Monday, November 25, 2019

Plantation Lawn - demo notes!

Plantation Lawn, 6 x 8, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2019

Plantation Lawn is a demo from my spring workshop in St. Simons Island, GA. We were painting at the historical Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation (we always go to wonderful places and have a great time! Just sayin'...) If you are thinking about putting a workshop on your Christmas list, I would love to have you come to one of mine! For full details and contact info, please visit my website. Here are the dates and locations... 

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

And here is a snippet of the day. I often start with a paint along demo, where students follow the same steps as me. It helps to step through the whole process together, and the "see and do" aspect reinforces muscle memory (for both brain and hand...

Getting started - Compose with lines and shapes that will direct eye flow. Create an "envelope" to contain shapes (sometimes they want to grow).

Block-in value patterns of large shapes. Mass-in Upright planes in the shadow family.

 Mass-in Upright planes in the light family.

Mass-in ground plane and sky plane.

Finishing - Finesse edges and add final highlights at the very end.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Crooked Little Tree - repeat post with active link for purchasing

Crooked Little Tree, 8 x 6, Oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019


Due to technical difficulties (okay, okay, due to operator error) I posted this small painting two days ago with a broken link to PayPal. If you were interested in purchasing it and couldn't get through, please try again. It wants to find its forever home! :)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Crooked Little Tree (purchase link repaired)

Crooked Little Tree, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019
Click the price to purchase: $120 + $16 shipping Updated Link!!
(So sorry for broken link in original post!)

In his book, The Art Spirit, Robert Henri writes, "Give the tree its gesture." The full quote reads like this...

"Get one form that looks like the tree rather than little pickings at the branches. Give the tree its gesture. Some trees are heavy, ample and full. In a tree, there is a spirit of life, a spirit of growth and a spirit of heading its head up." - Robert Henri

I thought of these words as painted this crooked little tree. In fact, I try to access this idea whenever I paint trees, of any kind. It's important to look for the quirky spirit that makes each one unique. When you find it, celebrate it! It's also what makes them fun to paint. 

Not a bad lens to view ALL of life from! ;)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Winter Harbor

Winter Harbor, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

Another title for this piece could have been "Moored and Forgotten". Although the harbor waters were smooth as glass, the air was frosty and no one was out for water sports of any kind! The upside??? Those three boats stayed right in place for the duration of my painting session! It was pretty cold for painting too. I'm not going to lie, I didn't last long myself. :)


(A good thing to add to your Christmas list!)

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

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Palm Breeze

Palm Breeze, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

As a practice, I carry extra, small canvases out into the field; and I highly recommend it. They are great for focused studies of specific subjects, and perfect for shorter painting sessions when time allows. This piece hit both of those categories. I was about to load my car after my morning painting session, when I looked up to see this combination of shapes and textures. I love palm trees and clouds, and am always game for observing them both more closely. I had the time, and decided to give it a go. Always worth it!


Start planning now...

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

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Shops on the Corner - with process shots!

Shops on the Corner, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2019

This is one of my favorite plein air paintings from this year. Why? Well... because it was just so darn fun to paint! The little shops were inspiring with their tropical color and feel, and the shadow patterns added fabulous structure and interest to the scene. This corner WANTED to be painted! :) 

I did manage to get some process shots along the way, so I can share with you how the piece came together. 

Block in using ultramarine and burnt sienna mix: I was going for a correct, but loose, sketch of the structures. 

Lay-in of values and color in the upright plane: Capturing the color of the shops early on was very important to my process. It's what attracted me to the scene AND what kept me inspired! I didn't want to lose it.

Final painting: I was happy I could retain the "sketchiness" to the end. 

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! ;)


Start planning now...

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

"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...