Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Amongst the rocks, a painting in progression

On Martin Luther kings birthday I took the boys up to one of my favorite local painting spots. Castle rock SP. We got there early for nice light, but it was bitterly cold. So we only took a quick walk and lots of photos. It's a location I've been too many times so felt reasonably comfortable, not doing any  location paintings, especially since the boys didn't have warm enough clothes with them (oops dad).

The park is filled with some great rocks and boulders, many with fascinating wind weathered effects
I decided I'd work up a big painting of one of my favorite spots (I'd painted smaller versions in this location before so knew the subject well).
Blocked in the position of everything and did some colorful under painting. For my style of art I always mark in objects and form with a heavy dark line,  I keep these lines all the way through the painting process.
 Starting on the forest floor, trying to get a nice transition between magenta purple tones and a warmer yellow ochre hue.
 My favorite part, painting tree trunks!
 Often I'll paint the foliage colors in sympathetic tones to the rest of the painting, but in this instance I wanted to get in some of the nice yellows and greens I'd seen in the mornings sun. This was a slightly dangerous decision, because it pretty much gave me a complete (basic) color wheel. Sometimes painting a full spectrum in a painting can fail and weaken the painting, but with care it's achievable.
The sky and rocks are painted in. The rocks were 'color wise' the bridge to the painting. Bringing in tones and hues from other aspects of the painting into the rocks made the whole painting hold together - phew.
The finished painting.
Amongst the rocks - Castle rock SP, CA
Acrylic on wood


I'm not sure if this picture shows it, but it's an attempt to show some of the paintings use of under painted colors shining through the main body of paint. This process of painting can really make the the final piece come alive with life and energy.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Sorry, these days I get so used to posting on facebook that sometimes I forget to put something interesting up here too.

The other week I posted this picture of my new studio set up. I got an ipad for Christmas, so I mounted it on a poseable arm next to my easel. I can use it to bring up reference photos, or do digital color plan sketches on it (something that I find very useful). I'm also able to play music wirelessly to a speaker on other side of the room, so it's pretty cool.   The downside of course is that I can also check my email really easily, so I'll have to be strong and avoid the temptation.

Ploughed field under Californian sun - CA
24X36                     Acrylic on board
This painting is from an area really near where I live, this valley yields a lot of paintings for me, and it's beautiful considering it's so near to suburbia.