Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Win Some, Lose Some

“Chocolate Zip” 10 x 12 oil on canvas paper

Yes, we artists sometimes fall flat on our artistic faces. Yesterday was definitely a loser in the studio.

I attempted another one hour painting and managed to thoroughly botch the job. I forgot what the exercise is about and tried to make a perfect painting. NOT! Then I compounded the error by spending another hour “fixing” it. Well, THAT didn’t work out either!

It’s really too bad because I had this really cute pony photo to work from. Unfortunately, it was taken on a very cloudy day, so it’s very flat with almost no highlights or shadows.

I did learn a few things, however. Like, my Princeton #8 bristle bright brush holds a good sharp edge while my Grumbacher #8 bristle flat does not. Cobalt blue and Hansa Yellow make a nice luscious green. Taping the canvas paper to a board made it much easier to paint right up to the edges without getting paint on the fingers or all over the easel.

I rescued the day by going to the barn and having a great ride on Scottie. As usual, he was very willing. We did especially well at leg yields which has been a trouble area for us, simple as it may be. Well, I used a tip I found in an article, and it worked like a charm. Scottie got lots of praise and decided that he likes doing leg yields and “volunteered” to do more.

The farm is on top of a hill out in the country, which means no city lights. When I left the barn, it was dark out; very dark; but the sky was filled with stars, and I stood for a few moments gazing up at them and feeling the wonder of the universe. It was one of those magic moments that you remember forever.

Below is my “fixed” version of “Chocolate Zip”. The pony’s name is Zip.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest Artist Thank You

“Tall, Dark and Handsome” 11x13 pencil drawing - prints available

I’d like to make a special announcement today and send a big Thank You! to Kelli Swan. Kelli is a phenomenal pencil artist who invited me to be a guest artist on her blog this week. Kelli is an expert at drawing a variety of subjects but mostly draws dogs and horses in her unique style. She sells prints and notecards as well as originals and can do custom artwork for you. Be sure to look around her blog and enjoy her wonderful art.

Pencil Art and Drawings

The drawing above is one which is included in the guest blog.

Lady's Colt

“Lady’s Colt” 8x10 inch oil on canvas board

The subject of this painting is an eight day old Morgan colt. I don’t remember his name, but his dam is Lady who belongs to a friend of mine. This is the third in a series of one hour paintings I’ve been assigned to do by my mentor.

This time I deviated from the assignment by using smaller brushes. As a result, it took me longer to complete this one than the others; more like two hours, fifteen minutes. Still, that’s very fast for me, and it’s very rewarding to finish a painting in a few hours versus the weeks and months it usually takes me to complete an oil painting.

I’m very much enjoying this new style even though I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet. It’s been a boost to my ego to find that I can paint something fast and loose and have it look like what it’s supposed to look like and not a big mess. Below is a close up of the little feller so that you can see the looseness of the brush strokes. The legs are shorter than they should be because I ran out of room at the bottom of the canvas. Clearly, I should have placed him higher or made him a little smaller. That’s one of the hazards of drawing directly on the canvas without a preliminary drawing for perfect placement.

I have no idea if these little paintings are marketable or not. I just know I’m having a whole lot of fun doing them!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Yuri - Second One Hour Painting

“Yuri” 8x10 inch oil on canvas board

Man On A Mission will soon be going to a new home, but for now he is drying on the studio wall and waiting to be varnished.

Doing these one hour paintings definitely qualifies for going outside one’s comfort zone. But even after just one successful painting (at least for me), it has fired me up to do more and learn more. It isn’t about creating a good painting so much as it’s about challenging yourself and learning things you might not otherwise in the process.

Today I tackled a second one hour painting, and this time I managed to finish it in one hour fifteen minutes, using those same #8 brushes which are about 3/4 inches wide. They are a real challenge for getting any kind of detail, let me tell you! And the purpose of doing these little paintings is to get away from thinking detail too much and concentrate on composition, values, and all the rest of the “big picture” elements in painting.

This dog is Yuri, a German Shepherd who belongs to the people who board my horse. He is big, rambunctious and friendly. He’s also very handsome. I caught him in a rare moment of quiet for the photograph from which I worked for the painting.

I’m fairly pleased with this painting as well. These one hour paintings could become addictive, and I’m already looking forward to doing the next one.