Thursday, June 26, 2008

Canoeing the Duck

Scored a canoe and Jason Saunders and I went canoeing on the upper end of the Duck River. We floated a stretch from Dement Bridge to Three Forks Bridge in Bedford County. It was an easy float that was short enough to allow a few attempts at painting. The hardest part was the actual painting. The river does not give up its paintings easily. It is incredibly hard painting. There is so much out there. Dappled light, water and all that goes with that, rocks, etc., etc. There are so many different shapes and values and I won't even go into the compositional issues. I tried twice to paint sunlit grassbeds and twice made a miserable mess. I could not get that wonderful illumination. There was a color and intensity there that I could only get close to without ever making it work. I think in the last blog I mentioned pushing the values up hoping that would do it but again it wasn't the answer to the problem.
The only tight moment we had was when I, as navigator, missed a submerged stump and we centered it. The canoe stuck and rocked a bit. We tried to get off the stump with paddles but ultimately started rocking in unison and slid it off. After you do something like that there is always a bit of paranoia that someone saw it or worse, videoed it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Again With The Values

Painted yesterday morning at Williamsport WMA again. I struggled with this one. I couldn't get the light right, it just was not working. So I took a little break, cleared my head and approached it again.
It took one value change.
I had the value for the key of the willows too dark. I was working under the assumption that if you make the darks darker and the lights lighter it will look like lumination, light. I think sometimes I tend to push my values out to the ends of the spectrum and a lot of times this is not the answer to the problem. It is still not as luminous as I saw it out there but you should have seen it before the change. Man, it was flat.
I am going to try to get back out there next week and hopefully be able to get 2-3 more paintings off this little lake for the Brazier Fine Art show "Waterways". We shall see.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I usually carry very small tubes of red and have a very small area on my palette for red because as a landscape painter I use it mostly as a compliment to all the green. Yesterday was not the case.
I painted in Williamsport after I had tried to find something in the Williamsport WMA. I went to my favorite pond there (see post below) and it was full of fishermen and what looked like duck weed so I moved on to Williamsport. The very first thing that caught my eye was this giant red barn that sits on the road already composed. So I squirted out a little extra red and had at it.
Later that afternoon Jason Saunders called and said,"let's go." I asked where and he said he had a place down the road. Lo and behold another red barn.
All in all I enjoy painting barns in the landscape. I am so used to seeing them around here on the farms and in the fields it almost feels like something is missing to see a big farm without one. The only trick is the perspective on some of those angles on the pitched roofs. They are like snowflakes. No two pitched roofs are ever the same.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Values, Values, Values

I said it before and I will say it again. It's all about values.
This painting was an exercise in getting the values right. I, for what ever reason, seem not to be able to stick my values perfectly the first time I put them on. It always takes a lot of adjusting as I am painting to get them right. I think I have to get everything on there first and then I can see them in relation to each other and start making adjustments. Anyway, this was a value nightmare. It took a lot of tweeking to make it work.
I painted this one this morning at the Williamsport Wildlife Management Area. It used to be settling ponds for the Occidental Chemical Company and they cleaned them up and donated them and about 2500 acres to the state wildlife agency. It's a great resource to have.
I think this painting is going to Brazier Fine Art for a show they are having the end of June through July. The paintings have to be water related, anything with water. I will post the dates on my website when I get them.