Friday, August 7, 2009

Com-Plein Air Painting

I painted with the Plein Air Nashville group Saturday. We went to the new Harlinsdale Farm Park in Franklin. I was the third to arrive and found Kevin about half done with his painting. I wandered all around looking for some inspiration. I wandered way too long. That's a problem of mine. When I finally set up there were probably 10 others who showed up and were already painting. I finally just stopped in the shade of a tree and painted this barn. The same one Kevin painted. He had a better angle on it. I always have something to complain about when I attempt to paint outdoors. I just saw an article in a magazine where Kevin Macpherson said he coined the phrase "ComPlein Air" painting. THAT'S what I do! : )

Here is a photo of what I was seeing. The colors on my painting are not really as saturated as the photo shows. Just one more complaint. : )

Friday, July 17, 2009

Orange Slice

Wednesday afternoon I made a little trip out to the country to try painting a still life. A local landscape painter, (Jason Saunders) has built a new studio near Leiper's Fork and invited some folks to come and paint. Last week he had several still lifes set up and this week he had a couple of models... his kids. That's one of them in the photo. He is giving me the evil eye cause he could tell I was about to make a move for his Sun Chips. The floor was getting slick from my drool as I watched him eating them.

More people came than were expected, (around 20) but I think we all fit in OK. I opted to paint from a still life. I'm not into painting figures at this point. This is a detail from one of the still life set ups. Others painted the entire set up which included a vase of flowers and other things. I just focused on one lonely orange slice. That's all I thought I could handle. And I was right. : )

It's amazing how you can get lost in looking at a simple object and seeing all the colors and then trying to find all those colors in your paint. A real challenge, but the time flies when you are painting. I never got a the background a color that I liked, but this was the state it was in when I called it quits and went home before the big thunderstorm hit.

I know what you are thinking... the color in my painting is nowhere close to the color in the still life photo. You are right. I shot the bad still life photo under incandescent lights and I shot my painting under natural daylight. As we know, the light falling on something makes all the difference. That's why I try to stand in dark, shadowy corners.

Friday, July 10, 2009

the Fuji

I had not attempted to paint a still life for a while, so I went to the fridge and pulled out a Fuji. The best apples ever! I set it out and put a light on it and then the fun begins. I still consider myself a beginner painter. If you look closely, you can see my little training wheels are still attached. I made some panels a long time ago that are gessoed and gray, and I used one of them for this. I am still figuring out materials. Sometimes I like the smooth boards... sometimes I want the bite of canvas. Can't decide.

The hard part of painting this apple was that it wasn't all red. It was a combo of red and green. So the problem was not just painting a round red apple... but an apple with color changes AND the light falling on it. Tough. I got some things that I liked, but as usual, at some point I ended up messing them up. This is par for me. : ) The shadow was much better at one point, but I messed with it and when I got tired of painting, I just left it and called it a day.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Don't even THINK about it!

It has been a while since I posted any paintings here. I am painting... really... but most of the time I end up with a "wiper" or a "scraper" or as one painter calls them, a "frisbee." Since I paint on panels, you can take a bad painting and sail them into the woods like a frisbee. I have become a master at making toned canvases. Make a bad painting... wipe it off.

Case in point. I was painting with the Plein Air Nashville group near Cheekwood one Saturday morning several weeks ago. My first painting attempt wasn't going anywhere, so I wiped it down, and shifted my attention to the entrance of Cheekwood. I had just gotten things blocked in when I needed to leave. So I took a photo and continued painting from it later at home. I think I nailed having a focal point on this one! But a painting friend of mine told me I should have left out the sign. But that was the whole point. Oh, well...

As I walked up to the Do Not Enter sign, I saw that someone had added some reinforcing words to the empty space. I like it. : )

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 painting #1

I took a couple of photos from the side of the road a while back. I thought I would try to turn one into a little painting. What caught my attention at the scene was the colorful orange grass on the hillside. I am convinced that a strong design is vital to a painting's success. So I did many little thumbnails where I played with the shapes and value pattern. I varied the sizes and the arrangement of the shapes. Finally I settled on the vertical format and made a 6"x8" painting. It's not a great painting... the brushwork is bad... among other things. But I think the design is working OK.

thumbnails (click to enlarge)

6"x8" oil on panel

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hay Bales

Hay Bales 6"x8" oil on panel

I have not had much time this summer to work on my painting chops. The last three or four times I have gone out to paint, have resulted in wipers. I stepped back at some point and got a good, objective look at my painting and decided that all the CPR in the world was not going to save it... so I wiped it off. I am getting quite good at creating toned panels, though. :0) I seem to be taking two steps forward and one step back in my painting progress. Or maybe one step forward and two steps back is more like it. Painting can be a struggle.

So... I decided to go back to basics. Many years ago I took some watercolor workshops from Tony Couch. In the workshops, Tony taught me all I know about design. It was good stuff. He also POUNDED into our heads that a painting needs a fast reading VALUE PATTERN. I seem to forget this when I am outdoors and dealing with the rapidly changing light conditions and other issues.

I looked through some pictures I took recently of some hay bales and settled on a couple of them. I did some little thumbnail sketches to see them in three values. These had a very obvious value pattern. A dark background with a mid-value field and some light bales of hay. Then I went about sticking to this value plan as I painted. I think I did... and it helped me come out with a more successful painting.

Value sketches for hay bales

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I am somewhat new to painting with oils. I am hoping that starting this blog will encourage me to paint more. We'll see...