Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Late Afternoon in June

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
Tomorrow is the First day of summer. It's a great time of the year to paint in spite of the heat. Of course, if the weather becomes too hot, the Wasatch Mountains are close by to provide a cooler place to go. Paradoxically though, the high mountain altitudes can provide relief from the heat, but not necessarily from the sun.

This was painted on a pleasantly warm afternoon, a few days before June started really cranking up the heat. I've driven past these stands of cottonwood trees west of town many times, thinking I would stop and paint them some day. That day came late last week as I was on my way to paint somewhere else. The air was full of fluffy cottonwood seeds, but I decided to risk getting cottonwood fluff stuck all over my painting anyway. Turned out that, in spite of flurries of fluffy seeds, few seeds stuck to my palette and none to the painting. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Three Women

10" x 8" Oil on Panel
Here are some more portrait sketches from the weekly portrait sessions. All three were made using oil paint and were painted from live models.

The first one shown is the most recent, and was painted last Wednesday. It was made using my most Zorn-ish color palette: yellow ochre, cadmium red (instead of vermillion), ivory black, and titanium white (instead of flake white).

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
The next two were painted with a few changes or additions to that palette. Having been two or three weeks since they were painted, however, I'm not sure I can remember everything I did differently. For the second painting shown here, more Naples yellow and less white was used. It was an experiment to see what would happen if a pale yellow was largely substituted for white.

10" x 8" Oil on Panel
The third painting is of a substitute model. She filled in on the spur of the moment when the originally scheduled model failed to show. This was painted on an entirely untoned panel to see what effect that would have on the portrait.

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Along the way to the Marina

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
Here's a painting made last week. It was a warm summer day and lots of people had headed to the lake. So many in fact, that parking in the state park had filled up and spilled out onto surrounding roads. I was lucky enough to find a good spot to park, and hiked a short ways to an area just north of the marina and campground. The park was crowded, and there were watercraft galore out on the lake, but there was no one else where I went to paint. Cottonwood trees were shedding flurries of fluffy seeds, which could be a problem because they stick to wet paintings. Thick swarms of midges were near the lake shore. They also stick to wet paintings. The open area between the cottonwoods and the marshy lake shore was mostly free of both problems. Besides, it had the visual angle on the trees I wanted to paint. So that's where I set up for the day.

The marshes, trees, and fields near the lake are some of my favorite places to paint, or even just go for walks. Wildlife is one of the attractions there. On the day of the painting, six big white pelicans circled in a thermal not far behind me. The pelican's long black-tipped wings lent grace to their otherwise ungainly bodies and huge orange-yellow beaks. Four seagulls circled with the pelicans. I had to stop painting and watch the show. Three more seagulls joined the pelicans, then two more gulls joined in the dance. I wondered why the seagulls seemed to want to be with the pelicans. It soon became apparent, however, that the seagulls were not there for the pelicans. The gulls were there for the thermal, which the six big white showy pelicans had inadvertently advertised to them. The seagulls gained altitude faster and much higher than the pelicans, then slid off the top of the column in twos and threes heading north. The pelicans labored to gain altitude, rising maybe a hundred feet above the ground. They circled for a few minutes before heading off together southward. The show was over. I returned to painting.