Thursday, February 24, 2011

On the Road Again

I've been travelling for a few days, so I haven't posted anything.  My painting time has also been restricted.  I arrive back on the panhandle tomorrow, so I hope to have some new paintings to share very soon.  Meanwhile, here's a painting to tide you over!

Friday, February 18, 2011


While painting on location, an occupational hazard/delight is having people stop by to look, comment, and admire.  Occasionally, though, their comments are memorable. 

Yesterday I was painting in downtown Naples.  I was standing in a parking lot looking across at a wonderful old banyan tree.  When I was nearly finished with the painting, a couple walked up, and the husband said, "Wow!  That's a really nice painting!  Are you painting a local scene?"  (No, I'm painting a banyan tree in Miami from a photograph and just thought I'd come out to this hot parking lot to do it.  Sigh......)

Most folks are very kind, respectful and admiring.  I generally enjoy the contact.  But some do make you wonder!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Naples Workshop

I was so pleased when five ladies here in Naples invited me to give them a one day workshop today.  We returned to Haldeman Creek on a beautiful February day. (That MUST be an oxymoron!).

The lesson began with a description of the six major value patterns. I chose one and then did a demo which illustrated procedure. 

The ladies said they were in unchartered waters, but felt adventurous enough to try something new.  To their delight and mine, they succeeded beyond their best dreams!  We had colorful minglings, good shapes, warm against cool, cool against warm, gradation....they mastered almost every single idea I threw at them.  Thank you, ladies of Naples!  It was a most enjoyable teaching experience.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Workshop - Day 2

Naples cafe

Yesterday the class went downtown and painted street scenes.  It was a warm sunny day with many passers-by.  Peter did his demo, and then we went to work.  It is just so good to be in the open air again, with the sun on my face.  And it just wouldn't be right to go home to St. Louis without a tan!

Study this painting for its compositional elements. The focal point is the fountain, which is slightly off center, and the people sitting at the tables, enjoying lunch.  The repetition of triangles is also a feature.  The oblique shadows point to the focal point.

After I was finished, I walked down the street to a little tapas bar and restaurant and had a sangria underneath the shade of an umbrella.  A very peace-filled day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Plein Air Workshop

Haldemann Creek

Yesterday and today, my friend Chet and I took a workshop with Peter Spatero here in Naples.  Here's yesterday's work.  We were on a little creek with some falling down tin-roofed shacks that were so tempting!  So this was my first plein air painting in almost five months. 

Several of the students in the workshop were interested in the three-steps-forward approach to the background.  Looking at the painting, you'll see that there's the very light sky background, a slightly darker distant tree suggestion, then another closer silhouette of trees. I saved the texture for the foreground trees.

Being able to edit out objects and elements in a scene is an important component of plein air painting.  In reality, there was a dock, no boats, and no figure.  Since the shack was the focal point, adding the figure and the boats help focus your attention in that area. 

Don't be afraid to add or subtract elements that add interest.  And save texture for the foreground!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Sorry I've been offline for a week.  I hit the road last Thursday and went to Homosassa Springs and then to Bradenton to visit my friend Connie.  I haven't painted in so long that I haven't been posting anything.

I'm staying in the guest house of friends in Naples.  I'm including a snapshot of the estate. 
Hopefully, I"ll have some paintings again very soon.
P.S. Would it be too cruel to tell you that the high today is 78?  I'm sitting out by the pool as I type!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Symmetry and Asymmetry

In this painting of the historic Gibson Hotel in downtown Apalachicola, the problem was one of depicting the scene somewhat accurately while maintaining some of the desirable aspects of informal balance.  The two palm trees make for a very symmetric composition.  To counterbalance that, I placed a few more small trees on the left and then placed the monument on the right.  Some might consider the building too centered, but the fact that it is interrupted by the foliage provides some asymmetry there, too.  Granted, it's subtle, but one could certainly make the argument that the composition is not totally symmetrical.

The easel is in the car, ready for the trip south to Naples.  I look forward to painting plein air again very soon!