"Morning Shadows at the Wilcox Property"
18"x24" Oil on Canvas
This painting of mine is now at the Reinert Gallery in South Carolina. I shipped it there not long ago and am hoping it goes to a good home. This painting was painted here in the studio and came out quite well. Of course it helps a lot when you have a great view to begin with. The Douglas Preserve, which is also called the Wilcox Property in Santa Barbara is a beautiful place. If you are ever in Santa Barbara please do yourself a favor and visit this local haunt....it is really breathtaking. I will go back here and get some more reference photos, maybe do some sketching too. We'll see!
Eaton Canyon Sunset
12"x36" Oil on Wood Panel
I painted this back in 2012. I felt it was done and set it aside to dry. After a while it had gotten covered up by a few other paintings that were drying but then never framed so there they sat blocking this painting from site.
I liked this scene and wanted a dramatic afternoon sun scene with lots of oranges and pinks but I wanted something else too. I wasn't trying to just capture the landscape or even the color...I wanted to capture the feel of the moment...the atmosphere of it all. Painting atmosphere is a whole other deal in painting. In the progression of things painters tend to paint the scene in front of them but in doing so seem to miss the effects of light and all the stuff floating around in the air that creates atmosphere. It took me a while to see that "stuff" and it took me even longer to learn to paint it well. It's all about painting the right values, not the color, but the light and darkess of the colors. To this day I still prefer to paint atmosphere because it is really a good challenge and to me makes for a better painting.
I think gallery owners would say no, paint color and pizazz, it catches peoples eyes and gets their attention....it's easy to sell. Those paintings really do all of that and would make a subtle atmospheric painting pale in comparison. I just can't help painting them.
The detail of the painting above shows my attempt to capture that late afternoon sunlight filtered by the air of the canyon. Getting the light and air in front of that distant mountain ridge and balancing that look against the lower hills in the center of the painting was critical. If that didn't look right to me then there was no sense in painting in the foreground at all. Slightly darkening the tree mass to the left was a way of getting better contrast to the middle area hills....it also balanced the darks of the trees to the left side of the painting. These overlapping planes give the painting depth and adjusting the values in each plane created the illusion of atmosphere. If I continue to work with atmosphere and get it right then I think I'll be turning out some monster paintings. So, you can paint a desert or you can paint a desert in sweltering heat and make your viewers feel the sweat rolling down their forehead and long for a glass of cool water.
My neighbor Jim and his mammoth California Condor painting
Well my neighbor Jim has finally finished his large undertaking of painting a lifesized California Condor. Out here they pretty much know each condor there is. This condor is AC3 which stands for Adult Condor #3. Unfortunately this condor was found dead in a tree and had died from lead poisoning....it goes like this, lead in bullets, people shoot rats, squirrels they die, condor eats them since a condor is a scavenger and the lead in the bullets leaches into the condors system and it kills them. It's a sad way to die for such a majestic bird.
What to do with the painting....Jim isn't sure yet. I will go back to his house soon and put the painting on sawhorses so he can sign his name to it. He's pretty proud of the painting. For a guy who has never painted before he did a fine job of it. What someone can do with determination! Bravo Jim!
I haven't been painting at all lately...for about a week I think. Not that I haven't had the drive it's just that so many other things have been going on. It's good to get away from the easel. I find that even though I'm not painting I'm still thinking about it or at least planning for it.
We've had company and a lot of yard work that needed attending. When I was gone we had some winds come through and blow down two big branches from one of our pine trees so that meant getting out the chain saws and going to town. I can finally say I'm getting way better at sharpening a chain saw. Wish I was better at getting rid of moles and ground squirrels....they think they own this place.
I've been trying to put together a frame I want for a painting of Eaton Canyon I did a while ago. The painting was done on 12"x36" birch panel. I want an oak frame and itching to make one that has a Craftsmen look to it. I've collected pics of Craftsmen frames to get ideas...at this point I just need to get some oak to build it. I'm also in the process of scanning, photo taking and reframing all art stuff....I'm tired of the time off from painting so I hope to be painting again soon. By the way, when not painting you tend to look at other paintings by other artists and that always leads to the "I suck"
attitude and the only way to fix that is to get back to painting and try and do better work....feeling that way is something I really hate!
16"x20" pen & ink
Years ago I made a pen & ink drawing of a Coast Guard cutter. The drawing is done using the stippling technique...a pen & ink technique where the drawing is composed of just dots of ink...there are no straight lines....just dots. I use Koh In Noor rapidographs to do this. Rapidographs are mechanical pens that have a steel wire in the barrel that allows only one drop of ink to come out each time you press down on the paper....it's prefect for stippling.
Anyway, I was just looking at the drawing again thinking about a woman who had asked me if I had prints available of that drawing and at the time I hadn't even scanned the drawing. I used to make my early prints here in the studio. Each drawing had to be scanned in sections then put back together in photoshop...lots of clean up to the scans and then I'd print a test scan. Printing was done on an Epson 1520 wide format printer I had bought with archival inks so the prints would last. I printed on good quality hot pressed watercolor paper. I'd print about 5-10 prints and then sold the prints as people ordered them. When I needed more I'd buy more WC paper and print up another batch. Making your own prints was a lot of work and "a lot of work" is a major understatement.
I did get around to scanning the drawing but that was on an older scanner that wasn't that good to begin with. Scanners, for those of you who have only bought one in the last 10 years, used to suck on ice! Software didn't work with operating systems, bad scanning quality, lots of "noise" in the scan...ghost lines...ugh! I'd like to rescan the whole thing now with my newer killer scanner I have. It's a scanner/copier/printer combo but scans better than any scanner I ever had in the old days! In the detail photo you can see the scan quality...not that good, ugh!
I was thinking about finally getting to making some prints but there might be a few snags...one, my old printer and printer drivers might not work with my newer computer. I also might have a major problem finding archival inks for it since I bought the printer way back around the late 90's....you know how fast the computer world is. It's a dinosaur at this point. Damn progress! I'll have to check some things out before I even attempt this.
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