Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Daily Practice Painting - Maine Seascape color study completed

The final stages...

Can there ever really be a final stage?  I keep changing waves and thinking  about how much further to go with this color study. After all, I will be doing this same painting much larger for the show this summer  in Kennebunkport, Maine.

 I'm really starting to get the idea for the rolling and crashing of the waves now. My intuitive part is  feeling my way around the scene. The thinking part of my artist brain is very talkative and constantly reminding me to... check the source of the light, check the perspective, both atmospheric and linear. Watch the color temperature. How do waves really work? 

 I think I have the waves in the background working. I had some help form she who must not be named.

 I have worked very hard at keeping my edges soft. Most of the paint application was  scrubbed into rather than laying it on the canvas.
  Detail of waves

 The Arrival ( working title)
color study
oil on canvas 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Daily Painting Practice- Seascape color study continued

Continued Color Study:

Next stage:  Adding more color and playing with texture.

 I am not an efficient painter. If production were necessary to my making a living, I would definitely  starve. I have not developed a method to turn out paintings in a regular rhythm.  The best explanation (or excuse) I have is that I rely more on my intuition  than I do confidence and procedure when I paint

 Confidence, I know comes with knowledge, and knowledge comes from practice, and practice comes from painting and painting and ...painting.
 But I suspect there is also a part of being productive that deals with being settled. Either you settle on a certain style, subject matter, medium, method, or even size of work. 
 I am, or have been up until now,  more of a gypsy painter. Roving from subject to subject, method to method and style after style, I haven't found a home or settled down. Not exactly a formula for increasing productivity is it?

 Still exploring. This is part of  the production slow down. Even though I started this painting with a thumbnail and a color sketch, I am still exploring the scene. Still creating, arranging, re-arranging objects, light, and color as I paint.
 Work in progress

I am enjoying this intuitive method. But someday this gypsy painter would like to settle down.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daily Painting Practice- Maine Coastal Impressions- Starting the seascape

Developing the color study -

The 18"x24"canvas was pre-toned with acrylic gesso with some gray/purple acrylic paint ( much like the area behind the painting). I toned the canvas again with a thin and darker gray/green. I began to sketch from the sketch ( see the last post), blocking in the composition and wiping out the light areas.

As you can see the paint is very thin and the colors very muted.
 More scratching, wiping and brushing. That stiff  2" brush I bought from Home Depot is doing most of the work.
I am playing with that foam spray, trying  to figure out  how it works.

Adding some warmth to those cool tones really separates the rocks from the water.
 That is actually coffee in my cup, not tea. (and no, my fellow tea drinkers,  I'm not crossing over to the dark side... unless you count dark roasted...)
 The idea of the strong morning light hits me... so it must follow, that it also must hit the rocks and spray.

That's a good place to stop and get a refill.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daily Painting Practice- Imagination is as bountiful as the sea

"He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea."
-from Welsh poet George Herbert (1593 - 1633)

I have always had a special feeling for the sea.  Some of the first oil paintings I ever did when I was younger were seascapes or involved the sea. In fact, the first art book I bought was "Painting the Sea and Shore" by Harry R. Ballinger.

Nothing can stir my imagination more than the sea ... OK maybe flowers, or trees, or birds, but recently,  ideas for  seascapes have been spilling out of my brain via my thumbnail sketches. There is something about creating a painting completely from your imagination that can be both daunting and exhilarating at the same time.

I have been invited to participate in an art show in Kennebunkport, Maine this summer and the theme is the artist's thoughts about Maine. My idea- crashing waves on rocks.

 To start creating a painting from your imagination,  describe your subject  in words first, then try to illustrate your feelings  using the words as a framework for you composition.
 As an example; I find the waves on the coast of Maine captivating, stirring, violent, rhythmic, powerful, mysterious, glorious, rich, inspiring...  I could go on but you get the idea.   Try doing this with any subject you want to paint.

 Now, see if you can compose a sketch that  looks like your words.
 I will start building on my thumbnail  idea with a color sketch. I took an old piece of masonite that had been pre- toned with a blue-gray-green.
Here is my limited palette. Keeping things simple in the beginning helps me stay loose.

 I don't want to go crazy with details  or feel like I have to finish . I just want to expand the original idea using color... besides, I am having way too much fun playing with the water and rocks to get too serious.
I think I'll settle with this as my oil sketch. Now the question is how to make it into a painting?... The better question is, can I be disciplined or patient enough to figure it out? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Daily Painting Practice- Autumn on the lake - sailing from the color sketch

Starting the  larger painting  from the last post.

 Having completed the color sketch it is time to try and create a larger version.  I think I used an old tube of red lake madder or some strange color like that  to sketch the composition.

I am always amazed that with just three values and two colors you can get the feeling of a quiet lake.
Sketch in  the sky color and the distant shore line.  Remember the reflection is darker than the sky.
 I thought it might be nice to compare the  original color sketch  with the larger version as I go along.
 Time to work on those clouds. In the smaller version the large  block of light clouds worked. In the larger version, I think I need to break up that large cloud mass a bit.
 That's better. Now let's  look at the trees.

 I found it helps to start with a larger mass of color and then break it down into smaller shapes.
There is a big difference between, laying the color on top of the underpainting rather than into the paint of the under painting.  I fight this all the time.  Picking up the paint from the underpainting can kill your color and make everything seem muddy.
That dead branch gave me  a lot of trouble.

 Completed the painting but..... the larger version doesn't hold my attention. I think it needs a focal point.

click on the painting to enlarge the image
 Autumn Sail
oil on hardboard

Friday, January 11, 2013

Daily Painting Practice- Big Brush Little Canvas - Landscape Color sketch

Let's start big!

I thought this might be an interesting practice to do a painting (a study) with a big brush on a small 5"x7" canvas.

I went to Home Depot  and purchased a handful of these small  brushes. Small for house painting, large for this adventure.
The canvas was already toned with the olive green so I just jumped in with someloose and scrubby brush strokes.

Can you believe I actually started with 4 values. What discipline!

 I am still only using the one brush.

The finishing touches were done with a smaller brush. Not a bad color sketch. I'll paint this again on a larger size canvas.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Daily Painting Practice - Using your imagination - color seascape sketch

Imagine all the possibilities.

How many times have you come across that phrase? Have you actually ever  tried to do it? Of course not.

 Taken literally, even a computer couldn't handle it.  But when we are talking about creating ideas for paintings even the smallest attempt at using your imagination can bring beneficial and surprising results. You will be amazed at what flows out of your creative side if you just open the taps.  

Start with small 2x3" thumbnail sketches. Put the pencil down and don't take it off the page. Now just start moving the pencil as you imagine a scene or a theme.  You may even just react to the  dark and white abstract shapes in your thumbnail.  Develop the thumbnail or abandon it and start again  on a new idea. Just keep going. After 5 minutes the right side of your brain will be cooking with gas.

Your imagination is like a power tool in your studio. You can take it out and use it in every type of painting: portraits, plein air, landscapes, still life... you name it .   So get started recharging your imagination batteries.

Splash of Maine- imagined seascape
 oil on canvas board

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Daily Painting Practice - Maine Coastal Seascape - Thumbnail & several color sketches

This thumbnail sketch was only the beginning to a grand painting adventure.

 Who would have guessed that the small  sketch on the right could turn into so much fun? 
I started with a pre-toned 5"x7" canvas and just scrubbed in some darks.  The concept was "rough seas".
 A very limited palette of colors again.  Though this time I added Viridian Green to the mix. I  thought a ship might add some drama... or might just be fun to  try and paint.
 Definitely have the stormy seas going.  This is what I like  about photographing my sketches as they progress because...
 They change. But I still have a record of the previous idea.
 As you can see, my sea voyage continued for a while longer. The weather became much more dramatic. That is, until the sun came out and the storm passed.
 click on the image  to enlarge the painting

After the Storm
oil sketch - 5"x7"
oil on canvas board

I wonder where the boat went.