Saturday, March 31, 2012

Plein Air Saturday–Tanner’s

Bbrrrrrrrr! What a difference a day makes! Yesterday it was in the 70’s and this morning, it was in the low 40’s. We met at Bob Tanner’s home. He graciously had hot coffee, donuts and a warm fire going! I got there late, so I didn’t even get the paints out – it was way too cold for me to paint.


Although I didn’t paint, I had a really great time sitting around the fire and chatting with my fellow artists.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Studio Work - Red Onions

I still had quite a bit of paint squeezed out after painting this morning, so quickly painted these onions. I like how it turned out. I tried to do a third painting today, but it was a mess....

Red Onions, 5 x 7, oil on canvas wrapped board

Plein Air Saturday - Josephinum

Today was our first plein air outing of the year. It was a cool overcast morning. After highs in the 80s last week, today at 60 degrees with a breeze seemed cold. We met on the grounds of the Pontifical College Josephinum near Worthington Ohio. Because I normally shy away from architectural subjects, I pointed my easel towards an old shed, just across the driveway instead of attempting to paint the grand brick buildings of the college. 

I was using my tiny, Judson's 5x7 pocket box pochade. Most of my peers thought it was cute, but SMALL. I was happy with it as I like to work smaller and fast. I don't need a large mixing area for the way I work. Here is the final painting, and some views in process.

Shed in the Pines, 5x7, oil
First pass

Zoomed in to my subject

Almost done!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting Ready!

Tomorrow is our first plein air outing of the year. Although there is a chance of scattered showers, I think everyone is itching to get out in the field. I certainly am ready to get out and paint outside.

Tonight, I played with some unmounted canvas and a painting knife. This canvas was a tablet of Centurion Deluxe Oil Primed Linen. I liked the fine texture of this especially when using the knife. I'm not sure it will be worth the effort in mounting it on board after it is painted, instead of just buying a canvas wrapped board.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Studio Experiments

Unexpected Palette, 3x4, oil on prepped mat board
I've been busy getting some panels ready for a big painting trip next month, and wanted to experiment on some scraps of this surface to see how I liked them. These are colored mat board coated with clear acrylic matte medium, which I will paint on with Gamblin oil paint. I wanted to have some light weight panels instead of wood or canvas covered boards so that they would be less weight in the suitcase. In the past, one of my teachers used mat board covered with gesso as painting surfaces when traveling. I have used those before, but didn't like the rough texture, and didn't want to deal with the dust of sanding them smooth.

Recently, Michael Chesley Johnson wrote about coating his wood panels with matte medium (see end of his article). I decided to combine the two teachers' ideas. I'm always trying to use what I have, instead of ordering the newest and greatest product. Although there are very lightweight pre-made panels available for the plein air painter online, I figured I could use the piles of scraps of colored mat board that were stored in my closet. I put on two coats of clear acrylic matte medium using a 2" house painting brush, brushing each coat in a different direction which gave just a very slight texture. Because they were colored, the panels would therefore already be 'toned'. I also coated the backside of the panels, which were white. This way, I could use either side depending on the subject matter.

Michael also recently wrote about using an alternate color palette of cadmium yellow, quinacridone red and prussian blue. I really enjoy using unexpected palette combinations, so gave it a try today on the panels I prepped earlier in the week. I got some lovely colors from this combination. I was having some problems with the texture I was getting on the panels. At first I couldn't decide what was the problem. I finally figured out that because the surface of the boards were so smooth and I was using stiffer bristle brushes - they were causing a 'scratchy' looking effect. I switched to a smoother nylon bristle and was much happier with the result.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Daffodil, 4 x 6, oil on board

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Fifth Time's a Charm?

Fifth Time's a Charm, 5x7, oil on board
I recently agreed to participate in a challenge posted on Studio Notes by Terry Miura. It was a 'Simplify! City Challenge' using Terry's photo. I attempted it five times before I was happy with the result.

I recently purchased some Mi Teintes Touch pastel paper. I really had a tough time using it. I generally don't like sanded pastel papers, and thought that the texture of this paper would be the perfect surface. I tried 4 different styles and techniques, but still was unhappy and didn't want to submit any to Terry's challenge.

So, out came the oils. I had painted a piece earlier in the day, and still had some paint on the palette and wanted to use it up. I quickly laid down some basic shapes in a loose manner, then brought out the palette knife instead of a brush.

first pass in loose manner
After working on the design all week long, I decided to just simplify the buildings on the left and make it one building in the distance with trees in front. At first, I felt it was a cop-out because it was an architectural challenge and I removed most of the buildings, but then realized my job was to simplify the buildings and make it into a pleasant composition. I think I accomplished that!


Vegetables, 8x10, oil on panel
I met with my painting group this morning at the arts center. I recently bought two new pochade boxes and wanted to give one of them a try. Here is one of them showing the painting about halfway through.
This one is an EasyL brand "Prochade". It is extremely lightweight and made to hold panels between 6" - 10" high. I generally never paint bigger that an 8x10 in the field, so I thought this would be perfect for me. I like it a lot.

I now own four pochade boxes - each has a specific use. A painter can never have too many tools, right?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Leap Day Crab Apples

Crab Apples, 4x6, gouache on board
Just a quick gouache study. When working with gouache, it is hard sometimes to judge final values, as things dry differently. It's amazing how much different it looks after it has dried overnight.