My First Art Opening

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

Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is a photograph by Frank Breuer who worked with and was influenced by Hilla and Bernd Becher. I am not the only one who finds these types of subjects interesting.

Burnside Bridge Almost

So, here is a painting that I wanted to be done, but it probably needs some additional work.
The general detail and color are good, but I don't like the reflections in the water so much and the bridge needs to be a bit darker.
Once it dries, I will hit it again if I have time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dark Tower Returns

I completed this painting this past weekend. The composition is pretty good and, to me, it is a bit cheaky in the way the fire hydrant seems to be facing off against the water tower. The shadows around the hydrant add interest (I believe the cross shape is from a church).
The sky came out well and overall, I think I added the right amount of color to the more gray areas. In reality, the pavement and concrete is more warm, but I wanted more contrast with the warm hues of the warehouse and the hydrant. This is 18" x 24".

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Morning Joe

I did this small painting a year or so ago but was really enjoying my coffee this morning so I thought that I would drag it out. This is actually the first small painting that I tried.
I am a morning person and the right dose of coffee gets me in the best mood. Too much coffee can make me shaky, which has its advantages in art, but is usually not an advantage.
Good to the last brush?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Yellow Streetcar

I like this one a lot. I wanted to do something with some bright color and this scene seemed like a good choice. It is one of the larger ones at 30" x40" and I have been loving looking at it. It will be tough to see go, but I hope to sell it at some point.
The part I am having trouble with is the dark area at the center left. The oil paint is predictable in it's color, but the sheen can change quite a bit as it dries. When the paint gets dull it is referred to as having "sunk". This is especially noticeable up close. I need to do a little research and see if I can get the shine back to these areas.
I think I did a good job with all the reflections on the street car. I was curious if I would be able to make the glass feel like glass but was pleased with the result. I debated whether or not to put in the sun highlight (the white shine at the upper left of the car) but am glad that I did as it adds to the realism.
It was a very busy weekend and I have to thank my wife (she gave me the whole weekend to paint!) and kids for putting up with me. I must have put in at least twelve hours Saturday and Sunday.
I was able to finish this large painting and start two smaller paintings.

New Starts

These are the latest under-paintings.

This is another view of a water tower that I had previously painted. I like the quirky composition and the long shadows. The focus is the water tower and the hydrant plays a supporting role. I find the shadow of the church steeple in the foreground to be kind of ominous and interesting.
This is a relatively simple scene compared to others that I have done, but the perspective was a challenge.
In fact, since I first posted this, I have retouched the windows on the building to make the perspective more correct. Repetitive windows on a facade are easy for me to draw as flat elevations with the T square, but in perspective it takes some finesse. I have drawn perspectives so many times that you might think that I can get the thing down the first try. Sometimes that is the case, but usually I need to go back and correct things.

The Burnside Bridge in Portland is not as dramatic as some of the others, but in this end of the day scene it is lovely. It is tempting to make the under-painting look like it is complete as is and I may do a series of under-paintings as the final work. The yellow water really gives this away as just the understudy. The sky and water will be a luminous yellow-red (peach?) with violets and blues in the bridge and background land. Many points of light will add sparkle to the painting and I will add them at the very end. I want this to have a more impressionistic feel but we will see.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Raphael up close

This month, the Portland Art Museum has a one painting exhibit by the famous Renaissance artist Raphael. The painting is "La Velata" (woman with the veil) and is one of Raphael's most famous portraits. He painted it between 1514 and 1515, which makes the painting almost 500 years old.
The museum has it displayed in an almost tomb like sapce in the second floor gallery at the Southeast corner of the building. Itis a dark space where velvet curtains have been draped. The painting is displayed in perfect light on the West wall of the space, making it the only bright spot in the room. I guess that I was not surprised to see a treasure treated with such reverence.
It was fun to see such an old painting up close. It is in very nice shape, with only slight cracking of the paint and must have been restored fairly recently.
Was I moved? Not really, but it is a beautiful piece to be sure. Did I have great admiration for the piece, absolutely!
I have not seen the Mona Lisa by Da Vinci in person, but I did see an exhibit which had a close replica. The Mona Lisa has a lot more mystery to it and got me going a lot more than La Velata. La Velata has a real calm feel to it and as expertly crafted as it is, it lacks depth as far as I am concerned.
Ha, maybe some wanabe pipsqueek artist will say something like that about one of my paintings.
I can dream can't I?

Monday, November 2, 2009


"Matisse's art has an astonishing force and lives by innate right in a paradise world into which Matisse draws all his viewers. He gravitated to the beautiful and produced some of the most powerful beauty ever painted. He was a man of anxious temperament, just as Picasso, who saw him as his only rival, was a man of peasant fears, well concealed. Both artists, in their own fashion, dealt with these disturbances through the sublimation of painting: Picasso destroyed his fear of women in his art, while Matisse coaxed his nervous tension into serenity. He spoke of his art as being like ``a good armchair''-- a ludicrously inept comparison for such a brilliant man-- but his art was a respite, a reprieve, a comfort to him."
A quote from somewhere o0n the internet, apologies to the author who seems to be anonymous. Let me know if you know.

Obviously, brilliant work. He makes it look so easy, but it is not. The subject, composition, color, light, mood, it is all there.
I can imagine the emotions involved in the art of the times of Matisse and Picasso.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Something a little different

This is the under-painting a new piece that I am just starting. Yes, I am not beyond something cute, and I chose to do this scene of the Portland Street Car. It is a bright yellow car and looks like it has a big smile. Yes, I am not beyond doing something cute. By accident, I gave the trolley a little more tilt to the right, which I think gives it additional energy. The additional tilt was not apparent to me until I had the majority of the under-painting completed. There is a lot of movement in the scene, which is good. The dark background will really help to pop the yellow trolley, which is the obvious focus of the piece.
I have to admit that it is not my first goal to create a realistic image. However, as I look at artwork that I like, even the more abstract pieces have their compositions, perspectives and sense of proportion correct, so this more realistic painting will be good for me.
The reflections on the glass of the trolley will be a good challenge as well. You can see some of the reflections starting to happen in this first stage.