Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Lenhart Barn"

"Lenhart Barn" - Oil - 9" x 12" - $275

"Afternoon light shone on this barn across the road from Lenhart Airport near Canby, Oregon, and caught the top of the hedge to the right. The trees and shrubs, stubbornly trying to return to their natural state, added texture to the scene that seemed right in place with the aging structure."--- SFG


Friday, October 24, 2008

"Farm Below"

"Farm Below" - Oil - 24" x 30" - $1800

"This farm near Virginia City, Nevada, is a great subject and I've painted it several times. This time I decided to include the old cars." --- SFG

Work in progress...

The object of this exercise is to use the unusual vantage point from above and design an interesting painting with the unusual objects in it. This is the initial drawing. I've moved some of the objects around to better positions.

I have begun to lay in the darkest areas, the areas in shadow. I've judged their shape and may or may not keep them as they are.

Notice that I'm painting beyond the lines. Those are only guidelines. By painting adjoining areas beyond the lines, I can control the edges better, whether they are to be hard or soft. Here I'm working on making the mass of the building and trees in the middle of the canvas one big shape rather than individual spots.
Here you see all my dark areas are together and interconnected. In some areas they are a little spotty, but that also helps to move the eye through the painting. I may lighten the darks in the background just to move them further back.

I've now put in some of the lights in the painting. In some cases, I've chosen colors that make things recede, and in others I've just chosen beautiful colors.

Here the canvas is almost covered except the rooftop, which is the lightest area in the painting.

This starts the second session on the painting and I saw that the background and ground plane are too close in value. I scraped and darkened the hills in the background, keeping it gray and cool to keep it in the back. Also, the edge on the shed on the right was a little too hard, so I worked on that. Again, I needed a little more contrast in the sagebrush, as well.

Once all the major color areas were correctly related, I added details such as the power poles and the road sign and accents through the painting.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Garden Riches"

"Garden Riches" - Oil - 6" x 8" - $195

"Inspired by the work of the early California impressionists, I painted my own version of a rich garden scene bathed in the light of the California sun." --- SFG

Monday, October 06, 2008

"California Summer Fields"

"California Summer Fields" - Oil - 6" x 8" - SOLD

"This is a fine little work, a gem. The warm summer grasses contrast with the cool, greyed eucalyptus trees and make California the unique and beautiful place it is." --- SFG

Work in progress...

The purpose of this demonstration is to show that the steps for doing a painting are the same, whether the painting is large or very small. This canvas is 6" x 8". In the drawing stage, you can see how I've worked out a composition. I've paid attention to the perspective and vanishing point and have used the high horizon line.

I am starting with a # 8 brush for this small canvas. Normally, I start with at least a # 12. I have blocked in eucalyptus trees. I will be aiming for that blue-green color they are known for. I'm using a somewhat dark mass in the background, that I may make into mountains when the painting is further along. The dark mass in the front is for balance. Notice how I am using an asymmetrical balance with several trees on the left and one on the right in addition to a large dark mass on the left (shrubbery) and less of it on the right. The lighter foreground area serves to lead the eye to the middle ground and balances the darks on the foreground right.

Here I've laid in that familiar golden grass for which California is called the "golden state." When I lived in green, green, green Louisiana, I thought "golden state" referred to the gold rush, but the name actually comes from these summer grasses. Also, it seemed odd to me, at first, that the grass is green in the winter and not in the summer. However, I've come to love these reversed seasons.

With the canvas fully covered, I will work to correct and refine the relationships of the colors. For instance, now that I've laid in the middle ground, I think that I will cool down and lighten the darks at the horizon line so that it stays back, in its proper plane.

Here I've worked to hit the correct color and value relationships. Notice the changes compared to the previous photo (these two photos are both too yellow. I don't know why my camera did that, but the battery was low.) I've also redesigned the patchwork fields for balance in the middle ground.

Here's a nice little image with clean color because I've used enough paint in each area. I noticed as I painted that I used very little medium. (I use only paint thinner when I need a medium. Modern paints have enough oil to bind securely.) Another factor contributing to its success are the simple shapes I created.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"The Right Path"

"The Right Path" - Oil - 9" x 12" - SOLD
"This winding path through the grasses and shrubs at Cherokee Cemetery near Chico, California, led my eye to the storage shed, not a very glamorous subject except for its surroundings. The springtime blooms assert the promise of new life." --- SFG

Work in progress...

This is my reference photograph taken on a beautiful spring day in the old Cherokee, California, cemetery. Purpose of the demonstration is to show how a busy subject must be simplified. Just as I would when painting on location, I squint to see the masses.

After I'd completed the drawing, I started laying in the dark shapes. You can see how I cropped the left hand edge of the photo. This moved the small building to as better location as a focal point.

Here you can see how I've connected the areas of similar value. This is an important technique that succeeds in simplifying this subject that could too easily be broken into so many small areas that the forms would be destroyed. If I painted each small value change at this stage, I would lose the relationship of the shapes and confuse the viewer.
I've still got big simple shapes in this flat design. The edges do more to define the objects than any detail.
Here's the canvas completely covered, including the sky. I've held onto the connected shapes, even extending them all the way across the canvas. Notice the light area for the spirea that stretches all the way across, even though it's very soft and vague on the right hand side.
The last photo shows the painting with the signature in place. The painting went really quickly because I started with the big, simple shapes and controlled the edges as I went. I darkened the tree to divide the sky space in an interesting way. Once all the shapes were well established, I could pay attention to variety in my brush strokes and colors. These were laid on top and add interest for the viewer.