Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cloud Studies

Labor Day weekend I had an opportunity to do some cloud studies from the back of the boat.  I was inspired by Mary Gilkerson and her 31 day cloud study project. 
It was a very busy weekend on Battle Creek in the Patuxent River, MD.  We had anchored out right in the middle of the creek so we could catch some breeze.  It was brutally hot and we have no air conditioning when anchored out.  The residents there were, for the most part, very considerate and slowed down while passing us.  But there were three groups of water skiers and tubers that buzzed us all day Saturday. To be fair we were right in the middle of the creek.  So it was a challenge just standing upright yet alone painting!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Workshop with Howard Rose

After my workshop with Patti I stayed on at the Greenville Arms for the next workshop.  Howard Rose is an extraordinary landscape and still life artist.  I particularly like his seascapes and beach and dune paintings.  He lives and works in Long Island, NY, and about six of his students from his regular classes came to the workshop.  One in particular, Joan Stevens, is quite talented and assisted him when necessary.  It was a pretty large class, so it was nice having an assistant making the rounds as well. 

Howard went above and beyond the regular class time of 9-4.  He would begin critiques of everyone's work at 4:30.  We barely got done in time for dinner!  He did a presentation after dinner every night.  The first night he highlighted all the various things we need to ask ourselves when critiquing or troubleshooting our work.  The second night's presentation was about all of his favorite contemporary artists. The third night he taught us about all the various phone apps he uses to manipulate his photos. On the last night, Joan treated us to the film "Loving Vincent"!

The first day of the workshop Howard did a short plein air demonstration on how to start a painting.  He identifies the major shapes and is insistent on making sure the drawing is correct before moving on.  Next he fills in the big shapes with an average color in the right value for each shape.  Half the class painted plein air in the morning, but all of us ended up in the studio by the afternoon, taking shelter from the oppressive heat and humidity.  And then the thunderstorms came.  I didn't finish this one yet. Still a work in progress
"The Shed",  Oil on Panel, 6"x 8", Work in Progress
The next morning we went on a field trip to Coxsackie, NY., a little picturesque town on the Hudson River.  There we took iPhone and iPad photos while Howard pointed out subjects and compositions that most people might overlook.  That afternoon we went back and painted from our photos.  As picturesque as the town was I really liked the photo I snapped of the truck bearing down on me.  I didn't finish this one either.
"Dump Truck", Oil on Panel, 6"x 8", work in Progress 
The last morning Howard did a demo painting of dunes.  He had a large photo album filled with small photos of seascapes and dunes.  I was inspired to do one myself.  At least this one is finished!
This was one of the best workshops I ever had!  Howard was able to pinpoint exactly what needed to be done at each stage of my painting.  He is also a lot of fun and a really nice guy.  I would post a link to his website but it is currently unavailable.  Joan Stevens can be found  here.   Lately she has been working on black canvas with wonderful results

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Workshop With Patti Mollica

I just came back from a three-day workshop with Patti Mollica.  She is primarily an acrylic painter and has published quite a few books and you tube videos on both color theory and her technique of painting fast, loose, and bold.  You can check her out at www.pattimollica.com
3 tone value study
Patti has a unique way of teaching how to loosen up in both style and color.  She began by having us break down complicated compositions into large defined value shapes using only white, black, and a middle grey. 


3 tone value study
Then she showed us how to match those values with color, encouraging us to use a variety of colors within each value range.  The idea was to apply color directly onto the value studies.  Patti works in acrylics, and her method works better in that medium.  I worked in oils, so my value studies were not dry enough to apply color on top.  I used my studies as references instead of under paintings.

30 minute painting
She taught us how to use large brushes to apply brushstrokes in a vast array of shapes and sizes.  We practiced her loose painting style with 30-minute paintings and 15 brushstroke paintings. 


Patti is an attentive teacher and very good at getting around to everyone.  Her technique is easy to understand, very well presented, and a lot of fun!  I really enjoyed her workshop as did my daughter, who is a graphic designer but a complete novice at painting.  I highly recommend attending any of her classes or workshops!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Plein Air with Limited Palette

Primary Palettte, 5'x 7"
I finally got a chance to do some plein air painting at our cabin on a small lake in North Jersey.  I had just finished reading Macpherson's "Landscape Painting", and tried two of his limited palettes.  The first is a primary palette of Cadmium Yellow Light,  Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, and White. It felt a little constraining but I like the results.  I think I missed having Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Red Medium the most.

The next day I tried his earth tone palette of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Chromatic Black, and White.  This was a challenge!  It was impossible to get the colors that were actually in the landscape but at least the values were right.  I was surprised at how blue the Chromatic Black was when I added White.  But when mixed with the Yellow Ochre for green it worked more like Ivory Black and produced an olive green that really wasn't what I was going for.
Earth Tone Palette, 5"x 7"












Then I tried a spilt primary palette of one cool and one warm of each primary.  I used Cadmium Lemon Yellow for a cool yellow and Cadmium Yellow Medium for a warmer yellow.  Cadmium Red Light was my warm red and Alizarin Crimson was my cool red.  I used both Ultramarine Blue (warm) and Cerulean Blue (cool), and White.
Split Primary, 4"x 6"








This last painting was late afternoon and I had intended to concentrate on the reflections but the wind wouldn't cooperate.  So I tried to do a closer view of the houses and I added Thalo Green to my palette.  I like Thalo Green and Alizarin Crimson to make rich darks but I think I got carried away with them and got too dark.
Split Primary w/ Thalo Green, 4'x 6"

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pewter & Pears

"Pewter & Pears", Oil on Panel, 11"x 14"
I finally got back to class after a ten week break while I was recuperating from my foot surgery.  It is a good thing I had done some painting in the past two months and I was able to complete this is two classes.
The following pictures are the underpainting and the initial blockin.  The last picture is the finished painting and the set up.
Underpainting in Transparent Red Oxide

Initial Blockin
Finished Painting & Set up
The pitcher in the setup was actually a silver pitcher but I didn't really capture the quality of bright silver.  I liked it anyway, and my instructor thought it looked like pewter, and I couldn't resist the alliteration.
Hence, "Pewter & Pears"
It is for sale on my website.  Click Here To Buy

Friday, April 27, 2018

An Apple A Day

"An Apple A Day"  Oil on Cradled Panel  6"x 6"

I finally got back in the studio after a ten day hiatus.  (I needed to keep my foot elevated and I just can't paint that way.) I had absolutely no inspiration and no idea what to paint, but I knew I had to just DO something!  So I grabbed an apple, put it down and started painting.  I was so rusty I ended up wiping it out 8 times.  But I persisted.


"Another Sunflower Painting", Oil on Cradled Panel, 6"x 6"

I am so excited to be the Spotlight Artist of the week on the DailyPaintWorks site.  Click here to read my interviewIf you have purchased a painting from their website in the last 30 days you are eligible to enter to win this painting.
Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Red Barn

"The Red Barn"  Oil on Panel  9"x 12"
While I am convalescing from my foot surgery, and can not attend my still life class, I am practicing landscape painting from photos.  This was a farm on a creek in the Chesapeake.  The original barn was white but it just didn't look right.  I know red barns are cliche but I just couldn't resist.  I was inspired by a fantastic YouTube video by Roger Dale Brown.  Check it out here.  He explains his process as he goes along and offers up so many tips and bits of knowledge.  It is worth watching a few times.  I am considering recreating his painting while watching the video and painting along with him.

Click here for purchase information

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Chesapeake Cove

"Chesapeake Cove"  Oil on Panel  12"x 16"
I originally planned this to be a larger studio painting of a plein air study I did during this past summer, entitled "From the Dock", pictured below.  But I just couldn't get the boats to look right.  It was such a struggle and so frustrating that I just decided to leave them out.  I might put them in another time when I get more experience painting boats.

"From the Dock"  Oil on Panel  8"x 10"







I attended a workshop with John MacDonald in the fall and learned that he always frames his paintings in order to see if they are finished.  He taught us that a frame can make a huge difference.  I definitely think this is true of this painting.  It looks finished in a frame.  What do you think?
Chesapeake Cove framed









Both of these are available on my website.

Chespeake Cove

From the Dock


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Snow on the Meadow ..again

I did some more work on this last week.  I was inspired by some of the snow paintings by Peter Fiore and John MacDonald.  I love the blue on the snow and the orange light.  I lightened the mountains in the background and added more meadow grass.  My photo reference was taken during a very cloudy day and had no light effects at all.  It was quite a challenge!

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I finally got the cast off my foot and now I have this huge boot.  Still can't put any weight on it for another two weeks, but sitting at my easel is way easier now.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Snow on the Meadow

I think it is finished..at least it is signed.  I keep thinking of all the things I could change to make this better though.  I have been studying the paintings of Peter Fiore, a wonderful landscape artist and teacher.  I have taken two workshops with him.  I highly recommend them! I love his colors and shadows and light on snow.  Rather than mess around with this painting I have decided to try this same scene again but with deep blue shadows on the snow in the foreground and brighter highlights going back.  Check out his work at www.peterfiore.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Knife Painting in Progress

I managed to get into the studio a couple of times in the last few days but, unfortunately, I can't paint for very long at one sitting. My leg starts to cramp up.  I started this with only a palette knife but during the second session I couldn't resist picking up a brush.  I have been watching knife painting demos on youtube but it is a lot harder than it looks!  I found the palette knife much more useful when putting in the details, (like the birch trees and the twigs in the grasses), than when doing the original block in.  This is a very good subject to try all different brush and knife techniques as I am really a novice at landscapes, trees, and meadows.
When I return to the studio I thought I would make the mountain in the back cooler and work on the grass line on the right before adding any more detail to the birch trees on the left and the grasses every where else.  I am waiting till I am satisfied with the snow before putting in all the larger twigs in the foreground.  I keep adding more and more color but for some reason the end result still looks rather monochromatic.  I welcome any and all constructive comments or suggestions.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Value Sketch for New Landscape

This is a value or tonal sketch I did a couple days ago for a landscape painting I am hoping to work on this week.  I used a gray toned sketch pad and dark gray and black ink pens, and a white chalk pencil.  I would like to try doing this painting primarily with a palette knife.

Below is the reference photo for the painting.  I took the photo while in New Hampshire last month.  The colors of the reeds and the snow were much more vibrant.  I hope I can remember them and reproduce them.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sunflower Oil Painting

a small beautiful oil painting of sunflowers done with a palette knife on a cradled panel
Another Sunflower Painting, Oil on Cradled Panel, 6"x 6"
I did this little oil painting during my last class a couple weeks ago.  This is the third sunflower painting I have done.  I don't know what it is about sunflowers that make them so much fun to paint.  Maybe it's the chance to use bright yellows and oranges, and that they lend themselves so easily to a palette knife.  I am just starting to incorporate the palette knife into my paintings.  It really is a learning process but so exciting and fun!  I would like to get proficient enough to use them almost exclusively when painting plein air, especially when we are sailing, as there is really no clean up involved.  I had originally put in a part of the vase they were in but found it really did nothing for the painting.  It was just a distraction and I like it much better without it.  This is for sale on my website.
Click here for purchase information