Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Final Voyage of the HMS Bounty

Sometimes you paint what's weighing on your heart.  It doesn't mean it's going to be your best painting, but the tribute is real.  RIP, HMS Bounty.

Monday, October 29, 2012

HMS Bounty

The seafaring world lost a great ship  this morning.  The HMS Bounty was often up on the ways for repairs in Boothbay Harbor where I spend the summer each year, and I've painted her many times.  This morning she sank off the coast of North Carolina.  Two crew members are missing with l4 rescued by the Coast Guard.

Here are some photos of the ship and some of her female crew members that I talked with this past summer as they repaired the Bounty's hull.  I hope they are safe.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Forcing the Lights

These bridgehouses are in Bad Kreuznach, Germany where I taught English at a Defense Department school in the early '70's.

Forcing the lights requires painting the majority of the painting in middle dark midtones to dark values.  The tricky part of this is getting a dark enough value in the first wash.  The white paper can fool you into thinking that the first wash is darker than it really is.  Ed Whitney used to say that if it looks like it's right when it's wet, it's wrong. 

Surrounding the lights with midtone and dark vlaues will force the lights into a more dramatic effect. 

In this painting, I also decided that the lights would be a warm yellow.  Yellow's complement is violet, so that determined the coolor on the central bridgehouse.

Go bold in the first wash, and surround the lights with dark midtones.  Add the darks, and that will force the lights for a dramatic lighting effect.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Using Contrasts

Contrasts in colors, textures, shape sizes, and warm and cool colors create interest and direct attention towards important areas of the painting.

In "Burning Off" the greatest contrast in value is on the dock near the lobster boat.  The warmest colors, red and orange, contrast with the cool blues and neutral violets in the rest of the buildings.  The roughest textures and smallest shapes also appear on the dock, contrasting with the softer textures and larger shapes in the upper half of the painting.  And to make the sky shape more interesting, the warm yellow sun symbol contrasts with the blues on the outer edges.

Sometimes painting is like solving a puzzle.  Being conscious of contrasts helps the viewer find the area of interest you want them to find. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Revisiting Familiar Subjects

This scene is in a neighborhood community called Bayville near Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  The building with the red roof is the post office.  This painting was commissioned by the couple who own the house with the gazebo in the background.  I've painted it over twenty times because I love the roof of the post office.

If you find a scene that pulls you back time and again, use it to experiment with different colors and techniques. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Peopling Your Paintings

Figures can enliven a landscape and give it movement.  Some scenes even require a number of figures to be included.  For example, painting a site like Epcot without people in it wouldn't ring true as an authentic depiction of the location.  Chinatown is a lively colorful spot, but it is always full of people.  To remove them would be to deny the reality of the place.

Sketching lots of figures in motion will give you plenty of material to draw from.  Don't excuse yourself because you "just can't paint figures."  Practice, practice, practice!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Pardon the interruption in my teaching blog, but last night's Cardinals come-back victory in the ninth has me reeling with joy! 

Quite a few years ago, I went to a party where Stan "The Man" Musial was one of the guests.  I had just painted this baseball pitcher and had a photo of the painting with me.  I was thrilled when Stan autographed it for me!  So here's a photo of the photo of the painting with Stan's good wishes.  It seems like an appropriate memory for the day after a memorable win in Cardinal baseball history!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

From Sketch To Painting

Yesterday I finally got back to painting after a nearly three week hiatus.  When thinking about what to paint, I went to my sketchbook for an idea.  After I decided what to paint, my intuition started to take over as far as color is concerned.  Once I put down the basically green underpainting, the choice to paint the buildings with green's complement --red -- became obvious.  Then I worked from the center outward to build the values.  

It's good to be painting again! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Working From Your Sketchbook

This is a sketch I did last week in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.  This will be today's painting subject.  And it will be the first painting in over two weeks since I've been on the road.

My sketchbook gave me an idea early this season in Maine.  After putting down the first wash, I begin to work from the focal point outward,  with the darks and more colorful tones near the focal point and fading out to the edges where lighter values and more neutral tones preside.  At least that's the plan for today!
Check back to see if it worked out!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On the Road Again

The Finger Lakes Region in fall is spectacular!  The rural countryside, the mountain streams, the foliage, some formal gardens, a waterfall....so much to paint, so little time.

That's when the sketchbook comes in handy.  Here are some photos of the sights and a couple of sketches I did today in Canandaigua, New York.