. (and we all want people looking longer at our work...don't we?)

Every artist owes a debt to every other artist who came before them. I owe so much to so many and I continue to find new inspiration and ideas from many I find on the web. One reason I like the blogging so much is the sharing that is made possible. Even across the globe.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Van Gogh's Poinsettia

I started this painting with the idea of doing something seasonal. My indoor gardener/wife has a poinsettia plant and two Christmas cactus (or should that be cacti?) Either would make an interesting subject but since the cacti aren't in bloom just yet the poinsettia will have to do.
I got stuck right here. Did you ever start a painting and just know that it wasn't going to workout the way you imagined it would? This happens to me often. Most times I struggle through it, sometimes I wipe it off. This time I decided to have fun with it and just play with my paint.

When I get stuck or when I need to loosen up, my go-to guy is Mr.Van Gogh. I have posted quite a few Van Gogh inspired paintings in the past two years. Everything from Van Gogh (pencil sharpeners), (bed rooms), and (oranges) to (take out). I tried simple still life compositions, (fishing gear) and, of course, (flowers). More than anything he shows me how to add something of myself to my art. This book by Walther and Metzger and published by Taschen, is the best I have ever seen on Van Gogh. It has every one of his paintings (and most of them in color!)

My goal is not to paint like him but I do want to convey the passion for the paint that he did.

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Van Gogh's Poinsettia
oil on canvas board

Thanks Vincent! That was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Before the Frost

I was at Standing Bear Park a few weeks ago, before the frost and the snow had wiped out the color and the leaves. This large maple is near the entrance.
Blocking in the sky over the half tone helped define the composition, breaking the space into positive and negative areas.
I wanted to keep the warmth of the late afternoon light to give it a feeling of a perfect fall day. You know the kind day when you kick the leaves on the sidewalk and they make that leafy swish swash sound.
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Before the Frost
oil on canvas board

Everything around here now is a dull purple gray. The first snow has come and gone and the trees are stripped bare. Winter in Nebraska has begun.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - The Red Vase

Sorry I got started a little late with the progress photos. I was having too much fun to stop, get up, set up the camera and shoot. I kept wanting to stop but the painting spirit had a hold of me.
This red porcelain vase was just dying to be the star of the show. But I wanted to keep the arrangement simple. Since I am the director I get to call the shots.
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The Red Vase
oil on canvas board
But in the end the vase stole the show. Personally I love the supporting role the flowers and the silver tray played.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Life Class

We have a new addition to the family and I have a new studio companion. So now I have Grandpa duties and dog duty.... wait that doesn't sound right.
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Only Twenty Minutes
oil on canvas board

I started going to life drawing class again. I stopped back in July while I was getting ready for my show. It feels good to be back at it. There are about 3 to 5 of us that meet each week and paint or draw from life for 2 hours.

We usually start with 1 minute warm-up sketches then build up to 20 minute sketches. Painting these in just twenty minutes is a real challenge but the best way to build your spontaneous painting muscles. Because the time is so short I only use one brush a number 8 flat. It is great practice and sometimes I even like the results.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Brewing a Cup of Tea

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Brewing a Cup of Tea
oil on canvas board

Life seems to be getting very busy of late, my painting and posts have been rather erratic. These are the days when tea drinkers, like myself, cherish the act of brewing a cup. When life gets frantic brewing a cup of tea is one sure way to slow the pace down and give yourself some breathing room. Because every tea drinker knows ... everything must stop until the process of making the first cup is over. Even after the tea is poured there is the time you need to let it brew ( that can't be rushed), the stirring, and the playing with the tea bag. And then, at just the right time... the first sip.....Ahhhhhhh.

Now what was all this about being busy?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - and the winner is

It's time to reveal the winner of my "Name the Painting Contest".
There were lots a good titles which makes it very hard to choose, but only one could be the winner so thanks to all of you that sent in your titles. This was fun. Most of you sent suggestion via comments to the blog and some sent via email directly. Here is the complete list:
"Honey Dew Spreader" - Edie
"A Sweet Afternoon" - Edie
"Pooped Out" - Marla
"Ye Old Manure Express" - Len
"Paddy Caddy" - Lizzy
"No Bull" - Ian
"Full Throttle" - Rene
Smelly Surrey"- James
Smelly Spreader Surrey"- James
"Stand Behind"- Michael
"Stand By Me" - Michael
"Cow Pie Cadillac" - Ed
"Old Politician" -Frances
"Four Wheel Drive" - Tracy
And the winner is.....

Pooped Out
oil on canvas board

Congratulations to Marla! I'll be sending it out this week.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - West on Cuming Street

My son loves compositions with lots of interconnecting lines and and geometric action.(I think it comes from too much exposure to LEGOS when he was little). This composition is full of squares and intersections and shapes within shapes. Just up his alley.(no pun intended)
I tried to stay very gray and soft to create the atmosphere of a hazy morning in downtown Omaha.
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West on Cuming Street
oil on canvas board
If I look to my left I am opposite (the church I painted last week). And in the distance are the spires of St. Cecilia's church where I painted (the convent). I like how a lot of my paintings have links to others. If I do this long enough you could map my neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Studio Still Life

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Studio Still Life
oil on canvas board

Here are three more Thrift store treasures. Actually four, the same red cloth I used in yesterday's post. The large ceramic pot is blue in real life. I liked the tall shape but not the color for the composition. So, I changed it to a more earthly tone.

Sometimes these small paintings show a lot of personality. I think this painting shows a quiet strength. Because the composition is built on solid shapes. The main one being a triangle ( the strongest shape) The light also is strong but holds the quiet. What do you think? Do you ever see human traits in still life paintings or should I be seeking medical attention?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Oriental Marigolds

I love these little still life arrangements I make with my thrift store treasures. Thrift stores are such a gold mine for daily painters. For a few dollars you can find scarfs with interesting prints like this one. (cost 49 cents) Or small items like this vase ( 97 cents) The problem comes when you end up having a thrift store of your own in your basement. My storage space is beginning to get a bit crowed. It maybe time for a clean out.
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Oriental Marigolds
oil on canvas board

Funny how one person's garbage can become a little treasure to someone else. Daily painters should have a swap place on the web. Sort of an artist's only thrift store where we can trade or give away our still life props (or junk) with each other. Must be Monday. All my good ideas come on a Monday.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Kitchen Nocturne Study No.1

When I am in the studio and painting I look to the right and this is what I see.

When I look to my left three days a week, this is who I see. We share studio space.
I have had an interesting idea (interesting to me anyway) running around in the back of my mind for a while. I wasn't sure if it was worth doing. Usually, I kick an idea around in my head for a long time. Sometimes they get lost in there and never come out. I didn't want that to happen with this one, so I decide to try a small study to see if the idea has any merit for a larger composition.
Just before going to bed, I walk around the house and make sure all the doors are locked and all the lights are out. Walking through the kitchen at night gave me this idea.
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Kitchen Nocturne Study No.1
oil on canvas board

Nocturnes always get my attention. Most often you see the nighttime painted as landscape or seascape or urban street scene. But I have never seen a kitchen nocturne before.

The challenge for me is trying to capture the quiet of the night. I think it is worth trying again.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 28 - Burning Bush

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Burning Bush
oil on canvas board

The title is not a political comment or a biblical reference. My neighborhood has a lot of these flaming red bushes scattered around. I have no idea what they are but the color is unbelievable. Especially on a gorgeous sunny autumn day. The long shadows and the cool green helped set the red off , I just had to paint it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Three Red Chairs

Thanks to all that responded to my question about the email subscription images. The problem must be with my computer.

I have a habit of using very few brushes when I paint and usually brushes that are too small. Lately I have started using larger brushes. Yesterday's painting was done entirely with a No. 8 round. For this one I used the No.8 round and two flats about the same size.
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Three Red Chairs
oil on canvas board

I heard a great expression the other day and I think it applies to how I approach my painting. "Celebrate the Common". I love to walk through my neighborhood and search for those common scenes and subjects that we all glance at everyday but never have a reason to stop and observe. Here is a scene that made me stop and turn around. The three garbage cans with the three red chairs lined up facing the door. They look to me like they want to go inside, and are just waiting for someone to open the door.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 27 - Raking Leaves in Benson

For those of you that subscribe to my blog via email or rss feed please let me know if the images are working. They don't seem to be working on my computer
I went out on my morning walk the other day getting exercise and snapping photos (a real multitasker)and saw this great pile of leaves being built by an industrious neighbor. I asked if she would mind if I took her photograph. She was very kind and interested as to why.
I often have to explain why I am walking and photographing people's backyards or old cars or even their garbage cans. Most people assume I am working for the local newspaper. When I say I am a local artist, a strange look appears on their faces. It's the same look you would get if you asked them ..."Have you seen my uncle Fred. He escaped this morning without wearing any clothes and we can't find him...".
This really is a studio painting of a plein air experience. I don't think I would have been able to ask her to stand there and pose while I set up to paint.
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Raking Leaves in Benson
oil on canvas board

I had to take some artistic license here. I believe she actually was raking the leaves with a broom. I should have named it "Sweeping Leaves". It is a very cheerful painting that captures the feeling of the day very well I think.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Daily Painting Plein Air Practice - Day 26 - Church on Cuming Street

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Church on Cuming
oil on canvas board

This little church is located just north of downtown Omaha near Creighton University. It is only a few blocks away from (the building I painted the other day). You can see a downtown high rise building in the background. This charming building sits in an area of prime interest to developers and real estate speculators because Omaha is thinking of building a new sports stadium to keep the NCAA College Baseball World Series in Omaha for the next 20 years.

I hope this is one piece of the past they keep.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - name the painting contest

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Name the painting and win

oil on canvas board

I knew when I started painting this old manure spreader I would have fun trying to give it a title. Then I thought sharing that fun would be even better. I did this "Name the Painting" contest once before back in (July). Here's how it works.

1. Submit your suggestion for a title by leaving a comment (be sure it is not anonymous) I need a way to contact you so leave your email address, or if you don't want your name mentioned, write me an email.

2. I'll post all of the suggestions and the winning name on November 18. So be sure to enter before then.

3. The winner gets the painting.

4. For those city folks out there, the old manure spreader did just what the name implies.

5. All references to this year's Nebraska football team will be disqualified (though they may be submitted for entertainment purposes only)
Good Luck!