Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oak Tree and Hills

Oil on Canvas Board
6x8

This is another image from the WetCanvas Image Library. It had a fence in it, but it just looked good at this point, so I stopped. The sky really is a pale blue, not white. I am able to do these small images at home in about 1 1/2 hours. These small ones at night are good practice, so that I have my systems down for when I do plein airs.

Grand Tetons: Colorful Hill


Oil on Canvas Board
6x8

My favorite art website is WetCanvas.com. There are many people there who give me encouragement and pointers. They also have a Resource Image Library of copywrite-free photos for the WetCanvas members to paint from. I found this image, and I gave it a try. I chose it because I wanted to practice grass and atmospheric perspective. Thank you to whomever uploaded it.

Plein Air: Carpenteria Bluffs Another Angle

Oil on Canvas Board
6x8

I did this the same day as the last one. I didn't have to move my set-up, I just faced a different direction. The sun was setting, and I was up high, so the sun was peeking underneath the trees.

Plein Air: Carpenteria Bluffs

Oil on Canvas Board
6x8

I read a book by Bob Rohm called “The Painterly Approach”. That was an eye opener. Now I am going to paraphrase what I understood him to say. He said there are two kinds of painting: “linear” and “painterly”. Linear is not bad, it is just different. In a linear painting, you carefully outline where your objects are going to go, then you fill them in. This is like the Dutch Maters, or paint-by-number. It’s okay, it is just the “linear” way.

Then there is the “painterly” way. You take your big raggedy brush, and using the flat side of it, you scribble in masses of color where your objects are going to go. He showed a demo picture, and it reminded of me of when you give a four-year-old a coloring book: green scribbles in the tree “area”, red scribbles in the barn “area”. Ah-ha!

I remember other great landscape books saying things like, “Block in the masses, and then add the detail”. I would carefully outline where the masses would go (linear), then color them in very carefully (linear), then take a thin brush and draw on the details (linear). And my painting still looked so stiff, not loose like the author’s.

Well, I went plein air painting, and I gave this new scrub-your-masses in system a try. The brush that happened to be in my kit was a beat up mess. It was wonderful! It made such great random strokes. When I got home, I took another cheap filbert that I had and gave it a nice layered hair-do so I could have one for my “studio”.

I did the grass the way Ron Guthrie once explained to me: Smear the grass-color on with your knife, then take the tip of your knife and drag up some individual grass blades.

Mission Cross

Oil on Canvas Board
8x10
SOLD

The cross is a historical marker in our area. 200 years ago, the Catholic Church established Missions up the coast of California. Our Mission is “San Buena Ventura”, which means “Saint Good Venture”. (Other Missions have names like Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and San Diego, which gave those cities their names.) ANYWAY, when they founded this mission, they put a big cross up on the hill, and people drive up there to look at it, and enjoy the great view of the beach.

A neighbor told me that if I painted the cross he would pay me. I said okay becuase I really didn't know what to say. I could barely paint when he asked me. Now I am a lot better. I painted it for the challenge, but I think artistically, it doesn’t do much for me, and I think that shows in the painting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alla Prima: Mission Bench

Oil on Canvas Board
6x8

The last one went so well, I tried another one. This was from a photo I took up at the Santa Barbara Mission. I did it in one shot, with no touch-ups later. This makes it an “Alla Prima”, which means, “All at the First”.

Field of Purple Flowers

Oil on Canvas Board
6x8

I decided that I needed to practice more often, so I tried painting a picture at home in the evenings after work. I chose a picture from my photo album, and did it in one sitting. I was not happy with it, so I touched it up a little after it dried somewhat.

Plein Air: Olivas Garden Arch

Oil on Canvas Board
6 x 8

I went to the Olivas Adobe again, and it was an overcast day. The sun was barely shining through the clouds. I never painted a cloudy day, so I found a good place to sit and see the sun, and I painted as fast as I could. I didn’t like how it came out initially, but later I felt it was a bit whimsical, so I kept it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Plein Air: Meditation Mount

Oil on Canvas
6 x 8
SOLD

I overheard someone say that there was a boarding school at the end of Ojai that was very beautiful (they were discussing it as a place to hold a wedding), and there was a nice spot nearby with a great view of the Ojai Valley. So I drove out there, and discovered signs to "Meditation Mount".

On top of the hill, there was a parking lot, picnic tables, and an auditorium with glass walls facing the view. There was also a short path through a beautiful drought tolerant garden (lantana, lavender, kangaroo paws, gum trees) and many quiet spots to sit and watch the sun set. It seemed very Eastern: Buddhist or Hindu, but I could not tell. There were signs to be quiet out of respect for people meditating. Altogether, there were lots of things for me to paint, nice people, and very peaceful.

For this painting, I sat on a low wall next to the auditorium. The eucalyptus trees were back lit and the leaves were glowing like stained glass. I could not capture that, but I will definitely be back and try again.