Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pasture Hill

I walk by this pasture hill almost immediately after leaving my place. Often cows will graze right on to the top of the clearing. It's a mysterious place. The forest comes in thick very quickly, and gives the impression of proceeding on for miles. There is a path that cuts through, but the forest is also quite wild....lots of coyote chorus from this area at night.

A little 15 second sketch done on the paper that I always keep in my breast pocket for just such never know when you will see something that asks to be painted. The pen sketch was done after coming home from work, about an hour before the early darkness falls, and there wasn't time to do the painting until next day after I finished teaching classes. I was working on the piece in the studio while an AP drawing student was completing works for the design piece outlined a few posts back.

Acrylic collage painting on paper, 10" x 8", listed on Etsy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Late in the Day, September

11" x 10" acrylic collage painting, listed on Etsy. A late afternoon walk....but the darkness falls quickly now. The far green field was still brilliantly lit up, but within an hour, all will be dark.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September Yellow

I was struck by the intensity of the yellow bean fields in early September. They are rather brownish now, but there were a few days when the color was peak. 10" x 9" acrylic collage painting on paper, listed on Etsy.

Friday, September 4, 2009


For some of my students, this will be a first assignment to deal with some elements of design, primarily positive and negative space.

1) The little pen sketch was done near my wood pile. I was looking at how the tree shapes also create shapes in the background. A good design must account for this balancing of shapes. The background shapes should always be considered. Students will be asked to produce a whole sheet of these thumbnail sketches, assess which ones might seem more successful, and then use the best ones for the basis of 3 painted works.

2) The paintings won't be overly large. Map all the shapes firmly with pencil, watching that you are aiming for a pleasing balance between positive and negative shapes. We will be in the small forest by the studio so it is important to base your designs on observation. It is quite thrilling when you are able to see your own observations about the world reflected in your artwork.

3) Count the colours. How many are there.....maybe 5 plus black India Ink line? Develop a colour scheme that has some range of light/dark, warm/cool, bright/grey and mix 5 acrylic colours for your composition....simply FILL in the colours. You are learning something about colour theory, and you are learning that the business of painting is, on a simple level, really about moving paint from one place to another. Move your paint with pleasure and effectiveness. Learn to do it easily. Be able to paint a sharp edge easily by mixing with appropriate amounts of water. Hold your brush in different manners to see how all this affects the way paint moves on the surface. WATCH the paint like a cat watches a mouse!

4) Work quickly so that you come to see yourself as effective....progress comes easily...this does not need to be a big struggle.

5) For our purposes here, mix all colours and watch that you are also looking at opacity so that the paint covers reasonably well. Avoid too much transparency.....mixing is required. Some pure colours will be too transparent without mixing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Above Millbrook Trout Ponds

Here, I'm higher than the treetops of the forest below....looking far into the distance. Every so often, I feel the need for a stronger element of design in the work. In a series of 3 small works, all done in one sitting, only collage was used, without my customary painting stage at the end. Working only from memory rather than any visual aids, also allows for greater play with pure design.

Time seems very short these days so if I'm absent from here, please check for new work on Flickr and in my Etsy shop: