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Cobalt Barn

October 30, 2018

Cobalt Barn – Oil on Canvas – 11″ x 14″

This was started as a demonstration for a workshop I hosted.

The first part of the lesson involved editing the scene. The photo of the scene was cluttered. I made six thumbnail drawings to enlighten the students about the possibilities of this opportunity. The grayish blue structure was my inspiration, my subject. I edited the chain link fence, an arbor, the massive tree behind the barn, an old horse, the fence in the foreground, brush growing to the right and in front of the barn. I amended / modified the building to the left, added the shadows (the reference photo was taken on an overcast day). Simplified the design.

The second part of the lesson was to illustrate to the students that they did not have spend hours doing a detailed drawing on their canvas. Also, to get the students thinking about moving fast to quickly capture the entire scene. Working all parts of their canvas to establish the design.

After quickly applying strokes to get the basic drawing (barn was fairly drawn, but most of the subordinate characters were faint indications and obscure lines. Once this was in place, I moved fast and deferred questions for a few minutes. Just shy of twenty minutes into this work, the students saw that my painting was established. I could walk away from that painting and everything read clearly enough. My point is to keep the students from lingering in isolated sections of their painting. They also witnessed how minor imperfections and mistakes were not fatal. I pointed out areas of the start which would need to be addressed and corrected.

I allowed the students to start their paintings and after I had them painting, I returned to this work. I would paint for a few minutes, then wander around to lend assistance as needed. By the end of the day, this work was basically complete.

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Standing Along Grange Hall

October 16, 2018

Standing Along Grange Hall – Oil on Canvas – 11″ x 14″

Using sketches and plein air studies from last summer, I worked this painting as a demonstration for my workshop students. Although, to begin, I had a loose pastel sketch on the canvas, I applied my oil paint swiftly. I worked to place general colors throughout the entire canvas. Within twenty minutes, I had enough paint in place that the students could see where I was going with this painting.

I allowed the students to start their works. While the students were painting, I moved around the classroom to guide their progress and took occasional breaks to add more strokes of paint to my work. By the end of the afternoon, my painting was basically finished, save for a few tweaks completed at my studio.

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Barn at Beaver Creek

October 9, 2018

Barn at Beaver Creek – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 9″ x 12″

Another play with watercolors. Used artist prerogative on this. This structure used to be a barn. Several years ago it was converted to a ceramics workshop and display room on the ground level and a home on the upper level. The front has a lot of windows. The barn has been allowed to age to dark brownish gray patina. Rather than paint this painting in its current state, I wanted this structure to look barn-ish.

I could see the indications of the former sliding door entrance to the barn and the opening for the hay loft. I also felt that changing the color to something more indicative of a barn would help.

Not sure that the owner was very excited with my choices, but I am.

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Blooms at Breckenridge House

October 4, 2018

Blooms at Breckenridge House – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 9″ x 12″

In search of a building to interpret in watercolor, I ventured over to Midway Village.  I walked the grounds and decided to take on the Breckenridge House. I embraced the challenge of the flowers. To interpret each planting. To instill unity and yet successfully elude to and instill depth to the scene.

While I painted, a few of the volunteers worked tending to the flower beds. I opted not to include the workers in the scene. I was in a hurry and the many options for placement of the workers required more than I wanted to invest. Before I finished the painting, a couple of the gardeners came over to check out my work. One was put out that I did not include the whole house. Funny look on her face when I responded that I found the product of their efforts to be of more interest.

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Resting in Cherry Valley

September 29, 2018

Resting in Cherry Valley – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 9″ x 12″

Ventured to a nearby town to paint. I had an idea to capture a view of machinery and such situated at a lot adjacent to railroad tracks. En route to that locale, I noticed this rusted truck and blue car sitting at what usually is a vacant rail siding. Quickly saw this composition. A few quick sketches and I knew that this was the scene to paint.

I set up my chair on the sidewalk across the street from this scene, quickly and a bit loosely, sketched this onto my watercolor paper. As a feral cat checked me out, I swiftly applied paint, trying to get as close as possible to the desired intensity on my initial pass.

As I was nearing the end of my initial paint application, the owner of the property where I was painting, rolled up in an old, beat up truck. He was not thrilled with my presence. He stalled around in front of his building for about twenty minutes before he decided to start up his lawn mower and mow the weeds and gravel which made up his front yard. With debris flying, I realized it was time to immediately pack up and leave.

Not happy to have to leave before finishing, I went back to the studio. Checking out the painting while I ate lunch, I spent a few minutes after lunch adding a few touches to finish this painting.

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Guirl’s Outbuilding

September 25, 2018

Guirl’s Outbuilding – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 9″ x 12″

Made a visit to a ceramics workshop a few miles east of Rockford. The workshop and shop are in a renovated barn. The owner gave permission to paint on their property. Many, many possibilities. Spent about a half hour walking the main part of the compound making quick pen sketches and taking some reference photos. Decided to do a quick watercolor painting to make the trip worthy and then back to my studio to ponder future designs at this site.

This is the old chicken coop. No chickens around anymore. The background was done wet on dry. That is, I started on dry paper by painting left to right the tree, then some sky, gently touching the tree. Continued across the paper. This process allowed me to somewhat control the flow of the green into the blue and create a soft transition between the trees and sky. This gives an effect of atmospheric perspective.

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Fish Creek Plein Air

September 12, 2018

Weekend Getaway – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 7″ x 11″

 

Habored at Fish Creek – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 11″ x 7″

Had a great time leading a Watercolor workshop at the Peninsula School of Art. Fun and challenging group of artists. What a joy!

The workshop completed, we  decided to venture into Fish Creek. I took time to paint while my wife relaxed (which is to say, she read a little bit, walked into town to check out a couple shops, got some lunch for us, etc.). The dog slept. I decided to try painting on a new paper. New to me that is. It is paper from Dick Blick’s. In this small size, I found that it acted very similar to Arches. Working watercolor en plein air is an extra challenge. Although I managed my time and paint application well, there is still that test of patience when having to wait for the paper to dry adequately before applying more intense colors into key spots.