Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Snow Near Troy Kentucky 8x10 Oil Study

I'm so appreciative of my collectors, friends, fellow artists and family for a wonderful year, personally and artistically. That's not to say I don't struggle with paintings sometimes (OK, too often).  This scene was built from photographs taken in Jessamine county a week ago when we had 3-4" snow, a big deal for Kentucky nowadays.

I was out bright and early when I saw the sun peeking through the clouds. I'd like to say this was painted plein aire, but my car outside thermometer said 19 degrees.   I love paintings where the focal point, brightest brights, is in the distance, which one can invent, but in this case that was exactly the case. Here we are looking east, the clouds indicating most of the snowfall had passed. It's always a privilege to be out in Mother Nature's realm. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Deja View

Last spring I came across a wonderful old tobacco barn by the side of the road  and just had to paint it. This 8x10 plein aire piece shows just  how "spring-green" the grasses can be.

Recently, after a weekend of snow, I revisited the site and decided to do a painting from the same viewpoint. Since the temperature was nineteen degrees and windchill near zero, I took photos and returned to a warm studio to paint it. The low winter morning sun was in almost the same direction relative to me as it was in spring. So the barn is backlit in both paintings.

In the meantime (between these two paintings) I did a plein aire of the other side of the barn. Love those barns.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Painting from Photos

Walking along Shawnee Run (valley and creek) in winter after a light snow I thought the baby cedars were cute and snapped a number of pictures. When I came to paint them, I couldn't come up with an interesting composition. So I zeroed in on the upper right corner of the photo and borrowed colors from another artist I admired to relieve the grey-on-grey of the scene.  This hilltop area was apparently farmed well into the twentieth century and, happily, cedars and
oaks are taking over the land.
Above Shawnee Run 10x8 Oil

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Copy Cat

It was not a dark and stormy night, it was a blazingly dry and hot August afternoon and I was looking for something to do in the studio. I had just bought Scott Christensen's marvelous book "The Nature of Light". I found an image of a 6x8 painting of his in the section on studies. So I did my best to copy it, sipping on an iced tea in the cool studio.

One can learn a lot from copying a painting, in this case keeping the four values planes (uprights, slanted planes, flat land and sky) separate. That is, each has a range of values which is different from the others. In addition, this painting's focal point is clearly the tree in the middle. He uses various means to make this clear: color, contrast, detail, edges and lines - notice the shadows in the foreground point to the tree. The tree is surrounded by a much lighter sky. There is a lot of detail in the tree compared to the surrounding tree line, etc. Finally, the nearer clouds are warmer than those in the distance. This little study is a wonderful art lesson. Thanks, Scott!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ready Made Paintings

In the Kewanechee Valley 7x14 Oil

Some folks are just blessed to be born in or live in the right places, for ready made paintings, that is. We spent a week in Colorado recently, visiting the site of a workshop I took six years ago and staying part of the time, and painting, with a classmate and her husband. Around every corner there's a spectacular view. I've got enough photos for  months of work. But then it's back to painting Kentucky - fully using one's imagination, trail scouting and lessons in composition which other artists continually illustrate and teach. It's more work, but it's an engaging challenge.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Improbable Places

At Jacobsen Park 9x12 Oil

Good friends scheduled a plein aire paint-out at a city park adjacent to their home. Since parks are usually manicured, excessively grassy or excessively peopled, I did not have  high expectations for my results.   It was a good sign that we arrived during a beautifully sunny day with puffy clouds. A dark one stopped for a moment over our heads and caused us to huddle under umbrellas while the fisherman left.  After this I took advantage of the lake and lush backlit trees and was able to finish this in two hours. After that a scrumptous dinner was provided by our hosts. A great day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For the Love of Barns

Woodford County Spring 12x12 Oil

I love the area around Nonesuch, Kentucky. It's characterized by rolling hills, farms and a multitude of barns, mostly former tobacco barns, now used for hay or a tractor "garage". If I win the lottery, I'll buy land there and a second home. It's close enough to commute to Lexington if you need to. I've always loved barns for their smells, mysterious dark corners and farm implements, the uses for which I'm usually ignorant. But I'll find out after I get my lottery check.  In the meantime, they, and the land they seem to grow out of,  will be frequent subjects, I'm guessing. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring is Here

Bright Spring Day  12x18 Oil/Board

We've had wonderful warm weather the last few days and the countryside was calling. An afternoon's ride last Saturday yielded this painting finished today: backlit clouds traveling across the sky, casting shadows on the pastures.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Letting Go of Winter

Dewey Lake Inlet 9x12 Oil

This was a long winter, but before the snow hit we took a weekend trip to Jenny Wiley State Park in Eastern Kentucky. One of its virtues is Dewey Lake, created by a dam which backed up water into the steep, narrow valleys which characterize the area.  Most of the western side of the lake is accessible by car or hiking trail.  In early December the water was low, exposing the many streams and springs which feed the lake.

A couple of days ago I was reviewing the photos and was attracted to some of them. In making this painting I simplified the scene but played with color and added some forground shadow to lead the eye to the background.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Out of the Way Places

Along Paul's Mill Road

Southwestern Woodford County's roads stretch far and wide. I never did see the mill but found this stream, probably Clear Creek, which is always running, summer and winter. On this still day in January it was freezing over. It was an overcast day but I added some sunshine to lead the eye back in the painting.