Monday, June 13, 2016

I'm Moving my Blog

I just haven't been the most consistent blogger, the one I see in my minds eye, but there's always tomorrow.
I would like to take this time to thank everyone who has followed me and commented on my Blog here on Blogger.

I have been working the last couple of months to move everything over to my new website I'm still working out the bugs and trying to figure out how people can get updates via rss feed when I make blog posts. If you're currently using Feed-burner you shouldn't have to do anything I think I can just redirect. More coming on that soon.

Along with having my blog on my new website, I've also moved my shop over from Etsy. Now it's all in one place thanks to Squarespace.

Thank you,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Daily Sketch: What's in Season

Sunflowers and Hand-Thrown Pot 12" x 9"

When I started my little endeavor to paint more Alla Prima, I decided to focus on what's around me at the time. This little 12" x 9" painting of sunflowers is a great example. 

Since starting "My Daily Sketching" (more on that later) it has been autumn and winter. So I have focused on a lot of vegetables and root crop from the local farmers market and ceramic items around my house. I haven't been thinking flowers at all. But, when I saw these sunflowers at a local grocery store I knew I needed to paint them.

Once more, textures take a front seat with this sketch. I really wanted something else in the painting that would help offset the flowers, so I grabbed this wonderful pot off my bookshelf. I emphasized the different surfaces, in part, by how I applied the paint. Whereas the flowers are painted with a lot of impasto, I kept the paint on the pot fairly thin and transparent, except for the highlights of course.
Remember, while you're painting to think about how you're applying the paint and compare that to the objects you are painting. Think about the surface qualities..and squint!

BTW,  The pot is made by my good friend Virgil Tyler Oertle. You can see more of his work here Facebook.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Your Daily Painting: Paying attention to the Surface

3 daily painting studies.

White Onion & Garlic 6"x8" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Red Onion 6"x 8" Oil on linen mounted to panel

 Onions and Garlic 12"x 6.5" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Here I have three examples of some root crop I painted from the local farmers market. I really enjoy painting the different textures and subtle earth tone colors of onions etc. The colors and textures are quite opposite to most fruit, which typically have shinny surfaces along with more intense colors.

In Onions and Garlic above, I particularly found the green onions to be a challenge. Primarily because the bulb has a translucent skin. But going up the stalk in turns  more opaque. And the little roots are simply a challenge all to themselves, don't let them overtake your painting - simplify them.

So if you are painting still-lifes you might want to try alternating painting fruits and vegetables to help yourself better understand how to handle different surfaces. In regards to the surface quality, here are a few questions to ask yourself. Is the surface smooth or rough? How reflective is the surface? And also, is the surface opaque or translucent, or perhaps I should say, how translucent is the surface? 

It's very hard to answer these question here because there are so many variables. But in asking these questions as you paint it will simply help you be more aware and responsive to the subject and hopefully see what is "actually there". Paint what you really see. I will be going over these concepts more thoroughly in later posts.

~Don't forget to squint~

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Daily Painting: Improving your daily painting skills

Balsamic Vinegar 9" x 5" Oil on linen mounted to panel.

Just under 2 hrs.  
Limited palette consisting of white and black, cad yellow lt, perylene red,, transparent oxide red and phthalo green to get that pure transparent green of the bottle.

 What a fun bottle to paint, can you tell the brand? Probably not, unless you use it regularly. I really didn't want the details of the label to over power the overall painting. Squinting and the time limit was key to keeping the details out of focus. Also, I used no soft hair brushes,  just some good old worn out hog bristles.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Painting of the Day: Focusing on Mood

Lemon on Blue 5"x7" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Boutique Onions  5"x7" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Simple and straight forward.
Here are two little 5 x 7 painting I did on consecutive days. Both took just under 1 hr. to complete.  With the  Lemon I was after contrast and color intensity. I really wanted the lemon to "pop". So it didn't seem pasted on the background, I pushed the yellow into the background and vs versa. I had fun with the glow around the lemon. With the onions,  I was after a much more subdued look. I kept the contrasts down and stuck with general earth tones.

 Both paintings have a nice balance of thick and thin paint.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Still Life Painting of the Day: Radishes

 Radishes 8" x 12", Oil on linen mounted to panel

The title of this post is "A Painting a Day" However, I actually didn't paint this one today, I painted it several weeks ago. I think it turned out quite well. I spent about 2-1/2 hrs. It's hard to go wrong when your subject contains such a color complement. Also, it has a great juxtaposition between the abstract shapes of the green leaves and the geometric shapes of the actual radishes.


I've been thinking about the idea of "A painting a day" for quite some time now. But it's only been the last month or so that I've been able to practice it. My plan has been and will be to paint a small study every morning (well nearly every-I'm not a robot). With a set time limit and from life only. Focusing on still life and the occasional landscape.
So far, I'm really enjoying the freedom, spontaneity and challenges. But most of all I'm enjoying the fact that I can simply call it done in less than 3 hours. That has been very liberating to say the least.

No mater what else I paint for shows and galleries I will continue to paint these little studies in the morning and sell them online for a very reasonable price. With each post I will cover more about my process and thoughts that go into them. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Artist get away plein air painting

Last August I was invited, along with several other artist friends, to a very nice cabin retreat in Star Valley, Wyoming. We were excited to get away for a few days and paint. 

All of us being artists, we spent most of the daylight hours painting somewhere in Star Valley. Most of the paintings I did while I was there were so-so to me and I kept them to myself and eventually fed them to the garbage can. But these three little studies turned out great! The cabin was surrounded by quaking aspens so on the second day, instead of heading back out with the others, I decided to stay closer to home and paint in the shade.

 I find quaking aspen have a lot of personality. I think of them as I would a figure. They easily become the focus and subject of a painting. Also, the color of the bark of the aspen is similar to flesh tone. When in the shadows, it reflects all the colors around it so it's always a challenge to find that subtle color.

 Summer Quakies Study #1
Prepared paper mounted to panel  9.5" x 5.25"

  Summer Quakies Study #2
Prepared paper mounted to panel 5" x 8"

  Summer Quakies Study #3
Prepared paper mounted to panel  13.25" x 7.25"

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A little side note about life and the art world

This is not the typical post I intended for my art blog. But I found this short little video clip so moving and refreshing I felt compelled to share it. Take 15 minutes out of your day and watch this great video--You won't regret it.

(sorry about the commercials on YouTube)

Now to relate this video to me.
A professional artist (meaning one who makes his/her living from their art) as seen from the outside appears to be the embodiment of freedom and liberation. A causal day where you follow your creative spirit and then have wine and chess at the end of the day as you watch the sunset. 

Now for a dose of reality, it's nothing like that, that's an illusion...a fairy tale. I'm not one to shy away from hard work and I certainly understand that to make a success of yourself, especially in the arts, you have to work very, very hard and wear many hats. Exactly what I've done in my career. I did what I though I was suppose to do. But somewhere along the way, in the daily fray of battle, I lost "me" my art spirit seems to have taken a holiday without me knowing it, and I don't know where it's gone.

I'm sorry, if you're waiting for a profound answer at this post, I have none, it's simply a question. It's where I find myself  these days. Perhaps an answer will come someday, or maybe not, and I'll head off to go skating and I'll leave the rat race that is the contemporary art scene of today behind.

"Keep the cheese, I just want out of the trap"

Monday, March 9, 2015

Class Portrait Demo: Shapes and simplification

Short demo for my class at Salt Lake Community College

 1 hr. to this stage.
I made slow progress because I talked through what I was doing, along with answering questions. The main idea I wanted to impart to the students was to simplify. It's not the details that make a likeness, it's the big shapes.
"My palette was very basic: titanium white, ivory black, cad. yellow lt., cad red lt., perylene red, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and raw umber.

 Stage 2
I began again after I turned the students loose on their self portraits. At this point I was able to concentrate a bit better as I didn't have to talk. I took a few minutes to redraw and fix some of the proportions and shapes that were off. I paid particular attention to the widths vs the heights and where features lined up on the vertical.

Stage 3
As you can see my drawing lines are still on the face. I knew I didn't have enough time to get into working on the face, so I spent the time working the surrounding areas. I took a photo of the model and figured I would have to work from that if I want to finish it. The camera image will give me the shape information and my painting as it is will give me the color and value information. I believe I spent about 2 hours total. I'll try to find some time to finish this portrait from the photo and then I'll post another image.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Art 101 -Simultaneous Contrast in Black & White

Colors and values side by side interact with one another and change our perception. This interaction is called simultaneous contrast.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary "The tendency of a color to induce its opposite in hue, value and intensity upon an adjacent color and be mutually affected in return--By the law of simultaneous contrast a light, dull red will make an adjacent dark, bright yellow seem darker, brighter and greener; in turn, the former will appear lighter, duller and bluer".

This is an exercise I have my students do every semester. It's quite simple yet fun. We start with the value example below and later in the semester we do it in color.

Exercise: Paint 3 small rectangles of a medium grey all the same value. Below the 3 are marked A, B, C. They are the same value--they really are. Then simply paint around each rectangle with white, a slightly darker grey and then black and viola- simultaneous contrast in it's most simple form. As you can see the 3 small rectangles of grey appear as very different values. Give it a try. I'll show you some color examples in a later post.