Friday, February 29, 2008

Nine Takes Installation

Today we met at O'Connor's to hang our Nine paintings that were done from our collaborative/collective group of objects. Honestly, this show has never been that easy to explain. It is a little convoluted.

(Nine of us met last November to plan this project. We were asked to bring one object for inclusion into a still life. All of our objects were placed into a box and the box was then given to the first artist. The artist independently composed and painted a still life from the objects. After the artist painted their version, they packed up the box and gave it to the next artist on the list. Each artist had one week to compose and paint their painting and then pass the box of objects to the next artist on the list. None of the artists have seen the other artist's work. Under the rules we were allowed to use 6 of the nine objects. We could also add a "new" object too. We'll be seeing what we each accomplished for the first time at the show at O'Connor's).

On Saturday, March 1 from 3-5 pm we will host our reception. If you can come I would love to see you there!

Shadow and Light Invitation

My paintings for the Pittock Mansion exhibit, "Shadow and Light" will be at the Broderick Gallery (during the month of March) and at the Pittock Mansion (from March 6 to June 30). Artist receptions will be at both locations on First Thursday, March 6 from 6-9pm.

Flowers don't always fill the bill

This is a practice painting.  I've started something similar for the Nine Takes show. I wound up happy with my eventual (single) solution and I will upload a photo of it tomorrow (after the reception). It is considerably more stark than this, but definitely more in keeping with the spirit of the project. I am so glad I can stop all the dithering, at last.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Big art day

I took my "Nine Takes" painting to "I've Been Framed" this morning to see if they can do a simple frame for it (on a rush basis). Then, while I was there I decided it needed a major change. They said they would make the frame and that I can add the hardware on Thursday. I took the painting back with me so that I could make that big change. Now I don't know if it is going to fly or not. You know, you can really lose objectivity about these things sometimes. I've had this project for months, so there is no excuse. Well, at the end of the day I also painted THIS floral still life. I know why still life painters have a penchant for delft is fool-proof pretty! This is acrylic on 8 x 10 canvas panel. It was a big art day. Time for pizza.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Painting monochromatically

I let the time get away from me and I did not sign up for the workshop at Hipbone Studio (that would have been today). Instead I worked for quite a while on my "Nine Takes" painting. I can't show it to you because it is a secret (our paintings will be unveiled this weekend at O'Connor's). I am satisfied with what I've done so far. I even have a back-up painting if the one I worked on today winds up to be scrapped. I gave my palette a lot of thought. How should I harmonize the colors? Should I use split-complimentary? (I can't tell's a secret!)

When I was done for the day, before I cleaned off my palette, I did this mostly monochromatic painting/sketch. Acrylic on 8 x 10 canvas panel.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pushing warm and cool colors

I have studied Charles Sovek's book, Oil Painting, develop your Natural Ability fairly extensively. The style he used to write his book made him seem somewhat approachable. When I didn't quite understand something in one of the lessons I emailed him my question (on a whim, not seriously expecting a reply). Sovek not only replied right away he included an instructional drawing attached to his email to explain his answer more fully! What a guy! I was very sad to learn that Charles Sovek passed away last year. His book is a fantastic legacy, however, and sure to go down as one of the best art instruction books of all time. An early exercise in his book asks you to think about your scene in only warm and cool. Using just orange and blue (initially) you can clearly see the overall design of your composition and easily organize the painting. I revisited this exercise today and painted this orange/blue warm/cool painting below.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The dependable gold frame

Today I worked on a painting that is due next week (for our "Nine Takes" exhibit). I had trouble with what I was trying to accomplish and I put it aside. I didn't want to end my time in the studio today on a sour note so I started a new pears and grapes still life. It is acrylic on 11 x 14 canvas panel.

I saw a problem when I was done. The major grape cluster wound up in a uniform vee shape. I can fix it pretty easily by adding a few new grapes tomorrow.
I wanted to get a preview of how the painting would look when it is completely done so I put my pear and grapes still life in a gold frame (that I bought last year at Utrecht).

Even with the problem vee shape, the painting looks improved in this gold frame. I learned last year that a gold frame is often pleasing for a specific reason. The gold picks up whatever colors already exist in the room. If, for example, there is a red rug in the room, the red of the rug will be reflected in the gold of the frame and your painting will look and feel integrated with the entire room. I used to think gold frames were stodgy, but I have changed my mind since I learned about why gold can be effective. I don't use gold frames exclusively, but I do like them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blue really does make things recede

When I first began painting I had quite a lot of difficulty understanding the need for blue in the distance to create the illusion of atmosphere. Often I would paint hills or trees in a background in the same value range as items in the foreground of the painting. Once one understands that the distance really has to be muted, greyed back and blued down, a scene will read much more convincingly.
This painting is acrylic on an 8 x 10 canvas panel. I think I achieved a feeling of you agree?


I am enamored with my new Graphgear 1000 Pentel pencil with .5mm lead.  I am a member of a Flick'r group called Moleskinerie. The name is a reference to the fantastic Moleskin notebook. I haven't been active. Everything takes so much time, but yesterday I had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful lines of a VW car. My ex sister-in-law had one of these cars that she nicknamed "Herbie", so that is what I think each time I see one.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Backyard tree vine charcoal

I ran out of time today, but I found just a few moments to sketch the big tree in the back yard. It feels great when I can do something in either drawing or painting every day, even if it is just for a very short amount of time. I have been thinking about entering some work into a show called drawing attention. I'll have to give subject matter some thought. The deadline is tight, but I might still consider it. Last month some of us visited the galleries in Vancouver and it was a very positive experience!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Artist Reception Invitation

The Portland Plein Air Painter's winter project, "Nine Takes" has been one of the most interesting projects I've been involved in. Carolyn Rondthaler proposed the idea as a way to paint as a group during the winter. It was a welcome change to be involved in something different that did not require us to go out into the inclimate weather.
Nine of us met with Carolyn and brought an object with us to the meeting (it could be no larger than 18"). All the objects were placed into a box. Each artist individually and in turn composed a still life from the collection of objects. The artist then painted their composition, packed up the box and gave it to the next artist on the list. None of the artists have seen the other artist's work. Under the rules we were allowed to use 6 of the nine objects. We could also add a "new" object too. We'll be seeing what we each accomplished on February 29 when we hang the show at O'Connor's. On Saturday, March 1 from 3-5 pm, we will have our "unveiling" and host our reception. Please come and help us celebrate "Nine Takes".

Intake day at Broderick Gallery

On Friday, February 15 I got to help George Broderick and Lucy McLean (of Pittock Mansion) with submissions for the Pittock Mansion "Shadow and Light" exhibit. Lucy told me that she will contact the artists to tell them if they have any paintings that did not make it into this juried show. I submitted five paintings. Three of my paintings were of people (Henry Pittock and Georgiana Pittock), one was of "The Georgiana Trail" and one was an interior scene (the chair scene that I posted earlier). The exhibit will open on March 6, 2008 (with a First Thursday reception) and will be installed in both locations. I don't know how we will find out where our accepted submissions wind up, but I suspect that the larger pieces will be downtown in the gallery and smaller pieces might be at the Pittock. I was impressed with the caliber of work that was turned in and I got to see several of my painter friends and their work. Lucy said that a promotional card is being printed and that the artists will be able to pick them up either at Broderick or at the Mansion next week.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Young Henry Pittock

Today I am working on a landscape that I am submitting into the Pittock show. Friday is coming up upon me fast! I spent three hours on the landscape today and it is nearly finished. I also did this oil painting of a young Henry Pittock. It is 10" x 10" on stretched canvas. The prospectus says that paintings may include people. I like how Mr. Pittock looked when he was young, he looked a little like Val Kilmer. Later in his life Mr. Pittock had a white Van Dyke beard. I learned that the Van Dyke, also called the Van Dyck (after the 17th century painter Sir Anthony Van Dyck) is a goatee and a mustache. I guess because he was such an important man he felt he needed to follow the fashion of the day but, it is too bad he covered up that beautiful cleft chin.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My acrylic palette

I worked on two paintings today. I was pleased with the results with both, but things can sometimes look less rosy in the morning. I may have worked on one of them too long. I've been making sure I apply plenty of paint to the canvas..these are big globs of paint. I'm using the palette arrangement that Kenn Backhaus taught in his workshop.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Channeling Richard Schmid

I like how this 10" x 10" oil sketch came out today. I used just three colors and tried to emulate Schmid's loose sketchy style. He often left things looking unfinished like this. Gamblin makes a beautiful oil color called "brown pink". I used just a tiny bit of it along with burnt umber and white.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

First Thursday

Tonight I went to the City Commissioner's office in City Hall to take in Kathy Pugh's exhibit. You can see the same painting she is standing next to by clicking here. Most of the paintings in Kathy's show were plein air, however, my favorites were her studio Chiaroscuros (where she used light and dark to achieve a heightened illusion of depth). I liked seeing her plein air and studio paintings together. After my visit with Kathy I went to Broderick's Gallery for a look at the current show. I'll be back there again next Friday when I turn in my submissions for the Pittock show.

Big Fruit

This is a 16 x 20 acrylic. This has nothing to do with anything..I just felt like painting it. It turned out to be a really good subject. I concentrated on the distinct differences in the color temperatures of the plums. it is a challenge to get acrylics to not come across as very flat. I was happy with how this turned out and that the fruit looks sufficiently three dimensional.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Pittock study

This is a 8 x 10 study in acrylic. I was after a strong afternoon light and I tried to indicate some people on the balcony. The front foliage is not resolved. It's just an idea, about half way done and I'll have another look at it tomorrow to see how I feel about it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Self Portrait

Well, this whole self-portrait thing is much harder than I thought it would be. This is the first one I have ever done. For some reason I came out looking a little like Beverly D'angelo. I am glad I gave it a shot and I only have 59 more to go to catch up with Rembrandt (who did 60 self portraits during his lifetime). This is acrylic on an 8" x 10" canvas panel. (My left eye is definitely a full 1/4" too close to my nose).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Interior Study

A pastel study on Wallis paper. I felt inspired by Brenda Boylan's interior studies of the Pittock Mansion. I have to ask her how she managed to do such a comprehensive study on a small surface. Mine is 9" x 12". I may continue to develop this. It is much more successful than my last study attempt! There is still two weeks before we submit our work to the Pittock Mansion and Broderick Gallery.