Sunday, March 29, 2015

Alla Prima portrait study of my son, Jason 14"x 11" oil

Preparing a four week online ANU course on my alla prima methods painting portraits, using my son, Jason as a model...just finishing this one...



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March Chill...Tag Alders in frozen standing water...






















11"x 14"  oil...

a roadside subject, approached Impressionistically, meaning I squinted eyes...observed the color of light...reflected, indirect, direct, bounced...shapes of that color/light...put it down forgetting the what of what I was painting.  Let the viewer's eye see tag alders...I focused on shapes and color.  Spots of color...



Thursday, March 05, 2015

Demo for my Unique Approach to Drawing the Portrait

I have been preparing a number of teaching instructionals for online, Artist Network University (ANU) and my own Gumroad page...feeling now that I have retired from the physical art teaching classroom, there are instructions from over the years I believe would be useful for others.  No need to carry such to the dust behind me...and then, having done so, will be free (in spirit and mind) to focus on my whim and muse...
























This whimsical self portrait is one of five supplemental videos for a four week course we will be offering for ANU...the first video a 78 minute breaking down of my method, at the easel with newsprint and drawing crayons.  "Unique"...because my system begins with the eyes as a unit of measure, and works from inside out.  This is in no way a suggestion other methods are inferior, or this is the best, but it has proven the best way for how I work...and best for my students I've worked with. It helps from the get go...for the eye to see those unique distinctions of the portrait that stand out and poignantly put down what makes the effort succeed early on.

For the caricaturist, the method is an invaluable means to see what features to expound and run with...and for the serious portraitist, having knowledge of such allows key check points for accuracy and confidence in the portrait's development.










For this particular drawing, line hatching and cross hatching, traditional approaches in rendering with pencil, pen, carbon and so forth..was used, but done so drawing on a Wacom Intous 4 digital tablet and Creative Suite 5.5 (Photoshop)

No photo manipulation (which everyone immediately suspects, because such indeed is the practice of some), no filters, and drawing on a single layer as if on a single piece of paper.  


The wireless stylus is set up to be pressure sensitive, that is..I press harder, I get a harder mark...and in addition of course you can set opacity and flow.  Advantages are being able to zoom in close to your work, and zoom back to see from some distance how the work appears.  The other of course, for the working artist...is you can submit your sketches to the art director (magazine article or cover work for example)...by simply saving as a jpg and attach to email.

Old school requires living in close proximity so that you drive over, show...get instructions go back to your studio and fix. Then the issue of submitting by deadline.  So for working hands on traditional artists, digital painting/drawing is one more tool worth developing to compete, as deadlines are the order of the day and always have been commercially.

The course is NOT a digital drawing course, though I explain quite a bit in this particular demonstration.   I have demonstrated use of Wolff carbon pencils, going over with a bit of water and soft synthetic round smaller brush to convert to washes of values.  The use of the Bic black ink ballpoint pen...and so forth.  More importantly...the course is about my setting up and proceeding with the eye as the unit of measure.  Showing the value of having a "standard" that is a generalization I gleaned from reading Leonardo DaVinci's sketchbooks back in the seventies (which is how long I've taught this).  DaVinci believing order existed in the universe and working mathematics and ratios into near everything.  As inventor, naturalist, science, artist/painter...

I had a light bulb moment...how the eye can create a standard.  Not to "force" everyone's portrait into the standard, but by committing it to memory...seeing immediately what features a person's face has that is outside that standard.  Such features are the distinctions nailed that speak "you got it!"

So...I have a power point to finish...a short video to create on foreshortening and the quartering pose...then a matter of announcing when the four week course will be available.

The course is four weeks long, very much like my Foundations in Plein Air ANU course...which deals with the mid values crisis so many artists struggle with (knowingly or unknowingly).  The course is online...the materials, videos are downloaded week by week, setting up the assignments for that week.  At the end of each week, I will give each participant a personal one on one critique.  I often use my digital table to show how to adjust, where things need some attention.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Finished- Peme Bon Won River Flush 24"x 36" oil on canvas




















My interest was not to illustrate, "this is what a ruffed grouse looks like in hand", but this is what you can expect to see, experience...a hint of the wings explosive in pushing this chunky bird.

A gorgeous day in November along a river in NE Wisconsin

Friday, January 23, 2015

Second Night effort... Peme Bon Won river, NE Wisconsin 24"x 36" oil

Started a new studio work...a bit larger...and if all turns out intend to produce a giclee print for our northwoods Ruffed Grouse Society...

A work in progress...
(clicking on image brings up larger view)


Friday, December 05, 2014

Month Long SOLO Exhibition...Buy It Now and Silent Auction...Open to All!!!




















my New Chapter Moving On Art blog for Exhibition sales...

Much work...*whew but completed.  Our Arts/Consortium...and the Arts Emporium/Essenhaus are hosting my work for a month, official opening Sunday December the 12th...but, a blog I created accompanies this event.  This allows individuals (US only, sorry) to participate in the bidding or simply buy the work outright.  There is a Paypal button for each painting.  Bidding is done by entering into the comments of a work interested in, and simply say...for example, "I bid $55...!" higher than the last person.  There is a reserve value known only to myself and the gallery, meaning if bids do not reach the minimum of what I need the work will not sell.  But, that bidding cannot go past the Buy It Now price either.  Should be fun...

Since the event is local...and locals have options to keep up with bidding online as well as stopping by the gallery, I have not factored shipping costs into the Paypal price.  Should you buy it outright, "Buy It Now"...I will contact you...and tell you what the additional cost would be.  Reasonable of course...USPS weight, etc;  You can then even email a Paypal payment to me if you have Paypal, or we will work out arrangements.  I could even create another separate Paypal button just that shipping amount for you...

Check out the blog if you will.  What I have done was recently retired from the classroom.  I have work accumulated in inventory because I was teaching and not sufficiently marketing, and decided to let go at, well...about a 60% cut in my routine price structure.  The very first post of the blog will explain that.  Thanks for taking time!!!!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Video Session 2 of "Meadows Access" is now available...here is a trailer/teaser

I have been producing sessions of my paint times, instructionals...very much like workshops, and uploading them on my Gumroad page.  For a small fee...for example, $8...you can download and watch the full 41 minute session 2 of Meadows Access.

Here is a four minute trailer/sneak peek of the 41 minute Session 2...





The full video download, information here-

Session 2- Meadows Access-

Saturday, November 22, 2014

First Session...recreating the painting- "Meadows Access" as a video Download, now available!




















A Meadows Access...Information and Download



Twenty four minutes in length...encoded for a relatively quick download...

for just $8...check out the link for information.  There will be a number of sessions to finishing...the first session here focuses on my palette...mixing a tonal pigment to cover panel, wiping out the scene composition and establishing areas of value.  Good stuff...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Online Course Offering...thru Artist Network University

For you in warmer climates...or willing to brave the cold (okay...I'm goofy, I paint in winter!)...another offering of my online course thru Artist Network University. Plein Air Essentials...dealing with that common malady I call the "Midvalues Crisis!" which affects even those that have been painting a long time, btw. Four weeks of curriculum, materials to download, video...pdfs and outlines, on a wonderful new interface portal designed by ANU. The end of each week, I give a critique, often breaking it down with my digital tablet. Here is a link showing the course outline, fees and so forth. Starting DECEMBER 12TH... a great Christmas gift if I do say so myself!!!






















Check out Artist Network Universities page..information, fees and so forth!!!
Plein Air Essentials...Info You Need to Know!

Busy Busy...Retirement has been Hectic...(In a Good way!)

I have long awaited the time I could work to greater degree on personal projects like producing more videos instructions, write another book on painting, teach more workshops in travels, enter more shows...on and on.  And now several months after retiring from the physical classroom, I don't know how I had time to commit to a school district and the classroom.  Whew!

So...let me catch you up on latest things.  I have now started offering materials as downloads, ebooks...and video.  My last post for example, my 307 page book on Landscape Painting...for a really decent price I think too.  













This week, I have been filming for digital video the breaking down of a plein air in studio, in steps...demonstrating processes...thinking out loud.  Block in of a tonal color, and wiping out...then painting in representative areas of depth planes and anchoring the darks;  Two sessions now done, spent yesterday and today rendering edits, and tonight should have at least one session available on Gumroad.  I'll provide link in posts to come.


Two more sessions will investigate refinements, finishings and obsessions with breaking up form, edges and so forth.

(Session 2)-


Sunday, November 16, 2014

My book, "Landscape Painting- The Art of Seeing & Doing" available now as ebook
















Written and produced in 2004 as a CD Rom...and sold throughout the international market.  Questions have oft asked why I didn't put a traditional cover to cover book.  At that time...my interests were not a kudos as having a "book" to my credit, nor concerns on marketing.  It was strictly as an artist and instructor what content I would want novices to intermediates to have.  With traditional books come editors and publishers, concerned with costs and profit.  Paper expense, etc; and that inevitable suggestion of saving content for a future book.  The CD Rom then gave me a great deal of room and full control.

The last fifty pages are a book within the book, called "Rants and Tidbits" which address many questions asked of me by artists over the years, plus other thoughts and muse.

Now...ten years later, and technology making such attractive as a seller...I am venturing into the ebook and downloadable instructional videos world.  Thus...what was $25 for a physical CD Rom, labels, packaging and shipping is now available at what I think is a very good price of $15...

Check my ebook download page out, the book's table of contents...

Landscape Painting- The Art of Seeing and Doing

Monday, October 27, 2014

A day in NE Wisconsin, painting with friends..

Had intended to take off o dark early this morning, 3-1/2 hours to where I have my RV set up...as this is the time of the deer rut...but, got an invite to paint with friends.  Not too often this far north in the national forest of NE Wisconsin I get to paint with friends, so...decided to put the travel off a day.

Glad I did...what fun.  We painted at our artist/friend's buffalo farm...and an offroad access that aligned the penned in herd caught my eye straight away...

11"x 14" oil on Raymar panel...














then...set up behind the barn looking east, about 3:30pm..so this time of year about 2 hours of light left.  Really liked the abstract quality of a cropped view, and the light reflecting off the metal roof...

11"x 14" oil on Raymar panel...















I started both panels with a brownish tonal wash, then used a cloth to wipe out and scuplt and anchor form.  The access road was a modified Zorn palette...and left over paint I used to drive the second painting as a pigment soup palette...

as always..click on images to bring up larger view...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Thursday, October 02, 2014

11"x 14" oil on board panel...Upper Michigan...studio work

First painting I'm working on on my new Best Wall Mount easel and taboret.  Painting the color of light..squint eyes, see color and shape..put that down, not the painting of "things"...let viewers see "things"...

Pushing paint, agressive...destroy edges, build back up...use color, values and contrast...




Monday, September 22, 2014

Results of the Shorewood Plein Air event...

Came up short on awards this time around, did sell one of my main event pieces which I was happy about.





















11"x 14" oil on Raymar linen panel...
these two tunnels give access to Hubbard Park 
(sold)



















14"x 18" oil... "Bills Over Atwater"
oil on Century linen panel
























14"x 11" oil on Raymar linen panel
"As Many As...quickpaint, downtown














11"x 14" oil on Raymar linen panel
"Ahead of the Front"...quickpaint Atwater Beach














This was a piece I did hours prior to turn in, and just didn't have time to take the work where I wanted.  Left it at what I call the "cutesy" stage...and another hour perhaps I would have destroyed edges and form, and rebuilt it.  Rendered the sculpture to a greater solid form...  14"x 18"

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Art Room is shaping up...

Before the snow flies...wanted my new start in retirement to be a good art studio.  Converting a bedroom, painting walls...cleaning carpets, and my Best Wall Mount easel came this past week.  Smelling blood in the water...(the end in sight), had to get it up today...dang, will be sweet!!!























I have a 5,000 art studio lumen light that arrived, waiting for its stand.  Also purchased a Best Taboret...so, things are shaping up to sling some paint!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Inescapable Necessity of Interpretation


When painting, the artist must consider what their limitations are, what constraints given the objective they want to pull off successfully given the time they have (sunlight...weather, etc).  The aim...is to pull off a painting that works, and as I like to say, "paintings work for reasons paintings work"...so given we have just four values assigned this time...darkest dark, mid value, light value plus white...the question then becomes "what can I make work here given my limitations?"

Nature exists before you either to be slavishly copied...or masterfully manipulated and creatively interpreted.  Nature is a model...like someone sitting in a chair or you to paint.  In the beginning...cause and effect, we like to see our time invested pay off...and imitating what we see becomes for us a proof.  Putting our creative spin on what we see tends to come with time and confidence, but it is an aim.  Nevertheless...when you have but four values, like it or not...we have no other choice but to interpret.

The problem is...when artists put out all sorts of colors and values, they've given themselves much room to interpret and try and get it right, but there exists painting outdoors the element of a short window of opportunity.  It is fleeting.  Just putting the paint on the palette and organizing the working space will see changes in the light and subject, and thus your emotive response to it as an artist.  Some artists will never get beyond painting outdoors with the aim to do "sketches"....that perhaps they can take inside with reference photos and make a nicer longer timed effort.  Some will learn to manage their time, their palette, take charge and produce what they feel comfortable to call, "finished paintings."  Neither of these aims is better than the other, just being out there before nature is beneficial and wonderful.

What I have found over the years...is that artists must face themselves, that something drives them, and often change or challenges incur some risk. Artists must actually give themselves some permission to do something out of their routine in effort to see what will come. 

When I take, say the distance that I am seeing behind my main subject or focal point, and choose to lighten the value perhaps even more so than I see it because it will give more prominent voice to my subject in front of it...that is an artistic choice of interpretation cognizant that "paintings work for reasons paintings work"....

That decision to interpret necessarily becomes clearer the more constrained our options are before us.  If I have but four values to work with...and our eyes are capable of seeing nearly 400 values...some serious interpretation and decision making will be forthcoming.

Now...as to "paintings working for reasons paintings work"...I refer then to the teaching and understanding of many past masters, one John F. Carlson and his book on Landscape Painting put out in 1929, written in assistance by his wife.  His observations were that the air contains water molecules, and has a particular density.  Some regions of the world have more density of water in the air...some less, and distances are clearer or less distinguishable.  In that observation, if we take a dark value of what is in front of us...and put some greater distance walking away from it, the farther away we go...the less dark that value appears.  Walking back to it...the darkness would return.  As we put distance between us and that value...we increase the volume of water density molecules in the atmosphere.  The light from the sky above is captured within those molecules and a hazing effect takes place. This is a bit like trying to look thru a smudged dirty glass.  The what of what can be seen has been kept from us in whole.

Thus masses that are far away...appear lighter than what is in front of us.  Now...some say rules are meant to be broken, and I say yes...but it is important to know what the rule is and why it should be broken.  Then...feel freely to do so.  While we might see a darker mass in the distance, aware of our limitations before us and that the aim is to give greater visual voice to our nearer focal points...we have some decision making and interpretation to do.  We will break the rule of what we are ACTUALLY seeing based on our limitations of what can reasonably be done.

In this example I made for online students at ANU (Artist Network University) ... I show a tree forward in the picture plane, finding less competition from the distance and thus standing out strong without issue.  The first week's assignment limits the students to four values, similar to what you see in this image-  ...and to add, a serious restriction of optional choices to work with.












Where everything is shouting, nothing gets heard...so by quieting the distant visual voices (in values, edges and color) from that of what is forward (in values, edges and color)...the tree "gets heard"....

Now...our second week in the course introduces "half-tones" which are transitions of values within EACH main dominant value.  Those half-tones assist the eyes in sliding or moving from one dominant value to the next.  In truth...since our eyes see nearly 400 values...there could be other "half-tones"....but even so, Edgar Payne teaches us that with pigment we are lucky to even suggest 40 possible values.  With time of a shorter window before us.  A reduced palette size by virtue of our paint box.  Interpretation painting from life is necessary.  You will find...that two half-tones in each of the three dominant values (white has no halftones) will more than enough provide pigment to create a full and rich painting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

VIDEO- DSLR Learning Curve...the start and methods of a Plein Air Painting

DSLR Learning Curve...


YouTube video link...

First efforts using a Canon EOS 5 Mark II as my video camera...and a Tascam DR-40 attached to the easel tripod as my separate audio recording device.  A short ten minute edited plein air video...start to about half finished...