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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Launch for Hire - adding color

In the final state of this print I removed the hill shapes in the background because I thought they were too distracting. I took some of the prints I pulled before removing the hill and added color using colored pencil. The effect reminds me of hand colored photographs, and it was an interesting way to play with different color combinations.

This is a picture of the block before I started printing.

Launch for Hire - woodcut

"Launch for Hire" block print on Owara Mulberry paper, 8x10", edition of 10. Available at my Etsy store.

The building sticks out into Tomales Bay and last time I drove out to Pt Reyes I managed to get a photograph of it with the tide out. In the photograph you can see the hills in the background, but I decided to emphasize the pattern of the light patches visible between the pilings that support the building. I may still come back to this image and play with changing the background.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mt Vision - painting a day

"Mt Vision I" 5x7" oil on canvas panel

This is one of three paintings that form a triptych. I did all three at the same time while perched on the side of Mt.Vision overlooking Drake's estero in Pt. Reyes.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Working from photos

"Cypress Shadow" oil on canvas, 18x36"

I've always found working from photos to be awkward. The colors never seem to be the same as what I remember, and it feels really different from working from life to be peering at a little photograph. But there are times when working outside poses distinct technical difficulties, like having a large canvas in a windy location. (Can you say sail?) And then I read Ed Terpening's blog about using a television to view reference photos for painting. He hooks his camera to the TV, and then his reference photos are large and full of light. So I set up my laptop in the studio to do the same thing, and it worked great. I could stand back and get the overall picture or zoom in on sections at will.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Back to Pierce Point Ranch

"Distant Hills" 11x14" oil on canvas panel

I drove out to Pierce Point Ranch again on Sunday, and did a couple of paintings. It was very windy, so I didn't attempt any large paintings, even though I'd brought a couple big canvases. In fact, I chose the location for this painting partly so that I could shelter from the wind in a corner of two buildings. Even with the wind there were a lot of people around and I don't know whether it was because I was wearing forest service green pants, or just because I was stationary, but I fielded a lot of questions about the location of the bathrooms while I was painting.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Striped Bowl

"Striped Bowl" 8x10" oil on canvas panel SOLD

Sunday, February 11, 2007

You Say Tomato - painting a day

"You Say Tomato" 5x7" oil on canvas panel [$75+shipping]

The classic song "Let's call the whole thing off" was going through my head this afternoon while I was painting tomatoes. Now you know my ipod is full of Gershwin, Cole Porter and Billie Holiday.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Red Tomatoes - painting a day

"Red Tomatoes" 5x7" oil on canvas panel [$75+shipping]

Red is not a color I usually use a lot of. There's not a lot of pure red in the landscape, unless it's a red barn, and then there's usually a lot of other colors interacting with that red. I found mixing interesting colors more challenging with this painting, because my temptation was to just make the tomatoes all red, straight from the tube. The new tube of Sennelier cadmium red might have something to do with that. But in any case, I found it was harder to see all the other colors in the tomatoes because I was so focused on their redness. This is of course the fundamental challenge of realism - the brain has a lot of information about the objects you observe (tomatoes are red, chairs have legs of equal lengths) that as an artist you have to ignore in order to just see what's right in front of you.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hay Barn - painting a day

"Hay Barn" 5x7" oil on canvas panel SOLD
This is the last of three paintings I did out at Pt. Reyes. The building is the same hay barn I painted in "Pierce Point Ranch", but from the other side of the building.

Monday, February 05, 2007

More from Pierce Point Ranch

"Blacksmith Shop" 5x7" oil on canvas panel [$75+shipping]

This is the second painting I did Sunday out at Pt. Reyes. I really liked the intersection of the buildings and the pattern of the fence. One of the buildings is the blacksmith shop (thus the title) and the other was part of the dairy for a while, and then used as a calf shed for a while.

Pierce Point Ranch - painting a day

"Pierce Point Ranch" 5x7" oil on canvas SOLD

Pierce Point Ranch is an old dairy farm on Tomales point. It's now part of the Point Reyes National Seashore, and the park service has done a very good job maintaining the buildings and providing information about the history. The hay barn is a massive structure, and I liked the contrast in scale between the two buildings, as well as the color of the lichen growing on the hay barn roof. I must have done 4 or 5 preliminary sketches trying to figure out the proportions and angles of all the roof lines for this painting.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Abbott's Lagoon

"Sunset At Abbott's Lagoon" 8x10" oil on canvas panel

I spent the day painting out at the Point Reyes National Seashore, at the Pierce Point Ranch. Saw lots of elk, deer and white crowned sparrows. The day was rather hazy, so I thought there was a good chance for a lovely sunset, and I stopped at Abbott's Lagoon to catch the last light of the day. I think I painted this in about 45 minutes, from setup to putting the final touches on the painting. I just mixed up some piles of paint and worked like crazy before the sun set.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Crow Mandala woodblock print

"Crow Mandala" 7.5" image on 10x13" Rives BFK paper. Available at my Etsy store.

This print turned out to be more challenging than I anticipated. The fine details of the feathers at the wingtips were very frustrating. The shina plywood I used kept chipping out in awkward places, leaving some birds without some of their flight feathers. By the third and final block I had a little better handle on how to work around the limitations of the material, but none of the blocks are without some small imperfections.

I started out being inspired by the crows in the neighborhood, but as I started carving I realized that the design owes a lot to all the circling vultures and raptors I saw while birding in Mexico.