Thursday, May 31, 2012

Late Sun at More Mesa

Lessons learned in Ray Robert's Workshop
Along with about 12 other students I got to spend 2 intense days painting and learning from Ray Roberts, a great workshop teacher and winner of the Gold Medal Award for Painting at the California Art Club's 101st Annual Gold medal show in April of this year.   Here are some of the notes I took and what I'm taking with me from the class:

The focus on shapes; finding the rhythm of the shape and making the contour interesting enough to be believable, but not being a slave to the literal interpretation.
(We did a great exercise where we focused on painting a scene in just 3 values, focusing on the shapes and staying pretty close in values within each shape, simplifying it to make a stronger statement - a great exercise for me because I tend to get lost in all the beautiful colors I see in nature and then I tend to end up with too much lights and dark areas within an area/value and loosing the strong design, things "popping" where they shouldn't...)

Ray pointed out that if you are unhappy with a painting it is often because you changed your light and dark pattern.
-We talked about achieving "Dynamic Symmetry" where there is both balance - and tension. 
-Seeing painting as a subtractive process of what to avoid:
Anything equal, repeating angles; shapes; sizes and spacing.

The painting high above is the one I did in the afternoon on the first day.  I was drawn to the contour of the cliff and if you look at the photo right above you can see that there is this "very interesting clump of trees" hanging off the edge of the cliff.  Great I thought, and put it in just the way it was.   Ray came over and was nudging me to perhaps take them out....I felt pretty resistant since those trees were the reason I decided to paint this cliff (aside from the composition I could create within the little 6x6 format and the great atmosphere and colors) so I was pretty determined to keep them.   In a very smart move Ray then asked Peggy (Kroll-Roberts, his wife and a very accomplished artist and teacher) to come over and look at my painting asking her if there was something she felt I should add?...Or take out, I added.   Well she said, there are those trees that just draw your eye over there because it's the area of most contrast make a long story short - I got the point, took them out and learned an important lesson in the importance of simplifying and not being a slave to what's there especially when something that might seem interesting can pull your eye over to that area in a painting and then get you stuck there:-)
I really like this little plein air sketch now.  It's simplified, the values and shapes work and I love the combination of color.  Thank you Ray and Peggy!
Now on to the next thing I need to learn...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mi Perro y La Playa - Sold

Painted on location at O'Hendry's Beach

This was one of my paintings displayed at the Art Along the Creek event in Santa Barbara this past weekend.   An event organized by SCAPE (Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment) to benefit the Phoenix of Santa Barbara - a non-profit mental health agency - and it's creek habitat restoration program.    I can't help but think that giving the painting back the title my husband originally gave it had something to do with it selling:-)  It was a really nice event and a chance to get to know more of the artists that belong to SCAPE and supporting a great cause.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peaceful Atmosphere

It feels like a long time since I was out painting, although it's only been since last Monday... I came back from a workshop with Ray Roberts that weekend where I learned a lot and got to do a lot of painting. ...(Didn't think I could ever have enough time for painting:-), but I felt like I had to take a little time off and re-charge.   I enjoyed time with the kids, catching up with business related art-stuff and ideas for a Children's book and even today I wasn't sure I would be ready, but I'm really glad I went.   I found a shady spot by the entrance road to King Gilette's and I could see this view of the hills and the kind of atmosphere I like to paint.   A peaceful morning getting back to painting and feeling rejuvenated by being out in nature again and before I knew it I feel motivated (aka obsessed) again.   I'll share more about what I learned at the workshop coming up!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sunstruck - sold

This little original was painted at Paramount Ranch en Plein air, which is my favorite way to work!   I loved the way this tree was back-lit and stood out against the foliage in the back.   A great day of painting, and I felt even more comfortable when I ran into Joseph Mendez and his painting friend on the same road.
I'm really excited about two things this week:  I get to go on a 2-day work-shop with Ray Roberts this Friday and Saturday and I found this great place for floater-frames for my little 6x6 paintings and they just arrived in the mail.   I have to give thanks to Nancy Hartley and her blog Nancy Hartley's Art Adventures which is where I found her post on frames from Franken Frames.   The frames are beautiful and very reasonably priced and I followed Nancy's lead and talked to Roger, from Franken Frames  (800 322-5899) and when I mentioned Nancy he was able to easily figure out exactly what I needed.   Sometimes it's so much easier talking to someone on the phone instead of ordering frames online.   I got the all black, the white-washed maple and the clear maple with black interior and I attached the wooden support piece with 2 screws from the back and then glued the canvas board to that (this can also be attached with silicone caulking or velcro which would make it possible to change a painting out).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

All Sliced Up

Man oh man are oranges difficult!...  and I guess good practice for that very reason....   I continue to work on simplifying things, but I have to really fight the urge to stare myself blind on every little nuance of color I see.   My favorite part of this painting is the upper left corner.   Let's see if things improve with the next orange:-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Key to Survival

My second still life in my series on mice (or collectibles).   And I really like this little mouse - able to avoid the hungry owl...:)