Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sutter Creek Pizza Patio - Plein Air

Today I joined artist Howard Rees for a plein air painting session in Sutter Creek.  Time was limited so we picked some locations close to our parking and other "conveniences".   I was intrigued by this deeply shaded patio across the creek from our location, but it was not an obvious painting subject and I thought it might be a struggle to get something recognizable out of all the shadows.  I knew the umbrellas would provide some focus and color, but much of the building behind was in deep shadow from trees.

I selected a small canvas and toned it with yellow ochre and a touch of Alizarin.  Then I tried to block in all of the darks that dominated the composition.    In reality, the building is a deep barn red/brown, but I need more contrast, so I left the tone as the building color in the beginning, adding brighter highlights as I went along.  I simplified the umbrellas and pushed the color of two of them.  The stairs added a little detail and I spent some time suggesting tables and other "clutter" in the darks under the umbrellas.

Later we had some delicious pizza (and beer) and sat at the window next to the green screen door.  I highly recommend Pizza Plus in Sutter Creek.  Fabulous...and a small pizza is enough for two, easily.  Check 'em out.  

Pizza Plus Patio - Sutter Creek   Oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Glass Bottle and Pitcher on Book - Still Life

Another still life set up with very little color.  It's a challenge to manage the values.  Control is definately the order of the day, since there's no opportunities to let least with color.  There is much to learn in these seemingly simple setups.

Glass Bottles and Pitcher on Book    12" x 16" Oil on canvas panel

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Corn Dogs!

Like the post immediately before this one, the subject matter of this sketch was a photo taken at the Amador County Fair this year.  That's a great event that I would recommend to anyone.  Small, on beautiful grounds, family friendly....the way I remember that Fairs used to me.

Anyway, I've been a little worn out from wrestling with complicated and more formal paintings, so I decided to do another small sketch.  Once again I used Ampersand Gessobord and once again, my idea was to try to paint quickly...under an hour if possible.  I had planned to paint big shapes rapidly, and then come back to add the little details and calligraphy that can create a feeling of detail in a quick sketch,  but the figures caused me to slow down quite a bit.  I noodled on them much more than I should have, and as a result I ended up spending twice as long as my goal.  Oh well....I did enjoy it a lot.  As I painted I had Qaing Huang's beautiful little urban sketches with people in mind.  Of course, I didn't even land on the same planet as that gifted painter, but I am not displeased.  I like the perspective on this sketch....I think it has a feeling of depth, even though it is not a large landscape. 

Corn Dogs    Oil on 8" x 10" gessobord panel  

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Model A Flat Bed

I had a lot of fun doing this small sketch of a Model A Ford flat bed.  I took a picture of the car at the Amador County Fair this year.  Regretfully I forgot to get the exact identification.  I think it's about a 1927 model.

Late next month, I'm going to be painting by invitation at the Ironstone Winery Concours d'elegance, an annual event in Murphys, California.  I'm told that last year there were some 400 classic cars entered!! I imagine there will be chances to paint a few of the classics, so I'm trying to practice a little.  This sketch took about an hour, a little too long, I think.  I'm aiming for about 30 -45 minutes.  Overall, I managed to keep the shapes simple and to maintain a lot of contrast, which seems suitable for a quick sketch. 

This was done on Ampersand Gessobord, a perfect surface for quick studies and sketches.  I plan to take a lot of these panels with me to Murphys. 

Model A Ford flat bed    Oil on panel  9 x 12 

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blair - A Portrait

At a studio session with Suchitra Bhosle, I painted this portrait from our model Blair.  This is the second time Blair has been our subject.   This time Suchitra added a bit of a costume and a glass bottle as a prop.  I didn't feel that I did well in the studio session.  Time was even more limited than usual and I didn't feel that I had control of the painting when I left for the day.  Fortunately I had a decent photograph of Blair and I decided to see if I could pull the painting out in my own studio.  At first it didn't go well....I felt I was adding layer on layer of wet paint and everything felt mushy.  Finally, gathering my courage....and fighting the urge to call it quits....I scraped the face area down with the edge of a palette knife, leaving just a ghost image.  I started again, blocking in shadows and adding lights slowly. 

I'm satisfied with the result.  Mostly I'm glad I didn't give up on it.  It is a much better feeling to see a painting through to an acceptable - if not totally successful - conclusion.

This is my final portrait of Blair.  It's oil on canvas panel.  12 x 16.

Blair   Oil on 16" x 12" RayMar canvas panel. 

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Dancer Revisited - Portrait

I photographed this beautiful 'belly dancer' at a recent Festival in a park in Rancho Cordova, a suburb of Sacramento.  I'm painting a nearly full length figure / portrait of her, but in spite of the wonderful subject matter, it has been a struggle.  Along the way, I painted a quick sketch of a head and shoulder portrait that I posted earlier.  It was an entertaining break from the larger painting.  However I have continued to struggle with the larger work.  Even the background has me completely stymied.  Once again I turned to the portrait to try a completely abstract...and very light....background.  I also couldn't resist taking the actual portrait to a higher degree of finish.  It's still far from finished, but it was a good exercise once again.  I like the very bright and warm background against her dark skin and costume.  Back to the bigger painting again....

Here's the Dancer portrait revisited.  It's 16" x 12" oil on canvas.

The Dancer Revisited  16 x 12 oil on canvas.

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Kiwi in Locke - Plein Air

 Today the Sacramento Plein Air Painters met in the on-going First Saturday paint-out in Locke.  A good number showed up and it was a really lovely summer morning.  I found this little spot looking through a vacant lot on Main Street and into the back yard fence and yard of a small house beyond.  At this time of the morning the west facing house and fence were in deep shade, but the tin roof was beginning to emerge into sunlight and the yard was getting full sun.  A New Zealand flag hung from the beam of the rear porch.  I learned learned later that the lady living there is a New Zealander...and I had a chance to say hello.  

I pushed the darks hard on this Plein Air Study in the hope of emphasizing the lighted areas.  The roses were in the light for the most part and were quite striking, but I didn't have an appropriate red to make them pop.  When the painting drys a bit, I'll add a little emphasis in the rose blooms.

It was a great morning in Locke once again.

A Kiwi in Locke   Oil on panel   16 x 12 

This original plein air painting is available unframed at
My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

White Vase and Peonies - Still Life

Still life paintings are usually a chance to "let go" with color.  It's one of the reasons I find them so invigorating to paint.  Yesterday's still life was quite the opposite: a lesson in restraint.  The white vase and white flowers made this painting all about values.

White Vase and Peonies   Oil on canvas  12 x 16

This original oil painting is available at
My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art