Sunday, December 27, 2015

Offset High Crop

Does that title sound a little cryptic?  It's nothing too mysterious really, it's just the designation for the configuration of the tractor that's the subject of my latest painting;

art painting tractor abandoned rusty farm desert

"Offset High Crop"

14" X 11", Acrylic on panel

This is an old, derelict Farmall tractor I found in Wallsburg, Utah.  This configuration is unusual, in fact I believe this is the only one of this kind I've seen in person.  The front axle is raised to clear certain crops and the engine is offset from center to give better visibility to the operator, at least on one side.

I've been on a tractor kick lately, the last few ten minute sketches have all  been tractors, one of them based on the same reference photo as the painting.

art sketch pencil graphie tractor Case vintage
#17, Case

art sketch pencil graphite tractor Allis Chalmers vintage
#18, Allis Chalmers

art sketch pencil graphite farmall vintage offset
#19, Farmall Offset High Crop

art sketch pencil graphite tractor eimco powerhorse old

#20, Eimco Power Horse 4WD

art sketch pencil graphite fordson track vintage
#21, Fordson crawler

Saturday, December 19, 2015

One More Miniature

I painted another miniature, this one based on another ten minute sketch, #15

art sketch pencil graphite landscape clouds sky

I was going for an even bigger sky than I had in "Clouds over Sanpete County".  I believe my reference photo for this one was also taken in Sanpete County which is in central Utah where there is much more wide open countryside than most other parts of the state.

art painting palette knife landscape rural cloud sky


Acrylic on panel, 6" X 8"
Original - $60

As with other recent paintings I painted this one mostly with a palette knife.  The ten minute sketch provided a perfect values road map and was very helpful in making the painting.  All these ten minute sketches I've been doing are becoming awfully handy!

Friday, December 18, 2015

An Autumn Miniature

Remember Ten Minute Sketch #14?  If not look at the last post, it's there.  I made a small painting based on the same photo and TMS #14,

art painting palette knife landscape autumn fall foliage

"Firery Bush"

Acrylic on panel, 6" X 8"
Original  - $60

I often go for walks on the Jordan River Parkway.  The Parkway is not far from my home however the Parkway is quite long, running through the whole Salt Lake Valley starting at Utah Lake in the Utah Valley and dumping into the Great Salt Lake at the other end.  Thanks to conservation and restoration efforts the Parkway is full of beautiful, natural spaces as well as recreational opportunities.  In this case I was exploring an area of the Parkway not so close to my home, near the south end of the Salt Lake Valley in an area called the "Narrows".  I saw this small, simple scene with the bright red/orange bushes framed by a cool background and yellow grasses and just had to take photos and make sketches, I knew some day I would paint it, and I finally did, about two years later.  TMS #14 helped me establish the value pattern.  I used a palette knife for most of the painting so it's full of thick, textured paint.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

TMS #12, #13 and #14

I indicated in my last ten minute sketch post that in the future I'll be blogging multiple ten minute sketches in one post from now on, so here we are.

Ten minute sketch #12 is a pen sketch for planning a 24" X 12" painting I'm working on.  I made a measured outline for this sketch to make sure the proportions would be right.  The scene is a mountain landscape, the season is autumn but you can't really tell that from the pen sketch but I've had one two hour session with the painting and it's going well so far so you'll see before too long.
art sketch pen ink landscape mountain tree

Ten minute sketch #13 is another pen sketch based on a photo I took in a rural area so far North it was very close to the Idaho border. Just a simple sketch of a large oak tree next to a garage, probably not something I'd paint but it was a good sketch exercise. Maybe if I put a barn there instead.....

art sketch pen ink garage tree rural

I switched mediums for ten minute sketch #14.  This time I got the graphite pencils out.  I used this as a preliminary sketch for a small painting.  Small, simple paintings you can paint in an hour or so are good exercises to do now and then as well, I plan on making the painting very soon.  I wanted to use pencils for this sketch because I felt graphite could capture the subtle values and soft shapes of this natural landscape better than pen.  I'm a little rusty with the pencil, I probably should do my ten minute sketches with graphite for a while.

art sketch pencil graphite landscape nature bush

Sunday, December 6, 2015

TMS #11, Back to the Pen

You might notice that the last TMS I shared was #7.  I decided to not share the rest of the digital automotive sketches here. I've decided I've had enough digital for a while.  Every now and then I pick up my Surface Pro and play with the ArtRage for a while but I always return to traditional media.  While there are advantages to digital I don't find the process as enjoyable or the results as satisfying.  For an artist enjoying the process is of paramount importance.  A piece of art can take many hours to create, so no matter how good the result is or how convenient the medium might be, if the artist does not enjoy the process while creating the art he's likely to abandon it and even if he finishes the result will be lacking in some way.  Anyway, that's why I've ditched digital again....for now.  Spending a little time with the digital can be a good break now and then, so I'm sure I'll play with it more in the future.

Now, to TMS #11.  I used a Copic Multiliner 05 black pen to make this sketch of a common type of scene in the rural areas of northern Utah, 

art sketch pen ink barn rural derelict

An old, decrepit wood hay shed full of hay bales, one of those scenes that's so appealing for reasons we don't quite understand.  I think I might make a pen drawing based on this sketch, it's been a long time since I've done a pen drawing.

As for the Ten Minute Sketch thing, I'll continue to do them but I most likely won't do them every day, maybe four or five a week and I'll probably make my TMS post a weekly thing and post all of the TMS's from that week in one post, so check back in another week if you want to see the next batch.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Automotive Week Continues

I actually started this painting late last week.  I saw a photo from a car ad from 1917, a car as it turns out never made it into production, Homer-Laughlin.  The photo was black and white of course but that's probably why I noticed the striking composition it made.  The photo was of the whole front of the car but I thought a crop might make it even more dynamic. The car was a light color in the photo, probably white, I decided to use yellow and give the painting an abstract violet background to make the yellow pop.

"Yellow Antique"

Acrylic on panel, 16" X 12"

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Cloud Study

Occasionally I get in the mood to paint a mini.  Sometimes it's just to have the satisfaction of finishing a painting quickly, but even then I want to learn something from it.  I was in that mood yesterday and decided to use the opportunity to practice painting clouds.  Most of my paintings are mostly land, I rarely paint landscapes with a lot of sky in them, I decided to try something with a lot more sky and clouds in it for this experiment.

art painting landscape rural cloud sky barn

"Clouds Over Sanpete County"

Acrylic on panel, 5" X 7"
Original - $50

The painting is based on a photo I took west of Manti in Sanpete County.  Sanpete County is a somewhat remote rural area in central Utah, Manti being about a 2 1/2 hour drive from my home in the Salt Lake Valley. It's well worth the drive, lots of beautiful open space and big skies.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

TMS #5

Today's ten minute sketch is based on the same photo as the last one, just a different part of it.

art sketch pen ink cow pasture rural landscape

It's still trees, a pasture and some cows but a somewhat different composition.  I left the ditch out this time.  Instead of a tall group of trees in the middle I put the tallest trees at the left side and they more or less get shorter as you move to the right then I balanced it out with hills in the background.  I used only one foreground cow but put a few in the far distance to give the trees scale. I used the 0l Micron sepia pen again.

Friday, November 27, 2015

TMS #4

I took Thanksgiving day off and even today I didn't get to it until late but I did get my ten minute sketch in.
art pen sketch ink cows pasture rural landscape

This is a good example of how it's often possible to find multiple compositions in one photograph.  This sketch is based on a photo I took three years ago in Ogden Valley, Utah near Huntsville, but it's based on only a small portion of the photo.  The downside to this ten minute sketch's giving me too many ideas for paintings!  I used a Micron 01 sepia pen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

TMS #3

Three days in a row now, the new habit is having a good start.  This ten minute sketch is based on a photo I took in the Middle Provo Restoration Area in the Heber Valley in northern Utah.

pen sketch ink art landscape tree field road

No barns in this one.  I think this one would make a good painting.  I guess that's another advantage to this daily sketch habit, it helps my find and test painting ideas, as if I needed more.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TMS #2

I bit off a little more than I could chew with today's ten minute sketch.  I knew that going in though, so I focused on the most interesting part of the barn, even so I get less done than I hoped even though I actually spent about 15 minutes on it.

art pen sketch barn wood ink dilapidated

The reference photo came from one of the many taken on my day trips to the rural areas of northern Utah, unfortunately I don't remember which town.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ten Minute Sketch (TMS) #1

I've decided to try and get the daily ten minute sketch habit started.  The first thing I did when I came home from work was to blindly pull a reference photo from the middle of the stack sitting on my main art table and set the timer.

art sketch pen ink landscape house derelict tree rural

I used a Micron 01 sepia pen.  The reference photo was taken in Lake Point last year which is a small rural town north of Tooele and West of Salt Lake City on Interstate 80.

I'll admit I'm not good at sticking to ideas like this but I'll do my best.  I'm sure I'll miss some days and I'm sure I won't post everyday but I'll try to post every sketch I make, it just may end up being two or three or more at time in some posts.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Back to the Sketchbooks

I've been neglecting my sketchbooks lately, in fact I haven't taken them out this year much at all, geez, how lazy can I be?  Lack of time is no excuse, especially for me.  I decided I wouldn't waste another sunny autumn weekend day.  However, I got a late start, (that lazy problem again) and knew I'd have less than an hour before the sun hit the horizon so I just took a pen with one sketchbook and headed out to Wheeler Farm.  Using only a pen meant I couldn't get too fussy, my goal was to spend about ten minutes on each sketch.  I also had the goal of trying to quickly compose possible paintings.  I decided to stand while sketching as well in spite of my back problems, this forced me to sketch rapidly also.

art sketch pen ink barn wheeler farm
This is the main hay barn, along with my favorite old Dodge truck parked in front.   I modified the fence line to create a lead in.  Unfortunately the cows weren't out in the pasture today.

art sketch pen ink house wheeler farm

This is the old farm house, a fairly elaborate structure that was a challenge to sketch fast. The only real composing I did on this was just to pick the viewpoint and to eliminate a structure from the background at the right.  I liked how the big tree interacts with the left side of the house.  Yes, it covers some of the house and supposedly that's a compositional no-no but I don't care, I like it, and it adds a little mystery.

art sketch pen ink wheeler farm tractor Moline

Another of my old favorites, the orange Moline tractor out back.  This makes the third time I've sketched this tractor but from a different angle each time.  I eliminated clutter from the background and overlapped the tractor and tree more than what I was actually seeing.

Even though each of these sketches was done very quickly without editing this outing was very good exercise for both my drawing and observation skills.   These sketches combined with photos and previous color sketches give me plenty of information to make some new paintings, hopefully I'll get to them this winter.

I'm considering starting a daily ten minute sketch practice.  They won't often be outdoors since the weather is less favorable now and the days are short but sketching from imagination or photos is useful as well, it would make a good warm up for a painting session.  If I start doing the daily ten minute sketch thing I'll post the results here so stay tuned.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Going for a Walk

y favorite place for taking a walk is The Jordan River Parkway, a strip of restored/persevered natural space that runs through the middle of the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. In particular I enjoy the Murray-Taylorsville section, not only because it's the closest to where I live but because I think it is one of the most interesting sections.  One day in September I went for a walk there just before sundown and came across this interesting little scene.  In this small grouping of trees one had totally turned to it's fall colors and was even losing leaves, the others were only just beginning to turn.  This was the first definite sign to me that that autumn season was under way in spite of the unseasonably warm temperatures we were experiencing at the time.  I also liked the violet shadows cast by the tree behind me that created the perfect lead in, it was basically a composition made to order by nature, I just had to eliminate some of the background clutter, which consisted of bits of houses.

art painting acrylic landscape autumn fall foliage grass

"Fall Begins"

Acrylic on panel, 14" X 11"
Original - SOLD

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Roots and Rocks

I recently finished this small painting of a scene along a hiking trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah.  This canyon is only about a fifteen minute drive from my home so I visit often, the downside to that convenience is it's easy for all the rest of the residents of the Salt Lake Valley to go there too so it can get quite crowded.  This is why I usually go early in the morning and only stay until noon or so.  It was spring and the sun has just risen enough to illuminate this interesting arrangement of rocks and evergreen tree roots.  I did a sketch on site and only recently got around to painting a small study, maybe I'll tackle a larger version some day.

"Roots and Rocks"

Acrylic, 10" X 8"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

More Fall Goodness

This fall has been a weird one, the foliage in the valley isn't doing what I expected, some trees are bare but most are only beginning to turn, and it's already October 31st!  Crazy.  So, I dug into my photos from autumn seasons past to find good subject matter to paint in the studio.  I pulled out a photo I took in the small, rural farming community of Peterson, Utah last year.  The attraction was the bright red tree in the middle flanked by yellow-orange aspens.

"Autumn Barn"

Acrylic 16" X 12"

I actually ended up painting this one twice.  First I painted it mostly using brushes, but there was just something about it I didn't like.  I thought it was the red tree.  I decided to paint over the whole thing using a palette knife, I was even thinking I'd make the red tree more of a red-orange but in the end I decided to keep it.  I like it much better after going over it with the palette knife but I'm not sure why, all I did was make minor hue and value adjustments, I guess that plus the rich texture the palette knife creates was enough.

I haven't abandoned the idea of painting fall colors from life yet, in fact I painted outside today but the painting still needs some work so I'll post it later.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Just Couldn't Wait

We are having an unusual autumn this year.  The temperatures have been quite a bit higher than normal most days, even summer-like at times. This appears to have caused many trees to hold onto their leaves longer than normal, however some trees seem to operate on the clock regardless of the temperatures, maybe they are more effected by the days getting shorter and shorter regardless of temperature.  I took a trip up Big Cottonwood Canyon last week expecting to be treated to a magnificent show of color, I was very disappointed. Most of the aspen trees had already dropped their leaves, this time last year they were so bright as to seem to be on fire. I guess you just never know how the weather of the spring and summer will affect the trees during fall. I drove over the pass and into the Heber Valley which on first glance appeared to be mostly green still.  I was getting excited about the prospect of returning in a week or two to paint on the Middle Provo River, however when I got to the river I noticed something odd and disappointing, about half the trees were bare and the other half were still green.  The cottonwoods might still produce beautiful color but it will be spotty.  I've come to the conclusion that it might be best to just stay near home this fall, the best color might end up being right here in the Salt Lake Valley, hopefully plenty of it near the Jordan River, we'll see.  We don't have much color here in the valley yet.  I got impatient and pulled out a photo I took a couple years ago near the Jordan River Parkway and made a painting in the studio.

"Autumn Tree"

Acrylic, 16" X 12"

I'm very familiar with this little stand of trees as it is across the road from one of my favorite areas on the Jordan River Parkway in Murray, Utah.  The fall foliage on these trees was an especially bright yellow-orange.  I've even sketched this stand of trees in pen and watercolor.  Open fields like this in the middle of a neighborhood are a rare blessing nowadays, best to document them before they get developed. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Another Rusty Truck

Again, I'm not sure what the appeal is of an old, abandoned truck decaying into the landscape but I find myself attracted to the motif time and time again.  These scenes dot the western desert landscape, it's always like finding a little treasure when you see one.  In this case I had to help the scene, the reference photo came from my exploration of a salvage yard outside of a small, rural Utah town.  The 1950 Chevrolet flatbed truck was green, I changed it to yellow to play off the bright blue sky.  I started this one with a palette knife underpainting, every now and then I kind I just have to play with thick paint and heavy texture.  Painting these old trucks sure is fun.

"Abandoned Orange Chevy"

Acrylic on deep cradled panel, 12" X 16" X 1.9"
Original - $200

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Painting the Mundane

That's one of the great things about being an artist, you notice the beauty in the "mundane".  Actually, to an artist very little in the visual world is mundane, we are often inspired by the most simple or obvious things  That was the inspiration for this painting, a photo of one of those "mundane" scenes taken in a rural northern Utah town behind a gas station. I'm sure most of the residents of the area pass by this scene nearly every day hardly giving it a second thought. I have to admit though, I didn't even realize the whole scene was beautiful at first.  I saw the tree and liked the shape so I took some photos, unfortunately I didn't have time to do a sketch. Recently I was searching through my photos looking for a subject to try some experimentation with texture mediums on, I needed something simple, preferably natural. I came across a photo that looked promising, then looking closer realized it was a photo of that tree behind the gas station and then realized the landscape it was in was also a good composition and would work well for my next painting. I made almost no compositional changes from the photograph, I did however punch up the color and texture to make the image more vibrant and interesting. The painting was done almost entirely with palette knives, the exception being the clouds and the distant trees. I used heavy gel medium and modeling paste in this painting for the first time. The gel medium was used mostly for the background and the tree, the modeling paste was used in the grasses and foreground dirt.

art painting acrylic summer tree landscape nature

"Summer Tree"

Acrylic on panel 14" x 11" x 1/8"

Monday, September 7, 2015

An Experiment in Minimalism

I don't know where it came from but I got the idea of minimalist landscapes on my mind last week so I decided to try one;

art painting acrylic autumn minimalist poplar tree


"Autumn Poplars"

acrylic, 16" X 12"
Original - $200

I'm not sure this is really minimalism, but it is definitely much simpler than most of my paintings.  The reference photo was taken in the small rural town of Mountain Green, Utah in the middle of summer at midday. By limiting my palette to warm colors the scene became autumn at sunset.  I also kept the paint real thick so it would retain brushstrokes.  Here is a detail;

art painting detail minimalist autumn poplar tree

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Painting during the "Golden Hour"

I happened to be in the town of Sunset, Utah for an event.  After that event I had some time so I headed West where I know the area get's more and more rural the closer you got to the Great Salt Lake.  With less than two hours before the sun set I found a great little rural scene to paint.

art painting acrylic plein air hay shed rural

"West Point Hay Shed"

Acrylic on panel, 8" X 10"
Original - $100

I don't think I've ever painted during the hour or so before the sun set before.  It was a challenge to paint when the light was changing so fast, and to resist the temptation to chase it.  I noticed the closer it got to sunset the warmer the light got, the effect was quite pronounced.  This was the one temptation about chasing the light I caved into,  I glazed yellow ochre over the whole area around the hay shed to try and capture that warm light effect, I'm not sure I succeeded but I like it.  There was a tractor and a truck in the scene as well but the painting is just too small to try to add those things in, maybe I will if I paint a larger version in the studio.
I also had the opportunity to meet a local farmer, her name is Dixie.  It turned out I set up next to the irrigation gate and she stopped by a couple times to open or change the gate. In case you read this, thanks for taking an interest Dixie!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Back to the Acrylics

Okay, I've had my diversions for a while, I think I'm ready to return to painting with acrylics.  I just finished this small painting based on a photo I took of an abandoned 1941 Ford heavy truck sitting on a ranch rotting away, and missing a couple teeth from it's grill.

art painting acrylic truck abandoned rusty Ford

"Missing Teeth"

Acrylic on 1/8" panel, 8" X 10"
Original - SOLD

Hopefully I can focus now.  I really do enjoy painting loosely and impressionistically with acrylics, both in the studio and "en plein air" and I enjoy the finished art so why do I keep letting myself get distracted?  The occasional distraction isn't a bad thing, but I've been taking it way too far, I'll try to do better in the future.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Torn Between Two Loves

Today and yesterday have been kind of weird days.  I said in the last post I need to get back to a couple unfinished acrylic paintings, well I haven't, at least not yet.  Instead I've been feeling very conflicted about working in pastel vs working in acrylic.  I even went so far as to start an experiment last night.  I started two paintings of the same subject in the same size, one in acrylic and one in pastel.  I'd spend some time working in pastel, take a break then spend some time working in acrylic.  I did this a couple times last night and then again today.  Acrylic was winning, for some reason the pastel painting was fighting me.  It wasn't until today in the afternoon when is occurred to me it might be because I switched surfaces.  I painted "Red International" on Uart 400 which is a sanded paper I had mounted to acid free foam board.  For this experimental painting I switched to Ampersand Pastelbord.  I was so sure that I would like Pastelbord it didn't even occur to me that I might not, turns out I don't and am very surprised.  For some reason the pastel just was not coming off as easily with the Pastelbord, it felt scratchy rather than smooth.  The tooth was easier to fill in to get a smooth look, but the application wasn't smooth, it's hard to describe, I just didn't enjoy using it.  I'm sure it's the perfect surface for some people but not for me.  So now I'll have to restart the pastel side of my experiment using Uart paper this time. 

In the mean time I decided I need to take the pastels outside so I went to Olympus Hills Park in the city of Holladay, Utah.

art painting pastel landscape nature tree plein air

"Silver Trees by the Path"

5" X 7", Pastel on paper mounted to foam board
Original - $50

art painting pastel landscape plein air nature tree grass

"Young Tree"

10" X 8", Pastel on paper mounted to foam board
Original - $100

If you've been watching the blog for a while you can clearly see that the pastel medium results in far more colorful paintings for me.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing but it is interesting.

As for the experiment I'm sure there will be no clearly defined winner, there are good and not-so-good things about each medium.  I'm guessing I'll be going back and forth with them for a while, this is kind of hard to swallow for a guy that prefers simplicity.  I was real good at sticking with acrylics for nearly a year, but man how I've fallen off the wagon!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pastel Truck Painting, Finished

I finished the pastel painting of an old International truck,

art painting pastel truck international abandoned

"Red International"

Original - Not Available

I'm pretty happy with this one, but I have a couple acrylic paintings I need to get back to so I'll try to resist doing more pastel until I catch up.

For more information about this painting check the previous WIP blog post about it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pastel Truck WIP

What's that?  Pastel you say?  Yep, that's right, I dug the pastels (dry pastels that is) out and started a new painting.  I'll get back to the "Passed it's Hay Day" painting soon enough but for now I had the urge to get dusty.  I've never tried to do a truck painting with pastels, in fact it's been since last summer that I last painted with pastels. 

Since I expected this to just be a quick, "just for fun" sketch I dug out a failed painting and cleaned it off so I didn't have to prepare a new panel.  Turns out part of that old painting will work with this new one.  Also it turned out I was enjoying myself so much that I decided this won't be just a sketch.  Here it is so far;

The background hills were more or less in the old painting as was the tree/bush on the right, so a little bit of the work was already done for me.  Soft pastels are known for their vibrant color so I tried an experiment, I worked from a photo that I had converted to greyscale which meant the colors were totally up to me!  Once I got started I totally forgot that the truck in the photo was actually green with some red parts and instead painted the whole truck red with some orange accents.  Ya, I know the light version of red is pink, but pink always looks dull and chalky to me so I used a yellow-orange instead. 

I had so much fun with this tonight this could signal a return to pastels for me, we'll see.  First I need to finish this painting.  It does need some adjustments to the drawing but I think I can wrap it up in one more session.  Right now the painting is 15" X 17 1/2", I think in the end I'll probably crop it to a standard 12" X 16".

FYI, the truck is a 1953 or 54 International, I found it in a wrecking yard in Nephi, Utah.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Shanna Kunz Workshop Day Two

Today was the studio part of the two day "plein air to studio" two day workshop with Shanna Kunz.  We started the day with instruction and a demo from Shanna at the Bella Muse gallery. Here is a photo of Shanna working on a larger version of the plein air study she painted the day before. 

art painting workshop landscape Shanna Kunz

Shanna discussed the compositional changes she decided to make in order to emphasis the thing that made her the most interested in the scene and to de-emphasis the "supporting actors"  The info from this demo alone was worth the price of admission!

In the afternoon it was our turn to take our studies from the day before and enlarge and improve them.  Here is my 16" x 20" painting after nearly 4 hours of painting.

art painting landscape worshop acrylic nature green

This is still a work in progress.  As you can see the view  is much tighter than in my study, but I had done a thumbnail sketch of this composition yesterday and Shanna wanted me to try it.  We decided to try and keep the value range low key and the color temperature on the cool side.  I thought the painting was going pretty good in the workshop but when I got it home and looked at it again I wasn't so thrilled with it.  I guess I'm just not a low key kind of artist.  There are quite a few changes I want to make now so it will be some time before this one is finished.

I have watched a couple of demos by Shanna in the past and enjoyed them.  This was my first real art workshop and Shanna was even better as a workshop teacher.  Even though this workshop beat me up a bit mentally and physically I enjoyed it very much and would recommend classes, demos, and workshops by Shanna Kunz to any artist interested in improving their landscape painting skills.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shanna Kunz Workshop Day One

Today was the first day of a two day workshop I am attending with renown landscape artist Shanna Kunz. This is a "Plein Air to Studio" workshop.  We spent today painting "en plein air" in beautiful Ogden Valley, or more specifically in the Jefferson Hunt Campground area.

First Shanna painted a small demo for us.  Here is Shanna near the beginning of the demo and all the students diligently taking notes.

art painting workshop plein air demo Shanna Kunz

Here is the scene Shanna was painting;

photogrpaph landscape water stream nature Ogden Valley

Shanna did an excellent job of course but you'll just have to take my word on that.

Here are my two 8x10 studies for the day;

art painting plein air nature acrylic landscape green

"Spring Foliage"

10" X 8", Acrylic on panel
Original - $100

art painting plein air nature Ogden Valley green

"Ogden Valley Meadow"

8" X 10", Acrylic on panel
Original - $100

Tomorrow we work in the studio to develop one of our studies into a larger studio piece.  I think I'll be working on the second one, I can already see some things I'd like to improve.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Painting Spring in the Mountains

Okay, the calendar says officially that it's the first day of summer, but in the mountains it definitely still feels and looks like spring.  I spent the morning painting near the bottom of Cardiff Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains and it was simply glorious.  I usually paint 9" x 12" and smaller for outdoors but I plan on participating in a plein air event next week that requires 11" X 14" be the minimum painting size so I have to step up my plein air game size wise and so took some larger panels out.


"Perfect Day for a Hike"

Acrylic, 14" X 11"
Original - $160

"Cardiff Spring"

Acrylic, 16" X 12"
Original - $200

Many artists are afraid of green, especially the "acidic" greens of spring.  Not me, I love spring greens!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Painting Wild and Wet

No, I don't mean the paint, but rather the subject.  I spent the morning painting up in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  Easy access to Big Cottonwood Canyon from the Salt Lake Valley is both a blessing and a curse.  I love that I can be up in this beautiful wilderness in just fifteen minutes, I hate they everybody else can too.  I decided to go painting by the Mill B trailhead, there are some spots on Big Cottonwood Creek there that I wanted to paint.  Even though I got there just after 8:00 AM the main trailhead parking lot was already full with a long line of cars parked on the shoulder.  Luckily the upper, overflow parking lot still had spaces.  I guess I'm going to have to get out there even earlier in the future.

The spring runoff is fast and deep right now.

art painting plein air nature stream running water

"Spring Runoff"

 8" X 6", Acrylic on panel
Original - $60

art painting plein air waterfall nature creek

"Raging Water"

10" X 8", Acrylic on panel
Original - $100

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just Can't Stop

I just finished yet another palette knife painting.

art painting acrylic palette knife landscape tree

"Lone Tree"

12" X 16", Acrylic on panel
Original - $200

This painting is based on a photo I took in the small rural town of Fairfield, Utah.  I've now started collecting alternative painting tools, including quite an assortment of palette knives.

art painting palette knives acrylic colour shaper

I haven't used all of these yet.  I used four of them in this painting including one of those odd Princeton rubber shapers, the one that looks like a spade.  I used that tool for most of the grass, probably not the way that Princeton intended.  The last palette knife on the right is one I just bought Saturday and I used it to add most of the foliage detail since it's narrow and has a rounded tip.  I probably used brushes on this painting the least of any painting so far.

I thought you might like to see what my palette looked like at the end of this painting.

art painting acrylic palette messy used color

I did have to clean it off once at the end of the first session, so this is how it looked at the end of the second session.  I use a Masterson Sta-Wet palette box but I don't use the sponge or paper. Instead I have a piece of glass in the bottom that's painted a neutral gray on one side.  I find glass much easier to mix on plus it's very easy to clean off using a razor blade scraper.  I used to use folded up dampened paper towel to set my paint piles on but I always had mold issues no matter what I did so now I don't and I don't really find the lack of moisture to be much of a problem, I just mist my paints every few minutes with an atomizer.  Notice how I keep my palette "attached" to the front of my easel.  I have a couple hooks screwed into the back of the easel and just let the lip of the box catch them.  Gravity is enough to keep everything in place and stable.  I learned this trick watching a DVD by John K. Harrell, though he uses a butcher tray for his palette.  Since the palette is just sitting there, not really attached it's easy enough to unhook it and put the air tight lid on to preserve the paint.

 For those artists that are curious here are the names of the paints I use starting from the left and going to the right, these are all Liquitex brand.  First is titanium white, then cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow medium, yellow oxide, burnt sienna, cadmium red light, cadmium red medium, ultramarine blue (red shade), ultramarine blue (green shade) and cerulean blue.  I don't normally put cerulean on my palette but for some reason I thought this painting needed some.