Easy Bridge?

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

I thought this view of the Oak Grove bridge would be easy.

Fall down laughing. . .

I am enjoying the very tight detail, working from a greatly enlarged photo on my laptop screen. I am “drawing with my paintbrush”, a big no-no in the Art World. Ask me if I care. . .

I am looking for a certain result, and this is the only method I know to achieve it. Layer after layer, brushes getting smaller and smaller. I wonder if I will ever even want to try that thick all-in-one (alla prima) palette knife painting. 

Prolly not.

The bridge itself looks empty, missing posts and rails. Some of the arches are a little catty-wompus. Just a little. . . but enough to cause me to take note and find a smaller brush. Here I have added more details, like the oak tree on the left which covers that side of the railing a little. (If something doesn’t show well enough to paint, just plant a tree.) Also worked on the stuff above the three arches on the left.  Is there any difference here? Hope so. These photos were taken about an hour apart, so there’d better be improvements! If not, I might have to fire myself.

The next time I show you this, it will be completed and scanned.



Mineral King Trail Paintings

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings | 3 Comments

Does “Mineral King Trail Paintings” sound as if I am painting along the trail?

Sorry to disappoint – there is too much snow to be hiking there now. Instead, I am oil painting in the studio, working from photos taken while hiking in the past. Or just walking. . . remember, it is a hike if you carry lunch and/or water; if you go without provisions, it is simply a walk.

Have a look at these beginning messes oil paintings. Sometimes it is easier to get a thin first layer down and then move on to the next painting. Other times it seems to work better to get it done in just one thick pass over the canvas. I don’t know why my working styles vary – subject matter? colors? temperature in the studio? Amount of sleep I did or didn’t get? Other pressing business? Mosquitoes?

Top to bottom, left to right:

  1. Mineral King Aspens – these are along the Nature Trail that connects Cold Springs Campground to the Mineral King Valley.
  2. The Nature Trail with Sawtooth in the background. I’ll add wildflowers (and a lot more detail and paint – fear not.)
  3. Atwell Mill – this is a campground below Mineral King and Silver City in a grove of Sequoia trees. It has a great trail that leads through the big trees down to the East Fork of the Kaweah (and on to Hockett Meadow if you are so inclined.)
  4. Monarch Trail – this is heading back down the hill from the lake. Makes my feet hurt to think about it.
  5. White Chief – short and steep, makes my heart sing and my lungs beg for mercy.

When finished, these paintings will be for sale at the Silver City Store. They are each 6×6″ and will be $65, including tax.

Or, you can email me and request one before I cart it up the hill.

Alternatively, you can ask for it after it is there, I can fetch it when I head up IF it is still available, or I can paint you a new one.

So many choices.

Red Hot Chile Peppers

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in commissions, Oil Paintings | No Comments

These habañero red hot chile peppers are fun to paint. Check out the progress.

I chose this view because, without slipping into boring Artspeak, it fills the space well, and I like it.

The first pass provides an underpainting and also gives me a chance to decide if the arrangement is pleasing.

Instead of printing a photo to use, I just kept the photo up on the laptop. I have the peppers to check the coloring, but I’m afraid to touch them.

There is something fun about mixing all the reds and oranges. It might simply be the contrast against all the greens, grays and browns of my usual landscape paintings.

One more pass over the canvas to perfect some tiny areas and to put in the stems ought to do it for these red hot chile peppers. Samson will be on standby to keep me company. He seems to be enjoying The Great Course called “Understanding the Fundamentals of Music”, which I’m listening to while painting these days.

There You Go Again . . .

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Happy Birthday, Ann!!

Yeppers, here I go again on a painting of the Oak Grove Bridge.

First, the edges of the Big One. I always paint the edges because I think paintings look best without frames. (This photo is before the edge is painted. Duh.) I also added a teensy bit of age spots to the bridge itself, thanks to a very good suggestion from a friend at the Redbud Festival.

Okay, moving along to Oak Grove Bridge #22, this time 11×14″ instead of 24×30″. First, I drew it in pencil. Then I began mapping out the dark areas.

Next, I walked back to the house for something. . . such pretty light.

I was surprised by how much easier it is to paint from this angle. It is because there aren’t as many visible layers and levels of boulders and rocks that seem to echo and mimic one another.

The shadow beneath the bridge is what makes this particular view come alive. While painting the details, I look at an enlarged version of the photo on my laptop. It helps immensely to see what I am painting. Again, duh.

Looks as if 2 more layers will do the trick, with most of the attention focused on the bridge itself. 

Hottest Peppers To Paint

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

A friend commissioned me to do a little painting of a jalapeño pepper. 

She liked it so much that she brought me 2 habañero peppers, one of the hottest chili peppers available. 

Treating them like toxic materials made it a little tricky to photograph them, but I persevered. 

Now I have to decide which arrangement is most pleasing for the second painting. I’ve narrowed it to these four ideas and will have the real peppers on hand to make sure the colors are correct. Sure does make me nervous to touch them. . .

Before I saw them, I assumed I’d be using a green background, but that will hide the stems. Gray might be the right solution.


Redbud Wrap-up

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Events, Oil Paintings, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Another successful Three Rivers Redbud Festival in the can!

This is how my booth looked upon arrival on Saturday morning.

The large wet bridge painting seemed too fragile to ride in the back of the Botmobile, so I walked it down to the Memorial Building. Perhaps that helped to speed the drying process.

Nikki Crain, Handweaver Extraordinaire, was my next-booth neighbor. We like to do shows together, and have been for about 25 years or so. She took drawing lessons from me for several years, and we know how to cover for one another and help one another through the various ups and downs of events.

These paintings sold (the sizes are not in correct proportion to one another here: real sizes top down — 6×18, 8×10, 6×6, 6×6, 10×10)

I met a future student, reconnected with old friends, met some friendly people from Australia (either there are no grumpy people on that continent, or maybe the grumps don’t travel to the US), worked out a trade deal with another vendor, and met a bunch of new folks that I probably won’t remember. I hate that forgetting thing, but people are always nice about it. As a bonus, I collected another peculiar sight for the blog when I looked out the window on Sunday afternoon.

Chicken or Egg Question

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Oil Paintings, Thoughts | 2 Comments

We’ve all heard the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (ever notice the chicken always comes first in the question?)

Last week, I painted some of Ethan’s chickens (the same Ethan of Ethan’s Eggs). Shiny, wet, unsigned, still sitting on the easel.

Just before this, I showed you some egg paintings. This might cause you to think the egg came first.

Ethan’s Eggs, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

But wait! A few years ago, I painted one of Marilyn’s chickens. This might cause you to decide the chicken came first.

Alas, you would be wrong about the chicken coming first because 10 or 15 years ago, I drew some eggs in pencil. Bummer, it was before digital photography or scanners or computers had become part of my business. I gave the drawing to my friend Annie, because she was always sharing eggs from her birds with me.

In my art life, the eggs came before the chickens. Guess you’ll just have to trust me on this.

Good grief. You people are so boring.

These paintings and more chicken and egg paintings will be available at the upcoming Redbud Festival in Three Rivers, Mother’s Day weekend at the Memorial Building.


Speaking of Painting

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Who was speaking of painting?

I was, in yesterday’s post, when I told you about the man who said, “You draw better than you paint.”

Indeed, the paintings begin very very roughly, thin paint, general shapes, although I drew the bridge first in pencil, so it isn’t as rough as it sometimes is when I begin.

I didn’t take many intermediate photos of the 10×10″ bridge. After a few layers, I pulled out the 24×30″ painting, dusted it off and dove back in.Getting there on the 10×10″, wondering how much to perfect things. It took a long time to figure out how to interpret the cliffs and the shrubs. By the time I was finished for the day, the light for photography was poor. The bridge itself needs more refining, especially those miniature spaces around the railing. 

As always, I have two main thoughts about my beloved Oak Grove Bridge:

  1. A bridge picture is the perfect blend of architecture and landscape.
  2. This is sort of too hard for me, in spite of it being about the 26th time I’ve painted it. I may not live long enough to paint as well as I draw.

Oil Painting Progress Report

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Oil Paintings | No Comments

Last week on a very good painting day, I scanned and varnished 5 finished paintings, finished 4 with their details, and signed 3 that were almost dry. That leaves 7 unfinished.

Have a look at the 5 finished paintings:

Ethan’s Eggs, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

Poppy #50, oil on wrapped canvas, 6×6″, $60

Iris VIII, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $60

Iris IX, 6×6″, oil on wrapped canvas, $60

Farewell Gap XXVI, 8×8″, oil on wrapped canvas, $100

Once again, I forgot how hard the Oak Grove bridge is to paint. Will it ever get any easier? Am I a case of arrested development?

Don’t answer that, please.

Below: The top two and bottom one are drying, the snow scene is inching forward (feels giant at 11×14″ after all the 6×6 oil paintings), the lanterns are low priority (just doing it for the purposes of learning–can you tell that the 4 lanterns on the left are further along than the 3 on the right?). Carla’s Sunflower (on Samson’s window shelf) has been finished since I took this photo.

Painting Mineral King, Continued

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Mineral King, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Remember this stage of all these Mineral King oil paintings, as seen last week?
Here is the next phase – skies done. Sort of an assembly line method of painting, but I can’t think of a better way to finish 11 paintings in a short amount of time. (Remember, I have a show coming this weekend called Gray Matter? Gotta hang the show, and then who knows how long it will take to figure out what to wear and how to make my hair behave!)

Kind of scary looking to see them all in this stage of semi-completion. Not as bad as sausage, I’ve heard. And once these are finished and scanned, we will all be pleased with the outcomes. I’m confident of this.

I also dabbled a bit more on the lanterns. They are too small for this much detail, but I’ll keep on keeping on.

Because of the lanterns and the recently painted iris and sunflower, my palette is pretty these days. Often it is nothing but browns, grays and greens, so this is more fun.