Saturday, January 29, 2011

Finding another gallery

The willows are amazing colors this time of year. Today is just this kind of day. Snow on the ground, abundant sunshine and blue skies. We call it a bluebird day.

I would really love to find another Colorado Gallery in which to hang my work. I know most galleries really aren't looking for more artists, but this spring I am going to make a concerted effort to send some portfolios to a few and see if I can't get into another one. I am painting enough these days that the work is beginning to stack up and I need another outlet. Any suggestions anyone? Any thoughts on making the best presentation possible?

Thanks for your help!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Painting from a photograph

I am taking another art class at our local junior college. This six weeks the name of the class is "Painting from a Photograph." I was curious about exactly how our instructor would treat it, and she started out giving us all the same photo, and telling us to try to paint it exactly. This will all lead up to editing the photo to make a better painting, but I was happy with the photo she gave us to paint, and didn't mind painting it exactly. It was interesting to see 14 different versions of the same photo.
If I had a choice, I would have passed over this one as it has a lot going on, and it is complicated. The mountain I can handle, but the ski runs on it, the sign, buildings and cars are a lot of detail. I don't usually paint cars! I paint bushes and trees because it doesn't matter if you get the shape exactly right or not, but when painting a car, you had better know how to draw a car to look like a car. The good news is that if you just paint the shapes you see and don't worry about painting a car, somehow it magically comes out looking like a car!
Sorry about the quality of the photo. The paint was still wet when I took the photo and it made for glare. After it dries I think I will repaint the back of the red car a little longer so it doesn't look squished into the edge of the painting, but for now I am happy with how this turned out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter can be colorful

Willows are so gorgeous with no leaves on them! They change color as the season progresses and seem to be the darkest red, almost burgundy, in the early winter. As time goes on they get brighter, until they end up almost orange by spring. I love to watch them. Of course, they like wet feet, so you always see water around them. The title of this piece is "Thawing" as the creek is beginning to show up again and is not snow covered. It is hanging in our "Winter lights" show at the Arts Alive Gallery in Breckenridge.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting adventurous!

My last post was a painting of an animal and in this one, I have people! This painting is only 6x8, so they are actually just a couple of brushstrokes, but I don't often put people in my landscapes. This painting is a study to work out the composition for a larger piece, and yes, I know the fishermen are right in the middle! Does it bother you? I look at the people, the yellow bushes to their left and the colorful tall tree behind them as a triangle that is the focal point, rather than just the fishermen. I may change my mind when I do it larger and I might move them over a little bit, but why not break the rules?

I see other artists who do it all the time, and it works, so hopefully this will too.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Working out problems in paintings

I seem to have a three step process for fixing a painting. First, I have to figure out what is wrong with it. Often, I don't know what the problem is, but just have a nagging feeling that it isn't quite right.

I usually will leave it for a few days and let it dry while I look at it occasionally to see if it hits me. I can always see what is wrong with other people's paintings! I should be able to see it just as easily on my own. With a few days space between actually painting it and looking at it again, it often does jump out at me. I also find that photographing it makes it more obvious, looking at it on the computer screen. Looking at it in the mirror sometimes does it, but for me, a photograph is better.

Once I realize what the issue is, I have to decide how to fix it. That often takes me time. I am a relative newbie to painting, and still have lots to learn. I often work it out at night, thinking about the painting when I should be sleeping. The problem I had with the painting above is that the mountain goat and the background were the same value, and they blended in with each other. I could have lightened the goat, but on his shady side, he really was quite dark, even though he was white. I could have darkened the grasses around him, but then it wouldn't have looked like the summer tundra he was munching on. I finally realized at about 2am one night that color temperature rather than value was the way to do it. The grasses had been yellow green and I had used an orange toned board so some of the background warmth was coming through. All I needed to do was cool down the green by adding blue to it and suddenly the warmer, sunny side of the mountain goat popped out. Where he was shaded, I had to still keep the green warmer.

This whole painting was an experiment and was just done as a study to see if I could paint an animal and get the drawing right (not my strong point) and it was nice to be able to work out some of the other issues as well. I still wonder if the pile of rocks isn't too strong, but there aren't many darks in this painting, so I left them.