Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Solstice on the Credit River

Another rainy weekend!! Sigh!

So I took out the reference photos that I had taken last year on the banks of the Credit river and I chose this one to work on.

I saw a very nice composition in it and I felt it was a nice project for a small 6"x8".

I spent some time photo-shopping the picture so I could show you the thinking process behind building this painting. Then I mixed the colours that I wanted to use and off I was with the camera running for your viewing pleasure. I also had the USTREAM camera going. I will have that camera on any time I am in the studio and you can access it here on the blog in one of the tabs above. Why don't you join me when you are online? I will try to let you know when I am going to be on if I can do that ahead of time.

Summer Solstice On The Credit River, Oil on Canvas board, 6"x 8", $100 Own it now

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Plein Air Painting In the Rain at Scotsdale Farm

The mist and darkened sky over the vast hills and fields of Scotsdale Farm were punctuated with the hushed figures of six OPAS painters huddled under trees and umbrellas ready to paint. Strange, but what nature takes away in terms of colour and value on a rainy day, it gives back in aerial perspective and harmony. The subdued colours of the trees, sky and fields sing together in a grayed and blued dance.

Our paintings were interrupted by occasional downpour but all of us knew what we were getting into long before we slept the night before. We were determined to come away with, at the very least, some well earned experience. That, I know we all did.

I came out with a dud of a painting to be perfectly honest. Nothing about my sketch of the pond was worth while, but the experience and the understanding that I gained of the atmosphere of the day was worth every minute of it. Others were much more successful as you can see from the pictures in this post.

Every moment that we spend painting outdoors feeds our observation and expands our understanding. Not every paint-out will result in masterpieces for everyone, but every paint-out will be one step closer to another successful work.

The practice of plein air painting does not need to be cloaked with the mystique that seems to engulf it nowadays. It is simply the study of colours in nature and the act of painting or sketching within the environment. That is not to say it is easy. The senses are heightened and the bewilderment of colour, light and motion rakes havoc with ones senses, but the experience has no equal. I urge every artist who has been dwelling in their studios for the winter, to take their easels out - even to their back yard - and paint from nature. It is exhilarating.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Remembering Brummana

A long long... Loooong time ago, I went to a boarding school in a wonderful mountain town named Brummana. The view of the mountain slopes and the city below is, I am sure stamped forever in the minds of everyone who spent time there. I can still remember the late afternoons as the fog crept slowly up the mountain until we were all engulfed in it. And who can forget the sunsets? Everyday was a symphony in colours. The cloud formations were breathtaking and the carpet of pine woods that stretch below were heaven.

Mediterranean Pines are not the same as the pines you see most of the time in North America. They are umbrella shaped with a mass of foliage on top and dancing trunks that meander their way as they stretch to the sun. Poetry in their own right.

I could paint hundreds of these paintings from memory. I see them in my mind as sure as I can see this screen and the words that I am typing. This one I did from my memory. I know the spot even. For those who have been there, this would be from the stairs next to the lower tennis fields (primary school) looking towards the city below.

Brummana Look Out, 4"x6" Oil on canvas board. $45.00

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Additions to the home made Sojourn Pochade

Today I finally published the latest Sojourn Pochade plans. The plans now include:

1) The plan for the Sojourn Pochade (15 1/2" x 12 1/2" x 2 1/2") carrier 11"x 14" panel

2) The plan for the Portage Wet panel Carrier (15" x 12" x 3") carries 6, 11"x14" panels

3) The plan for two Panel Dividers for the Sojourn pochade. These allow the Sojourn pochade to carry either two 6"x8" panels or one 8"x10" and one 5"x7" Panels instead of the 11"x14" panel that it was sized for.

The updated plans have been sent to those who purchased the original plans so they can add the dividers to their project.

I could make other plans for a smaller pochade and wet panel carrier based on the Sojourn, but I will wait to hear from you on your needs first.

It was a lot of fun building and planning this pochade, and I hope many people try it and spread the word about it. I would seriously suggest that it is a better pochade than many commercial ones that are out there.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Mastering Color

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I am not in the habit of endorsing art classes or materials. When I do, it is because I am convinced they are of value and I think other will benefit from them. That is the case with Richard Robinson's DVD class, Mastering Color.

I have been looking for a disciplined way to shift gears with colour and expand my skills. I have been painting for years, but as I said in my previous post, playing with colours and exercising with colour mixing and seeing are the fundamental blocks that all artists should work on at all times in there careers. Just like other endeavors, you can't just show up for showtime and forget about practice. For artists, one of the main "practices" is exploring colour and colour mixing.

There is no shortage of options for study guides to working with colour. From books to sites online to DVDs, you will find a bunch of alternatives. I have looked at many of these and while some are good and tempting, I chose to go with Richard's class for several reasons.

  1. His DVDs (downloadable so you don't have to wait for them to be delivered) looked professional and pleasing to watch. You may think that is a frivolous reason, but believe me, you don't want to spend the next few weeks watching a badly made DVD and trying to follow something you can't hear or you have a hard time seeing.
  2. I needed not just a well done DVD lecture, but a study guide that would compel me to work - not just watch. I wanted a well designed course that I could halt, explore, do exercises in at each stage and move at my own pace. Richard has a tone of exercises that come with each chapter of the class in separate pdfs. These recap the DVD class and then move you to exercises that expand and reinforce the class.
  3. Richard's class is full of very helpful tools that I will take with me far beyond the class into the field as I go painting.
  4. Richard is an accomplished artist and colourist. His paintings show a mastery of colour which leads me to confidence when working with his class.

In the next few weeks, and without stealing Richard's thunder or taking away from his class, I will be sharing my progress through the class with you here. If you would like to join me, click through to Richard's website and for starters look at his free first class (really an introduction). If you like it, you may want to do what I did and download the first few classes. The first two are laying the foundation. The core of the work starts with class four, but I wouldn't suggest that you skip any.

Yes, I guess I am wholeheartedly endorsing Richard's Class :)