My First Art Opening

The painting continues...time is moving quickly these days...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Knowing when to put the brush down

It seems like the best paintings are the ones that seem to have gone down easily with just the right amount of paint strokes.
You may here artists and critics talking about a painting that has been "overworked". This is not usually a compliment. This means that too much paint has been applied and it is obvious that the painter struggled. I am still working on staying relaxed and letting the paint go down easy.
Some artists make it look easy because they have the ability to move through the painting quickly and confidently. This comes from many many years of painting.
I feel like this painting went down fairly easy and I kept the brushwork to a minimum.

Broadway Hit

The Broadway bridge in Portland Oregon is perhaps the most recognizable of the portland bridges, probably for it's red, iron oxide paint job.
This 30" x 40" painting is a commissioned work and will hopefully be on it's way to someones living room soon. I just put the final touches on it this weekend and and waiting for it to dry and will then put some re-touch varnish on it for safe keeping untill it has dried enough for a final varnishing.
Once again, the underpainting (first lines and value study on the canvas) is critical. Urbanscapes need attention to the major lines of perspective or things won't look right. I had to go in and adjust some of the bridge structure after I thought that I was finished. It is probable that you will get a lot of paint down and will then notice that you missed the perspective someplace.
This painting has a foreground (red bridge), a middleground (train station) and a background (tall pink building and the rest of the city. I am learning more about how to create the illusion of depth. I had painted all three levels at the same value, but realized that it need more depth. I glazed over the background elements with a little white, which I then wiped with a rag. This gives an atmospheric haze effect which pushes the scene back. The middle ground elements are painted with less detail, but are still the same value as the foreground.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Broadway in Progress

Here is a small portion of a 30" x 40" painting that I am working on for another commission. I surprise myself with these bits of larger paintings and how they work in their own way.
I forgot to take a photo of the under-painting for this one, oops.
The detail on the bridge structur eis almost done as is the sky. There will be more work to do on the cityscape beyond. The trick there will be to let it have enough detail to create interest, with enough fuzz and atmosphere to enhance the depth of field.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Under it all

This is the underpainting for a painting of the St. John's Bridge.
I did a wash of left over color from another painting prior to this days work. Sometimes it can be good when color from the underpainting shows through.
Once the wash dries, I made a 4 x 4 grid in pencil on the canvas an a matching grid on the much smaller photo that I am working from. This lets me transfer the geometry in a more accurate way.
In this case, I used a hard charcoal pencil to sketch in the geometry and then used a mixture of dark blue, brown and iron oxide to create a tonal study.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saved One

Most paintings have an ugly phase, which is just part of the process. I'm sure this is what scares many people off from painting and is almost as bad as the blank canvas. The painting above was in a state of ugly that stumped me for a while. It was sitting in my basement studio in plain sight. I left it there to torment me and force me to, at some point, finish it.
I finally got into it again this weekend and finished it up. While it isn't the best, I think it is out of it's ugly phase.
The refurbishment of the old Pioneer Courthouse cupola intrigued me because they had this white covering over the facade while they did the work.
One of the things that was troubling me was the building in the background. At first, I painted building with all the windows. It stole attention from the cupola, so I decided to paint over it. Bits of the background building can be seen in the painting, which is just enough to give a context to the courthouse roof.
The light in the scene is from an early morning sun. The contrast is subtle and the painting could have been helped by darker shadows. Contrast is important in paintings and it is something I look for in subject matter, but don't always get.