Monday, November 30, 2015

Here is a 9x12 field study of some reeds from the Salt River, in the Tonto national forest. With towering cliff walls surrounding the area, I decided to focus in on a more intimate scene...

In this sketch, the reed catching the most light is too close to the center. I made a mental note to fix that on the studio version. 

Here's the 12x16 studio version. What I changed: 
-I put more of an emphasis on the larger clump of reeds just to the right of center, and I pushed back the single reed a bit. 
-I added a bit more variation in the "shore-line" of reeds, making that line a little bit more irregular.
-I brought more chroma into the left side of the painting. Especially the yellows and their reflections.
-I added more stray reeds floating on the water.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Palo Verde study

Above is an 8x10 field study of a Palo Verde tree from the Lost Dutchman State Park. I painted this to use as a reference for future studio paintings. 

Here is a detail from the studio painting. I referenced the plein air study in order to paint this one. I still think the plein air study turned out better, though.

Here is the full image of the studio piece. This painting measures 16x20 inches. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

From Small Study to Large Studio Painting

During my workshop at Scottsdale Artists School last week with Thomas Kitts, we were given an assignment to paint a simple color study: 

Here is my 8x10 color study from Lost Dutchman State Park. The focus of this assignment was to use only two values for each subject: one value for the shadowed side, and one value for the light side. While the whole painting has about 4 values in it, each object should only have two. Any variations in one side are to be made with changes in color temperature or saturation. 

I found this assignment really helpful in terms of composition and design.

After critiquing the study, we were instructed to create a larger studio painting from it. I chose to go with a 16x20 panel. 

I lowered the horizontal line in the foreground, in order to make the mountain seem more massive. Because it was lowered, I added an extra bit of sky showing at the top, hinting at how jagged the top of the mountain is. I also extended the distant highlight into the central boulder, which I think helps break up the central space. 

I also did a study of a palo verde in the field, which I referenced when painting the tree in the foreground. I'll post that study tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Week in a Workshop

This past week I've been really busy at a workshop with Thomas Jefferson Kitts ( at Scottsdale Artists School.

The workshop was an intensive 5 days of plein air sketching, and creating studio pieces from those sketches.

Here is my haul of paintings. I'll elaborate more about what I learned over the coming days...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Saturday Train Sketching

 My fiance had an event out in Buckeye so we got to drive out there Saturday morning. Some scouts were cooking hot dogs to fund a camping trip, and the leader/grill master was kind enough to pose for a quick sketch. Then I managed to sneak off to paint in a train yard with gouache.

"Coming or Going?" Gouache and watercolor pencil on watercolor paper journal, 5x8 inches

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Group Paint-Out in Papago Park

I hosted a group Paint-Out with Arizona Plein Air Painters on Saturday. We met up first thing in the morning and most stayed until 11 or noon. It was great painting with so many enthusiastic people. 

"First Light, Looking West" 5x9 inches, oil on canvas

"Back-Lit Palms" 6.5x9 inches, oil on canvas

Painting a Neon Sign in Gouache

"Rexall Drugstore" Gouache on watercolor paper, 7x10 inches

Downtown Florence, AZ has some cool old buildings. I visited on Friday morning and I have to say there is something to paint everywhere you look. I painted this old neon sign in gouache. Locals said the drugstore closed long ago. There used to be a soda fountain next door that burned down in the 50's. Now it's a parking lot.
I used a limited palette of Holbein gouache on a 6x9 cold press Arches watercolor block. The hanging wires were drawn in with a Prismacolor watercolor pencil. My palette was white, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, and just a touch of lemon yellow and peacock (phthalo) blue. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Monsoon in the Superstitions

"Monsoon in the Superstitions" Oil on canvas, 6x6 inches.

I worked up a smaller, square version of a painting from a few months ago. This one has more dramatic lighting, which I think works out a bit better than the first version. 

My palette: Cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue deep (Senellier), cobalt blue, yellow-green (Utrecht)

On a side note, I've been kind of unhappy with the Senellier ultramarine blue deep. It has some sort of solvent smell to it (a number of their colors do), which I assume is some sort of dryer. In addition to that, it's not pure ultramarine (PB29). It has some dioxazine violet in the mix. I can add violet myself, if I want to. I don't want it pre-mixed in the tube because there is no way for me to take it out. I'm only using this color just so I can finish off a tube. I won't buy it again, that's for sure. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rocks and a Saguaro: A review of Gamblin's Warm White and Caucasian Flesh Tint

"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" Oil on canvas, 6x6 inches

I tried out a different palette for this one. I have been hearing things about some landscape painters using Caucasian Flesh Tint from Gamblin, and I figured I would see what that's all about. I have always avoided pre-mixed "skin tones", preferring to mix everything myself, but this tube was given to me a while ago. So, rather than letting it collect dust I decided to try it out. 

For my purposes, I see the Caucasian Flesh Tint as a convenience color, a useful starting point for some of the peachy rocks we get out here. I also found it useful for lightening up a green and lowering the intensity at the same time... good when you want to knock back a green in the distance to convey atmospheric perspective. 

I also used Gamblin's "Warm White" in place of titanium white. This white is made from titanium with a touch of yellow in it. It's very subtle, but it works its way into every part of your painting and makes things seem a little bit warmer. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about this color.

Here's my full palette:

Warm white (Gamblin), cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium, Caucasian flesh tint (Gamblin), alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue deep (Senellier), cobalt blue, yellow-green (Utrecht)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Plein Air

Here is a 9x12 painted in Papago Park on Halloween morning. I was up near Hole-in-the-Rock, and this view is looking southwest. That's South Mountain in the distance.