Archive for the ‘autumn’ Category

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From the Classroom – Trees and Field

April 10, 2019

I have a student who likes to utilize pen & ink with watercolor. This student does all of his pen & ink work first and then carefully applies his controlled washes of watercolor so as not to disturb or bleed the ink.

Trees and Field in Two Steps – Holbein Watercolor on Canson 140# – 3″ x 5″

I prepared two sketches for this weeks demonstration. On the first, I did the scene using watercolor in two steps. First applying a general wash, then adding a few brief notes of shadows. On the second sketch, I applied a very loose, wild application of watercolor. I allowed and even encouraged the washes to flow into each other. The foreground and background trees bleed into the sky. The background trees to the right side are a mess. But that’s okay. After this wash was dried, thanks to the aid of a student with a hair dryer, I applied a few broken lines in pen & ink to define the objects in the scene. This process keeps the design looking like a watercolor and relieves some of the stress (you can go outside the lines).

Field and Trees Pen and Ink Overlay – Holbein Watercolor with Sakura Micron Pen on Canson 140# – 3″ x 5″

Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law occurred.The student for whom this demonstration applied was ill and not in class. I shall have to do this exercise again.

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Along Limestone Road

March 25, 2019

Along Limestone Road – Oil on Canvas – 36″ x 36″

I used a plein air sketch and the small painting titled, Clouds Over Limestone, to create this work. The sky proved to be more tricky than I had anticipated. The task of constantly stepping away from the painting to examine the progress and judiciously adjust as necessary, is especially important when working the larger canvases. This work is on its way to a gallery. Wish us luck.

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Between the Fields to Home

March 10, 2019

Between the Fields to Home – Oil on Canvas – 24″ x 36″

Mid-October my wife had a day off of school. We decided to venture to an apple orchard  that was over in the neighboring county. Rather than take the normal, direct route, I opted to get adventurous and take back roads. These type of adventures can uncover opportunities, and this day was no exception. As we approached a main road, I witnessed a good design in the fields across the way. I made note of it and we continued on to the orchard.

The trip to the orchard was a bust. As we neared the orchard, we realized that because of the holiday, there were a lot families at the orchard. Worse yet, because of rains over the weekend, the parking lots were mud swamps.

The next weekend I ventured back to capture a plein air painting of this scene. If not for the discovery a few days earlier, I most certainly would have passed this site. Mid-October morn. Slight clouds and humid, the scene was blurred (see below) I also made a mistake by utilizing a gray primed panel for the painting. Difficult start. As I worked the painting, things went well until thick cloud cover rolled in and completely dulled the colors of the landscape. Unfortunately, the plein air painting accurately captured that dullness.

Reference photo taken at the start of my plein air painting

I was tempted to wipe the painting off of the panel, before I left the site, but decided to wait. Back home, I felt that, while the plein air painting was not good, the design had bones. Rather than tamper with the plein air painting, I used it as a reference to create this larger studio work.

I still have the plein air piece and plan to play with it to see what happens.

 

 

 

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Clouds Over Limestone Road

March 1, 2019

Clouds Over Limestone Road – Oil on Canvas – 12″ x 12″

Fall of 2017, I did a small plein air painting of this scene. The roll of the road along this farm is what caught my attention. The original painting stopped just above the trees. Soon after I completed the plein air work, one of the galleries requested this work for display. Unfortunately, the work sat at the gallery never to find an owner.

Rise on Limestone Road – Plein Air – Oil on Linen Panel – 8″ x 10″

I retrieved the original work late summer. I left the work on display in my studio where I could see it. I thought that the design might be interesting if I played with a more dramatic sky. I am currently working on a larger version of this for the galleries and have already thought up another idea for this design. More to come.

 

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East Field at Beaver Creek

February 27, 2019

East Field at Beaver Creek – Plein Air finished in Studio Oil on Canvas – 16″ x 20″

Entering the property at Beaver Creek, you drive about 100 yards through thick woods. As you clear the woods, the barn comes into view. This morning, as I cleared the woods, I pulled onto the tall thick grasses at the edge of the bean field. I trudged through the grasses, raising a few mosquitoes, and found this view. I set up my equipment and painted.

What I have identified as a red barn has actually been converted to a home and workshop for a ceramicist. The current structure has dark brown siding and numerous windows. You can still see indications of the original structure. I felt that this design would read better as a red barn. A bit traditional, but helps avoid viewer confusion.

 

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Birch Trees

February 22, 2019

Birch Trees – Oil on Canvas – 10″ x 8″

Late autumn and I was stuck in my studio. In light of a conversation with Woodwalk Gallery, I decided to create a small work that might have appeal to the Door County crowd. I love finding the birch trees along the less traveled roads. Each tree cluster has its own personality and design opportunities. I created this oil painting using a small watercolor sketch created last summer while we were in Door County. I will probably challenge my advanced watercolor students to paint this design prior to offering it to Woodwalk later this spring.

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Field Marker

February 13, 2019

Field Marker – Oil on Canvas – 18″ x 24″

Fall of 2017, I found this spot along Grange Hall Road. Harvested field to my left and grazing cows to my right. From time to time, while I painted, the cows would wander over to see what I was up to. I am sure that they thought I had food or treats for them.

The plein air work was a small 9″ x 12″ work. The plein air piece had issues. The sun was somewhat to my back. Being an early October morn, the sun was a bit lower in the sky. These conditions caused me to see the colors and values as less intense than I would like. Upon completing the plein air work, I contemplated wiping off the days mess. But there was “something” about the work that made me wait.

Over the winter, I looked at that painting numerous times. Then it started to come together for me. In real life, the sun was to my left, what if I altered the design and had the sun coming from the right? That would enable more drama with shadows from the trees and fence-line. The distant tree line was just a flat, stagnant line. What if I “invented” a distant hill side to help give motion to the distance? What if I intensified the colors? What if I simplified the tree-line to my right? A few thumbnail sketches and a small value study gave me the confidence to go for it.