Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Uncertain Dawn

I came close to completing three canvases today, but alas I had to call it quits to get some sleep.  Uncertain Dawn is just going so well. That's the working title at least.  I've been debating between Leave Me Alone and Uncertain Dawn.  I feel like Uncertain Dawn might be the ultimate pick.  There's a wonderful ill at ease, but hopeful spirit within this work.  It's hard to explain, but there are times that you are alone in the early morning watching the sun rise and there's an uncertainty in the world or at least within you that you in turn transpose onto the world.  I feel that way when I look at this painting.  It's that moment of uncertainty and ironic unlimited possibility that scares you and invigorates your spirit all within the same moment. Like that country song that my wife listens to all the time "The day is mine to do with as I wish".

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Long Day

The Long Day has given me quite a long day really.  The central figure has been painted and repainted a few times.  I wish the shadows of her face were darker, but her skin is blended perfectly.  I will have to decide if I'm going to live with it or chance it.  I guess that is a normal question I pose often when looking at a canvas.

Painting Weekend

Painting like crazy this weekend.  I'm feeling a touch behind, so the plan is to paint like mad and cover as much ground as possible this weekend.  My goal is to finish at least two works and get started on two others.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Great Outdoors

Plein air painting is not something I've ever tried.  Well outside of when a few art professors would have us pack up and go outside or when I was in life drawing sketching people at coffee houses and around campus.  Back then when our professors had us head out it was most often with complaint.  In our defense going outside with your art boxes and drawing boards was a bit cumbersome at best.  Maybe we were just wimpy and spoiled art students back then.

I have to say that I really enjoyed painting outside with my sketch box easel.  Yes, there were horse flies, various kinds of bees, bugs I'd never seen before and mosquitoes - it was fantastic and liberating.  I'll have to do a lot more of it.

Now, I have a feeling the paintings that resulted from this camping trip and future trips will most likely not end up within a gallery show.  I figure that they're completely out of my normal subject matter. Not to mention my usual color scheme. With that said my paintings are my paintings.

I gifted the piece first shown Morning Moon depicting the moon over a meadow to our friends who took us.  They had a wonderful tent trailer with just enough amenities to make camping life easier without taking away the roughing it aspect a way a mobile home or a fifth wheel may have.  It offered a good place to escape the rain storms that passed through two of the three nights we spend at Hawley Lake.  It also had a propane stove that hooked to the outside and a built in water tank for a simple pump sink.  Of course it was finding a tree or using the out houses and going without a shower for a few days.

I went camping a lot as a kid and I know my mom and my stepfather were definitely purists when it came to camping.  I know when we'd head up they'd grip about the people with tent trailers and RV's. Often stating that "they weren't camping". With that said they had the giant tent, tarps, portable propane stove, portable toilet, portable shower and a truck with a camper shell to fall back on with serious rain.  In other words they had all the amenities, without towing them behind them.  Frankly, I liked my little loft tent bedroom off the wet ground after several hours of rain. I still swatted mosquitoes, flies, and various crawling and flying creatures, dodging humming birds and bees. Felt like camping to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I started Passing tonight.  I decided to show more of the street behind the figures in this work in comparison to A Long Week.  I may opt to use the same approach when returning to work on A Long Week, but I'm not sure.  Speaking of a long week I think this is going to be one.

With Passing I'm maintaining the earth tone pallet.  It seems to really work for this body of work.  There's a common mood within these works.  There's almost a Edward Hopper isolated feeling within them.  The figures are lonely while surrounded by others.  I'm just going to go with the flow and let the work enlighten me.  I feel my work tells me about myself or at least about what's going on within me on a subconscious level. In this case it might just purely be an observation of how people are in a large urban environment.  Large cities tend to turn us into just another face in the crowd. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Long Day Started

I started Long Day.  My game plan is to get most of the canvases for the upcoming exhibit started and then just work them all to completion.  I know that the summer heat has a tendency to sap my creative energies, so I'm going to simplify my life by getting the most creatively draining part of the works out of the way.  Figuring out what to paint and starting them.

I also want to use this as an opportunity to lay out the color scheme for the works.  I usually work with strong grey tones.  This show I want to have some grey, but I want to shift the pallet towards the earth tones and then either add warm tones or let it go towards the grey pallet.  I guess for the most part I'll have to see where it goes from here.  I don't want to make anymore hard and fast rules except for the earth tone pallet.

In regards to this series of works in particular that Long Day will be part of.  I'm going to develop compositions around strong central figures.  I want to leave everything other than a figure or to out of focus or abstracted.  They are going to be almost portraits of a sort.  I just notice that when I'm looking through my photos that some figures just stand out and that nothing else in that particular scene is really of interest to me, but that it feels weird to compose these figures into another composition with other figures.  They would almost become lost or would simply compete with the other figures.  So why not just blur their backdrops and make the works completely about them?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who Knew?

Saturday, I purchased a Jullian French Box Easel for an upcoming camping trip.  I've never tried one of these easels out before.  I admit that when I was in college working at an art supply and putting these together for display that a fellow art student and I made fun of the concept.  I guess I'll have to pass that off as a youthful indiscretion and eat my words.  The easel is beautifully designed.  Although, I have to admit it's more suited to oil painting that it is acrylics - I've found ways to make things work. I can put all my materials except for my gel medium into the box.  Even there it's more a matter of the amount of gel medium I can fit.  I like to varnish between layers of paint to achieve the luminous effect with acrylics that you naturally get with oils. I will be using a lot of gel medium, so a small 2oz container will not last past two sessions.  If I could find a larger container that's not too tall for the box I would be set.  Oh well, it's just one thing that goes into my backpack instead of the box. My wife made a great custom brush holder for me that I can suspend between the legs of the easel.

The studio is bouncing between 107-117 degrees right now, so I'm using this as an opportunity to use the Jullian easel and get used to working with it.  I plan to have a dozen small works within the show along with larger works, so I think I might spend the most of the month on the Jullian in comfort.