If you are taking advantage of this nice spring-like weather, you are definitely having fun!!!
I like to think of my studio as a laboratory where I can go and experiment with paint, shapes, color, value, on and on. This time of year I am thinking of my Mother in law and how to surprise her for Valentines Day. So I painted a huge heart in acrylic and will attach it to her front door (at the assisted living home), then surround it with valentines her kids, grand kids, and good friends, make for her. I know it will make her smile! I’ll post a photo of the door when I create it (in secret).
Step One: Set up something exciting to paint and jump in, fast and furious. Make sure you are listening to music that makes you want to dance!
Step Two: Focus on the painting because by now it should be talking to you. Here I ditched the white flowers in my set up since they didn’t add anything to the composition. Change the music to something more contemplative.
Step Three: Soften some edges, sharpen some edges, remove anything that doesn’t work, pour a glass of wine….Done.
What a busy time of year! Unfortunately I haven’t been behind my brush very much due to holiday travel, the flu, and computer issues. I look forward to after the start of January to finally get back into the studio to finish up some fall paintings for my Featured Artist show in February. To all you artists out there, I hope you will get back to painting soon too!
“One can never graduate from painting pears” – Laura Rob. So true! Pears from life are a great way to continue your development in learning to “see”. They are simple organic shapes with lots of plains. When you observe a pear with an artist’s focus, you learn the subtle differences of color, temperature, and value. And DON’T paint those little stuck on tags, or the little dark imperfections; they will destroy the pear’s integrity!
Here are a few I did yesterday:
We all live fast paced lives, blowing past breathtaking views at 60 MPH. Thoreau sat in his doorway from dawn to dusk, watching the light and shadow move and change. Today we post a quick iPhone image to Facebook and are on our way. Socrates warned: “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” Thankfully we painters are willing to spend the hours, that we seemingly don’t have, in front of that view, whether humble or awe inspiring, investing each brush stroke with years of observation, looking into the depth of the shadows, deciphering the color of a light drenched moment in life. And people will take those paintings home, and at their leisure, will be able to experience the fullness of a landscape or buildings that they have only found time to drive past.
Turning our gardens into lasting memories:
16 x 12, oil
8 x 6, oil study
With the first real rain and blustery cold, I returned to the studio to “go small”. Why? Because making small studies, 5 x 7, 4 x 5, 6 x 6, etc. one can focus on an aspect of painting and not get that idea lost in a large work. My focus was to experiment with brush strokes, and nail the colors and values. I also thought I would do a painting where I really tried to lay down each stroke and LEAVE IT ALONE. Boy is that hard to do, but the more it is done, the fresher the work looks! It’s when we mess with our brush strokes, over and over, that is when the painting starts looking tired, muddy, and overworked. Another way to learn to really see the color of light is to paint still lives with white objects. This is a good exercise whether you have painted for 30 years or 30 days!
So when the cold is keeping you from plein air work, GO SMALL!
The Driggs Plein Air event was a wonderful gathering of 60+ artists. It was fun meeting many accomplished artists and spending time with them in various locations and events to paint. The 14 hour drive from home, pulling a trailer, was well worth the trip. Artists got free lift tickets to travel up the chair to the summit of Targhee Ski Resort to paint or hike, or just enjoy the ride and the view of the Grand Tetons. Here is a picture from the summit.
Here are a couple of paintings done at the event. This is the Teton River where I painted several days.
This is also near the river:
Joe had fun fishing every day with Pete, the male component of the couple who traveled with us. Sue, his wife, is also a plein air painter from Bend, and she and I played shuttle drivers for the boys between painting trips.