Thursday, January 30, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Twelve

Winter Willow
6x8, oil
Japanese garden at Maymont Park.

Below is what happens when I don't plan out the composition of a painting in my sketchbook before beginning -- shapes painted and then completely changed. As you can see the willow tree grew and the background trees shrunk quite a bit.

 (click to enlarge)

 Lesson learned. Next time I'll sketch it out beforehand and save a little time.

Monday, January 27, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Ten

Mill House
6x8, oil on birch

Around 1950 the Lea Company built a sawmill near the location of this house, on Winterfield Lane in Midlothian. One of my books on the history of Midlothian said the home in this painting was probably build by the company to house mill workers.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A painting grows up: "Clouds Over Jockeys Ridge", 10x10

Sometimes small paintings stay small and sometimes they also grow up into a little larger paintings. This was the case for a recent painting commission. Over the summer I painted a 6x6" painting titled "Clouds Over Jockey's Ridge". I painted it on location in OBX.

I was contacted by Diana at For Art's Sake to paint a slightly larger version of the piece for client. I took progress photos of the painting to share.

 Burnt Umber underpainting to lay out the shapes.

 I began with the sky, and everything that touched it -- the trees on the horizon and the bush in the foreground.

A shot of my palette post-sky.

The water on Jockey's Ridge (the sound side) is shallow and the waves were small. Love that dark smokey blue with the flecks of the white caps and the reflections of the sky.

Next, I started constructing the shapes of the driftwood/bear branches.

Beach complete, but the colors needed to be corrected. I gave it a week or so to dry before adding some thin glazes of color.

"Clouds Over Jockey's Ridge"
10x10, oil on panel

It was definitely a fun one to revisit.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Eight

Carter Mountain Trail
4x4, oil

This little piece captures the best of all worlds: 
Beautiful expanse, blue mountains, distinct shadows, a bit of architecture and the fall foliage.

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Seven

6x8, oil

A good snow scene is in order! I started this one yesterday and took a few step by step pictures:

I started the underpainting with yellow instead of my typical burnt umber with alizerin or burnt sienna.

One of the most beautiful things about snowy mornings is those gorgeous blue shadows on the snow.

I wanted to emphasize the three primary colors in the color wheel in this piece -- red, yellow and blue.

Sometimes I reach a point where there is too much paint "sloshing" around on the surface and reach a point that I wipe quite a bit off. 
I gave this piece a break over night (put it out in the below-freezing temps on the back porch) and started in on it again this afternoon.

And a few unphotographed phases later:

Finished for now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Six

It is indeed true that I've fallen behind. If this turns into a fifteen in 16 or fifteen in 17 it'll be ok. Or that's what I keep telling myself. Getting caught up would be nice too. :)

Here's a painting from yesterday. The light was gone when I finished (actually there wasn't much light all day!) and my photograph under artificial light was too poor to post.

Retreating Light
6x6, oil

A quick color sketch from some photos I took before hiking to Humpback Rock on the Blue Ridge.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Five

"The Mint House"
6x8, oil on linen

I really rushed with this one. There were quite a few distractions while painting it. I want to revisit this these elements in a painting -- the road, the mint house, the combination of trees and the sun setting behind the trees. I didn't capture that dusky blue I was aiming for in the patches of grass. Lesson learned again (and again): you aren't always going to be happy with a painting. I did, however, enjoy attempting an a-typical composition... with that pretty mint colored house almost in the center of the painting, but not quite. It gives you this feeling of "stop" while moving along that road. Hope that makes sense.

Day Five complete. I wonder what I'll paint on day six....

Saturday, January 18, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Four

For Day Four I'm posting a commissioned painting that I started a few days before the 15 in 15 began, but the majority of the work was completed during the last 3 days, so it'll have to count for one of my 15 paintings. 

 "Gunny's Lookout"
9x12, oil
(It's not 100% finished -- still need to work on the lettering of the sign on the side of the house.)

As I mentioned this was a commissioned work, so here's an opportunity to explain my process for creating a painting for a client. 

5x7" study of "Gunny's Lookout"

1. After discussing the concept or location the client wishes to capture I paint a loose study of the scene and ask for feedback. We settled on this vertical orientation to capture his puppy, Gunny, standing with front paws on the railing, looking out over the beach.

2. Next a size is chosen and the underpainting is begun. In this case I spent a lot of time getting those architectural angles correct and adequate spacing of the railings to "let" Gunny peak through.

3. I don't usually paint one section to completion before adding color to the rest of the canvas, but I did in this case because of the amount of detail necessary in such a small almost 1" squared area.

4. I ended up painting almost this entire painting section by section. As I said I don't usually do this but I had my previous study by which to assess my colors and values. In the above photo I painted in the color of the house and the beach chairs/fishing rods/Adirondack chairs that would be behind the railing. I let this section dry overnight.

5. Next step was the railing & posts/pillars. For some reason getting the right gray with the correct amount of color in it was pretty difficult. I'm very happy with the result, but this portion of the painting was quite time consuming.

6. After several hours the paint was starting to get tacky so I sealed it in a large palette saver (plastic air tight box) and placed it in the "freezer" (the back porch) over night. Above is after working on it a bit more. I made a "swipe" of the sky color next to the house which really helped to asses values and hues. Wish I had done that the day before.

7. And then the fun dabs of color to make up the beach, bathers, tents, sea gulls, kite, sand and sea grass. The client asked for an oval OBX sign to commemorate the trip. I still need to work on the letter for the warm wood colored sign on the side of the house, but the rest is complete.

Below are a few detail shots of the painting.

 Definitely counts as another fun one! I'll update this post when the sign is added... but I had to get a painting posted before I head out to the in-laws' house tonight. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 17, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Three

4x4, oil on board

Hey Virginians, any guesses on the location of this scene based on the title of the painting?

This one was completed quickly near the end of the day yesterday. (Getting ahead is allowed, ok? I have commissions I need to be working on too.) I chose a small board, very small -- 4x4". I think it was my first 4x4 size ever and I really enjoyed it.

One of my goals with this 15 in 15 Challenge is to explore possible compositions and subject matter for larger works. This one may "grow up" into a larger painting... but tell me, what do you think? Can you envision this one as a medium/larger size painting?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day Two

"For a Moment"
6x6, oil

So, it happened again -- snow! Beautiful snow during this 15 in 15 Challenge. I'm grateful. It melted/is melting quite rapidly, so I named this piece "For a Moment". It seemed appropriate. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

15 Paintings in 15 Days (Round 2) - Day One

"Tucked Away"
8x10, oil

Corner of Midlothian Turnpike and Winterfield Road. 
I painted this scene from a photograph taken this summer. I drive by this house all the time but this was the first time (that I remember) noticing the old car parked behind it. I have a "call in" to my father in law to help me identify it. I gave it a yellow "antique car" license plate although it, in reality, has none.

15 Paintings in 15 Days - Round 2

It's been a year since my last 15 Paintings in 15 Days Challenge. About time to try it again.

Here goes nothing.

Check back tonight for the finished (I hope!) painting...

Friday, January 10, 2014

House Portrait: "Tír na nÓg" 18x24, oil

"Tír na nÓg"
18x24, oil on canvas

This was a commissioned house portrait. Tír na nÓg mean "land of eternal youth and beauty". With 10 beautiful, woody acres on the banks of the Swift Creek Reservoir, I would say so!  My client actually designed the house himself. Another very enjoyable piece to paint.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Six Beautiful People

Allow me to introduce you to six beautiful people.
These were commissioned by my uncle as a Christmas present to his family.

8x10", graphite on bristol

8x10", graphite on bristol

8x10", graphite on bristol

8x10", graphite on bristol

8x10", graphite on bristol

8x10", graphite on bristol
These were an absolute joy to render. Hope it shows.

Thinking back I just wanted to share the "mosts" of the creation of these portraits:

Most tedious part: All those curls!
Easiest part: Those lovely toothy grins were easier than anticipated
Favorite feature: The eyebrows! It's amazing how unique eyebrows are to each face. We take them for granted way too often.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Favorite Paintings of 2013

1. Light to My Path (available)

2. Mine Shaft Ruins, 16x20" sold
This painting was actually completed the end of 2012, but it was the influential on many other paintings of 2013

3. Summer's Glow (available)

4. Crimson and Copper sold

5. December Dusk, 16x16" - First painting of 2013 (available)

6. Snow Day (available)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top 13 of 2013

 Happy New Year!
A few of the blogs I read listed the top blog posts from the previous year. Figured I'd tag along...

Top 13 of 2013

13. White Rock Creek

Edit: So it seem either by user-error or other means my data gatherer added this post from 2012 to my top 13 in 2013. And obviously I didn't proof-read thoroughly enough to catch it. Hope you don't mind if I leave it in the post -- since I don't have time to redo it at the moment. :) Number 8 seems to have slipped too. My bad. 

12. Inspiration from Howard Pyle


11. The Best Thing That Happened to Me...


 10. In the meantime...


9. Morning at the Office


8. a little obsessed? maybe.


7. Crimson and Copper 8x6


6. Painting on the beach, Nags Head, NC


5. The Midlothian Apothecary 

4. The Long Way, 11x14 


3. Published: Robious Corridor Magazine


2. The Carving Tree, 9x12 

1. Published: 2 paintings of Midlothian

It's been a wonderful year. Thanks for reading and Happy 2014!
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