Issuing the Call

Issuing the Call
Issuing the Call

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Art Prints

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crayons, Not just for kids

I've been invited by my local Ward to show the young women how art can be used to add beauty to their homes.  I didn't want to break out the oil paints and give them a demonstration because of the smells of the chemicals and the mess.  Plus this is to be something simple that they can do easily.  So I decided that the best thing to do is to show them how tools that most people may have laying around the house can be used to make art.  I choose Construction Paper and Crayons.  I bought these below at my local grocery story.

Construction Paper and Crayons
I also decided that a demonstration finished piece should be make so they could see the potential of these simple items.  Now I've never really worked in this medium.  Well not since I was three or so.  I did some basic research last night on Google for a half an hour, to see how other artist had worked with crayons and to pick up some pointers.  Then today I when out and bought my supplies and got to work.

8 x 10 Crayola Crayon on Paper
I had a lot of fun.  I felt like I was a kid again.  I used a picture I had on my computer of a still life, as reference.  I didn't use anything except the Crayola Crayons and a pencil to rough in the objects.  It is amazing to me how many of the principle I use in oil painting applied straight across to this drawing.  One of the things I learned early on is that you can easily go dark, but going light was very difficult if not impossible once the heavy darker colors were put in.  I could use white to lighten up hews a little bit on the stronger colors. 

I'm looking forward to doing this again tomorrow with the young women.  I think for the young woman I'll bring a flower in a glass bottle for them to look at and draw.  I'll try and take picture of their art and post them tomorrow. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Mistake!! What's the World Coming to?

16 X 20 oil on board "The Forbidden Fruit"
Every so often I get asked what do I do when I make a mistake.  I have to chuckle a bit with that.  Because for me my paintings are just numerous assorted layers of mistakes.  Through hard work, lots of patience and wisdom.  I have learned what to continue to work on and what to leave alone with each painting. Over time it becomes a beautiful painting. It is a process of learning and growing.  Mistakes are just evidence of refining work being done.  Over the years I've developed a process of using mistakes to get better at painting.

To use the mistake process you must first know what it is you are trying to do.  Saying that you want to create a beautiful picture isn't enough.  This is a type of goal and the more specific you can get the easier it will be to learn, grow and get better. 

So for example I'm working on Plein Air paintings.  My current goal is I want to paint paintings that are warm and friendly, eye catching, strong tonal and temperature contrasts and simple brush work with an easily defined focal point.

Every time I sit down and paint I'm going over these goals in my head.  I'm making choices based on them.  Also I've learned that once you put down a stroke don't go back and fiddle with too much.  Be confident in your brushstrokes.  If you fiddle with the brushstrokes too much you'll just end up with a muddy over worked tired looking painting. 

Once the painting is done enough, it's time to compare it to your goals.  This is where I perform a kind of autopsy on my painting.  The key to this part is asking questions.  Your brain will in time find the answers.  So start asking.  Why did or didn't it work?  What could I do next time?  What goals did I get close to and why?  What artist that I like are able to achieve the goals I've set successfully? What is the difference between their painting and mine? Then sit back and ponder.  This is just giving you brain time to find the answers.

Once you get an answer then you may want to further refine your goals or go and do another painting, repeating the whole precess again. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Focal points and Goals

12 X 16 oil on board "Old Saunders Barn"
I read an older and well read article in the 2007 issue of American Artist magazine, titled "Attracting the Viewer's Eye With Skillful Simplicity" by Linda S. Price, about an artist by the name of Doug Higgins and his Plein Air paintings.  I have read this article many times, however this time, my attention was drawn to one thing in particular that he said about one of his objectives of Plein Air paintings.  He said, "[m]y goal is simplicity.  Complexity is easy - anyone can achieve that through thoughtless copying of details.  You need intelligent strategies to keep it simple."  In my case, I think he is right.  I've been somewhat thoughtlessly jumping into Plein Air paintings, assuming that my many years of painting would bring it all together, but they haven't. 
My old mentor, Greg Olsen, was right when he said that until you do something, you won't know what real questions to ask or know what it is that you really want.  I've painted several Plein Air paintings and I'm just now beginning to understand what it is that I really want from them.  Up until now, I've been going out and just, "thoughtless[ly] copying".  Even in my most recent experience, I jumped in and started noodling to early (to noodle is to use a liner brush to make small excessive details). 
I have learned that I need to take a little more time before I start, think about what I want my main focus to be and lay as much of the painting out in my mind as possible.  In essence, I am presetting my goals for the painting, even before I apply the first stroke of color.  Then, as the painting progresses, not losing sight of my original goal.  With that in mind, I hope to take a little time to determine my end goal for the painting and work to hold to it.  My plan is to do another painting of this same farm, from a different angle.  I would like to express my thanks to the owners of the property who have generously allowed me access in my endeavors.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stage Fright and Plein Air

Sometimes just going out and doing Plein Air paintings can be so nervous for me.  Because here I am painting out in public, in front of the whole world, well at least a small part of it.  Every time just before I start I get a kind of stage fright.  Butterflies and tingly fingers.  The adrenalin really starts to get flowing through me.  This is both good and bad.  The adrenalin gets me to push through my fears and go a head and paint, but it also makes me shake.  So once I'm set up and painting I have to take a couple of seconds and take a few deep breaths to settle myself.  Then I stare at the scene in front of me, make a few decisive decisions and then paint, letting it all just flow.
12 x 16 "Horses and Bairs" Oil on Board

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Field is White in Backersfield

The Field is White 18 x 24
So an interesting thing happened to me with this painting.  I was approached by someone looking to buy the original.  Which they couldn't because it is already owned buy another collector.  So they bought a large print of it.  Then they told me that the print will be going into the new Mission Home for the newly created Bakersfield Mission.  Apparently the new Mission President and his wife were sealed in the Manti Temple and are from Cedar City.  Plus the overall missionary theme of the painting will also fit in nicely. 
Well once in a while I offer on special occasions to take a canvas print and paint on it thus bringing out the original color qualities and then signing it.  But in the case of this ordered print the buyer had bought it before I had a chance to tell them how to go about doing this.  But when the print arrived it had received shipping damage.  Which almost never happens.  So I was contacted by the buyer because we could now do the process with the replacement.  It is interesting to me how the Lord works in our lives.  I am grateful for this opportunity to do this for such a wonderful location.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Back to Pen and Ink!

12 x 16 Pen and Ink
I decided to try something that has been kicking around in my head for a while.  I decided to try doing a Pen and Ink drawing in the wood block engraving style and then use this as the tonal under painting.  To get the greys I just used mineral spirits to wash in the area with the most ink.  Doing this step reminded me how much I enjoyed doing Pen and Ink drawings and back to old days of being an illustrator.  Also as an added dimension to this painting is that so much of cowboy and western equipment has engraving decorations on them.

12 x 16 Mixed Medium
Now I've added some color.  The background is painted in with the trees and barn.  Plus I've roughed in the dirt.  I'm trying to paint thin enough that the ink drawing shows through, thus adding to the over-all detail of the painting.

12 x 16 Mixed Medium

Now the fence is painted in and so is the ground and the Bull.  One of the things I'm trying to do with this is that the Pen and Ink drawing was full of precise detail, but the oil painting is loose and painterly.  With here and there a little bit of the ink drawing showing through.  So far I'm loving the effect.  But this is just a 12 x 16 inch painting, recently I had someone inquire about me doing a 4 x 5 foot painting.  Just thinking about putting down that much ink is making me a little nervous.  So we will see.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

As some of you many know, I have started again this year painting Plein Air paintings.  I've done this to improve my landscapes, western and wildlife art over all.  I've found a lack of understanding of tones, chroma and contrast with these painting types.  So outside I've gone to improve on these painting elements, just as many great painters like the Hudson River School paints did.  All ready I'm seeing great positive changes to my paintings.  Right now I'm working on have more contrast in color and temperature. 
First two plein air paintings of the 2013 season
These first two paintings were just, "lets just jump in and start painting" paintings.  I've got to start somewhere so I did.  A couple of friends that I work with Friday nights at the Provo Temple as Ordnance Workers are from the Heber Valley area.  They kept telling me how beautiful the area was and that I should go up there and paint.  So I did and these two paintings were the result of this.  While I was painting the painting on the right.  An older lady rode up on her bike and checked out what I was doing.  As she road up she exclaimed, "Oh, you're painting, we were wondering".  She then went on to ask me if I competed in the Midway Art Association's Plein Air competition.  I said I'd never heard of it and that I would check them out.  Which I did and I'll write about it later.

"Horses and Bair"
Next I went and painted on a friend of mine's horse property just off of Geneva Road in Provo.  I kept telling him I was going to do this, but for some reason he never really believed me.  So one day the weather was good so I went and did it.  I had a great time.  He and his wife were working on the property at the time and when they had finished with the horses they came over and checked it out.  Needless to say they were shocked how much I had done in the short amount of time I had spent working on it thus far.  Over all this painting took me just over 2 hours to complete.

"Platte's View"
So then I put a post up on Facebook asking people for places to painting.  I said I'm looking for places to paint Plein Air paintings. If any of you know of a place or know someone who has a place let me know (with in Utah for now). Just about any place will do. If you think you have the best view of Timp or the Wasatch Front let me know. I you think your street, that you live on is absolutely magical just before sunset please contact me. If you or someone you know has a farm, ranch or horse property and wouldn't mind letting me set up my easel and spending a couple of hours painting there, please contact me. It's not that I'm running out of place to paint. It's that I'm looking for more options. There is a lot of great spots out there that are on private property and I'm looking to paint on those locations too. So if your best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who has a great spot to paint let me know.
My friend Platte responded with a response and a picture.  So I decided to prove it to people that I was serious about the offer and the above Plein Air painting was the result.  

I think tomorrow I'll head out and paint another evening one of Utah Valley from a secret location.