Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Evening Song

Evening Song, 30 x 24, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017

A few weeks ago I posted a study for this larger work that is now on it's way to the Anderson Fine Art Gallery on St. Simons Island in Georgia!! On occasion, my heart breaks with the beauty of the low country and it's dramatic skies. I can never get enough! As I took this piece larger, I didn't want to lose any of that drama, and that required staying committed to the dark passages. Below is an image of my block-in, where I laid those darks in pretty boldly. 

Evening Song Block In

You may be wondering about that little passage of yellow... Early on in the block in, I used Indian Yellow to lay in some of the light areas. Indian Yellow is transparent, and is a perfect "place holder" for passages that will be that color. The transparency allows it to save the yellow areas without contaminating the darks that need to surround it. I used it to hold the spots higher up in the sky as well, I just forgot to take another photo. Try to imagine! :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunflower Fields Aglow

Sunflower Fields Aglow, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Sunflowers are such happy flowers, don't you think? I just finished a series of larger sunflower pieces for an upcoming group exhibit, and this backlit field of the giant stalks was a little study I did in preparation. I love their brilliant color and saucer-like forms. Painting them brought me great joy! (I kinda became obsessed!) 

Please stay tuned for the larger pieces and more information on that group show when it opens in July!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Iron Gate and Revising a Painting

Iron Gate (Revised), 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

Sometimes I feel the need to revise a painting. This inevitably happens when something is a bit "off" and it just keeps bugging me until I do something about it. Of course, my goal is to notice these things when I am in the process of making the piece, not days or weeks later. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes days or weeks to realize what is bothering me. This is one of those pieces, and I thought it might be interesting to talk about my process of making changes. 

Problems/Solutions in this piece:

1) Problem: The wall had an odd notch in it; and even though it was true to what I saw, it didn't make sense in the painting. 
Solution: Removed the wall notch!

2) Problem: The cypress trees were too dark and looked flat. 
Solution: Intensified highlights on trees. 

3) Problem: The foreground didn't lead "in" as much as I wanted it to. 
Solution: Added blue flowers in the foreground and popped highlights on gate and lamp. This brings the eye to entrance of painting.

Here is the "Before" and "After"

Reworking a painting: 
1) Wait till painting is dry. 
2) Wet the entire painting with linseed oil, then buff it off. This restores luster of dried pigment and allows fluidity for application of new paint. (If you use Liquin or some other medium, you would use that instead. Refined linseed is my only medium, so that works well for me.)
3) Mix the same colors that are in the painting and make changes area by area (test in small areas first.) 
4) For the wall: I mixed wall color and painted right over the dry trees behind to remove the notch. Then I added highlights to new portions of wall. 
5) For the cypress trees: I started with the original color of the tree and re-painted that base color. Then I modified the new wet layer with my highlight tone. 
6) Blue flowers and highlights: I mixed the colors and laid them in with a liner brush. Extra linseed oil makes the paint flow better from a liner brush. 
7) Newly painted areas will dry dull (oils "sink"). You will need to varnish or oil out the painting when it dries again. 

As an alla prima painter, I prefer working wet into wet. This approach allows me to modify  a dry painting without loosing that alla prima look. Often, just a few small changes make a big difference. I like this little painting so much more now! :)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Swirling Vines - with process shots

Swirling Vines, 12 x 16, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Collection of the artist

The Georgia coastline and St. Simons Island are known for their huge Live Oak trees draped in Spanish Moss. I love them so much (and have since my first encounter), AND I find them very challenging to paint. There is just so much going on... this one was especially complicated, with tangled vines wrapped all around its multiple trunks. 

Below is a photo of the scene and some process shots. You can see that I simplified the background quite a bit, a necessary sacrifice in order for the tree to emerge. One thing I have learned along the way is that you can't have it all! ;) (That is true for a lot of things, isn't it?)

Setting the scene... the tangled tree in a grove of Live Oaks.

In my initial sketch, I tried to establish the movement of the vines.

As the painting progressed, details came and went... and came back again!

When the light peeked through, I popped in highlights and final marks.
That moss? I dragged it in at the very end.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Western Sky (Study)

Western Sky (Study), 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

This was truly a fleeting moment that I was happy to capture on my camera, so that I could revisit it in the studio. Skies like this happen almost nightly on the Georgia coast. I never tire of the sun's dramatic exit!! I did this small study in preparation for a larger piece I just finished. I will share that one a little later when it is signed, sealed and delivered to the gallery (or at least on it's way.)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Antique Beauty

Antique Beauty, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Over the Memorial holiday weekend, I came across this antique car, sitting ever so pretty by the side of the road. Its owner had wandered over to an adjacent fishing pier, so I thought I might have time to give it a go. Just as I was finishing she came back, jumped in, and drove off. The good news is that I was almost finished... the bad news is that I never got to see what kind of car it was. Well, that is not completely true... I could easily see that it was a very CUTE car (I just don't know what make and model it was)!