Saturday, August 28, 2010

“Woodland Path” - SOLD


Oil 6”x8” Canvas Board

A great place to paint is Buffalo River State Park in Minnesota…not too far from Fargo…easy to run over there for 2 or 3 hours. There are river views and prairie views and paths like this one that make you want to slather on the insect repellant and follow it to see where it goes. The tree in the foreground was glowing in the midday sun against the dark, mysterious shadows in the background. Right at the spot where I set up to paint this scene, there were at least 4 or 5 other great possibilities for paintings. My plan was to do quick studies, spending about a half hour on each one, and have several little “sketchy” unfinished paintings. But I got so wrapped up in this one, I had to stick with it and finish it and I’m glad I did. It will always remind me of my last day of summer vacation, 2010.

“Riverbank” - SOLD

Oil      6”x8”      Canvas Board   
This is an updated version of a painting I posted a couple of weeks ago. I didn't like the color of the river in the first version. This one shows the way the water looked when I first started painting it that evening. The trees on the east bank were casting long shadows, nearly to the other side. Just for fun, I brought some of that cobalt blue into the shadows of the foliage. The photo exaggerates that a bit too much, but I like the results much better than the first attempt.

“Front Porch”

Oil     6”x8”      Canvas Board  
This wonderful old Victorian house served as the subject for our plein air painting group a couple of weeks ago. There were so many great possibilities to choose from when deciding what to paint…bay windows, dormers, a charming front door. But I was drawn to this porch and the way it stood out against the trees behind it. After all, what’s not to like about a porch? The sun was getting low in the sky and casting interesting shadows in the foreground. There were two almost opposite challenges with this subject: the angles, perspective, and straight edges of the house itself, and the softness of the light coming through the trees and touching the beautiful landscaping around the house. Another example of why contrast and variety are so important in art.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Palette


Before I started painting today, I cleaned all the dried up oil paint off my palette and squeezed out new. It looked so delightful, I just had to take a picture of it. I probably use too many colors, especially when I have to carry all these tubes of paint in my backpack and hike somewhere to paint. There are advantages to limiting your palette, but this works for me right now. The colors from the lower left to right are: titanium white, burnt sienna, raw sienna, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, permanent rose, dioxazine purple, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, permanent green light, and viridian green. No black…I can get a much richer black mixing burnt sienna and ultramarine. I keep a razor blade handy to scrape off the mixing area when I run out of room. Just looking at these fresh colors makes me want to get back to work!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

“Reflections on the Red”

reflections on the red
Oil     6”x8”     Canvas Board    
Another red barn…this one on the banks of the Red River of the North. Our plein air painting group gathered at this spot to paint last evening. I really enjoy the camaraderie and sharing of ideas that result from these outings. Because the light was changing so quickly last night, I finished this at home this afternoon from memory and photos. If you’re interested in joining us to paint on Monday evenings, email me and I’ll get the information to you.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

“Garden Shed”

garden shed 
Oil    6”x8”    Canvas Board   

Another little painting set in my own backyard. I’ve tried to paint this shed several times and I’ll probably do many more versions of it. The biggest challenge each time is trying to get the reds right. It’s a faded “barn red” and the time of day always changes the look of the red in sunlight and shadow. This time, the mass of black-eyed Susans glowing in the morning sun and the blue bachelor buttons sneaking into the foreground were what really appealed to me. And the best part was that I could just step out my back door and paint.

Monday, August 2, 2010

“Riverbank” - SOLD

Oil    6”x8”    Canvas Board    $75
Last week’s plein air painting done near “Rapids on the Red.” The challenge of painting outdoors always keeps things interesting. On this particular evening, two little girls decided to check on my progress about every five minutes and offer their opinion on how it was going. It was a little hard to concentrate, but I'd never want to discourage kids from being curious about art and artists, so I resigned myself to finishing the painting later at home. It's taken me all week, and far too many brushstrokes, but it still feels like the time and the place where it was started.