Archive for June, 2010

Moon rocks

When we were painting in Carmel we had about 4 days of cloud cover which made for fairly homogeneous scenes, the middle of the day looked like the beginning of the day looked like the end of the day. So I thought, “Maybe I’ll turn this scene into a nocturne.” I’ve done it before, you just use the values at hand and adjust the colors, on a gray day it’s not so hard, you are halfway there already. What little top light there was I translated into moonlight, imagining it to be cool against the warmer rocks. The water was sort of a best guess based on what I remember moonlit water to look like, kind of green gray moving down to darker violet brown waters at the bottom. The reflection in the water was made up too. I did a florida night scene once and went out to the lake to study the colors and values of sky and water and made little sketches of how moonlight bounces off fairly still waters.

By the way, I got the website updated with new stuff…  www.larrymoorestudios.com


Read Full Post »

Go big or whatever

Inspired by the paintings of William Wendt, I decided to go a little bigger outside and tackle the painting with more of a broad brush approach than my usual medium brush approach. This is a 30 x 30 on a cradled wood panel (box) gessoed a couple of times and lightly sanded. It was a two tripper, about 7 hours of total work, maybe 8. And may I say that here in Florida it’s steamy hot even at 8 in the morning?  Developing a painting on this scale is tough, if things go south they fail on a much bigger scale which means more time is wasted than in a smaller effort, so a little more thought has to go into the approach. I didn’t do any preliminary sketches but used my handy cropping tools (fingers) to arrive at the main idea of this piece, which was the sweeping curve of the shore going up to the main event of the lighted bushes and the rhythm of the upright trees. The mapping in of the main shapes was the key to establishing the compositional patterns, it’s a bit like taking an old fashioned camera and throwing it out of focus, slowly dialing in to a sharper view. With this approach sometimes things end up in the wrong place creating a improper rhythms that require wiping out and reworking. Moving in a thoughtful way, using light washes first to feel out the balance of the main shapes works best for me.

I painted with 3 friends from the studio; Don, Tim, and Lynn. We all stayed in a group so that we could move back and forth within our circle of wagons to see who was doing what and maybe borrow from one another. Lynn and I talked about color theory a bit and I had suggested that she try just working in the primaries instead of using all the tube colors to mix the multitudes of green that we are faced with. She asked why and I said, well, whatever color you mix is going to have some variation of the three components in it (and white as needed)… want gray? it’s a little blue, red and yellow and white. Want green it’s a lot of yellow, some blue and a little red, maybe some white. Want to make brown? and who doesn’t? It’s a lot of yellow, a lot of red and a little blue. But usually one color dominates.  She said, you mean like two against one? And I said, yeah, like two against one. It was a good way to look at it.

(I just reposted the image after comparing it to the original, there was a bit more contrast and depth in the foreground.)

Read Full Post »

Who’s the man?

This guy is the man, William Wendt. My friend Don Sondag gave me a retrospective book of his work and it’s a must have book for any landscape painter, In Natures Temple. I’ll see if I can’t find a link for buying it. If this book doesn’t inspire you to be a stronger painter, nothing will.  Every single painting in this book is a masterpiece. His compositions are powerful, his color sense is flawless and his shape making skills are as good as it gets. What I see most in his work is a kind of confidence that comes from big strokes, big simple shapes and not over working a thing. I also found a painting of WW out in the field by William Alexander Griffith.

The one thing I always tell people in workshops is that you have to maintain clear separation of light and dark. Light side, shadow side, light side, shadow side. People get so lost in trying to get the color right that they lose their values. When you look at Wendts work this is what you notice first, just how simple his forms are. Why is this in bold face? I don’t know. It just ended up that way. But sometimes having a a bold face in the right place just seems like the right thing to do.

Read Full Post »

Staying on the path

Here’s a thought that is attached to the last post about staying on the right path. It’s hard to do in these economic times. Though I’ve had some successes and am selling here and there, getting a couple commissions, but it still aint exactly the salad days. I’m not complaining but money is nevertheless growing tighter. I took on an illustration job because they waggled what seemed like decent money at the time and, like everyone else, I need it now but once the rep gets his cut and I start looking at the hours taken away from the art I should be making for galleries, it doesn’t feel as good. Plus with the way these things pay, it could be months before that money shows up. I have several galleries that are really wanting new work and if I don’t get them some soon, they could drop me. Work gets “stale” to the buyer base of any gallery, once they see the same painting again and again they start to feel that there may be something wrong with it. So it’s time to do the old swithceroo. And put in the extra hours in making new stuff on top of the work that I’m already committed to. Getting too caught up in making the short buck can hurt in the long run.

Read Full Post »

The $6500 dilemma

Hopefully without betraying any confidential stuff (the facts have been altered a tad) I thought I would present a dilemma that has been presented to me. An out of market client came in recently, a nice person with nice eyes, well meaning and with a job to do and suggested I submit some work for review for a local public art project. So I did. This client had said that there might be one or two large, very loosely painted pieces in the range of 6’x7′ or maybe a 10’x5′ ish and there was a fixed budget of $6500. I said okay, I can do large works on the cheap because I’m an art whore and I don’t care that much as long as the bottom line is good. I didn’t say the last part, just the first.

My work was approved. Yay. Money. And then I get a contract. It’s a work for hire contract which means I sign over all rights to the art, stating that they can reproduce the art in whatever way they like, I’m assuming that they can also sell it if they want and I have to sign the reproductions and I get nada. Also here’s a list of what they want me to create.

one painting measuring about 11’x 5′ (yes, that’s feet)

one 6’x5′

one 35″x35″

3 25″x30″s

and one donation piece.

It was noted in one conversation that there would be some good exposure though. WTF? I have had the term exposure dangled in front of me so many times in my career I should get therapy for it.

At first it was the donation piece that got me. Seriously aren’t they already asking for donations here? I wrote back and said as nicely as I could that I’d do some but not all of what they asked. Money is good but dignity is better. We’ll see what happens.

And the update is….. they agreed to reduce the number and size of the paintings. So all good. Plus I’m getting some pretty good visibility in terms of location. Exposure is worth nothing on a one time basis but over and over again, it starts to add up. I’ve had a fair amount of exposure in this town already but this will be a new market segment. Plus there’s the promise of some additional work. Also another factor here is no gallery. That is it still may not be fabulous money but I don’t have to split it with a rep or a gallery.

Here’s the study I did for the 70×70 quadtych, when i get a shot of the final, I’ll post it. They wanted this to be loose and a bit abstracted and painterly.

Read Full Post »

Starting off with a better pic of the painting that I won with, I figured I’d sort of retrace the days events, in nutshell fashion. A side note, the paintings are a tad out of order, I can’t figure out how to place them correctly. First Don Sondag and I get in on monday around noon to San Jose and after a few hours looking for things like paper towels and rain coats (pouring rain) and art stuff, we wrapped up without painting. The next morning was clear and beautiful and we headed down to Garapatta for some rocks and water. That thing we don’t get much of around here. I posted one of the paintings earlier, “rocks are hard”, I think it was… I’ve since reworked it and made it somewhat better. After a day or two of failures (for me) we went to the check in for the event at 5 pm and were pretty much 1st in line.

This is a 2 and 1/4 day event. There’s not a whole lot of time to screw around here. So we headed down to Point Lobos, Don, Stacy Barter and I to start something. After about a half hour of getting excited about everything, I listened to that little voice that said, do this one. And I blocked in the above painting until dark, hoping that tomorrow the conditions would be the same for the finish.

Second day we headed down to Garapatta where it was overcast and gray. Having been there the day before I kinda knew what I wanted and went for the next painting down, Garapatta looking south. As it was gray the whole time there’s was ample amounts of consistent light to get what I wanted. Towards the end the light broke in the distance so I put that in as a counter point to the tree. I think the rest of the day was failursville with at least one scraper. Feels good to scrape, even under duress. Then back to Pt. Lobos to finish what I had started.

Friday we had to have at least two good ones but hopefully more for turn in by 6 pm. No pressure there. We spent the morning driving for hours looking for light (overcast again) in an agricultural setting… hours. Bad idea. We ended up at a little park across from a luncheon place. And just decided to paint something with trees because they were there. This 16×20 (at right) was just a tad complicated for a couple hours of painting, made more so because the sun came out at the end and changed everything, but I just used the light at the center point and kept everything else in shade. During the show on sunday, since there was no one there, I repainted the whole thing. Drew a crowd. I left it with my new gallery out there. Rieser Fine Art.

Once that was done we drove like hell for the boats at Moss Landing. White hulls on gray on gray equals not interesting but as the clock was running out we chose this scene with 3 boats “on the hard”. And here’s the funniest damn thing, those boats had been there probably 6 months to a year or more. We set up to paint, I get to sketching in and the big blue mover starts heading toward the boat on the right, with the guys scrambling to get all the crap on the ground out of the way. Uh-oh.

I had no choice but to concentrate on that boat  and block in and memorize as much as possible. I’ve found if you get in the essence of light and shadow and key shapes, you can fudge the rest. 15 minutes later, there was a big gaping hole in my composition. But it turned out okay. I had to push the color difference between the hulls and sky as they were almost identical in real life. I only had 3 good ones to turn in.

Last was the quickdraw for the award winners on sunday. 2 hours to come up with something. I had only 1 12×16 frame so that was the size I had to work with. No plan so there was a bit of wasted time in deciding. I did this last one in about 1 hour 45 minutes. I called it Ocean spray.

On the last day of our trip we had time to paint with John Burton and Jesse Powell, two great California painters and really great people. John had shown us the town earlier in the week, that is all the great secret spots. We also got to see both their studios. Lucky bastards.

Read Full Post »

Trophies for artists

I still haven’t downloaded all the pics from carmel so I can write about that… it’s been a little hectic of late. So in the meantime, here’s something I’ve been noodling on. One of the things I love about many of the plein air events is that they are most gracious with their awards. While some shows might just have 3 awards, Carmel Arts festival hands out about 20 or so, same with Easton. In order to accomplish this, some fairly niche awards are invented to cover the variety of methods and ways of expression. I love awards and thought about coming up with a few of my own.

For your consideration are:

Best use of blue (self-explanatory)

Most Kick-Ass Female Painter (same here)

Limited Palette Award This one came from John Burton who joked that his was the most limited palette, consisting of Cad Lemon, Cad yellow medium and Yellow Ochre.

Best use of an angel or christian symbol in art I was really looking for a woman in a white dress but couldn’t find one in a trophy

The Thomas Hart Benton Award For artists who do the really great agricultural paintings, you know, pretty girl in a white dress collecting flowers at sunset or maybe cows are always good…. chickens count too. Cowboys for sure count but not indians, unless they are on a farm.

Some more nichie categories might be:

The Bunny Best in reproduction award, really more appropriate for the giclee boom when artists and their galleries tried to convince the public that a signed and numbered print with a 1,000 to 10,000 series was worth more than the paper it was printed on. Suckers! If it’s one of 50 and it’s a hand pulled Rauschenberg, then you are talking valuable, otherwise, no.

Biggest Putz Though I don’t know any personally, okay, I met one once, I know they exist. Mostly applies to anyone with an over-inflated ego.

The WTF? Is for what I call head scratcher art. Lots of stuff in New York galleries, for example, that might resemble a 1 story turd or anything that uses piles of salt, menstrual blood or large dead clowns on a floor of broken mirrors and priced in the cool millions (I’ve seen all of the aforementioned).

Best wiener grab in a 3 dimensional medium Anytime you can put the word wiener in there, it’s a gimme.

Read Full Post »