Monday, January 31, 2011

This Old Barn

Shoot a cannon ball through this here old barn and score a hit on Mrs. O'Leary's milk cow. Acrylic. 8"X10"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Big Family Portrait Just Completed By A Professional Artist

I have never attempted a family portrait with eleven people! What was I thinking? Oh yea, I needed the money! After about two months working off and on,the painting is now in my client's hands and she loves it. The acrylic is 20"X24" on stretched canvas. I did a pencil study sketch from a Christmas photo when the family gathered together. The pencil study was important, because it helped me get familiarized with all of the facial features and value patterns. I then put the sketch in my studio copier and enlarged it to painting size. The enlarged copy was tapped over my canvas with a transfer paper slipped in between the copy and the canvas. The blue lines you see is the transfered outline of the family members. Finally the canvas goes onto my easel with the small 8"X10" color family photo next to it. After that, every step of the painting is done by eyeball. I tell my students that a painting is started with large, rough, crude shapes, then the painting is slowly and methodically "polished to a beautiful shine". Here is a piece of good advice if you accept a portrait commission: Write out a simple contract (you don't need to hire a lawyer) that states that you need half of the commission fee up front to start the painting. The remaining half is due upon delivery and BEFORE any potential corrections. You will provide one correction based on the client's feedback after you have shown them what you consider to be the completed painting (and remember that at this time the remaining commission fee is paid in FULL). After that, any more corrections are charged a correction fee. If you don't write in that last statement, a client could potentially have you make adjustments until the cows come home. I also might add that any potential client should be happy with your portraiture painting style and be more than willing to accept that style. Do NOT let the client dictate another style. No-nonsense business contracts like this protect an artist from being screwed and says that you are a PROFESSIONAL.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

No way!

No way am I going to be up at dawn, standing and shivering in the snow at an easel. I just now completed this watercolor painting from a reference photograph whilst in my cozy studio. Approximately 15"X30" on 140lb. cold press watercolor paper. I painted the lake first, laying in the warm and cool dawn colors wet-on-wet and holding the paper almost vertically for a run and mix. Then I painted the sky wet-on-wet with a sideways motion of a #20 round watercolor brush (sable). After that, I painted in the tree line with a #8 round watercolor brush, a quarter inch wide flat watercolor brush, and a rigger for those fine branches. Then the coolish/warmish blues were quickly painted into the snow areas with my #20. The painting was finalized with the reflections in the lake. The little bits of ice and snow floating on the water were first masked out with frisket at the very beginning of the painting and before I laid down any paint. Those few tree trunks on the right side foreground were painted in with a mixture of gouache and watercolor paint. Painting time: about two hours. Burrr!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sometimes the little things can say a lot.

Acrylic on canvas, about 18"X36", and part of my two-man show this Feb. at the Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento. Funny the little things that tell you a painting is was the wee bit of foreground shadow cutting across the road that said to me, "David, put down the damn brush, and have a glass of vino." And I did.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spring Song

This is another acrylic painting on stretched canvas, 18"X32", that will be part of my two-man show in February. The way the light is falling on the trees makes no's art! Do I have to follow the laws of nature? ANSWER: No. I have just renewed my artistic license for 2012. The license fee went up, but what hasn't in this economy?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drying Vernal Pool

This is also an 11"X14" acrylic painting on stretched canvas, and will be included in my February show at the Elliout Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, CA. Each painting can be a challenge. That's what makes it fun unless you have problems meeting the challenge, go into a depressed state and lock said painting in a closet to be re-visited sometime in the future after you have overcome your depression. Anywho...I think I met the challenge on this one by laying down broad, flat swaths of grass and flower hues. After that, I came in and broke those swaths up with bits of shadow, and highlight hues. Finally, in the foreground, I painted a few individual flowers to complete the visual illusion of grass and flowers and depth of field. With a smaller, flat brush loaded up with a minimal amount of paint, I scumbled in the background trees to give the illusion of seeing through the foliage.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sacramento Valley Farm Road

Another 11"X14" acrylic painting on stretched canvas for my two-man show in February. This was painted in a slightly "rougher" style with less blending and softening of edges. The sky was really painted alla prima, something that I rarely do simply, because it is hard and I have the unfortunate tendency to over work my paintings. Alla prima -style painting is all about command over your medium and the sagacity to gladly accept the fresh sketch-like quality you end up with. Actually, the field, road, and puddle are somewhat alla prima - looking as well, even though I put in some extra work into it after my first go-around. Here too, squinting helps you get to to that higher plane of painting... alla prima.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another High Sierra Acrylic Painting

I finished this one last week for my two-man show at the Elliott Fouts Gallery here in Sacramento. It was painted on stretched canvas and is 11"X14". Paintings are a series of challenges. That is why we painters don't get board with our passion. The challenge with this particular landscape was the rocks. Like trees, they are at first sight, damn complicated. The key word here is "sight". It may sound like an oxymoron, but if you can reduce the acuity of your sight, you can mange the complexity of what you see and want to paint (or draw). Most all artists do this by squinting. All that visual complexity is simplified or edited out. How? When squinting, you see less. Value is important here. You still easily see the darkest values as well as the lightest. But all those pesky values in between with their subtle tonal differences cannot be discerned nearly as well... I told you keep those eyes SQUINTED!!!...that' the trick, and that's what I did quite often as I looked at the rocks and even sometimes while I painted them. All I needed to paint was dark, light, and one or two middle grays on each rock. SQUINT and make your life easier.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Coming Through The Pines (once "Sierra Meadow Pathway)

I think that several months ago I posted one of my acrylic paintings titled "Sierra Pathway". It was one of the first paintings I did last summer in preparation for a two- man show at the Elliott Fouts Gallery here in Sacramento. After having lived with this painting for about half a year, I took another look- see two days ago and decided it was a "dog". That same day, I painted a very loose forest green background to reduce the incline of the meadow...still a dog! I then painted in a new pathway...still a dog!! Yesterday, I painted in the sun coming through the trees...better! Painted over all the flowers and re-painted the field with rocks and different flowers...I think it is no longer a dog! Could I have perchance changed a sow's ear into a silk purse? Or should I say a dog's ear into a Jerry Garcia tie? I should have documented the change- over, but you know how it can get when one has a bee under one's bonnet?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spring Showers Over Sacramento

Acrylic on stretched canvas. 8"X10". In Sacramento, we have something called the Yolo Bypass. It was built around the turn of the 20th century. It is basically a huge weir that diverts a certain amount of water from the Sacramento River during our rainy season to prevent the flooding of Sacramento. The water flows into a gigantic low lying basin where rice is grown during the summer. The basin is also a huge bird sanctuary for local and migratory birds such as ducks and egrets. From the western side of the basin, you can look over to the eastern side and see the skyline of Sacramento. This is that view. The areas of water that you see are the lowest parts of the basin. On a really wet season, enough water is diverted to make the basin look like a huge lake,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My winter semester's college drawing class with their charcoal portrait masterpieces!

For a number of years now, the final assignment in my Sacramento City College drawing class is a charcoal portrait. I take photos of all my students, make prints, and then assign each student with a photo of one of their fellow class mates. They use the photo print as their reference for their portrait rendering. These drawings made wonderful holiday presents as they are given by the student artist to their subject!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Completed Valentine

After glueing down some more "LOVES", painting on layers of opaque gouache around the watercolored heart, glueing down three cut out hearts, adding more layers of gouache, and finally blotting off some of the gouache for texture and to reveal previously painted areas, I have officially completed my Valentine! Happy Valentines early (and peace and love to the rest of my readers outside of the USA), and I'm ready to have fun in my January 22 workshop here in the fair city of Sacramento.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Love and Heart...and h2o

I'm getting ready to conduct a water media workshop this January 22. We are going to collage, water color, and gouache to create a Valentine image for Valentine's Day in February. I thought, dear readers that you might like to see my start. The first thing I did was to glue down the word LOVE in different type fonts onto a sheet of 140lb. cold press water color paper. Then with a large brush and some puddles of beautiful colors on my palette, I laid down some juicy washes. After this stage, I most likely will paste some more LOVES down, and then go over portions of the painting in opaque gouache. I have a wee bit of a plan, but most of all, I am following my nose! We shall see the results in my next post. Wish me luck, and wave me goodbye. Oh...HAPPY 2011!!!