Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two A Day?

When my family left for a two week sojourn I thought I would make an attempt to do two paintings a day for two weeks. For the first 4 days I have a grand total of......2. That's right, 2. I did both of those on Tuesday. Since then I have had a bit of transmission trouble, had to have the stitches from my amateur mixed martial arts cagefight victory (see post below) removed, had dinner plans and drove to Shelbyville to see my mom. The heat has also been a factor. In the fall, spring, and winter you can paint at anytime of the day so to get two paintings a day you can take them out anywhere. To get two paintings in this heat you have the window of 7-9:30ish and again at 6-8ish in the evening. If anything comes up in the morning or the evening you have lost that painting for the day. So needless to say everything I have had this week has been morning or evening. But that is typically how I paint anyway, around life.
We'll try again tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2009

One More Demo

I am posting another demo because I just happen to have the photos. The other day when I painted the Fog in the Field painting in the post below, Bill Brison was there and Bill took photos. He e-mailed them and I thought since I had them I would post them.
Also, I have the opportunity to have unfettered time to paint over the next two weeks. My family is taking an extended vacation and I will have time to get work done. I have thought about doing something like Marc Hanson did by committing to a number of paintings per day to see if I could get it done. Maybe 2 a day which over a two week period would be good for me. The only thing that I hesitate for right now is the heat. We are expected to have some very hot days over the next few and I become a delicate little flower in the heat. The heat and the fact I have 10 stitches in my forehead right now. Huh, funny, I walked into a door frame in my darkened house about 12:00 last night. I also wish it was a better story but there it is. However, if anybody asks I'm going with a cagefight or a bear attack. Haven't made up my mind yet.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Painted with Plein Air Nashville yesterday at the entrance to Cheekwood and I did the big magnolia at the entrance gate you see above. We had three painters and one was actually from Memphis who happened to be in town and came out to paint with us.
This morning, got up and met Bill Brison at the gallery and went down to Watervalley to paint. I wasn't sure if I could get one due to the fog. It was terribly thick and never did burn off very well. On the trip back to the gallery Bill and I discussed workshops and the things we liked and didn't like about some. Teaching a workshop is something I have been contemplating for quite sometime but have never felt I was skilled enough to teach one yet. I don't think it is fair to paying clients who take the workshop if you haven't got a pretty good grasp of the painting fundamentals and an understanding of what you do and are trying to accomplish. But I also feel a sense of responsibility to everyone who helped me in the past, to take what knowledge I have aquired from them and to pass it on to someone who hopefully will also help another fledgling artist in the future. I remember how much it meant to me to have Jason Saunders and some in the Cumberland Society help me along the way and made a mental note then to do the same when I had the opportunity. I have also heard that by teaching a workshop you learn a tremendous amount about yourself and your own work and I am always looking for another way to take it up a notch.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tweaking Values

Another roundbale painting off Highway 7. The road I was actually on was a dead end in the middle of nowhere and the traffic going in and out was non-stop. I knew in this part of the country that meant one of three things:
1. Cockfight
2. Meth Lab
3. Yard Sale
Curiosity got the best of me so I crossed my fingers it was the third and sure enough, a yard sale. And it was a dandy. Yard was covered with stuff. There was so much there I couldn't figure out how it all fit in the house. Honestly though, if I pulled all the junk out of my house it would probably cover half the county.
This painting took a lot of value adjustment. I know I have mentioned it before but I don't seem to get my values perfect when I first put them on. Once I start with some of the others I have to tweak it here and there to get them right. This one was a real "tweaker".

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Challenges of Painting

Just got in from painting more roundbales in the Watervalley area. Got to paint with a young lady who is getting started with the plein air painting and is going through all of the same frustrations we have all gone through. I told her the frustrations never really go away they just become challenges. If you are not getting frustrated or challenged with this from time to time you're just not going to get any better. Every frustration is a lesson and you just have to clear you head long enough to figure out what it is.
It was always clearing my head that was the challenge for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


If you like painting roundbales, now's the time. They are on the ground everywhere. Lately though they have started wrapping the roundbales in this plastic wrap of some kind that makes them look like shiney plastic fake ones. It's getting harder to find the big shaggy ones that are so much more fun to paint.
Painted in Watervalley off Hwy. 7 this afternoon. I saw this field getting raked Saturday afternoon and made a mental note that it should be rolled by Tuesday. Bingo.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Compositional Retardation

I have tried now for two days to get a roundbale painting out of a little field in Maury County. It is the perfect little hayfield. Small with treelines behind and access. But for whatever reason I have not been able to get a nice composition with these haybales. They were crooked, too big, too small, too many, etc., etc. They were nice renderings, just not nice paintings. The painting in the post took three hours because I would start then change the layout. Start again, then change again. And I still don't like the size of them. Not sure why, just bugs me. Too small maybe. There were also two little phone poles in the back of the field that I liked and tried to put in and couldn't do anything with them that I was happy with. And have you ever painted on a pretty busy road and become so involved in your painting you couldn't even hear the traffic anymore? The sound goes away because you're so focused on your painting? Until some redneck jackass has to blow his horn. Sheesh, it took 30 minutes to get calmed back down. I know he saw me jump and I know he is at home tonight swillin' beer and telling his buds about how he made this "painter guy" on the side of the road jump out of his skin. I would have guessed by looking at his car, the horn wouldn't even have worked.
Another hazard of plein air painting. Still beats a real job.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Another Class C Demo

Had another request for a demo, this time with photos of the reference. Did it this morning in some wonderfully cool weather.
I remember when I started painting if I saw a demo in a magazine or DVD I would study it until my eyes hurt. I couldn't get enough. I love seeing other artist's thought process and the method they get from point A to point B. It seems that no two are quite alike. I also enjoy seeing my process on the computer, away from the field. It sheds a whole new light on it.
So here's another and a painting I did yesterday in the blazing heat. I got started a little late yesterday and didn't finish until lunch. Rode around looking for something to paint longer than it actually took me to do the painting.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Photo Enhancement

Usually when I get my photos of my work to the computer I use a photo enhancement program of some sort to try to get the color and definition back in. I have not had a very good program for this up to this point. Adobe had a sale on Photoshop Elements 7 recently and I purchased it and downloaded it for around 60 bucks. I don't think you can beat that. I couldn't justify or afford the price of Photoshop nor did I need everything it does. This program is perfect for what I am doing with it and is so much better than anything I have had up to this point. The image above is the first thing I worked on with it and if you look at it you can see I added a little to the porch. Even though it was built like that, that big tall porch looked a little weird to me. I have a creative license to do those sorts of things.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Class C Demo

Here's the lesser of what I call a demo rating system. Class C is photos, Class B is video, and Class A is being there in person. I have been asked to post this kinda' thing from time to time and if I remember to photograph it it's easy to do. I just tend to get caught up in the painting and forget the photos. I just have to get better at photos. These look crooked and distorted for some reason I can't explain and a lot of the really nice fine textures and strokes are blown out and gone. I'll keep practicing. But this will give you an idea of how I start and proceed with my paintings regardless of the quality of the photos. This is a 9x12 and I finished in about an hour and a half. I paint on a real slick gessoboard made by Ampersand and I use tiny little round brushes, hog bristle.
Also, I talked to a couple of people over the weekend about approaching artists with trade secrets and questions. I have found most of the artist's in the art community will share about anything on how they do what they do. It is a very giving and generous group. So don't be afraid to ask what you would consider "stupid" questions because 90% of us asked the same question at some point in our career. If you get a jerk, move on. There are plenty of artist out there who will help.
As far as my trade secrets to a good painting here they are:
Solid drawing, values, values, values.
I am not much of a colorist. I am more concerned with sticking the values and then I see color as temperature more than color. I compare what I am trying to apply to the areas around it and decide if it is warmer or cooler or lighter or darker. I will then push the pile of paint in my palette in that direction. I don't see Sap Green per say. I see a pile of paint that needs to have more red in it and needs to be a bit darker so will probably get a bit of ultramarine until I get the relationship between it and the color or value next to it. For instance, in the little round bush in the middle, to get it, I compared what I wanted to the green in the big tree and decided it needed to be warmer and a bit lighter. Add red, yellow and white a little at a time until it is the green you want in relation to the green of the other tree. Oh, and by the way, I use Cadmium Scarlet, Cadmium Lemon, and Ultramarine with Titanium White. That's it. So again, I don't see them as designated colors, I see a mixture of these three paints pushed in the direction I need. Took me for ever to latch on to this but once I did it made it soooo much easier for me. But again, it took a lot of experimenting and painting and watching and asking other artists to get to this point. There are a lot of directions and methods to get to a good painting and you will have to take that journey yourself.