Posts Tagged ‘trees’

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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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Cherry Valley Barn

February 3, 2019

Cherry Valley Barn – Plein Air – Oil on Linen Panel – 16″ x 20″

From the parking lot of a school, I was able to capture this scene. Moved fast to get a lot of this design blocked in. Was moving at a good pace and stopped after two hours. Back at the studio, made a few adjustments and finished this work. Toughest part of the studio portion was not messing up too much of the plein air effort.

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Resting in Cherry Valley

September 29, 2018

Resting in Cherry Valley – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 9″ x 12″

Ventured to a nearby town to paint. I had an idea to capture a view of machinery and such situated at a lot adjacent to railroad tracks. En route to that locale, I noticed this rusted truck and blue car sitting at what usually is a vacant rail siding. Quickly saw this composition. A few quick sketches and I knew that this was the scene to paint.

I set up my chair on the sidewalk across the street from this scene, quickly and a bit loosely, sketched this onto my watercolor paper. As a feral cat checked me out, I swiftly applied paint, trying to get as close as possible to the desired intensity on my initial pass.

As I was nearing the end of my initial paint application, the owner of the property where I was painting, rolled up in an old, beat up truck. He was not thrilled with my presence. He stalled around in front of his building for about twenty minutes before he decided to start up his lawn mower and mow the weeds and gravel which made up his front yard. With debris flying, I realized it was time to immediately pack up and leave.

Not happy to have to leave before finishing, I went back to the studio. Checking out the painting while I ate lunch, I spent a few minutes after lunch adding a few touches to finish this painting.

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Workshop Demonstrations

September 11, 2018

Demo #1 – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 8″ x 12″

Demo #2 – Watercolor on Arches 140# CP – 8″ x 12″

Demonstration paintings from a recent watercolor workshop at the Peninsula School of Art. The strategy is to connect areas of the painting to help create unity especially in and with the subordinate shapes.

#1 – started with the sky and moved directly into the background trees – starting at the left and increasing the intensity and vibrancy of the trees as I moved to the right. Then moved to allow these colors to strategically flow into the foreground. After allowing the initial wash to dry thoroughly, I utilized negative painting techniques to separate and emphasize subjects.

#2 – I began with the background trees, moving from the left. As I worked the trees, I utilized this same wash to indicate the shadows of the shed and its shadow.

Often, the initial wash is sufficient to define the important elements and lessen the need for a lot of cluttering details.

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Oak Ridge July

August 25, 2018

Oak Ridge – Oil on Canvas – Plein Air – 11″ x 14″

After spending a frustrating day painting in the heat a couple days earlier, I ventured out to paint at a park that had held fair inspiration in the past. It had been a couple years since I painted at Oak Ridge.

Arrived and had to scrap my anticipated design. An oak tree that sat prominently along the river was no longer there. Heavy rains a few days earlier yielded a high waterline and negated the opportunity to get a favorable river view. As I played with ideas for capturing the river, this view of one of the field trees caught my attention.

The sky was overcast. I figured that it could be interesting and opportunistic if the conditions changed offered cloud patterns. My wish eventually came through. I worked the trees and meadow nearly to completion, when the sky began to break Before I could complete the painting, the clouds gave way to clear skies. With the sun to my back, the glare was too much. Back in the studio, about twenty minutes of fine tuning was all it took to finish this work.

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On the Moo-ve

July 20, 2018

On the Moo-ve – Plein Air – Oil on Linen Panel – 12″ x 24″

While competing in the Cedarburg Plein Air Festival, I asked one of the co-chairs for input. I was interested in capturing one of the local farms that would not require me to stand alongside a busy highway. Within moments, I had three women firing ideas at me. Among the suggestions, was a farm that was at the edge of town. I stood at the point where the speed limit changed from 25 mph to 45 mph. This was doable. One caveat, while the farmer did not mind painters painting the farm, we had to set up across the road, not too close to the pasture. No problem.

Took about forty minutes to play with sketches to decide on the design and format. Liked the idea of working this scene horizontally. Hard to capture the cows as they were constantly moving around. I found that I had to take several breaks from painting in order to grab my sketchbook and quickly capture their short term poses. Worked on this for about two hours when the weather changed. My lighting was lost. I decided to come back the next day. While I thought it might require an hour to complete, I spent a little additional time altering some colors.

While working the second day, I was visited by the owner of the farm. He made mention of the horizontal format. Said he loved the placement of the cows and how I handled the scene to capture the buildings as well as the distant fields. Took him awhile before he noticed that I had improvised the big barn. While the current barn was dark grey and weathered, I added the red paint. He remarked that along time ago, it was that color. I guess that’s okay.

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Berm Along Farmington

July 18, 2018

Berm Along Farmington – Oil on Canvas – 18″ x 24″

Last summer, I created a plein air work of an abandoned farm house. The road afforded me an opportunity of capturing the back of the farmstead. I liked the finished product but felt that something was missing. It needed something more.

During the autumn and winter, I often looked at the plein air work and mulled ideas of how to improve the work. Early this spring, it occurred to me that the work could be improved by improvising. I altered the format from a 12″ x 24″ and went with this 18″ x 24″ format. I pushed the farmstead further in the background. This helped add linear and atmospheric perspective to the work. Much happier with this effort.