Thursday, April 21, 2011

Harmony Side by Side!

"In The Meadow"
24x24 oil on linen
"A Walk In The Queen Anne's Lace"
24x24 oil on linen

It all started with a few little panels, some paint, and an idea which led me to paint these 2 @ 24x24s, that as I see it belong together, side by side!
 Sometimes I seriously wonder, 'where do paintings come from?'  It really is a mystery, a beautiful one, but a mystery just the same.  I think that's what I especially love about the landscape, it's the little bit of unknown and all the beautiful layers of depth and subtlety that are provided for us.  I recently read a quote that said something like this . . .  "don't be humble, you're not that great".  Kind of makes me laugh at the truth of that statement but I can't think of a better word for the way I feel standing in Nature than 'humbled' each and EVERY SINGLE time! It's kind of like being a "Mom":) 
  The two paintings above are my take on all the feelings that I have in response to Nature at this point.  
They are my quiet take on the peacefulness I feel and respect I have of the Natural world.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Early Spring Bunch

"Early Spring Bunch"
14x11 oil on linen panel

It's been a busy couple of weeks in and around the studio!  Since my last post, I've taught several classes and have been painting as much as possible in between.  Last weekend I was down in Zumbrota Minnesota at Crossings Art Center teaching a 2 day color temperature workshop using the still life as our resource to study from.  It was seriously a dedicated group of painters.  I've said it before, and I'm sure will say it again, but it's SO inspiring and rewarding to work with such great people and also to watch their growth and discoveries with their painting!  We painted from fresh flower arrangements like this one I painted here.  Only this piece I did at my studio a couple of days before the workshop to get my head where it needed to be.  (I also did a full demo at the workshop that I will post later.)  
Hope you enjoy the piece!  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

24x24 "Harmony Of The Meadow" (demo)

This is my latest studio memory piece.  My plan is do 2 more pieces in this 24x24 format of the same meadow area with different moods and light.  I am using my little 6"x6"pieces I did for the 6" Squared Exhibition in California.  I've got those 3 pieces posted below and they are currently somewhere between here and there on their way to the show, I'd like to be going with my little paintings!  
But, oh well. . . . :)
When starting this piece, I had every good intention of photographing the process in it's important developing stages, but once really getting in to the painting I was so zoned that I forgot to keep up the shooting of this piece.  So here's what I had! 

When I'm beginning a painting, either small or larger, I'm always thinking of the placement of the large abstract shapes that will construct the composition.  Believe me, I LOVE this tree and all it's character but I'm seeing and thinking of it's shape and the fact that it is a form.  Same goes with the background mass of trees and the meadow area.  I paint landscape because of my love for it but I don't get caught up in the little details of it's complexity.  I believe in painting with great reservation to show these beautiful little exceptions at the end of the piece.  (such as the flowers in this piece) The tiny notes of purity in the end of a painting are what people and comment on see but it's the underlying structure of these shapes that gives a painting it's 'bones'.  
So, that's what I was thinking at this stage.  Starting with my shapes of darks and working the lines of the composition.  I usually start with a wash of some sort.  I probably used a transparent oxide red in this one. . . ? 
At this stage I'm pretty happy with the feel and composition so I start to work the form by developing what is going on within the big shapes.  
I begin to 'work up' or 'build up' the paint a bit.  I always start my painting pretty thin and 'work up' the paint, meaning start to work a bit thicker as the painting develops.  If I work too thick in the beginning stages of a painting, I can completely lose it!  I think paint quality has a lot to do with paint consistency.  I don't usually use any mediums, for the most part anyway, but I do use mineral spirits to thin my paint and get the consistency I like.  Paint consistency is very personal and it's difficult for anyone to tell a student painter exactly how their paint should feel to them but I do think you have to paint a LOT before you know what works best for you.  I'm always exploring this as I work, and really it's feeling of the paint under the brush that I crave the most about painting.     
As you can see here I start adding some color in the foreground grasses.  But it was not until the very end stages of the painting that I even thought about adding the bits of colors in the flowers.  
A note about painting grasses:  it's important to search for and find the shapes, even in a subject (like grasses in a meadow) that provides a less than obvious structure, and contains much more of a subtle separation of lights and darks.  Connect your lights and connect your darks to begin.  Realize that under all the lush color is the warmth of the earth that vibrates through on a very subtle level.  Build from there and even in the most busy field of wild flowers, nature gracefully connects these dancing notes of color.  It's up to us as artists to find the connection and sweep of these notes to serve the area as a one unified and cohesive statement, the whole.  

"Harmony Of The Meadow"
24x24 oil on linen panel