Thursday, October 31, 2013

Great Things Small Packages 2013

Friday, November the first, a new show is opening at the Terra Nova Gallery in Provo, Utah. It's their annual "Great Things Small Packages" show. The show is free and always has a variety of wonderful small works for sale by local artists. I'm happy to once again have a couple pieces in the show - two of the very first paintings out of my new little 5" x 7" pochade box! The day before the opening, I visited Terra Nova and got a sneak preview of the show as the owners worked to get it ready for the monthly "Gallery Stroll." That's where I got these photos of my two paintings, hung and almost ready for the show's opening on Friday.

"Great Things Small Packages 2013" opens November 1st at 6:00 PM and runs through November and December. Terra Nova Gallery is located at 41 West, 300 North in Provo, Utah. Be sure to check with the gallery for their hours, and to find out about upcoming events! For more information, click on their logo below:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Sketch for Halloween

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
Since the usual Thursday evening drawing session is the same day as Halloween this week, there's no class tomorrow. I guess everyone wants to go trick-or-treating or something. Because of that, we had our Halloween model pose for us last week. The model wore a gold-trimmed violet gown with a lace-up bodice, and matching choker with large pointed "wings." Very halloweeny. It was my idea to change from the traditional lighting to a low angled light, illuminating the model from below. I thought that might look a little more "spooky." 

Happy Halloween!

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Autumn Road

16" x 20" Oil on Canvas Panel
Switching from the little 5" x 7" pochade box used in the last post, I got out the easel and made this 16" x 20" plein air painting with the big paintbox. It was painted just a few days ago on a beautiful Autumn day in Heber Valley. A slight October nip was in the air and sunlight slanted out of a blue sky. That combination of air, sun, and the variety of autumn colors makes this one of my favorite seasons. Occasionally a local rancher or people just out enjoying the Fall colors would stop for a brief visit as I painted. 

The only out-of-the-ordinary concern was when a big black bull came into view around the bend in the road shown in the painting. The burly beast had gotten through a fence and kept wandering back and forth, in and out of view, along the dirt road. I was painting beside my car, which would have been my means of escape if necessary but the bull never came too close, so I kept painting.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Trip To the Wasatch Bench

5" x 7" Oil on Panel
Last Saturday was at least the fourth time I've painted this spot this year. I can't seem to get enough of it, and each time is different. This time the chamisa is in full bloom. Honey bees and a few bumble bees worked the bright yellow chamisa blossoms as I set up the little 5" x 7" pochade box for another run. The beautiful autumn day began with blue skies, but later I found myself working from memory as cloud cover moved in and dimmed the sunlight.

As is usual, people occasionally stopped for brief visits as they came up the trail and found a plein air painter at work. I usually enjoy these visits. One man was even nice enough to snap a few photos of me painting.

Here's the painting "still in the box":

Saturday, October 12, 2013

T Nuts for Pochade Boxes

A reader asked how I attached my home made pochade boxes to a tripod. I think that might be a good subject for a new post, so here it is. The little piece of hardware I use for that is called a T nut (or tee nut). Pictured below are a couple of 1/4-20 x 5/16 T nuts (US standard). 1/4" is the bolt size, 20 is the thread size (20 per inch), and 5/16" is the length. Whether the T nut has three or four prongs doesn't matter.

If you have any question about whether the T nut will fit your tripod, take it along with you to the hardware store for a test fit.

Warning: Before using any hand or power tools be sure you read and understand all directions pertaining to their safe use and maintenance. Also be sure to properly use all recommended safety equipment. Don't anybody get hurt!

To attach the T nut to your pochade box, first determine where you want the box to sit on the tripod. That point is usually halfway between the left and right sides of the box, and two or three inches or so from the back of the box. How far from the back is determined by the pochade box's balance point when the lid (which holds the painting panel) is open. On my little pochade boxes, how far from the back of the box isn't as important as it might be with larger boxes, so I stuck it right in the middle.

After marking the point for the T nut, drill a hole in the bottom of the box just big enough for the shaft of the T nut. A 5/16" bit will probably do. Hammer the T nut into the hole with the flange on the inside of the box. Some people countersink the flange, but I don't bother.

Here's a close-up:

The length of the T nut's shaft should be the same as, or slightly less than the thickness of the wood. If the shaft is too long, you can take a little off with a file or grinder. The image below is a close-up the underside of the little pochade box. You can see (I hope) the end of the T nut just shy of the surface.

There are other ways of attaching your pochade box to a tripod which probably work just as well, but I think the T nut method is the most common. There are different ways of attaching a T nut. This post shows how I do it, but here's a link to a plein air painting forum thread that shows a different method:

I hope this post is useful for you. Have fun building your pochade box and even more fun painting with it!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Two New Plein Air Shows Opening

Early Autumn Rain 16" x 20" Oil on Canvas Panel
Two plein air shows are opening tonight (October 4, 2013) in Provo. I have paintings in both of them.

The painting shown above was painted yesterday and is my entry in "Plein Air Provo 2013" at Terra Nova Gallery. The Show opens this evening at 6:00 PM and runs through he 25th of October. Terra Nova is located at 41 West 300 North in Provo, Utah. For more information you can visit their website:

The Window Box Gallery has two new paintings of mine in their plein air exhibit, which also opens tonight and runs through the month of October. The Window Box Gallery is located at 62 W Center St. in Provo, Utah. You can find more information by visiting their website:

Both shows highlight local painters and are sure to be great! The Window Box Gallery and Terra Nova Gallery are located relatively close to each other and are on this evening's "Downtown Provo Gallery Stroll". You can visit both gallery's show openings, and while you're out you can visit other local galleries and enjoy an early autumn evening out on the town!