Monday, May 31, 2010

First of Three Challenge Paintings

"Colors - in Black & White" - 6"x8" oil on paper

This is the first little painting of a series of three paintings which are part of a challenge put out by "Plein Eire".  Plein Eire is a  site located in Ireland for plein air artists.  Interestingly I thought that the word "eire" was a play on words, which is could be, but also, it is the Irish/Gaelic word for Ireland.  Clever Irish!

The challenge is to complete three paintings.  The first in black and white.  The second in two colors, the third in three colors.  The black and white wasn't too difficult, but a good exercise in seeing values.  The other two may be a bit more challenging, but I am looking forward to the work to be done.  Keep up to see what transpires.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Continuing the Challenge

"White on White" - oil on linen canvas 11"x14", P.O.R.

Several years ago I was given a challenge.  Actually someone said they didn't think I could paint something, and I was determined to do it, and do it well.  I was in a workshop, taught by someone who is a nationally and internationally known artist.  It was an equine painting workshop.  He didn't think that I could pull off painting a bay horse with a see-through fly sheet on him.  I worked at it, and think I did a pretty good job of it.  You can find the painting on my website, titled "The Groom", at

I had been meaning to paint more sheets and similar things on horses for sometime, and just never seemed to get to it.  Then I decided this would be a good follow-up.  I have to say that I am going to go back into it and tweak it some.  The horse looks like he has two right, hind legs, and the "stripe" on the sheet needs a tiny bit of tweaking also.  Other than that, I am pretty pleased with it.  What pleased me the most, was that I did it in two partial days.  Granted, it isn't a large painting, but I feel from painting more often, almost everyday, it is giving me much more confidence in my ability to handle the paint, the brushstrokes, the color mixing, the composition and just making my brushstrokes each mean something.  Much less "noodling around".  Yay!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Larger is different....

A little out of order, but I had my plein air painting class today.  We were back out at "Cobble Hill" in Staunton, VA.  A 179 acre farm in the city limits!  It was over-cast, and rainy a good portion of the day.  But that made for a fine day for me.  I painted, along with another student, under this over-hang.  As you may see, I decided to re-paint the lanterns, only in a larger scale, 32"x40".  I didn't finish it yet, but got a good start on it.

Ron, our instructor, had suggested that I tone the whole canvas, draw in the shapes, then scratch back to the canvas where the lightest point in the lanterns was.  Then I put white gessoe on that to help it sparkle.  So far they look like balloons, but I think I can pull off the glow.  I am just going to wait and work on it next week, and let the painting dry somewhat to help me pick up the brights, and the very darks.  Fun stuff!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lanterns and Light

"Barn Dance" - oil, 6"x8"

While painting out at a wonderful old farm in Staunton, Cobble Hill, with Ron Boehmer's class, I found these wonderful lanterns hanging in an old barn.  It looks like a place that they hold parties now and then, with the lanterns, which have electric lights in them, and odd little things sitting around inside this old barn.  I was captivated by the scene when I turned on the lights.

I had been painting outside, which I will post on another day, when it got darker and darker and a storm rolled in.  Everyone scurried to find cover in one of the old barns, gazebos, or where ever.  I had planned with this scene of lanterns to just sit down and sketch them.  But then decided to have a go at a small oil sketch.  I got a little lost with the beams, which Ron helped me out on.  I am going to go wild this coming week, by taking a large, 32"x40" canvas to paint this same scene, on-site.  I already have the canvas toned a rich, very dark, brown.  I want to be able to catch the luminous quality of the lanterns, against the very dark of the old barn.  Should be fun!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One Brushstroke at a Time

"Tricolor Beech" - oil, 8x6"

I have been a little lax in getting posts up, certainly I haven't been doing it daily.  I will work on that!  I did three small studies yesterday, all here at home, all in oil.  The one above is of a Tricolor Breech that was given to me for Mother's Day.  I love the color of the leaves, which are pink with a dark purple center.  The light was hitting it so that some were very dark, others were bright pink.

I was reading on a blog by Carol Marine, one of the amazing artists I follow, her idea of "counting", or at least "keeping track" of the number of brushstrokes you use.  It makes you slow down and think about what you are doing.  I have heard the same thing for a number of years at different workshops, and I have been working towards that.  Making paintings is an on-going journey of learning!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Working on Glint

I know it is a little hard to see in a photograph, on a computer screen, but I was working on "glint".  At least that is what I had wanted to work on when I started.  It ended up being the very last thing I thought about, which is good, I think!  This was from a session of plein air painting on the river near Crimora, VA.  It was cool, breezy and sunny, so the water was changing constantly.  I got everything down in about 45 minutes, then added a little glint.  I had been thinking about how artists capture that mystical quality of light, glint on water, and wanted to try.  I think it got it pretty well.  Just a small little oil, on gessoed watercolor paper.  I did another painting that day, but I will put that one up tomorrow.  Cheers!