|A Sea of Untended Line|
14x18 oil on canvas
|The completed image is at the top of the post|
18x24 oil on canvas
When lines aren't tended or are mishandled they no longer function properly and the ship can't sail on course.
|The tonal underpainting|
|Laying in the color begins|
|Focusing on and bring detail to the rope|
|Refining the lines and the imagined chaos|
|Attention paid to the stormy sky, lines in the background, the mast and boom|
16x20 oil on canvas
Just over a week ago I spent 4 days in a workshop with the landscape painter Greg LaRock. I have always felt that there are so many skilled painters recording the California landscape that I'd leave it to them and I'd focus on something different. But I so admire the work of Greg LaRock that I thought I would spend a little time looking over his shoulder to see how he develops his loose, painterly pieces that seem to capture the feel of a place in a very real way.
I couldn't have been more impressed with the generosity of Greg's spirit and the energy he poured into teaching. He enthusiastically shared his techniques, his favorite tools, the colors on his pallette and his methods of storing and working from photos. But, as always I learned the most from watching him paint. The sequence of decisions he made as he built his paintings was fascinating. If you ever have the chance to either study with or watch Greg paint, do it!
9x12 oil on canvas
oil in panel
This painting just left to take up residence at a sweet friend's beautiful home. I will miss it, and the studio feels a bit empty without it. It is one of the larger paintings I have done, which means that it commanded a lot of space, and it is by far the painting that I worked on longest... over a year! I started it in February of 2017 and only just finished it. I would work on it in fits and starts, with many other projects completed while it was percolating.
These uniquely beautiful pods and seeds in real life are no bigger than an inch high.
|I decided to experiment with a new approach. I started using latex paint (yes, house paint) to execute the underpainting. I painted directly instead of using the method I have come to rely on - working from a middle tone, laying in my darks and wiping away the lights.|
|Also, you might notice that the color is not my traditional Burnt Sienna. Far from it! I thought I'd use the complimentary color, or the one directly across the color wheel, from the green that I knew would dominate the painting.|
|Once I had the shapes and the darks and lights mapped out the next step was laying in the color.|
|I thought that if I had bits of the complimentary color peek through it would add sparkle to the piece|
|With the color laid in in a general way I stood back and realized that in my usual thorough way I had managed to paint right over most of those little flickering bits of complimentary color I had been excited to let show through. Old habits are hard to break! Oh well "I yam who I yam"!|
|As I built the painting I realized there were shapes that didn't work compositionally that I decided to remove.|
|Liking the simplified composition, I focused on how the light caught each object|
|I worked on defining the forms and how they relate to one another, pushing the background deeper and pulling up the light on the foreground.|
|Nearing completion, I continue to add details and and make sure that the stars of this show are in the spotlight. I double check that my focal points are working and that the eye travels around the painting in the way I would like. |
In the final sessions I glaze (putting a thin coat of transparent color) on some objects to further push them back, and I warm other passages with a glaze. I reaffirm my high lights, and then do what what I find the hardest part of any painting - sign it and call it finished!
The finished piece is at the top of the post.
|This is the first plate, where I'm establishing warm yellow tones, and anywhere I want green or orange.|
|This is my second plate. Here I'm drawing line where I want pure red, orange or purple.|
|Here is a print of those two plates, the red printed over the yellow. I like what I see, but am surprised to see that I'm not getting many secondary color mixes.|
|Here is my third plate, establishing the deepest darks on the face and hair and creating the environment.|
|And here are all 3 plates printed on top of one another! I like the result and it's raw feeling. Playing with a new technique was really fun and a perfect antidote for my long and labored projects.|
Fresh Picked #1
8x8 oil on panel
I've spent so much time in recent years looking closely at plant forms in both gardens and in the wild that the natural next step is to look at them in the kitchen, right? It occurred to me how beautiful the food we now routinely eat is, and I felt moved to record a few beautifully abundant salads.
Fresh Picked #2
8x8 oil on panel
I grew up in the time of Tang and TV dinners. Fortunately my mother didn't believe in frozen dinners, but she sure did believe that the only trustworthy vegetables came out of a can. How lucky I am to have lived in California enjoying the produce of the Central Valley as cooks have made it a more central and satisfying part of our meals. Not only is our new cuisine delicious and nutritious, it stunningly beautiful!