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Updated 3/29/12

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

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March 2010

3 The "Color Punch" begins to show up now! The difference between this stage and the earlier one may be minor in square inches, but it is major in pulling the color design toward the finished state. These few brush marks on the backs of the horses bring out the message of light and value difference (also color temperature difference) that need to happen to make this painting work. There is still much more to do, however seeing these few brush marks may help to show how the Color System works. There is no lighter value than the sunlight on the gray horse. There is no stronger edge (or will be) than the topline near that horse's tail.

If there is a strong edge elsewhere, it will be compromised by little value change, no temperature change, or act as a subordinate "supporting" edge in the design, and not be as important.

When we as artists want to control where the viewer's eye goes, our tools are straight from the design box. Here I'm using value change, edge hardness and temperature difference to force your eye to go to that horse, even thought the rest of the painting may be visually interesting. While I continue to paint from this important step, I will be ever mindful that the gray's back as my focal point. No edge or contrast will be as strong as that area. Now on to finish this beastie!

9 Many of you have noticed the sporadic emails in the last few weeks, and for that I sincerely apologize. I'd hoped to share with you the finished polo ponies, but in utter amazement, I cannot FIND the painting! In the chaos of doing a major studio cleanout, I put it "somewhere safe". Have you ever done that?

But today I am very sad for having to put down my companion of eighteen years--Qso, the German Pinscher--shown here in a painting with Sparky the terrier.

Pets connect us to our past, living lives of scant more than a decade, and linking us to events and people from earlier times. As they age, we see our own lives (compressed) of youth, prime and then, if we are lucky, and if the animal is as well, we carry them through their old age, giving them the gift of care and a final exit with dignity and sadness.

So today's message is one of communication to all animal lovers out there, those of us who have lost a beloved pet, and to all who share with me the sharp pain of the memory of their last days.

Animals have a prescience and acceptance of death that we humans can only envy. She told me it was time, and her passing was peaceful. I have always said that if we lose a pet, we have a hole in our heart waiting to be filled by an eager newcomer, whose future may be uncertain if we stay within our pain of loss. I am not sure when that achy place will be filled, but fill it will.

So, beloved Qso, I sent you to the Rainbow Bridge today as my last gift to you, and buried you just outside the studio door where you'll always be in my thoughts, and nearby. Safe journey, my companion. My heart is heavy tonight.
10 On location with the Plein Air Artists of Riverside, and on Thursday I found myself in front of one of the many bridges that were the focus of this week-long paint out.

Now I don't necessarily "do" bridges or other architectural renderings--I leave it for the designers to create beautiful structures, and I'll just enjoy 'em, not paint 'em. But this event had us with a focus on local bridges, and who am I to complain? It's just "stuff"....

So I start out with a toned canvas (12 x 9) and set up just as you see, with the bridge to my left. This way I'm not twisted as I paint, with my arm on the canvas and my head torqued around over that arm. Learned that in life drawing years ago--don't let your painting arm block your view. Lot of artists don't know that!

I've loosely blocked in the structure and design, knowing that I'm adding a figure later on in the upper left third (smudgy mark). I had a heck of a time with those receding arches. Talk about tough to "get", but I leave some room for correction later. The day was overcast, and that's a bummer, but as an artist, I can do a bit of artistic license and add a spot of sunshine if I wish. (And I do wish.) So for the first several images as this one develops, I'm going to stay completely in the cool box!

My workshops in Georgia and Florida are generating a great deal of interest--the excitement about the new recruits and the re-booters for the Color System is felt all the way over here in California! My flights are booked, Sparky has his space, and I'll be doing the teaching for three weeks in April and May! If you've ever wanted the Color Boot Camp experience, please click below for workshop information for your area! Either Kathie or Judi will be happy to add you to the fun groups forming. I especially love it when "rebooters" come back for more "Yellin' by Elin".

On another note, I want to thank all of you who wrote in response to yesterday's posting on Qso's passing. So many of you have the hearts of animal lovers. It brought me great comfort. Although there's a hole in my heart, I know that not too much time will pass before another snuggly fur-face will come to fill it. Sparky might need a playmate!
12 With the basic structure in place with the brush sketch, I begin the laying in of the large darks and mid-tones using the Cool colors palette. If you'll look at the bridge from yesterday's view, you see the cement railings. See how I've laid them in while thinking, "large shapes" instead of "Omigosh! Look at all those vertical cement thingies!"?

So those nearby cement thingies are painted as shapes. However, as they recede in space, the shape blends together for one big brush mark. If you look at the right side of the bridge, you can see where I've already started to allude to those "thingies" in the large gray shape. Hey, makes it simple (and fast)!

As I paint the arches, with the darks and mid-tones, I'm still finding the correct arch shape. It looks pretty daft right now, but will improve. I'd rather find an edge later, than be restricted by a line demarking an edge early on.

Again, completely out of the Cool Box in the Color System, including that yellow green in the upper right. Cool yellow and some ultramarine make that mix, with perhaps some white.

Tomorrow more!

I'm off to Cypress Art League on Sunday for a demonstration in oils, and I'm working on a couple of commission paintings (one a book cover) so the brushes are flying! If you're in the Los Angeles area, Cypress is south of the 91 freeway at Orange Street and Valley View--their community center, two p.m. I'll have my Flash Cards, DVDs and one of my originals to offer as a raffle prize. Perhaps I'll meet you in person!

Sure wish I could find the polo ponies painting--still looking for it. Darn it all.
24 Covering the canvas as I always do, this 12 x 9 painting progresses into the misty light of the overcast day quite easily. I stay completely in the Cool Box, using trios of colors to keep the mixes harmonious. Most of the distant areas behind the bridge are done with mixes that have white in them. White, being the coldest color on our palettes, is used in distance to give the ethereal feeling of misty light. White is also used, to a lesser degree, in the nearby areas. My contrast of values decreases as distance increases, and in misty light, the values get closer together more quickly!

The workshop in Florida has been moved right into Ocala, so if you are in that area and want to attend this Color Boot Camp, please contact Kathie Camara ASAP (Link takes you to an email message)! The new location puts us in an urban area, and boot campers can come in daily instead of staying at the Carriage Park. It makes the workshop more affordable, as well.

Georgia is almost full, and it is going to be FANTASTIC as well!

I'm sitting in jury duty today....at least they have wifi!