Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas- Masking Tape Nativity

We wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season. May 2008 be a great year for all. Let's pray for LOTS of changes and good things for ALL.
No matter where you live, what you look like or what you believe in.

I made this nativity scene a few years ago. It is made with a little bit of wire, newspaper and LOTS of masking tape. The tape is starting to get old and each year I need to fix them because they are falling apart. The material makes the life span of this project fairly short I am afraid.

Our daughter, Erin, was almost two at the time and REALLY got into helping me with this. She is a good taper. Maybe that is why she loves to tape and glue so much now. I think if Santa brought her some tape and glue sticks she would be happy.
Well, maybe.

I think my favorite is the Drummer Boy.

Drummer Boy with Shepperd, Lamb, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

The Three Kings with their offerings.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Onions and Squash Blossoms"

"Onions and Squash Blossoms", 10" x 8" oil on board, 2007
Private Collection

I am still working on finishing up some ongoing projects around our house, so I have not been able to paint as much as I would like lately.
This is a piece that I painted about two months ago. I am thinking of doing a larger version of it with just a slightly different composition. What attracted me to this scene were the colors and the fact that it is almost all in shadow. I really liked the green of all those onions that the woman is cleaning up. The orange color of the fresh squash blossoms is a good compliment to all that green. We were eating a lot of these delicious flowers in August and September and I guess I had them on my mind.

"Pay It Forward"

I have seen a few "Pay It Forward" posts on blogs lately.It is the season of giving and all, so I've agreed to continue this by following these rules:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

When you leave your comment, please also do one of two things: leave your post address or e-mail it to me.

I, in turn, have posted my comment on Colin Page's Journal . He is a great painter living in Maine who has a real fresh style and a great color sense. I have been wanting to buy one of his pieces for a while. So when I saw his comment on another blog that I visit, I was glad to join in.
Actually, I was checking back to see if three people had taken Stacey Peterson up on her offer yet.
Hopefully I will be able to get a few more of Colin's paintings before too long.

This offer expires one year (365 days) from the post date, on Dec. 17, 2008. Sorry, can't keep this on here forever.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Arms Full of Corn Stalks"

"Arms Full of Stalks", 8" x 10" oil on linen, 2007
$720. Framed, Available at Galeria Gardner

This is a small painting from today. I have been using the first painting from my last post as reference for two other 8x10's
I wanted this one to be more about the man carrying the load of corn stalks, so I limited the amount of tree that is visible.
I have been working up a few different ideas to see which direction I would like to go with a larger painting. A lot of my color notes in this one are pulled from the 8x10 plein air of this tree.
I have been slow about posting lately because it is the time of year that I try and take a break from painting, shift gears a little, and catch up with a few projects that need doing around the house. I will try and get photos posted of the other paintings tomorrow.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

"Hunter Gatherer of Light and Color" Part 2: The Light

When I am out painting on location one thing I try to capture is accurate color. It is really LIGHT that I am trying to catch, since an object's local color will look different as the light changes. It is the LIGHT that I want to use to convey my feelings about the particular scene that I decide to paint.
For part two of my "Hunter Gatherer" series of posts on plein air painting I am going to show two little plein airs that I worked on yesterday. I have been spending a lot of time in my studio or at the gallery and have not been able to get out and paint as much as I would like. I finally was able to make time to go painting yesterday morning. I decided to post these as is, before I did any re working or whatever is going to happen to them. I don't always come away with something to frame from my days painting on location. The experience of being out, looking, observing, absorbing is what I get out of it even if the only the only trophy I bring home is a wiped down canvas.

Work in Progress #1, 8" x 10"

Photo of scene #1

Let me say that I was not real happy with the way number one was coming out. I was a little rusty. That light was changing fast and I decided to stop working on this one and move on. I would rather stop at this point than try and "chase" the light and muddy everything up. The tree was going to be my focal point, but I totally blew it and did not get the tree blocked in correctly. I also was trying to add too many little bits and pieces of stuff and did not spend enough time working up a good composition.
What I did come away with were some nice colors and an image burned in my mind from having looked at this scene for about an hour studying it. When I look at the painting and the photo of the scene, I realize that I at least got my values accurate. The photo will help me get the drawing of the tree down. One thing that is hard to get from a photo are the subtle color shifts like in the hillside on the left side of the painting. The colors from my plein air sketch are more helpful to me than the colors in the photo.

Work in Progress #2, 8" x 10"

The second painting that I worked on is a little more finished. I took the time to block this one in a little better with a bigger brush before breaking down those big shapes into smaller brush strokes. Again, the color is kind of bleached by looking toward the strong Mexican sun, but it was the subtle shifts in value and accurate color that I was after. I really like painting this tree and how the mountains rise up behind it. The little trees in the foreground gave me a darker value to play off against the bigger tree. They are real important in helping with the sense of depth.
I am going to try and work with these today I will post later about what happens.

You might be able to gather from my posts that I really love being out in the Mexican countryside. There is usually action of some sort around. This is the time of year that the fields are being cleared. Corn stalks were being gathered yesterday where we were painting and it seemed like a constant flow of burros, horses and pick ups full of cornstalks.
Here are two photos of a friend, Marie, painting the same scene as #1, as loads of cornstalks go by. There really are burros under those first two loads.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Twenty Years Ago

Today is my birthday.
I was thinking about how my style has changed over the years, so I am going to post a painting that I did about 20 years ago.
I was fresh out of RISD and my work was pretty much all over the place.There were oils, collages, prints, found object sculptures, you name it. I had not really settled on my "style" yet, but this is pretty representative of how I was painting.
This is a large painting. At least 4 x 5 feet. I was not very good at keeping records back then so I am not sure.
I scanned the slide big so you can see into all of the detail if you click on the image. It's the best I could do with this old slide.
I am usually am pretty good about letting go of my art. But if I could buy back one painting that I have ever done it might be this one. I sold it CHEAP to get money to drive to Mexico 18 years ago, to someone who promptly re sold it for more money.

So it goes.

I hope that whoever owns it now is enjoying it.

"Untitled", approx. 48" x 60" oil on canvas, found objects
circa 1989, Private Collection

Monday, December 3, 2007

American Artist Workshop- Step by Step

My demo, from the article "Frank Gardner: Using a Premixed Palette" in American Artist Workshop magazine, is now on the American Artist web site.
Subscribers are now receiving their copies of the Winter Issue and I have already received some emails about the article. The Winter issue will be in the stores Dec. 11th.
You can click here to see the Step By Step. I am hoping that more of the article will be posted soon.

I will be posting more about my plein air workshops over the next few weeks.
There are no workshops scheduled right now, but as soon as I have dates set I will post them here.

"Patsy's Cart", 11" x 14" oil on linen, 2007
Private Collection

Plein Air Painting Hazards

I took a few days off from painting to do some work around our house. I should have a new painting to post later today or tomorrow. Until then, I thought that you might enjoy this.

You always hear about the hazards of painting, like toxic fumes and chemicals. Here is one more for your list.
Where you set up your gear can be hazardous to your health as well, or your stuff. This fellow thought that his animals were going to crush my gear. Luckily, I had set up just on the other side of that scrubby mesquite twig, or he might have been right.