Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ventura Moonrise

Oil on Canvas Board

We live 10 minutes from the beach, and sometimes I like to go down and take pictures of the sunset. That day was a phenomenal sunset, I was snapping away with the camera. Alan said, “Hey turn around and look at the moon”. Full moons always rise around sunset. I said, “No Alan, I’m busy getting this sunset”. But he kept pestering me, so to please him I turned around. It was so beautiful: the moon rising and the sky all pink and lavender. Then he said, “Come down here near the water, and you can see the sky reflected in the wet sand”. It was even prettier. I am so glad that he pestered me. This is one of those photos from that day. It took me seven hours in one session.

The photo does not show it well, but the pink clouds have a little glow to them. I tried to use Alizarin Crimson and white, but that just made a washed-out, soft pastel pink. I remember a long time ago, I saw a demonstration, and the artist (Linda Lee) knocked out some thunderheads in a glowing pink sunset. The demonstration was indoors at night, and she was not even using a reference photo. It was amazing. I remembered she said she used some “rose” paint for the magenta clouds. So I dug around in my paints and I found some Thaylo Rose. I know that my Thaylo Green and my Thaylo Blue are totally overpowering, and should not be used unless painting a neon sign. I figured if this was Thaylo Rose, it was going to be super powerful, and super pink. It was. Sure enough, a little dab-l-do-ya.

I think learning to paint is a lot like climbing a mountain. To get to the top from the trailhead, there are exactly 105,837 steps. There are no shortcuts: you just have to take every step. With learning to paint, you have to paint 1000 paintings. There are no secrets or shortcuts, you just have to knock them out one at a time. So far, every painting is just a little better than the last. This one isn’t perfect, but it is better than the last one. I am one more painting closer to being a great painter.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Korean Ozarks

11 x 14
Oil on Canvas Board

This was painted from a photo snapped by my nephew Kevin. He grew up on his family’s ranch in the Oklahoma Ozarks. Kevin went into the Marines, and when he was stationed in Korea, he found a place that looked exactly like Oklahoma, so he took a picture.

I liked this picture because of the split-complimentary color scheme of the blue and violet in the background, and the gold in the foreground. Also, I tend to paint everything with a sharp edge, and I wanted to try varying my edges to get more depth and interest in the painting. It’s too easy to make every brush stroke the same, either hard or soft. I painted it in one six-hour session. Every painting for me is an exercise, and I learn more and more from each one.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Succulents with Pond

11 x 14
Oil on Canvas Board

I am feeling more confident with my painting. I did this from a photo I snapped, and it took many hours spread out over a few days. I did not get stuck or frustrated though. I have a system now for where to put my supplies, and a system for getting the picture on the canvas. I am not as intimidated as to which colors to mix to get the color I need. I don’t get bogged down in the ugly stage when I only have dark values on the canvas. When the painting was done, I was not satisfied with it: the rocks on the right were fighting to be the focal point, so I had to redo some of the stuff on the left. Overall, I am satisfied. I think the next one will be even better.