Thursday, May 31, 2012

Suddenly.... Summer!

Summer Morning    10x10    oil on panel

Another great morning to be outside. Not many showed up for the PAAC paint out this morning. There wasn't a whole lot down by the creek, but this view of the Rock was hard to pass up. I'd like to try this view again with a different size panel. Not sure I really like the square shape. Came out O.K. in the end though. Spring sure did seem to end fast this year. Now, it's on to summer!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

South Valley Rocks    8x10    oil on panel

The rocks in this painting are the same ones in my other South Valley painting called "January Morning". This view is from the other side of the rocks. I thought the light from this angle was very striking and I liked the angles and shapes. The scale of things is difficult to tell without a reference. The green bushes just below the main rock, center of painting, are a little under twice the height of an average person. This painting was a little difficult to do. I was not really sure where it was going until the very end. Cliff came over and pointed out some things that helped me along. It was a fantastic morning with great weather and light. Here's hoping the rest of the summer is just like today!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hidden Mesa Wildflowers

Spring Wildflowers    8x10    oil on panel

Today the PAAC Castle Rock group met at Hidden Mesa. It's become an old haunt of mine as I've been going there for years to paint. It was really nice to have some other painters there this time. We got a lot of rain the day before and a few days before that and the wildflowers have really popped up. I don't remember there ever being that many flowers at this part of Hidden Mesa before. As I have painted a lot of the trees and rocks many times, I decided to try the flowers. The weather was fantastic with a nice breeze and it made it easy to finish this painting. Some of the other painters stopped by near the end and we debated adding the purple flowers. Those flowers were way off to the right of this shot, and I was not sure if it would 'break' the picture to add them in. In the end I added them anyway and I really like how it came out. It was a great morning to be outside painting!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And now for something completely different....

Rio Grande Rides Again    8x16    oil on panel

Today's PAAC paint out was at the Colorado Railroad Museum. I've never been there, but have wanted to go for years. I never was quite sure where it was so I was glad Cliff put it on the schedule. It's a small place considering how many engines and train cars they have there. Tons of stuff packed into a small area. Since it's a museum and the trains aren't moving I thought the challenge here would be to make the trains seem like they were moving and hopefully come alive. So that's what I shot for. The light wasn't great but this old Rio Grande engine was. I saw several other engines that would make nice paintings also. My perspective and the train cars got a little wonky, but I'm happy with it. I took tons of photos so I'm sure there will be more train paintings in the future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In The Garden    11x14    oil on panel

Yesterday the PAAC paintout was at an iris garden called Iris4U. There were a lot of nice views and a lot of nice flowers to see but it was a little overwhelming artistically. They smelled great when the wind blew too. I was really drawn to this dark hedge and post with vines on it more than the flowers. This particular bed didn't have a lot of flowers in it, but I liked the design so much that's what I went with. This is one of only two plein air paintings I have touched up at home. The flowers needed to be more saturated in color and a few of the darks need to be darker.
I don't like to rework outdoor paintings at home because I lose all connection to the place and my feelings there when I get home. I feel it makes the painting look stiff and lifeless so I try never to do it. This was a pretty easy fix since I already had the information down, it just need to be boosted a little bit. I'm glad I did it because it felt too unfinished when I left the garden and I'm really happy with the final result.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Years Light 2nd Place Overall 2012 PAAC Show

New Years Light    9x12    oil on panel
2nd Place Overall 2012 PAAC show

This past weekend was the 2012 show for the Plein Air Artists of Colorado. I got juried in this year and sent 3 paintings. The one above won 2nd Place Overall. I'd like to thank PAAC for all the hard work getting the show together (Leslie and all the volunteers for the show) and Joe Anna Arnett for listening (she'll know what I mean). Congratulations to all the other painters who won awards. It was a great show, I met quite a few new artists and had fun in Taos. Hope to be in the show next year! 

A Walk in the Park    8x10    oil on panel

Today PAAC was painting at the Carson Nature Center in Littleton. Only Cliff showed up besides myself. I think everyone was too tired from the Taos Paintout to show up. It was a little cool this morning but overall a really nice day. I did some heavy editing on this scene. The South Platte River is actually in the foreground below the edge of the picture. All along the river are tons of willow bushes and small trees. There are a few tall trees and those are the ones I painted in. Since I started this around 11:30 AM, the light was not revealing any form on the willows and small trees. It was just a wall of sage green color with no value changes. As I was sketching out the painting, I realised it looked more interesting to me with out the willows and trees.  So I cut everything out down to the bare essentials and this is what was left. I was a little afraid to strip so much away, but I like how it came out.

5-5-2012 Rio Grande Gorge

Rid Grande Light - Midday    8x10    oil on panel

This was painted midday in the Rio Grande Gorge. I was down in Taos for the 2012 PAAC show, and took a little trip down to the town of Pilar. Next to Pilar, down in the gorge is Rio Grande State Park. These rocks are across on the other side of the gorge way up high. It was a nice warm May day and I liked how the shadows faded away to a purplish color in the midday sun. I'm still using a limited palette of Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine Blue. It was a bit hard to get some of the rock colors the way I saw them with this palette. If I paint there again I will change up the palette to better capture the color. Too bad it's so far away, I could spend weeks there painting non-stop.

4-24-2012 Ruby Hill Park

Denver Skyline - Ruby Hill Park    9x12    oil on panel

I've never tried a city scene with buildings in it and the view from Ruby Hill was nice. I love looking at buildings and even photographing them, but for some reason when it comes to painting them I'm just not interested. So with that in mind, I picked this scene thinking that I could make the buildings more of a 'landscape' and less of a 'city' scene. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun to do. At first I was overwhelmed with all the buildings in the foreground, but after squinting down a lot it became fun to just see color spots and paint them in. The only parts that needed to look building-like where the ones silhouetted against the sky. Despite being fun to do, I don't know if I will do something like this again.