This is another 10×8 oil of Mendenhall Glacier. I love this view from a large stream up the road as you approach the Glacier. There is often fog here and sometimes you can only catch a glimpse of the glacier itself, but it is very interesting to me when it is like this. There are always wonderful reflections in the areas of water around the glacier and this is one in particular that I like because of all the dead trees in the water, giving it a nice textural quality. As a note though, I find these trees extremely difficult to paint. I have found them very challenging. So in order to overcome this, I will be painting them quite a lot for practice ( =
Mendenhall Glacier has become one of my primary subjects. It is only 3-4 miles from my home and always a beautiful place to take pictures. We have a lot of tourism here in Juneau so it also makes for a perfect painting subject to sell to tourists. Hence, my newest paintings are of the Glacier. This one is from a very clear bright day and very different than most days here. But I really liked this shot. All the colors are quite cool, but I tried to add a few touches of warmth in the green grasses and around the base of the most forward area on the left. I also used Pthalo blue in the Glacier, which is a rich, warm blue. (this is an 8×10 oil)
So recently I had the privilege to join the local Artist Gallery here in Juneau,AK. And I have lots of these little minis. So I’ve decided I’d better keep on painting them. There is no shortage of great, inspirational scenery here to paint. I almost never go out without my camera to keep lots of great photos on hand to choose from for painting. So the next several posts will be of more minis of local Juneau scenes.
This is an 8×10 oil painting done from a photo I took down in Cohassette, MA while visiting my parents. On this particular day it was misty and overcast. I wanted to try painting this because of those weather conditions. It is very different to paint bright sunny day as opposed to a gray overcast day. It takes practice to see things in different light. I think that this is why I like to paint. I like the challenge of portraying the certain feeling a scene takes on in different lighting conditions. I really spend a lot of time observing the changes in light and shadow as well as colors under different conditions. It is really amazing to me.
I thought I would show another example of an Underpainting, because when I first started painting I couldn’t get enough information about the different ways that people choose to paint. I enjoy seeing how other people paint…it gives me ideas and may lead to better things. It’s good for us to know that there is not just one way to do things. Rather there are a vast number of ways to do the same thing! I think this is very helpful to know. Actually, I think this little painting is the very first time that I tried doing an Underpainting. You can see just how much detail I included in the early stages.
I’m sure this may be old news to many people, but I can remember how fascinated that I was with it early on. So I wanted to do a few posts to show any beginners how they might try it.
This is an example of a two tone Underpainting where it was extremely necessary. I felt like there would be no way for me to keep track of my distant trees without a basic guide layer down first. This gave me a clear idea of my values before I started and also acted like a map for me to keep from having my trees get lost in the forest (so to speak). You can see that an Underpainting can be quite vague or extremely detailed. It is very interesting to play around with.
This is a 6×6 painting, and it is the first painting that I have done on Gesso board. I have been wanting to try this since my first post. I read in Carol Marine’s book that she uses it and likes it. There are several artists whose paintings have a smooth flowing brush stroke style and I have been unable to get that in my paintings. It seems like they must either use gesso board or a smoother canvas than I do. To save on cost, I have given into using an inexpensive canvas board most of the time for these small practice pieces. But it does not help to practice what doesn’t work for you. I need to begin either using Gesso board or prepping my canvas in a different way to create a smoother finish. I have recently found another brand of canvas board that is not too expensive and does have a wonderful smooth coating. (the brand is Art Advantage) I cannot get it here in Juneau, and shipping is always expensive to Alaska so I have not used it on a regular basis. But I am beginning to think I should. I will have to get a bunch when I travel back to Maine next month.
Anyway, I did enjoy the Gesso board. It is a little tricky to learn a lighter touch with the brush so you don’t pull paint off with a second stroke, but I especially like that the brush strokes remain visible. This is merely a preference, and many people do not like this look. I do look forward to playing around with it more.
I think that the first painting was too cool. I did add a bit of warmth to it but thought that I would try it again. You know that ‘repeat, repeat’ thing. ( = Well for this one I also used a canvas that was toned with burnt sienna. If you remember, the first one was toned with a pale blue hue. I do believe that this one came out much warmer simply because I started out with a warm undertone. The blue of the last one was strong enough to influence my whole painting so that it leaned toward very cool in the end.
Usually my preference is for a warm painting, but I do like the idea of trying different things to see where it leads. So I learned from this…I can either be very careful to warm all my colors if I use a cool toned canvas, or I can start with a warmer tone. I have seen paintings of fog or overcast days that have been done on a blue/ gray canvas that I really liked, but again, I will practice. In the end, I really prefer this warmer painting.
This little canvas was underpainted with a pale blue hue. I think this was the first time trying blue. I liked it a lot. The overall tone of the painting came out cool even though it was a very sunny scene. After taking this photo I did tone down the blueness of the rocks in the shade. It was a little too blue for me. But I really enjoy painting on a canvas that is underpainted because it gives you a mid tone color to start with which can help you read your colors better. It is also interesting to play around with little bits of color you leave showing. If I did this same painting with the pale orange underneath, it would have taken a totally different direction. I’m almost interested enough to try that in order to compare the two.
Many people know exactly how they intend their painting to turn out. At this point for me, I sort of let it tell me where it is going to go. I try to read it as it progresses and see how it feels. That part is still fun for me. If I have a direction in mind and it doesn’t go that way, well that will be frustrating. But for now I am learning what may cause certain outcomes. And I am enjoying the process!
This is a view looking down the channel towards Downtown Juneau and the Juneau/Douglas Bridge. I made a stop on the side of the road, probably where one really shouldn’t stop, but I just had to get a few shots of this beautiful scene! One thing that I learned and applied here is to paint the sky and then make extra of that color. Then use that color to blend into the mountains to give you that nice atmospheric look. It is much better than just adding white. It unifies the whole thing much better. I am looking forward to doing this on a larger canvas very soon.