Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Daily Painting Practice - Going Home to Homer

 I apologize that  I don't have a painting this week and about the delay in posting,  but I have been away, off on vacation to Maine. If anyone is in need of inspiration to paint, my suggestion is to get on a plane, train, car, or bicycle and get yourself to Maine.

 As many of you who have read this blog for the past several years already know, Winslow Homer, is one of my Art Heroes. Not only because his style is so original or because I think he did his best work later in his life, (gives all of us who were slow starters hope) but because I can feel the life of the sea and land in his paintings of Maine. I would have liked to visit  the sites he painted during this trip but time did not allow. However,   (Here is a link to a piece in the NY Times) that shows an interactive map with photos of the actual scenes and the artwork itself.
I'll have to make it there next time.

The area we visited last week is called Down East Maine, we were just north of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Every where you look the landscape or seascape seems deliberately designed for artists. All you have to do is get out of the car and turn around in circles.


Of Course I will be doing several Maine paintings in the future.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Daily Painting Practice - Painting Water

I  find painting water one of the most challenging  things about landscape painting.  It beats painting clouds, trees, grass and even rocks. All of those have a greater fudge factor, but water is like painting skin on a portrait. It needs to feel alive at the same time it has to have depth and movement ( maybe tension is a better word)  even when it is on a still surface.

Take a look at these three progress shots. You may have to look  to find the differences but after two weeks I had hope to make more progress.

I love this water. I should clarify, actually, I love the potential of this water. This water has me painting and repainting, tweaking and  standing back, squinting and squirming over  and over and over.  I am a little afraid of over painting  because I need to keep the water looking fresh and clean...( who likes to look at muddy water?)

click on the image to enlarge the painting

Back to the Northwoods
(painting in progress)

Here's the problem I am working on: The texture of the floating water lilies and algae is so very different from the surface texture of the water. It needs to look as if  it is floating. If that isn't hard enough to paint , I put the foreground in shadow  and the light  cutting across the background  with lots of color in the reflections. (Who thought of this painting?) This was supposed to be an easy  one.  What is the lesson we should all learn from this?

The next time you go to a gallery and look at a really beautifully  painted  landscape with a very soothing and tranquil body of water in it...
  say a prayer for the artist.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Daily painting practice - Starting a north woods painting

Going back to the Northwoods to begin another painting.

It really helps me to put myself into the landscape and pretend I am there when I begin a new painting.  If I imagine I can feel the sunlight, smell the air, and  hear the wind, I believe it helps me paint the scene.
Not only should you see yourself at the place but also at the time of day and time of year. You should know whether the sun is coming out to warm the  ground or  is going down. Are the leaves on trees dry or wet with dew? Are the clouds gathering or floating  by?
click on the painting to enlarge the image

Back to the Northwoods
- work in progress
oil on canvas

 I have mentioned several times in this blog that Winslow Homer is one of my  art heroes. He was someone that definitely captured both time and place  in his paintings.

Lately, I have been enjoying  watching videos of artwork on YouTube.  It is a great way to view work  by your favorite artists. I particularly like it when people create a video that uses interesting music. The music selection can  really change the way you experience the artwork. One day I'm going to learn how to do this with my work.

Here are two videos with similar art by Winslow Homer, but the music is different. Enjoy!