Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

At the end of the year I tend to think about the year ahead, and set challenges for myself within in my art career; but I also enjoy looking back over the year at the body of work I have created, and evaluating different paintings. Here's a short little list of some of my own personal favorites!

Hydrangea with circular fruit
36 X36                  Acrylic on canvas
...And the award goes too...Gosh how does one pick a favorite amongst 'my children'! I produced less still life paintings, because of a broadening of subject matters (i.e. I painted a lot more landscapes this year). Despite this there still seemed to be a stunning selection and as ever a difficult choice. In the end I think this is my favorite, the circular motion of that table, combined with the fruits and the palette; well it just wins me over!

This year I painted most still life paintings of tulips! It always surprises me that each year it seems to be something different. Perhaps it's a subconscious decision, that helps me not have too many paintings of any one flower type?

Goats on Green
36X24        Acrylic on board 
In the summer I painted a few goat paintings, and broke free from my usual style to have some fun with form and color. This painting was the first of those, and I felt compelled to include it here since I love this technique and approach to color and subject.

Red Pinnacle Crags (above Bear Gluch Resevoir)
size: 8X10   Acrylic on board
I do very few small paintings, enjoying the more physical and visceral challenges of a large canvas. But in the hands of an expert a small painting can be pure 'miniature perfection'. I'm not quite in that league, but I really enjoyed this little one from Pinnacles National Park, capturing some of those spiky weathered volcanic rock formations, amongst the chaparral.

Sunshine on Big Sur (California)
Size:  24X36     Acrylic on board

Well these are personal choices; and so I picked a recent one because in this painting I can see ideas and methods I wish to explore in future paintings. The inclusion of the near follage, portrayed with a drawing technique is something I wanted to dabble further with. Perhaps also incorporating the stronger line work that has become the signature of my Still life paintings? I guess that means tune in to 2012 and see what comes next....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

latest tree painting

Sticks in the stream (Big Basin SP, CA)
Acrylic on wood

Not much to say about this one, except the usual excuse about botching the exposure when photographing it. Somehow the foreground seems a little too washed out and the trees are slightly too dark. The original is not quite like this..... Sometimes I feel that I've never mastered the latest camera.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Recent commission looking back into the past

Over the last month or so I've completed two separate commissions that were notable for a couple of factors. First they both involved looking back to past works to base new paintings from. Additionally they were also faithful recreations of the original paintings.  (More commonly my commissions feature brand new subjects or reinterpretations of a subject). Indeed, I often try to steer a collector away from this 'copying' of an earlier work; however in this instance I ended up working on two paintings with very different styles and subjects, but with very similar MO's.

The original

West Lothian and firth 
10.5X21.5              Acrylic on board.

The first of these commissions was completed for a collector who has gathered a number of my still life paintings around her home, but had fallen in love with a painting of Scotland that I did about 6 years ago. The painting features a view of the West Lothians, which is just a little west of Edinburgh (for those who like to get the geography right). The original hangs in my home and my wife and I are very attached to it, so we agreed to reinterpret the painting in a larger size.
 The commissioned painting

West Lothian & firth No2
19X48             Acrylic on wood.


It was a good challenge to paint with some techniques needing to be remembered or rediscovered. For example, the original sky had used a dark rich under painting color with strong opaque colors placed over the top. This was a technique I hadn't employed in a long time so it was fun to re-remember this and to exploit it. Also since the new painting was considerably bigger than the original, I had to reinterpret how much information to place in the painting, while still keeping the loose/ abstract feel. More detail and accuracy was applied to the hills and and stronger sense of color was given to the middle ground, since the painting was to be hung up high in the home and I wanted the color to bring the painting forward in the room.

The original

Carnations under Californian sun
21.5X30               Acrylic on wood.

The second commission was completed for a couple who had fallen in love with a painting they'd seen in New Masters Gallery in Carmel. They loved everything about this painting, except for it's choice of flowers. So we talked about many ideas and alterations, but in the end the collector decided they wanted a very faithful interpretation of the original painting, with only that single minor change.

 The commissioned painting

  in progress - early days (mostly under painting)

Tulips under a Californian sun
22X30              Acrylic on wood.

  detail of finished painting (shows the nice under painting, poking through)

Not sure if I really needed too, but I spent great care in getting everything in the 'right place' including replicating poor AKA 'artistic' perspective where I saw it. My reinterpretation gave me the opportunity to place a little more contrast across the back drop cloth and a richer table cloth, but otherwise was extremely close.