Saturday, January 9, 2010
I wanted to finish this painting before it was published, however some spy guy beat me too it! Yes, I realize its small, (8x10), but dynamite comes in small packages. Its fun to load up a large no.8 brush, filled with lots of paint, and have a celebration of the oils by letting the paint fall or be dragged loosely onto the board. The brush strokes are alive!
I had a lot of fun working expressively; to complete this painting in a little over an hour. Remember, it is a sketch, and you are viewing it in its 'alla prima' state. Nothing has been touched, which is why it will be easy for the trained eye to critique, and discern some flaws.
I will fix those flaws eventually, and try to not ruin the painting by belaboring it. For now, enjoy the charm and immediacy of the sketch.
Artwalk, La Arcada Courtyard, 7x10 oil/panel 2010
paintings subject to prior purchase
Friday, January 8, 2010
Ventured into one of the hubs of the Santa Barbara Art Walk last night, in the La Arcada Courtyard, near the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The subject of the courtyard was a rather complex scene to paint, but it offered me the opportunity to paint in an expressive mannor. Think fast, paint quickly, focus
Photo Credit: Robert Eringer
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
When teaching classes, I often return to the same locations to paint. Sometimes, as in this case, I taught my class at the Santa Barbara Bird Refuge. The criteria was to paint a painting using a limited palette. This constrains the artist, making him/her have to make decisions on how to paint certain shapes, masses, and details within the composition, but using fewer colors to represent what they may be seeing. It is not about painting literally, but interpreting the subject poetically.
My colors: White, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarine Crimson, Burnt Umber.
From what I recall, the sky had been gray that day, but by using white, with a little Naples Yellow, a touch of Alizarine Crimson, and a smidgen of Ultramarine Blue for contrast, it warms up the sky, and makes it more dramatic. Working with a limited palette increases the tonal harmony of the painting.
Silvery Day, Summer 14x12, oil/Board
Painting subject to prior purchase
Twas a balmy night in November when the Hunter's Moon rose in the East. When the Moon rises quickly; not only must one try to anticipate what may happen visually in an hour to an hour or two from the initial brush strokes, but it is important to keep in mind the original motif. Work from memory. The night darkens and moon lightens.
During the painting evolution, it's a, "pick and choose" discriminating mind set. One paints in anticipation, asking which accents to apply, which to to simplify, and/or leave untouched. I find the best paintings are those which seem to paint themselves, and in the end, (hopefully), they look effortless; and feel spontaneous, dynamic, and alive.
Summer Moonrise, Goleta 14x20 oil/canvas 2009
Painting subject to prior sale
When I am searching for a motif I seek out master painters from the past who've inspired me. When I saw this view of the Santa Barbara harbor entrance I thought of Whistler. I contemplate how he would have painted the scene were he alive today?
Knowing he had a unique way of 'creeping up' on the development of his art work; (especially when approacing the quality of the paintings' surface), I decided to approach it the same way. Whistler would recommend that one should apply paint to the surface of the canvas as if it were... "Like Breath on glass".
I think this is one of the keys to creating great mood and mystery to a painting; slow surface development. I kept this in mind as I painted the moonrise on this one cloudless night. The clouds, or fog, in this painting, are out of my imagination!
As a result of continuous glazing of the surface, in order to achieve a desired effect, the challenge was to work on the painting without overworking it, and to achieve correct relationships between all the color notes, without the painting looking, 'labored'.
The colors I used this time were based on a nocturne painting by Whistler; Silvery Blue-grays developed from mixing cobalt blue and Raw Umber, painted on an under painting of Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Umber. The Moon was achieved using a variation of Naples Yellow, White, and a tinge of cad orange. Pure colors were used for the lights on Stearns Wharf. I guess June Gloom never looked better!
June Moonrise, oil 2009, Santa Barbara 13x32
Painting subject to prior sale
Such an emotional lure, that luminous orb!
Since Blue was the Moon and theme for the day, (and my mood in 2009, was much the same way), I decided to end this old disjointed year in an harmonious way. I would make a statement on how I am going to be in the world; from today forward.
Every color I mixed to create this last painting of the decade had some measurement of blue in the ingredients. From the under painting,(blue), to the highlight of the Moon, (also blue), there was some variation of blue slightly influencing each color note. Today's lesson? Harmony!!
After I'd finished working, I actually felt relieved; purged of the blues for a brief moment... Ahh! Art therapy is a good thing!
"Blue Moon Over the Biltmore". 9"x6" oil/canvas
Painting subject to prior purchase.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
That was the best blue moon ever. As if it were made to order it was the talk of the town. Stay tuned for the Montecito Journal article by Jim Buckley, coming out tomorrow, Jan. 6--written about this particular Blue Moon. More and more people are excited about the moon, and there is a poetry about that. The moon, especially when it is given the title of, "Blue", sparks the imagination. "Blue" is an ambiguous word. This moon was like a magnet; to suck the blues away, or draw one's eye up and away from their normal modality. It is a huge focal point in the sky. Oh, much poetry, music, art, life, has been influenced by the moon. Much more homage will be paid to it in future days and nights. Amen!
Living along the coast near Santa Barbara provides ample opportunity for the occurrence of Fog. One evening I went out to paint and the fog that was in was reminiscent of that which influence Whistler. There is something magical about the first moments when the moon rises and peeks it's face out from behind the clouds or mountains. Anyway, the Moon springing up from the clouds gave me inspiration and hope; that fog in itself is merely a temporary veil between the unknown and enlightenment.
Foggy with a Chance of Moon
6x9, oil/panel 2009