Showing posts from August, 2013

Center of Interest

Start with your center of interest and really nail it. Work out from there blocking in the largest shapes first. This I found to be the best approach especially out in the field, "alla prima".

The sky went from a few clouds to over casted in a short period of time.

Here I did some pencil sketches to get an idea of compositions. Then I went to water color starting with the center of interest knowing what my composition was going to be. Making color notes and photos for reference, I will go from here into the studio to work in oil paints.


Edges come in all the variations in between sharp and blurry.  Most of the edges fall somewhere in that intermediate range of soft and hard. They are the boundaries of shapes. The way the light reflects off the shapes defines its edge.  Our eyes adjust to objects near and far to be equally in focus. So then, our minds impression is everything to be equally clear and sharp. Using edges effectively will help communicate the sense of depth. When looking at your center of interest, that is where you want to apply your hardest, strongest edge. This stroke should be deliberate and precise. Try not to weaken it with many additional strokes. Too many soft edges can make a painting just look blurry where you cannot focus on anything. While manipulating edges, avoid using too thick of paint until the final stages. The key is variation while leading the viewer through the painting to the center of interest.

Morning Fuzz 8" X 8"

Take Heart 8" X 7"

Wild Fires, Storms - Lighting Opportunities to Sketch

There are 10 fires going on in Montana. One of the largest is just west of us, luckily far enough west by many miles. So, the smoke has been awful. Relief last night came when a violent thunderstorm came through. The cold and rain slowed down the fire a bit. There was some real damage elsewhere, 2 towns southeast had power out, still out and damage to homes and historic buildings. Gallatin County had millions of dollars of crop damage, the worst they have seen. Our little weather station we have on the back corner, measured 1.27 inches of rain downpour as a max at 12:00am.

Storm over crops
'Moose Meadows' fire
Then there is the opportunity to paint some of these atmospheric conditions. I set up my smaller easel next to the windows to paint. I started with sketches as I see nice 'moody' lighting. Here is one such triad composite. The bottom sketch has just the block in; I plan to return to it next opportunity. These take just about 30 minutes plus more as I go back to …