Late that night, the snow stopped. I walked out the door and was greeted by the moon shinning on the freshly fallen snow. It was a beautiful sight to see!
|"Alaskan Night" 8x10 oil on linen panel|
|"Winter Cabin" 8x10 oil on linen panel|
Several years ago on a trip to Alaska to visit my sister Deb Carlson, we snowshoed back to this cabin during a major spring snow storm. The cabin was owned by Jay and Rita, long time friends of my sister. Once inside we started the wood stove, fixed a bite to eat and hunkered down for the night. This cabin was built on an 80 acre partial near Homer, Alaska. I'm not sure how many friends were involved in building on the original acreage. My first trip back to this area was in the 1970s. I stayed in the original cabin (see below) that had been built on the land many, many years ago!
|Rita and her son, Wilton, heading for the cabin during the snow storm.|
|Once inside, started the wood stove and we cooked up a bite to eat!|
|When the snow stopped, we were greeted by this!|
|Next morning we checked out the prior nights snowfall!|
|We then snowshoed to the original cabin we stayed in back in the 70s.|
|This is our family 2016. Mom sitting 3rd from left in the front row.|
|Labor Day Weekend 2016 at the Aw Kum On Inn|
|This is what our dock looks like when we all get together!|
|Four generations swimming in the lake. Mom, me, Darcy and Ella!|
|Evening from the dock.|
|"Leaving the Harbor" 11x16 oil on linen panel|
|Stage one. The way it looked after the first hour and a half painting from life in New Harmony|
|Stage 2. First day in my studio re-working the fruit and table top.|
|Stage 3. Utilized glazing on tabletop and fruit.|
|Our amazing group of artists and instructors!|
|One of my 8 minute palette knife pears!|
|CW and I singing, "Where Were You Last Saturday Night."|
C.w. Mundy doing a lecture demo.
|Clash of styles!|
Update! March 24, 2016
(See post #112 for the complete story)
Not being a trained artist presents some problems! I have learned thru some study (certainly not enough) but mostly a lot of trial and error. I recognize when things aren't right. Where I get stuck is how to, "right it." I knew the painting was unbalanced but wasn't sure what to do. Simply adding an object wouldn't work. Also, the face and the background didn't mix. I consulted with my good friend C.w. Mundy. We discussed the painting. Just as I suggested earlier, there were two major issues. First was a clash of styles causing the painting to be fractured. The second is the balance issue.
To solve the first issue, C.w. suggested that I take the palette knife to the face! Well that immediately scared the heck out of me, not to mention Linda's reaction! I assured her it was only being applied to the canvas! I do like the way it's painted, BUT it can't work with that background. Using a palette knife on the face will significantly change the style to more of an impressionistic painting IF I do it successfully. I will have to duplicate the current values and shapes using the knife. Major challenge there!!!
Below is a closeup of the stokes to replicate
The second issue is balance. C.w. sent me a drawing of how I might solve it.
When those two issues are solved, the painting will then become unified!
Previous attempts at solving composition errors.
This is a still life painting I did a few years back. I kinda liked the painting but always knew that the lower right corner needed something. At the time I didn't have the confidence or really the knowledge to add anything. About 2 months ago I thought what the heck, so I added an apple! As you can see, it changed the painting entirely. I may go back in and darken the value of that apple a bit as I think it pops too much but it does help solve the composition issue.
|"Couple of Cowboys" 14x11 oil on linen panel|
Another in the western series. This is from a photo taken by Steve Clippinger. I told Steve to keep em' coming! We're leaving for Arizona with my camera tomorrow. Stopping off at Pioneer Town near Joshua Tree and then spend the day hoping to get material for new western paintings. Heading for Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday and going to get a few shots of saguaro cactus along with some sunsets, rocks etc. We'll see!!!
|"Painting Linda" 20x16 oil on linen panel|
Please click the YouTube link below and select fullscreen.
It's a one minute start to finish journey of my struggles with this painting.
I’m going to bare my soul on this one. How does the saying go? “The best laid plans of mice and men?” I’m not a trained artist although I’ve some great mentors and have taken a couple of classes. I have just enough information to make myself dangerous!
I’ve always wanted to do a portrait and really get into the detail that would include among others, value changes, skin tones, eye, nose and mouth detail etc. I had a great photo of Linda that I took when we were in Hawaii a couple of years back. I thought it would be a fun project and a great learning experience. The photo was of Linda on Sunset Beach, nearing sunset with a rather turbulent ocean in the background. With that in mind, I set off to compose the painting. I placed Linda’s torso off a bit to the right leaving room for what I had hoped to be an interesting but not overpowering background. I didn’t want to compete with the subject.
Now, there are other issues with this painting and I’m aware of some of them. Let me say that I also see some major strengths and that I’m not discouraged. Rather, I’m more determined that ever to see the problems, learn how to solve them and move on! It’s a continuous learning process. I remember when I first started painting about eight years ago; I would not let myself get discouraged. I was comparing myself to some of the best. I would complete a painting and it would be a total wreck. Rather than beating myself up too much, I would say to my self, find one square inch that’s good. Or one brilliant paint stroke and focus on that!!! Pretty soon it evolved from one square inch to two and so on and so on….
Ah, but I digress!!! So, I composed the painting based upon the subject and the background I had chosen. After everything was in place, I did a rough painting on another canvas to see if the palette worked and the spacing was correct. In my inexperienced head, I thought it was fine. My goal was to make it soft and edgeless except in a few spots where I wanted the eye to head focus on. I started as you will see with the eyes, mouth and nose locations to get my bearings. All was going well as her face developed nicely. After I was far enough along, I decided to take a break from the face and move to the background. THAT is when the trouble began or at least I thought so at the time. Looking back, I might have been able to make it work but I got impatient. NEVER get impatient when you're painting! It's for recipe for disaster. In my head, once I started the background, the lines between the subject and the background would blend so that you wouldn’t see a defined spot where one mass began and the other ended.
Well, in a nutshell, it wasn’t working for me. I got too detailed in the sky, clouds and ocean. They really competed with the subject. So, I toned it down a bit. Something was still wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It could have been a poor choice of background to begin with but more likely, inexperience as to how to tie it all in and make it work.
I decided to just remove the not so gentle Pacific Ocean! (Whoa! Think about that!) That space between the torso and the left side of the canvas was now blank and I just blended the blue. OK, so now I’ve got a real composition issue. What in the heck am I going to do with the left side of this canvas? At this point, the painting will have at least one major flaw and that would be composition, which is fatal for the most part. That said, I had too many hours into this painting to scrape it all together!
I contacted my good friend Victoria Gillerion for some advice. She helped me see a few things and I made some subtle changes but I still couldn’t solve the negative space problem.
One of the secrets of a good painting is to see to it that the colors of the palette can be found throughout the painting and not just confined to one area. This brings uniformity to the work. I had to get skin tones into the headband, hair and of course the background. Hints of all colors all places. I took several colors that I found in the skin tones, headband and hair and made a huge pot of paint. I then took my pallete knife and dipped into different colors and began slapping paint on the canvas. I really like the effect! The background was awesome as far as I was concerned BUT, it really didn't work that well with the subject. Why? It looks like two paintings to me, not to mention the composition error as a result of changing the background. It appears to be a well-done face/torso painted in one style “placed” on a well-done background painted in a different style. Why does it appear that way? I think it’s a colossal collision of the two styles, and a lack of knowledge as to how to blend the two, ending up with defined edges that separate the subject from the background.
I took several colors that I found in the skin tones, headband and hair and made a huge pot of paint. I then took my pallete knife and dipped into different colors and began slapping paint on the canvas. I really like the effect! The background was awesome as far as I was concerned BUT, it really didn't work that well with the subject. Why? It looks like two paintings to me, not to mention the composition error as a result of changing the background. It appears to be a well-done face/torso painted in one style “placed” on a well-done background painted in a different style. Why does it appear that way? I think it’s a colossal collision of the two styles, and a lack of knowledge as to how to blend the two, ending up with defined edges that separate the subject from the background.
For now, the painting will remain as is. It is quite the journey and the more I know, the more I find there is to know... it's a never ending quest!
Update! March 24, 2016
I'm not a trained artist. I have learned thru some study (certainly not enough) but mostly a lot of trial and error. I recognize when things aren't right. Where I get stuck is how "right it." I knew the painting was unbalanced but wasn't sure what to do. I consulted with my good friend C.w. Mundy. We discussed the painting. Just as I suggested earlier, there were two major issues. First was a clash of styles. Secondly, the balance issue.
To solve the first issue, C.w. suggested that I take the palette knife to the face! Well that scared the heck out of me immediately. I do like the way it's painted, BUT it can't work with that background. Taking the palette knife and altering the style will significantly change the style to more of an impressionistic painting IF I can do it successfully. Major challenge there!!!
The second issue is balance. C.w. sent me a drawing of how tI might solve the balance issue.
|"Three Pieces of Fruit" 8x10 oil on linen panel|
|Me and my Martin D35|
|Linda and I enjoyed a great evening Dec 4, 2015 at the opening reception of the 2015 Palos Verdes Art Center Holiday Art Show. I was honored to have had two of my paintings, #106, "Fruit and Brass" (shown here) and #108 "BB and Lucille" juried into the show and both will be displayed in the main gallery until January 3, 2016. If you have not experienced the beautiful gallery at the Palos Verdes Art Center, now's a good time to go!|