Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Murray Corner (20-minute sketch)

It's back to the Maritimes again for me. I had to leave art class early last night to get to a meeting, so only had about 20 minutes to work on a painting, so this is truly a "quickie"  sketch even by my standards. The reference photo I used was taken up by Murray Corner, New Brunswick.  This is fast and rough, of course, but I like the composition well enough that I think I  want to try to expand it into a more finished work. This sketch was done on Canson, smooth side, about 8x10.  Maybe in the finished work I'll be able to get the cow to look like a cow. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Corinthian Blue

I finished my 'Olympic Gold' painting at 8:45 PM on Tuesday, and class runs until 9:30, so Christina told me I had 45 minutes to do a second painting. I chose another Greek ref photo, of a walkway down to the beach along the Gulf of Corinth, and since the first picture had so many hot colors I chose a different palette for this one, mostly cool blues and lavenders. I raced like mad to get something more or less complete and recognizable in 45 minutes, and this is what I came up with for the second painting of the night.

These exercises were tons of fun and I had a great time in class this week.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Olympic Gold

It's back to Greece for me, and getting wild and crazy. In art class Tuesday Christina had a series of paintings done by artists she admired - and our assignment was to take a ref photo of our own choosing, and to try to paint the scene, but using the color palette of one of the paintings she had to show us. Plus she wanted us to *simplify simplify simplify* and just go with big, broad, basic shapes, though she wanted buildings or man-made objects. I chose a ref photo, of my trip to Greece, of the entranceway to the stadium at Olympia, home of the ancient Olympic games. My ref photo is the basic sort of dusty browns, grays, olives and tans that one might expect in Greece, but I chose the color palette of a painting that was mostly all vivid orange, gold, red and purple - and used those colors for my palette! And just turned off my thinking brain and let my fingers take over! So this is what I came up with. One odd thing in the photo is that the underside of the archway shows as a pale bue, but it's actually much darker than that. I  used a pale blue as  an underlayer but then used darker blues and purples on top. I wonder why only the underlayer shows? It makes the painting look a bit "weird". 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fort Beausejour (Maritime series 6)

 I still have not made it to Nova Scotia though I'm inching closer. This is from a reference photo of Fort Beausejour, in Aulac, NB. It sits almost right on the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, at the edge of the Tantramar Marsh, and adjoining the Chignecto Basin, which is an arm of the Bay of Fundy. 

It was a drizzling, misty day when I took this ref, though you could catch a faint hint of the sun trying to burn off the fog. But it was still most cool and misty looking in the distance, and I wanted to see how I could do with a softer cooler palette than I usually use. 

Bad or good, I have to say I had a lot of fun working on this. I have not done enough landscapes yet to feel I have a particular "style" but I'm sure enjoying it, and today was especially enjoyable for some reason. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Confederation Bridge (Maritime series)

 I've been using so many of my Canadian vacation photos for references while I try to get the hang of landscapes that I realize I sort of have a "series" going here! This is the 4th one set in the Maritimes now. So far two on PEI, one in New Brunswick, and this new one is New Brunswick also. I'll have to see what I have in the way of Nova Scotia photos so I can get that into the series too.  

But I did this one this afternoon, about 90 minutes spent on it - it's on 9x12 Colourfix paper, a variety of pastels. It's a view of the Confederation Bridge which connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prince Edward Island Grasses

Well, I'm still up in the Maritimes(artistically speaking, at any rate). I finally got back to art class tonight and was able to show Christina my "homework" paintings I did last week in NC. She was mostly pleased with them though had a few small suggestions. 

And tonight we worked on more landscapes. She had her own box of photos, but I had one more photo I'd brought to NC with me. It was (IMHO) the most boring of the few I had grabbed to take with me to NC, which is why it was still just sitting in my box. But I preferred working from my own photo reference rather than one of Christina's. 

It was interesting too, as Christina told us some interesting horror stories (naming no names) during her years as President of the PSA, and judging the annual PSA show, where people sent in works that were clearly found to be copied from photos in famous magazines, like National Geographic and others - or more obscure magazines and then tried to claim that the works were their own and not copied, etc. 

Clearly not something I'd be doing, but I still wanted to use my own ref, so used the "boring" photo. But as a painting I think it turned out more nicely than I had hoped, and nicer than the photo. I've told Christina about the
Wetcanvas site, so she said to me, "Stop now, I think it's done. Now just go post it to Wetcanvas

This is another old photo, also taken on PEI, but in this case I'm totally clueless about where I was when I took it. 

Oh, done on a piece of 9x12 Colourfix, a dark terra cotta color. All my "homework" pieces were on 9x12 Colourfix, though various colors.

Also during class last night Christina gave us little small 3x6-inch samples of some fancy expensive pastel board (whose brand-name I promptly forgot!) and told us to just play with them to try the surface out. Now I'm not much of one for working too small, so not much I could think to do with a small 3x6, but I noodled around on it and created this orange.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Baie Verte - a picture's progress

LOL, I did something that I often thing about doing, essentially never do, when doing the "Baie Verte" painting. I took pictures of various stages of progress. A picture goes through so many "ugly" phases, I thought some might enjoy seeing how a picture progresses:

1) Here I've colored in the sky, the sketch is very rough, just some very rough darks to indicate where the trees are in the background.

2) More work has been done on the trees. I've laid in some background color for the grasses in the foreground.

3) More work on the trees, then laying in rough color for the water and embankments, with the bird sketched in. 

4) Work on the water in the distance, a little more detail in the embankments and the far marsh grasses. Mostly this stage is laying in the darks along the edges of the grass and water. 

5) A lot more detail now in the bird, water, and background grasses. Foreground still to come.

6) The grasses on the small island have now been worked on, mostly done except for the foreground now.
7) Some colors for the foreground.
8) Initial pastel strokes for the foreground grasses, showing a definitely "ugly" phase at this point. 

And of course the final image can be seen in my posting of the previous date. So there you see a little progression of how it goes, and for much of the stages it sure doesn't look like very much!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Baie Verte

Well, here I am back in the Canadian Maritimes again - this time in New Brunswick, where we have our family summer home. We often go to Amherst, Nova Scotia, to go shopping, and the back road there takes us through the town of Baie Verte. The town is at the end of the bay named Baie Verte, the same bay our farm is on. But the town of Baie Verte has lots of fascinating inlets and marshes, and when the tide is low you can see up to a dozen Great Blue Herons in the water, fishing.

It's a gorgeous spot and I've long wanted to paint it. Finally, today, I did, using a reference photo that I took many years ago in my pre-digital days, but Baie Verte still looks the same. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Woodleigh Gardens - PEI

Well it's back to PEI again for another homework assignment. One of my our favorite spots on PEI are the Woodleigh Replicas in Kensington, lots of minatures of famous British buildings. Some are small, like St. Paul's Cathedral, and some are big enough to walk through, like Castle Dunvegan and the Tower of London. But all are fun. 

And they also have lovely English-style gardens. It's a scenic place, lovely rolling countryside, and the gardens in bloom are fabulous. I certainly can't do them justice, but still had fun with this scene. Except I had to edit myself out, as I'm standing on the pathway in the original reference photo which a family member took for me. 

Sunrise on the Gulf of Corinth

This is done from a reference photo I took in 1994 when I went on a trip to Greece with my son and a group from his school. It was the trip of a lifetime for me! All my life I had been fascinated by Greece - Greek history, Greek mythology. It was one of those places I had yearned to see all my life, but never dreamed I would get there. 

So when this trip opportunity came up it was too much to resist! I had to go, and I think it was a good experience for my son as well, who was 15 at the time.  Most of the time we stayed in city hotels, but for two nights we stayed at a lovely place out in the country - outside the city of Patras -  that was right on the Gulf of Corinth, and one of those mornings I got up early to watch the sun rise, and I took the photo I used here as a ref, along with others. I might have to try more and do a Greek series, What fun. 

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Victoria-by-the-Sea, PEI

This is the first of my "homework" landscapes for Christina, using a ref photo I took many years ago on Prince Edward Island.  I love the incredible red sands you find along many of the PEI shores.  I'm not totally happy with this picture yet, mostly the tree and the foreground a bit . But I'll post what I have now anyway, as I need to think about this. Maybe I'll just ask Christina for advice on the grass and the tree.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mountain Valley

I started new classes with Christina last week. Always fun with her, and this was a new departure. She brought in a giant box of photos and said we were going to work on landscapes, and to choose a photo we liked. Then we had to do the drawing UPSIDE DOWN, as she wanted us to try to get "loose" and just concentrate on shapes, and not worry about nitpicking. Then even the beginning and underlayers were done upside down. Most of us turned the photos right-side up after that. 

So this is the photo I chose. No clue where it was. Christina could not even remember where many of the photos were taken. I'm not thrilled with it. I choose the photo as I loved the line of trees there, but in the painting I'm not so thrilled with, and feel I need to change the very thing I liked best which made me choose the photo!