Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rick's Rules #1 - Motive

Motive – You can’t start without a motive

Quiet Expectation, Study 1

Reduce your project to one main idea and one clear emotion.  Edgar Payne calls this your “motive.”  Too many of my paintings fail because I started without a specific vision of what I wanted to say.  Until having a clear motive becomes second nature, write down your description of the main idea and emotion.

When you decide on a main idea and emotion, your motive, write them on your sketch to remind yourself of your motive while you work on the painting.

You start with an idea and an emotion. Once that is established, remember your goal is to make a painting that you will want to see often and enjoy.  If you don’t like the painting, don’t expect anyone else to want it.


Below my Motive/Idea for "Quiet Expectation, Study 1."  My initial idea was to place a focal vertical in a strictly horizontal marsh scene by using clouds and reflections as design components. I wrote this on the drawing before a chose my palette or put a single mark on the paper.

Motive / Idea on drawing

Below is my emotion for "Quiet Expectation, Study 1".  Knowing the flatness of the scene would be essentially quiet, I wanted to add an emotion that would build on that feeling.  The logical emotion for an early morning with sunlight breaking through the clouds is "expectation" which builds on the confidence of the vista.

Emotion on drawing

Rick’s Rules for Painting

These "rules" are my own principles of painting developed over time for my personal use.  They are to be used and applied in all my painting efforts.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quiet Expectation, Study 1

Quiet Expectation, Study 1 "original
Quiet Expectations, Study 1 - after "corrections"

Pastel 6x6 on UArt

This is a small study for a planned larger work.  In working though this study, I have been following my own working rules - Rick's Rules for Painting.  The rule that seems to have given me the most problem, as usual, is number 9 - "Untended ideas wander into bad places." 
Drawing with notes and motive
After reviewing this painting against my original motive, I realized that I was missing the emotion I had originally wanted to express.  To add the sense of confidence, I added a darker shade of golden orange and a deeper shade of pink.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Etude 1 - Studies in Basics

Etude 1A - Gray
Etude 1B - Brick

Etude 1C - Blue

Etude 1D - Bright Gray

This is a series of 6x6 pastel studies - Etudes - in the same composition with variations of color and value.  I have tried to remain representational but limit detail in favor of abstraction and color.  I chose a simple view of the wide coastal marsh with the only variation in the flat horizon in a stand of distant trees.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quiet Glory

Paste, 9x12, en Plein Air

I chose to paint the Mayport Presbyterian Church with the First Coast Plein Air Painters.  Painting buildings is a challenge for me, and I have to concentrate on perspective, proportions, and vertical edges.  I have found that the way I stand when painting en plein air I tend to make everything slant left even when my initial drawing is accurate, so my result with this old church is a small success for me.

This small white church radiated the quiet grace in which it stands as an inspiration for the faithful.  It was a rewarding way to spend a Saturday morning with friends from the FCPAP.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Pastel 9x6 

This small painting was inspired by the atmosphere of the beach when the sea fog moves in with the strong winds of autumn.  The bright colors are swept away and the horizon almost disappears. A few spots of color persist in the shadows, but they are overwhelmed by the brightness of the mid-day.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Pastel 9x9

Plein Air

Painted at Jacksonville Arboretum last Friday. I added a few touches this morning and signed it. This was an exercise of assembling widely scattered elements from the vista into a small space.
Early in the painting process, I struggled with the values and composition. Then as the shadows moved, I realized that a major feature of the bank in the back ground had been there all along. 
I need to remember to walk through the landscape as much as possible so that I know the objects that are in shade and shadow.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cut Bank

Pastel 12x12 on UArt

The wind builds and moves the dunes, but the bushes and grass that grow on them are left behind as the dune erodes beneath them.  As the dune is cut away, the old, gnarled bushes create unique drapery and shadow against the mid-day sun.