Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Lies Ahead    12x16    oil on panel

Today was the Tuesday PAAC  paintout and we were at the Audubon Society out near Chatfield State Park. It was supposed to be sunny but a low hanging front pushed through early in the morning. The clouds came in so low they barely cleared the hogbacks and clipped the tops off the foothills. It wasn't too cold but without the sun it felt colder than it was. It is supposed to snow heavily tomorrow and this kinda looked like a glimpse of what is to come, hence the title. I have not done a plein air piece this big before. I decided to do it with a palette knife to prevent too much noodling with details, but as the painting went along I started drawing them in anyway. I wanted the painting to be a lot more vague and simple. Fortunately, I stopped myself from too much detail and I am happy with how the painting came out. This may be another piece I develop into a bigger painting later this winter.

Above Clear Creek Canyon    8x10    oil on panel

This was painted on 10-30-11 at the Mt. Vernon Country Club. The Clear Creek Land Conservancy had their 25th anniversary and the members of PAAC were invited to paint during the celebration. The weather was chilly but the sun was bright and clear. A 6 point deer walked through my scene towards the end of the painting. Thanks to the CCLC for inviting us! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Frontrange Foothills - Fall    9x12    oil on panel

Yesterday (10-24-11) I went over to Matthews/Winters park to work on a small project I started last December. I painted this same picture last winter and have come back again in the summer (see below) and now in the fall to do it again. I thought it might be neat to paint the same spot in all the different seasons. The colors are a little off in the pic above... the mountain in back is a little too blue in the photo. It is more grey/tan in the painting. I just need a version in the snow and one in the spring and I'll be done. We got almost no snow last winter and hopefully we will get more this year so I can do the snow version. Note in the summer version I forgot to put the little pine tree in that is almost in the middle of the painting. Don't know why I did that. Maybe I just forgot to do it. It was super hot that day (95 or so), so I'm gonna blame it on the heat. Also note in the early winter painting, I removed the actual tree that's there on the left. I didn't want to paint a leafless tree at the time (I find them fairly depressing) so I grabbed a pine tree that is just to the left of the area in the painting and planted it in the same spot. I also felt at the time that there was too much grey and tan in the painting and it needed some relative, stronger color. Green seemed to work just fine since it is really there, just not at that spot.


 Early winter

Sunset Study - October    6x8    oil on panel

On Sunday evenings I go over to a nearby Open Space to paint sunset lighting with a few other painters. Sometimes I paint the effect of the light on the trees and bushes and sometimes the sky. The challenge here is to capture what you see before it changes or disappears. At this time of day, the colors change so fast that once you identify a color, look down to mix it, and look up again, it's gone. So it requires a little mixing of colors before you arrive so you don't have to do it on the fly. The only problem with that is that no two sunsets are alike. It's taken me about a month of Sundays to start to figure out what to expect. This little study came out pretty good but the clouds are off. I was trying to anticipate what color they would turn into and went a little dark. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Light    9x12    Oil/Panel

Yesterday was the weekly PAAC paintout in the Castle Rock area. We went to a ranch called the Wilson Acreage south of Castle rock. It was a big place and there was a painting to be made every direction you looked. I could go back there many times and always find something new and fresh to paint. This little scene is out by their creek which runs through a hay field. It was a nice young Cottonwood grove and it had a great, quiet feel to it. The creek is just to the left of the panel. This field is also home to some stabled horses. They are super friendly and very curious. They loved the smell of my turpentine and they all wanted to get a quick whiff. The weather was fantastic and the colors were great. In the past I would have shied away from this type of scene because the amount of detail is so high. But I just could not resist trying it and I'm glad I did. This is one of the few paintings I have done this year that totally brings me right back the the time and place I painted it. I can still smell the fall leaves, hear the creek and whooping cranes, and hear and smell the horses. What a great day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Buffalo Mountain    9x12    oil/panel

Out again with PAAC today. This time it was a special trip to Silverthorn to paint at Barrett Edwards (http://barrettedwards.com/ home. Many thanks for having us up, it is a beautiful spot. We were painting along the Blue River and it was a fantastic fall day. I liked this view of Buffalo Mountain with a nice small marsh in the foreground. Like yesterday, there was way too many nice things to paint. The aspens are all turning, the sky was deep blue and the river looked great. Oddly, this painting was a hard one to get out. Not sure why. It was definitely one of those paintings that didn't come together until the last 10 minutes or so. I really didn't think it was going to work out at all until I added the bits of yellow and orange. In the end I think it turned out fine.

This painting is available at the Colorado Mountain Art Gallery in Georgetown, Colorado
www.coloradomountainartgallery.com  for more information.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

James Peak    8x10    oil/panel

I painted with the PAAC group today in Genesse. This view was on property of Noel Custer who let our group paint there today (thanks!). There was a ton of great things to paint and it was hard to chose. I don't get to see these mountain views too often so this one was real hard to pass up. James Peak (center right) is a 13er on the Continental Divide. The aspens are turning and you could see them just below tree line over on the mountain. The ghost town of St. Marys (now a vacation/cabin town) is right where the orange and yellows are on the mountain. There is a permanent snow field just above the town that is a great hike in the summer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shelter     9x12    0il/panel

Today's painting trip was with PAAC at Castlewood Canyon State Park. It was raining at 9AM and sputtered on and off for a few hours. I have been to this state park many times and always painted either down in the canyon or at the north end of the park. I have tried a view near this one of Pikes Peak several times but never got something I liked. While standing in the rain, I realized that the nearby shelters are the only shelter anywhere around (not the first time I thought of this, but I always forget that these shelters are there). Since it was raining it seemed like the appropriate thing to paint. I got some helpful critiques from several PAAC members and they pointed out some great things I missed. It's been a long time since I got a good painting at Castlewood Canyon and I am glad to break that streak!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Devil's Backbone    8x16    oil/panel

I went up to Loveland today to drop off my painting for the Richard Schimd Auction ( http://www.rcvfd-richard-schmid-art-auction.com/ ) and since I went all the way up there, I decided to stay and paint. This is the Devil's Backbone Open Space just to the west of downtown Loveland. I have not painted there in years. The last time I did it was early spring and it was freezing cold. I always seem to go to this place in the winter, I don't know why. Anyway I was up there, it's late summer, and I've never seen this place when it wasn't winter, so I had to go. It definitely wasn't freezing. Felt like 100 in the sun. There was a nice breeze that would kick up to a light wind every now and then so it made it bearable. This painting took a little longer than I thought it would and I didn't really do what I set out to do. The painting came out pretty good in the end anyway though. Like I said in a previous post, this is the best I have done at this location so far. I may develop this as a larger painting when it gets too cold to go out painting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Rock   8x12   oil on panel

I went down to Castle Rock today to paint something else but when I saw this view of the rock I had to paint it. It was mid-morning and already getting quite hot. Fortunately, there was a nice breeze so  it wasn't too bad under my umbrella. Not much else to say about this one except what you really want isn't always what you are looking for!

Wash Park   8x10   oil on panel

I did this a month ago on a PAAC paint out in Washington Park, which is in Denver. The weather was very nice that day and had a nice time chatting with the other painters. Got a little side-tracked into a discussion about the psychology and philosophy of Art which annoyed a few other painters nearby. It was a great conversation so I don't feel too bad about annoying them!
I was really pretty stumped about what to paint. I'm not much of a flower painter and the gardens were in full bloom which made it a little overwhelming. I also spent a little time chasing a Tiger Swallow Tail Butterfly around, that was about the size of my hand, with the camera. I've seen a lot of them this summer and I think this one was probably the biggest one I've seen. I saw another painter kind of hiding behind some bushes so I went over to investigate. I saw this scene (which isn't the one the other painter was painting) and I thought "There it is!" I had finally found my painting and this one just rolled right onto the panel.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

High Noon 8x10 oil/panel

Went to Castle Rock to meet the PAAC group at Ridgeline Open Space. I got there late and most everyone had left. Talked to one fellow painter, Jennifer, who said it was so hot she thought everyone else left because of the heat. It felt like 100 in the parking lot. When I stepped out of the car I could feel the heat from the pavement right through my shoes.  She also mentioned it was so hot it made her oil paint quite thin and she had trouble pushing paint around.
I hiked up one of the trails and saw this view. It was the first thing I saw that looked interesting and because of the heat, I didn't feel like walking too much further with all my equipment. By the time I set up, did my thumbnail sketch and started working it was noon. And Jennifer was right.. no need to use any medium. The heat made my paint super soft. Fortunately, by the time I was almost done it clouded up and cooled off. When I got back to the car it was raining. By the time I got home it was sunny and hot again. A typical Colorado afternoon! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eldorado Canyon 8x10 oil

My painting from the Tuesday (8-9-11) PAAC paint out. We met at Eldorado Canyon just south of Boulder. There were 7 or 8 people already there, most of whom I didn't know. Chatted with Leslie Allen for a few minutes before heading off to paint. I think most everyone stayed down near the creek so I didn't do that. I have been here before to paint and have painted at this exact spot before. It's been years since I was here though.  I never got a decent painting from this spot so I wanted to try it again. This spot is a little way up the Fowler Trail heading towards the bottom of the canyon. You have a nice view of the canyon on both sides as well as the creek, the Bastille, and the plains beyond. The Bastille is the dark cliff on the right side of my painting. It is a popular spot for climbers, as is the whole canyon. There were at least 6 people on it while I was painting.
The weather was really nice and I was in the shade the whole time so I think I got an OK painting. This location is difficult to paint I think, because there is so much detail crammed into a narrow view. It makes it quite challenging to edit out things without losing the character of the place. If you chop down your field of view to simplify things, you lose so much that you can't really tell where or what you are painting. If you pull back to see everything you get overwhelmed. Plus, at my location, which is above the canyon floor, you can see up and down as well as left and right. Anyway, I think it came out all right. Certainly the best I have done at this location so far.