This is a little gouache painting from one of the creeks around here that I visited in the summer. Apparently these are very popular for fly fishing, although I've never tried it myself. I'm so looking forward to things turning green again like this (as I look out my window at snow falling).
Remember trip planning? Sigh. This scene reminds me of when I was a kid and my family would be packing for a trip. We would load up the old VW van and head out across the US for a month or so, camping along the way. Growing up I assumed all families did this. Fortunately I married a man who is totally into continuing the tradition.
Hey all, I just got a shipment of my new book, "Cars and Buildings." I also received more copies of my other three. Each contains 100 of my favorite paintings from a particular category. The other 3 are "The Not So Still Life," "The Edible Still Life," and "People Out and About." You can buy them here. Thanks!
Lately it is seeming like a very bad idea for me to try and assess my paintings right after I do them. I am just too close, and all I see are the things that didn't go exactly as planned, but that I don't want to "fix" because I know I will start fussing and totally overwork it. I am almost tossed this one. After a couple of days I felt completely differently about it. All I could see were the things that did work. And now I really like it. Go fig.
This is a scene I've painted before, but last time, there were horses. Plus the last one was in oil, and this is gouache. One great thing about gouache is that I can go back and work on it as many times as I want/need. Oil, on the other hand, gets a little finicky. Subsequent darks dry chalky, and if you go back too soon, the under layers are tacky. Plus you always have to keep in mind the fat over lean thing. With gouache all you have to worry about is overworking in general.
The reference for this was dark and busy, so I lightened it and gave it a solid background. I tried it out on my ipad first so I could experiment with different colors and values. I'm so glad because I really thought a light gray would work, but in the end, this mustardy color was my favorite.
For a change of pace, I decided to do this one on a panel that I had previously covered in black gesso. When I got done I realized that you can hardly tell! It made me realize how much I've gotten into the habit of covering the whole panel with paint, whereas I used to leave more of the ground showing. I will definitely experiment with this.
Along with most of the rest of the country, Montana was hit by an arctic blast recently. The temps hovered right around zero, and the snow just accumulated. And so I have been extra motivated to browse back through my photos from the summer and pick out scenes to paint from warmer weather. This is from the Butte area - about 140 miles SE of us. We were so very grateful to have been able to go out and camp then, while still socially distanced. And we're looking forward to doing it again, as soon as the weather allows.
I forgot I had this one last apple painting sitting over on my big shelves. It's a 10x10in vs. the little 6x6's I've been doing. I know, huge! This one was quite a challenge. Each apple is in different light, and two are partly behind blue glass. Actually, I'm quite proud of that top apple - it took several tries to get the bottom half to look right, but it finally happened. Oh, also, I got the tiny little yellow shot glass recently at Goodwill. This is it's debut role.
These little apples were a nuisance to have in my studio. They roamed around at night, exploring, tipping over cups and jars, and leaving messes for me to clean up in the morning. In retribution, I let my son eat the last of them right after I painted this.
Subjects without much color are a great way to focus on value. I literally made a little chart on my palette as I painted that went from 1 (the lightest - in this case the highlights) to 6 (the darkest darks). Then I just squinted and compared values to see where they repeated themselves. For example the shadow value between the florescent tubes (I called this value 4) repeats in the shadow cast by the incandescent bulb. Once I had the masses blocked in, I could go over them and make small adjustments for subtlety.
This is the last of my little daisy paintings. I've learned a lot that I can apply to the larger ones I will be doing. Mostly I've learned that what can look good to my eye does not always translate to paint. Not that I didn't already know this ... it just got reiterated to me. But that's life, right? We learn the same lessons over and over and over.
I also wanted to mention that, while I normally paint still lifes from life, I did these from photos. In the past I've used my DSLR camera, but this time I used my phone (Samsung Galaxy 10 - really good camera). I set the size to 1:1 (square) because I knew I wanted to paint square paintings. This REALLY helped me to compose, as opposed to using whatever aspect ratio my camera is normally set to, because I could get it looking good to my eye right from the beginning. Now that I'm thinking about it, I can probably set my DSLR camera to square as well ... not sure why I didn't think of that.
My folks met at the University of Texas in Austin when they were students there. They married quickly and struck out north for adventure. They ended up in Montana for 10 years, southeast of Butte, where my sister and I were born. We moved (back) to Texas when I was 2, so I have no memories of Montana, but I have enjoyed exploring the area as an adult. This is a scene from around where I was born, up in the hills, overlooking the valley and the mountains on the other side.
I didn't paint Texas nearly as much. And I'm not saying Montana is more beautiful ... aww heck, yes I am.
When I first got to Montana, I looked at a map and picked a road that went for a good stretch along a river, because I like to paint water. I plugged it into my GPS and headed out. Pretty quickly it turned into a dirt road and ran up along the top of a cliff overlooking the (Clark Fork) river. I didn't have many peeks of the river because there were too many trees. But then I decided the trees were just as pretty as the water. This is one of the first scenes I ever painted in gouache, but I've done it over a few times in order to get it right. This is probably my 4th try.
Here is another one where I started with the title and let that inform the composition. It was pretty easy for me to come up with something to go with this particular title. It has creative angst written all over it, which of course, I am intimately familiar with. : )
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These wide paintings never look good here, so please click the image to see it larger. I was going for an unfinished look. I also used my knife a bit, so there's more texture than usual. I'm quite happy with this one.
These little glass containers were not actually leaning. But somehow when I got all done with the painting and put it on my drying shelves - I looked again and they were. And then the title popped into my head. And I liked it so much I decided it wasn't worth fixing the painting because the title was too perfect. Right?!