Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

"Summer Evening" by Liz Wiltzen

"Silver Basin" by Liz Wiltzen

Happy New Year one and all!

I love the New Year's holiday. It's fun to ring in the new year with friends, and it's a great chance to think about what I've learned and what I want to do in the next year. As always, resolution number one is to learn to paint better. And there are so many ways to do that, the foremost being to paint as often as possible. Thank you daily painters for spurring me on.

Workshops are also high on my list, both attending and teaching them, which I did for the first time last year. Also a first last year, was to assist in hosting a workshop. This year I'm taking the next step and setting up a workshop to be taught by one of my favorites, Liz Wiltzen. Many of you will remember Liz's 100 in 100 project last summer, where she painted 100 plein air landscapes in 100 days. Liz will teach this three day plein air landscape workshop (think daily painting), August 19-21, in South Freeport, ME. Liz and I will post more details later, but if you'd like to be on the mailing list for the workshop, let me know (my email address is in my profile or make a comment). It's going to be really fun!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Drawing Trees

A Beech (my favorite tree)

Not sure about this one, but I liked the drooping branches.

Perhaps a Maple

I've been reading Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting, which was written in 1929, and is quite a gem. Lots of practical advice. What a good idea to practice drawing trees in winter when the structure is visible!

My next task is to learn to identify trees when bare of leaves. More on that later.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Near Pouzilhac"

"Near Pouzilhac"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Nathan asked yesterday about the process I used on the olive grove painting. It's the same as I used here, both paintings were done from photos in the studio, with daylight temperature lighting. The lighting is nothing fancy, I just replaced the bulbs in the existing fixtures in the small room I use as a studio.

First I did a sketch (sometimes more than one). For the painting in this post, the sketch is here. Then I toned a canvas with an orange-ish color and wiped it off. Some bits of that are visible where the trees and sky meet. Then I sketched with a small brush and hardly any paint, just the basic placement. Next was a block in of the major shapes with a really big brush, no detail and the sketch was pretty much wiped out, the canvas was covered with the block in (no empty spots). For instance the foreground tree foliage was just one color and value at that point (should have taken a photo...). Then with a smaller brush I went for more detail, for example in the tree foliage, adding darks and lights. I left the sky as it was in the block in. I hope this makes sense.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Olive Grove"

"Olive Grove"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

What could be better on a snowy windy day than thinking about and painting a Provencal olive grove? It reminds me of a delightful book I received for Christmas, "My French Life", by Vicki Archer, with beautiful photos of Saint Remy de Provence and her own olive grove. And there are Carol Drinkwater's books on that same subject, which I love. I hope they enjoy writing as much as I am enjoying remembering Provence in paint.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Near Pouzilhac Drawing

Drawing for "Near Pouzilhac"

Photo B

Photo A

The rows of French lavender in the previous posts left me looking for other rows. These photos are from Pouzilhac in the Gard region, and unlike most of my photos of tree-lined roads (which are quick snaps from the passenger seat) this time I got out of the car and walked around a bit. In photo A, I was trying to do a straight-on shot, with everything symmetric. I like photo B better, standing on the right side of the road. I think it's more interesting with less symmetry in the foliage. What do you think?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Just a little note to wish you all a Happy Holiday season.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Lavender Field 2"

"Lavender Field 2"
5"x7" oil on gessobord

Here's my second attempt at the lavender field. I really like the little rise on the left side of the field that twists the rows a bit. That asymmetry makes it more interesting, I think. Maybe I'll try some vines next time.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Lavender Field 1"

"Lavender Field 1"
5"x7" oil on gessobord

I'm continuing to work on paintings for our upcoming Provence show at the Yarmouth Frame Shop and Gallery. The lavender had already passed it's prime on our visit in September (except for the spring that poked me in the eye!), so I thank Suzanne for the photo reference for this painting.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Orange with Jar and Bottle

"Orange with Jar and Bottle"
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

It's time to do a few more paintings for our upcoming Provence show at the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery in February. I'm planning to include some of the paintings I did during our September trip, along with a few studio paintings like this one. Thanks to Suzanne for contributing the blue French yoghurt jar.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Girls Looking Out to Sea"

"Girls Looking Out to Sea"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

Since plein air painting is done for a while, I'm back to painting from photos and some subjects that I put aside when the weather got nice last spring. These girls were playing on the beach when I visited Sanibel last March. I had a nice chat with their Mother and did some sketches here. Laura, you get first dibs on these!