Thursday, December 27, 2018

Composition and Values

I continue to focus on composition in my paintings. That is the basic structure of the painting. When the composition is strong it attracts a viewer's eyes from across the room and then takes them on a journey through the painting. A big part of this is simplifying the subject. Looking for a few big shapes and reducing all the various shades (values) of dark and light to 4 or 5 shades. That means massing similar values into one value shape. Each color has its own value. It's often hard to "see" that value.

I decided to take a new approach to my painting process by making a value study of my subjects before I begin the actual painting. At first I used pastel pencils on toned paper to make the studies. The pastel was too easy to blend and didn't force me to make simple shapes. I switched to gouache on white or toned paper. I use 5 tubes of gouache: white, black and 3 grays. These studies are approximately 4" x 6". I don't spend time trying to get the drawing correct. I'm focusing on values and shapes. This process has helped clarify the structure of the painting for me. Sometimes after doing the value study, I realize the set up is  not working. I then can make changes or decide to abandon the idea.

Here's the process for my painting "Syttende Mai". I painted it from a photo I had taken on a recent trip to Norway.

My gouache palette

6" x 4" gouache study

Sketched on canvas

Beginning the block-in

The finished painting "Syttende Mai".
18" x 14", oil on linen. SOLD

Here is another example. This was a complicated set up with an antique patterned coverlet, objects and reflections. I liked the subdued colors and close values in the composition. The study helped me organize the values and shapes.

The finished painting "1847".
20" x 16", oil on linen  SOLD

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

"Colors of Summer" Exhibit at Firefly in Cable

I'm happy to announce "Colors of Summer", 
an exhibit of my paintings at Firefly in Cable, WI.  

Summer is here and I'm celebrating with paintings of my favorite subjects... flowers, produce from the Cable Community Farm, folks enjoying the season and lots of color. You'll find the paintings in the gallery space of Firefly, one of my favorite shops.

Dates of the exhibit are: July 3 - 31, 2018

You're invited to the gallery events on Friday, July 6th. 
      Demo and color discussion: 1:00 - 2:00 PM
      Reception: 5:00 - 7:00 PM

Firefly is located on Highway 63 just south of Cable, WI. The shop hours are:
      Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 5:00
      Sunday: 12:00 - 3:00

Here are some of the paintings in the show:

"Sunny Sunflower", 18" x 14", oil on linen

"Farmer and Chicken", 12" x 9", oil on linen, SOLD

"Reflections - Eggplant & Teacup", 9" x 12", oil on linen  SOLD

"Cherry Tomatoes", 14" x 18", oil on linen  SOLD

"Flower Girl", 8" x 8", oil on linen

"Ribbon & Grapes", 12" x 9", oil on linen

"Pears & Circles", 14" x 18", oil on linen  SOLD

"The Eclipse of La Pointe", 8" x 8", oil on linen

"Bag of Honeycrisps", 16" x 12", oil on linen, SOLD

"Inside the Coop", 12" x 9", oil on linen, SOLD

I've created a series of small oil paintings. They are each 6" x 6" and are mounted on a cradled board which can be framed or displayed unframed. The paintings work individually or can be grouped. 

"Sunflower #2"

"Sunflower #3", SOLD

"Sunflower #4", SOLD

"Yolk in Glass", SOLD

"Yolk in Silver Bowl", SOLD

"Yolk & Fork", SOLD

"Blue Glass & Lemon", SOLD

"Blue Glass & Apples Slices", SOLD

"Yellow Mug, Red Napkin", SOLD

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Thinking Abstractly

In October I attended a workshop designed to help representational painters think and work more abstractly. Our instructor was the painter Mark Daniel Nelson. He guided us through exercises in flattening space, massing values, cropping and generally prioritizing inspiration over technique. Mark was an excellent instructor. While I never intended to become an abstract painter, I'm trying to incorporate these concepts in my paintings. It is difficult to break old habits, but I'm trying to approach each painting from a different point of view. Here are a couple of the first paintings I completed after the workshop.

My reference for this was a photo I had taken on a trip to Barcelona. It was a busy street scene, but I was able to find big shapes, simplify areas and mass values to organize the composition. 

"Watching the Dance in Barcelona", 12" x 9", oil on linen

The challenge with this painting was combining the patterned background with the objects on top of it. I focused on the shapes and flattened the space.

"Mod Oranges", 14" x 18", oil on linen   SOLD