Sunday, September 2, 2018

2018 Louisiana and Texas Summer Painting Adventure!

This was a busy summer!  We traveled to Louisiana, Texas and Maine.  The trips were all great….seeing friends and relatives in all locations, as well as productive in producing field studies and studio paintings.  This was probably my most productive summer as far as painting on location goes! 
Many of the studies will hopefully translate into larger studio works.  I have already painted several!  Here are a few of the smaller 6x8 oil studies as well as a couple of the larger format paintings!
I haven’t posted on my blog in some time….mainly because of busy schedule….I apologize for the neglect and hope you enjoy these images I’m posting.  I will post more as I produce some additional larger images based on the summer trips!
These first studies below are from the first leg of our summer trips, around the Beautiful B&B where we stayed, “Le Village”, in Eunice, La.  A dear friend owns the place, and our stays are always a great memorable experiences!
The Prairie Barn 11x14 oil on linen

American Beauty 6x8 oil study
Country Evening 8x6 oil study
In the Garden 6x8 oil study

This second set of studies and paintings below are from the Texas part of our trip in Austin, Tex.  We visited Barton Creek, a great spot to paint and collect painting reference.  My old friend Ed Acuna, a great artist and expert on snakes and lizards was our guide….thank you Ed!
Exploring the Creek 18x24 oil on linen
Secluded Spot 16x20 oil on linen
Cooling off 16x12 oil on linen
Woodland Stream 6x8 oil study

Until next time, thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings!
Hodges Soileau OPA

Thursday, January 4, 2018

"My Purgatory Pile"

     All artists have piles of work that are not quite complete to satisfaction, or aren’t quite working, or should probably be painted over…or destroyed.  Well, mine has grown to a proportion that is no longer acceptable.  I am making a New Year’s resolution to cull it down….by either reworking the ones that are close to acceptable, or sanding down, and resizing the surfaces to reuse these good pieces of linen.  Some of it is just not worth the effort and should just be discarded.
      The violinist never reached completion....can't remember why!

     The nature of a pack rat, like myself, is to not throw anything away that I like, or think has any possible hope or merit.  This all started when an illustrator friend back in the Houston days took a little study out of my trash can and had it framed….brought it in a couple of weeks later and said to me….don’t throw these away.  Thanks, Bob Lapsley, for creating the saver that I am!
      Her favorite place, was exhibited once...there was little interest
        Hard to decide what to do with some of these...getting another look!

     There’s always a positive side to these things.  I go through my baskets of sketches and small studies, and on critique day at Ringling College of art and Design I have what we call artist choice.  Students vote for the most impressive body of work at each critique (they can‘t vote for their own), and the student with the most votes gets to dig into a few of the baskets of my saved studies.  They are mostly small….preliminary studies, and by accomplished artists standards not much to write home about.  The students seem to enjoy this.  I hope it creates some incentive to have their work rise to the level of a vote.
 This was never finished to my satisfaction....getting another look!
This is one I painted in 2005 was briefly exhibited in a gallery show!
This is one that's getting another look!

Well, here are a few that I’m giving consideration to as possible candidates for resurrection from the “Purgatory Pile”.  Again, thanks for listening to my Ramblings!….and, Happy New Year to all of you!

Hodges Soileau OPA

Monday, December 25, 2017

Combining References to fit a concept!

 As the fall semester was ending, our last model session in my RCAD afternoon figure class was a costumed situation with a great character model, Michael.  We finished the session and semester….and, fortunately I had taken a few shots of him that day.  It sparked an idea for a painting of one of my favorite painting subjects, maritime, coastal Maine, fishing, etc.  I have a wealth of reference material of this subject!  My idea was to combine shots of Michael with an appropriate scene from my files!

 I did a couple of small studies, first as graphite thumbnail ,and then oil sketches for an intended larger work.  I don’t always do these with every painting.  Most of the time I just go for it….but, sometimes it is useful to workout design, color harmonies, by solving some of the potential issues that might be problems.  In this case, I’m combining two references and trying to make it fit my concept!  These aren’t necessarily what the bigger work will look like.  There might be additional adjustments and changes.  The danger of doing preliminary studies, in my opinion, is that one might just use up all of the juice on the study!  I speak from experience….that has happened to me many times.  The result is losing interest in the project!  Always a possibility for me!

     The goal is to keep the larger work fresh and spontaneous as the study, whether it be an on location study or a studio sketch.  I was reasonably happy with these sketches, so I will forge ahead and see what the larger work brings!  Thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings.

Hodges Soileau OPA

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My First Florida On Location Painting!

An artist friend of mine….well known Plein Air painter, Bill Farnsworth started painting the Florida landscape on location about fifteen years ago.  We rented a couple of canoes at well known place in Venice called, Snook Haven on several occasions.  We spent the day paddling upstream and downstream on the Myakka River looking for places to pull up and paint.  We would pull up at a clearing on the river and haul our canoes up on land, and proceed looking for the spot.  We didn’t have to walk far from the river to find something worth painting.

These trips were fun and absolutely valuable learning experiences for me…and I’m sure for Bill.  The wild untouched terrain on the Myakka, along with the alligators that surpassed our canoes in girth made for interesting and fun days J stroking up current and drifting down stream. 

We subsequently had a two man show based on the works we produced.  Over the years I only have one of those paintings remaining.  It is the very first on location painting I executed in Florida.  I don’t know why I kept it in my purgatory pile for so long… hind site, even though it isn’t a great painting or the best painting I have painted, it has a sentimental and benchmark value to me.  I think I will keep it a while longer….unless I get an offer I can’t refuse….just saying.

Thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings!

Hodges Soileau OPA 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Field Study to Studio

    I have had conversations of late on the topic of painting in the field to the studio.  Every time the topic comes up, I am struck by the mind set of some who paint on location, or have recently started that practice.  With the exception of a few, including myself, most have this notion that it is somehow different from the studio process.  To my way of thinking, it is not that different….or, it should not be thought of as different!   Painting on location, or (Plein air), is not a style of painting as many seem to think.  It is in fact the act of painting outdoors in the open air.  

    I see a lot of so called (Plein air) paintings that have a similar look….almost as if it were taught!  I personally don’t like the term loose….painterly is a much more appropriate term, in my opinion.  Loose has a negative connotation…..sloppy!  I am a big fan of painterly paintings and subjects suggested in a broad fashion within reason…..I certainly strive to have my paintings be painterly.  If the imagery suggested is not of distinguishable good shapes, then in my opinion, they are weak paintings!  I am not suggesting for one minute that abstract paintings can’t be strong paintings…..I love good abstract paintings…..but, that is a different genre of painting! 

 "Bulow Sugar Plantation Ruins", 11x14, oil, (field study)

 "Bulow Plantation Ruins", 24x30, oil, (Studio painting)

    The point I’m trying to make is that I personally don’t want my studies or field studies to look that much different that my studio work.  The most noticeable thing should be the contrast in size.  Generally one does smaller field studies…..but, finished paintings can be done in larger formats requiring multiple visits to the site to finish the larger compositions.  Generally, most artists do the studio pieces from a sketch and photo reference taken.  If one is using a location study alone, more reason to have a study that has the feeling desired and the information needed for the larger piece!
The two paintings here are a perfect example of what I mean!  The 11x14 field on location study and the 24x30 studio piece are very similar.  If one didn’t know the size of each, it might be difficult to determine which one was the (Plein Air) painting….and, which was the studio painting. 
Thanks for listening to my ramblings!
Hodge Soileau OPA