Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Barn Painting

I went to Lenox, Massachusetts on Saturday to paint at Undermountain Farm, a horse ranch that has some amazing old barns.  By the time I got set up the light was quickly fading and the clouds had set in.  So I had just a little over an hour to complete this. There are a lot of things that I like about it, and I would love to do a larger piece of it.  It is 9"x 12". 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More recent paintings

Here are several other pieces that I haven't posted. The top piece was one of three pieces that I did at Sagamore Hill National Monument for the plein air competition. The other two are in the previous post, but this is the one I submitted (we could paint as much as we liked, but could only submit one).  I posted a lower-res version of it the weekend of the competition, but this is a more accurate photo.  There are a lot of things I like about it, but looking at it now, it needs more variety in the branches; they're all about the same thickness and width apart.  The tree may have been similar to that, but no one knows that now, you just look at it and see the repetitive composition. Good reminder.

The second down was a piece I did while camping with some friends. It's ok, a bit lifeless, really. I worked on it some more when I got home from memory, and this was the result.   The last two pieces are actually the same fallen tree (there's a third painting of the same branch down below), but on drastically different days.  The sunlit piece has some nice elements, but looks a little too 'composed'. I felt like it looked a little too much like an old Disney background painting without the good parts:)  The last piece was really a break-through piece for me. On the whole, I have spent few years coming to the realization that my mid-tones are generally too heavy and dark.  This painting was an attempt to consciously paint the mid-tones lighter than I saw them. I was pleased with the result, and subsequent paintings have seen my mid-tones becoming ever-more even-handed.  Compositionally, the ultra-straight diagonal branch should have never been painted that way. Even if I thought I saw it like that, I should have had the maturity to give it some life and interest. As it is it's just distracting. Oh well, these are for learning.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What a blessing is Autumn!

So, just because I haven't posted in awhile, don't think I haven't been painting!  Here are some recent pieces from the last few months, not necessarily in chronological order.  All but the last piece are plein air, and were about 2-hour paintings on 8"x 10" linen panels.  Several are from the grounds around Blue Sky Studios, while several were from the plein air competition at Sagamore Hill National Monument in July.  The painting of the architecture is of Teddy Roosevelt's home at the monument. It's a lovely place, and he used to give speeches to guests right off the porch. The tall obelisk is from a trip to Sharon, Vermont that we did a few weeks ago, and is the monument placed at the birthplace of Joseph Smith, prophet and restorer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The painting's ok, but the monument is incredible.

The Paul Revere piece was for Seeing the Everyday magazine, and represents a re-working of the original painting. You can see where the line was for the bottom of the published piece, and originally I had painted the horse's head too small. I fixed that in Photoshop for the magazine, but someone wanted to buy the original, so I went back in and repainted the front of the horse, and was having so much fun at it that I added a little extra vignette at the bottom. As long as I was borrowing so liberally from Wyeth and Cornwell, I thought a vignette would be fitting.  The plein air piece of the fallen log is a scene near Blue Sky that I have revisited several times now and is great for overcast days.  I feel like I made some real breakthroughs with my understanding of the background and how to use softer brushwork to suggest complexity and distance.

As usual, I'll be back out again on Wednesday, so I'll post more soon. Remember, you don't hit a home-run every time, and there are many pieces that get scraped off. That's as it should be.