Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sketch at Paneras


Daily Sketch - 5.5x8.5

I did this sketch of a young man at Panera's this morning. He was so intently at work on his laptop that he was easy to capture. He hardly moved at all.

His name is Steve Watkins. When I had completed the sketch, I went over and told him what I had done and showed him the picture. It was a delight to meet him.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Road - WIP


Detail of Work In Progress...

The problem here is that I'm dealing with a lapse of time - several days. I've been away from "December Road" for a week, and the inspiration and concept have grown cold. There are two big problems I need to address:

  1. After the interruption, I see some problems in the areas I had done earlier, but I must avoid the temptation to go back and rework them. They were part of an earlier idea that I don't want to lose.
  2. I find myself wanting to pull new colors into the unworked areas in an effort to transition to new ideas to add interest. The difficulty is to keep continuity throughout. That continuity is difficult because I tend to lose the "inspiration" over the week I've been away.

Time to go slowly, or I will destroy the piece altogether.

I think that after blocking in some of the areas (as was suggested by Carly Hardy) so that the color was consistent, I found it easier to remain faithful to my vision. Also blocked in the road to establish the "cool" contrast to the warm fields. I had to keep reminding myself to stay away from sharp detail and concentrate on forms.

The frost and remains of snow were a touch I want to add, but I'm having a problem getting the shading and shadows right. Snow on the open ground lower left may be a problem.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dec. Road WIP 12-23


Things I learned today, or of which I was reminded:

  1. Add color not detail.
  2. Move from passage to passage, don't get bogged down.
    When I stay too long in one area, I tend to overwork the painting, and the result is mud!
  3. I need to put the piece of chalk down as soon as I finish the ONE thing I picked it up for.
    If I don't, that color works its way into too many places.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December Road WIP

This is my "end of the day" post of work accomplished today. Distractions abound, and I am too easily distracted.


Made corrections to the sky - added more blue, intensified the color, deepened the value. I don't know if it's a more believable December sky, but I think it's definitely more interesting.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lifelike, Believable, Interesting


My first effort at a sky for the pastel I've started points out my current issue regarding three concepts related to painting and sections of paintings. These concepts are; lifelike/realistic, believable, and interesting.
  • Lifelike / realistic - for me, this is the effort to make the painting look like life by matching form, color, value, perspective, etc. The result is as close as I can get to photographic realism. The truth is that I lack the skill or patience to accomplish this.

  • Believable - where lifelike requires exact representations of the subject, it is also possible to represent the subject in a way that may not be exact but that is recognizable and avoids being so extreme as to be "unbelievable." The result is a "believable" painting.

  • Interesting - an interesting painting is one that captures and holds the attention of the viewer. Unfortunately a painting can be exactly realistic or modified yet believable, but the result is not interesting. The goal I strive for is to make my paintings interesting. I want to capture and hold the interest of the viewer.

The result of the sky in this painting is believable, but is truly uninteresting.

The hardest time of all

Finally got it started. I put this photo up as a trial to see if the winter sky I want will work with the design. The horizon is a mixture of light lavender and pale yellow that draws to blue as it moves upward. The lavender fades first, then the yellow. The status clouds are done in the palest of yellow with some white. I wanted to create some movement, but I want to sleep on it before I put in the trees and go beyond the point of no return.

Well, I have a drawing - now for some color....

The most difficult time for me is to address the blank paper or canvas. That's where I am today. Having failed miserably on my last attempt - yesterday was a waste - I now look at a new sheet of UArt cut to 21x15. I've marked it for a grid, I know what I want to paint, I have a vision of what I want it to look like, I even have a good drawing of the scene.... So, why is it so hard?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday before Christmas, 2010

Charles Le Brun - "Announcement to the Shepherds"
2 Timothy 2:8
Remembering that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel....

It's interesting, perhaps even curious, to me that I have come to this verse in my personal study a week before Christmas. As wonderful as Christmas is, the events in Bethlehem are only prelude to Passover in Jerusalem, and even the Crucifixion loses its significance without the Resurrection. So when Paul defines the energizing element of our faith and action it is the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. Merry Christmas!

(Notes from my personal study, dated December 18, 2010)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sanded Paper Texture


Things I Leared Today
This post is an experiment - keeping notes on-line of things I learn or of which I need to remind myself.

Today - different textures of sanded paper respond differently to broad areas such as sky or backgrounds.

Smooth paper - UArt
  • Rembrandt harder pastels work well. Blending with fingers can wear out the fingers.
  • Sennelier works well for accents, last touches.

Textured paper - Arches self-sanded

  • Rembrandt does not blend well over broad expanses - the paper texture keeps it from being smooth or blending one color into anohter
  • Sennelier works better can be blended with the fingers

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Caravaggio - "The Adoration of the Shepherds"


In my estimation, Caravaggio captured personality and emotion in his work better than anyone. At this season, I wanted to remind myself that above all else, this event and the life that followed are the center of all life, time, and eternity.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Road

Charcoal on paper - image size 10.5 x 7.5

This 30 minute value study for a larger work turned into a multi-day project. My inspiration was a return to a road that I had painted earlier. This particular stretch or road undulates over the hill and then makes a sharp left beyond the abandoned farm place at the top of the hill. The winter shadows were long and dramatic, but the light was still bright. There was some light snow in the bottoms, yet the colors in the fields were still warm and brilliant.

I still plan to do a larger work, so I've left the reference marks in the margins. I will eventually mat and frame this one!

This scene and this day were especially poignant for me because I had my father with me who is in ill health. One never knows when we will return to this place.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Road - nearly complete

I still have some more touches to add to the road, shadows, and the right foreground. The last step will be to deepen some of the values and bring out highlights. I should be finished tomorrow morning.

I left the registry marks on the outside edges so that I can mark it up for a larger work if I need to without going back into the drawing. Charcoal tends to be a little messy for that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Road - 12-13-2010


Work-in-progress

This drawing started out as a value sketch for a larger work in pastels - I expected 14x10. As I began working in charcoal, I soon decided that the finished work should be more than just a sketch. I have been working upper-left to lower-right to keep my hands from smearing the charcoal unexpectedly.

There's more work to do, but I wanted to take a picture to mark my progress and get it up for comments.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Road


This is the photograph that I'm using for the initial drawing and design for a new painting. I have selected the size of my first effort on this to be 14x10 on self-sanded Arches cold press paper. I like the texture that the paper transmits to the final work giving it a sparkle and life that I've not been able to achieve on UArt paper.

While I was in Iowa with my ailing father, I did not have time to do any sketching or painting. I did take a few photos. This is the winter view of the same stretch of road that I used in my previous work "Spring Road."