Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Underpainting Demo

for todays post i thought i'd show you several stages of my painting process

Stage one- lay in cool colors for anything thats not getting light from the window. approximate the values

Stage two- now you go in and try to get the colors and values closer to the real thing, maintaining the clarity of color you had in stage one.

Stage three- start cleaning up the drawing while honing in on the actual value, hue and saturation of the shape youre working on. in the areas that are shaping up nicely you can start to add a little more detail. detail is nothing more than smaller shapes within larger shapes. you'll see that actual color of reality doesnt matter that much at this point as long as the value and temperature (cool for shadow shapes, and warm for light shapes) are right.
this painting is about 75-85% finished. i'll post the finished pc. in a day or two, depending on hurricane Earl who's screaming towards the NC coast, so my schedule this week is up in the air. its supposed to come right at us and hopefully turn at the last minute, but who knows. i may have to run inland for a day or two in case the power goes out, the roads all get flooded, and the stores all close.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pouring the Bubbly-6x8-$400 framed

available soon at Rowley Gallery

i think this is the last 6x8 i'll be painting thats headed to cape cod , and ive got one more 8x10 interior to do. ive enjoyed the studio time but i'm missing painting outside a little. the temps arent quite as high as theyve been the last couple of weeks so it makes me want to get outside again.

on this one i underpainted it in a more traditional style by underpainting with the viridian of the walls and its complement alizarin crimson, and white. i toned the panel in a burnt orange and drew the shapes with an orange oil pastel. then after underpainting i used the very detailed underpainting plan and added the right colors to each shape, staying very true to each value i had in the underpainting.

Well...on a totally unrelated note.... the waves came in today. hooray. and tasty ones at that.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Where are the Waves?

Hurricane Danielle was supposed to give all us NC surfers big waves today but they just werent there when i did my surf check, so i went to plan B. i've been stoked to get started on a 12x16 of the 6x8 i did yesterday. so off to the studio i went. here's what i ended up with.

not to worry about the lack of waves. hurricane Earl is a few days behind Danielle and due to swing much closer to my fave surf spot. Just not too close i hope!

Shimmery Dining- 12x16

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gettin' in the Groove

Chromatic Restaurant-6x8
$400 framed
available soon at Rowley Gallery

There's this weird component to painting that involves rhythm. and its something that i took for granted painting outside everyday. i just got up everyday, went outside, and painted. and i liked a little more than half of what i did out there. and they went smoothly for the most part. the problem was when it would rain or get cold (doesnt happen much now that i go to key west in the winter to escape it!) i'd hit the studio and paint. problem was that painting in a studio from photos is waaay different than plein air work. then i'd wonder why i wasnt as at-ease doing interiors or figurative work.
Having done all these interiors and figurative stuff consecutively, lately, i can feel that rhythm and confidence that i alway had doing my plein air stuff.
Added benefit of doing studio work day after day, its nice not to have to work outside in august here in NC where its 90 degrees with 90% humidity everyday. Not to mention- i can listen to Judge Joe and Judge Judy while i'm painting. i know.... its weird but you can halfway listen to the show and concentrate on the painting at the same time. the perfect balance.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hot Stuff-6x8-$400 framed

this whole chef series will be available soon at the Rowley Gallery

on this one i played with a more abstract background than some of the prior pieces.

thats what makes this painting business worth messing with. the ability to take every piece, everyday, and experiment with different things. thats why its impossible for an external force to steer or guide an artist. it has to come from an internal desire on our part to paint the thing and have fun experimenting with this and that, even if its a series. this way we can see what we like and what we dont like about the paint handling, background, color palette, loose, tight, etc, etc. its a learning process for each subject until we are comfortable with our "look" and feel that we are doing what makes us happy. doing that keeps it from being a job for us. and as everybody knows we painter types dont like "jobs" :D

all you painters let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pastry Chefs-6x8

$400 framed
to purchase contact Rowley Gallery

Funny how every painting you do is different in some small way from the one you did yesterday and from the one you'll do tomorrow even when its the same subject. tho' theyre usually very similar, they arent exactly the same. each one you paint is an individual entity and very one-of-a- kind. thats what makes original art so neat and hence intrinsically valuable.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interior of a Kitchen

The Next Order-6x8
$400 framed
headed to Rowley Gallery in Orleans, Mass.

A kitchen scene. who hasnt wanted to paint some chefs with those big hats? i like the silvery kitchen and those stark white areas of the chef near the light.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Early Light in a Corner-8x10

$800 framed

available soon at Rowley Gallery, Orleans, Mass.
talked to Liz (the owner of the gallery) about the upcoming show of these interior pieces, and we've decided to pre-sell these before the show opens in October. what we'll do is sell the piece, but the buyer will be asked to leave the piece on the wall a week or so into the show. that way the exhibition of these interior pieces will be intact on reception night. so if you'd like one of these let either her, or me know and we'll presell it to you off the internet, before it even goes on the wall in the gallery.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bedroom Triad-10x8

$800 framed
headed to Rowley Gallery in Orleans, Mass.

here's the finished piece from the underpainting post i did below. i like the dreamy light in this one. my favorite ten square inches of the painting is the bottom front of the armoire. tell you what...portraying that carving on the front was tricky! going for accurate but impressionistic. that razors edge i'm always talking about chasing. its my "holy grail".

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Saturated Underpainting

my favorite way to work. straight out of the tube, saturated, underpainting. the idea is that you dont have to get the exact color right as it will go thru several transformations adding more saturated colors until its the approximate color i need. then if its still too saturated i'll bump it down with the its complement of i'll take a bit of scrapings (gray) in the right value and knock off the saturation. you do this is passes. in other words you fix them all every pass. too hard to get a color right when the colors surrounding it arent correct, so you work all over the painting getting it a "little more right", then come back and work all over the painting again.
i'll show you the finished piece after i tweak it a bit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Silvery Pair 6x8-$100


An exercise in keeping a silvery day painting colorful. you just look at the very unsaturated colors and bump them up a bit while staying true to the lighting effect. on a day like this its very diffused, cool light, where the shadows have a hint of warmth.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Updraft 8x10

$375 unframed plus $8 shipping
$425 framed plus $15 shipping

Done from the paddleboard excursion. that paddleboard gets you into places you just couldnt get to on foot. i removed the high-rise bridge in the distance and made this painting more universal, but it was painted near north topsail.

that thought will make a good post about the two sides of an argument about whether something thats recognizable has more appeal than something thats generic.

here are what i think the two opposing ideas are and how i deal with it.

first there's the school of thought that says the minute you make something a definate place that you've taken away the universalism of it. that would equate to a smaller, more highly defined group of people who would want the piece. flip side is it creates more interest in that select group BECAUSE it is that place.

second school of thought is that by keeping things generic that it could be discerned (mistakenly) to be anywhere the viewer might imagine that it is. this will open up the flood gates of people who might want it. flip side of that is most galleries have a niche buyer who wants something from that particular area where the gallery is located. and if its not from the local area, (done by a local artist even) they arent really interested.

so we painters struggle with titleing things because the minute we put "Surf City Marsh" we are making a choice of which buyer we are after. if we call it Morning on the Marsh and leave out recognizable landmarks we are also coming down on one side of the debate instead of the other.

my take is that i want all my paintings to sell. other than making great bonfire tinder in the fall unsold paintings dont taste good so i cant eat them and the electric company sends them back to me still demanding their money when i try to pay them with my unsold artwork. so what i do is a little of both. recognizable stuff and titles that commit it to a specific place and undescript titles and places. if i'm asked is this such and such place i under-commit blaming my supposed graduation into senior adulthood (see below) or my whiskey soaked youth for the lapse in memory.

this morning i was informed that i'm a "senior"speaking of that... dont you hate when youre not old enough to be eligible for senior citizen discounts but you see ads with pictures of late forty somethings looking for love on the internet, and it says "seniors dating site"?

didnt that twenty something ad agency person know thats not the way to advertise something to my age group? in my mind seniors are ALWAYS older than me!
that would be like me writing one that shows pretty twenty something pictures and saying "childish youngin's website" How many of them do you think would want to go to that site LOL
youre only as old as you.....are

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Interiors for the Show in Cape Cod in Oct.

Blonde and Gold-8x10
Heading to Rowley Gallery in Orleans, Mass.

Headed to Rowley Gallery in Orleans, Mass.

these interiors are growing on me. theyre much different than my plein air work in so many ways. theyre done in the studio with no time constraints which is nice and also fraught with danger. too much time could lead to fussiness and tight rendering, the opposite of what i'm after when i put brush to canvas.

i'll be showing an exhibition of my new interior paintings in a solo show at the Rowley Gallery in October.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Few from Last Week

Early for Lunch- 8x10
$800 framed

Early Light-8x10
$800 framed
Getting the light right on interiors is a way more subtle proposition than it is on landscapes where the ground is usually one value and temperature, as well as all the other components. but in an interior painting the lighting is more complex. the top of the bed can be in varying temperatures of light in just a two square foot area. not to mention reflected light! its bouncing all around in there and the challenge is to keep it painterly but to also be true to the light. my problem is that i'd gladly sacrifice painterly strokes to accurately portray the light. its a real tightrope to get accuracy and keep it painterly and fresh.
i like the way these came out. one "fell off the brush" the other i worked on over several days, refining and tweaking. each painting is like one of your kids if you have several... each one unique in their own way.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Revision on Tranquility on Calico Creek

Tranquility on Calico Creek-12x16

this one came back to me for the second time from galleries so i set it out where i could see it every day for months. i've got pegboard holders where i can set about a dozen paintings in the area that a couch might take up.
look at the painting youre revising with plenty of objectivity. look at it in the cold hard light of day. you'll be surprised what you can see once youre not so invested in the painting. fix brushwork, weak colors, things that stick out or dont stick out enough. make boring shapes interesting, give shapes that are plain some variety. if you paint outside enough, you'll know just how stuff should look. dont be afraid to make changes. take a picture of it so you can fix something if you dont like the change.
so here's what i did to the painting (i'll do it in bullets)
*made the water bluer. it was too grayish blue and weak
*changed the grass where it doesnt look like two rows of green and made it more random like nature. this was done plein air and i remember struggling with grass back then. after a few years i've got a better grip on how to meake the grass look real
*put some darker cooler color on the front half of the side of the boat making a larger shape have more color change than the old one
* covered over alot of the house on the left. it was too prominent. i used to put everything in a painting i saw. now i know i can edit stuff out, move a tree here, or take it away etc. makes better paintings
*simplified the tree shadows and added purple into the land mass way in the distance to push it way back. gives it more atmospheric perspective. the purple cools and grays the green.
*added more blues the same value in the sky for variety and changed the shadow color of the clouds and punched up the light side with warm white
*worked on the cloud reflection in the water. its a little darker like in reality
and * took out the pole in the water. if you dont need an object to tell the story then absolutely leave it out. i used to put everything i saw in my paintings. shoot i had enough stuff in one painting for three!

i love to see how other painters "fix" their duds so i hope you get something out of this lesson. now hopefully i wont get it back from the next gallery i send it to and will be on somebody's wall!



this ones from the paddleboard session a few days ago

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Few New Ones from New Bern

Corner Dining-8x10

available at Carolina Creations in New Bern
$425 framed

Union Point in August- 5x7

available at Carolina Creations in New Bern
$300 framed

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pack Light for Paddleboard Painting

in true rooney fashion i will let this post get double duty. it will not only be for your amusement but also act as the suggested materials list for all my students going with me to Tuscany Italy in a few months. So here's all you need to paint outside.

I suggest you take your bag of stuff (i'll give you the contents below) and go out in the yard behind your house and paint something. anything. you'll soon find what you really need, then go in the house, throw that thing in the bag and continue painting, then leave all that stuff in the bag and never take it out. no more leaving crucial stuff in the car or at home when you've hiked two miles across the dunes in 95 degree heat!

So here it is....

Pictured above is what i carry when i want to carry the least amount of gear, First grab a medium sized travel bag or better yet a backpack. throw in a cheap metal tripod easel, and some of those big clamps you can get at Home Depot (they come in so handy), then grab a size 2,4, and 8 flat synthetic brushes and a liner (also called a rigger), a small palette knife, plastic tub to put thinner in to wash your brushes out with, some little clips from the office supply store to clip it your box, and a gatorade plastic jar for thinner (hasnt leaked on me so far!). A travel size shampoo bottle of Liquin (my medium of choice), magenta stick of oil pastel to draw with, and yellow ochre, and orange tubes of acrylic paint (if you like acrylic underpainting), paper towels and bug spray. you'll need some panels to paint on (i suggest 6x8 and 8x10 and if you dont want to carry wet paintings back to the house, you'll want a "wet box" which keeps the paintings from touching and smearing. a pochade box (a cigar box will work too) with paint in it. in my case... magenta, yellow ochre, cad yellow med, cad red light, alizarin crimson, turquoise, ultramarine blue, orange, sap green, and cobalt violet around the edges of the box. i made this ultralight painting box out of one of those aluminum forms holders you get at Staples Office Supply. works great. i clamp it to the easel with the big orange clamp you see there. a painting umbrella is very useful too so i make room for it as its the same length as the tripod and weighs hardly anything.

Sounds like a lot but it all fits very easily into a small to medium travel bag. if i'm paddleboarding i stick all this in a platic trash bag to keep it dry.

below, i've got my paddleboard ready for a plein air painting trip up and down the marshes at topsail island.

it all straps very easily to the front of the board.

So dont tell me that youve GOT to have so much gear that you dont even like to go outside with it and paint!
if you still feel compelled to think such things after reading this post, lay down on the floor next to the computer screen and sob silently into the carpet until there are small personal robots to carry all your stuff for you.
like Nike says "just do it!"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Saturated Underpainting a la Cape School Style

In todays lesson i'll show you the first few steps of an underpainting. the idea here is to use the right temperature and value of paint to get started. you'd really have to add the complement of each color to muddy up the piece and kill the color. just be sure that you dont ever, ever, ever add too much and you'll be safe.

this is what the underpainted colors look like. theyre pretty much straight out of the tube and give you the basic color harmonies, temperatures, and values. try to get this part pretty close knowing that youre going to tone down the intensities as you color correct

i'm loving my new method of drawing on the shapes with a magenta oil pastel. the paint goes right on it and gives the painting a nice "rosy" glow. i may try an rusty orange one for when the light is much warmer. thats the fun of painting.,,. trying out all kinds of different stuff to see what it will do! dont be afraid to experiment and find your own favorite ways.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Study #0804-SOLD


Well you didnt think i could go long without painting almost everyday did you? Seems that spending all day looking for "just the right one" to paint because it has to be GREAT doesnt suit me. But i am glad that i slowed the pace down and started doing better quality work.
Since there were things to draw with painters have done studies and what we who were in the graphics design industry called our comp drawings (fancy name for color sketches)
its a way to think out things on paper, or in this case canvas. put this there, leave that out. its also a way to be able to test out new ideas and subject matter without bruising our ego's too much if they didnt work out without sacrificing our image in the pursuit of excellence.
what i didnt realize about my daily painter stint was that i was a lot less scared to paint anything and everything that made me happy and that i was starting to get "SAFE" with my painting. always doing the one's that i knew would work out etc. Thats boring, unchallenging and just not a good fit for my "what the (&*()&(*%, its only ten cents worth of materials" mentality. its this mentality that i think has gotten me this far this fast. seems a lot of painters were writing me emails saying "i love your devil may care attitude when it comes to painting" and here lately i've been trying to ONLY paint things that i know i could do well, in a way i knew i could do them well. i just wasnt as happy, creatively as in my one-a-day days. i just wont be pushing them out slapdash, and i wont let a small one take precedence over larger gallery work. this will be the best of both worlds.
so you'll be seeing my "playing around" stuff in the form of numbered sketches (they wont even have titles). they'll be smaller than i traditionally give galleries and they wont be highly rendered, and thus i'll be able to sell them substantially cheaper than my gallery work. Most of which will be larger and come from the smaller sketches i think will look better bigger. thats the whole purpose of small ones, to work out ideas for bigger paintings!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm Baaaackkk!

Ever been in a "funk" and cant paint? If youre very serious about your painting (vs. doing it once in a while for fun) you know that "da funk" can really rattle you. Sometimes it hits you out of nowhere and sometimes it comes at other more predictable times.
Lets look at what causes it, and i'll give you some tips to get you going again.

First lets look at some things that cause "da funk". One is sheer burnout. Lets say you've been working on a series of paintings or an event (like a show) that either took a long time to complete, or took alot out of you (creatively and/or physically). For this symptom the remedy is to take a few days off. Sounds crazy but nothing but rest will get you jazzed again. You just dont have any steam left. Those few days off will give your Muse time to recover and when it does, it will begin to let you know by stirring those desires to paint again. Trust me, this happens to me all the time, and i think it happens to every artist (including me) just after delivering a show. There's such a feeling of let down and it can put the kabosh on your creative energy.

The second thing that can zap your Muse is a personal crisis or anything else that you're thinking about as much as you used to think about finding a painting. You just have to realize that sometimes life just gets in the way. Lets say you just got a bad diagnosis from the doctor, or youre spending night and day taking care of an elderly parent. The mind doesnt have time or desire to be creative. That makes sense right? But why are we so frustrated when it happens? We have to let these things run their course and when they do, you'll find yourself wanting to sling that paint again.

Now for a few ideas on getting that creativity jumpstarted. I've heard of still life painters going out to buy new still life props at the thrift stores, and i can see that working. Theyre getting interested in some new things to paint. As a plein air landscape painter, when i get bored i like to travel to a different city or region of the country to paint and this gets me going again. i usually do this at least four or five times a year to keep things interesting.

So the next time youre not feeling it, do one of two things. Rest and really dont worry about it (the urge to paint will return) or get up and find something that really makes your motor run, and then go paint it.

And then like Jack Nicholson, you'll be saying, " I'm Baaaaccckkk!"