Monday, October 26, 2009

Old Car

Last week I turned 50 and this scratchboard of this old Ford was Emily's gift to me. (Didn't she know I really wanted a 2010 Ford Mustang?) I think this is her subtle way of saying that I've become a "classic" and headed for the junkyard!

With all kidding aside, I think it is a beautiful work of art and it's displayed proudly on my dresser where I can look at it everyday. Emily has been enjoying college life at UCD where she's been milking cows and goats, flipping sheep, and chasing pigs. And still making art.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

White Faced Whistler
15 x 30

When I made my 50 birds last summer, I knew I'd want to go back and paint larger versions of some of them. Working on a 6x6 surface, though quaint and intimate, really lacks some of the expressive brushwork that I enjoy with painting. This familiar bird has been greatly enlarged onto canvas and the painting probably will be more about the free and loose water patterns than the duck itself in the end. This is the underpainting, where I lay down the composition and color temperatures of the painting. Some of these colors will "peek" through the subsequent layers of paint.

Between Two Worlds

I'm so close to the end of this painting, the branch has been a struggle. I need to find the correct gray value of the dead branch while highlighting the glowing light from the distant fire. The challenge has been balancing the values of the branch so it sets properly against the background and doesn't get lost. Throw in the correct chroma of orange highlight and you have a problem to be solved, mostly by trial and error. Ahh, this is what we artists live for!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yesterday I took stock at the works in progress in my studio and realized that I'm still not putting enough hours on my work. This is something I'm still getting used to, now having the time to paint and make the best use of my time. I've been visiting a lot of other artists' blogs (you know who you are!) and have been blown away by the quality of work and output these artists have demonstrated. I feel I have so much catching up to do. As fall settles in, I'm hunkering down and pushing a lot harder on the studio work. I've got to if I'm going to amount to anything as far as my artwork is concerned. That means I'll probably cut down on my blogging to one or two posts a week so I can focus on my painting more.

I want to thank everyone who's followed along so far, checking in daily (or almost daily), commenting, etc...that means so much to me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bristlecone Pine sketch

This sketch was done at the Bristlecone National Forest in the White Mountains. My intentions were to sit with my paint box for a couple of hours and paint one of these trees, but the snow was coming in and I only had time to shoot a few photos and sketch. This is the first time I sketched in the snow with ski gloves on. It was a strange, awkward sensation.

We love it when the pavement ends.

Shawn sitting on his lunar rover.

The road to somewhere.

We arrived at the ancient forest where the oldest living things on earth reside. Some of these living trees are nearly 10,000 years old, quite remarkable to have these in our own California backyard. Even though I didn't get to paint one on site, I have some great reference photos and the memory of stepping back in geological and dendrological time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sierra Crest
plein air oil sketch
6 x 8

I'm back from my five day camping trip with my friend Shawn. This year we dipped a bit further south and set up camp in the White Mountains to avoid the incoming snowstorm which was due to hit the Yosemite and Bridgeport areas. Good thing we did. Though the weather was cold, (my water bottle was frozen solid in my tent most nights), we did avoid getting snowed on and stayed dry. The days were crisp and sunny for the most part.

During one "warm" afternoon I managed to break out the pochade box and paint up a rendition of the Sierra crest to the west. This is the view from our home base campsite at about 8500' elevation on the White Mountain range.

The first night we stayed at the Tioga Lodge which is perched at the edge of the western shore of Mono Lake in Lee Vining. It is the last bit of civilized comfort we enjoy before heading for the hills. This photo was taken just as the full moon was rising over the eastern shore of Mono Lake.

We found these branches along the shore, they were bleached bone white and were crusted with a powdery coating, probably dried salt from the lake.

As an artist I'm always "branching out". The following morning we would go off road a bit to explore the Mono cinder cones and eventually drive down the Owens Valley to Big Pine where we'd begin our ascent up the White Mountains to visit the oldest living things on earth. More about that on Friday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Orange Canoe
oil on panel

Going camping today...back next Wednesday!