Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Location! College & Main

"College & Main" - 9x12 - Watercolor
Finally! A warm (almost) day with sunshine in North Texas.  I made my mind up yesterday, no matter what the weather, I was going to paint plein air.  I'm sure glad the sun stayed out until I finished this one. I decided to set up on College street, just 1/2 block north of the corner of College & Main street, Waxahachie, Texas. The green building is a new boutique; the red store in the middle is Scott's Furniture; on the left of Scott's is the old Citizen's National Bank building.  I started about 12:30pm when the sun was still pretty high but was still hitting the store fronts full-on.  Familiar with the way the sun "tracks" on this section of the downtown square, I knew by the time I finished my preliminary sketch, the shadows would be where I wanted them. Using a #12 round, I washed the 1st layer in pretty fast & loose letting colors mingle wet into wet. I continued to build layer upon layer, careful to "cut" around the white & light areas with stronger color mixtures, defining windows and building characteristics. I finished up about 3pm as the sun was beginning to cool and clouds were moving in. I took a quick photo of the location with my phone camera, it takes really great photos and I love the convenience.  
The sky was beginning to haze over and I was losing my light pretty fast. I like the composition of the photo; the car wasn't there when I started and would add "life" to the scene.  I'll probably do a bigger studio painting using this photo and my plein air as reference.

All in all, it was a good day's work in my outdoor studio!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Re-working "Sunday Drive"

I posted "Sunday Drive" a couple of days ago and the more I looked at it, the less I liked the composition. The road & the church ended pretty much in the middle.  Additionally, I wasn't happy with all the pine trees on the right; too many verticals.  So I decided to crop the painting to 14" x 18".  1/2" off the top, 1-1/2" off the bottom, and 2" off the right side.  The first image is the original size, 16x20.  

Now the image is 14" x 18" and the road and church are below and to the right of center...much better!  I put the painting back on my easel and decided to add more color to the mountains in mid-distance, and washed a light violet glaze on the mountain in the far distance.  I re-wet the side of the house and lifted some of the color from the shadow side, and while it was wet added some red/orange to the foliage (for contrast within all the green) & dropped in some red/gold "bounced light" under the roof eave. 

I made a few more color "enhancements" within the shadows on the road in the foreground.  It's not often I make so many changes once a painting leaves my easel, but this one really needed "help" with the composition....and color adjustments in the shadow areas. It's 2" smaller in width and height and a much better painting.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Yesterday, sunshine, tomorrow rain.... Gotta love Texas!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Sunday Drive"

The past couple of days in the studio have been wonderful! The recent snow fall made me yearn for the mountains...and the only way I could get there was through my imagination, brushes and paint. The setting for this painting is a reminiscent of when I lived in Colorado and the many mountain roads I traveled, both by car and motorcycle.  Around every curve and over the hill a view would pop up unexpectedly that took my breath.  Come along with me on another "Sunday Drive" ..... 

"Sunday Drive"  16" x 20" Watercolor

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Painting - "A Wintery Day II"

"A Wintery Day II - Oil - 14"x7"

A few days ago I posted my watercolor titled "A Wintery Day".  This is a 7x14 oil on canvas using that watercolor painting as reference. I changed up the foreground, mainly because I couldn't get the color of snow I after scraping the foreground off several times, I ended up painting rocks with patches of snow.

I'm getting more comfortable with applying the paint, but I'm still having difficulty getting the tints, tones and values I want.  It'll come along - I just have to keep working at it. It's just SO different from watercolor, the thought process is a total brain drain for me.  A 3 or 4 hour session is all I can do.

In April, I'm taking a plein air oil workshop with Jill Carver of Austin, Texas. I admire her work immensely. In October, I'm taking another oil workshop with Michael Chesley Johnson, another plein air painter whose work I admire as well. Perhaps, between the two workshops, and by year's end, that "Ah-Ha" moment will finally arrive.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Finally some sunshine today! Off to the studio to work on inventory lists - then out on location this afternoon to sketch & photograph 2 client's homes for paintings.
I love my job!