Monday, August 30, 2010

"Casco Bay Nocturne"

"Casco Bay Nocturne"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

When Carol Marine was visiting after her class last week, we were out walking one night talking about nocturnes, paintings done at night with the help of a headlamp or book light. She did a really nice one here. Liz Wiltzen did some lovely nocturnes in her 100 plein air paintings in 100 days earlier this summer, and Marc Hanson is about to embark on a month-long nocturne adventure tomorrow. So I got psyched, and with the beautiful weather last weekend I tried one myself. This was done about 10:30 at night, with a 3/4 moon and a headlamp. Here's what I learned:
- It's beautiful outside at night, and so peaceful (until the fireworks started...)
- I was painting loosely because I couldn't really see!
- You have to make the whole painting a lot darker than you think - I'll go darker next time - it's all about the relative values.

I think I'll try again next week, during my "15 Days in Provence" painting trip, which starts this weekend. More details on that in the next post.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Carol Marine Workshop Day 3 Exercise 1

apple image is 3"x3"

The final exercise in Carol's class in South Freeport was one that I find difficult, but we really enjoyed last year. The idea is to mix a different color for each brush stroke, and to remind myself to do this, I tried to mark them on a corner of the panel on which I was painting (it took me about ten strokes to get the hang of that). When I compare this one with my March 2009 version, I feel like I've really made progress.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Plein Air Painting with Carol and Colin

6"x6" oil on canvas panel

On Monday, I had the pleasure of painting with Carol Marine, Colin Page, Suzanne deLesseps, and Bruce McMillan, at some of my favorite boat painting places. We started in South Freeport at the town landing and moved on to the Royal River boatyard in Yarmouth. My best effort was "Diligence" (the name of the vessel), one of the lobster boats that make their home in South Freeport. Isn't she a beauty?

Bruce took some wonderful photos of the artists, my favorites are below:

Colin in the clouds

Carol and the red truck

Above photos used with permission, © 2010 Bruce McMillan,
Thanks also to Alan Dugas and the Royal River Boatyard.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Carol Marine Class Day 2 Exercise 2

10 minute pears #1-#4

10 minute pears #5-#8
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

In this exercise we had 10 minutes to paint an object, and time to do about 8 of them. The idea was to get the basic information, not detail, to use brush strokes that go outside the lines of the drawing, and finally to use the background to reshape the object. The first few are really about just getting it done in 10 minutes, identifying the values and colors, and a reasonable shape. The later efforts have more subtle differences, trying to make it all work together. Though tedious, I really like these exercises, it is so gratifying to see the improvement in the course of an afternoon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Carol Marine Class Day 1 Exercise 2

Apple Values
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

This was my first attempt at the 3 value study (sorry to post them out of order!). I was trying for dark dominant, light secondary and just a smidge midvalue, but it's harder than it looks. Perhaps bigger darker apples? I like this one though, and I think it does pass the drama test; from across the room, it grabs you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Carol Marine Class Day 2 Exercise 1

Mid Value Dominant Dark Smidge
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I have always enjoyed doing value studies, but this second time through Carol's workshop, I am finally grappling with what I really need to learn from them. Carol says that if you can make one value dominant (more than half the area of the painting), one secondary, and the third value, just a smidge, you can make a more dramatic painting. I can't tell you how hard it was for me to construct a composition that had these ratios! Carol helped on this one, by showing me how to get a bit more mid value so that I could make it really dominant. Step back from your screen, and you can see the effect better.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Carol Marine Class Day 1 Exercise 1

"Off The Rim"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

At last, our long awaited Carol Marine Workshop in Maine is here! We have 15 students in South Freeport and everyone is having a great time. I am learning so much, even more than the first time I took Carol's workshop, in March of 2009. Maybe it's the 150 paintings that have come in between, do you think? For our first task, after a wonderful initial demo by Carol, she asked us to choose some objects and do a "get to know you painting". I chose a couple of oranges (forgetting how hard those are, with no structure to them) and my favorite red bowl. A tip from Carol's demo was to choose a background color that is the compliment of the object. Carol showed me how to do the highlights on the bowl.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#7 of 10 Plein Air Paintings for Great Brook Farm

"Distant Pink"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

Back again to Great Brook Farm, where last week's efforts didn't make the grade. This view is from the Lantern Loop trail just south of the road across from the farmhouse. Paintings 4 and 5 are further south along this trail.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Out Sailing


Angie, Amanda, and Alex pose for the sketcher

Jessica, Cheryl, and Lawrence lean against the cabin and take in the view

Heading home off Chebeague and Cousins Islands

This weekend we welcomed new members into our family. Lots of fun was had sailing on Casco Bay, buzzing up to Freeport in the powerboat for lobsters, cooking them on the rocks, and having a feast. There wasn't a lot of time to paint, but I got in a few sketches on our sail.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Gone Fishin"

"Gone Fishin"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

I was out early this morning at the Yarmouth town landing. My plan was to paint boats, but this yellow truck was too tempting.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"With Pie" - Lobster Series #3

"With Pie"
8"x8" oil on canvas panel

This is the third lobster painting I've done this summer and I think I'll make it a series. These guys are so much fun, and people are giving me great ideas as to what to put on the plate with them. This one will be available framed from the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery in September for $275. Please contact them if you are interested in purchasing it.

I want to thank Liz Wiltzen for her mention of my plein air painting on her blog, where she is finishing up a 100 plein air paintings in 100 days extravaganza. Really beautiful work, and Liz is a great writer as well. I'm sure you will enjoy her insights if you stop by her blog.

Since mid-April I've only been painting outside, even the lobster paintings were done in the backyard, with the lobster and fixins on a table. While I had done some plein air paintings over the last two summers, I was still mostly painting from photos or setting up a still life. This year, as soon as it got warm, I was outside and started painting early on weekday mornings, at wonderful places I found that are "sort of" on my way to work. These sessions have become my favorite painting time. I am going to so miss them when it gets dark and cold this winter.

Here's a link to the lobster series paintings.

And here's one to the 10 Plein Air Paintings of Great Brook Farm series.