Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Flying High

Flying High, 16 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

This painting represents pure summertime joy... birds flying high in a playful sky and shimmering colors on the marsh... island time, my fave! I can never get enough! Is it a coincidence that I am dreaming of warm sea breezes on this freezing day in November? I think not! ;)

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Start planning now...
2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
May 8-9, 2020 - Austin, Texas

Monday, November 11, 2019

Passing Through - wonderful workshop weekend!

Passing Through, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

The weather in central Texas has been erratic this fall, and as my plein air workshop approached, I knew to plan for any eventuality. As it turned out, we had one cold wet day (spent in the studio) and one gorgeous sunny day (spent at a local organic farm). As much as I hate to teach plein air painting INDOORS, we make the best of it and some great learning always goes on! "Passing Through" is my demo from the first day using a photo reference. 

My students made the weekend so much fun. They were focused, tenacious, and undeterred. They jumped right in, rain AND shine! Below are shots of a few of them from Boggy Creek Farm where we enjoyed a perfect plein air day!

 Finding a spot in the shade is a "must" in Texas (even in the fall).

 Picnic painting!

Many thanks to all!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Country Field - Aesthetic vs. Reality

Country Field, 8 x 6, Oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2019
SOLD

"Country Field" is a small demo I painted for a plein air workshop this past spring. After I finished and even signed it, I was bothered by some things. While I had managed to replicate the scene, it wasn't aesthetically pleasing to me. An additional lesson came to mind what is more important: aesthetic or reality? I say aesthetic.  

Sometimes it is necessary to adjust reality a bit to accurately portray what we SEE and FEEL about our subject. Permission granted to make changes for the betterment of your painting! 

In this case, I had stuck a little too close to the real thing and lost the feeling of the place... so... I did some adjusting! Below you can see the before and after photos of this piece, and a photo of the scene. 

Changes I made and why:
1) I gave the main tree shape a more interesting shape by cutting back in with sky and distant tree line. Before, the main tree was too perfectly round and static.
2) I cooled down distant row of trees. Before, the distant trees were not receding enough, or separating enough from the front tree.
3) I added more fencing on the right. Before, there was too much weight on the left side. The added fence counterbalances that weight and creates a more specific "path" into the scene.
4) I lightened up the highlights on the trees. Before, the highlights did not fully convey the light that came and went that day.
5) I added Bluebonnets. Before, there was no reference to season. It was Texas Spring! Bluebonnets were everywhere else and I had plenty of reference. HAD to!

Above: Before 
Below: After

And here is a photo of the scene... 



Thursday, October 31, 2019

Autumn Grazing - AWA Show at RS Hanna Gallery!

Autumn Grazing, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2019
On display at the RS Hanna Gallery, SOLD in pre-sale! :)

This weekend, please join us at the opening reception for this year's American Women Artist (AWA) show in Fredericksburg, Texas! Here is the info...

A Tradition of Excellence
American Women Artists at the RS Hanna Gallery
244 West Main St, Fredericksburg, TX
On display through December 7
Reception November 1, 6-9 pm

As you can see, I was not quite done with my Longhorn series, and I suspect I will revisit these guys again in the future. AND... I am delighted to share that they have already found their forever home! YAY! 

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2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
May 8-9, 2020 - Austin, Texas

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Texas Spring - Managing a Commission

Texas Spring, 24 x 30, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2019
Commissioned Painting - SOLD

As I shared in my last post, I was commissioned earlier this year to paint a classic Texas scene. It has all the usual suspects of the Texas Hill Country; oak trees, bluebonnets, a big sky and longhorns! Many thanks to my incredible client... she was a dream to work with!!

A word about commissions...
Commissions can be complicated, but I've learned to enjoy them. The key is communication. When I explain my process to clients and keep them in the loop, all goes well. It is important to establish a detailed timeline with achievable check-in points, and then to meet each deadline. Meet EACH deadline. I can not tell you how important this is (and really, it's true in every business!) Being reliable is almost as important as the final product. 

After a nice long discussion with my client (which included looking at lots of my other work), we agreed on the subject matter. I try to really understand what the client wants and we get there with LOTS of visuals. After that, we agreed on a process that would include the following check-in/approval points: 1) a sketch of the proposed scene, 2) a color study of the proposed scene, 3) the block-in stage for composition placement on actual piece, 4) final image at completion.

It might be helpful to note that I WANT the client's approval at each of these stages when I do a commission. I don't find it annoying because truly, it's the key to success. And after all, my greatest desire is that the client will LOVE the finished piece! Changes are much easier early on, and last minute surprises are not good for anyone this process!

Here is how it went... 

CHECKPOINT 1 - The Graphite Sketch, 8x10, for composition. 
After discussing with my client, we agreed to enlarge the scene. She wanted more of our big Texas sky, and more reference to clouds... NOT approved, see fix...

Expanded Graphite Sketch, 10x13, modified composition.
Since my client loved all the other elements, I simply adjusted the drawing to include more sky (you can see the original edge.) APPROVED!

CHECKPOINT 2 - Color Study in Oil, 12x16, for color, value, and mood.
Note that this study is not in the correct proportions. Normally I would recommend staying true to proportions throughout. It's just easier. Since my client was able to visualize these colors in the expanded scene, she felt she had enough and did not require another study - yay. APPROVED!

CHECKPOINT 3 - Painting Block-in in oil, 24 x 30, for placement.
Hopefully, when I present the block-in to my client, it looks A LOT lite the approved drawing. However, if something is off, or bothers them, I would rather know and fix it at this stage. (I don't want to be moving trees or adding a longhorn after the painting is complete.) APPROVED!

CHECKPOINT 4 - Finished Piece, 24 x 30, oil on canvas
Usually, by the time I get to this point in the painting, my client has been so much a part of the journey that it feels like we have finished it together! I'm not saying there are never changes, but I find the changes are completely manageable when expectations are properly set. APPROVED! 

And there is nothing quite like that final approval! AHHHHHH! :)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Texas Spring (study for commission)

Texas Spring (study), 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

Back in the spring, I was commissioned to paint a "classic Texas" scene. What did that include? Well, live oaks and bluebonnets of course, but there was also a request for some TEXAS LONGHORNS! If you follow college athletics, especially football, you will have heard of Bevo, our beloved Longhorn mascot at the University of Texas. This painting was to be a gift for my client's husband, who is an alum. I totally "got it"... why it was important, why it had to be. This is Longhorn country and I am a fan, so I happily jumped right in! 

The first thing I did was to find a local ranch where I could study an actual herd, and take pictures from lots of angles. I had a lot of fun on that mission, and this field study became the jumping off point for the commission piece that came later. My next post will be all about the process of a commission, and how this one came together. Please stay tuned! 

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2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
May 8-9, 2020 - Austin, Texas

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Welcome to the Winery - with process shots!

Welcome to the Winery, 10 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

This is a demo from my spring workshop in Wimberley, TX, an all-inclusive art retreat, where it's all art, all the time! It's a perfect way to teach and to learn! So much bonding, so much art opportunity, so many break throughs and so much fun! My next one is on the calendar coming up in March 2020! Join us (see below)!

On one of the days, we painted at a local winery. This is the road that leads to the tasting room and I couldn't resist the tunnel effect of the trees and the one-point perspective provided by the driveway. The workshop was all about composition, and this was a perfect example of using the design to lead the eye. Below are process shots of the piece coming together...

Block in using ultramarine and burnt sienna. Establish focal point from the beginning.

Mass in dark uprights. Use the best average color and value, and go after big shapes. 
(Painting is rubber banded into a wet panel carrier. Please excuse obstructed view.)

Mass in Ground Plane. Again, use best average color and value and simple shapes. 

Break up masses with subtle shifts of temperature and value. This allows detail to be "suggested" without getting too fussy. Add highlights to indicate light and pop the color (be careful not to overdo it!)

You can see that I made some adjustments on the final piece: 1) The tasting room needed defining (it had grown taller than planned) and brightening (it was too muted). 2) The tree shadows broke up the road too evenly, so I tightened up the space between. 3) The tree foliage was pointing out of the picture, so I spread/enlarged the canopy in order to bring the eye back down and INTO the tunnel leading to the winery. 

Regarding #3... sometimes things need adjusting! :)

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2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
May 8-9, 2020 - Austin, Texas

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Sunny Fence Line

Sunny Fence Line, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

Sometimes the simplest of scenes break my heart. The way the sun beams through, lighting all in its path, casting long deep shadows, and adding a diamond dazzle to everything common... I'm smitten. This little scene is one of those spots. I just want to walk down that path... I'm pretty sure there is a really fabulous gathering going on in there! :)

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2019 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:
November 8-9, 2019 - Austin, Texas

2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:
March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
May 8-9, 2020 - Austin, Texas

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Gathering Spot

The Gathering Spot, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

This was another plein air excursion in the Golden Isles of Georgia. I never get enough of the birds and marsh it seems, and I especially love when the birds hang out while I paint. They don't necessarily stand still, but I do get to watch their connection to the marsh and observe the gestures of their hunting. They are definitely influenced by their peers... when one takes off, the rest are right behind him! Those three guys in the water are definitely fixin' to fly... no question! 

I'm counting the days until I can go back.


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2019 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

November 8-9, 2019 - Austin, Texas
Contemporary Austin Art School, FULL - Register for waitlist Here 

2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
Contact Helena Hauk, Wimberley Artists Workshops, 800-327-1913
Date is firm - details coming soon!

April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
Contact Mary Anderson, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, 912-634-8414

May 8-9, 2020 - Austin, Texas
Contemporary Austin Art School, Registration opens in December

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pier Reflections - and a good lesson

Pier Reflections, 10 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019
NFS

This little piece is one of my favorites of the year, and maybe it's because of how it came about. I was out painting one morning and had really made a mess of things (BTW - you will never see that one!) At lunchtime, it was obvious that rain was coming, but I was not ready to quit. I hate going home with nothing. Thankfully, my painting buddy was in agreement and we decided to go for it and race the storm. 

Well. Something happens when we have to work fast... have you noticed that? Our creative brains take over and our worry (fear) is released. After all, if it doesn't turn out, it's because of the rain, right? But isn't that just when everything clicks? When we stop overthinking and obsessing? Such a good lesson, and one I've had to learn over and over again!

The end of the story? I finished the painting and got it covered just as the clouds burst. I was soaked to the skin by the time I got everything in the car, but I was happy. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Dockside Line Up

Dockside Line Up, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

Shrimp boats in the low country make such a beautiful sight... whether they are hard at work out in the ocean (with millions of birds circling them), or resting quietly at the dock. I love painting them because it's such a challenge. They are incredibly complicated with booms and nets and lines going everywhere. But for me, it's all about the overall scene... the light, the setting, the colors, and the feeling. Too much hard detail will distract from that. My strategy is to get the basic positions, shapes, and angles as accurate as possible, and simply suggest all the rigging. Then I let the eye fill in the rest. 

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2019 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

November 8-9, 2019 - Austin, Texas
Contemporary Austin Art School, FULL - Register for waitlist Here 

2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
Contact Helena Hauk, Wimberley Artists Workshops, 800-327-1913
Date is firm - details coming soon!

April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
Contact Mary Anderson, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, 912-634-8414

May 8-9, 2020 - Austin, Texas
Contemporary Austin Art School, Registration opens in December

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sea Breezes and a great surprise!

Sea Breezes, 40 x 30, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2019
Sold at the Anderson Fine Art Gallery

Last week I shipped this painting to the Anderson Fine Art Gallery in Georgia, fresh off the easel. I was very happy with the piece and excited to be replenishing my inventory. What could be better? Well, here is what... my gallery's owner stuck it right in the window of the shop, and two hours later it was SOLD! Yeee Haw!!!! Such a wonderful surprise - Thank you new collectors, and thank you Anderson Gallery!!!!! :)



Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Cottage Entrance

Cottage Entrance, 8 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019
Available at Anderson Fine Art Gallery - Click for information

This is a historical tabby cabin that is left over from the Hamilton Plantation on St. Simons Island, in Georgia. It is called "tabby" because of its building materials. Tabby is a mixture of equal parts sea shells, sand, lime and water. It was used by the Spanish settlers in the South and made use of indigenous materials. Very resourceful of those settlers, don't you think? Readily available, free... such a deal! 

I've painted this many times, so if it looks familiar, that is why. It's one of those places that calls me back at different seasons, for different angles, and at different times of day. I always seem to see something new.

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2019 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

November 8-9, 2019 - Austin, Texas
Contemporary Austin Art School, FULL - Register for waitlist Here 

2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
Contact Helena Hauk, Wimberley Artists Workshops, 800-327-1913
Date is firm - details coming soon!

April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
Contact Mary Anderson, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, 912-634-8414

Monday, October 7, 2019

Turquoise Vase - Simple Shapes Before Detail

Turquoise Vase, 24 x 24, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2019
SOLD in solo show "Beaches, Birds and Botanicals"

I do love a vessel full of Hydrangeas, and I was very happy when a sweet young couple shared that love and snapped up this piece! It's fun to see young families picking mutual favorites, imagining a place on their walls, and thoughtfully building their art collections. Well... let's face it, it is fun to see ANYONE building their art collection!

For my painter friends out there, here is a tip I find most helpful...
I often talk about my general painting process, but with this piece I want to emphasize the importance of building your paintings on a foundation of big shapes and simple values. Why? Because working from simple to complex sets you up for a much more satisfying finish than diving straight into the details. AND, hydrangeas are a great subject to illustrate that principle. 

My block-in focuses on large shapes of shadow and light. 
I purposefully avoid the individual petals of the flowers... EVEN THOUGH there are millions of them. My goal at this point: authentic shapes, edges and profile.

Going to color, I hang on tightly to the simple shapes.
I keep the shadow and light families separated, and I am still avoiding individual petals! My goal at this point: a subject that is recognizable by shape before any "detail" is added. I often want to stop at this point because I love the simplicity (and sometimes I do!) ;)

At completion, details emerge but my foundational value shapes remain. 
I loosely suggest petal detail with subtle shifts within the light family, and 
subtle shifts within the shadow family. And never the twain shall meet (meaning, the two value ranges do not overlap much or at all.) In the end, the shadow and light patterns tell the story, not the details! (Click HERE to see the painting "details" in a high res image.)

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2019 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

November 8-9, 2019 - Austin, Texas
Contemporary Austin Art School, FULL - Register for waitlist Here 

2020 PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP INFO:

March 30-April 2, 2020 - Wimberley, Texas
Contact Helena Hauk, Wimberley Artists Workshops, 800-327-1913
Date is firm - details coming soon!

April 16-18, 2020 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
Contact Mary Anderson, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, 912-634-8414