Friday, March 28, 2014

Return to the Still Life

It was '08 when I set up this still life.  I did one painting from it and barely roughed in another panel when I discarded it.  I did take a picture which I then printed out from my computer, but it was a horrible reference shot ~ very dark and blotchy.  The other day I ran into this 12" square board in the garage with the flimsy paper printout taped to the back.  I had been looking for something to paint on and considered just painting over this weak start ... but then wondered if I could make it work.  So, it's done largely from memory and how I felt it should look rather than any information that I cold gain from the photo.  The picture here doesn't do it any favors; it's much darker ... but you get the idea.
It was a lesson mostly, I think, in faith ... believing in the idea and the abilities that I've gained.  Certainly the first painting that I did from this still life was better, but I enjoyed the challenge of this one.  I probably could have just set up a similar still life (with a different cloth ~ I don't think I have this one any more), but found working from what was mostly in my head to be rewarding.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Burn Day

Yesterday Eldon came up to the yard and did some burning.  I saw the flames from my studio window and wondered about painting them.  As I walked down there he was posing perfectly with his pitch fork.
It's a small piece ~ 5" x 6" or so.

Plein air and such

 The plein air group met at a little farm near where I live and we had a great day of painting.  This is a look at Bill as he painted one of the windows of the old chicken coop.  This 7" x 14" painting wasn't done on location, though, I worked from several photos that I took and used a little artistic license, too.
 This 11" x 14" was done from life ... on board.  The bloomin' pear tree in the background is a little distracting and I may go back and soften it and push it farther back with a slightly darker value.
 This one was started on location at the Gertrude Schoolhouse during our annual landscape show and sale.  I was doing it as a demo and my focus was on answering questions ... plus I had to go inside for a few sales (which is always nice).  So, I had to finish it in the studio the next day.
This is a local photographer who was on the porch of the schoolhouse during the landscape show. The sun was hitting him and all of the white surfaces of the porch ~ bouncing cool, white light everywhere ~ so, I turned my lens on the photographer and did this little 5" x 7" of him later.

Piano, Man.

This is the third ~ and final (I think) ~ installment of the High Tea at the Ahwahnee series.  I had a lot of fun playing around with it.  The drapery on the piano kind of reminded me of the drapery in some of Vermeer's work and I started to do some of his designs on it as an homage to him ... but it became too busy and drew all of the attention.  I also put a painting on the far wall ~ a copy of one of Thomas Hill's Yosemite pictures.  But, I painted it out because it just didn't work.
I loved working with all of the different yellow-oranges and reds ... and to set it all off I painted a woman in a blue-green dress near one of the left "sweet spots", without it being too obvious or formulaic.
Now I have to go back to the first of the three ... the girl pouring from the large kettle ... and change the colour harmony so that it works better with the other two.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Afternoon Tea

This is the second installment of the series from the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.

When I was sitting there sketching this woman from quite a distance away, I tried to capture the whole essence of the scene before me ... the feel of it ... the way the sun poured in ... and the way that it all made me feel.  Couldn't do it ~ I couldn't even come close.  The more that I looked at it, the more I was drawn to it and the more confused I became, too.  The warm interior, with it's plush red carpet and yellow-gold lighting (I left out the lamps that were beside the woman) was starkly contrasted by the light splashing in the high windows, which I thought should be a very warm light, but looked cool comparatively.
I also found myself interested in what the woman might be doing.  She had lots of books an papers and was taking time from sipping her tea to write a line here and there ~ lost in thought.  Was she a famous writer?  A lawyer? Perhaps a research assistant sent to Yosemite to peruse their files for some grand and noteworthy grant or proposal?  I like that it was a mystery, though, and doing this little 6" x 8" oil sketch brought the moment back ... and I adjusted it more to suit my impression and memory, rather than copy the photo reference that I had.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

High Tea at the Ahwahnee.

A couple of years ago Belinda and I had dinner in the prestigious Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.  We arrived early and "High Tea" was being served in the great hall.  We enjoyed a cup and listened as the grand piano was being played ~ and, naturally, I did some sketching and took lots of photos.
This will be a series of three or four paintings from that experience.  Here's the first one of a lovely young woman filling cups from an enormous kettle.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ins Garten

We got out and did some gardening this weekend ... here's Belinda at work, yanking out weeds and pruning. It's a small piece 6" x 8" oil on prepared paper.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mid March

 Tim's nap.  My son, Tim.
 Ben practicing his guitar.
 The local restaurant in early morning light.
 Gerome Grimmer did a demo at the Gertrude Schoolhouse for the YWA last Saturday.  I did several sketches and took a few pictures ~ from which I came up with this.
 The Triangle Store and gas station, Mariposa, CA.
We have tulips in bloom already and it's only St Patric's Day!

More March

 I thought that I'd do one more from Florida when I got home ... would have been better, I think, if I could have done it from life ... if I could have gotten Pete to sit still for me.
 Last year Kori posed for our portrait group ... I snapped a candid picture of her between poses, and liked it better than the pose that she had been holding.
 My mentor, Del Gish painting en plein air.
 A combination of a few places around here.  It's so much fun painting these old trucks and cars.
 My brother, Mark ~ for his birthday
While at the gallery I didn't have my oil paint with me ... so I had to settle for doing a watercolour.  Fun, but a little more illustrative than painterly.

More from Florida ~ March

 "Chip Ahoy" Belinda's Dad's tug boat.  They live on a canal and it was real nice to stand out there and paint it on a peaceful afternoon.
 Fish carcass.  It was strange to paint out in the gazebo with light dappling across the still life.  It needs help.
 After Wendy (Belinda's sister ... in whose honor I ran the marathon) and I walked along the beach, I felt like I just had to capture the moments.
 "Judy's Crown and Scepter"  Painted on Fat Tuesday.  My brother, Tim's wife, Judy, was a Queen in New Orleans and let me use her royal stuff to make a still life with.
"Jared's Recital". One of my nephews, who regaled us with a demonstration of his talents.

Paintings from Florida

I went to Florida for almost two weeks where I ran a marathon ~ raising $ for breast cancer research and aid for those affected.  Here are some of the paintings that I did while there.
 Simple still life ~ not a great picture of it.
 Still life with Civil War Sabre and later issue rifle.
 Fort in St Augustine, FL ... Castillo de San Marcos.
 While my nephew, Robert was working on my laptop, I did this from a picture on my phone of Eileen.
 A scene from the marathon.  I carried my camera and took a couple hundred pictures while I ran.  Here is one of the cheering bystanders ... groups of kids held their hands out for us to slap as we ran by.  It's a simple gesture ... but when you're exhausted and road-wary, it can be touching and encouraging.
Robert at work on my laptop.

More February paintings

 "New Recruit" done from one of the Civil War Reenactments that I've been to in the last few years.

 "Used Asics".
 I was going to do a "recreation" of the missing Raphael self portrait that the Nazis stole during WWII, but the more that I looked at images of it, the less likely it seemed that it was something that I wanted to do.  So, instead, I borrowed the pose and did my own self portrait.
 Miniature ~ 3" square ... currently in the miniature show hosted by the Sierra Artist's Gallery in Mariposa, CA
A redo of a goat that I painted last month sometime.  Thought that it might do well in the miniature show (4" square).  It didn't.