Posts Tagged ‘Grand Detour’


Grand Detour Demonstration

April 12, 2013
Grand Detour Demo; Watercolor Canson Langton 12" x 16"

Grand Detour Demo; Watercolor Canson Langton 12″ x 16″

You may recognize the image shown above. It is a watercolor interpretation of an oil painting created last autumn. It started as a way to help my third level students and culminated with a really cool slide presentation compiled by one of my students. If you have Face Book account, you can watch the seven minute video by going to the March 30 post on my Fan Page “Tom Linden Fine Art”.

My third level class has a few students that have been through the class several times and are looking for new ideas to keep the painting fun or just improve their works. It also includes three students that are in this level three class for the first time. Following the first couple exercises, it was clear to me that I needed to do a demonstration about the painting process from start to finish. This would help the newer students understand how to build a painting and help other students alter any bad habits.

I created a line sketch as well as a four value drawing so that the students could see the basic patterns and shapes. I took an afternoon to create a “trial run” painting in my studio. I was using a different paper for the demo and decided to fight it at my studio without the pressure of on-lookers. It also helped the students see what the end product might look like.

I started by showing a photo I had from the scene (the plein air sketch was sold off of the easel, still wet. Yea!). I quickly produced and discussed the line sketch and four value drawing as well as the trial painting. The design was already drawn onto my watercolor paper, but before applying paint, I took time to discuss my plan.

Watercolor demands a certain amount of planning and forethought. I discussed my intended route of paint application. I also discussed the reasons and logics behind my plan. I revealed possible challenges which I might face, how I could avoid them and what I might do if the oops occur during the painting process.

After a few minutes of discussion and questions, it was off to the races. I had less than two hours to pull this painting together. Thank goodness for the two hair dryers and cooperative students that helped hold and place the dryers where and when I needed them. After getting the first stage, or as I call it, outline stage, completed, I took a couple moments for students to look at the work and understand that all of the paint applications performed to this point were all techniques which they were all capable of creating. That they could do it.

Not a bad painting for two hours. More important, the newer students got a feel for how to put a watercolor painting together. They had more confidence that they can do this. The next week for class I had them create the same work on their own paper. Although we had a few mishaps, the lesson went well.

For a better look at the presentation, please check out my Face Book fan page, “Tom Linden Fine Art”.

Grand Detour Line Sketch 5" x 7-1/2"

Grand Detour Line Sketch 5″ x 7-1/2″

Grand Detour Value Sketch 5" x 7-1/2"

Grand Detour Value Sketch 5″ x 7-1/2″

Grand Detour Trial 12" x 16"

Grand Detour Trial 12″ x 16″


October in Grand Detour

December 12, 2012
October in Grand Detour; Oil on Canvas 22" x 28"

October in Grand Detour; Oil on Canvas 22″ x 28″

12 – 12 – 12, the date today…or a really boring lock combination.

I created this painting using a small 9″ x 12″ study as a guide. Going to the larger format made for a challenge to get the foliage right. Fought through it. We have this painting sitting on an easel in our dining room. The colors really pop as the afternoon sun lights up the room.


October in Grand Detour – Study

December 10, 2012

October in Grand Detour – Study; Oil on Canvas Panel 9″ x 12″

Another painting based on work created during last years paint out in Grand Detour.

I was fortunate to have sold the little 6″ x 8″ study created that day. I had a photograph of the small painting and a photograph of the scene which helped, I also had a couple of the other small studies to help set the mood as well as guide my colors and temperatures.  I found that shortly into this painting I was relying heavily on my memories of my feelings from that day and almost ignoring the photograph of the scene. The painting moved effortlessly and set the stage for a larger version.


Dappled at Edgewood Farm

August 16, 2012

Dappled at Edgewood Farm; Oil on Canvas 18″ x 24″

Cleaning up the studio, I came across a failed watercolor. It sparked an idea.

A few years ago during the Fields Project, we visited a horse farm near Grand Detour. A couple artists went to the edge of the farm to paint the view of the fields. A couple of us found a nice shaded spot near one of the barns. Although the barn was an interesting subject, I found the view looking back toward the house to be of greater potential. I attempted a full sheet watercolor. A full sheet watercolor is difficult enough, but doing it en plein air on a windy day – ugh.

Although I was not happy with the intensity of the watercolor painting, I did like the design. I set the painting along a wall in my studio. I had hoped to either play with the painting or perhaps start over. There it sat..waiting.

Until this day. I came across that watercolor and decided to play with the design in oils. The poor watercolor served me well and was as a great resource in working this painting.


Plein Air October 15

October 28, 2011

Plein Air - October 15 #1, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air - October 15 #2, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air - October 15 #3, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

After a busy Friday evening at Rockford ArtScene (yea – one painting sold), I was awake early on Saturday morning to get down to Grand Detour for the Eagles Nest OPA Paint Out.

It was sunny but chilly. I arrived in Grand Detour about 8:00am. A couple of the women were busy setting up a table to greet guests who would join us for this event. I checked in, grabbed my gear and set off to find a scene to paint. It was amazing how much the colors had changed in just the four days since we were last in Grand Detour. I ventured across Rt. 2 to the Rock River. A few cars were present at the park,  but no other signs of people. I found a scene and got busy painting. Hard to hold your concentration when the light is shifting as fast as it does in the early morning. You have to capture the notes quickly and then fill in the rest.

With my first painting complete, I thought that I would venture back to the John Deere Homestead to find another scene. Gear packed up, I was set to leave when I looked around and saw another intriguing view. A spot along the river caught my interest. Quickly set up my paint box again and set to painting. While working, I heard a series of noises. It sounded like firecrackers. About the third time that it happened, I noticed that  following the blasts, geese would fly past. Duh – hunting season.

As I was painting, I had the feeling that I was being watched. I looked around and realized a friend of the group had come to photograph members of the event at work. Bob does a lot of photography, so you can never be sure how much might be for documenting the event and how much may be used for his own artistic endeavors.

I worked #2 by starting with a magenta outline and block in. The color came through subsequent paint applications and really played well with the blues and yellows.

On to find scene #3. I stopped by the greeter to have a doughnut and some hot apple cider. Found out that Barb was being very enterprising and managed to move some of the treats for donations to visitors of the John Deere homestead. Barb must have run some very profitable lemonade stands as a child.

I moved up the street from the homestead with thoughts of going the three or so blocks to the turn in the road to check out the possibilities. Never made it that far. Found a spot of interest, set up and started painting alongside the road. About fifteen minutes into my work, I noticed something at the bend of the road and realized that it was Dan, a member of our group, busy painting. I wonder what view he has? Bob showed up again and began snapping more photos.

As I was painting, I had to move my set up several times to stay within the shadows of a nearby tree. This kept the sun from shining directly on my canvas and blinding me. #3 completed, I started to work my way back toward the homestead. It was near noon and I knew that the group would be meeting for lunch. A chance to view each others work and enjoy some fellowship. On the way back, I noticed several more choice scenes. Unfortunately, not enough time to capture them all. A few quick photographs may help, but will never replace the opportunity to paint directly from life.

Fun time during lunch. Bob showed up again (that guy was everywhere, although, to be fair, Grand Detour is not that big). More photos. A few members asked to see the works which I had completed. Ego boost. Pull the works out, one of which was still in my paint box, a Guerrilla Box. Ego crush. Several of the painters were more interested in my paint gear than in my paintings (way to go Judson’s Art Outfitters).

Lunch over, I packed up and headed home. On the way, a quick stop at the Soap Shoppe in Oregon. A few treats for Helen (Sweetest Day ya know). Home. Unpack the car, clean up my paint box and brushes. Shower, ate an early dinner and then on to Bennie’s for the second night of Rockford ArtScene ( Boo, no sales Saturday).

No trouble falling to sleep Saturday night.

Note: Good news – a few days after the paint out, I received an e-mail. Someone that had seen us at work was interested in the paintings completed that day. They purchased two of my works. Paintings #2 and #3 have found a home.

Alongside the Rock River, working on my second painting.

At work on #2

Not much gear required to paint these scenes.

At work along Illinois Street in Grand Detour

Also along Illinois Street. The folks of the town were nice enough to let us invade their yards without incident.

Painting #3 nearing completion. I had to move a few times to keep from having the sun shine onto my painting.

A photo of the hard core painters on this chilly day.


Plein Air October 11

October 26, 2011

Plein Air - October 11 #1, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air - October 11 #2, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

The Eagles Nest group decided to go back to Grand Detour for another session before the October 15 OPA Paint Out. I arrived early, a rarity, and found a spot just off of the parking lot, looking north from the John Deere homestead. Great range of colors and great light. The toughest part of the painting was to stick with the original light and shadows. As the sunlight shifted through the scene, different trees and colors caught my eye (no, it didn’t hurt). I could have stayed at that spot and painted another version of the same design based upon different light/shadow patterns but I decided to move on. Maybe I will use this spot again at Saturday’s paint out.

I walked west from the homestead. About a half a block past, I turned around and liked the view of these trees which set on the north side of the settlement. I didn’t like the looks of the design with the road, so I took it out. Same for the administration house which would invade the right side of this design. Out. In some respects a boring picture, but it was fun to paint. Loved the colors and I finished in time to join the others for lunch. So many possible scenes around this village and so little time. The colors change quickly.


Plein Air October 4

October 17, 2011

Plein Air - October 4 #1, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air - October 4 #2, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Knowing that our spectacular autumn colors would be short lived, I planned to get as much plein air time as possible. With watercolor classes in full swing, that meant I had to make a few sacrifices such as getting images photoed and onto this blog. So here goes a few of my recent adventures.

Our Eagles Nest group was meeting in Grand Detour to paint. We wanted to scout out locations for the upcoming Oil Painters of America Paint Out scheduled for October 15. Great colors already. Too many great designs. Two of us set immediately to painting. A couple of the women met with and took a quick tour with the manager at the John Deere homestead. One women did a smart thing and just walked around the homestead grounds and the surrounding community and took loads of reference photographs.

I selected to paint a scene looking at one of the buildings from just off of the homestead grounds. Clawed found a nice pile of leaves and made himself comfortable. I took some liberties with the placement of a window. Initially had some difficulty getting the colors I saw. I worked at it, scraped a bit off, put some more in place and eventually felt content enough to call #1 complete.

I was ready to leave this spot but took a moment to turn around. I liked the view of the trees. Didn’t like the design with part of the house in it. So I removed the house and improvised a little bit. I am an artist. I can do that. And so I did. #2 completed.