Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I've been attending to other important duties today - namely delivering paperwork ending my long-term employment relationship. I was thankful to have a painting to finish this afternoon. I sketched this painting and backed it up with photos last week while visiting East Coulee.
An hour before the sun set it cast beautiful long shadows across the landscape and illuminated the east bank of the coulee. The overcast sky seemed so dull contrasted against the bright hillside. I hope I've capture at least some of the clear crisp evening light. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I took a very short break from the "project" and puddled around with my recently restocked quinacridone paints. The larger bloom seems to have turned her back on us to look back on the summer sunshine. I used pthalo and ultramarine blue and burnt sienna in addition to quinacridones gold, rose, red and magenta in this wet into wet doodle. I hope to have more time to use my "quins" the next time I paint - I really enjoy these paints! Get more interesting information about the quinacridone pigment family by clicking here.
Interesting that my favourite pigments were first marketed in 1958. They are 50 years old, just like me. A very good year indeed.... Enjoy!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I set up right on the rocks across the river from a huge retaining wall. I liked the patterns of light that were happening along the steep back yards of the homes to the south. The light was streaming in on an alarmingly sharp angle for 2pm... it is definitely fall. The shadows of the tall blue spruce trees threw some nice long shadows. A red roof with a white chimney poked through and caught my eye... and I began to draw. Just as I finished up my value sketch, a fellow in a red shirt came along and sat down on the retaining wall... I thought he was reading but now that I'm home and I look at my photos I can clearly see he is playing a guitar!
I enjoyed the 2 hours I spent painting and puttering so much. Children were laughing and throwing sticks for their dogs (it's an off-leash area), and LOTS of folks drifted by in their dinghies, kayaks, and canoes. I took quite a few photos and had some laughs with dog owners when their pets show a strong interest in sniffing my paints (honey based!).
I came home at 5 with a painting I did not like at all. I struggled with water control due to the warm, very dry air and I missed my 1" flat which I left at home. In warm dry air there's no time to fiddle with paint... it should be stroked on and left alone shortly thereafter until completely dry. Well, that didn't happen. Here's what my painting looked like when I got home:
As you can see it's dark, very dark. Before I took this photo I'd run some sandpaper across the river to get some sparkle back. That helped but I felt I should use some scrubbing out to get me back some lighter values. At this point I had a failed painting so why not practice some of these other "disaster recovery" skills, right?
Here's the photo after I lifted out sunny areas in the backyards, lighter areas in the trees, some gouache "sparkle" cheat, etc.:
When I looked at this version on my computer screen I felt there was still something obvious missing and I realized that the mesh of the fence needed to be shown, at least in places. I managed to indicate some light fence mesh by applying clean water in tiny lines in a few places... after it sat a few seconds I blotted up the paint. In some places I painted mesh in lightly with a blue-grey mix. I think that helped some.
After that was done I took this photo: Although I can't call this a successful painting, I got the following benefits from this painting experience:
- Practiced just about every watercolor technique I've learned thus far...
- Enjoyed 2 hours outside on a beautiful day with happy people all around me...
- Compiled quite a detailed study (value, color, etc) of this scene for future work
- Honed my observation skills
- and, I blogged about it!
My goal this week is to execute a larger painting... Stay tuned and - Happy Monday everybody!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Meanwhile, I am enjoying their blooms. Don't confuse me with the facts, I've already made up my mind... However, I will certainly be careful with the seed pods - apparently they spread like mad!
I think they look good in my little greenish glass bottle with some red ruffled... somethings... from my flower beds. I thought these deep red flowers were bachelor buttons but I'm not sure anymore. Regardless, they're pretty and they caused some neat shadows...
Maybe you're wondering why I keep painting this little green bottle and now I've totally lost it by putting an EGG of all things into the mix? I've just not been satisfied with my bottles - this one is more like it. It actually looks like glass! I really enjoy the shadows cast by transparent and semi-transparent items. It's fun and challenging to focus on what I'm seeing and try to get beyond what I think I'm seeing. Painting glass, especially clear glass, forces me to SEE shapes and patterns. As for the egg, you can never paint too many eggs. They're just good practice and besides that, they're fun! Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I'd wanted a white teapot for painting and, lo and behold, one turned up for my birthday last April (thanks much). I expect to be painting this white teapot for years to come. It's amazing to me how dark "white" items are when the lighting is controlled. They make very pretty still life subjects. Hope you like it!
Monday, September 8, 2008
"An art factory is a place where unmarked supports enter on one side, become caressed with the physical manifestation of human imagination, and are subsequently pushed out the other side. Whether these modified supports are commercially destined or not, it's a process that needs to take place.
When the factory gets the steam up and things begin to happen, the worker becomes hooked. Also, as skills are learned, techniques defined and directions found, the place begins to look like a perpetual motion machine.
Theoretical folks don't always understand that the factory itself turns its operator back into a student. The factory becomes a school. If you like the idea of do-it-yourself learning, and you are curious about what you might be able to do, a little private factory is one fine institution. If your factory starts small and gets productive, you'll need a bigger factory."
I think this is really good advice whether you set up a photo factory, food factory, sudoko factory, art factory... the bottom line is that there is no substitute for time "in the saddle". The great part about it is that it's so much fun while you're learning. If you haven't signed up for that art course yet.... well, I did my best.
Art class begins in a month and I can hardly wait! I'm excited because my supplies are on the way - shipped yesterday from Curry's in Toronto. I'll have some Quinacridone Rose again after a whole year of using Quinacridone Red (feeling a little silly over that one...)
Tomorrow is an "appointment day" so I'll be back on Wednesday...
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
There was a very important event that went of like clockwork today in downtown Calgary. The Easter seals Drop Zone had 85 folks raised over 175,000 for Easters Seals and the Camp Horizon people by repelling down 30 floors. My daughter Kim participated in honor of her cousin Heather who enjoyed many years of camping at Camp Horizon. Here are a couple of pictures of her drop and her smiles.
This is the "I made it" smile. Here you are just ecstatic that you are still alive, you've gone through with your commitment and in so doing raise money for something near and dear to our hearts.
Here she is partway down but has the time to stop and chat with some people that were needing some directions...???
Anyway Kim, we're proud of your achievment. I'd be challenging your Uncle's Dwight and Chuck next year. Now THAT would be entertaining!!!!