Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More Plein Air and the new mirror

This is gettting to be too much fun. I started this 9x12 piece yesterday morning and am really close to finishing. Again, I only paint from 5:30 to 6:30am each morning, so it goes pretty fast. I let the painting sit for at least a couple of days, just in case I see something that I want to change. This is the road to Charles Dayton's ranch again. In fact coming up on the barns.
The most fun is coming back on the second day to add sky back into the trees. The plein air folks do this while still on site, so I need to get more aggressive with loading paint onto my brush and dealing with wet paint. Plein air painters go through a lot of paint and layer it on the board without mixing with what is already there. This is an art and takes practice.

We remodeled this home last year and I haven't had a mirror in this studio until last week. Paul built this mirror for me so I can see what I am painting from a distance--the mirror tilts as well as rotates. You attach a small mirror next to your piece and line up with the large mirror across the room. This allows you to look into your little mirror and see what you are doing from a distance. The camera is pointed into the little mirror attached to  my easel, so you can see what I see while painting. It is adjusted based on the heighth of the artist.
When you paint too close to your piece for so long, you can lose the concept of what you are painting. You get too caught up in the details and forget the "big picture". This way, you see the lights and darks and how the shapes fit with each other--and whether your piece is doing what you expected.  You can't do this while plein air painting...outdoors you step back from your painting often. In a small studio, or even a large one, this saves time and allows you to instantly correct what you see as wrong.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recent Work

I have participated in the Cokeville, Wyoming Minerva Teichert festival for the last two years. Plein Air painting is a must in the Cokeville area. Capturing the character in the trees is key in much of the scenery. The cottonwoods appear to take on their own personality and the painters express this in their pieces.

I have done a bit of plein air, but am still working on capturing those cottonwoods. I've pulled some of my photographs from the last visit and am working through them. I hope with practice I can feel more comfortable portraying them next year.

This first piece is on an 11x14 board. This scene is driving out to a ranch just North of Cokeville--This is Charles Dayton's family ranch. Charles is an incredible Western Painter and promotes the festival each year:

This second piece is on an 8x10 canvas
This last piece is on a tiny 5x7 canvas I found at a second-hand store here in St. George. The trees are the same as those in the painting above, with a bit of variation--also "landscape" versus "portrait":