Monday, August 29, 2016

One Trick to Prevent Artistic Burnout

A great trick to prevent artistic burnout is to use a different medium. I tend to favor wet mediums such as acrylic or oil paints for the bulk of my work, but sometimes I find pastel to be a refreshing alternative and a perfect medium for sketching quick poses.

Pastel is a dry medium known for its ability to marry both drawing and painting simultaneously in the creative process. Today's available color ranges seem to be almost endless.

One can quickly become wooed into collecting and even becoming connoisseurs of pastel brands in the attempt to acquire just the right one for the job.

Artists who use pastel as their primary medium can push its boundaries further than ever before.

The sketch above is the result of a one session pose. I used a combination of soft pastel and pastel pencils after a linear charcoal block-in.

The dramatic lighting, the model's bold hair color and complimenting eyeglasses as well as being in a faux fur coat knowing that it was hot outside added to the inspiration of this piece.

* Pastel is available in soft and oil options.

Title: Chillin'
Painted On: Canson Mi-Teintes Ivy Pastel Paper
Medium: Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils, NuPastel, Rembrandt
Dimensions: 9x12 inches.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hot or Not

In case you didn't know, Arizona can and does get incredibly hot during the summer months. Sure, it's a dry heat, but after awhile hot is hot, and one can stand only so much air conditioning, so a lot of residents here are "snowbirds" and only stay during the cooler more agreeable parts of the year.

Those of us who are full-time residents break up the summer by taking shorter vacations a little closer to home. That being either traveling north to the Grand Canyon or further into Utah or Colorado. Others choose to head west into California.

I was fortunate to visit both California and the Grand Canyon this summer.  I will be sharing more paintings and photos with you from these trips in future posts.

Pictured above is yours truly working hard on location at a fantastic location overlooking Laguna Beach. Since moving, it's been a few years since I had been to a beach. The salt air and dynamic coastline were rejuvenating spiritually and artistically.

I was excited to explore this area because Laguna has a long history of plein air painting attached to it as well as being associated with some powerhouse California Impressionist painters such as William Wendt, Franz Bischoff, and Edgar Payne.

The painting I'm working on in the photo just needs a few minor foreground adjustments before I would call it finished. When I complete the painting, I'll be sure to talk more about it in a future post.

In the meantime, I'll continue working in the studio until the summer heat gives way to the fall air.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Greener on the Other Side

When I relocated from the east coast to the Southwest, I thought I'd never see lush green landscapes again. Nothing but dirt and tumbleweeds were in my future. Was I wrong!

There are times of the year when the desert plant life is just as rich as what I knew back east. The biggest difference in the greens of the Southwest is that there's so much variety from fully saturated color to the gray and muted.

I haven't changed or added any new colors to my palette in the transition. The mixtures of colors I use now are just within a different gamut than before. It has been exciting to explore newly discovered color combinations due to my geographic change.

Title: Desert Textures
Painted on: Centurion Linen Panel
Dimensions: 12x12 inches
Status: Available

Monday, August 8, 2016

New Beginnings

"New Beginnings" was painted en plein air at the White Tank Mountains, Arizona. The warm glow of the morning light was the inspiration for this painting. Each layer of this scene helps support the overall mood.

The strategy for this piece was to work from background to foreground. Morning and late afternoon light change very quickly. Knowing this, start with the areas of the scene that will disappear in moments.

First, the sky is laid in followed by the mountains and hills.

Adding incremental amounts of detail and contrast to each layer. The values and color temperature of the background elements set the tone for the entire painting.

With the stage set, the cactus and foreground can be fully realized.

Title: New Beginnings
Painted on: Ampersand Gessobord
Medium: Acrylic
Dimensions: 8x8 inches
Status: Available

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Line of Wisdom

My goal in an open portrait drawing session is to record an actual likeness of the model. Many artists will flatter by making the sitter appear taller or shorter, younger, idealize their features give them plastic surgery on paper if you will. These are things to consider when taking on a commission piece.

However, in a drawing practice scenario all the quirkiness and so-called imperfections are an artist's playground. We have become so accustomed to seeing overly photoshopped, airbrushed, high key lighting that obliterates any chance of seeing a wrinkle that when we see one in our mirror, we're mortified.

It's okay, wrinkles are natural. You've earned them and if you don't have one, you will. So, include them in your drawings!

Medium: Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencil & General's Charcoal White
Paper: Strathmore Toned Tan
Dimensions: 11x14 inches
Status: Available