Monday, March 29, 2010

Leaning Oak (Demo)

Leaning Oak (Demo), 5 x 8

I promised my students that I would post this demo of the block-in technique we worked with this week in class. I must give credit to Kevin MacPherson, who teaches this approach in his workshops and book, "Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color". (Please read it for further explanation and fabulous examples.)

Blocking-In with Simple Shapes and Values...

Sketch. Begin with a simple, outline sketch of your subject for placement purposes and overall composition of canvas only. Keep loose and avoid detail.

Colorful shadows first. Paint shadow patterns throughout canvas - using best average color and value for each area. Keep shapes simple and flat; you are still avoiding any detail or modeling.

Fill in lights. Paint light patterns throughout canvas - again using best average value and color for each area. Canvas will be covered; shapes will be simple, flat and undetailed. "Block-in" is complete at this point. Double check value and color relationships and make any needed corrections.
The Finish. This is where individual mark-making, personal finessing, and adding desired detail takes place. Using subtle value changes and temperature shifts, break up large masses (only as needed - this is easy to overdo). Be careful to keep shadow family and light family separate (subtle shifts stay within each family.) Step back often and quit before you go too far. RESTRAINT is a good word to keep in mind.
The point of this block-in approach is to work quickly to cover the canvas with accurate value and color. When details are added too soon, we get attached to those details and lose objectivity. We resist making important corrections because of that loss.
Finally, this should all be fun so enjoy the process. That is the most important part. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Western Skies (enlarged)

Western Skies, 18 x 18

This is the first larger piece of the big skies out west. I made a few small changes from the smaller study, but the most significant change is the addition of the fence opening. It seemed an important element for drawing the viewer "in" and when I played around with it, I liked it better.

I also want to let you know that Daily Paintworks has a new member! Welcome to Susan Abbott of Vermont, an outstanding artist who works in several different media and genres. I think you will love her work which you can see on her blog. And if you haven't visited the Daily Paintworks site lately, stop by and see what all twelve of us are doing!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Western Skies Study

Western Skies Study, 6 x 6, SOLD
I am working on a series of big sky paintings that got into my head when I was out in West Texas and the Davis Mountains. I have done several small studies for this series and will post them as I complete the larger versions. I love how the open range goes on for miles and miles out there; it makes the sky seem bigger and more dramatic.
See more Small Works

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Sweden Church

New Sweden Church, 12 x 12

Today a group of us met at this lovely vintage church out in the countryside. It was established by Swedish immigrants in 1876 and this building was built in 1923 (they had outgrown their original stone building down the road, where the cemetary still stands.) The copper steeple is 104 feet tall and can be seen for miles in the surrounding farmland. Being a good Scandinavian myself (my maiden name is Anderson) I felt right at home here. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blossoming Spring

Blossoming Spring, 6 x 8, SOLD
For friends and family who live in colder regions - New York, Michigan, Canada (and others) - I would like to offer a little hope about the reliability of spring. We are getting it here and I know it's coming your way too, so hold tight. Bare trees are setting buds and the flowering trees are blooming out. Wherever home is, I think we are all "ready" when spring arrives. There is something so comforting about life returning to the earth...
Thanks for all the get well wishes! I am feeling much better. (Tamiflu works wonders but I am still laying low... I got this painting in on Thursday morning before the onslaught.)
See more Small Works

Friday, March 12, 2010

After the Cloudburst

After the Cloudburst, 12 x 16
On Wednesday afternoon, we had a short but dramatic thunderstorm - there was even lightning. It just kind of rolled in and rolled out leaving large cloud banks lingering on the horizon. Since I had been teaching all morning my stuff was already in the car, so I got myself down to the lakeside as quick as I could to catch a few of them.
In a health and wellness side note: remember that great husband of mine who brought me the beautiful flowers on Valentine's Day? He is just so giving - this week he brought me the flu! Hopefully my Tamiflu prescription will keep me from getting it too bad, but I am down for the count. So not fun.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crossing the Creek

Crossing the Creek, 16 x 12
Last week, Julie Davis and I met up to paint at one of our local parks. It is one of those places with hidden trails through a wooded neighborhood that no one really knows about. This hidden spot is along that secret trail... just over the creek.

Monday, March 8, 2010

City Silhouettes

City Silhouettes, 8 x 6, SOLD

Last week Plein Air Austin met at Ladybird Lake to paint off the pedestrian bridge. I was too late to catch the sunrise, but the Austin city skyline was still shimmering in silhouette. It's nice to be up early.

See more Small Works

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Old Pueblo and Newspaper Feature!

Old Pueblo, 9 x 12

This is the last of my Davis Mountain paintings. This crumbling pueblo sits in a small neighborhood in Fort Davis. No one has lived in it for a very long time but thankfully it stands as a reminder to a different time. Life carries on all around; I could hear the constant bleating of a neighbor's goat and a radio blasting as one family enjoyed their Sunday afternoon. It made me wonder about the families who lived and loved here.

On a completely different note... May I share a bit of personal joy?? I was featured in the profile section of our local community newspaper!! A astute little boy summed it up for me last night when he saw the paper on the coffee table. "You have a great life," he said. SO TRUE. You can read it online by clicking here: "Laurel Daniel - Changing Light", Westlake Picayune, 3/4/10.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sunlit Valley Morning

Sunlit Valley Morning, 9 x 12

This was the view off my porch while I was in the mountains. Early in the morning, the valley would slowly light up as the sun peaked over the mountain tops. Those terrifically long shadows get me every time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Evening Tree Sketch

Evening Tree Sketch, 16 x 12
(Back to the Davis Mountains paintings...)
This whimsical tree was just dancing on the hillside as the sun lowered in the sky, but I had too large a canvas and only enough time for a quick sketch. Details gave way to simplicity and the bare essentials; a "good" lesson forced on me by the unforgiving, retreating sun. It was pitch black out when I packed up. I am pretty sure I left a brush or two behind. :)