Sunday, October 30, 2011

Flash the Haflinger at Blackshire Farm

I went to Blackshire Equestrian Center today for their schooling show and to draw some gorgeous Friesians. And ... the Friesians are gorgeous, yes, but none of them stood around long enough for me to sketch them, whereas this adorable fellow did. He's a Haflinger named Flash and he's just awesome. 

It was my first visit to Blackshire and it was great. Very welcoming and relaxed, a lot of people and horses just having a good time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hidden Falls Park, St. Paul

Hidden well enough, as it happens, that I still haven't found the falls. I didn't make it that far today, my first visit to this lovely little park. There was a tree and the sunlight was hitting the leaves in a way I really liked, so I grabbed my field kit and set to work.

The painting is an 8 x 10" oil on canvas. In the photo at top, you can see I'd lost the sunlight by the time I was done; there was a high layer of clouds moving in. And boy were my fingers cold!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Small works for the Holiday Sales

Last Petunia and First Berries, both 5" x 3" pen and watercolor. I'll have these matted to fit a standard 5 x 7" frame, and they'll be for sale at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts Holiday Sale starting on 11/17.

The Commission Continues

Here's the earliest stages of paint application. These are oil paints, thinned with a lot of mineral spirits, and I'm not being ultra-careful or accurate with them yet; that will come as I work the painting toward a finish. You can see that I'm not using much color yet, either. Instead, I'm establishing the light/shadow contrasts which are really the most important thing about the picture, and form its foundation.

Oh, and those blacks aren't black. They're a mix of raw umber with dark blue and alizarin crimson. It gives something a lot closer to the color of the black on the horse's legs. 

I'll update this again tomorrow or Saturday (tomorrow, with teaching at Michael's, is going to be a very busy day; I may not have time).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How a Commission Begins

In this case, it's a memorial. The gentleman in this photo has passed away, and -- as so often happens with portrait commissions -- this is the best picture available. And it's a great picture, but it's small, and fine details aren't visible. I scanned it and enlarged it to an 8 x 10" print, which is the photo you see on the left here:

On the right is the 8 x 10" panel I'll be painting on. What you're seeing is the first stage. I've applied a one-inch-square grid to the print and a corresponding grid to my panel. The grid system dates back at least to the Renaissance, and is a great way of getting accurate proportions down. 

You'll notice that the photograph "cut off" the feet of the horse, and that I've compensated for that. I allowed extra room at the bottom, and then sketched in the hooves before I did the drawing on the panel. 

Not obvious yet: I will simplify the background of this image a LOT. All those busy, busy tree trunks? They're not helping the picture, so most of them are going to go away, and the ones I do keep will be soft-edged and their colors greyed down so that the focus is where it should be, on the people and the horse.

For the drawing, I'm using pastel pencil, which is delicate and will simply vanish into the oil paint. Anyone who's ever tried painting over standard graphite pencil lines will know why I don't use graphite!  It bleeds through like mad and the grey color tends to muddy up the paints.

If you have questions about any of this, do ask. Most people never get to see a painting in progress and it's fun for me to talk about how it works.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tiny Landscape with Bridge

Kellogg Overpass, 5 x 7" oil on canvas board
This was yesterday afternoon at Bruce Vento Nature Reserve in St. Paul. That bridge is Kellogg, just south of 94.

It's an equally gorgeous day today, so I'm heading out again to see what I can capture, while I can.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Painting at Bruce Vento again

Still having a lot of fun with the Guerrilla Painter's Box I got at Wet Paint. It got windy and cold out that day, as the clouds moved in, but I finished this cute little 5 x 7" landscape. Oil on canvas board; it'll be for sale at one of the three (!) Holiday Sales I've signed on for in November. Yes, three. This is because I am insane.

The Holiday Sale items are mostly quite small and priced to make nice gifts. I'll provide more details as well as information about which pieces will be in which place, as the dates approach. Meanwhile I must paint like a madwoman so I'll have enough inventory!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sketching on the spot

Last night, I attended the TOSCARs event with Twin Cities TOSCA and the delightful Gail Weber, who, if she ever becomes Truly Organized, will lose most of her impromptu comedic material; fortunately this seems unlikely to ever happen. Gail, you are wonderful; never, ever change.

It is my habit, at TOSCA events, to make at least one little drawing while I'm there. Last night's was a rough sketch (necessarily rough: I had no eraser!) of singer Alyssa Anderson as she performed for us -- a performance that kept giving me goosebumps despite my not considering myself an opera fan. Drawing a human being while they are moving is not an easy thing to do, so I was concentrating pretty hard and thus unaware that Nina Bliese was watching me, in turn.

The result is that I'll have a few small pieces of original art -- including this sketch, which is much prettier in person than in the scanned version here -- available at Nina Bliese Gallery's Petits Trésors sale in November.

Artists, if you're reading this: if you want to meet people, carry a sketch book and use it. People who like art will get curious and talk to you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More Tiny Goldfish

Again, just 4" square, oil paint on canvas. Priced for the holidays at $45 each. More to come!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tiny Goldfish Paintings!

These are from Josephine Geiger's studio -- or more accurately, the little fish pond outside the studio. Painted from life during Art Crawl last weekend, these are 4" square canvases, available at $45 each or $80 for a set of two.

I'm back! And so is Jack.

So, what with Art Crawl and having a cold and all that, I've been away from the blog a while. I am now baaaaack with new things to post, because while at Crawl, I painted seven little goldfish paintings, and then three more yesterday, so those are coming up shortly.

And here is the third of the three drawings I did of Jack. 10 x 8" like the others, carbon pencil, pastel pencil, white pastel, on my usual brown sketch book paper. I'll miss drawing Jack, dapper model that he is.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Come watch Goldfish hatch! Art Crawl today.

Okay, here's where I'll be again in about two hours: At Saint Paul Art Crawl at Josephine Geiger's studio, out in the yard by the goldfish pond, painting more of these tiny 4" square goldfish canvases. Come watch it as a demo -- I love talking to people while I paint -- and if you like, take home a hot-off-the-easel original Goldfish for just $45. I've got three finished from yesterday and hope to make three more before the event ends this afternoon.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunlit Little Landscape

Back at Bruce Vento this afternoon, I did a quick oil sketch while the sunlight disappeared all around me. Low Branches, 5 x 7" oil on canvas board, is below.

The larger canvas on my easel in the top photo is an 8 x 10" that I had just enough time to roughly block in before it got too dark to keep working. The "skeleton" of the painting will help me remember what I had in mind next time I go back, which will likely be Tuesday, if the weather's all right.

I'll have this little piece for sale at the Saint Paul Art Crawl this weekend. I'm showing at Josephine Geiger's stained glass studio.