Friday, November 28, 2014

Selected as "Featured Artist" by Fine Art Studios Online

I am very pleased to have been honored by Fine Arts Studio Online (FASO) as a "Featured Artist" for my plein air paintings.  FASO can be found at this link  if you'd like to learn more about them.

With the permission of FASO, I have included their very nice article below: 

FASO Featured Artists: Artist Bruce Hancock

by Carrie Turner on 11/23/2014 11:45:54 AM

This article is by Carrie Turner, editor of FineArtViews. During her tenure as editor, FineArtViews has been mentioned or referenced by The Huffington Post, MLive, WorldNetDaily (WND), artnet, COMPANY, American Artist Magazine, ArtBizBlog, The Abundant Artist, EmptyEasel and many other publications and blogs. FASO Featured Artists (FFA) is a regular blog series on FineArtViews. Art critic Brian Sherwin is a consultant for the FFA series.  The FFA selections are featured prominently on the FineArtViews newsletter -- and are shared with over 26,115+ subscribers. You can read about other recent FASO Featured Artists by clicking here.

The Old Foundry - Sutter Creek by artist Bruce Hancock

Artist Bruce Hancock strives to capture the people, places, color and culture of America in oil. His plein air paintings are a joy to observe -- each image offers a reflective look at a moment caught in time. Bruce notes that he is devoted to the study and practice of the art of painting.

Bodega Bay Afternoon by artist Bruce Hancock
(Oil on Canvas Panel)

Bruce Hancock offered some thoughts about his life as an artist: "Coming late in life to the easel has presented me with challenges and opportunities in abundance.   After the initial excitement of returning to painting, I began to understand how much I had to learn.  To grow as an artist, I regularly study through workshops and studio sessions with gifted artists I admire.  I have to admit that I feel the pressure of time.  There is so much to learn and to experience and to try.  But I understand too that the artist’s journey has no end, no matter when in life it began."

Art critic Brian Sherwin, editor of The Art Edge, offered some thoughts about Hancock's plein air paintings. Sherwin stated, "Bruce captures the energy of a scene by utilizing bold marks and color. The expressive nature of his work documents a moment caught in time.

Final Rest at Noyo Harbor by artist Bruce Hancock
(Oil on Canvas)

You can learn more about artist Bruce Hancock by visiting

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Night in Noyo Harbor - Oil Study

Each time I've traveled to Ft. Bragg, California to paint, I've stayed in a motel that overlooks the Noyo Harbor.  And each time I've taken many pictures of the harbor from my balcony.  My particular favorites have been at night, when the lights from the restaurants and other businesses, as well as a few lights from the fishing industry buildings, sparkle in the deep dark of the valley that surrounds the harbor.  I've often thought of painting from the photographs, but I've never tried a night painting before.

Today I decided to do a small 9 x 12 study as a practice, with the thought that I might try something bigger if that worked out.   Here's my study, done in about 1 1/2 hours this morning.

Night in Noyo Harbor - Study   9x12 oil on canvas panel 

I used only a few colors here.  Primarily, the darks are Ultramarine with Cold Gray to lighten and red or Alizarin to darken.  Of course, there are lights done with Cad Yellow Lemon, Cad Yellow Deep, and some Cad Red Medium.  Here and there are some hints of green done by mixing the yellow and blue.  

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dolphin Cove Morning

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had an opportunity to paint with friends in the Ft. Bragg and Mendocino areas just this October.   On the last morning there, we visited Dolphin Cove, which is just a little way further up the Noyo River from Noyo Harbor, a place I have painted many, many times.

When I arrived at the Cove at about 9 in the morning, it was still in deep shade.  The high bluffs and fir trees forming the east and south rim around the harbor blocked the sun even this late in the morning.  However I could see that the track of the sun would soon bring it over the ridgeline and the light would begin to reach the boats in the harbor.  I set up my easel at the water's edge and by the time I was ready to paint, the sun had reached the boats on my side of the docking area, while the boats and the hillside on the other side remained in shadow.  It made a dramatic scene of light against dark.

I painted a 12 x 16 plein air piece of two of the boats in front of me.  It's posted below.  After returning I decided I wanted to do a slightly larger and more finished studio version of the same scene.  Fortunately, I had taken a couple of pictures to use along with the plein air painting as reference.

Painting in the studio, I was able to carry the painting further.  In particular I wanted to emphasize the brilliant intensity of the morning light against the dark background.  Of course, my studio painting does not have the immediacy of the plein air experience, but in exchange I was able to develop areas and details a bit further.  At the same time, I tired to concentrate on maintaining some looseness in areas of the painting...and to be careful not to over paint.

Dolphin Cove Morning  20 x 16  Oil on stretched canvas

 This is the plein air work of the same scene.

I've begun to pare down my palette lately - both when painting in plein air and in the studio.  Both of the paintings above were done with the limited palette for the most part. I'm not rigid about it and I feel free to add any tube color I feel might be useful, but I am generally using only about 4-5 colors plus white.  I've borrowed Kathleen's Dumphy's palette pretty much, which she generously shares on her blog along with huge amounts of wonderful information about her painting experience and technique.  The palette is Naples Yellow Deep, Cad Yellow Lemon, Cad Red Medium, Ultramarine Deep, Transparent Oxide Red, and Titanium White.  All of the colors are Rembrandt except the Cad Yellow Lemon, which at Kathleen's suggestion is Utrecht.  The TOR is my addition to the palette.  It's a color I find invaluable in so many ways.  I would have a difficult time painting without it...and it's easily my most used color. (I'm cutting way down on white also, except when it is an obvious color in the scene, as in the two paintings above.)   Kathleen rounds out her limited palette with Rembrandt Cold Gray.  I have it on my palette too, but I haven't learned to use it comfortably yet.  I will be taking a workshop from Kathleen in April and I hope to remedy that!

I rarely have a tube green on my palette.  Mixing greens from blue and yellow and modifying them with red or TOR gives a nice variety and I don't often feel the need for the tube greens.  I still find uses for's a distinctive color that I can't mix.  For many years I used large amounts of yellow ochre and I still squeeze it out nearly every time out of habit.  But I'm finding less and less need for it and I'm now wasting way more than I'm using.

I find the limited palette very comfortable.  As I said, I don't feel constrained to use only those few colors...this isn't some kind of challenge or test...but the more I paint with the limited palette,the less often I feel the need for other colors.  

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art