Happy New Year's Eve! I hope 2015 is a great and wonderful year. I have mostly enjoyed 2014 and feel my art has improved. The discipline of daily posting helps keep me motivated and on track. My only resolution for 2015 is to paint more in Oil Paint. With that I will live you with today's block in study, it is a Rocky Mountains study. It is Alla Prima, i.e. the paint applied in one attempt. I will need to work on this though as it will need some value adjustment to separate the foreground from the background and I will lighten the horizon and add some clouds.
Today's block-in Oil Painting is of South Dakota's Wild Horse Sanctuary near Hot Springs. This is a view from a ridge line looking down towards Cascade Creek. This is a small study to work out the colors and the compostion before going to larger paintings. It is easier to make mistakes and correct them in small sizes.
I have shown a lot of block ins of paintings with promises to should progress and changes made. So tonight I am going to follow-up. You can see the changes made as I sort through the problems I see with this study. I have improved the sky's transition from upper to lower horizon. I extended the top of the tree and I made improvements to the shadowy under foliage and I have begun to define the foreground. The Aspens will need a lot of work and I want to add a back ground Fir tree off center between the Ponderosa and the Outlined Aspen. This will have to wait till tomorrow.
I am working pin improving my painting skills and I am doing a series of landscape studies. This morning I laid in the initial blocks of a Ponderosa Pine and Aspen study. I will need to blend the sky better and refine the Aspens against the sky. I will loop back on these studies and will past the after pictures when I am satisfied with them.
Today's sketch is from the book Giants. It is fun book and filled with great sketches of the imagined views of Giants. They are nice thing to practice sketching skills and to just enjoy the feel of the pencil on the page.
Another Plein Air Oil painting study tonight. I did this in November on Kent Island durning a class. Kent Island is a very picturesque location on the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland. It is beautiful year round but, especially so in the Fall.
I messed around today with a Winter Tree against a pumpkin sky. I had roughed in the sky previously and let it dry. I added the basic framework of the branches today. I will add some more branches and I will add some stumbled (Dry brush light pigment) in foliage to complete this study.
This is a small oil sketch done Plein Air (outside in one sitting) at Sand Point State Park boat basin. I did this back in November in about 2 hours. I set up an easel on one of the docks. I was with Rob Brennan, another painter from New Jersey. The weather cooperated and was not too windy, which is usually the biggest problem painting in the great outdoors, though not the only problem. Bugs, dogs, wind, rain and snow all make it a challenge. The skill from observing from life and painting is one of the most important for improvement and development.
This is an oil sketch not an original design but, its a practice piece of a wind blown survivor tree. I may make some adjustments on it but it is a good exercise and something I need to do more of in the coming days.
I have been doing a lot of drawing but not enough painting. I have taken some art classes and I have not been satisfied with the results so I have decided to paint more. This is an initial lay in of the colors for a mountain scene. It has the basic depth but will need some additional work in the ridge lines and I plan to work the rock cliffs with detail and closer trees which will have more than blue for color. Stay tuned to see the improvements as they come in the coming weeks.
This is a small Atmospheric Perspective oil painting in red. Colors get cooler and lighter as they progress away from your view, so I decided to play with this in red ridge lines and mountains back to the sky.
This is an Oil Painting of Sand Mountain from Steamboat Lake, Colorado. The reflection is in the lake and this is the view from the campground. This is a preliminary study for a larger paining. I try to work out the problems at the smaller size before trying to do a painting in a large size. The smaller format takes less time an is effective for working out problems. If you cannot get it to work small, large will be a disaster.
Part of learning art is studying the basics an understanding design. Part of this is understanding values, i.e. the lightness and darkness of things as compared to each other. The removal of color makes it easier to understand value. Sometimes painting in black and white or using photoshop to switch a color photo over to B&W makes it easier to understand the relationship between things. The top ball and cube are also a study in the "key" or the range of dark to light. The bottom cubes are the basic types of value relationships in a painting, with the basic variations in light to dark backgrounds and the different groupings of the boxes in the different values of dark to light. These are just a way to make one analyze the subject before beginning to paint. These studies are highlighted in Andrew Loomis's book, Creative Illustration, which is a classic on the subject.
Tonight I finished up a tree study. I had worked on this on and off for a few nights. This was an experiment for me and I like the reversal of branches light on dark and then dark on light, which is something I needed to work on.
Tonight's drawing activity was to draw this buoy with three different water types. Calm water, light current, and small waves. This is one of the things I want to work on, especially here in Maryland with the Chesapeake Bay so close, mastering water is a requirement.
We have seen these in Kenya and they are more impressive in the wild than in a zoo setting. Unfortunately the International Ban on the ivory trade was lifted so our Grandchildren might not be able to see them in the wild.
So the title of this post is play on words for "Only God can grow a tree." Since I have a long way to go and lots of practice before being able to draw like a god, I will keep at it. This will be the last tree post for a while. I will give you something else tomorrow.
So a little different, Pine tree studies with markers. These are easy to do with a head cold, which I am dealing with right now. All these little sketches work to build the repository of skills and knowledge. I like the tree on the left better.
I recently took a painting class. I decided I wanted to improve my tree painting capability so I am reviewing my art books and I am practicing different techniques. This is from the Guptill Book Rendering in Pencil. Practice anything for an hour today, and after a year your will be pretty damn good at it.
Another tree sketch, I spent the day under the weather and this is the only thing I did today art wise. White Pines are a threatened species of tree as they are vulnerable to beetles and warmer weather.
I have different sketchbooks for different subjects. I have started one to study trees and different ways to capture their essences. This is one of the practice sketches as part of the 10,000 hours necessary to master a subject.
This is a quick sketch to practice the techniques of quickly capturing landscapes. It is rough but does the job. I don't remember where exactly it was but it is representative of the countryside in Maryland and Virginia in the central to western part of those states.
This is another quick sketch of a New Mexico landscape. The wife and I spent our honeymoon in the Enchanted State. It is a state which lives up to its nickname, and has many funny stories of geographically challenged Americans not knowing it is one of the 50 states of America.
This is a value study I did while trying to work out a painting of the view from Garden of the Gods looking towards Pike's Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is an iconic view and it will make a good painting.
I some times have an idea and I try and work it out in pencil and with chalk on toned paper. This is from a sketch and photos I took out in Virginia. I greatly simplfied the tree and will need to change the fence to make it more interesting. The clouds need to be varied more also. I did this a few months back, but I could not tell what was bothering me. So I let it hide for awhile and come back to it. I will redo this sketch again and improve it.
Franklin Booth was a self-taught artist and illustrator from 100 years ago. He was a master of line. This is my rendition of his Hand of God, which is subtly hidden near the top of the drawing. The small airplane is flying above the thunder clouds and probably that pilot needs help from the weather.
Oil Painting of fall foliage, or at least the start with basic lay in of colors. I have not developed my technique enough finish this up in one go. At least not without screwing it up and turning it to muddy colors. I will finish it and then post it up.
This is a pencil sketch I did of a Carl Redin's painting of Enchanted Mesa in New Mexico. These sort of sketches are a good way to develop your understanding of tones and how better artists handle translating nature in to the language of painting.
Earlier in the month,we had another birthday for my niece, Julia. She is obsessed with the Minions and I help feed the obsession with these sketch cards. I did not post this on her actual birthday because I was in the midst of the Red Feather Lake series of posts. So Happy Birthday Julia.