Monday, July 24, 2006

Scallion Sun

"Scallion Sun" acrylic on canvas 12" x 9" SOLD
(colour is as close as scanning and monitor will allow, but never as good as the original painting)

Another painting in the En Plein Air phase of the Open Air III: Art & Architecture that I painted Tuesday July 18, 2006. So far the weather has been either too hot to paint or threatening rain, I painted this bistro called Scallions because I particularly liked the lighting and bright colours. It offered good solid shadow as well as reflected shadow, and also very bright sunlight. This was painted between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm and it was very gusty, my thumbnail study blew away, with no hope of it being retrieved. There is a large office building in the background that looks for all intents and purposes like the sky with panel dividers, (almost a continuation of the sky which was interesting both visually, as well as to paint).

I hope you enjoy this urban landscape.

Here is a detail of the brushwork, there were a great number of tables and chairs in the patio area which I used a series of simple straight lines to achieve. I painted them all in dark strokes, and then with a bit smaller round brush, I added some highlights. As well, there were two people sitting in the sun and I wanted them in the painting. I always carry a digital camera and shoot reference shots, which came in handy here, because I had to add the people in back in my studio, and again, just a couple of well placed strokes put them in. If you click on the small insets, you'll see a bit bigger view of the detail.

This is my reference shot, I dropped in a yellow frame to show you the area I was painting. You can see the large building in the background in this shot, and now how I chose to crop the painting to include it as well as the beauty of the resturant and patio which was my main painting goal. The building was way too tall to include even if I turned the canvas to portrait --but it is a beautiful building especially under certain lighting conditions, and would be a great subject for a painting all on it's own. Again, click on it to view it larger.

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  • Sunday, July 16, 2006

    En Plein Air Paint Out

    "On The Street" Acrylic on canvas 12" x 9" SOLD

    This is the first painting in the En Plein Air phase of the Open Air III: Art & Architecture that I painted Friday July 14, 2006. I was located about a foot from the street, in the shade at 9:00 am. There were about 4 other artists in about the same street section with me. It was hot with the loud noise of the traffic. So hot, that I packed it in at about 11:30, and went back to my air conditioned studio to finish the painting. I normally would have stuck it out, but too many people stopped to talk, I did a TV interview as well and really lost the original light because of the many distractions. Wow! That last sentence makes me sound like I'm was non network, cable TV and it aired with the 5:00 pm local news featuring the event, not just me. To me though, it was my couple of minutes of fame ;-)

    I sometimes use a french easel, but I wasn't sure about how far I'd be walking to set up, so I use my simple tri-pod easel. As some of you know, I am an acrylic painter, and for the first time I used a fishing tackle box, which closes fairly air tight. I got the idea from Marcia Burtt's web site and thought I'd give it a try. Marcia is a fantastic plein air painter, and she thinks it's a good way to paint, and I do to, now. You can see in the photo that I had some of my available plein air paintings with me to sell, so I brought my dolly to pack everything on...since I knew I'd be on concrete I figured "why not?".

    Here is a close up of some of the preliminary blocking in of the painting. I underpainted the canvas with that pink hue as my first step, then started painting shapes.

    A thumbnail sketch, a highly important part of any successful painting--about 2" x 1" carbon pencil

    Here is my thumbnail, and what this does, is it establishes a design for the painting. I was most happy with the triangle of dark vs. the opposite triange of light, so this was the only thumbnail I did. I usually do 2-3 until I get a layout I'm happy with. If you can't see a good painting in your thumbnail you won't see one on your canvas, so it is an important step for me. Besides the design of the painting, I also use the pencil sketch to establish the values--don't worry about detail, squint your eyes, (man, there were some funny looks at me when I was squinting as the people passed by) this lets all the tones group into large patterns (shapes) and only draw SHAPES, just SHAPES of tone. I constantly use this thumbnail as my guide as I paint, it was right beside my water container as you can see by the splashes. I look at it and say to myself, "no, all the colours in that area are dark" or "no, all the colours are middle", you get the idea. Otherwise I could slip-up and with a quick look put values in the wrong places.

    "On The Street" --detail area
    This is a detail area of the painting, keep in mind the painting is just 12'' wide by 9" tall, but this will give you a better idea of the up close brushwork. This view mainly shows the shadowed right side, and the beautifully sun washed street at the end of the block.

    Hopefully, one more picture to come
    I had a friend walk by who snapped a picture of me working-- he took it with his cell phone and was going to email it to me so I could post it...if I get it I'll post it. So check back in a day or so.

    Please comment, I really enjoy everyone's input.


    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Open air technique in the studio

    "Below The Falls" acrylic on masonite 20" x 16"

    Below The Falls, somewhat real, somewhat imaginary. I painted this from photo reference, mostly as an experiment, to see the differences compaired to en plein air. I used very large brushes for most of this painting, and painted it in en plein air technique. I am very happy with the results, and the energy in this I will be painting more in this style. See close-up detail below, to get an idea of the fun and enjoyment I had making this painting.

    "Below The Falls" DETAIL

    Here you can see the energy in the brushwork, the en plein air style brushstrokes and colour. I use mostly straight strokes everywhere, and I paint directly to the pre-drawing...this painting evolves directly from my brush, and the faster I painted, the more control I seemed to have.

    I really enjoy making paintings that look quite real at about 6 feet back and when viewed up close, you see the heavy brushwork.

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Thursday July 6 Painting.

    "From the Forks" acrylic on canvas 12" x 9"

    I have been painting a lot of trees and water, so for this week's painting, I wanted to do some buildings. As most know, I live in London, Canada, and we are very fortunate and have beautiful park facilities. This painting location is right in the heart of London, at the Forks of the Thames river, which divides in two directions where the park is located. The park has bike and walking paths, play areas and a water fun area, but it also has a magnificent view of the city, and that was what I was after for this painting.
    This painting took a little longer than my usual 2 hours, because I did some of the finishing work on it in my studio. Even without the subject in front of me, I could vividly remember colour and detail as I altered values and added detail--that is the unique part of En Plein Air etches the subject into your brain.
    For anyone interested, in the painting almost invisible behind the trees, lower-mid left is the art gallery with its unique multiple-rounded roof line; the large building in the centre is the court house; the old jail (now a museum) has the peeked green (copper) roof; just behind that is the old court house, which looks like a castle.

    Saturday, July 01, 2006

    Here is the 3rd in my Thursday series...

    Evening Bridge acrylic on canvas 12" x 10" SOLD

    Painted Thursday June 29, 2006. The bridge is the Adelaide St. North, here in London, CA, and I went out at 6:30 pm and back in my studio at 8:30. The river flows at the back of a baseball and soccer sports fields, and there were games going on, and plenty of passers-by stopping to see what I was doing. Everyone liked my work, which is encouraging. It really is a very active river, there were 2 canoes paddled by, a couple of geese families, fishermen, and one plein air painter (me).