This is an example of what I sometimes do…this has been a favorite 8×10 painting that I did several years ago (the one on the right is the first edition). I think it was one of the first times that I really tried to push my colors to be brighter and bolder than what I was seeing in my reference pic. As I have gotten older, I have come to enjoy that brighter array of color rather than all muted tones. So I really liked leaving this bright.
As time went on, I wanted to tone it down just a little, and play with some of the techniques that I had learned regarding color schemes. I have to say I am very happy with the results. Do you have a preference?
I’m particularly fond of these two paintings. I have always thought clouds were very difficult to capture correctly. On the days that I attempted these clouds they were moving very slowly and not changing much at all. I thought it would be the perfect time to give it a try. I was very happy with the way they looked warm and dimensional and not just white and flat. They were both done in my yard, which was also an advantage as I am still learning this process. I still like the security of being alone in my yard and not out among the public eye.
These are two more attempts at painting the mountains in my front yard en plein air. I really like the lighting that I was able to capture in the first one. It looks really warm and filled with light bouncing off other areas. The paintings are oil on board and measure 6×6 and 6×8 which are good sizes to use when beginning to learn to paint outside.
It would be possible to paint these mountains many, many times without ever repeating the look. They look a bit different every single day. So I actually took advantage of this fact to get in some practice using my outdoor painting set up. I definitely was learning a lot.
My studio window looks out over our vegetable garden and on this particular, and rare sunny morning, I just had to capture the intense warm light shed upon it. I love the changing light on it whether it is cloudy or sunny, but this was irresistible! It is 6×6 oil on gesso board
Trees seem to be very challenging, but I am pretty sure they are my favorite subject. Therefore I must practice! This was an 8×8 study of a scene that was very muted and almost monochromatic because of the snowy atmosphere. I ended up using a palette knife on part of it to force myself to try to be loose. (8×8 Oil on board)
This is the second time that I painted this little cutie. My goal here was to focus on getting the subtle light changes and shape right. I love the little spot of light on her back that allows the nose to come forward. These types of lighting really capture my attention. It can be a challenge to get the value just right so that it will do what you want but it is worth the effort of practicing. I love the softness and variety of color in this too. I was interested in creating roundness with the contrast of cool and warm colors. It was good practice.
This is another shaggy dog portrait. The first time that I attempted to paint one of these shaggy dogs I was perplexed at just how to go about it. It seems that as I have gotten more experience, I am beginning to see all the wonderful colors of light cast upon the individual hairs as well as beginning to better understand how light works as it falls on its subject. One thing I am learning is that no matter how many times you paint a picture, it will come out a bit different each time. It’s pretty interesting to consider this.
Another morning walk to Mendenhall Glacier. It is beautiful no matter what the weather. On this morning the fog was just clearing. I liked the warm reds on the peaks contrasted with the deep purple in the shadow from another mountain. And of course the little bits of left over fog are always interesting. This is a 5×7 oil on canvas…mostly meant to be a study of the light effects.
This is a 5×7 oil painting of a point outside Juneau, AK. When I took this photo, I just loved how the blue reflection on the shady parts of the rock seemed so blue and complemented to bright, vivid green of the grassy knoll. But when I started this picture I was really intending to practice my skies. I have trouble keeping them light enough, and I’d like to be able to get better blues into them. So on this one I was trying to use some Cerulean Blue…I usually use Pthalo. I used both here, starting with Cerulean near the mountain peaks and gradually going to Pthalo as the sky got higher. this is not how my photo looked, but I was happy with it. After the sky was done I figured I’d just add the rest…and here it is. I think I will try to do some quick practice though of mainly skies. Because I started with the sky I ended up running out of the proper proportion of water at the bottom. I think this would be much more pleasing to the eye if it had a couple more inches of water, but there’s always next time.
This is the valley in Juneau where I live. It is the main road that goes to the glacier. In the summertime there is a constant stream of tour buses that run from the cruise ships downtown out to the Mendenhall Glacier. This is the road they take. On a clear day, when you get to this point it can be so beautiful that it makes your heart leap! Tourists must have their jaws drop as they approach. It is about 4 miles from this point but you cannot wait to get there to see it when you are given this glimpse beforehand. I have also painted this a couple times trying to get the values just right. The mountain is difficult to get just right. It seems darker than you have to paint it in order to put it into the distance. I’m learning ( =