Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lake TenKiller, Oklahoma, in December

Oil on Canvas Board

This was from a photo I snapped last Christmas. My husband wanted to go somewhere QUIET! Since this is a summer recreation spot, it was VERY quiet. We rented a cabin in the “town” of Burnt Cabin.

I tried to implement what I learned from the recent demos I did. I sketched it in carefully on white canvas, and then blocked in the main colors. Working from back to front, top to bottom, I put in the details. I did not do it alla prima, but I let each section dry before I proceeded, so that if I made a mistake, I would wipe it out without disturbing everything. The colors go down so much cleaner when the paint underneath is dry. Also, after letting it dry, I could see where it needed more light, dark or color.

For the lichens on the tree, I dulled down some viridian. I am very happy with how this came out.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two Trees

Oil on Canvas Board

This is from a picture I took myself. It is of “Two Trees”, which is a local landmark here in Ventura. These two trees on top of the hill can be seen from many spots in Ventura. The weather is really mild here, so there are fields of cutting flowers. I found these delphiniums, and the view was great, so I took a lot of pictures. You would never know that the freeway is right behind me.

I tried to keep this loose and painterly, like in the demos. I also sketched it first, and then put in the thin base colors. I painted it in one night after work. I am going to try to do more of these “one night-ers”. The mountain was very important to me to get JUST right, since everyone in Ventura sees it. The clouds are bare canvas. It was hard to get the delphiniums without having them bleed into each other.

I am VERY happy with this one, and I am going to try to make more happy, light, bright paintings.


Oil on Canvas Board

I wanted to do a small painting so that I could do the whole thing at night after work in one sitting. This is an image from the Wet Canvas Image Library. Thank you to whomever posted it.

The picture was taken on a cloudy day, so it was pretty dreary. When I painted it, it still looked dreary. After it dried, I put on a few highlights. They sort of stood out, so I fixed the darks too. That stood out. So I punched up all the colors and made them all brighter. I also added the tree in the background after the mountain was dry. I am happy enough with it, but I am back to my picky style, and not the bold style of the demos I worked on.

Bob Rohm Demo #1

Oil on Canvas Board

After doing the two Kevin MacPherson demos, I thought I would try one from another book. This was from page 109 of Bob Rohm’s The Painterly Approach. I chose it because I wanted to do glowing clouds.

Bob’s steps of procedure are very similar to Kevin’s: thin quick sketch with Burnt Sienna on an untoned canvas, block in the colors, then paint them. I like blocking in the colors. I was originally taught to do a value sketch with Burnt Sienna under the whole painting. But for me, the Burnt Sienna bled into every color and made mud. By blocking in colors for under-layers, the only thing that can bleed in is more interesting color. It keeps the colors clean, and helps me stay on track as to where I am on the painting.

With Kevin’s pictures, I did the darks first and then the lights. But in this one, I worked back-to-front, top-to-bottom. Then I could work on the edges in the sky and the mountains when they were still wet. But the under-paintings in color helped me keep the shadow areas and the light areas distinct and separate, which is important for making things pop.

I learned that clouds have to be designed and laid out just like mountains and trees. I can’t just toss the paint around and expect things to magically happen. I had to decide, even on the clouds, what was going to be in light and what was going to be in shade.

For the mountain, I did the whole lit part in a light, glowing reddish color (Burnt Sienna, Cad Red Light and White.) I put it on VERY thinly. When it was dry, then I put on the purple shadows and the light snow.

I didn’t do any of these demo paintings all in one day. Usually, the first day, I sketched it in, blocked in the colors, and worked significantly on the shadow areas. The next session is when I would put in the lights. By that time the darks were dry enough that I was not going to accidentally make mud.

Again, when the painting was dry, I went back and punched up the highlights on the clouds and the snow just a bit. I learned that it was a waste of time to paint the lightest lights and the darkest darks while the whole painting was still wet. Anything I put on at that point is just going to “sink in” like quicksand.

I am happy with this painting too. Bob Rohm put it on the cover of his book.

Kevin MacPherson Demo #2

This is a demo that I did from page 103 Kevin MacPherson’s book Landscape Painting Inside and Out. I did it just how he said to do it. I propped the book up next to my easel, followed the instructions and copied the pictures.

I started with an untoned canvas, roughed in the outlines with thin OMS (thin like a watery watercolor). Then I blocked in the main color shapes also with super thin paint, and a really fat brush (#10). Then I painted all the shadow areas on one day, and the next day painted in the light areas. I used a #4 flat. When I was painting the dark areas, it was really depressing. Everything was dark and gray. But then when I did the light areas, it really popped! All of that gray was necessary. When it was done, and dried for a day or two, then I put in on the very lightest highlights (and touched up whatever other little colors needed attention.)

For the sky, I painted it all blue, but I didn’t know how to get the warm glow on the right. When I was painting the lights, I dry-brushed on a warm buff that I was painting the light rocks with. That gave it a warm, golden glow without turning the sky green. I did that over the entire sky, but moreso on the right.

Overall, I am happy with it. Copying the demo helped me make the painterly strokes, and see how dark, how light, how dull and how bright I needed to make things. Now if I could just do this without copying someone else's work.