Monday, April 14, 2014

Love en plein air

I've seen all kinds of things while out painting - beautiful, unusual, even creepy, but I've never seen anything truly romantic....until now.

I was painting in the jungly undergrowth, minding my own business, when suddenly this incredible scene played out just feet away!  I wasn't too sure of the etiquette here, as the couple clearly picked a secluded spot to get married for a reason.  So, I just kept quietly painting - and weeping, because I'm sappy, plus I got married just a few miles from here, so it was especially touching!

Congratulations to the happy couple - and enjoy your new painting!




"From this day forward"
8" x 10"
Oil on panel - plein air

Collection of the newlyweds!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Painting in paradise


"Hanalei Bay"
8" x 10"
Oil on panel - plein air
I was fortunate enough to spend the last couple of weeks painting in Kauai!  An incredible experience - I painted my first ocean plein air painting, and while not a huge success, I
thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.  I also learned that wet oil paint and sand are not a great combo!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Back in the studio!

"Distant Flatirons"

Oil on Panel 30" x 40"
click on image for detail

I took a break from plein air painting for a few days so I could finish up some large studio pieces.  I was really fighting against my illustration background on this piece - I still wish it was looser with the brushstrokes.  I may work on that as well as adding more texture...

This piece available through Elevate art consultants

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to create a mobile studio

Step 1: Decide 3 degrees is way too cold to paint outside!

Step 2: Set up in your minivan (or similar).

Step 3: Try not to freak out as paint inevitably gets on your mini-van, in your hair, etc.

Step 4:  Ignore the curious looks of passersby.

Step 5:  Have fun painting!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Out in the cold with my easel!


"Winter furrows"- plein air

Oil on Panel 8" x 10"
Click on image for detail

I've been painting in the snow a lot recently, my first year ever doing that.  Once my body got used to the initial shock (and I added more layers) I actually started to enjoy it! This piece is from a few weeks ago - I love the way the snow stays in the furrows of these farm areas.






My plein air setup (plus snow pants and toe warmers!)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oil painting demo - the finished piece!

           "Autumn Field" 30" x 40" oil on canvas -  please email me for purchase inquiries


Demo continued...
Step 6 – I add color to the mountains and fill out the grouping of trees.  I also make a lot of mental decisions about how I want the field to look when finished.

 
Step 7 – I start to add in layers of color to the field.  I make sure the colors are lighter, cooler, and the shapes simpler as they recede further back.  I also add details to the background trees.


Step 8 – I basically scuffle with the painting at this point – adding and subtracting detail, slashing and scraping for texture until I get the desired effect!  I decide at this point I need to add in additional directions of line to draw the viewer’s eye into the painting, then to the focal trees and around the painting.
 
 
Step 9 – Finished piece!
If you enjoyed this demo please ‘follow’ my blog and ‘like’ me on Facebook!!
 

Monday, December 16, 2013

step by step oil painting demonstration


Step 1 - I gather reference materials – in this case I’m using my plein air study and a few photos I've taken. I plan on painting large – 30” x 40” but I hope to keep some of the liveliness and spontaneity that I like in the 8" x 10" study.  I also lay out my paints - twice as many as I use outside.  I never use black on my palette, I often use a mix of verdian green and alizarin crimson to create more colorful darks.  By the way - I strongly recommend using a glass palette, but this was taken days after I broke mine!


Step 2 - I sketch in the general layout of the scene using thinned out oil paint.  There's no need for a ton of detail, I just suggest placement and lines to remind myself how I wanted the viewer to move through the painting. I make sure the horizon line is not dead center (as that tends to chop a painting into two).  I also  make sure the focal point is placed correctly (according to the rule of thirds) for the eye to travel around the painting and back to my intended center of attention.  In this piece my focal point will be the clump of trees in the mid-ground.




Step 3 - Using a large brush I block in the general values of the scene.    I usually recommend putting in your darkest dark (and lightest light, but we already have that in the sky).  I didn’t do that here – breaking my own rules!





 


Step  4 - I add in various values of green to compliment the warm color scheme I have planned.  Using an underpainting of a complimentary color (opposite on the color spectrum) often adds more vibrancy to the finished piece. Now I also start adding in some distant trees.  Repeating objects in the distance that are smaller, less detailed and lighter versions of the fore or midground is a great tool for helping create atmospheric perspective.








Step 5 - Next, I paint in the sky.  I keep it fairly neutral as I want the main focus to be the field and trees rather than the sky.  I do, however, suggest some gentle movement in the sky by using clouds.  Here, the low clouds help to ‘anchor’ the sky to the rest of the painting.






I hope you're enjoying my demo so far (if so, please follow my blog and like me on Facebook - thanks!)  In my next blog entry I’ll lead you through the rest of the steps to my finished piece…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Painting on the road

"Outside Albuquerque"
8" x 10"
Oil on panel - plein air

This was the last leg of our trip, and I couldn't resist stopping to paint this golden field - I just loved the way the sun bounced off the grasses.

I also randomly happened across a plein air gallery in Albuquerque Purple Sage Galeria - it's a really wonderful collection!


$295 - Includes Free U.S. Shipping
please email me for purchase info.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A good week for awards!

I couple of nights ago I attended the Colorado Plein Air show opening in Denver.  It was a fun night, and I was delighted that "After the Rain" (below) had received an honorable mention. This morning I found out that "Colorado Field" (left and below) also received an award after the opening! Thank you Plein Air Magazine for my pleinaircollectors.com award!


A few days before that "The path most taken" (below) won judges pick in the Daily Pantworks Contest - All in all, a great week!

Friday, November 8, 2013

My new Colorado gallery!

Autumn evening - plein air

Oil on Panel 8" x 10"
Click on image for detail

I'm delighted to announce that my paintings will be represented by Stoneheart Gallery in the beautiful mountain town of Evergreen, Colorado!  The gallery is warm, welcoming, and filled with an array of inspiring artworks - please stop by if you're in the area...








$495 - framed
This painting available at Stoneheart Gallery

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pink Skies

Oil on Panel 20" x 16"
Click on image for detail


"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky."
- Rabindranath Tagore

















$1,800 - Includes Free U.S. Shipping
please email me for purchase info.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The finished studio version

Mountain Pass

Oil on Panel 16" x 20"
Click on image for detail

This is the studio painting I did using the studies from my last post.  I chose to keep some of the loose, sketchy quality of my plein air piece.  I subdued my color a bit - especially in the background where I added lighter, cool tones to make it retreat more.








$1,800 - Includes Free U.S. Shipping
please email me to purchase

Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to get all you need for a finished painting in 15 minutes!


When I was driving to Grand Lake, Colorado recently I came across this wonderful field that I just knew I had to paint!  Unfortunately, I only had a few minutes to get what I needed, so here's what I did:

1) I did a quick line sketch to make sure I knew where the light was coming from, to indicate the focal point, and plan the movement throughout the scene.

2) I spent about 10 minutes doing a little 5x7 oil sketch to capture the feel of what I was seeing.  The eye can see so much more color and atmosphere than a photo can capture, so these plein air studies are invaluable! 

 


3) I always shoot a few photos for reference.  They may not be as helpful as color sketches but they still provide useful information I can use for a larger painting.

4) A helpful tip to check the relative values in a photo reference is to convert it to black and white (desaturate in photoshop or similar).  If the image reads well in black and white, great!  If not, you will at least know where it needs help.  In the black and white below, I decided I needed more darks in the foreground, which I remedied in my line sketch.

Click on any image to see it bigger.

 Stay tuned to see the completed studio painting...