Monday, April 14, 2014

White Pitcher with Oranges = Still life in Oil

I continue to experiment with still life subjects.  I'm enjoying painting these relatively small works.  This is another with a dark background, but in this painting I've tried to keep all the objects in the painting in fairly strong light. That makes for lots of color...and the painting seems brighter (naturally), but the trade off is that the "mystery" of the darker paintings is lost.  I do like the opportunity to play with the light and reflections, though.  I guess it isn't really a loss, but simply a trade-off.  It's just a matter of what appeals to the viewer.

This is painted on an oil primed panel.....9 x 12 turned horizontally this time.

White Pitcher with Oranges   Oil on linen panel   9 x 12
To BUY or BID on this painting please click HERE

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Friday, April 11, 2014

Join Me? Still Life Oil Painting

Another Still Life oil painting!  I'm hoping to do quite a few of these small still life paintings as a practice and learning tool.   I feel like the process of creating them has already helped me somewhat in my landscape plein air paintings.  When I'm out painting, I try hard to concentrate on the landscape in front of me and treat it as if it were a still life subject.   In many ways it is, of course, and by using the same approach I would as though painting a still life, I feel that the somewhat chaotic plein air process that I've been following becomes more methodical and planned. 

So here's another still life once again using good ol' Johnny Walker as a prop.  I like the beautiful burnished copper color of the scotch and painting glass is really fun.

Join Me?   Oil on linen panel   9 x 12
 Buy or bid on this painting by clicking HERE

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Main Street Volcano, CA -Plein Air Oil

Our little painting group of Julie Trail, Vickie Chew, Ruth Andre, Howard Rees and me have been meeting weekly for plein air painting in the Gold Country.  The spring weather is too much to resist.  Everything is green, the poppies are creating blankets of amazing color.  It's a feast for any painter.  Ruth couldn't make it on this trip but the rest of the group ventured to the small town of Volcano, CA.  It's a fascinating little place, though not as popular with tourist visitors as some of the Gold Rush towns, probably because it's a bit out of the way.  Maybe that's good, because it retains a strong feel of the mining days. The surrounding hills create a valley that the first explorers to the area mistook for the rim of an extinct volcano, thus the name for the little settlement that was built there. 

Some of the larger masonry and rock buildings that once lined main street have collapsed with only the front wall remaining in some cases.   But several little wooden stores and shops still remain.  The general store is open and cooking up some cheeseburgers for those who do visit.

We set up in various places around the little town.  The weather couldn't have been more beautiful and by early afternoon, it was actually beginning to get warm, and shade was welcome.  I painted these two small buildings along Main Street.  The bright light changed as the morning went on and the shadows and dappled light from the trees created some challenges as they moved constantly.  But hey, the cheeseburger and the beer made it all worthwhile!

Main Street Volcano, CA    oil on 12 x 16 Ampersand panel.  

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Drytown and the Old Well Cafe

Drytown is a tiny town in the heart of the California Gold Rush countryside.  It's one of the first places I ever did plein air painting...and it is always fun to return there.  I'm not knowledgeable about Drytown's history, but I'm told that the name does not refer to any kind of 'prohibition'.  Quite the contrary.  In it's hayday, Drytown had 65 bars!  I have no idea where 65 bars could have fit into tiny Drytown....but apparently it was a bit larger than it is today.   The little white building is the Old Well Cafe.  I don't know its history either except it's been there forever, apparently.  Funky would describe it best, I think.

I painted in Drytown on Friday with artist friends Ruth Andre, Julie Trail and Howard Rees.  It was a nice day...a lull between welcome rain storms.   We painted all morning and then had lunch in the Old Well Cafe.   A good day. 

Drytown and the Old Well Cafe   Plein air oil on linen 9x12

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Black Label and Roses - A Still Life Oil Painting (Sold)

I'm painting small still life as frequently as possible for awhile.  They are relatively quick to do...2 to 4 hours at the most and it's excellent practice.  This one was painted this morning and early afternoon.  I'm following the Qiang Huang process as much as I can.

Black Label and Roses    Oil on linen panel   9 x 12

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wine with Oranges and Apple - Still Life Oil Paintting (Sold)

It was Sunday, the end of a very busy week.   I had spent three intense and amazing days in a workshop with master painter Qiang Huang and I had also spent a day with artist friends painting at a beautiful winery in the Gold Country.  Let me just say that the wine was a lot better than my painting!

So when Sunday rolled around  I was tired but still exhilarated with what I had learned in Qiang's workshop.  I just had to try another still life in my own studio.   I had to make do with a cardboard still life 'stage' which I sat on top of a storage crate which was in turn sitting on a table...all that to get the still life up near eye level.   I didn't have much in the way of props, but I did have a bottle of wine and two wines glasses (things aren't THAT desperate around here) and I located two oranges and an apple.  Finally I picked two branches off of a climbing vine that is taking over the trellis outside my studio.  With those props and a black sheet (a long story, but NOT what you think) I started painting.

I followed Qiang's five steps as closely as I could.   Within a bit more than 2 1/2 hours, the painting was done.  So much fun!  What a great painting exercise too.  Easy to set up and have a "live" model anytime I want.

Thanks one more time Qiang! 

Red Wine with Oranges and Apple    9 x 12 on oil primed linen panel. 

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Qiang Huang Workshop - Day Three

The final day of the fabulous Qiang Huang workshop arrived.  I felt refreshed after the previous day's struggles and I was ready to paint!  Once again Qiang started the day with a demonstration.  He picked a "high key" subject for the day's painting, with a light background and lighter colored objects.   He spent some time explaining the different approach that he would use.   Of course it would be the same five steps as before, but the lights and darks would be handled differently. 

During the demonstration, I had the distinct feeling that Qiang was struggling a bit.  He had already admitted that the higher key paintings were something he was still learning and growing with.  Although he never mentioned it, I felt that the day's painting was a battle for him.  I could be totally wrong...and his final painting was lovely .... but I found it very interesting to watch.  Again, I'm totally guessing, but I think his eventual success was based on well-earned confidence that he would win out in the end, and also on self disipline.  When I am in trouble on a painting, I start to "fix" things,going back to passages again and again.  He never did that.  He followed the 'rules', he put it down and left it, he NEVER reworked areas.  The painting stayed fresh and finally came together.  During the workshop I learned so much from Qiang, but maybe on that final day, I learned the most important lesson. Have confidence that what you know will see you through.
I have a front row seat! 

The workshop finally begin to wind down.  I got Qiang to sign his article in the latest Artists Magazine and we took a group photo.
Qiang Huang (left), Patris, (center in pink), me (reddish shirt) and a group of great ARTISTS!

Although I was tired from the intense learning and painting experience, it was sad to see it all draw to a close.  I would love to paint with Qiang and all these painters again.  Thank you Patris!!
Brass Bowl with Oranges   Oil on canvas  9x12

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art