Thursday, October 30, 2014

Major Mohawk

Pastel and charcoal on gray paper.
This is an old sketch, done from life. It has some drawing problems, but her hair really was like that. I wonder how she got in and out of a car? What did she do in a stiff crosswind? If she rode a longboard, could she use that mohawk like a sail?

This was a really fun drawing to do. I think the model was a student at one of the local universities, but I can't remember which one. She also attended the drawing sessions for a while. Her hair put on such a spectacular show for us only once, and that was the day she modeled for the session.

Also, this is the only even remotely Halloween-themed image I have to post right now. Happy Halloween, if you're into that sort of thing!

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sugarhouse Park

12" x 16" Oil on Panel
A view of the Wasatch Mountains from Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake Valley.

There were a lot of interesting things going on in Sugarhouse Park last week as I painted this. It's a very busy park. I set up at the top of a rise overlooking the big field depicted in the lower part of the painting. At different times during the day there was a game of "ultimate frisbee", a lacrosse game, or people just tossing a frisbee to one another in that field. Others, walking their dogs, tossed balls for their dogs to chase. Many people simply strolled, enjoying a nice day in the park. Up where I was, some laid back souls relaxed on blankets or even in hammocks. Other more active types walked, jogged, bicycled or longboarded on the park trail.

A large pond a couple hundred yards to the right of where I was set up is where the most curious things were happening. A large crowd was assembled at one end of the pond to watch a few interesting characters wearing funny costumes paddling around on the pond in giant carved-out pumpkins. I didn't know anyone did that sort of thing. 

As I painted, someone strung a sturdy line between two trees just to my right, and several people took turns practicing balancing on it. Off to my left someone was flying a radio controlled model airplane. He flew the RC plane, which had a four-foot wingspan, for several minutes before accidentally crashing it into a tree, where it then crashed to the ground - twenty feet away from me!

Of course, many people stopped to visit with me as I painted. A few even returned a number of times to see the painting's progress during their visit to the park. One person remarked,

"This looks just like one of those how-to videos on YouTube!"

Monday, October 13, 2014

Autumn Along a Wasatch Backroad

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
Most of the population of Utah lives just west of the Wasatch Mountains in an area called the Wasatch Front. On the east side of the mountain range are small towns, mostly ranching communities or ski resorts. This area is known as the Wasatch Back. That's where I went wandering with paintbox last week.

Fall colors are at peak - at least they were last week before a wind storm blew through over the weekend. I went out as the wind was gaining strength, but before rain moved in. Taking a break from making big paintings, I took along a 9" x 12" pochade box. The pochade box would be much more stable in strong winds than a 24" x 36" panel on an easel. I was just a little too tired that day to care to wrestle with the wind over an easel.

At a gated road I parked the car, gathered my gear and walked down the two track trail until coming to the scene shown at the top of this post. There I painted until sunset. Afterwards, I just had to walk farther down the trail to see what was there. I came across a couple mule deer browsing along the trail. I also saw more views of the landscape beckoning me to paint them! I don't know if I'll make it back here before the season's gone, but I think it's one of those places I'll return to again and again.

All because I went for a walk instead of just painting beside the car.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Another Biggie - and Another Cattle Drive

24" x 36" Oil on Panel
The weather's been beautiful. The colors have been beautiful. So late last week I got out and made another two foot by three foot plein air landscape painting (shown above). Once again I went to Heber Valley, one of my favorite places to paint.

Upon arriving where I wanted to paint, I saw cowboys moving cattle in a nearby field. Figuring they were going to drive the cattle, I waited to see which way they would go. The cattle moved out onto the road and headed away from me.

"Good." I thought, "They're going away this time."

I set up the easel and secured a big panel onto it. Next, opened the big paintbox, hung the brush washer from the easel, and began squeezing paint onto the palette. Then a red pickup pulled up and the rancher driving it said to me,

"There's cows coming."

Here They Come...
I looked up. The herd had reversed course and was headed my way. I considered temporarily putting everything, including myself, back into the car but there wasn't time. So I put the easel on the "downstream" side of the car and moved between the car and the fence to discourage any cows from coming that way. I wanted them all to pass to the left. It worked, and the easel remained untrampled.

...and There They Go.
I watched the cattle go, then finished setting up and painted until well after the sun had set below the Wasatch Mountain ridge line. 

Studio painters don't have to consider these kinds of things. That's too bad.