Saturday, November 28, 2009

November Rain, Toronto City Hall

20x16 Oil on Board
I had some great momentum going with this painting last Tuesday until I was struck down and immobilized by a cold/flu. H1N1 you ask? How would we know, no one is testing, but somehow they seem to come up with numbers infected. Thats all for my flu rant. I could go on. When painting Alla Prima, you try to complete the picture in one go so that you can paint wet into wet. When I returned to this picture today, the colors had dried, my palette had dried and so I tried to continue the best I could. It is difficult to "mush" colors around and make nice reflections when they are dry.
I would also like to thank everyone who left comments about creating a signature "style". (Post Nov 18) Its good to know that I am not the only one who struggles with this. How important is it? I think it is important if you want acceptance into galleries. Buyers want to recognize an artist by what they do. Its the same for music.
Another rant. Why are some artists such "machines" at producing? I tell myself that I am going to produce everyday. Take a look at my posts for November and it obvious that I can't live up to my own promises. A few artists come to mind who are amazing producers: Carol Marine, Edward B. Gordon, Kathy Weber. How do they do it?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sinking November Sun, Main Street, Hamilton

8x10 Oil on Canvas
More value studies. The November sun sinks so fast, its only minutes before it disappears. I love this old bank building at the corner of Main and James. It has wonderful corinthian pillars, which I wantd to capture with more details, but continuing on with my studies, I remembered to paint the shapes and values first, then add suggestions of detail at the end.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For Rent, Main Street, Hamilton

8x10 Oil on Canvas
As artists, we want to develop a style. We would like people to look at our work, and know who the artist is. Getting there is a difficult process that requires hard work and learning. The best way to learn, I think, is to take a workshop with an artist who's work inspires you. When you look at their work you say, "I wish I could paint like that". Many of us don't have that opportunity. The internet is a great way to "study". There are so many artists to discover, and therefore, a great way to see what kind of art is inspiring and ultimately  discover how you want your paintings to look. I don't know if I have been hiding under a rock, but I just discovered Richard Schmid. I don't want my paintings to look exactly like his, but I want to learn how he achieves the animated brushwork, how to say a lot without fussy details, and what is the process  for starting each painting. I have ordered his book called "Alla Prima". So I will be taking a workshop from him in my own home. He also has DVD's.
One lesson is about blocking in values. In this painting from Main Street East in Hamilton (some shrub type trees are still hanging on to their green leaves), I tried to block in the shapes with their values, and add details near the end. So much to learn....sigh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Under The Mast Hoist 2

11x13 Oil on Canvas
I always say that if you think a painting is done, don't leave it on the easel. I think I may have left this one there because it didn't seem finished. I have had a few busy days of not getting into the studio, so today, getting ready to start a new picture, I thought I would add a few dabs of paint to this one on the easel to see if I could "liven" it up. I also picked up a palette knife which I rarely use. I didn't look at the reference photo, I just painted. This is the result. I think I like it better.(click on picture for a larger view)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Under The Mast Hoist, Macdonald Marine, Hamilton

11x13 Oil on Canvas
Sometimes the colors in nature don't seem real. You think, if I painted that, no one would believe me. This evening scene was one like that. The autumn colors were so strong as the sun set, everything was illuminated. This scene is from a couple of weeks ago when there were still leaves on the trees. Since then, they have all but fallen off. I wanted to do one more boat picture before all the boats are put away and covered up for the winter. There is one last boat under the hoist waiting to be "lifted out". A time to put some things away, and start on new endeavours.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mom and Daughter share a coffee at Starbucks

6x6 Oil on Canvas
I can't say how many times I repainted this picture. I just couldn't get it. First I started the painting by sketching and then painting the dark values and coating the surface with transparent red oxide. I couldn't keep the darks dark and I hated the picture. Then I decided to try  a black underpainting a la Karin Jurick .(I have so much respect for her ability to capture so many great scenes. I had to ask these two ladies if I could take their photo.) When you start with black, you sketch in the image and start painting from there. I'm not sure if I like this painting yet, but at least it doesn't look like the dogs breakfast :) Also, keeping things "loose" can be difficult and frustrating.
Question for you: Does anyone paint on a black undercoat? What do you think of the process involved?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chevy Truck at the Drive Thru

6x6 oil on Board
Its time to get back to some small paintings and studies. Maybe until my studio is ready. It is too difficult to stand back and look at what I'm painting with the bigger see the big picture and not the details. The small paintings keep me honest..I stay closer to the style and look that I want to create. And the best way to do that, is to try not to be too serious, stop thinking, and KEEP PAINTING.
This Chevy truck is turning the corner after going through the Drive Thru at our local Dundas Tim Hortons during more and more rain.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Winner of Dreama Tolle Perry's monthly draw

 Dreama's painting "Lilly Ann" 6x6 Oil on Board

I am very pleased to be the winner of Dreama Toll Perry's monthly draw. She paints in a style that many of us aspire to. Her paintings have dramatic brush strokes, wonderful color, and are just plain gorgeous. Her blog is full of positive comments about art, painting and life and she always adds a touch of humour. Lately, I have been pondering about why we blog and she answered it quite nicely on her blog:

Each one of you who take the time to read and view my art---it is so amazing for it creates such a sense of family--- it is a way of putting our heads and hearts together on art and life. Along with the comments here on the blog, I receive so many nice emails--it is just interesting because it truly is like opening a little bit of love in the mail. My heart is brimming over so I always want to remember to say a very, very sincere thanks to each of you. You are special and your contributions enrich my life and my art. Thank you--thank you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Sail Loft, Hamilton Ontario

20x16 Oil on Canvas
The main activity at Macdonal Marine at this time of year is boat hauling and winterizing. Some people store with the mast up, some take them down depending on your preference. In this scene, there were still leaves left on the trees and the evening sun cast a warm glow. It was one of those times when you were glad to have a camera. This building has probably always been a sail loft. It was called Grants Sail Loft in the 1860's. Hamilton Harbour has a lot of history dating to the 1830's.
I was tempted to put more detail on the right side water reflection, but when I did, I lost the dark value. I decided to leave it simple to draw attention to the lightest values.