Monday, April 28, 2014

Wine Bottle with Pears - Still Life Oil

Still life painting still intrigues me.  I'm finding that the more I paint from "life", the more the prospect of painting from photographs seems to be lacking.  The reality is, of course, that for practical reasons, painting from photos is almost unavoidable for most of us. Access to models whenever we want to paint a portrait or a figure just isn't possible and plein air painting opportunities are not as frequent as we might like.  Still life painting represents "instant" opportunities for painting from life almost anytime the urge strikes. And the added benefit is that I get to create the composition before I set a brush to canvas - and that's  a lesson in itself.

I completed this still life about two weeks ago, but I've been undecided about it.  After looking at it for some time, I lightened the table top a little and called it done. 

Wine Bottle with Pears and Grapes   Oil on stretched canvas  12 x 16

To Purchase this painting, click HERE

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trio - Still Life in Oil

I spent Thursday wrestling with a painting that included, what a challenge that is!  I must have wiped the flowers out three times.  Finally I called it quits with that awful feeling of frustration and failure.  But I resisted the urge to wipe off the painting.  On Friday I returned to the painting and made a final attempt.  I finished the least, I've done all I'm going to do on it.  By now I realized that the roses were not the only problem with the painting.  The composition was weak and the whole setup lacked energy and interest.  Another lesson learned.

Still filled with that feeling of frustration, I immediately set up a more familiar still bottles and grapes.  And I used the darker background again.  It's my favorite so far.  Anyway, in a short two hour session, I painted this still life.  I returned for another hour on Saturday to finish it up.  I really enjoy doing this type of painting.  I love the subtle lighting and the value relationships are a real test. 

The title "Trio" refers to the label on the bottle of wine.  It's a cabernet that was given to me many years ago by a business friend.  His family had purchased a vineyard and this wine was made from grapes grown there.  The "Trio" name refers to the members of the ownership group, if I remember right.  The bottle is now some 13 years old.  It's the last of several bottles that had and the wine was delicious, but I hate to open it. I think I'll just leave it makes a great still life subject and brings back memories of a great guy, long retired and moved to greener pastures.

Trio    oil on 12" x 16" linen panel 
My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Friday, April 18, 2014

White Pitcher with Flowers - Still Life Oil Painting

This is another high key still life.  These brighter paintings are still a learning process for me, but I do enjoy the opportunity for playing with the light and color.

White Pitcher with Flowers    Oil on 9 x 12 linen panel

To Purchase this painting, please click HERE

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

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 stretched canvas (3/4" thick) ....9 x 12 turned horizontally this time.

White Pitcher with Oranges   Oil on linen panel   9 x 12
To Purchase 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.

To Purchase this painting, Please click 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