Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Most of an artist's time is spent in the studio or plein air painting.  Ours is basically a solitary profession, so there must be pleasure in the doing, satisfaction in the process. 

But if we've worked hard, paid our dues, and learned our craft, for a brief, shining, hopeful moment,  we can celebrate our growth in the spotlight.  It's not "Look at me", or "Look what I've done";  it's "Let's share the enjoyment of the fruits of our labors."  The work is still the most important thing.

So I'm proud to announce that two of my paintings have been accepted for the 2012 St. Louis Watercolor Society's Annual Exhibit, and that one of them ----- "Eastpoint Shoreline"----won an Award of Achievement (3rd place).  The juror/judge was nationally known painter and author Stephen Quiller.  The exhibit will be on display at the Creative Art Gallery here in St. Louis for the month of April.  Friday night is the awards ceremony. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Power of the Silhouette

In this painting of Jackson Square in New Orleans, the silhouetted statue of Jackson has very little detail, but that does not lessen its impact.  The viewer doesn't need every detail of the saddle, the folds of the uniform, or the carved letters on the base.  The silhouetted shape of horse and rider is very clear without those details.

I've said it before:  Providing all the details in the interior of a shape will never save a bad shape.  Let the silhouette carry the day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Diminishing Repeats

In the last entry, I talked about the power of the diminishing repeat.  When depicting similar objects in a group, if many details are included in the foreground object, fewer details are needed as the objects recede in space.  The eye will just fill in the missing textures or interior details.

Here's another illustration of the concept.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Looking Back

This week while going through some slides of my old work, I found this painting I did nearly twenty five years ago.  It's reproduced from a photo made from a slide, so the color is not at all accurate.  But it illustrates the idea of "the diminishing repeat." 

This concept is that if foreground details are explained thoroughly, then repeats of the same subject receding in space need fewer and fewer details.  The eye just fills in the missing elements.  By the time you get to the last Indian, there are just dots of color which you assume are horses and braves.
You can do this with boats or people or almost anything that comes in groups.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Variations On A Theme

Sometimes I like to play with a theme.  I'll change the colors, the temperature, add some elements, remove others.  There's a freedom in having the subject matter decided so that other concerns can be addressed.

By the way, feel free to become a Follower or leave a comment or reaction.  Sometimes I just need to know I'm reaching readers!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Trail of White

Areas of white or light values are attractors.  So it only makes sense to plan them carefully.  Isolating light areas causes the viewer to jump around the surface, not knowing where to focus. 

Leaving escape routes of connected white allows the eye to travel in a logical sequence.  In this painting of shoreline shacks, the largest shape is the building on the left.  By letting the light connect to the laundry, the eye is led to the second shack.  Next, the white proceeds downward toward the beach and over to the boat.

Emphasizing the light shapes by placing darks near them further helps the eye by providing an obvious contrast.

Let the light leak!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Foreground Plane

As I wrote in the last post, here is another version of some shacks in Naples, Florida.  In this version, the foreground plane on the near bank is emphasized.  It not only frames the shacks, it also becomes a more important subject. 

More and more, though, I am favoring the single plane presentation.  Flattening the subject plane is one sure way to concentrate on design problems.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Florida Shacks

This is the first of two paintings I did of some shacks lining a creek in Naples, Florida.  It's basically a one plane subject.  The shacks are on the third and so are the palm trees.  The background and foreground water are deliberately kept simple so as to emphasize the subject plane. 

Next I'll show you what else I decided to do to this subject to create two planes.   

Florida is in the rear view mirror.  I'll be home tomorrow around noon.  It's been a fun and productive winter, but I'm ready to be home.  Now the challenge of finding subject matter in the studio.
Stay tuned!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Small and Silhouetted

The continuing series of small assembly line paintings.  This one is my homage to Winslow Homer.  Silhouettes work well to describe an object.  Not much texture within each shape.  The object is described at the outside edges.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another Small Painting

 I'm on the road, so not much time for blogging.  Just ditto the last report with this small painting.