Friday, December 28, 2007

Cypress Tree - 17 Mile Drive

Painting with Patrick Korch  #2

This is a painting from a photo done in Patrick’s studio.

8x10  oil on linen

This was a teaching study that Pat walked me through. We went over his process and then I painted while he watched.

In many ways, this was an extension of the painting we did at La Jolla earlier in the day. The water and ocean were approached in much the same manner.

Wind & Sea, La Jolla

Painting today with Patrick Korch. Patrick is a talented local painter and I can really recommend attending one of his workshops.

We headed down to the La Jolla area on a cold December morning. This was the first place that we stopped. The surf was up and the sky was showing hints of an incoming storm.

_MG_0140 - Version 2
8x10  oil on linen

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mill Creek, MT

This is my second study for the week. I took this photo when I was fishing at Mill Creek in Paradise Valley, MT. As I recall, I was standing in 2 feet of water when I took it.

I definitely need to do these when I’m not so tired. Hard to do when I’ve already have a 50 hour week. Gotta start buying some lottery tickets!

_MG_0121 - Version 2  
6x8  oil on canvas

Friday, December 7, 2007

Palette Wars

I’ve been experimenting with new colors lately. I need to do this in order to settle on a comfortable combination. Anyway, The total number of colors has started to get a little out of hand so I should make some decisions. I also have to figure out how to translate my studio palette over to my plein air palette.

I really don’t like using large palettes (many colors) but also find the limited palette (red, yellow, blue and white) a little too dull. So, I'm looking for a combination that will stay simple but give me the variety and color. Ideally, it should be a set of colors that I can pair down when I need to go mobil.

Recently, I tried adding some of Greg LaRock’s favorite colors: Naples yellow and Permanent Green light. That brought me up to a few too many colors. So, I’m going to ditch the yellow and keep the green as a modifier.


Some of my choices are pretty set but I’m still unsure about others.

So, here’s where I am at this point:

• Studio Palette
    • warm
        • Cad yellow medium
        • Cad Red light
        • Transparent Red Oxide.
        • Ultramarine blue
    • Cool
        • Cad Lemon Yellow
        • Yellow Ochre
        • Alizarine crimson
        • Cobalt blue

    • Specialized (modifiers)
        • Permanent green
        • Phthalo green
        • Phthalo blue

It'll be different tomorrow ;)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sunrise at home

This is the second study of a sunrise in the valley below our house. (See previous post)

6x8  oil on linen

I wanted to try to improve on the shadows and colors in the previous study: Sunrise Water Tank. Well, I did accomplish some of that but somehow this quickly took on a life of it’s own.

I like the warmer colors better than in the first study. That one was a little too green throughout. This one looks closer to the brown-oranges I was looking for.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sunrise Water Tank

OK, here’s a study from the early light photos I took at breakfast this morning. (See previous post)

6x8  oil on canvas

The purpose of this was to try and express the early morning warm light vs cool shadows. The light was actually a little more orange but in deference to Colorist Elin Pendleton, I automatically went for the cool yellow (morning light).

Morning light in the neighborhood

One of the few advantages of getting my sorry butt up so early to go to work is that on the occasional nice morning I get to watch the sun come up and flood the valley below our house with gorgeous light. This morning was one of those days.

It was pretty cold overnight for California (I have to add this disclaimer for all the Easterners who will laugh) so the sky was clear and the colors were very pure. I liked the way that the gray-greens of the hills were at one time so orange in the sun and yet so blue in the shadows. I thought, “this would make a great study”. So, I snapped off a couple of shots to save.


I need to try this when I have a chance. Just a small study but it may be very helpful...

I want to work on the transition between the orange and blue hill faces. Also, some of the trees are in sun and shadow right on top of each other. Cool!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Oak Creek, Sedona

Here is the second of my Saturday paintings.

I wanted to try some different colors. I added Naples Yellow and Permanent Green Light. I really like the green. It makes great sage colors when mixed with red oxide and a little white. The yellow doesn’t do anything for me. I may give it another try but, we’ll see. I’m starting to get a large pallet again so I need to be careful and pare it down.

9x12  oil on canvas

Death Valley Snow

This is the first painting in a mini marathon of two on Saturday. Didn't have a chance to paint during the week because of craziness at work. 

Didn’t really pick this subject for any practical reason other than I felt like it. I’m still trying to distill some of the info that I picked up at Greg LaRock's workshop. Of course, I didn’t remember much so I need to get back to my notes before it all slips out through my shrinking brain cells!

8x10  oil on canvas

Monday, November 26, 2007

Santa Ysabel Mission

Wanted to try a quick 6x8 study at home - something a little different. So, I pulled out a photo I took last spring of the Mission at Santa Ysabel. I liked the colorful aloes and cactus against the stark white walls.

6x8  oil on linen

I did this all with a #6 flat to try and keep it simple - as a study.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Greg LaRock Workshop

I just finished the 3 day Greg LaRock workshop. Greg is a great teacher and I learned a lot.

I took a few notes but not nearly enough! I need to sit down and put as much as I can in writing so I don’t forget. I may do that here instead of starting a separate document.

The first day we meet in Laguna Canyon. Boy, these southern Cal artists really love the laguna Beach / Newport area. The canyon was nice but the traffic was right there and loud! Also, everything is so dead in So. Cal. right now. Not much color anywhere.

Anyhow, Greg started out with a demo painting. He’s a thoughtful teacher and very patient. It's always fun to watch a painting shape up from bare canvas.

This is his demo of a view down the street on a hazy day. Nice!

The second day we meet at the boardwalk at Balboa Island. Greg didn’t do a demo here. He wanted us to complete 3 or 4 small studies using only a #6 flat brush. He wanted us to deal with al of the clutter and variety.

On the third and final day we froze our butts off at the foot of Newport pier. A great setting but the fog was in thick and cold. It never burned off. Greg did another great demo of the pier. I learned a lot more but didn’t stay around after the demo to paint. Too cold! Most of the other attendees bailed as well.

Here is Greg's almost completed Demo:


All n’ all, I really learned a lot over the three days. Greg’s a very good, unpretentious teacher. I’m definitely going to follow up with another workshop from him when he schedules some new ones. During the warmer months!

Here's how it works

OK, I've started keeping track of my attempts by saving a photo and then writing some observations about the results. Kinda like a mini critique. This is mainly to help me sort out what I'm working on and how I can improve.

I'm going to include some of these comments here so that others can spy on my thought processes (such as my addled old brain produces nowadays).

I'll try to keep it constructive and to-the-point. Maybe someone reading these can at least say, "Ahhh, been there - done that".

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Well, it’s been over a year since I wandered into an art gallery in Bozeman, Mt. and after admiring several beautiful, expensive paintings said, “Hey, I could learn to do that!” Uh huh...

So, I read a lot, looked at countless paintings, spent way too money on supplies, signed up for a painting class and off I went. It’s been an art version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride ever since. Needless to say, after the enthusiasm died down, I was left with the realization that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. No surprise there.

I kept at it for a few months and then let it all slide to the back of the table. I probably completed less than a dozed attempts in a four or five month period. Still, while it’s not uncommon for me to get totally into something only to abandon it, there was always something nagging at me. Something that said this was more important to me than most of my other “crazy” hobbies.

So, I’m back at it again. The learning curve is still steep but I’m going to try and jump-start this by taking a few more workshops and getting on a more disciplined schedule of completing paintings and studies. I need to put this all on a goal oriented track or I’ll be hacking at it for another twenty years! I’m starting to understand the saying: The only way to learn to paint is to paint, paint, paint!

So, off I go.....