Saturday, May 31, 2014

Staying Late - 6x6 oil on gessoed board

oil on gessoed board

This week has been filled with kids activities; going on a school field trip, teaching art to 2nd graders, karate and all that goes into being a mom in between all that.   Balancing my love for the kids with my love for art is not an easy task and sometimes one wins over the other:-)   
So, after less painting than usual this week I did this little diddy to warm up today.   There's something I absolutely love about a light sky, reflecting in water at sunset.  It reminds me of the Swedish archipelago!   My reference for this was a picture of the parking lot by the Camarillo Art Studios after the rain.   I was able to keep it sort of loose, although there were a few places I went back and I get more and more familiar with what I want to achieve with my paintings...I seem to want less and less of that -

Happy painting all!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still Here

Still Here
oil on linen on panel

This view is from the old barn off Las Virgenes.  So much history and so many stories of the past.  My favorite part of this painting is probably the bluish color on the chair.  I feel that it describes the light seeping into the shadow pretty well...what do you think?

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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Santa Paula Alley

Oil on linen on board

Happy to announce that this painting was accepted and will be on display in the upcoming CAC exhibit Quintessential California at the Santa Paula Art Museum from 
June 28th to November 2nd, 2014
There will be a reception on June 28th between 4-6PM
This is the first time ever, that I've actually gotten into a CAC show.  Entering my work and being juried in, or out is always a such an ambiguous roller coaster experience.  Like Debra Joy Groesser quoted from a juror at the American Impressionist Society.  (I'll find the name tomorrow:-)
"You're work is never as bad as you think or as good as you think."

I will keep that in mind:-)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Carmel Dunes

oil on linen on board

I love the work of Terri Ford.  She paints in pastel and her colors and strong contrast of light and dark values really inspire me.   I had some of her Carmel paintings on to help me with this study for a larger painting.

Speaking of learning from other artists,  the other day I read a post on FB from Robin Weiss - Thank you Robin!! - where he mentioned a concept Kevin Macpherson brought up in his keynote address at the PleinAir Convention in April.   At the time I didn't quite understand what "the light should never cross the dark" concept meant, but Robin posted this great link to Liz Wiltzen's blog where she explains it all very well after taking a workshop with Kevin.     Check it out and try the exercise of two values for yourself!   Here is my first attempt.

Mamma 2 values

As you can tell I have a little trouble not adding a little variety in that dark 2nd value :-)
but I totally agree with Liz Wiltzen:
"Once you feel the sweet spot of this approach, you cross into a new world of possibility. You become liberated from the idea that detail is needed to tell a powerful story."

I need to do it again with a marker!!

Happy Creating

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Plein Air Convention 2014 - One more Demo

Wharf Wiggles
Oil on Gessoboard

Time flies and I got myself busy with an art display for a community event, painting in the local plein air festival and finishing some paintings I wanted to enter for a few shows.   So here I am, still wanting to add another demo to share with you from the PACE in Monterey, before I can catch up with my regular posts:-)  There was so much to learn and consolidating my notes here on this blog has really helped me digest all the information I gathered!


Charlie Hunter's demo was great!  He is -  irreverent, funny and of course an extremely talented and skilled draftsman and designer.   It would be impossible for me to translate into words, what his demo was like in real life :-) I will simply pass on some of his very sensible remarks on painting and creating.

Charlie's technique is refreshingly different from anyone other painter I know and when I had a chance to talk to him he thought it was interesting that I would like his work, since I paint with so much color.    What I find myself so drawn to in his work is the strong light/dark contrast and his excellent design and composition.    He says the reason he paints monochromatic is that:  "Well, color (harmony?) is hard, composition is hard and telling a story is hard - If you can eliminate one...."
And he has the best tag line I've heard for an artist - 
Painting Drippy Portraits of Rotting American Infrastructure.


Charlie paints with Watermicible oils in Burnt Sienna, Viridian and Ultra Marine Blue (with Naples Yellow and Cobra unbleached Titanium, his Thinner (Glycerine and water).  He also uses some unusual tools like Stimudents (Wooden tooth picks), Rosemary (Evergreen Synthetic) Brushes, Black Silver by Dynasty and cheap brushes from Ace Hardware plus Squeegees for straight lines like utility lines, and he suggests using brushes you can't control.  "I like the evidence of the fight and struggle."

Charlie points out that as artists we are story tellers - not journalists, and we get to tell people: "Come here, there is something I've gotta show you."

Some more words of wisdom from Charlie:

  • Use a sketch book - it provides endless source material.
  • We are Gods of our own paintings.
  • Stephen King's book on writing is applicable to artists as well.
  • The painting is better by constantly editing.
  • You want the painting done to a degree where you can ask: "Is the eye going where I want it to go?"