Monday, September 9, 2013

Put in Proper Perspective

Value Study - 10 X 8

I forgot this was only a value study and caught myself starting to put in detail.  Practicing brushwork is still on the menu today.

Several years ago, Tim encouraged me to study a book on perspective.  Of course, I didn't do that.  I was happy painting a still life or an animal.   Now I wonder how much better my artwork would look if I had taken his advice. 

Please don't tell him I said that...  I got the book today.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Morning After

Oil - 10 X 8

Here's one I started at the workshop yesterday.  

After several years in watercolor classes, my watercolor style has followed me into oil painting.   It's tough breaking old habits.

I'm going to take Becky Joy's advice and focus on brushwork.   Next week will be spent just doing monochromatic big brush block-ins along with brushwork exercises.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Becky Joy Workshop

When I learned artist Becky Joy was offering a workshop in nearby Hood River, Oregon, I jumped at the chance and signed up.  She is an incredible artist and is reputed to be one of the finest instructors around.  Plus, Becky came highly recommended by artist Celeste Bergin.  


After a sunrise drive through the Columbia River Gorge, 

I arrived at the Columbia Art Center in Hood River just in time to watch dozens of artists drop off their paintings from the previous five-day plein air competition that Becky will be judging. 

After drooling over these beautiful paintings, I joined the rest of the class to meet Becky.  Instead of providing us with a handout, Becky gifted each workshop participant with her latest e-book, "How to Create Better Paintings" a few days before the workshop began.

We enjoyed an orientation at the art center and then drove off to our destination:  Rasmussen Farms in Hood River.  

The workshop began with a demo by Becky.

She painted deliberately, emphasizing the importance of understanding how color works in the landscape; warms, cools, how light and shadow affect color, ...   And, if you've seen her work, you'll understand when I say it was a thrill to watch her brushwork and to hear her explain how she uses her brushes.  

After lunch, we set up our easels for painting.  Becky told those of us who were relatively new to plein air to stick around in the same general area so we could all benefit from suggestions she made to each of us.

   Becky also approached every student and asked what we hoped to get out of the workshop.  That was a first for me.

Then it was time for us to dive in.  I wound up with two wipe-outs and two almost finished paintings.  Unlike other workshops, I even experienced that special moment when the lightbulb went on.  That was worth the trip.

And suddenly, it was over.

So, what did I learn?

1.  Practice brushwork.  Practice brushwork everyday.  Don't worry about doing a finished painting everyday.  Just make sure you paint everyday.

2.  Texture - put some paint on your painting.  She discussed foregrounds / backgrounds / focal points & how to use texture effectively.

3.  Provide color and value gauges for yourself somewhere on the painting and use these gauges to guide you through the process.

4.   Integrate color throughout your painting.

5.  Incorporate hard and soft edges effectively.

6.  And much, much more...

  What did I like about the workshop?

1.  I liked Becky - a lot.  She is genuine.  She is encouraging.  She loves painting, is incredibly knowledgeable, and wants her students to succeed.  As a communicator, Becky is really effective.

2.  I liked that Becky continually talks about her strategy as she demos.

3.  I liked the amount of attention I received in the workshop.  I'm not sure how many participants there were (maybe 11), but I never felt neglected.  Becky was always accessible and everyone got her undivided attention.

4.  I like that she's coming back to Oregon because I'm gonna take another workshop from her!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The "Joy" of Plein Air

Oil on loose canvas - 9.5 x 10.5

I approached this summer of painting with the attitude that it would be one big experiment in art.   This is one of those experiments done with oil paint thinned with lots of turps.

 Tim surprised me with a one day plein-air workshop in Hood River with Becky Joy.      Wish I could spend a whole summer with her, but I'll gladly settle for a day.

  Becky is conducting the workshop TODAY.  Looking forward to posting about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


To the Ends of the Earth
Oil on Ampersand - 6 X 6

On days when I don't paint outside or just don't know what to paint, I'll pull out a small panel and try something from my imagination.

An even less expensive way to practice is to tape a loose piece of canvas to a sturdy support such as a wooden board or foam core.  The masking tape can be removed from the finished painting while the painting is still wet.  Once the paint has finally dried, you can plop the practice painting on top of the last one - great for storing in a studio where space is limited.

Regarding practice, it's taken a few years to finally accept that every painting I make does not have to be framed.  What a relief... 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Flower Girl

Flower Girl
Oil on Ampersand - 6 X 6

Lavender is so popular here in Oregon that many locations are featured as "lavender destinations."   A few even offer art paint-outs.  

I saw this young woman picking lavender at the Mountainside Lavender Farm in Scholls, Oregon this summer.   The colors of the day were so beautiful, I couldn't resist.