Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Happy Vernal Equinox 2018

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
And what a nice Equinox to go out and paint in! It's still kind of "stick season," that is, the time of year when there's no leaves on the trees. But trees are budding, birds are singing, and frogs are croaking in the marshes. I'd originally set out today with the idea to do a really little painting; 5" x 7" or even smaller, but when I saw this scene, I decided it deserved at least a 9" x 12" panel. That's the finished painting at the top of this post.

Here's the pochade box I painted in today. After toning the panel, the composition was mapped out. This photo shows the sky painted and the mountains blocked in. Where the tree trunks were in the initial composition was largely obliterated when the sky and mountains were painted. That's OK. They're easy enough to find again.

In this photo we see the middle ground blocked in and the tree trunks getting painted again. I didn't follow how the trees were exactly, but modified them a little to suit the painting.

This photo shows the finished painting. By this time, the light had changed and the scene no longer looked as it did when I started painting. This is the phase where I paint more from memory than direct observation, and instead of copying what's in front of me, focus on making a painting.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Up the Canyon

8" x 10" Oil on Panel
Last Saturday was the nicest day yet this year, so I took an 8" x 10" pochade box for a short hike up a local canyon. A side trail led to this overlook, and that's where I set up and painted. There's still a little snow around the lower slopes, but I think it won't hang around much longer. There will likely still be a spring flurry or two, or three, but those kinds of things are only winter's last gasps. Spring is gaining momentum!

Another sign of spring: There's a bug stuck to the painting near the upper left corner. In plein air painting jargon, we jokingly call that an "eagle." See it up there in the sky? It'll be easier to get off of the painting once the paint's dry. No harm done, except for the poor bug.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Paint, Scrape, Paint

12" x 9" Oil on Panel
You could say I made two paintings at the portrait session last Wednesday. Or maybe two paintings in one, neither of them finished.

These sessions are for practice, pushing your abilities, and sometimes trying new methods. Rarely do I ever "finish" a painting at these sessions. Generally, when the timer goes off at the end of the session, I'm through with my sketch.

Some sessions seem to go better for me than others. Last Wednesday my sketch didn't begin well, but I continued on, trying to force the painting to be better. Halfway through the session, I had to admit to myself that the sketch wasn't working and couldn't be corrected. So, out came the palette knife. The paint was scraped off of the panel, leaving a faint image on the panel. Over that, new paint was applied, with better attention to drawing. Now I had only half a session to work in - an hour and a half, minus breaks. The image above shows how the second half of the session went for me. Better, I think.

Colors used were cadmium yellow light, yellow ochre, cadmium red, quinacridone red, ivory black, and of course, titanium white.

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Last Day of February 2018

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
I'm looking forward to getting outdoors and painting plein air again, but in the mean time, here's my sketch from last Wednesday's portrait session. 

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Couple More Charcoal Sketches from February

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
I decided to stick to sketching with charcoal at the live portrait sessions this week. The first sketch is from last Wednesday's portrait session at Howard Lyon's studio. The second one is from a session at Casey Child's studio on Thursday.

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
No, that is not a drawing of Howard Lyon. It sort of looks like him, but it's not. Thursday evening's model could be Howard's doppelganger, though. The beard, bald head and classes are mighty close, but his height and general demeanor were a little different. He certainly was a fun person to draw!

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Yesterday's Charcoal Sketch

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
This is the sketch I made at last night's portrait session. I'll still be working in oil at these sessions from time to time, but this week, at least, charcoal is my medium of choice.

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Photos from a Winter Walk

Tuesday was a wonderful day for a walk in the country. Winter can be rather unpleasant around here, but not on this day! The sky was so blue. Temperatures weren't too cold. Blue shadows contrasted with warm sunlight, highlighting the sepia, ochre and umber colors of marsh grasses and brush. A narrow first quarter moon shown faintly over the Wasatch Mountains.

There's always a ready-to-go day pack in my car. Among other things that stay in that day pack is a cheap little camera. It's there ready for hikes or even when I go on shorter walks. Usually the camera stays in the pack, but occasionally I get it out. On this walk, the camera came out of the pack as soon as I saw the bald eagle. The eagle landed in a tree close by as I stood looking out over the wintry landscape. Upon landing, the eagle gave a short series of high pitched staccato cries. Quite attention getting!

Admittedly, this eagle photo is not much better than those pictures you see published of bigfoot or UFOs. My attempt to work closer for a better photograph of the eagle only managed to annoy it, and it spread it's impressive wings and departed. I wish I had a better camera with me on these walks and hikes, but unfortunately, after a camera of mine died in a dust storm in Southern Utah a few years ago, I'm leery of taking any of my better cameras with me on these trips. The cheep little $65 Casio worked well enough for the rest of these pictures, I believe.

There were a few smaller hawks around on that bright winter's day. A flock of juncos flitted about through the latticework of winter-bare tree branches and underbrush by the trail. A red-shafted flicker made itself known by it's distinctive "kyeer!" call.

There's still quite a bit of ice on the lake. The ice seems thin, though, and there appears to be open water out to the west.

Here's those same mountains, seen through a filter of cottonwood trees.

In the other direction, seen across open ranch land, are some of my favorite stomping grounds; the canyons and ridges of the Wasatch Mountains.

The day's walk comes to a close as I return to my car. Before driving away I take one more look at a cloud-haloed Mount Timpanogos.