Monday, November 29, 2010

Prep Work

Planning a 16x20 painting of an interior i did as a demo a few months ago. here's the thumbnail value plan/Notan of it showing the division of light and dark. these really get the scene into your head before diving into paint. this way you know what to emphasize and what to de-emphasize value wise. also helps you mass darks together for a nice design.

Study of Lamp on a Table- 5x4
$50 plus $8 shipping
email me or call 919-920-9718 if you'd like this study
in the color study i try very hard to stick with the sketch light/dark map. values can be similar in objects and you break em out by changing the hue. keep the darks massed together. i'll use this, the demo painting, and the reference photo to complete the upcoming larger piece.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Notan Sketches Save One

Cocktail Time-8x6
email me or call 919-920-9718 if you want this one

Ok. Here's what cocktail time used to look like. but after working with Notan sketches all day yesterday i realized the notan of the original was weak. so i revised it to have a stronger Notan. which equates to a stronger painting.
Notan is japanese for Light/Dark. what you do is draw the light and dark pattern in a very abstract way so that the design is as interesting and powerful as it can be. real notan uses just two values but i like having three or four in my sketches. you dont try to describe form with notan like you do in a value sketch, but instead you try to think of the large shapes and work them into nice patterns of light and dark. so i guess its a hybrid notan and value sketch that ive done below in my sketchbook.

i'm using medium gray pastel paper i bound into a sketchbook, a very dark Duotone pencil from Derwent and a stick of white oil pastel. these are my fave drawing tools. just having them in my hand makes me want to sketch. i tell all my workshop students that if you want to get better at painting, they need to sketch whenever theyre not holding a paint brush.

what i did to cocktail time original was simplify the light pattern. by going dark over the windows and then down the left side and connecting it to the shadow part under the bar, i made the dark pattern bigger and more solid. makes the window look even whiter which silohouettes the focal point, the bartender, nicely. also took out the distracting little white lights over the figure in the original. also took out one window divider and moved it so it doesnt sticking out of the middle of his head anymore.
try doing a bunch of these notan sketches from paintings online you like. make sure they have nice lights and darks. the more you think in terms of good light/mid/dark value patterns, the better your paintings!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finding Something to Paint-SOLD

Swanpoint Glimpse-6x6

alot of times during a workshop, students ask me what my thinking is when i'm looking for something to paint. so i decided to give you some of my mental processes when i'm out trying to find something to paint. these are in no particular order-

* stay in particular areas that youve found lots of things to paint, on a consistent basis, in the past. sort of like a fisherman tends to go to the same places or "honey holes" because he knows that fish hang out there. He knows he's caught fish there more times than not

* you have certain things you like. say a backlit boat, or a cottage with late afternoon light on it, etc. so go out looking for things you know have worked out for you before

* squint at the potential scene youre contemplating.make a square out of your fingers to frame the composition to see if the arrangement of fuzzy shapes is interesting.

* i have places i go when i dont mind being around curious bystanders, and places i go if i really want to paint alone. have a few places of your own depending on how you feel that day

* when you find a place you like, "crawl" every inch of it, trying to get to know the place. the longer you paint there the more things you'll consistently find.

* times of day and seasons can change familiar places and give you many more opportunities. go back to old haunts. boats get moved, new buildings get built, old trucks get put out to pasture in a field that didnt have one in it last time you were there.

* you can drive by a scene a hundred times and all of a sudden its as if youre seeing it for the first time and it needs to be painted. keep your eyes open at all times. you never know when you'll see something that just needs to be painted. and it may be on your own block or on the other side of town. you dont have to go far to find things to paint

* i get an "ahaaa" moment when i see something that needs to be painted. its the contrast, or the color, or the shapes. something makes you want to paint it. go with it when that happens to you too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ready to Fly-6x8


been on a kick recently to paint things just because they appeal to me. its the act of painting something with absolutely no concern whatsoever for its marketability. a liberating feeling to say the least. i'm only interested in how the light acts in a given scene, with no thought whatsoever to what the subject matter is that i'm painting. even whether somebody might want to buy it or not, doesnt enter into the equation, on days like these.
found this tiny private airport with small planes scattered around a runway thru some woods. the runway was so short i couldnt believe they could get airborne in such a short distance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moon Over Ada Mae-5x7

Today was the kind of weather a plein air painter dreams about at night. wonderful, clear, warm light and 70 degrees. Got off two today in New Bern, an 8x8 (i'll show in a few days) and this one. what a great scene right in front of the Persimmon waterfront restaurant. in fact i edited out the restaurant that was to the right and behind the Ida Mae. its a much "cleaner" design without it. it took me years to figure out that i didnt have to paint everything i see in the landscape i'm painting. DUH!

On the paint thinner front, i found some mineral oil and tried it instead of the smelly baby oil today. i thought it was a little too thick so i switched to cheap vegatable oil and found the more liquidy consistency much better for getting all the paint out of the brush quickly. will probably stick with this for now. love the fact that i'm not rubbing toxic thinner into my skin or inhaling it day and night in my vehicle and studio any more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going Less Lethal


Rock Harbor Duo-6x8

One from Rock Harbor in Orleans a few weeks ago. i love painting there. its got great parking, not many tourists hanging over my shoulder when i'm painting, and tons of great scenes like this one.

Have decided to use a less lethal form of cleaning my brushes and have been using all this week. the reason i did this was... i live in my studio, literally. the place i rent for my living and studio space is closed up 99% of the time. either the air is on or the heat and thus has no fresh air circulating around. not a good idea when youre cooped up with toxic thinner fumes. so i decided to use baby oil to wash my brushes out with. here's the beater jar i use with wire mesh down in the bottom for scrubbing the brush across. the paint falls in between the mesh to the bottom leaving the thinner clean after it settles down some. after a few months, you take the wire mesh out, scrape the sludge out, clean the jar, and pour new baby oil in till its a bit over the screen.

then i "paint" the baby oil on a phone book page until all the paint is off the brush, which may take a time or two. then i "paint" the clean brush across a roll of paper towels and Voila! a clean brush. nice thing too is the brushes i use, which are synthetics, last waaaayyy longer because the thinner used to burn them and cause them to fray real quick. now the oil seems to keep them conditioned like hair conditioner does for your hair.

glad to report that since i dont use toxic thinners in my living environment any more that i dont twitch or say stupid things nearly as much as before :D

anybody know where i can buy unscented baby oil? i dont like the perfumey smell of regular baby oil. may try vegetable or walnut oil if i cant find unscented baby oil.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bar and Restaurant Interiors


Took a bunch of pics around the bars and restaurants last evening and then spent the day drawing and painting them. Only down side was that it was 70 degrees and sunny here and i wished all day that i had been plein air painting instead. oh well... there are worse jobs!

Hanging at the Land Ho-7x5

Headed to the Tiny Gems show at the Rowley Gallery, Orleans, Mass.

A popular watering hole in Orleans and with all the colorful signs hanging down from the ceiling, its a blast to paint

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Interior

Before the Rush- 9x12

Laying in the basic tones and temperatures. this cements in the composition and is a road map for the rest of the painting. looks good as an abstract, the sign that it might be a decent painting.

next stage- a few different values and hues

smaller and smaller shapes and firming up the whole painting. starting a few accents and highlites.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back from AOC

The Intersection- 9x12
I'm back from my three days of teaching at Art of the Carolina's. what a great event. its the biggest art expo in the country and instructors and students come from all over the country to teach and attend workshops most of the week. i'm honored to be included in the who's who of instructors teaching there.
I taught an all day class on how to paint in the cape cod school of art technique, a class on values, and one on how to simplify and edit a complex scene.
usually have a few weird days coming back from a workshop but i got right on The Intersection plein air the day after AOC and was right in the groove. sometimes i think this painting thing is 50% technical and 50% mental. yeah i know what youre thinking.... i'm mental LOL!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Step by Step Demo- Comfy Chair2

Finished piece
in step 1- i lay in the composition using orange oil pastel over a yellow ochre toned gessoed masonite board -9x12. i sort of grid the reference by drawing an "x" from corner to corner, then draw a horizontal line and a vertical line where the x meets in the middle. then i do the same on the panel. then i transfer the big shapes in each triangle made by the x and lines. then i put down darker cooler colors everywhere not being hit by light, and light warm colors everywhere i see light hitting things.

step two- starting to flesh out the "bones" of the above underpainting. getting more realistic colors down, a tiny bit more detail (smaller shapes within large shapes) and seeing where the painting is leading me. scroll up and down from this photo to the finished piece to see the changes made in the last part of the painting to complete it.

I'm considering holding a three day plein air workshop in Port Clyde, Maine with a day trip to Monhegan Island next August. if its something you might be interested in drop me an email. if there's enough interest it'll be a go! The class itself will cost aproximately $300-$350 for the three days. Maine is one of the most scenic spots on the east coast that time of year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Between- 5x7

Headed to Rowley Gallery for the Small Works show i'm participating in. Thats where all the gallery artists paint "mini's" for the holidays. i've got several more planned to send up to the cape.
I think this one will sell for under $350 framed so its just right for that art lover on your Christmas list!
Found this scene walking around on Commercial St. to find a cup of cofee on a beautiful, chilly morning in PTown. gotta love alleyways that lead to the water, right!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back to Normal

Idle at the Dock- 8x10
email me if you'd like to purchase this one
This one is from the docks on the New River near my house. i like this one because i've always loved emile gruppe's work and this has a slight (very slight) gruppe feel to it. He kept things loose and treated his subjects broadly and chunky.
I heard a quote by Richard Schmid (another great painter) who said "paintings may look loose but theyre not painted that way"
what a great quote!
i'm back from my trip up north and it has taken me a couple of days to get back to the easel. travelling for weeks can kinda throw you off your schedule. good to be back at it.
NOTE: Art of the Carolina's starts this thursday. i'm teaching three classes. if youre interested in signing up drop me an email. one class will be the cape cod underpainting technique, one on editing and simplifying a scene, and one on values and its importance to a good painting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Fall Saturday Afternoon-SOLD

Sailing Partners-6x8

Went out this afternoon and saw this great scene at my fave marina Swan Point Marina. the air was crisp and clear. the light was beautiful.

Dave G. (a student during the Rhode Island workshop) wrote up a very concise blow-by-blow description of that class. Click here to see it

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fort Adams- Rhode Island-SOLD

Fall Anchorage-5x7

This is one from my recent trip to Rhode Island for a workshop. i found a place a little south of Newport called Fort Adams. It had a great view of Naragansett Bay all the way around.

Monday, November 1, 2010

In Progress- PTown Painting

Bradford St. Gazing into the Sun-9x12 -in progress

Here's one i started on bradford st. in provincetown today. was using a panel that had texture (like a weave) and really didnt like it. i love my gessoed masonite panels and seem to be able to push the early layers around alot easier than on this "thirsty" panel. this thing reminded me of my old sign painting days when i would try to save a buck and buy a really rough piece of plywood. then i'd try to letter really small, ornate lettering on it. like trying to letter on a piece of toast.

that leads me into todays lesson-Use the same materials everytime.

Painting outside is hard enough when its cold (like today), when its hot, when the bugs are biting, when the tourists are bothering you, and on and on, so why make life any harder? Changing panels, paint, brushes, thinner, painting setups etc etc. just throws huge variables into the painting experience that could potentially go horribly wrong.

Why have the paint slide around like a BP oil slick on your canvas panel because you thought it would be neat to try out this new product. Why have your brushes feel like youre painting with a whisk broom becuase they were on sale for half the price of the ones you love? you see the reasoning.

Sure, try out new products to see if you like em but dont make the mistake i did once. i bought some cheap brushes and threw out the worn out ones i like before going on a long painting trip on Bald Head Island. the brushes i took sucked bad! they only held up two painting sessions before flaying to the point of absurdity and being totally worthless. used the two up i had in four days and had to keep using them for the other seven i was on the island. i muttered under my breath the whole week. not worth the few bucks i saved for sure.

so dont try out new products when youre out there trying to paint. its hard enough already

An ad in Cape Cod Magazine (Nov/Dec) with one of my interiors from the show (far right bottom). The interiors will hang thru the month of November. if youre in Orleans i'd love for you to see em and say hi to Elizabeth, the owner of the gallery.