Posts Tagged ‘Boone County’

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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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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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Grange Hall Fence Line

February 25, 2019

Grange Hall Fence Line – Oil on Canvas – 12″ x 36″

I started this work on site in the summer of 2017. The wide layout captures the feeling of the landscape in northern Illinois. I liked the start, but felt that something was amiss. It did not feel right. It sat in my studio until this past autumn.

One afternoon, while working on another painting, an idea came to mind. I had followed the actual landscape closely. The proportions of the farm elements and the road were correct. To aid the design, I moved the road closer to the farmhouse. Moving it to the one third margin made the design work for me. Although the rework lost some of the freshness of the plein air work, I believe that this was the move to make. I doubt that the property owners will make issue of losing some of their property in my painting.

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Shed at Beaver Creek

February 15, 2019

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

A few miles to the east is the work space of an artisan. They make a wide range of ceramic items including water-wigglers. The converted barn is surrounded by fields about a half mile off of the main road. A thick stand of trees keep the farm hidden from the main road. The folks have allowed me to come by and paint the scenery. Except for the attacks by mosquitoes this past summer, the farm is a fairly safe location for painting.

I had set a strategy of working larger plein paintings last summer and fall with the idea that any unfinished works could be completed during the cold mid-western winter. This is one of the first pieces completed. I worked for two hours on location. This painting was well underway and should not have needed a lot of work to finish it. The most stressful aspect was to complete this work in the studio while maintaining the freshness of the plain air work.

Side note: the owners wife informed me that the small sunflowers in the pot were planted by one of the pesky squirrels on the property. Nice touch. I like it.

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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.

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Along Beaverton Road

January 20, 2019

Along Beaverton Road – Plein Air – Oil on Canvas Panel – 12″ x 24″

This farm is well hidden by bushes and trees along the roadside. Not much of a view from the main entrance either. Thanks to a small gap in the brush, I was able to set up my gear and work on this view. It was a rather quiet road. About an hour into this painting, a young woman stopped her car to see what I was doing. A simple greeting was all that was exchanged. About five minutes later, an older gentleman riding a golf cart rolled up (I suspect that the young woman had alerted this fellow). The gentleman looked at the painting and said nothing. I made an assumption that this might be his farm. He confirmed my suspicion but seemed stoic. Concerned that I my presence and work might not be to his liking, I offered to stop my painting and leave. He replied that I did not need to leave. Said nothing more. A few awkward moments later, he quietly rolled away.

 

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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.