Thursday, December 14, 2017

Another Charcoal Portrait Sketch

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
Last night at Howard Lyon's Studio the model for the session was a local actress done up in an 18th century French rococo outfit and makeup. It seemed as though she had enough flowers in her giant wig for the gardens at Versailles, and enough fabric in her dress to provide curtains for all the windows in the palace at Versailles! Here's a picture of her in a similar dress:

I don't know who the character on the left is, but I hope it's not Robespierre!

Three hours was certainly not enough time to draw that extravagant costume, so I settled for the portrait sketch shown at the top of this post. 

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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Back to Charcoal Sketching for a Session

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
I found another place to attend live model drawing sessions. The Beaux-Arts Academy has an open session on Saturday mornings. There are so many places around this valley that have live model sessions (and affordable ones, too. $7 to $10 a session.) There's no excuse for anyone who wants to practice drawing or painting people from life to not find places where they can do that with other painters and drawers. The sketch at the top of this post is my effort from this morning's session at Beaux-Arts.

Sketching from life with charcoal is a bit like going for a walk in nature. It's simple, basic, and it feels good. Charcoal sketching enables me to focus on things I don't when sketching with oil paints, and in ways I hope will translate over to my oils. I'll continue to sketch in oils, too, but I plan to intersperse oil sessions with charcoal sessions.

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Group Show Opens This Friday

NOVEMBER 17th, 6 - 9 PM

Gallery Stroll and Artist Reception
Kara Aina, James Gunter, Annie K. Blake,
M'Lisa Paulsen & Jenni Thompson

3295 SOUTH 2000 EAST
(801) 467-8770

Here's a sample of plein air oil paintings I'll have at the show:

Come visit the show's opening and see these paintings in real life! While you're there, take a look at other paintings and works of art in the gallery. The show will be up for a few weeks, but don't wait - These could be headed for other peoples walls very soon!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Colored Pencil on Paper
This painting goes way back to before I started using oil paints. Probably even before I made any paintings with pastels. It's a studio piece that brings together various experiences I've had on night hikes in the wild. The moon was done using a sketch of a lunar eclipse I made from my back porch in Pennsylvania (back porches can be wilder than you might imagine.) The cliff is based on one I came across in the Wasatch Mountains. The bighorns are based on ones I saw while passing through the Colorado Rockies, and alludes to the many times I've been aware of wildlife not far from me on walks in dark forests and canyons.

Here's some thumbnail sketches I did while working out the composition for this picture:

I wish I had gotten a better photo of it before it was gone. The painting was sold at a gallery that closed years ago. The picture at the top of this post is a digital image of a bad 35mm film photo, heavily edited to try and bring it up to the quality I think I remember in the original piece. It's the best editing I can do, but still falls rather short of the original. Nonetheless I hope there's yet something in the image the reader can find to enjoy. 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Canyon Cottonwoods

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
I spent a few days in the four corners region of southeast Utah recently. It wasn't nearly enough time. Of course, maybe there's no such thing as "enough time," especially with all there is to see and do in that area.

The weather was great for camping. Aside from all the wonderful landscape scenery, I enjoyed a little wildlife viewing. Pronghorn antelope, mule deer, a couple tarantulas, a few little lizards, a golden eagle, and some wild turkeys (pictured above) were among the native fauna I was privileged to see.

As you can see from the photograph above, I lived lavishly on this trip. Suite #34, from right to left: bedroom, kitchen, and bath. Well, sort of bath.

I did most of my hiking in the canyon shown above. It's where I made the painting shown at the top of this post. As is fairly common in this region, the canyon has several Anasazi ruins and other ancient sites. I wanted to spend time exploring and painting in Bears Ears, but time and resources came up short. I plan to make it there in the relatively near future, hoping it doesn't become too controversial a place to visit. Or maybe even if it does. This picture shows about as close as I was able to get (Bears Ears is that distant bump on the horizon):

Here's a photo taken from the top of a mesa looking towards the Abajo Mountains:

There's so much to see, and so much to paint in this place. More exploration will be needed before I can do more than the occasional painting there. Right now I still feel like I'm just beginning to learn the place. That may take a while. In the mean time, here's a couple more photos taken from inside the canyon:

Thanks for taking time to visit my blog!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wallsburg Willows

12" x 16" Oil on Panel
A week or so ago I drove up to the little mountain town of Wallsburg. Wallsburg is a side trip off of the main route through the mountains. It's an agricultural town in a valley along the Wasatch Back. There are no convenience stores. No gas stations. Just ranches and homes. The road into town leads only to town. It goes nowhere else, unless you want to drive off the pavement and take dirt trails up into the mountains.

I rarely go to Wallsburg. Usually I feel an urge to continue on up to Midway, passing the turnoff to Wallsburg without a second glance. I've only painted once before in that little mountain town. In the last week or so, however, I've spent more time exploring the town and it's surrounding valley. There's a lot to paint there.

About a week and a half ago I drove into the valley to paint. Most of the day was spent driving around; exploring. Aspen trees on the mountainsides had already been stripped of their fall foliage, but willows along the valley bottom were in peak color. There was time for one little landscape study. I found a place where late afternoon sun had cast the east-facing mountain slopes in shadow, but sunlight brightly illuminated stands of willow farther away from those slopes. The contrast was stunning! Here's the little painting I made that day:

6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel
As I painted, a sizable flock of wild turkeys foraged in the field in front of me. At one point a few elk moved through the far end of the field, partially shielded from view by the trees and brush shown in the painting. Later in the  day deer ventured out in twos and threes to browse in the open fields. It was such a wonderful afternoon, and I was happy with the little painting. A couple days later I returned to the same place to experience it again. That time I made the larger painting shown at the top of this post.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Oil Portrait Studies from Last Week

7" x 5" Oil on Panel
Lately I've been using rather small panels at the portrait study sessions. The first oil portrait study is from last Wednesday's session at Howard Lyon's studio. The second is from last Thursdays session at Casey Child's studio. Colors used were titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, and a color by Holbein called blue black. 

7" x 5" Oil on Panel
For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing".

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Another Throwback Tuesday...or, The Girl in the Green Shirt.

22" x  15" Pastel on Paper
Here are a couple pastel portraits mentioned in an earlier post. Years ago I worked exclusively in dry media, such as graphite, charcoal and colored pencil. In the early 90's, wanting to make larger works and finding colored pencil unsuited for that, I switched from colored pencils to pastel. The pastel paintings were done on archival printmaking paper that had the right kind of  "tooth" for the kind of pastel painting I wanted to do. Pastel not only made larger works so much easier to do, but also improved value range and color saturation.

30" x  22" Pastel on Paper
Coincidentally, the model's family lived in the same neighborhood as a well-known painter named William Whitakerand were friends with him. When the second painting shown in this post was accepted and hung in the Springville museum's Spring Salon, I was surprised to see it on the wall right beside a painting by the model's neighbor, William Whitaker.

Photographs by Hawkinson Photography.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Nationally Known Singer/Locally Known Artist's Model

7" x 5" Oil on Panel
This is a little portrait study I painted at last week's Wednesday night portrait session. There was a full house at the session, so the only place for me to set up was right square in front of the model. Because of that, I didn't get to paint her long dark hair which was pulled back in a ponytail. Painters and drawers had about three hours to work from the model. My little oil sketch could use some more work, but when time is called at the end of these sessions, I consider myself done even if the sketch isn't. After all, it's just a study; an exercise. Kind of like how musicians practice before concerts, actors rehearse before plays, and athletes work out before games.

The model originally scheduled for last Wednesday's portrait session didn't show. However, the man who runs the sessions has connections, so a substitute model was called in. Not an ordinary model, though. The model for our session last week is a local singer/songwriter who has appeared on NBC's The Voice, and been featured in a Scott Bradley video, and who goes by the name of Belle Jewel. The studio owner's connection to the singer? She's his daughter.

If you're interested, you can find out more about Belle Jewel at her YouTube channel.

Here's her video on Scott Bradley's Postmodern Jukebox: 

And one of her performances on The Voice:

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Another Throwback Tuesday

Colored Pencil on Paper
This piece goes back to the '90s. I met the woman who modeled for this picture at (conveniently enough) an art supply store. It's a colored pencil piece on a full-sized sheet of archival printing paper, and one of the reasons I don't work in colored pencil anymore. That's a LOT of paper to cover using only tiny pencil points! I made a couple other paintings of her, but with pastel instead of colored pencil. Maybe I'll show those works in future "throwback" posts.

This portrait won a merit award for me in 1998 at the 74th Utah Spring Salon at the Springville Museum of Art, and was reproduced in the show catalog. I've neglected entering these kind of shows for a while now, in favor of painting for professional galleries. What museums like and what galleries want seem to be two different things. I've been considering getting active in museum shows again, while continuing to paint plein air landscapes for galleries, which I very much enjoy doing. The demands, opportunities and challenges that come with shows like The Spring Salon carry a different kind of excitement.

Photograph by Hawkinson Photography.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Random Pics from Random Hikes in the Wasatch Front 2017

Hiking has always been a very important part of my life. Going on walks in the woods, mountains, desert - anyplace wild - is beneficial physically and mentally, and in so many other ways.
The Dry Lower Slopes of the Wasatch Front
Right next to town are the Wasatch Mountains. A few canyons cut deep into the mountains, and are convenient places to begin hikes. The photos in this blog post are from a few of the hikes I've taken this year. To view larger images, click on the pictures.

Near the Mouth of the Canyon
I don't always take photos while hiking. When I do, it's with a cheap little Casio camera that is usually with the gear in my day pack. I have better cameras at home, but it's the Casio that goes with me on trips. If the camera should be accidentally dropped, lost, or otherwise die, it wouldn't be too great an expense to replace it. All of the photos in this post were taken with that little $60 camera.

Water on the Trail
The spring runoff was pretty heavy this year. Fast moving water cut the usually dry canyon trail in several places. A springtime hike included a number of stream crossings while trying to keep my feet dry.

Closer View of the Water in the Previous Picture.
Thick vegetation covers some areas of the canyon bottom. Above that rise towering cliffs.

Wildlife commonly seen in the canyon include mule deer, bighorn sheep, and sometimes moose. I've seen elk sign in the canyon but have yet to see live elk.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies were common in the canyon this year.
Over halfway up the canyon trail you begin to get views of mountains rising above 11,000 feet in elevation.

Lizards are the most frequently seen reptiles in the canyon, but snakes are also often seen. I've met a number of rattlesnakes, and in spite of a couple alarming experiences we've always parted company peacefully. Also common are nonvenomous snakes; gopher snakes, racers, and - surprisingly - rubber boas.

It's not a giant earthworm -it's a rubber boa!
The upper end of the canyon opens up into meadows surrounded by evergreens and aspen trees, and wide open views.

Near one meadow I discovered a good sized aspen tree with very interesting claw marks on it. The claw marks were quite large. Similar marks were also found on a nearby tree. Could the marks have been made by a bear climbing the trees? The marks were rather old, but still encouraged vigilance on my part.

The claw marks go quite a ways up.
In another canyon later in the year I found this. It's not what I'd call pleasant accommodations. It looks like it should have trolls living in it. 

The top of this canyon also opens up into wonderful views of high mountains.

Provo Peak viewed from the north.
Imposing cliffs of Cascade Mountain.
The following photographs are a mix from a couple different canyons. Which canyons doesn't matter for my purposes here. I think this post will be about hiking and just being out in the wild more than it is about any particular place.

There are fascinating views of impressive mountain geology all around during these hikes, but there's much to see closer up, and on a smaller scale.

A Gnarly Rocky Mountain Maple Tree
Mud Wasp Nest?
High up on a cliff I saw this. Below the initials "LW" are reddish concentric circles and other marks. Are the reddish images ancient Indian rock art?

Among all the bigleaf raspberry plants I found one raspberry. I ate it.

Late summer wildflowers, including asters, growing by the trail in abundance.

Following are more views from Wasatch Range canyon hikes. The first one is a similar view to one shown earlier, but photographed later in the year, after most of the snow had melted.

Thanks for checking out my blog. Hope you liked it! Finally I'll leave you with this picture of me enjoying time spent in a Wasatch Mountain canyon.