Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Small Paintings

In order to loosen up, I sometimes set up an assembly line of small format pieces of paper.  I tape as many as five pieces of paper down on my masonite board.  Then I start painting the first wash on one and then the next, and then the next.  By the time I've painted several of these, I return to the first one which by then is dry, and proceed to the second wash on all the  paintings.  Finally, I place the darks strategically around the focal points. 

This production line procedure not only helps to speed up my painting, thereby keeping a looser result, but I tend to repeat the same color schemes as well as rearranging the same objects into  different compositions.  This creates a small series which helps solidify an idea, a technique or a compositional problem.

Here are two paintings done in this manner.  Hey!  If it was good enough for Henry Ford.....well, you see where I'm going!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Negative shapes

Here's a painting I did to illustrate the idea of painting what is behind an object in order to leave an object.  I painted through everything, and when all was dry, I picked out the area behind the tree branches on the right hand side of the painting.  This is a real adjustment in thinking and requires lots of practice before I started to be able to paint in negatives.  Give it a try!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 2 - Naples Workshop

What a nice group of students I have here in Naples!  We're painting inside for three days, and then will move outdoors to paint plein air on Thursday and Friday. 

Here's today's demo. Our focus was on painting negative space  in midtones, creating a trail of white shapes.  Then it's on to placing the darks and adding a little calligraphy, and BAM!  You're finished!
Tougher than it looks, however.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Still Life

I've commented on this  one before, but, since I'm travelling right now, I thought it might bear repeating.

Repetition, the S Curve, and size variation all play major roles in this composition. 

If your subject is all one color, you might want to be inventive to avoid boredom.  Add color where there isn't much.  With these tan mushrooms, it was pretty important to add some color to give life to the subject. 

It's a good idea to overlap at some point too in order to form clusters rather than individal object.

My Naples Workshop begins on Monday so I should have some new paintings very soon!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pointers and Stoppers

A painting should make you feel as if there is nothing outside the edge of the paper or canvas.  I'm always aware of "pointers" that lead into the painting or to the focal point.  But "pointers can also lead the viewer out of the painting.  That's when you need a "stopper", something that will keep the eye from going off the page.

In this painting of Scipio Creek, pointers include the direction that the boats are facing, lines on the boats, the dock, ropes and rigging.  The lines on the far boats could point off the page without a couple of pilings to stop the eye.  On the left side of the painting, the nets and the dock are stoppers. 

Objects and elements that point or stop are consciously included.  Sometimes they have to be borrowed, invented or moved to come in aid of the composition.  Always think before including or omitting an object that could help or hurt the design of the composition.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Complementary Colors

The state park on St. George Island has some fairly high dunes with some very interesting scrub pines.
The sand is nearly white, but painting it that way would be monotonous.  I decided to use a pink tint as a base color.  Then it only made sense to use a cool green as the sky color, thus setting up the complementary colors.  The cool green in the sky would then recede when I put down the warmer greens of the tree canopy. 

What a nice way to spend a February day.....At the beach!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I still remember the first time I saw an exhibition of John Singer Sargent's paintings in London.  I had stopped painting for several years, but his work inspired me to pick up my brushes again, and I haven't put them down for 38 years.  I was especially drawn to the paintings he did of architectural features, statues and fountains.  Ever since, I, too, have been attracted to these subjects and love painting them.

Finding an artist whose work you admire can be inspirational.  Is there an artist that you admire?  Leave me a comment to show your appreciation.

This memorial is in front of the Episcopal Church in Apalachicola.  It is dedicated to Dr. John Gorrie who invented an ice making machine with a fan to blow cool air over his patients with Yellow fever.  Thus, he created the forerunner of the air conditioner, thus making him the patron saint of Floridians!