Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Today was a Good Day

Monday not so much.  We were at Fieldcote Museum on Monday and I tried for the second very unsuccessful time to paint the front of the Tudor style building.  I don't think that I have ever done a painting with dappled light that I have been happy with.  I loved my underpainting but it went steadily downhill from there.  I am too embarrassed to post it and that doesn't happen often.

The sketch group today was just the opposite.  Brandon is a wonderful young model and it is a pleasure to sketch him.  I painted him a year ago in oils and this time I used my pastel pencils which are way more fun.  I have included a very grainy photo taken with my iPhone so you can decide if you think that I managed a likeness.

Monday, 25 August 2014

McMichael Challenge

Yesterday about twenty artists gathered at the McMichael Gallery for a painting competition.  We were given about four hours to complete a painting and then they were judged and prizes given out.  I didn't win any prizes but I didn't expect to so I am good with that.  There were some amazing artists there.  It was a challenging day to paint because it was mostly cloudy but the sun would pop out for a few seconds here and there.

This was my first painting.  It took me close to three hours which is a long time for me.  I loved the scene except for the tree on the left hanging over the Humber River.  I knew that tree was going to cause me grief and it did.  I scraped it off three times.  I should have done a few thumbnails before painting to get it resolved early.  This is a bit overworked but I am happy with it.

When I finished my first painting I turned and discovered Debbie, my wife, sitting reading in a patch of sunlight.  All the colours were very warm and I have had fun painting with just purple and yellow so I pulled them out and did this painting in about twenty minutes.

Both paintings are 12" X 16" oil on hardboard.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Why I don't touch them up in my studio

It was an exceptional morning to paint and only three of us came out.  When we started at 9:00 AM it was a bit foggy with heavy clouds but every once in a while the sun would peak through and light up the fields.  Some of the trees are starting to turn yellow and the golden rod and clover are blooming full force so there is lots of colour if we look for it.

I painted this in about two hours and I was very happy with it. I am getting better at using oils for my underpainting. This time I underpainted with Ultramarine Blue.  As we painted the fog disappeared and the blue of the sky began to poke through.  More and more we had the bright sun lighting up the field.

When I got it home and looked at it with fresh eyes I decided that I didn't like the dark section of the lower sky in the centre.  It seemed to kill the depth in the sky.  I went up to may studio to make the change.  It still didn't look right so I thought maybe if I softened the background trees a bit more it would help.  Oopsie!  Now the whole painting has lost its strength and it is looking very overworked.

This is better but I didn't match that wonderful dark green that I had before and the sky had better depth when it was darker.  Hmmmmm.

I am going to leave this for now.  I may work on it again or I may not.  Can it be saved?

Friday, 15 August 2014

After a Retouch

I was pretty happy with the way Monday's painting turned out however I saw some things that I thought could be improved.  This painting was just an experiment and not one that I would put up for sale so I decided to play with it.  In the process I learned a few things.  It is indeed hard for me to mentally go back to where I was when I first painted it.  I thought that the sky needed darkening at the top to give it more depth and I was right.  I was also right in my decision to cool the far escarpment again to give it more depth.  The field did indeed need to have more golden glow and less purple but glazing with opaque colours does not work very well.

The fact that I cannot get the freshness in my studio that comes so easily outdoors was strongly reinforced.  I find painting outdoors joyful even when I fail but painting in my studio is drudgery for the most part.  I need to spend more time in my studio to increase my comfort zone there.

All in all it was a lesson well learned.  I like the composition of the touched up version better but I did lose a lot of the freshness.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Still Playing

We gathered at Dyments Market at the top of Sydenham Rd. to paint today.  It was a fantastic day to paint.  When we got there the sky was clear blue and created amazing lighting on the warm yellow fields with the escarpment across the valley as the very distant background.  The clouds began to slowly roll in almost as soon as we started painting and kept coming until the sky was stormy and grey.  Everyone had a very different sky depending on when they happened to paint it.

I decided that with a stormy sky and the warm yellow in the fields it would be a perfect time to take another stab at using the purple and yellow primaries to paint.  This painting was done with a warm purple and a warm yellow with just a little ultramarine blue to get dark shadows.  And of course white.  I had fun with this but I may play with it a little tomorrow.  Looking at it with a fresh mind I see that the top of the sky should be darker, the fields should be more yellow and the distant hills should be cooler.  Yellow in the clouds should be less intense and everything could be softened a bit.  I am excited about this though.  It may be good to create a painting with the primaries and then add some other hues to make it a bit more realistic.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Day at the Beach

Has it really been almost three weeks since I used my oils?  I spent a busy week getting ready for our canoe trip and then paddled for five awesome days.  When we got home we were exhausted and had house chores to get caught up on.

Today six of us met on Burlington Beach to paint.  It is a fantastic place to relax and stare out over the water but I find it rather uninspiring to paint.  Lots of sand, water and very distant vistas. I decided to paint the beach and the lift bridge towers leaving out all the ugly hydro towers.    This was painted with blue and orange with just enough yellow to make a green.  I maybe should have left out the yellow and used blue and orange to make a muted green for the trees.

It was wonderful weather wise.  The lake was calm and it would have been quite hot except for a cool breeze off the water.