Thursday, May 22, 2014

Farm Hound

Oil on linen on board

One of my recent goals have been to find ways to paint more in this beautiful local area close by called Hidden Valley.  It's like the name suggests, a hidden oasis, of horse farms and beautiful oak trees between Westlake Village and Newbury Park.   Today I was fortunate enough to have been invited by fellow local artist Kathy Levine along with several other painters to visit her friend Sally's farm in Hidden Valley.   I was such a happy camper!!  And on top of just the natural beauty there, you could also find dogs and more dogs, hens, ducks, horses and several goats,  of which one had just had 3 kids last Saturday...what a treat, right?

There was a truck that seemed to call my name, but I decided to set up and paint one of the many white and red-trimmed buildings from the 30s and 40s.
Here's a photo of this building while the elusive sun was still present.

Besides the charming colors, I was drawn to the light and dark pattern created by the sun in this scene so:
Starting out today, I decided to ask myself this helpful question I learned from Joe Gyurcsak

What is going to change sooner?   The light or the shadow?
My answer was "the shadows" so in order to remember what they looked like and get that down first I started by putting them in with a darker value (see below).
I've been paying a lot of attention to shadows lately, realizing that it's really easy to put them in too dark - and then they look sort of pasted on.
 I also now like to vary them more in color from one end to the other so to speak - get those nice warms and cools playing off each other and find where reflected light bounces into a shadow.
Looking at my painting as I write this...I feel like I need to bring in some of that reflected light into the shadow up top and lessen the contrast of the planks.

I love the work of artists like Tim Horn for his colors and the way he captures light, 
Mark Daniel Nelson for his beautiful values and simplified abstracted compositions, and 
Colin Page for his color combinations and brushwork!  They all paint the effects of light really well and I like to learn from other artists' work, as I always struggle a bit to simplify things more and leave out the details in my own work.

BTW, here are some pictures of the goats:
Sally and Kathy feeding one.

Just a little goat hug!

Wobbling about.


  1. Thanks for showing us some of the artists you admire, but also wanted to let you know I have always admired YOUR work for your light/shadow, like in this wonderful painting. Glad you had fun at the farm!

  2. Thank you Meredith that's very kind of you!!

  3. Thanks for joining us in a little slice of heaven. I'm glad you posted your initial study of your painting.


Thank you! Comments are much appreciated and it means a lot to me that you took the time.