Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
"Coastal Haze" - Oil - 6" x 8"
"This wonderful effect came about because of the sun's struggle to bore through the moist air of the California coast. This lovely scene is north of Cambria, near San Simeon and Hearst Castle." --- SFG
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
"May the Hills Sing With Color" - Oil - 10" x 8"
"This is a simple description of a California valley. Its summer grass... it is the 'golden state' after all... was balanced by the receding mountains. A simple joy to see and paint." --- SFG
Friday, April 29, 2011
"A Perfect Day" - Oil - 24" x 18"
"Inspired partly by our first warm day and, also, by the lovely Susan Boyle performance of "A Perfect Day" on her latest CD, I set this arrangement in sunlight and laid on the color. Painting it lifted my heart." --- SFG
WORK IN PROGRESS:
I grouped the objects and allowed room at the bottom of the canvas for the edge of the table to show.
Here, I link the darks and create a variety of greens.
Before I can go further, I add the background since it will influence all subsequent colors.
Now I move to the lights of the tabletop, judging value and temperature. Notice how I indicate where the drape falls over the edge of the table by a darker value and cooler temperature. It takes both to show a plane change.
I painted the pear to the left of the vase a "hotter" color intentionally. Sometimes greens can be overpowering. By pushing the color as far from green as possible, I add range to the variety of greens I can use in a painting. I will adjust it in the next step to fine tune the harmony, but will not completely lose those vibrating tones.
It's time to develop the lit areas of the graceful lilac blooms. The lavender ones vary slightly in color from one to another. Note the warm reflection on the underside of the white fronds.
Adding some of the folds and stripes gives more movement to the foreground so it serves the purpose of a foreground, to lead the eye into the painting. They were needed, also, to balance the action of the other objects.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
"During lilac week in my garden, I paint outdoors and in the studio with great motivation since lilacs bloom for such a short time. The strong sunlight and background shadows on this painting, done directly "from the bush", were a joy to work with." --- SFG
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Finally, we have a warm spring day instead of the weeks of rain that have characterized this spring in my part of California. The lilacs are in full bloom, so I'm setting up next my largest bush.
I elect to paint these clusters near the top of the bush. The shadow on the right in the background gives me the element that created the darks in the background of the painting.
When plein air painting, I use fewer colors and smaller canvases. Not only is it difficult to complete a larger canvas (24" x 30" and larger) before the light changes, but the panel can turn into a sail if the wind whips up.
I place the main elements, being sure that they are not repetitious in size or shape. I make sure that they are not in the middle of the painting.
I add subordinate shapes and indicate the shadow across the background.
And wash in that dark shape.
Here, I indicate the shadow side of the blooms and vary their color accordingly.
Lastly, for this covering-the-canvas stage, I add the darks of the leaves as a mass connected to the blooms and the background shadow.
When I mass the lit areas of the background, I'm careful to vary the colors of the foreground versus the background, making the top lighter and cooler.
At this stage, I have added detail to the leaves, blooms, and branches. The contrast between the shadow and lights in the flowers makes the sparkle.
Even though this is a smaller palette than the one in my studio, I still use the same mixing method and scrape it often to have clean color.
When I returned to the easel after lunch, I did not like the V-shape of the branch of the lilac bush and decided to darken the left side, merging the shapes.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
"Ocean Fire" - Oil - 6" x 8"
"This marvelous display warmed the evening even though the effect was temporal. Remembering and capturing such shows are an irresistible challenge." --- SFG."
NOTE TO ARTISTS:
Fleeting subjects like this are unpredictable, changing and passing within minutes. Have your canvas, palette, and several small panels ready and work like a madman. For insurance, keep your camera handy, too.
Friday, April 15, 2011
"Redding Rooftops" - Oil - 8" x 10"
"So often, when painting on location, the better subject turns out to be behind me. After I had finished my first painting of the day, I turned around and saw this composition that did not register when I first arrived at the site. I peered through the foreground trees to see the enough to execute the work." --- SFG.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
"Wisteria Cascade" - Oil - 9" x 12"
"Light and airy. The abundance of blooms on the arbor in a local park inspired a sketchy, color-filled approach. I look forward each year to the spring blooms and set aside those weeks to visit my favorite plantings." -- SFG
NOTE TO ARTISTS:
So often, the surface dictates the result. I used a very absorbent panel, so the oils behaved more like acrylics, setting edges quickly and lacking the ability to make color changes by blending with the earlier color on the panel. Using these qualities to advantage can give a sparkle as the white of the gesso shines through. I could have piled on the paint until those elements were eliminated, but I decided to seize on what was unfolding before me.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
"My Imaginary Friend" - Oil - 9" x 12"
"This wisteria trellis is in full bloom and I hoped to have a model to paint. The subject just called for a lady in a sunhat ... or one with a basket... or one sitting in a wicker chair with mint julep waiting nearby. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work out. This figure is imagined." --- SFG
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"Ladies' Day" - Oil - 16" x 20"
"I chose to paint this floral as set against cool light from the window. The old-fashioned tea pot suggested the title." --- SFG
This simple setup is the inspiration and point of departure for the upcoming painting. The longer I've painted, the more I am able to "feel" what the painting needs. Consequently, I can add items, either from my stock of still life objects or from my head, in response to how the painting develops. The ultimate purpose is to create balance in the painting.
The drawing, too, is simple and subject to correction as I go. You'll notice that I've already changed the location of the vertical parts of the window to divide the canvas in a more interesting way. If I don't have the perfectly proportioned canvas for the setup, this redesign trick makes it work. By pushing the flowers off the top edge, they serve as another division, as will the cast shadows that come forward intersect the bottom edge.
I want to make this a high-key painting, so when I put in the shadowed sides of the teapot, vase, and leaves, I made sure I was using a fairly light "dark". Notice that I started with what looks like a very cool color. A law of light states that if the light source is cool, the shadows will be warm in comparison. If this color choice turns out to be too cool, my corrections later will just make the colors vibrate more. They look so cool at this stage because the canvas is toned with a warm red.
Now, I've laid in the other medium darks of the flowers, peach, leaf, and window frame. I've already begun relating reds to reds, greens to greens, and "whites" to "whites". Of course, these whites are backlit, so I must choose a fairly dark color to represent them.
Besides adding the warm shadows in the foreground, I have started searching for the right value and temperature of the background. It was bright outside, but the slight overcast toned down the color temperature.
The tablecloth reflects a lot of cool light and is almost as light as the background. I am beginning to use warm tones to give dimension to the vase and teapot. Nothing in shadow can be as light as anything in light. Note that I'm keeping the shadows quite warm in comparison to the lighted part of the tablecloth.
After I had modeled the forms of the teapot and vase, I added flowers and petals to the table top to balance the action in the flower arrangement. Notice how the flower arrangement is subordinate to the teapot, whose form is much more developed. If I had expressed the flowers with too much vigor, they would have led the eye off the painting since they touch the top. Oops, I must go back and put a cast shadow under the flower on the left. It must be consistent with the lighting on the rest of the objects for me to succeed in adding something "out of my head".
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
"This is a new work, now showing at Art & Soul Gallery in Ashland, Oregon. The show will be up from now to May 1, 2010. This is a richly painted canvas (thick paint) and is a highlight of the show." --- SFG