Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to "Build a Painting" (A work in Progress)

People ask "how do you do that"? Today, I decided to share a bit about how I construct a painting.

I've been working on prepared panel recently in lieu of linen. Neither one is better than the other, but I can achieve certain optical effects on panel more easily than on linen - most especially the illusion of transparent layers of light, which is important for me in my landscape work.

I began this by laying in a very, very light pencil drawing. Almost no detail, I concentrate on the composition, perspective, as well as the size and placement of all the major value planes. Value planes? Yes, that's how I begin, I don't even really think about "a cloud goes here, a tree goes there" I'm really considering how the values (light and dark) and their shapes are going to play against each other and I'm always asking "is this too big or small next to the other value plane".

I usually also tone my canvas, for landscape I do a wash of Transparent Red Iron Oxide and then let it dry before I begin. But I was eager to begin this painting, and went straight into the white surface. I began with the sky and how the light was flowing from the mid region of the right side of the panel. The entire plane of the sky (not including the clouds) was laid in, blended (oh there was a lot of blending with this sky!) and then the clouds were laid in. Afterwards I worked on the tree line and began the grassy field. As you can see, everything at this point is "uber-soft" and very very hazy, and that's just how I want it for right now. It's impossible to make a hard edge soft when you go back into a dry painting, but quite easy to make a soft line hard.

Anyway, that's how it all begins, more to come . . .

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Gift of Gratitude

Ok, Ok, I knew I said in my last post that I'd put up the image of a new small still life! As hard as I try posting on the blog, sometimes it eludes my best intentions. The primary reason this happens is not because I'm lazy, but yes, I've been busy - which is a good thing! LOL! Painting, teaching, hanging shows, meeting with potential collectors, serving on the Board of Directors at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, life is full - and it's great. I am still amazed each day how well things have gone for me, especially during the past year.

So, all this leads me to my Gift of Gratitude.

I am incredibly fortunate to be able to walk into my studio every day and explore on canvas what I experience in nature, and then, share it with others. Eschewing the normal "Existential Artists' Angst" I'm in search of the powerful beauty, joy and promise that nature provides.

In teaching, I'm very lucky to have some incredible students who are courageous enough to push their limits, listen to my (sometimes legnthy . . .) lectures and put a part of themselves on canvas.

All this being said, I simply want to express my gratitude for being able to do what I love and having the opportunity to share it with others. My most sincere Thanks to every collector, student, friend and family member who has supported, encouraged and celebrated with me along the way.

This has been a banner year; creating and selling more paintings in the past 12 months than the last 2 years combined. As a way of saying Thank You , my current collection of work is being offered, through January 08, 2012 at prices from nearly 7 years ago when I began this career.

The image above, "Bamboo and Sake" is one of the paintings that I'm offering at the 2004 price. The full collection and more information is on my website

I'll be popping in and out of the blog for the next month, but my primary focus is going to be on getting ready for the next 2 shows, one in March (at Artists Gallery) and one in April at the Philadelphia Sketch Club.