Monday, November 28, 2011

Why Getting "Up at Dawn" Was Totally Worth It

"Up At Dawn"
8" x 10" oil on canvas panel.

Here is another painting from my trip to San Luis Obispo. One of the great things about painting outdoors all day, every day during a trip like that, is that you can plan to catch that fast-moving light in early morning or twilight.

This view was just around the corner from where I was staying. I spotted it as soon as I arrived but the light wasn't right. After a couple of days I figured out that dawn would be the best time to try painting this farm.

The trick to painting in early morning is to get up before dawn, set up the easel, block in the big shapes of the painting and wait. When the light finally hit the land I worked very quickly to put down the important color notes that would define the moment. The light only lasts for about 15-20 minutes so the blocking in I did initially was vital. After that I used my memory to fill in the final details.

"Farm in Morning Light"
6" x 8" oil on canvas
Free shipping within the U.S.

As an example, above is a second painting I did in the same spot just an hour and a half later. You can see the light has changed the landscape quite a bit and the clouds have moved. The hill has a lot more light on it, the clouds have lost their shadow and there is more color on the barn. In just another hour or two the whole view would have been in full sunlight eliminating all the dramatic shadows. The light you see in my painting was the last of the interesting light until evening.

As a landscape painter I am often asked by my students why I paint outside and apart from the usual answer about the light and how there is no substitute for painting from life there is the intangible - the absolute peace of witnessing the sunlight creep over a hillside and light up a mist-filled field, feeling the mist on my face when a breeze stirs and knowing that this particular moment will never be repeated in exactly the same way again. That's what keeps me going out again and again, if you've never experienced it I highly recommend giving it a try.

Friday, November 25, 2011

BEWARE: New Art Scam Involving My Blog

I just wanted to warn all my followers, artist friends and fellow bloggers. There is a new art scam that my friend Christine Mercer-Vernon received in her email and she was kind enough to alert me. The fishing email she received mentioned my blog specifically. I just wanted to be very clear that my blog is NOT involved with a company named Blog Services Inc. If you are contacted by this company, beware, I seriously doubt their email is anything but a fishing scam targeted at art bloggers. My thanks to Christine for her alert!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

6 Inch Squared Fall 2011 Exhibition

6 x 6 Oil on canvas panel.
Titled: "Pumping Iron"

I am thrilled to have 3 of my paintings in the 6" Squared Fall 2011 Show at the Randy Higbee Gallery. In my opinion this is the best show in Orange County because it features small affordable works of art by some of the country's best representational artists in the U.S.

This show has work by Michael Godfrey (an artist whose work I rarely see on the West Coast), Debra Huse, Terry Miura, Timothy Horn, Frank Gardner, Greg LaRock, Dee Kirkham, Andrew Bolam, Becky Joy, Edward Burton, Sergio Lopez and so many other incredibly talented artists.

6 x 6 Oil on canvas panel.
Titled: "Avila Harbor"
Available through the Randy Higbee Gallery

If you only see one art show this year, I'd recommend this one. I'd love to see you there and hope you can make it to the show that night.

The opening reception is December 3rd from 5 - 9 p.m.
102 Kalmus. Costa Mesa. Ca. 92626

6 x 6 Oil on canvas panel.
Titled: "Walk With Me"
Available through the Randy Higbee Gallery

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tawny Bluffs and Emerald Waters - Shell Beach Painting

11 x 14 Oil on linen panel.
Titled: "Tawny Bluffs and Emerald Waters"

Here is another painting I completed during the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival. I was up before dawn scouting potential painting spots when I found this view. The color shifts in the cliffs, the rocks, reflections in the water and the house all screamed, "paint me!"

The biggest challenge with this view was committing to the light so early on. After 2 hours the sun had climbed high and the light had totally changed. I always tell my students to cover their canvas and get any essentials in, like shadows, quickly that way when the light changes you can still finish.

This was one of those moments when I was having such a good time rocking out on my iPod, enjoying the beautiful day and painting that before I knew it I was finished. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it!