Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sunday Debacle?.....

Winter Mums
As i stir and struggle to gather the marbles of my mind and fend off stronghold effects of the previous night, a rush of urgency rushes over me as the realization that i, like Oregon Football, squandered a golden opportunity to capture an amazing dawn.
Yup, i overslept, and on such a beautiful foggy, and frosty morning that was sure to make for some great subjects to paint. Needless to say, i was a tad, um.... pissed. I knew that by the time i gathered my gear and arrived anywhere, the light would be quite different and not really what i was looking for.
As the morning marched on, the sun came out and lit up a pot of winter mums that my wife has on the front porch. The friendly mums took a liking to the brilliant sunlight and they were kind enough to just sit there and smile in an almost gloating fashion. So i set up and tried to give the colorful clump a deserving portrait. Color is just too fun....it should be illegal its so much fun. Please don't tell the moody subjects that i stepped out on them for a day, again.....
I did get out to paint in the mid to late afternoon, but i really felt compelled to tell the story of how Winter Mums unexpectedly came to be. Its a good reminder of how one door closes, but another one opens.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Steigerwald Gold

Steigerwald Gold
This last weekend i was a bit under the weather with a monster bull frog in my throat and my wife would not let me go out in the field to paint. It was a big dissapointment; for being an overcast showery weekend, the atmospheric colors appeared to be strong and vivid. At least from our kitchen window they were.
I took the opportunity to work this larger studio piece of Steigerwald. It is the same composition as last week's painting only i pushed the values a bit, and maybe a bit too far. So i'm stewing on whether to leave it or continue; the infamous age old question.
The great thing i love about working on a painting in multiple sittings is the layering and textured that can only be obtained after the paint has dried to some degree. To me the dragging of paint over dried or semi-dried paint is like taking a big bite of Thanksgiving dinner, absolutely mouthwatering, and something i just can't get enough of.
Matter of fact, i might start calling these my pizza paintings. They get piled high with layers of delicious toppings; and i'm a deep dish, combo kind a guy.
Ever had a Juliano's Hurricane? Oooooooh Ya, if so, then you know what i'm talkin' bout.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall Shouts with Color

Steigerwald's Trumpet
Vastly different from my previous post's painting excursion, this week was about trying to capture the wonderful light on this year's first day of daylight savings. I once again found myself at Steigerwald Refuge in search of a composition that inspired me. Searching for the subject is a funny thing. Along my hike into the refuge i am constantly looking, taking photos and thinking. And somewhere, somehow along the way, BOOM, there it is.... There is no question, that that is the composition. I think many artists will agree that often we do not choose the subject, the subject chooses us, and this subject slapped me upside the head and screamed to be painted.
I spent the late afternoon painting the beautiful day away and enjoying the wonderful fall colors that will all too soon give way to the rigors of its sister season.
I was so moved by this composition that i am currently working on a studio version 16x20 that is beginning to take shape and i will blog about it in a future post. The great thing about studio work is i can take all the time i want and add as many layers as i want and really build up the piece with texture.
However, this piece is about plein air, immediacy, and alla prima as Steigerwald belts out a tune in a Trumpet of color.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Plein Air Trio

Painting Blind
Last Sunday i woke early, without the help of my alarm, to go create some moody work and at the last minute i decided on LaCamas Lake. I wanted to make sure i got there with time enough to pick out a subject and start in before the light came. Well, i got there early enough.... the only thing moving around besides this lughead were two ducks at the boat launch. I wandered around the dark for a bit and found a spot i could see the lake through the trees. Noctural painting here we come..... One thing, because it was still dark, i couldn't see the colors i was mixing. Fortunately all was dark, except for the water and sky. Turns out, i mixed a lovely dark green and dark brown.
LaCamas Gray
Next up, mostly trees with a bit of lake, and by now the rain was a comin' down. Not much in the way of vibrant color, but this is what i was after; the dull truth of our Pacific Northwest weather. I was chilly and getting quite wet by this time, which makes the challenge of focusing all the more difficult, but its also driving me. One passer by stated, "I hope it waterproof paint."
I responded, "Absolutely, it oils"
LaCamas Blue and Gold
I soon found myself at the boat launch trying to land on my third composition of the day. Looking East was a more interesting view, but incredible warm yellow in the turning trees to the West would prevail. At this point the rain was intermittent and i knew i was on the home stretch of my painting excursion. Soon it was done and i was home by noon. Just in time for a hot bath, lunch and a welcome nap.