Thursday, March 31, 2011

Painting Last Bits Of Winter

I Got out and painted what we in Minnesota HOPE is possibly the last bits winter.  I love the contrast of the ground with the snow this time of year and the beautiful patterns it leaves as the snow slowly melts.  My plan was to get out and paint the flood but it was pretty tough since the water was so high (floods do that you know. . . :)  It was a beautiful day and I was happy just being by the river.  The trumpeter swans and Canadian geese were plenty noisy, and hearing the ice shift as it forced it way to thaw was very powerful company, humbling to say the least.  Besides one lone hiker (who took these photos of me on his iphone) I was the only one out enjoying the day.  
What is the rest of the world thinking missing this stuff???  
 I fell in love with this tree and little patch of snow cradling around it's base so decided this would be the painting.  Initially I started out painting the light and shadows casting on the sandstone behind but ended up taking that out to support the design of the snow and the blue cast shadows raking across it.  Not to mention I was out so long my light drastically changed before I was finished!  All and all a good day!
this is a photo the friendly hiker took of my hand. . . . 
just getting my darks massed. . . .
"Last Bits Of Winter"
14x11 oil on linen panel
P.S. this photo looks a bit warmer than the original . . . . 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Small Paintings, Big Ideas

"Queen Anne's Dance"
6"x6" oil on linen
"Impossible Glow"
6"x6" oil on linen
"In The Meadow"
6"x6" oil on linen

These small paintings are pieces that I did to stir up some ideas, or maybe I should say bring them to the surface!  I'm very drawn to painting the fields and meadows of the midwest area.  One of my favorite wild flowers are the Queen Anne's Lace.  I love the rhythm of design they create as they sway through the meadows, it's almost as if they dance in the grasses.  One of my favorite lights to try and capture is a soft moody light.  So, the combination of these two elements were the inspiration for these ideas.  Although I used no reference for any of the 3 paintings here, I have a visual memory of these moments in my mind.  "Queen Anne's Dance" is a distinct place on the farm where I grew up and the other 2 are a  place we painted in Door County last summer in the rain.  
When structuring each of these paintings, I was primarily concerned with the large shapes in the initial lay in (even though in this 'tiny' case, the large shapes were small)  and used the strength of their dark values to support the sweep of the flowers through the field.  I've since, started a larger version of each of these paintings, although they are certainly taking on a life of their own!  Hopefully they'll be finished in the next week and I can post them soon. . . . .fingers are crossed!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Moonlight Bay Memory

"Moonlight Bay Memory"  11x14 oil on linen panel
Last week I painted for a local television channel for a show called 'Local Artisans'.  I've done this several times over the past few years and its always fun and a good experience.  This piece is what I did as my demonstration painting.  I have one hour unedited to start and finish a painting during the filming so I usually and chose to paint something with strong shapes to keep the structure simplified.  Even with a good plan prepared an hour is still pretty fast for me to paint an 11x14.  I used a photo I had taken of the original plein air piece that I did in Door County last summer.  The painting sold at the event so the best I had was my memory and a photo of the painting.  Here is the end result!