Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Under The Palms" - 30x30 Oil by Tina Bohlman


"Under The Palms" - 30x30 Oil on Canvas

"Under the Palms" is my most recent oil painting..... the result of a request from my daughter for "something beachy" to fill a 40" space on her living room wall. This was no small request! Her favorite place is in the Caribbean so she knows the subject well. I don't usually photograph a project in it's different stages, but I thought it important to document progress for my daughter as a record to accompany the painting when it passes to the next generation in her family:

Photo #1
With a thin mixture of Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue, I blocked in the light, medium and dark values in the composition. I really liked the strong "grayscale" rendering and was tempted to stop and go no farther! But.....even though this was a nice "sketch" I knew my daughter had somthing more "colorful" in mind....

Photo #2 I mixed up a big puddle of cobalt blue, thinned it with Gamsol & washed in the sky including a thin veil of blue over the distant island.

Photo #3
Working alternately between the foreground and mid-ground, I began developing the wide variety of greens. The greens in the foreground are darker in value and "warmer" (more red), while the greens behind the cabana are lighter in value and "cooler" (more blue). Separating colors from the foreground by "temperature" creates depth.

Photo #4

In Photo #4, I worked on the background first by painting the distant trees and enhanced the island mountain. Moving forward to the middle ground, I painted the beach, the 1st layer of color on the hut, and added highlight definition to the palms & foliage behind the hut.

Photo #5
Photo #5 shows about 1/2 day's work; Added more color to the sky at the top, gradating down through cloud formations ending with a cerulean (greenish-blue) at the horizon. Painted the water & added a shoreline in the distance. Brought the sand color forward as far as the trees and around the hut. I worked a little more on the hut; shaped it up, added texture, and defined the support poles some more. Painted the 1st layer of color on the palm tree in the right foreground.

Photo #6
Now it's really beginning to take shape! I finish all the foreground trees; palms, their trunks and all the darkest darks & lightest lights that gives them depth. More work on the thatch roof; softened the shadow edges and added more texture to the thatch. Worked a little more on the horizon, especially in the area where the mountain recedes and softly disappears into the blue sky. This stage of the painting was another 1/2 day - palm trees are no easy task! The application as well as the direction of the brush stroke makes a difference....If the brush stroke is wrong, then the frond doesn't take on the right shape.....and there are so many varying shapes with one upon the other. The shapes - as a whole - have to give the viewer a sense of "motion".... there's always a breeze on the beach. Then there are the bright, clear colors.....oh, my!..... ranging from red to green to yellow.

Photo #7 - "Under The Palms" - 30x30 Oil on Canvas
 Photo #7 is the finished painting. The "gallery wrap" sides aren't visable. Painting the sides, top & bottom involved another couple of hours with "drying time" of 2 hours between each side. While working on the sides, I decided the cabana was a little too "perfect" so I created a hole on the edge of the roof and repainted the shadow below to show sunlight coming through. Repainting the shadows under the hut led to working a little more on "edges" between the sunlight and shadow on the sand - making some softer & lighter, others harder and darker.

I delivered the painting on Christmas Eve and judging by her reaction I think she liked it!!!  Of all the "commissions" in my career, this one gave me the most pleasure; it was a special request from my daughter, a subject that gave me a bit of a challenge (very different from a Texas landscape) but most importantly, it's a painting that (I hope) will remain in my family for a long, long time.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Painting Big Bend National Park

The past 2 months have been "crazy busy"!  In between paint out & exhibition events, I traveled to Graham and Mount Pleasant (on different days, of course) and gave a watercolor demonstration for each art group.  In mid-November, the Pecan Plantation art association in Granbury invited me for a demo and the following weekend, I taught a 1-day greeting card workshop to their group.  It was very much fun & everyone completed at least 3 cards on that day.

Port A Invitational Coastal Paint Out the last weekend of October was not only fun, but very rewarding.  My quick draw painting of the Marina and a popular local seafood restaurant won the People's Choice award. 
"U Hook 'Em - We Cook 'Em"  9x12 Watercolor
This painting will appear on the 2013 Port A Coastal Paint Out event poster!
Following my trip to the coast, I participated in the Kerrville Paint Out event along with 50 very talented painters.  Very honored to have won the People's Choice award with my quick draw painting
titled "Cool Shadows".
"Cool Shadows" - 9x12 Watercolor

I spent the last week of November painting in Big Bend.  I painted in the park last March with watercolor.  This trip I worked in oil.  I tried to capture Santa Elena Canyon in both mediums and there just isn't any way to give that awesome scene "justice".  You just have to go there & see it for yourself.  Standing on the banks of the Rio Grande with Mexico just a stone throw away, you're at the foot of  canyon walls that go straight up....bathed in bright sun on one side and deep purple & blue shadows on the other.  Totally overwhelming...even for an experienced painter.  I gave it my best shot....but just couldn't "pull it off"; the painting (along with the watercolor painted last March) will go into my "source bin" with the hope that I can use it to make a good studio painting one day.  I wasn't alone in my endeavor....14 other painters were out there with me.  I liked the paintings the others did, although most of the painters felt as I did: just can't do that canyon the justice it deserves on canvas!  But the day was wonderful; 80 degrees, clear blue skies - In the photo below, I'm the painter on the far left.

Santa Elena Canyon - Big Bend


In a few days, I'll post some of my value sketches and share my color studies....along with a couple of paintings that I think are destined for the Plein Air Southwest 2013 show - deadline is Jan 6th... all entries must have been completed - plein air - in 2012.....time's running out!