Friday, September 21, 2012

Sierra Textures

This is painted from a photo snapped sometime in the past in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  There's something about the trees sort of hanging on the edge of the rock fall that appealed to me.  The painting was a nice challenge.  Finding a balance of loose painting with the need to catch the scraggly sentinals at the top and the texture of the rocks below was interesting.  I tried hard to keep from rendering every pebble, yet capture the texture of the rugged Sierra Nevada range.  Values was very important here as well.  It was easy to let the shadows in the rocks become too prominent, and I had to revisit them again and again to bring them back into the correct value range.  I'm not sure that I ever did get it right, but I'm satisfied that is is close.

On the Edge  Oil on Canvas Panel  12" x 9"

This is 12" x 9" oil on raymar panel.  It is painted entirely with flat and bright (chisel edged) brushes of only about three sizes....maybe four.  Total time about three to four hours. 

UPDATE:  Painting DONATED to the Sacramento Fine Arts Center "Ars Gratia Arts" fund raiser, November 2012.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lesson Number 8, Edmondson Course (Updated)

Update 9/8/12):  As always I sent Dan the picture below for a critique.  That's a regular part of Dan's course offerings.  Dan replied with some nice words as well as the observation that my 'grapes' on the right side of the painting looked more like cherries, which they DO!  It's funny, but I knew that, intended to fix it, but just plain forgot.  Anyway, Dan then asked if he could use my painting in one of his "tips of the week" features, which he sends out to students and uses in marketing his course.  In this tip he discusses how the eye can be lead into a painting, using mine to demonstrate the two techniques that could have been used in this particular setup.  During his tip of the week video he made several nice comments again about my painting.  As I mentioned before, when I finally finish the Still Life Course, I plan to do an extensive review of the Dan Edmondson DVD course.  For now, I'll just say Thanks Dan!

As I near the end of the Daniel Edmondson Still Life painting course, I realize how much I've learned and how valuable the information Dan has shared has been.  I've already done the final lesson #10, but I'm holding it back until I complete Lesson #9.  At that point, I'll be done.  I'll be sorry to see it end.

I originally painted Lesson #8 in a smaller format (9 x 12) but I felt that it would be more effective if it was larger.  Dan also recommended a larger size when he ran into a bit of trouble in his 8 x 10.  There's a lot going on in this painting that is difficult to capture well in a smaller least for me, and apparently for Dan as well.  This weekend I tackled a 12 x 16 version and this is the result.

Asian Vase with Oranges and Berries   12" x 16" Oil on canvas panel.
As I did this painting, I was using Dan's photo reference of course, and I had his DVD playing on my computer as I painted.  However, I found myself beginning to do things my own way.  I think that's a sign that the processes that Dan uses are becoming familiar to me, allowing me to interpret and modify them as it suits me.  I also used flat synthetic brushes for most of this painting except for the block in of the vase and the foreground cloth.  From that point, I remembered Fongwei's almost exclusive use of flats and I dug out some synthetics I had...and a couple that I had purchased at Utrecht following the Fongwei workshop.  I loved them and virtually everything in this painting was done entirely or completed with one of three flat brush sizes.  I can say for sure I'll be using them a LOT more.  Thanks to Dan and to Fongwei for this painting adventure.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Mexico Reservation Ranch House

One of the most memorable places I visited in New Mexico was the Acoma Pueblo Indian Reservation.  The Acoma Pueblo, sometimes called "Sky City" is perhaps the oldest continuingly operational 'city' in the Northern American continent.  After my visit to Sky City, my cousin Karen and I hiked down from the top of the Pueblo rather than ride the bus back.  (Non-tribal members may only visit the Acoma Pueblo as a part of a guided tour.  If you have a chance, don't miss it.  And don't be put off by the fact that you have to buy a photo license.  Buy it.  The photos you get will be spectacular....and the money goes to help the tribe.  A win-win for all.)

On the way down, we passed several abandoned (I think) ranch houses and small huts.  This was one of them.  The fence, the tree and the impressive rocks behind the ranch house made a natural painting subject.  

Acoma Pueblo Ranch House   12" x 16" oil on canvas panel. 
I painted this in the Fongwei workshop and published it in an earlier post.  I've since had a chance to revisit it and make a few changes Fongwei suggested and a couple of my own. 

I'd love to return to this spot again.   There's something about the American Southwest that is unique and unforgettable.