Last night we watched the fading sun as it played across the mountain tops in Yosemite. The colors changed every minute. It was captivating. Tonight I tried to paint Half Dome from the meadow. Setting the composition was easy enough, and thankfully the light in the valley and shadow areas remained relatively the same.
However the peak itself went from gold to pink to silver and then a shocking pink/red as it finally faded. I reworked that area throughout and finally had to stop when the light vanished. I really could have done about 20 different paintings. It would be hard to pick the winner.
This is from a Facebook photo posted by one of my friends, of their daughter reading. It was another one of those "it's almost a painting already" images, but that's probably because he's a very skilled photographer.
It wound up not looking quite like her, but I really enjoyed doing this one because so many of the things I've been taught started flowing naturally. I could almost hear some of my teachers commenting on what my next brush stroke should be. I even laid out a range of tones on the palette before I started, and followed all sorts of sage advice. It's rare when it all comes together, but hopefully it will start happening more frequently.
I love walking about town as the sun begins to set. It's special because it's most nights it's just foggy, but now and again, the streets and buildings are bathed in golden light.
What initially grabbed me about this scene was light and color, but as I did a thumbnail sketch, I was fascinated by the shadows of the trees and poles radiating out. I would have never imagined them doing that. Learn something every day.
Here's my first piece. you can see it does an interesting job of simulating the textures of thick brush strokes (most noticeable in the light areas).
There are a lot of tools and settings for this app, so I'm going to have to experiment more.
I don't usually rearrange many elements if a composition, but the photos I had of the cows in the field were not so great, so I took a scene and simplified it and moved them about. This is my entry for this weeks Daily Paintworks challenge, where you can see some other great cow paintings.
I was painting with my dad and we picked this spot because it was shaded from the Summer sun and had some interesting views. This little house wasn't terribly interesting, but I liked the shadows along the road, so I decided to make that a bigger part of the composition. I knew I had to work quickly because of the shifting light, but since it was close to the middle of the day, it didn't really shift all that much. I guess one of the benefits for painting outside of the golden hour.
In the original version of this, I included the foreground because it had colorful flowers and coastal plants and grasses. In the knife version I did, that area just looked messy and didn't add much, I thought. So I did another cropped in a bit closer.
Donny Hahn is a California landscape painter I admire greatly, and I'm lucky enough to see him and his work at shows in Golden Gate Park. From a distance I saw his paintings and immediately recognized them as his, but as I got closer, something was different. They were abstracts! He said he returns to abstract expressionism from time to time, but rarely exhibits the work. They were just as colorful as his landscape work, and seemed to be reworkings from the very same palette.
This inspired me to try something similar and I decided to try and create an alternate take of a painting I did a few weeks back. By using the knife only, I pre-mixed some of the major color areas and quickly slathered it on the panel. Much thicker than I usually paint.
If less is more, I think I have a ways to go. This seems too busy and overworked, so I may try again.
The seasons here are still unfamiliar at times. It's all burnt out and dry this time of year. But come the spring everything will be wet and green. And then the wildflowers appear. The first to arrive are the mustard flowers which blanket most of wine country. It's one of my favorite times of the year and the hot dry season we're in now had me thinking about Spring.
I've taken a lot of time to ponder the good and bad points of the previous versions I've painted of this scene, and decided to emphasize the foggy San Francisco quality of light, and to keep it quite loose. When I got to the cars I was finding it hard to not put detail in, but for the rest of it I managed to keep it vague. I used only two brushes, both of them one inch wide.
Still having trouble with trees. Hmm. There's a few of these red ones in the back and they are striking. I sat watching one for a while and every time I thought I knew what color it was, I would then change my mind. It's almost black, but deep burgundy, and where the light hits it almost white. Impossible.
Still I decided I had to paint it. And the same thing happened while painting it. I tried to simplify, but in trying to get all those colors, I made a bit of a busy mess. I might have to try this again.
In the version of this I did on the coast, en plein air, I felt like I spent too much time on unnecessary brushwork, and not enough time on creating the impression I wanted to create. I was mixing colors that were just wrong and become too easily satisfied with them.
So I decided to redo it using the original painting and some photos I had taken. My goal was to try to stay true to my initial impression and leave everything else out. To simplify. And while I was at it, I was also going to try to use a lot more paint.
This redo was inspired by the Daily Paintworks Challenge for the week - tasking us with tackling one of your current hurdles, and this is certainly one of mine. A painter I met in the park and I were chatting about my difficulty of simplifying trees in the landscape. He said "remember your initial impression, what inspired you about the scene, and stay true to that." Great and simple advice. Really hard to do.
We took a break from the hot inland climate to visit the coast where it was not only cooler but very windy. My tripod easel was knocked to the ground before I even started. I weighed it down with my backpack attached to the rock-bag hook, but it was so gusty I had to hold onto the pochade box with my left hand the whole time. This turned out a lot darker than I thought, and something about the brushstrokes seems to distract from the relative flatness of the water and beach. Hmmmm.
When I think of Summer, I think of sitting by the pool, every pool I've ever sat by. The light dancing off the surface, the faint smell of chlorine, the hot paving around it, the smell of fresh towels. Heaven. I just finished this one, and have submitted it to the Daily Paintworks "Summer" Challenge. Have a look and see all the great Summer images.
I just happened by an alleyway and saw the Barn Diva truck parked out back. I've painted it when it was parked out front before, but this was like finding a jewel. As I painted cars and trucks got in my way but only briefly. It's to be expected. What was totally unexpected is that when I was close to finishing, someone came out and close a giant gate blocking the entire alley. So I quickly put in the remaining details I wanted to add, with a little help from phone pic I had shot of the scene.
I turned my panel almost 180 degrees from the previous view and quickly sketched in the Eastward scene. The most brightly lit facades were easy enough, but the shadowy ones in front were very difficult, and are only OK, not great.
I agreed to go fruit picking on one condition – that I was going to pick no fruit and was going to draw instead. I brought my iPad and stylus and sat in the shade of an otherwise sunny back yard, and created this.
I was sure I could get that umbrella in one or two colors, but the more I looked at it, the more colors I saw. Still, I managed to keep it to a handful.
This is a farm near here that has lots of brilliant white out buildings and matching fences. It is my submission to the Daily Paintworks "Picket Fence" Challenge. I tried Carol's method of painting the fencing as solid shapes and then carving out the negative spaces. Not as easy as I thought, but a good technique to try.
I used to like painting trees, but the more I try to simplify them, the less pleased I am with the results. I tried to do this tree with only two colors, but twenty minutes later I had about 50. I scraped and painted over, but it's still just not where I wanted it to be, or where I imagined it.
Well I know these gals, and have known them for some time. The reference photo for this is a few years old, because that's how long I've been wanting to paint this picture. Finally finished it this afternoon, just in time for their mama's birthday dinner.
At a patron's suggestion, ahem, I tried another version of this scene, painting not from life or source photography, but rather, the previous painting. Bigger brushes, bigger swaths of paint, and in a rushed fashion. Interestingly enough, each version shows an increase in contrast. I'm not sure why that is. Yet.
This was a commission of sorts. I thought it would be compelling to paint the lighthouse as seen at midnight, but it turned out to be a very dark mass of blue/black, so I painted an early morning light on top of that and it was much more interesting.