Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This oil painting was a study in painting the warm tones of dusk. Once again I used a small team of colors, Cobalt Blue, various Cadmiums and Titanium White. I like the way the overall colors hold together...which seems much more natural with a small group of colors.

This oil painting is 14 x 18 inches. The scene was along the Gulf Coast in Texas.

I like to explore a subject by painting a series, probably the largest one of which has been the ongoing series of French landscapes. But sometimes it's very good to paint something I've never painted before and have no plans to paint in a series. Such is the case with this rose, which is a 10 x 8 inch oil painting. In reality the background was a mix of a dark passageway and a sunlit order to avoid a distracting contrast in the background, I had to choose between a light or dark background. I wavered, and think that either could have worked...but am happy with the dark background for the rose.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Those who have been following this blog know that I am very much drawn to light-and-shadow scenes. Today I did a painting of a much more softly lit landscape, this time in Spain, just outside the town of Trujillo. I also decided to use only a few colors, i.e. Cobalt Blue, Titanium White and a range of Cadmiums from medium-yellow to light-red. The color mixing was much more subtle than usual. This oil painting is 14 x 18 inches.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This oil painting is of a scene in the south of France and is 20 x 16 inches. There are several things in this scene that tell you we're not in the US, but to me the most interesting is the fact that we have a woman herding cows into the barn while wearing a skirt! I also liked the angles of the old stone farm buildings and the little patches of sunlight on parts of the roofs. It was in the early summer and although not yet sunset, it is getting late in the day...which is of course why the cows are heading home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This oil painting is of a Spanish landscape and is 9 x 12 inches. I did it very quickly at the end of a day when I had struggled with more difficult subjects. I often find it relaxing to work on a nice peaceful landscape at the end of a challenging day.

My brush of choice with this painting, as with many lately, was a #14 Bright. The one I have been using is quite soft but has very good edge definition. I really like the action of this brush. I can produce narrow lines, get into little spaces, put down a strong angular stroke or just cover a lot of area quickly. For larger work I still like to block in with a larger brush with stiff bristles, as this lets me get the main shapes defined quickly, while the idea is still fresh.

I find it helpful to try new types of brushes from time to time, and to vary the brushes I am using. It seems to keep things more interesting without really changing my style of painting.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This is an oil painting of a scene next to the Mediterranean in Barcelona, Spain...maybe a good image to look at in mid-January!

One of the things I have struggled with at times is the tendency to stand too close to the easel and hold the brush close up to the painting end. This can produce paintings that are too "tight" and fussed-over. In recent weeks, to guard against this tendency, I have placed a soft carpet remnant some distance from the easel. I don't wear shoes when painting in the studio and it is very easy to tell when I'm standing on the nice soft carpet at an appropriate distance from the easel, and when I've stepped off it to overwork my painting. This helps me to use more of my whole arm to paint (not just the small muscles of the fingers), to hold the brush at the opposite end from the bristles, and to see more of my painting while I paint. One gives up a little control but gains a freer and more expressive stroke. Plus it's more fun.

This oil painting is 20 x 16 inches.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This oil painting is one of a series I have been doing...walking in Colorado. This one is 9 x 12 inches.

Monday, January 4, 2010

This oil painting, which is of a landscape in the south of France, is 18" x 36". It's unusual that I paint a scene this elongated, but it is fun to work with a different format. Sometimes I do perfectly square canvases too.
I like the gently rolling hills, small fields and tree-borders in this countryside, in this case creating what I felt was an appealing diagonal going up from the middle left of the canvas. I also liked working with the complementary colors of red and green in this early-summer scene where there are still bare fields but the trees are fully leafed out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Greetings and Happy New Year!
This oil painting is 12 x 9 inches and is of a scene in Colorado. I enjoy spending time in landscapes like this even without a paintbrush. One thing I liked about painting this one was the high horizon and therefore lack of sky, which is often one of the lightest and brightest parts of a scene. This composition allowed me to create (for the most part) one light and one dark shape.