My most recent painting is a complete departure from my usual landscapes. Titled “The Lion and the Lioness” it is a portrait, well two portraits really, of my step-daughter Liza who is returning today from a 5 week trip to Namibia Africa (and her lion friend). Four of those weeks she spent working at an amazing animal rescue and rehabilitation center, where she fed and cared for lions, cheetahs, merkats, baboons, monkeys, warthogs, and a very long list of other animals big and small.
I wanted to give this amazing person something to always have of this amazing experience she had (not that she could ever forget.) So I thought why not pair these two magnificent beasts, the king of the jungle and queen of the mall :-), and do a portrait of the two of them, their beautiful manes mingling and representing the joining of two cultures, two creatures, two souls. Africa stole her heart but we are glad to have her home.
Last Saturday I attended a 4 hour workshop by artist Aline Ordman a really wonderful landscape painter (website here) and we were instructed to bring something to paint (photos mostly, since we were confined indoors due to weather). So I took my most recent painting, Waitsfield Farm, because I was not fully satisfied with how it turned out. My hope was to re-paint the same landscape with what I hoped to learn and see if it came out better/
Aline gave a 1-hour demo in which she painted a quick landscape and provided commentary on what she was doing and why. Here is the painting she completed (in oils) in just 1 hour
Here is what I learned from her, before I get to my own efforts:
Follow the 4 “S”s. Squint, Simplify, Stand Back, Stop.
Squint to see your value shapes and big color areas.
Simplify your subject to only what is necessary.
Stand back, often. Keep stepping back to look at your work in progress. You need that moment to see it in new light and take a breather.
Stop. Know when you are done! Don’t keep tinkering. (I wrote a blog post about this some time ago).
Her approach to putting paint on the canvas is: 1-stroke, reload. 1-stroke, reload. Repeat. This way she keeps her colors clean, wiping her brush not necessarily after every stroke but very often.
Use a BIG brush and put down BIG swaths of color. She teaches that if you want to loosen up and get more freedom in your brush strokes, you need to use your biggest brushes. Start with big swaths of color, no need for a lot of color variation as you start, that can be added later, but get that canvas covered using a big brush so you can’t be tempted to get picky with detail. Continue reading “The Value of Workshops”
I haven’t posted in a little while and thought I would update on what I’ve been painting. I have been trying to paint every day now even if for just a little while. I know I need to paint a lot to get better. So I’ve been painting small while in the past I often paint large. And, I have some new painting friends that like to paint en plien air so I did my first outdoor paintings last week. I hope to do much more now that the weather is warmer.
So here are a couple of paintings, the ones I am more pleased with, done recently. There is an opportunity to hang some smaller paintings in a library next month so I am hoping to get one or two in there. Do you have an opinion on which of these is best?
This is a barn at the entrance to the Mills River Park in Jericho Vermont. I took photos of it last year, and finally got around to giving it a go. I like the shape and color vibrancy of the red barn and green foliage.
Most of you know I like birch trees. This time I wanted to paint a clump of birches, in spring, with a bright spring green backdrop. The daffodils in the foreground around the trees is inspired by my back garden which has these daffodils in front of a couple of beautiful birches. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Painting (an update)”
My most recent painting is now on youtube in a time-lapse video, with commentary, so you can see the process of how I painted it. Click to go to youtube video.
It includes my commentary on decisions I made along the way. So check it out along with some other painting videos I have on my youtube channel.
Video taping and then editing that video is a time-consuming process, and I need to work on better camera placement and lighting. Hopefully I will get better as I go, but if you like the video hit the like button on youtube, and subscribe to my channel and that will encourage me to do more!
This will likely be the first of a series of posts about other artists I draw inspiration from. For this first one, I used the inspiration of Alan Kingwell’s work to paint this picture I am titling “Winter Journey”.
Alan Kingwell is a UK artist who is self-taught. His work is incredible. You really should check out his YouTube channel and watch him paint or choose one of the videos that show some of his work. What I like about Alan’s work is the way he captures the light and mood of a place. Whether its the glow of a sunset coming through the base of a wave or the light filtering through a winter woods, he manages to really make the light seem alive. His seascapes are just amazing!
I think one aspect of his painting that appeals to me is that there is a certain ‘left-brain’ aspect to it that resonates with me. His creativity is obvious, but the attention to detail, the intricacy of his work appeals to my left-brain side that likes perfection and precision. Yet his paintings don’t feel at all static or structured. Most artists are strongly ‘right-brained’ which is the creative side of us, but many of us also have strong analytical or ‘left-brained’ aspects to our personalties too. This method of painting, with such attention to detail, can be a satisfying activity to feed that side of the brain in a creative endeavor. Continue reading “Alan Kingwell Inspired “Winter Journey””