Sunday, September 28, 2014

Utah Highlands

Utah Highlands
8" x 6" oil on canvas panel
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I (think) the reference photo for this painting was taken somewhere along US Highway 12 between Capital Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.  It has been a few years since my wife and I toured all of the national parks in Colorado and Utah and some of the images run together.  All I know is that it was beautiful and highway 12 through Utah is one of the most spectacular drives I have ever taken.  I love this painting; the photo turned out ok, but I promise it looks better in person.  The highlights on the branches of the birch trees and the the warm shadows on the trunks are some of my best work.  I think I've made some breakthroughs lately.  When you focus on value and color, the details work themselves out. 

Virgin River, Utah

Virgin River, Utah
8" x 10" oil on canvas panel
$70 plus shipping

This is the Virgin River in Zion National Park, Utah.  I mentioned this a few posts ago, but we camped here for three nights during our trip out west.  There were no bathrooms, so our only method of bathing was to hop in the river.  The average daytime temperature during our time in the park was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, however, the water temperature was 55 degrees.  Refreshing to say the least.  Our little spot by the river was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

On another note - I've mentioned this before, but it is often more difficult for me to get a decent photo of my paintings than it is to paint them.  I spent two hours this morning trying to take post-worthy photos of my last six paintings.  It's useless to paint an awesome painting and then post a photo that doesn't do it justice.  All of these paintings look better in person than they do online. 

Pooh's Woods

























Pooh's Woods
8" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel
No longer for sale

This is the sand road that runs through Pooh's Woods - so nicknamed by me or my brother because they are dark and deep like Pooh's Woods.  The road leads to Iron Point on the Piankatank River, just upstream from our river-house. 

Normally, I tone my canvases with a thinned out mixture of phthalo red rose and indian yellow.  But, I decided to leave it white this time, and I like the effect.  In some places, I didn't put any paint down at all and just let the white canvas show through. 

Orderville Junction

8" x 6" Oil on canvas panel
$50 plus shipping.

This is Orderville Junction.  Orderville Junction is the merging of the north fork of the Virgin River and Big Spring in Zion National Park, Utah; a section of The Narrows hike.  I added a little patch of blue sky in the top of the painting to allow for exit, but the canyon is actually 2000 feet deep at some points and so narrow in places that you can spread your arms and touch either side.  You're not allowed to attempt the hike if the water flow is above a certain threshold; Sarah and I had waited for three days for the river to come down to a safe level.  We didn't think we were going to get a chance to do the hike, so we went ahead and did a different, nine mile hike.  However, as we were loading onto the shuttle after our hike, we heard that the Narrows had opened.  So, after hiking nine miles up and down Zion Canyon, we decided to hike another 6 miles; three upstream and three back, mostly in waist/chest-deep water, over bowling ball sized basalt boulders.  Oh, and the water temperature was approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  That aside, the hike was amazing and definitely worth the effort.  I will never forget bathing in the Virgin River; air temperature105 degrees - water temperature 55 degrees.

Here's a photo of Sarah and I at the end of The Narrows hike.  Sorry for the gratuitous shirtlessness.


Orchards at Graves Mountain

8" x 6"oil on canvas panel
$50 plus shipping

Sarah and I try to get out to Graves Mountain every year for some apple picking/wine tasting; usually around the time of our wedding anniversary.  The B&B is booked for the weekend of October 17th - our five year anniversary!

Step back from your computer to view this one.

Harper's Ferry Wax Museum

 8" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel
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This is the wax museum in Harper's Ferry, VA.  The real wax museum has "wax museum" written on the side of the wax museum (the pinkish building).  Wax is a weird word. I might paint wax museum on the side of the wax museum once the paint dries.  This might have been the most annoying paragraph I've ever written. 

I experimented by painting a practice painting alongside the actual painting, featured here.  The idea was to test out values and brush strokes prior to using them in the real painting.  I hypothesized that the practice painting would turn out better than the actual painting because there would be less pressure, resulting in a looser, more relaxed painting style (which is what I'm going for).  However, the experiment failed because the practice painting is identical to the actual painting, I was no more relaxed while painting the practice painting, and it became extremely tedious to paint two paintings side by side.  Who would've thought?  So, if you like this one, you're in luck because I have two. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Evening Light

Evening Light
8" x 6" oil on canvas panel
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I took the reference photo for this painting from the Daily Paintworks website: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/Challenges.  Carol Marine, one of my favorite artists, runs the site and posts monthly painting challenges to site members.  This was the German landscape challenge.  I wanted to finish this painting quickly while ignoring details ad focusing on getting the values right, which is pretty much always my goal.  I like how it turned out - interesting, and not muddy.  Here's the reference photo:



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Indian Summer

Indian Summer
8" x 10" oil on canvas panel
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I attempted this painting a few years back and failed miserably.  Usually, I will post paintings whether they are terrible or not, but this one was particularly bad.  On second shot, I think I've completed one of my best yet, and it looks better in person.  I like the grey of the fence and the back-lit highlights.  In person, it's a little warmer with a little less contrast between the green shadows and the yellows.  I tried to adjust it in i-Photo, but i-Photo sucks. 

The Judas



















The Judas
"8 x 10" oil on canvas panel
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I'm not in love with VW Beetles, but this one was just too good to pass up.  Sarah and I passed it on the way back to our hotel in Merida, Mexico and then I walked back an entire block to get a photo of it.  The real Judas has "The Judas" written in white cursive stickers across the top of the front windshield.  I don't know the significance of the name as it relates to the car, and I was so happy with the painting by the time I was nearly finished that I was afraid to attempt to paint the name.  Knowing when to quit is one of the greatest lessons to learn if you're serious about painting.  I adhere to that advice about 50% of the time. 

The Lobster Boat

The Lobster Boat
8" x 6" Oil on HD Canvas
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"The Lobster Boat" is hanging in a consignment shop in Maryland. I like the painting, but I'm not too fond of the name.  When I dropped it off, I hadn't thought of a name for it - I was at a loss, so the first thing that slid from my mouth was "Lobster Boat."  It is a lobster boat, but you can call it whatever you want.  The boat was parked at a dock in Portland, ME.  In reality, there were ugly cars parked on the dock and you couldn't see the water behind them.  The indistinguishable white thing across the water is, in reality, a fuel tank of some sort.  And there were a bunch of them, but that doesn't make for a very good painting.  So I got rid of the cars and gave the impression that the body of water continues upriver to the left.  I turned the fuel tanks into happy little white houses.  

Turtle Cove

Turtle Cove
8" x 6" oil on canvas panel
$50 plus shipping

Another image from our trip to Mexico this summer.  We dodged most of the thunderstorms during our time in Tulum, but we were shadowed from time to time as they mushroomed out of the Caribbean and floated off to the west.  Occasionally, shadows covered our beach while the sea a few yards out was still bathed in bright, warm sunshine.  I was interested in this phenomenon, and I kept thinking how inviting the ocean looked beyond the shadows of the passing storms.  In this painting, I tried to capture that feeling, and I think I did OK - maybe I could have enhanced it a bit by darkening the shadow on the water in the left-center. 

Sevier River, Utah

Sevier River, Utah
8" x 6" oil on canvas panel
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This is the view along the Sevier River from the intersection of route 12 and route 89 near Bryce Canyon, Utah.  Sort of.  I've been thinking about painting from this image for a long time, but it needed some adjusting to work, compositionally, as a painting.  The house in the top left quadrant is not really there, but I tried to make it the main focus by using the highest value white and putting the darker shadowed trees around it.  I Google Street viewed the scene again before I started to write this post, and it brought back some nice memories from our trip out west a few years back.  

Tulum Sunset



 Tulum Sunset
5" x 5" HD Canvas
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I threw this one together on a whim because I had a bunch of leftover paint that I didn't want to waste.  I was strapped for time, and I didn't want to wash brushes, so I slapped it down with the palette knives.  Another image from Mexico. I like it. 



Green Tea with Lemon

Green Tea with Lemon
8" x 10" oil on canvas panel
Not available for sale

*This painting no longer exists in this form.  I have painted over it in the name of progress*

My summer afternoon drink of choice.  I was determined to put down each individual brush stroke without blending or overworking, which is the number one reason I'm not satisfied with most of my paintings.  The values are good, but I'm not sure if I accomplished my goal. 

Casas de San Cristobal

Casas de San Cristobal
8" x 10" Oil on Canvas Panel
No longer for Sale

This painting has been painted over. 

I did this painting from a photo taken during our trip to Mexico this summer.  The concrete buildings and tile roofs featured in the painting are typical of San Cristobal's colonial-style architecture, although I'm not sure if I did it justice.  San Cristobal de Las Casas is so beautiful, and I think I overworked this one a little. 

Harvey and Watson

Harvey and Watson
Oil on 8" x 10" HD Canvas
Commissioned - Sold

This is Harvey and Watson.  I painted them waaaay back in January, 2014.  I gambled with the abstracted background, and I love the way they turned out.  Maybe this winter break I'll have time to do some more dog commissions.