Posts Tagged ‘path’


Blackhawk Spring

July 10, 2017

Blackhawk Spring – Oil on Canvas Panel – 10″ x 8″

One of the first warm spring days and the chance to get out to paint. Some trees were were still in buds and others were just revealing their new leaves.  Trying to capture the indications of the warm colors of the buds and the cool colors of the new leaves is a bit mind bending. No matter what, it was a fun morning to be out putting paint on canvas.


Rock Cut Trail

December 21, 2016
Rock Cut Trail - Plein Air - Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel - 10" x 8"

Rock Cut Trail – Plein Air – Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel – 10″ x 8″

Let the purging begin!

Throughout the year, I encounter dud efforts. Sometimes they are out in the field. Sometimes they are studio doomed. Hopefully I recognize the errors of my ways early enough that I can transfer the slop from my support to paper towels then to the garbage, thereby saving the support for another effort (a.k.a. battle). Fortunately, Rock Cut Trail was not one of the dud works.

Some duds are real stinkers. The kind that make me exclaim “What was I thinking?”. Other clinkers are not worthy of seeing the light outside of my studio but, for some reason, I believe that they may offer the seed of an idea to be utilized for a better work.

As the year winds down, I take time to clean up the studio. Beyond the dust and dirt, I find that the studio begins to get swallowed up by too many dud paintings. Time to purge. As of today, 38 works sit in the studio which “bit the dust”. Gone. Cease to exist. About a third of these are good canvas panels which have been sanded and oil primed. About a third are panels which are beyond help and are trash bound. About a third of the clinkers remain. They are canvas on stretchers. The spent canvas will be removed in the next few days, new canvas will be cut to size and stapled onto the stretchers (not a lot of fun, but since my son is not around to do this, the task is mine).

On one hand, inventory of available works has been decreased. On the other hand, my inventory of available supports is ready for the new year.

May 2017 be a more productive and successful year.


Rock Cut Path

July 24, 2016
Path at Rock Cut - Plein Air - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 10

Path at Rock Cut – Plein Air – Oil on Canvas Panel – 8 x 10

My wife and I headed out to paint. Ventured over to Rock Cut State Park. Checked out a couple spots before settling on this out of the way venue. While my wife painted by the gate to a closed road, I chose this road to a fishing locale.

This is a spot where I have been able to paint without interruption before. Had never before observed people utilizing the close path, until this day. Three separate times, people came along on bikes and caught me by surprise. Never assume!

Loved the play of the shadows across the road.


Path by Pierce Lake

December 1, 2014
Path by Pierce Lake; Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 9 x 12

Path by Pierce Lake; Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 9 x 12

Late September. The colors are just beginning to change. I ventured to Rock Cut State Park. My intention was to find subject at one of the paths. While driving around the park, I noticed an interesting design at the entrance to this path. I parked my car, grabbed my gear and hiked over to this spot. Before setting up my easel, I made a couple sketches of my intended composition. The design was not singing. I moved around a bit hoping to find the right balance. While making sketch after sketch, I began to notice this scene. Drawback was that the values were too close together.  I decided to challenge this scene. I had to make some changes to what was actually there in order to make this design work.

I was painting alongside the road, yet several people hiked along this path and, somehow, did not know that I was there. At one point, I witnessed a trio of friends hike down this path. About forty minutes later they returned. They were within about ten yards of me before they noticed my set up. They asked how long I had been painting at that spot. They could not believe that they had walked right past without noticing me (that must have been some conversation).


Afternoon Shadows – Study

February 4, 2013
Afternoon Shadows-Study; Oil on Canvas 8" x 10"

Afternoon Shadows-Study; Oil on Canvas 8″ x 10″

I was flipping through my sketchbook and came across some sketches made a couple years ago during a walk through a local forest preserve. It is fun that after a couple of years and changes, or growth, in my art that I can see an old sketch and yet see something new. Something that I did not see, or was not able to see before.

Played with the sketched design by cropping. Although this was fun to create and I liked the color effects, I did not feel that the design was worthy to be taken to a larger canvas. But it was fun to play with this little painting.

Note to those reading this blog; sketch whenever and wherever possible. Take and use your sketchbook when going for a walk, or just going somewhere to hang out. Fill that book with sketches. Then, take time to look through your older sketchbooks. It will help confirm that you are improving in your drawing skills, your confidence and your designs. Based upon your reviews, allow yourself to revisit a sketch and create a painting based on your current level of expertise. Go with the flow and have fun.


Edge of the Rock plein Air Competition Day 6

June 20, 2012

Plein Air June 4 – Along the Lagoon Path; Oil on Canvas Panel 11″ x 14″

I decided to have some additional canvases stamped for the competition. So by the time the visitor center opened and I could get my canvas stamped and then get to the park, and find a spot, well, it was getting late.

I had a spot in mind, but as I got to the spot the view just did not wow me. So, I ventured around for a few more minutes before finding this location. I had worked on this for about an hour when a couple stopped by to check out my work. After a few moments of chatting, the man questioned my work. He was concerned that I had not included the light posts. I explained that I was waiting until the end before placing those kind of details into the painting. He questioned why I would not place the poles in at the beginning of my painting. I tried to explain that putting the posts and other details in too soon would make it difficult paint the larger areas. He still did not get it. Thank goodness his wife took over and explained it to him.


Path at Willow Creek – Study

April 2, 2012

Path at Willow Creek - Study, Oil on Canvas 8" x 10"

A few weeks ago, I was preparing for a demonstration. I used a 6″ x 8″ plein air sketch from last summer as my guide. The scene is along a path in Rock Cut State Park. I sketched and blocked in the design prior to the demonstration. I over prepared for the event (not necessarily a bad thing) and never got to use this start.

The other day, I finished a large painting and had an hour or so before dinner and then my watercolor class. I grabbed this canvas and worked quickly to finish it. Fun when you just let loose and go a little wild.


Autumn Trail Studies

February 3, 2012

Autumn Drive 2, Oil on Canvas 12" x 16"

Recently, I came across a photograph taken about twelve years ago during a family hike in Rock Cut State Park.  It was not a good photo, in fact a bit of a mess. A somewhat indifferent, uninspiring splash of less-than-brilliant colors.  But the linear design and the possibilities were of interest. I was searching for a resource photo on a different subject, but this photo caught my eye (no, it didn’t hurt). I can see the possibilities for doing this subject in watercolor as well as oil. Since I am working to create images for my display at the Woodwalk Gallery, Rockford Spring ArtScene and some additional competitions, I decided to work the ideas in oils for now.

The spacial designs are slightly different in each of the two versions, but they were fun and they were created quickly. I plan to use the best features from these two studies as I transfer the format to a larger size. I may even make a few changes. My wife saw the two studies, looked at the photograph, looked back at the studies, shook her head and said, “I don’t know how you got those paintings out of that drab photograph.” I took that as a complement.

Autumn Drive 1, Oil on Canvas 12" x 16"


Rock Cut Trail

January 29, 2012

Rock Cut Trail, Palette Knife Oil on Canvas 24" x 30"

I started this work using Magenta and Alizarin Crimson variations to lay in my drawing and block in the dark tones. These colors came through the subsequent applications of body color to some degree. Beautiful effects from the complementary colors – reds and greens.

After the initial brush work, all body color was applied utilizing palette knives. Tough work, but interesting effects. The refractions of light off of the uneven impasto applications of paint yield an interesting effect. I look forward to varnishing this work when it dries and hope to see this in a well lit gallery a installation. Or, better yet, a clients wall. That would be nice.


Illinois Watercolor Society Demo

October 3, 2011

Starting my painting demonstration .

Completing the initial outline of my painting.

The completed watercolor painting.

I had the opportunity to demonstrate my watercolor techniques for the Illinois Watercolor Society on Saturday October 1. The demonstration was scheduled to run from 12:00 – 2:00 pm at the Dick Blicks Art Supply in Wheaton.

Unfortunately, it was a beautiful early fall day. I say unfortunate because I would have preferred it be rainy and/or a few weeks later. But this was a beautiful early autumn day. The sun was bright. It was warm. No rain in sight. The colors of the landscape were awesome. Painting opportunities were everywhere I looked. The hour and a half drive to Wheaton was distracting. Rather than the expressway, I took two lane roads for as long as I could. Scene after scene was screaming to be painted. I would have loved to be working my oils to capture the October sunlight hitting the early color changes on the landscape. But duty and obligation called.

I arrived early at Dick Blicks early and set up my gear. I took a few minutes to tour the store. What a great cache of art supplies. If you are looking to find art supplies in the western suburbs of Chicago, this is the place to be.

As my students know, for me to complete a 14″ x 21″ watercolor painting in less than two hours is a stretch. I worked out a fairly easy composition and created a small, thumbnail painting to give me the best chance of completing, or nearly completing, a watercolor scene within the two hour time frame.

After the IWS president made a few announcements to the two dozen or so attendees, I dove into the painting. I attempted to discuss my techniques and art philosophies while I painted but found that, at times, I was so into my painting that I was not speaking about the process, or anything else (again, something which my students know is a stretch for me). Thank goodness, the attendees and the IWS president would occasionally ask a question to bring me back to the presentation.

I had paint splashing all over the place, brushes flying around the table. It was a great aerobic routine. About all that I was missing was some music to help my tempo.

About an hour into the demonstration, we gave the attendees an opportunity to stretch their legs, come up to the table,  check out my equipment and supplies, ask additional questions. I could not help myself, I kept painting. With about ten minutes to go, I decided to charge into a few details to help pull the painting together and at least give it a “nearly” complete  feeling.

All things considered, not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. A nice group of people, a great facility (sorry about all the paint on the floor), a chance to spend a day painting, even if not, en plein air.