Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stylin' A Model A "portrait" in oil

Recently I visited a most unusual show of antique Caterpillar tractors along with collections of other antique 'working' vehicles, including logging trucks.  The Hangtown As, a Model A restoration club out of Placerville, California ( once called Hangtown in the Gold Rush days) joined the show.   I got some great pictures of all of the equipment.

This beautiful Model A convertible is a 1931 vintage I believe.  She is stunning in bright yellow on a summer day.  I couldn't really do her justice, but it was fun to try.

Stylin'     oil on 8 x 10 linen panel  

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My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tools of the Trade - Still Life in Oil

I guess painting a vase full of paint brushes is more or less required at some point.  In my case, it happened because I got the urge to paint about 8 pm.   I didn't want to spend a lot of time gathering flowers and props, so I reached for what was in the studio.   In this case, I found a bottle of walnut oil, some W&N linseed oil, a small brown vase and some brushes. 

I used a linen panel that I had prepared some time back with a tone of burnt umber, I think.  When I applied the tone I experimented with adding some texture with a crumpled paper towel.  Generally, most of this would be hidden, even in a vignette style painting, but in this case I let it become the background.  I'm still undecided about whether it worked or not, but this was a quick sketch...something to have fun with on a Thursday I'll leave it as is.  I tried not to get fussy with this one.  When I started messing around with the brush shadows, I knew it was time to quit.  It was a pleasant two hours of painting.

Tools of the Trade   Oil on linen panel   12" x 12"

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blue Vase with Oranges and Grapes

The composition in this painting evolved as it was painted.  That's not a good way to do things, but it was a good learning experience.   I started out with just the blue vase, the copper bowl, grapes and oranges.  But the arrangement left a large empty background to the right...and even some empty table space right below it.  When the painting was nearly complete I decided to see if I could fix the awkward and unbalanced composition by adding the vine leaves and small flowers and the apple along with a couple of grapes.  I think it addressed one problem, but created a second one, albeit less noticeable in my opinion.   Now I have a vertical on the right as well as the left!  An odd composition for sure, but at least the canvas is no longer empty.  I'd say the 'fix' worked overall.

I love this vase.  I've never used it in a still life before, but I will again.  And it is a natural and complimentary foil to the oranges.  I enjoyed creating this painting...and I also enjoyed the challenge of the in-progress adjustments. 

Blue Vase with Oranges and Grapes.    12 x 16 oil on canvas panel.

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Plein Air Painting Near Plymouth, California

Sometimes I get very discouraged by my plein air painting efforts.  But then I look at a picture like this and I realize that being an artist....even a struggling such a wonderful gift.  Every day out side is a blessing to be enjoyed and remembered.  On this day, I joined Julie Trail, Vickie Chew and Howard Rees at the Old Shenendoah School House near Plymouth California, in the gold rush country of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The photo really says it all.  Julie (left) and Vickie begin painting an old barn just off to the left of this photo.  Howard was on the other side already well into his painting.  Can you look at this and not be just a little envious of us?   We are lucky indeed to be artists in this beautiful time and place.

And my painting was....well...OK.  But the company was great and the morning was exquisite, so who's complaining!(I spent a few minutes in the studio on the painting-particularly on the ground in front of the barn.)

Old Barn near Plymouth California   Oil on 9x12 linen panel

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art