Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Roses Outside My Studio

Today was a incredible summer day...warm, verging on hot.  I love this kind of weather.  I moved my EasyL outside the studio and camped out in the shade of a nearby tree looking back at the studio.  The roses are blooming like there's no tomorrow right now, and my first thought was to paint the studio in the distance with one of the rose bushes in the foreground.  In life, there is about 40-50 feet between them, but I thought I could compress it a bit. 

I started with another of my black primed canvas panels (black acrylic gesso).  From the beginning it didn't go too well.  The studio and the trellis outside it are somewhat complicated, and the shadows from by the overhead sunlight streaming through the trellis made a lovely but challenging pattern.  I was soon caught up in detail in spite of myself.  I told myself I could work through it...that every painting has an ugly stage (true!) and that I just needed to persist and it would come out.  But it didn't.  Finally, I wiped the canvas down, something I HATE doing, because it feels like frustration and defeat all rolled into a big awful know the kind. 
I retreated to the house in disgust. 
After lunch I wandered out again.  The wipe down had left a muted dark gray green surface that had set in the heat.  I couldn't resist, so I started on the rose bush, this time with the intent of making it the star of the show, with the studio only suggested in the distance.

The Roses Outside My Studio   oil on canvas panel 9" x 12"
I'm surprised at how dark this painting is...and I think it has more to do with the intense day light rather than the dark ground, although I'm sure that was a factor.  Anyway, I was satisfied that I had managed to convert the earlier disaster into something passable at least.  I like the light on the building in the background, even though in real life it was much more intense.  All and all, it was a nice day in the rose garden.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Too Cold to Paint Outside!!

Still Life at Howard's  Oil on panel  12" x 9
My artist friends Ruth Andre ( and Howard Rees ( met up with me in Amador City with every intention of painting outside.  After three or four days of almost solid rain, I think we were all more than ready.  Although the forecast promise a mostly sunny day, the morning was threatening rain and it was COLD!  I know, I know, us Californians are whimps.  I'm embarrassed to say that it was cold cause I've seen plenty of pictures of brave eastern artists in snow suits and fingerless gloves standing in a drift, painting.  But was COLD!  So we retired to Howard's house to paint in his studio.  He set up a challenging still life and we spent a warm couple of hours happily painting. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Just for Fun!

It's a beautiful Easter Sunday...the weather was wonderful all day.  I didn't want to spend the whole day inside the Studio, so I did a quick study for about 1 1/2 hours in the late morning.  I found a 12" x 9" canvas panel already coated with black gesso.  I found a photo in my file taken on a very rainy February day along the Sacramento River.  I think it turned out fairly well.  It's was a nice way to spend a bit of the morning before heading out to the park and the river with Dixie Doodles.

Dixie Doodles blazing trails along the river....
Dixie out for an Easter Stroll along the American River

Apples Bananas and Brush Washer. (Huh??)

OK, I admit it.  I was stumped for suitable still life subjects.  My roses hadn't bloomed yet (the first one showed up about three days ago), and I just don't have a lot of attractive pitchers and vases.  I need to visit some garage sales and flea markets, I guess!
I had built a simple still life "stage" out of pieces of cardboard and I wanted to try it out.  I cut a "window" in the side of the stage and shined a powerful light through it.  I liked the effect of strong light from one direction.
This isn't a very accomplished still life, obviously, but there are things I like about it.  When I first finished it, I felt it was a complete failure, but a couple of days later it didn't seem that bad.  So the subject matter may be a bit weird but it's a first attempt.  I'll keep working at it.

Apples Bananas and Brush Washer (Huh??)  Oil on canvas panel  12" x 9" 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The rains have kept me inside for what seems like forever.  I guess a more adventurous painter would dawn the rain slicker and three layers of clothes and head out, but not me!  I'm a summertime kid, through and through.  Instead, I've been dabbling in the studio.  This time, I took another failed painting and started in.  I made up quite a bit of the light in particular the evening mood.  I figured I had nothing to lose!

Along the American River Near Sacramento  oil on 12" x 9" panel