Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ventura Moonrise

Oil on Stretched Canvas

I did a painting from this photo about two years ago. I took the photo myself when Alan and I were photographing a fabulous sunset on the beach. I was happy with the earlier painting, but I wanted to do it again. This has pros and cons over the other painting. With this version, I was trying to paint brighter colors, more of a Monet technique, and a more accurate reproduction of the photo.

Here Comes the Sun

Acrylic House paint on the side of a metal storage shed.

I have an artist friend, Scott, who likes to have art events at his house. He had a metal storage shed, and he thought it would be great to have "everyone" over to paint his storage shed. He provided all the leftover house paint and brushes, and everyone painted. Everyone had to draw a card and paint what the card said. The theme was "60's" and my card said, "Here Comes the Sun". That was lots of fun. I made the sun about three feet tall, and I put the famous Ventura Two Trees on the hill. The best part was: all kinds of people were painting. There were artists, non-artists, adults, teens, and children. There was NO pressure to make anything "perfect", just to have a good time. All the brushes Scott provides have a star on the end of them, so I feel like I am working with a magic brush, and my painting will automatically turn out better.

Portrait Workshop

Oil on Stretched Canvas

I painted this at a workshop that I took locally. The teacher gave a demo, and her style is loose. She is very good, but I am not.

The teacher was very adamant that we learn the five kinds of light to make the shape turn:

Three in light:
1. Highlight
2. Light plane
3. Half tone.

Two in shadow:
1. Shadow.
2. Reflected light.

For flesh tone: Raw sienna + Alizarin Crimson. Shadow: Alizarin + Chromium Green. I did my best, but I am not happy with it. However, as bad as it is, honestly, it looked more like the model than any of the other students'. In fact, it looked more like a person than any of the other students'. We painted from a live model. Hopefully, I will do better portraits in the future.

Green Cove

Oil on Stretched Canvas

Another painting created in the hopes of getting into the gallery with photo from the Wet Canvas Image Library.

I really liked how the water went from a deep blue in the back to almost a chartreuse in the front. I tried to capture that spectrum. I tried to make the water look sparkly, wet and transparent. I am very happy with how this one came out.

I did enter this in the Ventura County Fair, and it won third place.

Seascape at Sunset

Oil on Stretched Canvas
This was another painting I did in hopes of getting into the gallery. Again, the image was from the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library, and I am so thankful for the photographers who generously make these photos available for artists to utilize.
I am still enjoying painting bright colors, so I made this one pretty bright too. Sunsets do have a lot of glowing colors in them, and I was trying to capture the glow.

Point Lobos Wave

Oil on Stretched Canvas
I was thinking about trying to get into a gallery. I spoke with the lady there, and she said that since summer was coming up, they were interested in beach and ocean scenes. I did not have any, so I set about to create some.
I looked on the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library and I found this. The foreground in the photo was all white, foamy water. I re-worked it three times before I was happy with it. I was trying to put lots of different colors in the water, not just blue.
I like looking at paintings up close and seeing all kinds of colors and interesting brush strokes, so that's what I was trying to do here. My goal was to keep the values of the colors the same while I changed the hue.

Window with Flower Box

Oil on Canvas Board
This was from a photo on the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library. I liked how the wall was soft and muted and contrasted with the flowers in the flower box. I used the brush on most of the painting, but the flowers were painted with the knife, using the technique I learned from Susan Sarback. I like the knife because I can layer and dab paint as much as I like, at it does not make mud, but just keeps piling the paint up, creating a bright, sparkly effect.

Olivas Arch - Small

Oil on Canvas Board
6" x 8"

I painted this same scene before, plein air, about a year ago. I really liked it, and I wanted another one, so I copied my plien air. I punched up the saturation a bit, and I am happy with how this came out.

Bongart Demo

Oil on Stretched Canvas

Many years ago, my grandpa took a workshop with Sergei Bongart. He also bought one of Bongart's paintings, and it hung over the mantel at his house. I loved looking at it and I was enthralled by the looseness.

Now that I am painting, I wish I could also attend one of Bongart's workshops, but he is gone. I found a website run by his widow and I ordered a book by Mary Balcomb and a demo DVD by Mrs. Bongart. When it comes to painting, she is no slouch. I highly recommend the book and the DVD.

This painting was in the book, on page 115, with step-by-step instructions. I will summarize them for you.

1. Lightly tone the canvas with a very watery wash. He tends to use a black-thaylo blue mixure, basically a dark, cool gray. Then sketch in loosly the subject matter. For me, I could not get it right, so I charcoled it in and went over it with the brush.

2. Using a BIG brush, block in basic colors and planes, keeping everything in an approximate middle value. No details. Pay attention to keeping shadow areas and lit areas distinct and separte. Let it dry.

3. With a big brush again, put in dark-darks, light-lights, intense colors, and "calligraphy".

Joyce Pike is also a student of Bongart's, and even though she paints mostly flowers, her steps are similar.

Lavender Field

Lavender Field
Oil on Canvas Board
6"x 8"

This just did not come out as nicely as I hoped. I am trying to make a true record of every painting, including the boring ones, so I am posting this too. I thought, looking at the photo, that it was stunning, but it just didn't look all that hot when I was done.