Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Last Three Studio Painitings of 2011".

"Mystery of the Monarch" 24x20 oil on linen

These are my last three paintings for this year, 2011. This first painting, "Mystery of the Monarch",has been kicking around the studio for a few weeks. It was, as they say, done quickly over a period of time. It started out with a figure in it, and evolved to this......not sure if is a better solution than the one I started with, but I like it!

"Peaceful Summer Afternoon" 16x30 oil on linen is a larger version of a small painting I did last summer....."Summer Afternoon" 12x9 oil on linen. I always intended to do a larger one when I painted the study. There are always things that I am happier with in the studies, but overall, I think it translated fairly well into a bigger piece.

"Summer dreams and Smoked Mullet" 22x28 oil on linen

It will be interesting to see how this painting will be received. The customer base for this type of painting might not be as broad as some of my other subjects, but I think good bad or indifferent, I felt like I had to finish and not abandon this one. I consider it done, but who knows, I might tweak it some more in 2012. Happy New Year to all and I`ll see you next year.

"Recent end of the year oil studies 9x12 and under....for possible paintings in 2012"

9x6 oil on linen panel

10x8 oil on linen panel

9x12 oil on linen panel

8x12 oil on linen panel

6x9 oil on linen panel

"American Bison" 6x9 oil on linen panel

"At Creekside" 6x9 oil on linen

Just thought I would post a few things at the end of the year. I did not want anyone to think I was slacking on the job here! These are little, very quick sketches done in oil on little linen panels. I don't always do preliminary studies before starting a larger piece. If the idea is firmly resolved in my mind's eye, I will go ahead and start. There is no best way, or only one way to do this. Sometimes it is just fun to do the small ones, and if they are reasonably successful, they can be sold or given to friends, family etc. Most of these do not even have titles yet. Some may not make it to the larger format. Anyway, Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Plein Air Painting"~Style, or Process.

" Sunday Afternoon" 9x12 oil on linen

"Spanish Point" 12x16 oil on linen

Recent conversations about Plein Air painting have me thinking about what I believe is a misconception many have about plein air painting, and what it really is. I can remember when the term for studies, or paintings done outdoors was Field Sketches…….now Plein Air seems to be the universal term everyone uses for outdoor painting. Plein Air is actually a French expression which means, In the open air. Artists have been trying to capture the natural light outdoors since before the turn of the century…..1870s the Naturalist and the Impressionist were the strongest proponents, and passionately pursued this type of painting.

Some folks think that plein air is a style of painting. There may be some who teach plein air as a painting style. The problem with teaching any style is that, as beautiful as they might be, sometimes it might be difficult to distinguish one from the other. I personally feel that plein air painting is not a style of painting. It should not be thought of as a style, but the actual act of, or process, of painting out doors. Many artist do large compositions outdoors taking several days to complete…..this is still plein air painting. There almost always seems to be a freshness, or spontaneous immediacy to paintings done from life, but one does not have to necessarily change the look, or style of one’s paintings just because one is painting plein air, or outdoors. It really does not make sense to think of it differently. Of course, I am only speaking for myself. The only difference would be of time management, weather conditions, or anticipation of possible light changes.

I personally try to have my studio paintings, and my plein air paintings look as though one could not tell whether it was done in studio, or on location. That does not always happen of course, but then all paintings are not always successful…..but, it is my intent to treat them the same. I have some paintings that I think satisfy that criteria more than others, and after being set aside for sometime, it is difficult to tell which are plein air, or studio paintings. I am not a pure plein air painter, and I actually spend more time in the studio, but I know the value of painting from life, or outdoors, makes me a better studio painter. If nothing else, it teaches one to recognize the deficiency of photo reference. Cameras capture technical information wonderfully, but unfortunately cannot see what the human eye can see……when it comes to interpreting what one observes.

Obviously, the time restraint of light outdoors requires that one either work on a size that is manageable for one short session, or one has to come back to that location on subsequent days (with similar light) to complete a larger composition. I heard, or read, something about this subject once that made sense to me…..“when in the studio, pretend that you are on location and use your experience from painting from life, and some of that immediacy and freshness might be conveyed in the studio work“, or something to that effect. It is something that I am always conscious of, and certainly something to consider. I am sure there are many views on this subject, and it probably has been discussed and pondered with all views being valid. Being that I am a studio painter, and a plein air painter, this is just a personal observation that I wanted to share, and certainly does not necessarily reflect a universal attitude towards this subject.