Friday, February 22, 2013

Lilacs - Still Life

I continue to study still life painting through Dan Edmondson's online course.  I love the rich darks and beautiful colors in these paintings.  This one is on an 18" x 18" stretched canvas.  Medium is walnut oil.  Colors are predominately Rembrandt, with a Permanent Purple by Gamblin added to the regular palette that was a big help with the lilac color. 

Lilacs   18" x 18" oil on canvas

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Paint Out at Effie Yeaw

Today I joined several other painters from the Sacramento Plein Air Painters group to enjoy the beautiful woods and wildlife at the Effie Yeaw Center.  This is a wonderful 77 acre preserve along the American River made possible by the efforts of a teacher and lover of the outdoors, Effie Yeaw.   Thanks to Effie,we had a great spot for painting today and for the future.

Watercolorist David Peterson did a demonstration painting to kick off the morning (I wish I had taken pictures!) and then we set off to find our individual painting spots.  The weather was perfect, reaching the high 60's by mid-morning.  The sky was filled with wishy traces of clouds and the sun dimmed then returned then dimmed again all day.  It's still winter in the preserve.  Only the grass shows any green.  It's a challenging landscape for me.  I much prefer to paint architecture...I am at home with the shapes and shadows and textures.  Trees, especially bare trees are a difficult subject for me.  Today I tried to focus, to eliminate and simplify.   I decided to make a particular tree the 'star' of the painting, following advice from recent workshops about finding and identifying a focus point in the very beginning of the painting.  (Thanks Terry Muira and Fongwei Liu!)

I'm very happy with this little study.  I think I created the focal point effectively.  I tried to stay away from attempting to render the tangle of the woods and instead settled for suggesting it.  This is a more subtly colored painting than I usually do, but I think it captures the winter landscape fairly well.

Effie Yeaw Trail   9" x 12"  Oil on canvas panel. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Portrait Of Jeff

It's been awhile since I've done a portrait, even from a photo.  This is from the Dan Edmondson Art Masters Program and is a photo supplied by Dan.  The support is a commercial cotton canvas pre-stretched and prep'd.  I added one coat of Golden acrylic gesso to get the canvas a bit smoother and to reduce the absorbancy.  It worked fairly well, but in the future I'm going to begin to use oil based primer for the final coat.  I didn't have any already prepared and it takes about a week for the oil based primer coat to be ready for paint....which means planning ahead, not something I'm real good at.

The background was put in with a turpy wash of Raw Umber,  Rembrandt Olive Green and a little Transparent Oxide Red.  There's a little Ivory Black in there too.  After the portrait was blocked in I added another, more opaque layer to the background immediately around the head, losing a lot of edges in the process.  I'm not crazy about how the background came out, but I think I learned a few things that will help next time.

 The head was "massed in" with a shadow color rather than my more typical approach of drawing in the shape and features with a brush.  Lights were added and then it became a process of working back and forth between light and dark to find a balance and to get the features defined.  he flesh tones are Terra Rosa with white and, in most cases, some Olive Green in varying degrees.  Total time is about five hours.  After I took the photo, I saw several things that need attention, but for now, I'll consider this study lesson done.  It's time to move on to something else.   

Jeff    Oil on canvas  Approx.  18" x 12"