Sunday, August 19, 2012

Serenity of the Meadows

"Serenity of the Meadows"
Oil on linen panel, 12 x 16 inches, landscape

There is something about this area for plein air painting. The peacefulness. The quiet. Loons speaking in the distance. The experience is humbling. 

For this painting, I loved how the water inter-played with the water lilies and grasses and how the clouds in the distance changed their formations and color. Painted on a peaceful day at Crex Meadows.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On the St. Croix

"On the St. Croix"
oil on linen panel
9x12 inches, landscape

Last week while taking a workshop with Marc Hanson, I did this painting. One of the things that Marc had us do is to choose a portion of the subject and focus on it. With this subject, my favorite part was the contrast of the trees on the left. I liked how the shadows of the trees laid against the bright green. With this painting, my focus is on that area. The rest of the painting is suggested. If a person looks at something, our eyes focus on a certain area. We do not see the other areas "in focus". They are blurred. Try it.

I hope to do more studies similar to this technique. My goal will be to determine what my focus will be or the focal point, spend time with that area in the painting and let the rest be more abstract. Your mind and eyes will fill in the rest for you.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Rialto on Main

"Rialto on Main"
8x10 inch, oil, unframed

This old art-deco theater sits on the main street of the little town of Aitkin, MN. The reason for painting this building is all the neon lights that decorate the building - sadly not in working condition. As I stood across the street painting the front of this old theater, the owner happened to walk by. I asked about the lights and if they would be coming on. He answered, "no" to my sad expression. What fun to paint a nocturne with all the lights blazing in the darkness. The only lights that do come on are the white globes underneath the sign.
I love the red and green color combinations on the sign above the doors. Oh, and the doors, they are so art deco. The owner told me that the paint on the sign had just been touched up. It tends to fade with the blazing sun shining on it day after day.

The owner allowed us painters to check the interior out as it had not been changed much from the art deco decor. Although the darkness pretty much prevailed in the theater, one could see the original lights lining up along the wall - those half-circle ones that are so art deco. I am told the chairs are original, too, with the luscious maroon velvet-like material (although not as comfy as what one finds in today's theaters).

This painting is in memory of all those families who suffered the Colorado horror. I painted this on the Tuesday prior to that event of terror. The billing in yellow is announcing the Thursday midnight showing of the latest batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises".

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


8x10 inch, oil on linen, unframed

This is another painting from my week at Aitkin, Minnesota. I called this one "Serenity" as that is what I felt when I first saw this spot to paint. This painting also received an "Honorable Mention" at the Jaques Art Center Plein Air Painting Event.

The morning started out cloudy and moody unlike the previous day of a constant drizzly rain. Sunshine just did not appear. I setup my easel on a dock/ramp on Farm Lake that extended out into the lake where fishermen put in their boats. The peacefulness and calmness of the waters with delightful reflections is what captured my eye that morning. I blocked in the painting and just about the time that I began putting reflections into the water, the wind decided to rush in. There went the peacefulness of the water. When that happened, I continued to work on the background area of bushes and trees. The wind won the first round.

As I painted, or attempted, I noticed the clouds and light changing in the distance on the lake. There is a small island on Farm Lake and from my view, I delighted in the everchanging light even on this cloudy day. Since the wind would not ease, I finally opted to start another small painting. I wanted to capture the light and a few color notes.
"Farm Lake Rain Study"
6x8 inches, oil, nfs

With this one, I loved how the different sections of land had different values with how far away there appeared. It only took a short time to capture those notes, but it also gave me something to do so that I did not ruin the other painting while waiting for the wind to relax and the calmness to reappear.

Finally, the rain came. I had to stop as it began to down pour and the painting stopped. (I dumped the collected water out of my palette a couple of times.)  By forcing myself to stop, I did myself a favor as the "Serenity" painting is captivating. I did not think much of the painting until later when I stood back and looked at it for the first time a few hours later.