Archive for July, 2010


One more from the easton event. I had been painting boats for 5 days and needed a break from that. I think I have ADD, hey look, a squirrel. Anyway, one of the many things they do well for this event is feed the starving artists, it’s like a community service, and mid-week they had lunch at a recently built period style mansion. It was a good looking place and since it was uberhot out I thought I’d look for an interior to paint. I looked at the house from every angle, found this little reading room and noticed that in the adjoining room there was a woman reading, she worked there so I figured she had nowhere to go anytime soon and asked her to sit for me. She was a champ and didn’t budge for an hour and a half…. she didn’t even turn the page.

I’m not a specialist in painting the figure but it’s just like painting anything else, get the drawing right and the values right and the rest falls into place. Once I got the composition set, I focused on getting her down in case she had to get up or go back to work for any reason. When I finished with painting her I had the rest of the late afternoon to finish the room around her. I really liked the relationship between her and the painting of the african american woman on the wall. One thing that threw me a little was a very dim warm light over my palette that influenced the way I saw the colors I mixed. A warm light can skew the perception of color, it makes warm colors look less warm and so I overcompensated with the oranges and yellows painting them too saturated. But the following day when it was dry I had the chance to go in a correct that and adjust the values of the shadows to make the light stand out a bit more. I thought this might be a piece that would stand out as most everyone else was painting exterior landscapes without people. I even thought someone might buy it for that reason but it’s coming back. One thing I’m not sure of with this one is that it feels a little sterile… maybe I’ll give it another pass once it returns to the studio. There’s also one other thing I did that bugs the poo out of me but it would be tough to fix, I’ll be interested to see if anyone picks up on what it is…. if no one gets it, I’ll tell you.

And the answer to the riddle is…. okay it’s not going to seem like a big deal but once I saw it it’s all i could see. there’s a rule or a guideline that says that no two shapes or spaces should be equal and the painting in the upper left hand corner is placed equidistant from the top and from the side. and the two equal spaces make me crazy. I can move the painting in photoshop but to repaint it would be a pain. I’ve moved the picture in photoshop just enough to throw off the equal spaces, it’s subtle but the subtle stuff is what makes the difference.


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More from easton

I’m taking half the morning off to upload the paintings from the trip and add a few more to the blog, then it’s back to the trenches with many commissions and gallery work to be done. Here’s a better pic of the boat builder painting. The idea was sort of a two parter, emphasize that open door shape, make that the big event but create a secondary event with the guy working in the corner. I was happy with this one and sold it there at Easton. I really like a painting that tells a story…. I’m going to do more of those here shortly in the studio. And here’s the other one I sold, quite frankly I did this with a sale in mind, nothing sells like a sunrise or sunset something or another. Is that wrong? Not to me, this is a business after all. The above painting is what I love to do, complicated scenarios with lots of stuff and a story to be had. This painting was just about mood and moody stuff sells. It’s why God invented glazes. I liked it at first but by the time I put it in the show there was something off about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It’ll come to me.

and one more that has a footnote or two. I do love painting boats, if I can work in some historical architecture, all the mo’ bettah. This boat had a habit of leaving every 2 or 3 hours taking people out for scenic cruises. I kept asking about the schedule and stumbled on a block of time in the late afternoon when it wasn’t going anywhere till sunset. It’s a skipjack and a great looking boat… I wish I could’ve gotten some shots of it with the sails up but it was too far out when it was under sail.

I have a habit of TMSing a painting. I put it all in because it’s there. I usually have to go back in after the fact to take things out and move values around. For example, in the building behind the boat I had to lighten the values of the darks to push it back a notch and in doing that I took out a lot of the crap in the shadows. I also pushed the darkest dark in the foreground under the boat to bring it forward. I don’t know why I don’t think of this stuff when I’m doing it but there are so many other things to consider. Which leads me to the work of Tim Bell. His stuff just gets me going. Especially his studies, his small paintings. I realized that the thing I loved about his work was that there was no reworking of anything, he seems to just get it right on the first pass and then leaves it alone. Makes for a very fresh painting. also he leaves out everything except the biggest shapes and lets the color do the work. I’m still learning this stuff.

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Well it’s the end of a long, blistering hot week here at Easton plein air. I really love doing this event, there’s a lot of great stuff to paint here and it’s probably one of the best shows in the country. They treat you like royalty, with artist parties almost every night and gracious hosts and hordes of benevolent volunteers who make you feel like you are somebody. My only complaint is the heat, it was hotter than mars all week. I’m surprised that a lot of people including myself didn’t faint. Finally today someone did.
The big event was Friday eve and the word is that they sold around a quarter of a million bucks worth of art. Pretty impressive. I think I sold two. I really struggled this week with my painting, though I started out with this piece, which I really like, it just sort of went downhill from there, like a golf game gone bad, I got more and more “in my head” as the hot days rolled by.
This painting was a larger version of one I did last year, it’s a 16×20 and I kinda wish I’d gone bigger but I really like it compositionally. I was first drawn to the stark contrast between light and dark and the idea of pitting the main event against the worker in the lower left. It’s not a great shot (iPhone) but it’s all I have for now.

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Painted yesterday at a marina in Titusville with Don Sondag. He and I are in a show in August along with Steve Bach and I need to get a lot of work done for it. I’m behind as always…. happy to have work but a day off would be nice, but who needs a day off when you do what you love? Anyway, it was hotter than Mercury in June which made for a long morning. I’m doing all 30×30’s for this show and all painted on site, that’s my theme and I’m sticking to it. I was really hoping for some kind of boats in the water thing and found a lot of potential stuff but if I am committing a big canvas, I need to be more certain of the direction. I drove around a lot and walked around a lot and hemmed and hawwed and finally around 9 came to this thing and decided to paint it.

A larger scale is a bit of a challenge especially if you are trying to get the whole thing nailed down without having to come back. I picked something with big simple shapes that I could pretty much fill in on site and finish if need be at the studio from memory. I used a viewer with a grid this time to help make sure I didn’t get too far off in any direction with the placement of things. It’s pretty easy to get the scale of things off if you aren’t measuring all the parts in some way. I worked this one the way I do most, big key lines and shapes, mass in the big shapes and get all the relationships established before noodling the colors and values and such. This was about 4 grueling hot hours on site and an hour in the studio correcting some drawing problems and adjusting values and color saturations.

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reworking things

I’ve been a bit remiss in my blogging duties, it’s been a bit of a crazy time for me. Since I now have a gallery in Carmel, which is cool (Rieser Fine Art) and I now have to furnish them with paintings on the double (they have an ad coming out in the next Am Art Review), I had to look at what I had available in the studio to submit for some kind of presence in the gallery. I’ve posted most of the stuff already that I’m shipping but there was this one painting that I did on the fly, a 16×20 that I tore through because I started it at the end of the day around five and could only put an hour and a half into it. Fortunately I was smart enough to shoot some reference pics of the scene and had some back up info to paint from plus I had my new and now fav book on William Wendt to look at for inspiration. I’m sure I have a pic of the before somewhere but for the life of me, can’t find it.

So all I can do is tell you what I did to this thing to rework it. I actually repainted every inch of it, which I usually do, with the intent of moving the eye better throughout the image. Mostly I focused on the ground plane trying to simplify eyeflow and guide the viewer better up to the hills. A few of the things I did was to give the far trees more distance by bluing them up, I recarved the exteriors of the trees to make them a little more “leafy” and changed all the bushes so the weren’t so same-same. The I changed the original layout from the path coming in from the far right to a little tail moving up through the middle. Turned out okay, they liked it anyway.

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