Friday, May 29, 2015

Back to acrylics

In the Grand Tetons, 16" X 20", acrylic on stretched canvas.

I think this is done now. I haven't put it up on my website (so no link yet) because I'm still thinking about it. After working with the oil paints for my 12 week class, I found it a little strange to go back to acrylics. I really enjoy the quick drying time, but at the same time, I liked the ability of the oil paints to last longer and mix better. I will probably continue to experiment with both media. I will definitely use the oil paints if I do any more outside painting (plein air). I hope to do some of that during the summer.

Meanwhile I started another urban painting from my photo of Manchester (NH)'s downtown scene.  I think I am going to continue in monochrome instead of following the colors in the photo. I like the way this looks so far. This is also acrylic paint, but 8" X 10".

I found simplifying all the details in a city scene quite complicated. I will have some people walking on the sidewalk in the finished painting, but I'm definitely leaving some details out.  I'm enjoying working on this one.

I am heading out to more mountains soon, so the next post will probably have photos instead of paintings. I hope to have some time to work more on the urban scene before I leave.   I'm enjoying the spring weather (although it's very changeable from day to day in New Hampshire). Here is a little photo from yesterday's walk around the pond.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Back to School, Final

By the Sea, 16" X 20", oil on stretched canvas. I finally finished this painting that I had started in my oil painting class.  I really enjoy seeing the different colors in the oceans and seas when we travel. They are very different than the colors of the Atlantic Ocean as seen along the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. This scene was of the Mediterranean Sea from Caesaria, Israel.  I had taken photos when we traveled there. I had made a very abstract painting of this scene on Yupo paper years ago and decided to do something more realistic this time.  We hope to go back to Israel in 2016.

Meanwhile, I was tired of painting with oils and did a gouache, pen and ink painting (see last post). Then I gesso'ed a hardbord panel and painted some day lilies in acrylic, but in an oriental style, not a realistic one. I have painted these before too, but with watercolor.

Day Lilies 3, acrylic on hardbord, 9" X 12". You can see the earlier painting and this one on my website. I think it was a good break to switch off from doing the complicated realistic oil paintings and just play with other materials.

After that I assembled another canvas using stretcher bars (with primed canvas I had in stock). I have decided that it is not worthwhile to do this. It's easier to buy the canvases already mounted. I had difficulty getting the canvas squared up properly. Anyway, I started an underpainting with acrylics, of the Grand Tetons. I did a sketch first to change the composition around a little from my photo (which I had already cropped).  I blocked in the shapes and now I need to decide whether to proceed with acrylics or oils. I might do this one in acrylics and a second one later on in oils.  I love the way the oils blend and spread, but I get frustrated with the long drying time. Decisions, decisions. . .

This is the first block in. The final composition will probably be a bit different.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Back to School, Part 5

Pelican Party, 18" X 24", water mixable oils on stretched canvas.
I think this painting is finally done. I haven't posted it yet to my website in case I change my mind. I painted this with palette knife and brushwork. I didn't put in as many pelicans as were in my original photo. The pelicans were at the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve (California). There were some other birds on the rocks too, probably cormorants or terns. I couldn't tell from the photo, just saw some black birds.

It was actually fun painting with the palette knife, but the downside is that the paint is so thick that it takes a long time to dry. That meant I couldn't add the pelicans until the painted rock was dry. I used a brighter blue than I usually use for the Pacific Ocean (Phthalo blue/red shade). I also made some mixes with white and with cerulean blue. I thought that really brightened up the painting.

I used an olive green and titanium white mix for some of the rock and some of the guano. I used raw umber mixes for the browns.  I didn't really need too many different colors for this painting. There is a little bit of sap green to show some moss or grass on the rock (you can enlarge the view of the painting by clicking on it).

I am finished with my 12 week oil painting class at New Hampshire Institute of Art. It was hard work, but I feel that my skills with this medium have improved. I still have one more painting to finish (below).

By the Sea, WIP. Since this is the Mediterranean Sea, the sea colors are very different. I used mixes with Viridian.  I'll try to finish this one within the next week or two. These two paintings are really the first time I have tried seriously painting seas/oceans. I am working on this one with brushes, not palette knife (I had enough of that for a while with the last one.)

Then I took a break and did a little illustration with gouache, pen and ink. This one is on Canson 140 lb. rough paper. I enjoyed playing with my old paints, although some of them were a bit dried up. Even though they were dried up and I had limited colors, I was still able to make a study I was happy with. I don't like the image enough to spend time painting a larger painting. This is the view of Fort Constitution (from Fort Stark) in New Castle, NH. The water is the Atlantic Ocean.

I think that's it for a while on ocean/seas/water paintings. I have prepared a hardbord with gesso to play with next. I'm thinking about flowers to go on it. Spring is slowly getting here and my daffodils are open now.  I keep watching for more plants/flowers to open. Our bikes are ready for their first ride of the season and I'm looking forward to that too.

I ordered some new business cards from Vistaprint. It was actually cheaper to order cards from them than to keep printing a few of my own each time I do a show. The paper is a very good quality too. They have sales periodically. I waited for a good sale and I'm happy with the cards. My next scheduled show is July 26th in New Castle, NH.