Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sisters of the Burn, oil on panel

Sisters of the Burn started out as some tree like streaks on the panel I was prepping with tinted gesso for an oil painting.  I knew the painting was going to be about trees but that's about it. We had recently returned frome a trip to Santa Fe NM and the impression of aspen trees was still fresh.  I did several Aspen Tree paintings two years ago so the possibility of this becoming another one was high. Once I got started, other ideas began to emerge and the Aspens turned into Palm trees.
 A painting has a life of it's own. I usually start with reference material but once the piece gets rolling, that is after the initial block in of big shapes and composition is established, I stop looking at the reference and look only at the painting. I start to ask it questions. What do you need? Are the values correct? Do the colors work?  In this case there was no reference sketch or photo, just the initial strokes I made on the panel at the start so those questions came  soon after.
The title came when almost finished. My titles often come to me as I'm working on the piece. Trees almost always have a female  gender for me so that's where the "sisters" came from. What  I thought was going to be the ground shadow looked like burnt under brush after a controlled or wild fire. You see this look when you hike in Florida forests especially in areas that have been logged. It wasn't my original intent to do a painting about wild fire aftermath,  but it's what showed up so I went with it.
I actually really like the way it came out. It has a figurtive feeling reinforcing the idea it should be called Sisters of the Burn. It also has a somewhat surreal effect which adds to the visual story.
 I have had it hanging on my wall for a while now. I made a few small changes after some time studying it. It's like doing a re write.  Now I don't get tired of looking at it and seeing more visual stories. That is just about always my bench mark for a good painting. It doesn't get boring and new things appear. Like a fine wine, it improves with age.
Sisters Of The Burn 24 x 16 oil on wood panel"

About half way through.

I added more blue to push the trees back

Later i addedmore high lights

Saturday, January 25, 2020

#123 R and R at St Augistine beach. part one:

 Day one.  I decided to break this 2 day trip into 4 parts because so much happened.  First stop was the Cafe Del Hidalgo. This is our favorite cafe in downtown St Augustine.  Scott, the owner and chef, makes the best crepes and gelatto imaginable, and the coffee is really good too. They make the machiato Italian coffee in the traditional way in the tiny cups. Michelle's favorite.  So good, and the perfect way to get acclimated to relaxing in St Augustine. This blog is supposed to be about art so I can say I took a few shots of the surrounding foliage right next to me and Michelle with the idea of a possible painting. I didn't do any sketching at the table, it was great just to be there and relaxing and enjoying the art of the surroundings and good food. The way the light was coming through plants made it feel like we were in a painting.  Perhaps one of these days I'll attempt to portray this light with paint.

  Here are 3 shots of my view from the outdoor table, Our favorite spot.

These 2 sketches were done as we walked around in old Town . I used an elegant writer and water brush pen. One of the best tools I have found for quick walk about sketches. Charcoal and chalk is also  great but smudges easily. Water soluble graphite is fun for tone sketches on white paper with wet brush 
The Lightner museum

 Michelle doing her thing at the Lightner Museum

When I have a bit more time I like to use gouache paints.  They are basically watercolors but have a mat opaque finish.I now use them in refillabe markers for convenience. We spent maybe an hour at the Valano boat ramp. It's on the causway to Valano Beach and has a great view in several directions. Looking back toward St Augustine.

Back to the beach for sunset done with gouache markers

A couple of Gouache marker 5 x 7 a of the sun set.  Michelle got some great shots here

sun rise happens fast.  I didn't get any pictures of the sun coming up but the sky was still beautiful until about 8 am. The clouds that we thought would be a problem turned out to save us from looking right into the sun 

Sometimes fast doesn't work. These 8 x 6 studies are done on oil paper with oil paint sticks (Shiva by Richardson) The trouble I was having here is the white stick was too hard and wouldn't let go of the paint. It was just skiding on the layer below and picking up the softer paint. The lower layers were drawn with the sticks but then blended with min spirits making them very fluid. I couldn't add a layer until it dried. This was a sun rise! No time to wait for drying. The answer might be to have a very soft white stick that I can dig into with a knife or brush .

Continued in part 2

Feel free to comment on the blog post. Visit my sites at www.jewelrtartstudio and a new painting site for me.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Stick painting from a new box

I'm trying out a new box kit. I want be able to go on walks and hikes with art supplies and make sudden studies or even finished paintings as I go and not have to stop for long to set up and work.  I want to complete a composition in less than 30 mins. In some cases less than 2!  I want the sketch to be the substitute for the camera. The idea is to have something self contained that's light, fast and ez to set up for doing my Walk-and-Sketch trips. I rarely have more than an hour and always want to have several compositions when I'm done. Part of the objective is to be able to make bigger paintings from studies and not have to rely on painting from photos. But I also want to have finished paintings or at least a good start on something saleable.  At some point I decided that trying to copy photos into paint was absurd for me. I like doing things with photos and they can be good for reference but I"d rather be looking at the real scene and pushing paint around. I want to be inspired by the actual landscape. Since I rarely sit down to paint outdoors, I need something light I can hold. I don't want to carry a tripod or a chair. I'm just going on a walk. I have made several "kits", 3 of which I currently use. They consist of small carry bags and waist packs with a special hand held easel I designed and made from Coroplast. They work great for 5 x 7 or 8 x 6 studies with graphite and chalk, Elegant writers, watercolors, gouache, and Inktense Blocks, or watercolor pencils. I use the water brush pens to blend and loosen the media. No clean up and no water to carry except a small spray bottle. Fast, easy and light. The thing I'm missing is a way to do an oil painting this way. Setting up to do an oil painting is time consuming, there is a lot of stuff to carry, and the process can be messy. So I made this box for 5 x 7 and 8 x 6 to use oil sticks on oil paper. I also made a companion wet carry box that can hold up to 8 paintings and is 2 inches thick. It adds less than a pound to the kit but is necessary if I'm going to attempt more than one painting.
 This paint box is made from an old 7 x 9 inch cedar, smoked salmon box gifted from my sister Les many years ago. I wanted to try oil sticks because they are like Crayons and I can do a painting with one hand and hold the box with the other. Color mixing happens on the canvas so no brushes to clean or knives to carry. The box weighs less than 2 pounds but with paint it's almost 3 so I made it tripod and mono pod ready. For this maiden voyage I brought the mono pod. 

This was my first trip out with this box. It was a really hot day and I was having a hard time getting my nerve up to try this so I walked around a bit and made some other sketches. It never hurts to warm up.

This was the first sketch I did. This is with a dark wash pencil and Liquid Chalk (white) and a water brush on 5 x 7 Fabriano 90 lb watercolor paper.  This has been one of my go to sketching tools. I can get a quick value study on plain or toned paper. Plus it's much needed practice with drawing. This scene is actually the same location I was in when I did the oil stick version later in the day.  This view is slightly more to the right and back from the oil painting scene below

 I walked around a bit and came to this view. One of my favorites at the Sweetwater Park. I have done a couple of paintings of this stand of trees.  This one is with Derwent Inktense blocks I use the blocks directly and indirectly with the wet brush. ( mentioned these in a previous blog)

I finally settled on going back to the shelter near the entrance and set up in the shade. The box is shown here in front of my scene. You can see the full size oil sticks. These things are heavy so for the next trip I'll bring some cut down versions and I'll be able to add more colors for the same weight or cut the weight and stick with 6 or 7 colors and white

This painting will get some slight work in the studio to fix the composition a bit. I don't like the center mass of grass being so symmetrical.  Once dry, I'll mount it permanently on a 6 x 8 panel for framing. It can also be mounted in a mat and framed behind glass.
"June Afternoon" oil sticks on oil paper. Temporarily matted to see how it looks cropped to 8 x 6. This is a white mat (it looks a little pink on my screen)
This is the final version as it has been cropped to fit the 8 x 6 panel

The sides have been stained with a yellow ocher to match the yellows in the painting. The whole piece is varnished. 
This close up showes the texture of the paint as applied with the paint sticks

This painting will be on my Website and my new painting website

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Painting on the beach

This trip to the beach was about catching a sunrise on the water and catching a bit of R and R after a stressful month getting ready for a street fair. 
It turned out to ba a beautiful spring day. Warm and breezy  and best of all, hardly anyone there.

Some of the very fast paintings done during the sun rise on St Augustine beach. (see my post from May 1) These are all 5 x 7 or 6 x 8 on canvas or paper with oil sticks and water soulable oil pastels. My first try with this paint form. It's fun and pretty exciting. I like the fact that I can mix colors on the painting and don't have to take time to open tubes. It's very "grab and go". Great for early morning because it is so hard to do sunrises! You have to start in the dark and the light changes so fast by the time you look up from the painting, it's changed. Then what do you do? You can't keep changing it! So my answer is work as fast as possible to just grab the impression maybe get some of the values and colors and see what happens. It's really just training in the never ending effort to improve "seeing" Any one else do sunrise plein air?
These are in the order they were painted
They do seem to be progressing as the day gets brighter
 This was probably around 8 am . the sun was up and the sky was blue by this time

Matanzas Beach near the inlet

Looking across the inlet from under the bridge.  This one is gouache on toned paper 5 x 7