Wednesday, June 17, 2020

First Plein Air Painting of the Year

The weather here has been quite variable this June.  We had high temps drop all the way down into the 50's for a couple days accompanied by crazy wind and thunderstorms so dark it felt like late evening.  Then it got warm for a few days., then if got real cool again. This week has been on the cool side but not uncomfortably so and most importantly it's been at least partly sunny.

I took advantage of the finer weather to get out and paint outdoors (plein air) for the first time this season.  I've sketched outdoors a few times but this is the first time I took the whole painting set up out. I decided to take out the pastels because acrylics can be difficult in our dry climate but I might give the acrylics a try later this week.

landscape painting pastel nature art

I set up at a trailhead on the Jordan River Parkway near where I live in Taylorsville, Utah.  The parkway runs through the whole valley and is full of scenes ripe for the "canvas".  I took a couple short live videos on my Facebook page.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Catching Up

Well, I've been a bit derelict in my blogging duties, I have a few new paintings to catch up on here.

art painting landscape acrylic rural impressionist
The Road
This one is a small "6x8" paint over of an older painting.  The old one was a bit overworked, too detailed and dull for me now but I liked the composition so I painted over it in a looser, more vibrant style, much improved I think.  The reference is a photograph I took in the small rural town of Willard, Utah.

art painting abandoned tractor farmall rural farm machinery antique
Abandoned Farmall Tractor
Painting number two is also an impressionist brush painting rather than my usual more abstract knife paintings.  The subject is an antique "unstyled" early Farmall tractor rusting away in a field.  The painting is based on a photograph I took at the Erickson Ranch in Wallsburg, Utah.

art painting landscape spring nature mountains
Cardiff Spring
Another paint over, this time with the knives though and a little more abstract.  The painting was originally painted on location a few years ago in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah at the opening of Cardiff Fork.  It was spring and the wildflowers were abundant. Again, the result of the paint-over was a more lively, vibrant image.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Leaning towards Abstraction

I'm sure many artists can relate. Sometimes you get an idea in your head and just can't shake it, and finally it doesn't matter what's currently on the easel, you have to set it aside and get that thing out of your head and in paint.
I experienced a bit of that this week.  The poor tractor painting has been on and off my easel for over two weeks, it came off again a couple days ago. I kept having in my head the idea of pushing abstraction even further while staying representational and using knives.  It's no grand idea, but it seemed like it might be a new development for me, so I couldn't wait.  I took the tractor painting off the easel and took a small painting I did years ago but was in an older impressionist style I don't really do anymore and painted the same thing over it but with knives and thick paint while keeping in mind to make it as abstract as I could but still recognizable.

art painting landscape autumn nature aspen tree fall
Dreaming of Autumn
Like I said, this one is small, just 8" X 6".  I kept the same name "Dreaming of Autumn".  When I painted the original version it was August and it had been an especially hot and dry summer.  While I love summer I was feeling a need for a break and so I took a break mentally by painting an early autumn scene featuring a colorful field and aspen trees in the background.  The reference photo I used was taken at a rest area on the Monte Cristo road (state highway 30) in Rich County Utah.

I think I like where this is taking me, I'm sure there will be more experiments to come, maybe even a larger version of this painting eventually.

Oh, what about that tractor painting?  Here's a work in progress photo.  As you can see I'm using brushes, not knives and keeping it more impressionistic than abstract.

tractor art abandoned painting work in progress
Tractor painting WIP

Monday, June 1, 2020

Daily Sketch Challenge May 2020 - Day 31

It's finally the last day of my daily sketch challenge. What better way to top it off than to head up Big Cottonwood Canyon and do some sketching in the mountains. I picked kind of an unusual subject for a mountain sketch but I couldn't resist it when I saw it. Mountain homes have always intrigued me, they usually have a very distinct design and usually an interesting interaction with the natural shapes around them. I never noticed this house before, I suspect before long the foliage will be full enough that you can't even see it from the parking lot of Brighton Ski Resort which is where I was when I sketched it.

pen watercolor sketch mountain house aspen tree
Day 31 - Mountain Home - Daily Sketch Challenge Day 31
When I was young I seriously considered pursuing a career in architectural rendering, I'm glad I didn't for several reasons, the primary being that computers took over and took all the fun out of it.

As I mentioned before I said I would share my larger sketch kit that requires a backpack to carry around.

sketch kit pencil graphite eraser pen water brush
Pencil Case
The first photo is my pencil case full of not only graphite pencils but pens, erasers, a water brush and a sharpening pad. 

watercolor palette paint medium cup painting
Watercolor Palette
In the second photo is my watercolor palette. I don't know who the manufacturer is, it's a clamshell type and has a rubber seal but doesn't really seal all that well. I screwed a piece of aluminum to it that I can clip medium cups to. The paints are all Holbein.

watercolor block easel board tripod painting
Easel and Tripod
In the third photo you can see my watercolor sketch block resting on a board that I installed a 1/4-20 nutsert on to allow it to be attached to the mini tripod below.

sketch kit watercolor brushes Jack Richeson
The last photo is my brushes, a Jack Richeson portable brush set. 

I also sometimes use a 6X8 mixed media sketch book (spiral bound) and set it on the lid of the watercolor palette and just hold it to the palette with my hand doing away with the board and tripod and use a water brush instead of the medium cups and brushes for a more simplified setup.