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
I love the woods. And I love painting them. I am continuing to challenge myself to paint them more often. I find them challenging but have taken some workshops by Phil Starke and they have been very helpful in many areas, but with trees in particular. I really like his teaching style and would suggest any painter check him out! He has a great way of explaining his thought process while he paints, and I find that very helpful.
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 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 ( =
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.
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.
I am actually quite taken with this little painting. There is something very pleasing about its simplicity. To try a painting using just one color is a great process for beginners. I even think that this practice is helpful for more advanced painters. This is useful In many ways… like helping one to recognize the values in the painting. After doing this you could more easily adjust your values to emphasize different areas of interest or intensity. This can also help one to see the unnecessary details of their subject. This is also good practice for how one might do an underpainting of their subject. Many artists will do a complete, thinned down, two tone painting like this before they add their color. That way they can concentrate on adding color without thinking about the value as well. This is often helpful when the subject matter has a lot of detail. But this is not a necessity, just a matter of preference. I have done some of these underpaintings and found them very helpful. But there are many times that I just want to be more spontaneous.
(as a side note, this post should have come before the last one) I would be interested to hear about anyone else’s experience with this process as well.
This is my second painting on gesso board. I also used a pallet knife. I deliberately kept this loose. These low tide scenes where you can see beach forever always appeal to me. So I just thought I would do something a bit different. You can probably see that I don’t have one favorite subject yet. I am enjoying the learning process and trying all types of subjects as well as different light.
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.