Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cabin Fever has set in and with this heel still healing and unable to really get out in the country yet I spent this afternoon adding some photos on my OUTDOOR ADVENTURE blog of a trip artist friend, Mark Gale and myself along with some other folks who wanted to see the country took ten years ago. This was Mark looking for the perfect painting spot amidst spectacular country in the Absaroka Wilderness NE of Dubois, Wyoming. Hope you will mosey over to the site and get rid of a little cabin fever yourself.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I have now moved across the canvas and pretty well established what I want where. Next I will begin fine tuning my darks and lights and hopefuly make them all work together.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I was asked about my technique on doing Gouache watercolors on my FIREHOLE RIVER posting and thought I would post an explanation about "my" way.
I did this particular painting on 300# Arches Watercolor paper. For some paintings I find it works pretty well and on others it drives me crazy and wonder why I chose it. My favorite and most used is #1 illustration Board by Arches that I can only find at Dick Blick. My last posted Painting-a-Day blog, ABOVE RAMSHORN RANCH, was paintied on Illustration Board. I was on a roll and did it in 45 minutes though that is the time frame I try to do most of my paintings on that blog. In doing workshops it amazes me to print out a materials list and ask for illustration board and a few folks show up with any of an assortment of watercolor papers. I always bring a few sheets[30"x40"]along and try selling off various sizes but always take a beating on that. With great expectations in mind folks try out my technique and are quickly discouraged. It seems easy but takes some getting used to.
I use all transparent watercolors and use them with White Gouache. Gouache watercolors areavailable but they are a little too flat looking for my taste. I used to use them a lot for book and magazine illustration as they work great for reproduction work. I just like the ability to use some transparancy here and there on a painting. It is easiest [and so hard for the beginner]to think of the paints more as oils than watercolors. It is shocking for the uninformed to see me mixing my watercolor paints with a pallette knife onto my Porceline pallette. The amount of water used is important as A lot of dry brush work is involved. The true beauty of it all is that you can paint dark over light and light over dark. The trick is to do it when dry or mud is the result. That is the hardest thing for the beginner to figure out. It is important, I think, to keep in mind good color theory as you work with these as with watercolor there is a point where too much paint can get one into trouble. As with my oils, I have a preconceived idea pretty much of where I want the painting to go and work from left[I am right handed]to right. From top down and from back to forward. I used to use an electric eraser to fix glaring mistakes but as the years have gone by I have gotten used to not painting myself into that corner. This technique can be very frustrating for the beginner but I tell all my students in workshops and the Wilderness Pack trip Paint-outs I used to do to do 100 paintings and then look back at #1 and see how much they have learned.
Don't make the mistake as some workshop folks have done and get Chinese White. It won't work. I really like the large[huge]tube of Gouach White by Pebeo that I can only find through Cheap Joes. Another beauty of the paints is that they can be rewet after being dry no matter how old. The whites though will have to be worked on a little as they get a little grainey but can be revived. A perfect tool for rewetting paints is the little bugger getters found in the baby section at your favorite Dept Store.
In my last posted Painting-a-Day blog, FROM RAMSHORN RANCH, I did use the white of the illustration board showing through as in a transparent painting in palces but a lot of opaque also. This give a shimmer of light in wanted places.
If I have missed anything and you have questions please feel free to e-mail me or comment on this posting.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I continued work for the better part of the day on my Early Fall Glade. Today I have continued on working top to bottom and from left to right, doing a little detail as I go

Firehole Evening.
14"x21" Gouache Watercolor Painting.
I think I am pretty well finished with this Gouache painting depicting one of the many wonderful meadows along the Firehole River between Old Faithful and Madison Jct in Yellowstone National Park. I have included a few grazing Bison so prevalent in this area. It is late fall and snow all ready is on the eastern and northern slopes where it is protected from the sun. It will be there till spring.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I spent a few hours saturday working on this painting going from background forward and from upper left to lower left and then to the right. I have a preconceived notion of what I want this painting to look like and will progressively work that way then go back and touch up values, detail, and textures to hopefully pull it all together.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

With fresh snow and colder temperatures outside I have jumped onto a painting I have been playing with in the back of my mind and am a little excited about from some photos I took early in September. On a 16"x20" canvas I have laid in Acrylic paint planning out my colors and lights and darks somewhat. I will now go to Oils for the final painting.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I have spent several days working on this 10"x20" Oil Painting, FROSTED MEADOW, dipicting a snow covered irrigated meadow from the Riverton, Wyoming area. In my Painting-a-Day blog I did a frosted tree scene and a good artist friend of mine from Riverton asked if I was going to do some more of that kind of thing. So here it is. Winter in the Riverton area is a deep freeze all winter with subzero temperatures the norm. Fog collects in the valley and freezes on everything making a surreal world of real beauty and challenging scenes for the artist. I shot a number of photos last month that I would like to do some more work from.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As I was waiting for my Desert Anvil painting to dry I have begun this Gouache Watercolor Painting, 14 1/2"x21 1/2" depicting the Fire Hole River in Yellowstone. This is a return to my Yellowstone project. I have in mind to put some grazing Buffalo across the river on the left. I have blocked in the painting and begu detailing the backlit mountain ridge and the trees in the back. Now for the river and fore grasses as well as the Buffalo.

I have pretty well put the finishing touches to my Oil Painting, 12"x24" Desert Anvil.

Friday, January 15, 2010

After a pretty fruitful day this is where I am on my Arizona Anvil cloud. Am pretty well working on the vegetation and remembering my times in the desert. Great hikes and country and ever mindful that everything out there bites.
Several years ago a number of aritst friends and myself gathered at a Scottsdale restaurant for dinner and while waiting outside for a table observed several kids playing around a Saguaro that was in the courtyard. I told those kids that it would bite if they were not careful. Kids being kids one little boy just had to touch the trunk. Sure enough it bit. In tears I think he learned a desert lesson.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I spent yesterday painting in oils on my thundercloud. As is my technique, After I have blocked in my painting I have a pretty good idea about where I want to take it and therefor begin painting usually from top to bottom. From back to forward and from left to right. After I pretty well have the painting painted I will go back in and touch up this or that to hopefully make it all come together.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I have started another of my Arizona Paintings and this one will be 12"x24" Oil painted on a Ray Mar Canvas panel. I have layed in a coat of Acrylic just to get my idea down which will feature this anvil Thundercloud in early evening. Across the expanse I will include a number of desert species such as the Saguaro, Palo Verde and others.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I think I have finished my vertical Grand Canyon painting. Still spending some time looking at the light colored hill in left side just below middle. The actual geology consists of a change from iron tinted red hillside to the yellowish color. I liked it in my reseach as it balanced out the whiter colors of the limstone faces on the horizon. Now I'm not sure. Maybe I am being a little too hard on my judgement?
Went to my Therapy Doc this morning and took my first steps without crutches yesterday. Painful but I did it. Was a cold morning to be out in moccasins at -26 but the sky is blue after 3" snow yesterday. Off to Casper today to see my regular Doc and x-rays tomorrow to see how the heel is healing. Hope the roads aren't too slick as it is 200 miles of hiway driving.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

After a day of painting on my Grand Canyon piece. I have pretty well put in my background except for tweaking after I finish the cliff face on the right today.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I have started this painting which is on of my Arizona series I am working on [see painting-a-day]This is a scene from the Grand Canyon down along the walls looking eastward. It is on Ray-mar canvas. 10"x20". I thought it challenging to do a vertical scene and have begun with an acrylic underpainting getting my drawing down and kind of map of where I want to go with the mood and all. I will now begin painting in Oils using a thinned liquin as a medium.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Checking on them at various times I caught one of our welfare Cottontails which for awhile seemed to amuse our two lay-a-bouts. What with the daily carrot this fellow gets he probably sees in the dark quite well.
One of the really cool things about being a Wildlife and Landscape artist is the encounters I have with critters. Sometimes right under my Living room window such as these two fawns from last summer who still seem inseperable as they lay about my yard for the better part of yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I have been working on this Oil Painting, SHOSHONE WINTER, 20"X30", for about a month off and on. It is one of my Yellowstone series I am working on. I have not put any wildlife into it but am still considering doing so. It depicts the North Fork of the Shoshone River that headwaters for the most part in the Yellowstone eastern border area and flows eastward towards Cody, Wyoming. The Indians and early mountain men refered to this river as the Stinking Water River. As it flows through the Cody area it picks up a lot of Hydrogen Sulfide gases which in high quantities can be deadly but otherwise smells like rotten eggs.
None the less it is a beautiful Stream and in winter is very clear. Spring runoff at lower elevations can be high, roiling and muddy.
The real challenge in this painting was the trees on the mountain slopes. How to make them look realistic without being too contrived or taking over the painting.

Since I had talked a little bit about my framing options I thought I would post this pix of EMERGING GRIZZLY with the frame I have picked. I cut a 3/4" fabric mat that I have as a liner. If I stay with this option it would be best to glass over the painting and mat. I have not decided yet so I have not applied any varnish to it. If I do varnish it I will have to delete the mat option and either build a 3/4" liner or will have to paint the painting on all 4 sides another 3/4" as I had masked off that much in anticipation of using the mat. Not really that difficult with gouache just a little more time consumption on my part.

I am at the point that I am calling this painting finished. After a few days of looking it over I may tweek a few things here and there. I hope I have satisfied Les and have gotten rid of the pasted on look. EMERGING GRIZZLY 15"x21 1/2" Gouache Watercolor Painting