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