Archive for the ‘landscape’ 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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From the Classroom – Farm House and Field

April 9, 2019

Farm House Reference Photo

Working with the advanced watercolor students on atmospheric perspective and being selective / creative with photo references. Rather than be faithful to the actual photograph, I decided that the farm house was my main inspiration and decided to place a barn structure behind the house. I decided to improvise on the fields edge sweeping across the front.

Drawings and Value Sketch

With the value study completed, I had a fair idea of where I was going to go with this design. The students are starting to appreciate these value sketches as a way to anticipate what I am going to do in painting the design.

Farm House and Field Demo – Holbein Watercolor on Canson 140# – 3″ x 5″

The fun thing about doing these very fast (less than five minutes) paintings, is that I often end up with watercolor results for which I had not planned, yet am able to appreciate and utilize. Sometimes we plan for our watercolors to be too tight and we fail to allow our watercolors to be watercolor. That is, allow and even encourage some of the wild mingling’s and results which we can only obtain with watercolor.

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Field View

April 4, 2019

Field View – Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel – 8″ x 16″

Still on “doggie hospice” as our dog, Clawed Monet recovers from illness, I am relegated to painting carefully (so as not to stain or damage the flooring) in our house (that is, not in the studio). Trying to paint faster and looser, I came up with this design. I used the barn design as a lesson in our Advanced Watercolor class and played with a wider horizontal format. Put myself in a good mindset and painted this as if I was working en plein air.

When I started the painting, I had decent light from outside. Unfortunately,  it got overcast as I was painting. Forged ahead and had this work thoroughly blocked in within about twenty minutes. I was working adjustments as my light source changed. Stopped at a good time. Came back the next day, under more favorable lighting conditions, and made a few minor adjustments. I worked to keep from overworking this aiming to maintain the fresh feeling of the brushstrokes.

Shortly after completing this work, one of the galleries contacted me. They wanted this work for their gallery display. The work has just been delivered to them. Hopefully, the work does not return to (i.e. I hope that the gallery finds a new owner for this work).

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From the Classroom – Boone Farm

March 27, 2019

Often, students mindlessly copy photographs. Too often they end up with drab, busy, boring paintings of uninspired photos. I work with the advanced students to find more opportunities within a reference photo. I implore the students not to just copy the photo. One exercise we do is to take a photo and find at least six good design options within the reference photo. Extra credit given to the student that creates the most good thumbnail sketches of good design options. (I will cover this exercise in another post).

This week, I utilized a photo reference of a local farm. The prior week, one student needed help understanding how to paint the shape of a cylinder. Another had a question concerning shadows and one other student required help understanding metal and rust.

Boone County Farm

I utilized the sketch and value study of a grain bin to demonstrate cylinder, shadow and rust. I opted to set this as a winter scene to stay truer to the reference photo. Side note, they also got interested in the atmospheric perspective I implemented.

Boone Farm Grain Bin Sketch and Value Study

This design highlighting the barn allowed me to demonstrate cylinder (the silo), shadows, and distant trees. Placed this design in a summer setting to help them imagine another option to a reference photo (that is, why does it have to be winter?).

Boone Barn Sketch and Value Study

Discussion then led to these two studies. Each one was created in less than five minutes. They are small but quickly illustrated the points and allowed the students to quickly get to work on their own designs.

Corn Crib Demo – on Canson 140# CP

Boone Barn Demo – Watercolor on Canson 140# CP.

 

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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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From the Classroom – Advanced Watercolor – Corn Crib

March 14, 2019

This weeks challenge was based upon the following rather drab photo reference.

Corn Crib

I then forwarded a few thumbnail options for their review.

Corn Crib Thumbnail Sketches

I intentionally left these sketches undefined. That is, with one exception, there is no indication of shadows. I am challenging my students to use their imaginations to locate photo references which will enable them to paint the scene as they would like to see it. Decisions such as what direction is the sun (left, right, background)? Season (spring, summer, early autumn, winter)? Color of structure? Additional buildings or components to augment their design?

Corn Crib Value Sketch

I created a very fast watercolor sketch to help them understand an option and witness the paint application. This watercolor was completed within five minutes while explaining my thoughts and paint applications to my students.

Corn Crib – Watercolor on Canson 140# CP 4″ x 6″

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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.