This weekend I participated in the second annual Paint Van Buren County plein air competition. The weather was great and so were the paintings. The committee put together a nice event with community support in the way of sales. I thoroughly enjoyed the company of the other artists. I would encourage others to participate for a good time and camaraderie. If you are just learning; the more experienced artists are always helpful and supportive A great group of friendly artists.
I was approached with a offer to paint this barn. I could not get it done in time for the competition so, after dropping off my paintings off, I went back to finish the scene, completely missing the awards ceremony. I did learn a little about the barn. Over a 150 years old built with wrought iron nails and hand sawn lumber. The missing boards were not the result of weather but thieves taking the siding. Next to the barn is a 200 year old burr oak. All very interesting, but was this a commission or just an offer to paint a scenic location? Haven't heard from the owner. This being the Midwest it could easily sell, so I am not worried.
We have had a lot of nice days for plein air painting. Last Thursday I went out with Jessica to paint in the Bentonsport rose garden. Two paintings, one a keeper the other not. It is easy to blame the painting panel; this one started with a orange pink ground on a canvas panel. The other was a white gessoed hardboard panel painted with a ground that seemed to soak up the paint. I could not get the value range I wanted or maybe it was me overworking the painting.
Martin Pond in Shimek Forest. The green stuff I think is slime algae at least according to my internet search. Most of the sites are dedicated to getting rid of it. I kind of like painting it.
Another location in Shimek Forest, this one near Bitternut Lake. I brought my dog along for some exercise with the condition he stays close enough I can see him and if not, comes when I call him. I got halfway through this painting and he did not come when called. I packed up and when he finally came we went home. If he can't behave we are going home maybe next time he will listen to me, then maybe not.
11" x 14" oil on canvas
I stopped along the road to take the reference shot for this pastel. I then combined two photos. The problem with that is getting the scale correct. I had to brush off the cows on the left and redraw.
I kind of like the unfinished look, but the client wanted more.
14" x 11" oil on linen panel
I have heard an artist complain "Why paint a portrait you are not going to sell?" Painting a this was a challenge and a learning experience. I had a hard time with the finer details working with a brush,
I have not posted much lately, it's not that I have not been painting just not finishing the paintings on my easel. I had a chance to plein air paint at the home of fellow plein air artist, Carroll Michalek. Joined by several other artists this gave me the opportunity to learn and exchange ideals.
I am working on two portrait commissions. To brush up on my people skills, I pulled up this photo that I had on my challenging list. This reminds me that I need to sketch hands more, especially waving.
The current exhibit at the Burlington Art Guild is of abstract paintings by Tim Laffey. Every good composition can be abstracted and hold up. That is what challenged me to infuse somewhat abstract nature scenes into my animal art. I dropped this painting into Photoshop and applied a filter called cutout to test my painting.
After looking at this I am wondering if adding a small cow on the hillside might improve the composition.
I started this plein air and had to quit early to make it to an opening reception. I tweaked it later, changing the foreground some and working on the waves. It was a very windy day and I could not really make out the waves.
12" x 9" oil on canvas
I did get this small study earlier. The bark came off the tree exposing the wormholes that I imagine led to the demise of this evergreen.
Just after painting the river plein air, with the sun low on the horizon, this scene appeared. One of those scenes that pass by too quickly for me to capture, leaving me to rely on my camera and memory.
I started with a pale burnt sienna wash followed by ultramarine and sienna mixes for this rough in.
Such a nice day that I took the dog out with me plein air painting. I know that sounds like he paints :) What he does do is wade in the water as soon as he is off the leash. I take about a couple of hours to paint so he should be dry by then. Unless he goes back in for one more dip, which he did. Oh well, we both enjoyed the weather.
This is from last year's project AWARE, i.e. A Watershed Awareness River Expedition.
Sponsored by the DNR, adventurous volunteers, spend 5 days in canoes and kayaks picking up trash along Iowa River ways. Most anyone can do it; all you need is some free time, a strong back, and a weak gag reflex. You will, in return, enjoy the company of like minded individuals and be treated to a show of some of Mother Nature's finest work. Described as RAGBRAI on the river, this is definitely on my bucket list. The volunteers in these painting were cleaning up the Des Moines River, by Bonaparte, Iowa. In 2017, from July 10th through the 14th. Project AWARE will be cleaning the Cedar River to bring it back to its natural beauty.
I had fun with these two. I decided to get a little detailed for the sake of those shiny coats. The original photo did not have a distant horizon just grass all around. I have been experimenting with Prussian Blue for the greens. Often adding a hint of brown or red to the hansa yellow and prussian to tone down the "electric green" it creates.
14" x 11" oil on canvas panel
Started with blocking in the horses. I always find it hard to position the legs of partially hidden horses, so I procrastinate. The two horses were from two different photos. I use Photoshop to cut out the horse on the left and place it into the photo of the other one. It works if the photo of the two horses were taken the same time of day.
Once the horses were fully complete I used a palette knife to create the background. Trying to create a feeling of depth I added a bit of gray blue to the front greens.
This is an oil painting of a previous scene I did in pastel. The local art center is having a themed exhibit titled "Many Hats". My take on that is to paint the same scene in different mediums, pastel, oil, acrylic and watercolor.