Leonardo da Vinci

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

--Leonardo da Vinci

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Art-Filled Weekend

This past, steroid induced, weekend of Art was a doozy.
Friday was spent at Kat Sowas Studio, where i was able to take in a Craig Srebnick figurative demo and then got a solid start on a still life painting. Then Vicki and i took in a Vancouver Orchestra Chamber Concert, that included a string quartet, piano, clarinet, two sopranos and ended with a killer violin solo.
Saturday we spent all day in Seattle with two of our sons, Kevin and Brian. We toured the UofW campus and got to see the great architecture, and stunning Cherry Blossoms, We were also introduced to the Frye Museum. A special thanks to, Kevin Weaver from Art on the Boulevard, for turning me onto the outstanding venue that owns very impressive works. The next time you are in Seattle, you MUST take time to visit The Frye. Maybe someday, Vancouver can have this level of museum.....
A Gargoyle peers over us as we pause to rest on a UofW campus courtyard
Bronze sculpture of George Washington, dedicated in 1909, looks west with a view of the Olympic Mountains.
Fun sculpture on campus.
 Pitcher and Flowers 11x14
And lastly, here is the still life that i started on Friday and reworked on Sunday. I was able to paint most of the day which put an exclamation on my weekend that was jammed packed with artistic adventures.
This weekend.....A workshop with my good friend, Eric Jacobsen.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flyin' with Gray

Gray all the Way
This past weekend i had my brushes on six different paintings. Some being completed, some just beginning, and some obtaining both in the same sitting. This one, i would be willing to bet, maybe has thirty minutes into it.
I had just finished cleaning my palette and was deciding on which subject was to be my next victim for the day when i walked upstairs to find it snowing outside; and so, i took this as a sign that i needed to paint a snow scene i had been thinking of.
At least that's what i intended to paint.....
As i began, those three large piles of gray scrapings (light, med., dark) started calling me and i couldn't resist scooping into the juicy piles of mud and without much thought, the frenzy began. I started laying down massive globs of paint and with every twist and turn and slide of the brush, i could feel the tension of a structured, hard thought through painting go right out the window.
Unfortunately, the snow painting went out with it too. But, that's ok for a few reasons.
One, it was therapeutic; two, i can still re-do the composition in a more structured and true snow scene; and three, it was a great use of my scrapings and out came an interesting little painting.
I say interesting, for the chunky, sculpted shapes, and broken color are really fun to see - especially up close.
Most of my scrapings wind up in the next painting session, but i don't recall every painting almost entirely with my grays and i have to admit it felt like one of those guilty sins - like eating an extra donut, even when you know you shouldn't.
So, the next time you get the chance, do something a little off-color, and eat the extra donut.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Great Views from the Park

Maples' Dance
On my way to paint the Post Hospital on Sunday, i couldn't help but to be enthralled with the amazing colors that were vibrating with the intensity of a techno club on Saturday night, and i had to stop at Vancouver's Central Park to capture it.
I have long wanted to paint these interestingly shaped trees that seem to glow when the sunlight illuminates their moss covered limbs and trunks. So i cut my travel short and remained in the park for an action filled afternoon of wind and rain and slingin' oil paints with the spirit of, The Outlaw, Josey Wales.
Seriously though, these trees have such great lines, i don't think i did them justice, but they were great fun and the local colors were inspiring. I will definitely revisit this spot, at least on a seasonal basis to see what poetry of musical color are on display as i witness the Maples' Dance.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Winter, Winter, Winter.....

Winter Morning
During my travels to and from work i drive past some stunning scenery. Many times have i wanted to pull over, break out my gear and start painting. While that hasn't happened yet, in the meantime, i take photos to use as reference for studio work. This painting was done from one of those pics that i have taken, just after a recent snowfall.
One of the great challenges in painting is to capture the subtle value shift that makes a painting read properly. And i think that challenge gets heightened when painting a gray scene; the values are so close that the margin for error narrows to a knife's edge. Fighting through that struggle is also part of the draw for me.
I'm not saying this from an ego maniacal stance, for i'm sure there are many who would rip this thing to shreds in a critique. i only offer this to say that anyone who knows and loves color can attest to the fact of how hard it can be resist the temptation of adding life and vibrancy with color, and remain neutral or tonal. in the end, it still has to come off believable and more important.......inspiring....
Either way it works or doesn't work is for the viewer to decide, but over the course of this winter i have developed a new love for painting the mood, and texture of our Pacific Northwest.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Still Life

Apples and Cheese
This has been a great week with art, and not all of it had to do with the act of painting. My wife and i had the chance to spend last weekend with Celeste Bergin and her hubby, David Burbach at Lake Quinault,WA.
The weather was a bit temperamental and included some high winds, which does not make for much fun as a plein air painter. However, we did take some nice walks that allowed David, a professional photographer, to take some nice photos of the beauty on the Olympic Peninsula.
Celeste and i did manage an indoor still life though, and that was great fun. Even in that controlled environment, we did deal with some struggles; Lighting and elbow room. It was pretty tight quarters, and even though i wasn't, it felt like painting in the dark. Coupled with great conversation, fun atmosphere and bright colors, this painting was a blast.
Also, this week i had the chance to spend an evening with a great friend and fellow oil painter, Bud Fields. Bud is creating a new style of rustic frame made from Blue Pine that really showcase his unique style of Landscapes, Western, and Wildlife Art. I also received a tour of his great collection of art and great workspace. Bud also gave me a great education on the importance of framing and its ability to enhance or detract from a painting, which was a super show-n-tell.
Saturday the 3rd, i am anticipating in the Clark Co. Arts and Culture Summit, which is another big step towards promoting this area's art scene.