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Updated 3/29/12

The Daily Paintings and Postcard-Sized Sketches in Oils and Acrylics

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February 2008



1

In the days to come, I'm going to give another series of image/lessons showing how a different painting evolved from being on location at the Citrus Heritage Park in Riverside....but that one will be the morning painting.

I was so enthralled by the changing light of the evening of the same day, that I grabbed my gear and headed back to the Citrus Park toward dusk to capture the light of what turned out to be a spectacular moment in time.

Here is the result of an extremely fast-changing lighting situation on a 9 x 12 canvas. Done in acrylics, I wanted to capture that essence of evening sky and distance, and still have light on the palms and the tops of the orange trees. Like the demonstration for the Quick Draw, this one was built up in layers. The light was changing so fast, though, I had no time to do "in progress" images. By the time I finished up, it was dark, and I had to walk down through the groves back to my car needing a flash light!

This painting is SO Southern California in January! And I nailed the light....I'm so pleased with it. For sale for $300, just contact me to bring a memory of that evening light on the San Gabriels to your collection.
4

Off and running again with another four-stage painting lesson! This one was done in 15 minute increments. Here's the first go.
Starting another plein air painting, I'm on location at the Citrus Heritage Park in Riverside for this one. A 12 x 12 box canvas, underpainted in acrylics with Quinacridone Burnt Orange and GOLD paint... how fun is that?
The first acrylic layer is done with a 3/4 inch filbert, just to get the basic colors in the areas where they will go. I'll show you the source material tomorrow, because I have a special photo to share with today's email!

Why did I choose this direction to paint? Well, the location chose me--I looked in all directions from the top of the knoll, and then noticed that someone had placed a nice bench facing the view toward Corona. So I figured if they thought the view was good in that direction, I'll paint it!

The other news is that the book for which I did the cover is now available on Amazon.com! Here's a tiny URL for it, and you can see the cover. I already pre-ordered my copy!
http://tinyurl.com/3655g8

And here's an image of the cover! Yup, that's my painting!
8

I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and started up again with the acrylics. I wanted to put layers of color on the large areas again, letting some of both the background and the first layer showing through. That creates visual interest. No details now, except way off in the distance, where I'm keeping things light and indistinct, as befits the miles of distance and air between me and the objects. The sky in this afternoon painting was done with the trio of sky colors--ultramarine, alizarin and yellow ochre plus white. The mountains were done with a veil of darker sky colors leaning toward the blue. As I painted the lower portions, and lay in the shadow green of the citrus, I'm into the thalo green and burnt umber. No palm trees yet--they'll go in at a later stage to "knit" together the horizontal areas of citrus and distant fields.
Here's the view from that bench, and you can see how much I've already changed the image. I am bringing the viewer's eyes into the painting on the path, and then making much more interesting the layers that march up to the horizon, adding color and interest. Keep this image in mind as we go forward in the next two steps to the finished painting!

Remember, it isn't the view that drives the art, that is only the match that lights the fuse. You, the artist are the firecracker that explodes in creating the fireworks of your paintings! Don't let the tiny match drive your work....

And anyone who has driven west on the 91 freeway through the Santa Ana Canyon might easily recognize Santiago Peak and the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest from this vantage point.

9

Setting the timer for fifteen minute increments has really been a boon to the creative process. Although I started to do it so I could show an in-process painting while on location, the added benefit is I'm taken out of the concentration realm, and forced to draw back (pun intended!) to see the entire concept and view again, because I need to photograph the in-process phase. The result is I make better decisions about the painting, without getting so mired in the procedure of painting this or that small part of it. This "release" if you will, brings me back to center and allows me to start anew, perhaps on a different area. I highly recommend it!
At this phase, I've started with the "wiggle" brush, (that's a 3/8" filbert going all over the canvas with different colors)--making the larger areas more interesting with additional layers of color.

I added the palms now, stitching across the horizontal bands with those verticals, like the overstitching in a quilt to tie the pieces together visually. Notice that the palms, although similar in height and shape, are all slightly different. Even though a row of palm trees can be as boring as a picket fence, the artist must "make the firecracker go off", and not be driven by the match that only lights it. I varied them intentionally for visual interest, so no two are alike.

The little vertical dent in the right-most sky will come out with some water applied to the back of the canvas to tighten up the weave. It isn't in the paint, and spritzing the back of a canvas is a time-tested method of taking out any sags or dents.

Wow, next weekend is the February three-day Mini Color Boot Camp! I'm spending this week arranging the work space, organizing supplies and running off the paper material for it. Ten people are ready to come in and be crammed full of the Color System. The gardens are spruced up, and the patio is an inviting space for breaks now. I'm looking so forward to it!

15

How time flies! Yesterday was the commercial version of loving someone (Valentine's Day), and we showed our love for our friends by going to dinner with another couple, laughing and enjoying the time we have together. Our pleasure in being with others we care about ought not be just an occasional occurrence, don't you think?
Tonight I share my life, my art and my teaching with the opening of the first workshop here in my new studio. It's ready, I'm ready and I have such high hopes for every attendee's success.
Here's the finished 12 x 12 plein air acrylic painting of the Citrus Heritage Park vista toward Corona, California. Several of you wrote expressing concern about the palm tree line matching the distant mountains, but perhaps that isn't so important now that the focus and details of the foreground have been set in place. The line of palms doesn't bother me that much now.
Darkening down the foreground shadows brings the eye to the path area and the edge of the grove, yet paths of lighter, sunlit trees allow the viewer to transition upward to the more distant vista. I had to use glazing with burnt umber, thalo green and ultramarine blue to get those darker shadows. This painting is supporting a complementary color scheme of yellow green and violet, a color scheme that has not had much favor until the last 20 years. It still hasn't edged out the blue/orange theme yet, but is gaining ground.