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Monday, September 27, 2010

Very hi-key plein-air study!

Really not sure why I can't seem to get up and going in the mornings when the weather starts to get cooler!  The sun is a little later now, and moving into the southern sky---the fall light is clear, bright and beautiful!   From 9 am until about 10:30, I struggled with this chimesa study.  I had made a surface last night, on w/c paper with gesso and some nice fine but gritty pumice---not the dust or powder, but fine grit pumice.  Its very nice, but gritty--so I did plan I would use watercolor for an underpainting on this white surface.  This is 9 x 12, a good hour and half size for study.   My brush, like my trees and my flowers, leave a lot to desire!!!  I must get better at this, I say, but only unless I work at it will that happen!  Its not so much the detail of these things I always want---but the feeling of them, and you know that's what it is.  The sun was in the east, of course, and we receive it strongly as we are on the hillside facing the sun, the eastern side of the Carson Range of the Sierra's.   I will show you my Hi-key painting---but keep in mind the value's will be close because of its Hi-key----so the sun was high and going toward noon----and shadows were getting short.   Interesting, I must say----Fun, but hard, --still learning the light is a good thing.
                     I should be trying evening works, it would be so different in the lighting!  So, until Tomorrow!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yellow sage is blooming wildly everywhere! Its Fall!

Up fairly early this morning to get out there and try the Fall rabbit brush that grows all along the hillside above the ranch.   Lorenzo Chavez  painted from here last fall.  He had the workshop in Hope valley that I attended.  It was wonderful, but it had cooled off about that week---so that Wednesday, we all came to the ranch to paint and warm up!!  All we had to offer was the yellow sage brush.  Lorenzo's demo just wonderful,  he was able to make us really see that the  shadow contained so much of the sky color, a cool blue.   He had lain down a white paper that showed this so amazingly.  I was in the same area, but choose a different composition.  I may not have done so well in the comp. department!   Above is my work on  my easel.  My BestBrella has sure been a good tool this past week!
This is where I will leave it with just a little changing in the studio.  I used Sennilair's Pastel card, in a brown ochre color and that was nice---a bit different for me for plein-air.  Its great, tho, for close-up detailed work so I did send for some more to keep using and see what I can do with it.    I want to used a watercolor under painting for this subject tomorrow!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Third try at Plein-air old car of sorts

Well, up early to do my few chores, and get back out to try and paint this old relic again. I set myself up with a different angle today, and I planned to really work hard at getting the drawing right.    I measured carefully, and re-measured----and I used a white piece of Richeson's Premium pastel paper, cut to 9 x 12.   I planned to use watercolor over the drawing, a sort of value plan  and when dry, finished with pastel.   Sounds like a good plan, right?-----I think the drawing, which I done in pencil, was good---well, as good as I can get it!  ,  But better----So I went ahead with the w/c, and I rather liked that.
This is my scene for today----So much to see when you get to looking!   See the flowers in front of the front wheel?  That looked good, now if I could get it.  Instead of trying the whole car, maybe I should of used a viewfinder, and did a portion of it?  Maybe one day!  Tried to remember Lorenzo's lesson on the color of the shadow, which with the warm morning light , would be cool----cool sky color mixed with the ground color---opposites!  Warm light/cool shadow----and for evening light it would be the opposite.    High noon would be a cool light, and maybe no shadows!   Anyhow, I digress.
This is where I stopped today--from 8:30 am to 11:00!!   And, I am still as fudled as ever.  I asked why the radiator was up so high, and was told it was a replacement that didn't fit.  I can see that!   Honestly there is so much to see when you panit out doors---And this is sorta up in your face, and you want to get every rusty thing!   There are dabs of green, the only paint left as it was once green.  No rubber for wheels,  its been here a while!  The kids that used to ride in this with their parents are in their sixty's now, and their mother just passed away last year at 100!!! Amazing.    Its been a good lesson----and I will think and think on it, but I need to try something else now.   Maybe the rabbit brush on their own somehow.  Its everywhere now, and in its glory!   This has been enough of a struggle, now for something fun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

setting an outdoor challenge for Myself

Yesterday I thought, Its time.  Time to try and paint the yellow sage brush that blooms each fall.   I walked thru it, looking at how it grows, and the light in the morning touching it from all angles---and the colors of the light in fall.  Amazing blues, contrasts everywhere, and those yellow flowers.  But I do have such a hard time with flowers!  So, I had to slow myself down a bit instead of jumping right in.  There is an old car, a sorta station wagon-utility vehicle from the late 30's early 40's parked in the brush with yellow sage around it.  It once was green, and even pulled a horse-trailer!  So hard to imagine because it is so small compared to today's auto's for that job.  Now this isn't going to be pretty---I am sorry, bare with me!   But I decided to paint this thing every morning untIl I can get something I like!  It won't be easy for me, there is drawing of a car involved!  And then those darn brushes, and foreground....and all.     I bucked up, and began.   I drew the first one site-sized----by measuring with my charcoal pencil---and trying to get things located in relationship with each other.  It was fun---and good practise and hard!!!  Its on White Wallis, with a Nupastel #244 underpainting and drawing.  8 x 12, and here's how it ended.

I sorta thought it was worth the time----sure helped me with seeing everything---and I saw so much!!   I began leaving things out, but getting the brushes I wanted.  Measuring the windows, the vacant place the engine was, the grill, and there is a radiator still there.  All sorts of stuff!!    I sure hope the next days effort would be better!    But alas....that was not to be so.This is the second days work.  Its on Wallis Belgium Mist, and about 9 x 12,   I worked a bit closer this time to the car, and tried to measure more carefully using the #244, and washing down with alcohol for the shadows and dark area's.   Of course , I saw more this time, like broken windshield, and more of the green color that was left( there is not to much of that!)  its so rusted.  I like the green remaining on the old front grill.    Well, I have plans to try again tomorrow with a different method----but still trying to be better at the drawing.  Its a fun challenge, and takes about 2 hours, and is right here at home--no driving.   I feel a bit braver about the drawing part now--and maybe how I want to end up  We will see how far this goes----until the flowers are gone I guess.

Friday, September 17, 2010

From a drawing to pastel

Earlier this summer, I did a large drawing from a photo I took of my Nephew and his dog, Sage.    He had just brought a few head of cattle from one of the ranches to the other.   It was late fall, and sun was  getting low.     I wanted to do it again in Pastel----and I thought I would think it over for awhile. Also, learning  to paint in Plein -air was pretty much on my mind this summer!   I finally chose a piece of Moonstone  Canson  to try and paint the scene I wanted.  I may again try it on Uart----I am not sure.   I thought I had turned to the smooth side for my work,  it actually seemed that both side had a texture, so I decide not to worry about it and began.  I worked on it for about 4 days, and today I deemed it done.    In evaluation,  I am not sure of it.   Good to have this experience, tho and I may do it again------maybe even in watercolor.    I have a lot of other reference shot to work on as well, of scenes like this on the ranch.    Here is today's effort.
I call it "   Paying the help"   and its a small moment between the cowboy and his best help, his dog.   It is a full sheet of Canson,  which is a good size.   

Friday, September 10, 2010

Studying about creating from Photo's

Value plan
I  have been thinking a lot about how to keep painting when it gets cold, and to stormy using photo's.  And have been reading articles from pro artists on how to keep that "special" idea that you want to show your viewers in your artwork. The reason why you took that particular photo--or made that particular plein-air painting.  In other words, what it was that drew you to
"That"  in the beginning.  Sometimes it is something you see, like when out walking- - - but sometimes its an idea, and you need landscape ideas,or lighting, or some other information to support your ideas or themes.  When painting from photo references the temptation is great to copy every detail, no matter how much is needed or not, to convey your first feeling of the scene.   Its hard to get past this!  Editing the scene, using what you need to impart your concept is truly an artistic past time- - - and we need to think in order to get it down as we want and feel.   So, toward this goal, I thought using a value sketch would help me to eliminate, understand values, and pin point what is needed to convey my idea.  Also, I was playing with making my own grounds again,  So using an already used 140 lb. watercolor paper, 9 x 12, I gessoed both sides.  When dry, I placed acrylic  Matt medium mixed with pumic on one side, and let that dry.   Then using a photo for references, and water soluble graphite pencils in 2b, 4b, 8b,  I drew in a scene, reconstructing the photo a bit.  It was a back-lit rock, and aspens on a hillside looking toward the sun.  I wanted to show what a sunny spot it was in the forest of pines, then you walk thru an aspen glen.  So, I tried to meander a pathway thru it.   Here's the value plan, using the pencils, then using a watercolor brush with water to paint it down and hopefully get values that makes sense!  It does look OK, I thought.  Now for the color part!!  Knowing your values are supposed to help you with color-  So the next step was to use my pastels, and just go over the value sketch with color that best tells the story-----time of day, light placement and so on.  This is what I ended up with.   Its not great, but an interesting little project i gave myself.
I hope it reads well, and it may jump start some other works.  Anything you do is good for learning, and often opens many doors.  Just drawing a landscape with pencil is  difficult!  Really.  I have been working at it for a few years now, and often feel I don't see much growth.  Still, a very worth while passtime, and I do feel it helps my outdoor paintings.   And seeing in an artistic way.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Woodfords Canyon , effort for this year!

Ok,  this is my painting from this morning.  I have done this before, not exactly from the same location but similar I guess.  This is a huge canyon that hwy 88 runs up on its way over the Sierra Nevadas to the California Gold Rush country.  You could also get to Lake Tahoe this way, then go over hwy 50 to the gold rush communities.  This is the southern pass thru the Sierra Nevadas'  the pioneers took  as they tried to get to California and a better life.  This is where the small community of 'Woodfords is, and the west fork of the Carson River runs to the left of this field.  We have cattle here in the summer, but they had shaded up for the day under the trees.
I have had trouble getting this painted in the past and am not sure what about it I really wanted.  I love the meadow, and the trees in it are very big---but that looming huge canyon you see in the background draws my attention most of the time.  I like the contrast of the dark blued Mt. on the right compared to the huge rocky pinkish-orange one on the left.  Both are plenty high---and rocky.  The old timmers sure had a big job ahead of them when they started out across these mountains and must of been so amazed and happy when they made it to California!  This is plein-air---2 hours today, between 8 am and 10 am---on 8 ply matt board coated with PVA ,  and pumice, and the drawing was done with a dark nupastel, washed with alcolhol and let to dry.  Then the colors of the morning were put on as best I saw them.  It sorta catches the place as I wanted to I guess.   I will try this when it snows this winter!!