Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wild Autumn

I finally finished up a painting I started some time ago, just made some final adjustments today.


"Wild Autumn"

Acrylic on panel, 12" X 16"
This painting is based on a photo I took in the Heber Valley near the Provo River. I started this one with my new process of doing a palette knife under painting.  Here is how it looked after the palette step.

Using a palette knife imparts a lot texture because you are working with thick paint which forces even the brush layers after to be more loose because the brush skips over the texture.  Overall I enjoy this new process as well as the results so I'll probably continue experimenting with it.  This is one of the things I love about acrylics, they allow for so much more freedom for experimentation. Lean over fat?  No problem for acrylics.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Mini's, also known as ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) or ACEO's (Art Cards Originals and Editions) measure 2.5" X 3.5" or a little bigger than the standard size business card.  I've known about these for years but have never painted any.  I follow the blog of Karen Margulis, a very prolific landscape pastel painter.  Karen had "Mini Week" on her blog last week and it inspired me to try a few, but in acrylic. I may do some pastel mini's later.  I picked up some mini canvas boards at the craft store and went to work.  I painted all five of these in one session.

This was a lot of fun so I'm sure I'll do more.  Besides being fun, painting mini's is a useful exercise.  In a relatively short time you get plenty of practice and test a few compositions and execute a few color studies, very productive! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Late Autumn Plein Air by the Creek

It's been a while since I've posted.  I just felt like taking a break I guess.  In fact I've been wondering if I want to continue blogging at all, and still don't know for sure, so this post may or may not signal a return to regular posting.

We had exceptionally good weather for November this weekend.  I had other obligations on Saturday but I took advantage on Sunday and took a trip up Big Cottonwood Canyon to do some painting.  First I made this 8"x 10" acrylic study of a portion of Big Cottonwood Creek.


I used a new process I recently learned by watching a video by John K Harrell where the surface is first toned whatever color will work for an undertone for the subject and then an underpainting is made using a palette knife and then once that's done the brushes come out.  Here is how my painting looked at the palette knife stage;

This is very different for me as I've always been one to dislike using a palette knife but using it for the underpainting somehow makes it a lot of fun.  In case it isn't obvious I used a burnt sienna undertone.
A ways up the canyon from this spot is a marsh area by Cardiff Fork, this is one of my favorite areas to sketch and paint.  I was able to make my way through the willows to paint this little 6" X 8" acrylic study.
I used the same process, this time with an ultramarine blue undertone, I'm not sure that was a good choice.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Trip

Yesterday I took the whole day and drove a long, semi-planned loop to go see what the fall colors where looking like at the higher elevations plus I managed to work in a plein air painting.  I started by going up Parley's canyon up to Wasatch County then a couple back roads to Summit County and the small town of Peoa.  After spending some time exploring Peoa I headed East to Oakley and did some exploring there.  Even at the 6500 ft elevation of Oakley the colors are far from peak so I headed up the Mirror Lake highway into the High Uintas and ate my lunch by the Upper Provo River.  Then I drove over the Soapstone Pass into the Soapstone basin where I did this 10" x 8" acrylic painting;

I was set up at cross roads of sorts, (The Soapstone Pass is a dirt road.) so I had a lot of traffic from the hunters driving their ATVs around and other people like me out enjoying the fresh mountain air and fall colors.  While the noise and dust were annoying at times I did enjoy meeting a few people that were interested enough in what I was doing to stop and take a look, in particular I met fellow artist Sue and her husband Rex from Tabiona, I now have a standing invitation to go paint with her on her property by the Duschene river. If anything at this elevation the colors where a bit past peak so I headed on over the other side of the pass to highway 35 also known as Wolf Creek Pass and dropped down to the town of Francis.  After some exploring in Francis I dropped further down to the town of Midway in the heart of the Heber Valley. I decided I didn't want to take the freeway back home so I drove up a little known road to Guardsman's Pass at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains.  I said little known but there were enough people that knew about it that the traffic was kinda nutty for a remote mountain pass, (very slow, curvy and steep, 15-20 mph), I guess everybody else had the same idea.  There was a section of the road lined with photographers!  Once in Big Cottonwood Canyon I went up to Brighton and went for a walk around Silver Lake, again everybody else had the same idea!  The pathway was quite crowded but it was worth it, the color was great even if a bit past peak.  From there it was just a drive down the canyon and short bit on the freeway to home.  It was a long, tiring day but a lot of fun.  Here are a couple photos from my travels.
The road in Soapstone Basin
The river bluffs viewed from Fancis
Silver Lake by Brighton, Utah

Monday, September 15, 2014

Junked Johnny

Another tractor pen drawing, this time a John Deere Model A. I spotted this tractor in a small rural town last year and took plenty of photos, I knew some day I'd draw or paint it.

"Junked Johnny"

Pen on paper, 8" X 10"
This drawing was done entirely with a .03 pen using hatching, cross-hatching, contour and outline techniques.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Autumn Chevy

The summer season is practically over and the autumn season is starting.  The colors are already starting to change at the higher elevations so to get ready I painted an autumn landscape, this time with an old pickup in it.


"Autumn Chevy"

Acrylic, 5" X 7"
The painting is based on a reference photo and my imagination.  The truck comes from a photo I took of a pickup sitting in the gravel and weeds next to a residential driveway.  The landscape is totally out of my imagination including the color scheme.  The truck in the photo was actually painted orange.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Something New......kind of

You've seen me do a lot of pen work on this blog but all of it was quick sketches.  I decided to try taking it a step further and make a drawing.  Actually, I've made pen drawing attempts before but never finished them because I didn't think they were working out or I just lost interest.  I finally finished one;


"Derelict Doodlebug"

pen on paper, 8" X 10"
The subject is a "doodlebug". A doodlebug is a home built tractor made from an old car or pickup. In this case the victim was a 1928 Chevy car, at least the front half was. The frame was cut off behind where the passenger would normally sit and a Model TT Ford truck axle was bolted directly to what was left of the frame, no rear suspension just like a regular farm tractor. As you can see the stock seat has been replaced by a tractor seat. Such conversions were popular during the 1930's for small farms when the great depression robbed many farmers of the income necessary to buy a real tractor, or for larger farms that already had a good tractor a doodlebug was an inexpensive second tractor for hauling stuff around on the farm.