Thursday, May 28, 2020

Azure Fields - Fix It Friday #13

Azure Fields, 24 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020
SOLD - private collection

This is another Fix-It from my archives. Although the painting (and changes) are several years old, it illustrates a huge lesson about landscapes that I encounter again and again... 



Problem 1 -  The horizon line split the top of the painting from the bottom of the painting (I'm referring to the sharp edge and high contrast where ground plane met the upright plane. The ground plane looked like a skating rink, am I right?)
Fix 1 - Muted/darkened the color of the ground plane which eliminated the high contrast.
Fix 2 - Softened the static, hard edge with grasses and flowers that break the horizontal line.

To establish depth in a painting, we have several devices in our toolbox: 1) overlapping layers (indicates front and back), 2) scale shift (elements get smaller as they recede), 3) muting color (color gets more dull and cooler as it recedes), 4) eliminating contrast (values weaken as they recede.) Eliminating that sharp line at the horizon allowed everything to settle in. Ahhh... what relief!!! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Beach Cove Overlook - Fix It Friday #12

Beach Cove Overlook, 18 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020

Today, I am re-sharing a "fix" I made a few years ago... 
After enlarging a plein air piece I painted in California, I immediately saw problems that had not surfaced in the smaller study. Sometimes that happens when going from small to large. 

Here's what happened next...



Problem 1 - The main subject was unapproachable (grass and foliage in the way).
Fix 1 - Added a pathway that leads to the main subject and focal point. 

Problem 2 - The cove was too circular and dominant.
Fix 1 - Pushed it back by making the shape of cove and waves more elliptical.
Fix 2 - Increased the mass and height of grasses on the bluff to visually overlap the cove (which also helps to subdue it and push it back). 

This had the classic battle of different elements fighting for the spotlight. Background was trying to come forward, and the subject was a bit buried. By clarifying a hierarchy of elements, the tension lifted and the whole scene was able to settle into place.

Click Here to see Fix it Friday #11

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Bait Shop Morning - Fix-It Friday #11

Bait Shop Morning, 8 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2020

This plein air painting has been sitting in my studio for a couple of years... just waiting for some attention. It depicts a long-standing bait shop out in the middle of a marsh in the Golden Isles of Georgia. I love the dancing trees along the road that leads to it, and I have painted it several times from various angles and in different lighting. When I painted this one on location, I just didn't quite "get" the light and ambience of the day...

So, years later, here are some fixes... 



Problem 1 - The horizon line and row of trees was smack-dab in the middle of the picture plane and divides the painting into halves. 
Fix 1 - Dropped the horizon line, the base of bait shop, and the roots of the tree trunks.

Problem 2 - The light lacked commitment and its source was undefined.
Fix 1 - Added color to morning sky.
Fix 2 - Darkened cloud bank.
Fix 3 - Added highlights to bait shop and trees to indicate light source.
Fix 4 - Darkened foreground marsh to focus light on the subject (the bait shop and road).
Fix 5 - Darkened distance uprights to help highlights in subject to pop.

When painting the landscape, it's important to leave some of the details out. That can be hard because there is so much going on, and everything seems important. But we have to choose what is MOST important. It helps to keep asking myself, "what is the painting about?" I always do better when I stay "on message".

Notice everything, and then choose.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Lakeside Sparkle - Zoom Class Demo 2

Lakeside Sparkle, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2020

This is my "paint-along" demo for day two of my Zoom workshop. If we had been at the Art School, we could have actually set up right at this spot on the lake. As it was, our view was virtual. Besides painting, we all got quite good at pinning, unpinning, muting, and unmuting (please excuse my "zoom talk") as we worked through questions of composition, color, line and mark-making. 

Unfortunately, I have no process shots for these demos. All my devices were being used to make the class happen, and besides that, there was not a minute to spare. :)

A few thoughts about teaching on-line... While I much prefer the "in-person" experience and SO look forward to things getting back to normal, I'm grateful that the creative process can go on. Figuring out the technology was worth the effort. This Covid situation is teaching us to adapt in ways we never thought possible. That is a good thing! 

Our Zoom class photo!!! 
Many, many thanks to these wonderful students!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Winding Path - Zoom Class Demo 1!

Winding Path, 8x10, oil on panel, L. Daniel

This weekend I taught my first painting workshop on ZOOM! It was originally scheduled as a plein air class, but like everything else this spring, it had to be modified. When our director approached me with the idea to teach it online, I was hesitant. I wasn't sure my students would willingly migrate over to the new format, I wasn't sure an online experience would be satisfying, and I was pretty sure the technology would be a huge challenge. 

BUT... it all worked out! I had four devices connected; giving me the ability to interact, show my palette and photo reference, and what display was happening on my easel. I set the sessions up as paint-along demos, and this is my piece from the first session. My students were fearless, energetically followed along, and each painted one their own (safely and socially distanced in their own homes). 

Modern technology! Wow! I'm not saying it was completely glitch-free, BUT... my students were incredibly gracious and we all had fun (which is always a major goal)!! Thank you, ALL!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Growing Wild - Fix-It Friday #10

Growing Wild, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2020

Friends, thank you for being there for me to reach out to! These have been strange times, and my weekly "fix" has become a stabilizing force for me. Assignments I give myself, like sharing this weekly makeover, provide new rhythms in the sea of days/weeks/months. Meanwhile, I continue to work on larger works for a later reveal. It's funny how important the patterns of life are, don't you think?

Today's do-over...



Problem 1 - The distant plane (background) was not receding properly. 
Fix 1 - Muted the distant tree line and added cooler highlights.
Fix 2 - Muted and darkened the distant grasses which eliminated contrast and tightened values.
Fix 3 - Added richer greens in the foreground leaves and grasses. 
Fixes 1-2 make the distant plane recede. Fix 3 brings the front plane forward.

Problem 2 - The foreground and background seemed detached from each other.
Fix 1 - Added tree in middle ground layer to connect the foreground and background.
Fix 2 - Also added the tree to provide an important scale reference for both the distant trees AND the foreground flowers. 

Constantly comparing elements in a painting is so important for creating a sense of depth. Issues of temperature (cool recedes, warm advances) and scale (closer-bigger, farther-smaller) make all the difference. Accurate and consistent comparisons allow everything to settle down and make sense.