Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saratoga Battlefield Plein Air

"Saratoga Battlefield", 6 x 8, oil on panel

The photo gremlin strikes again.  I can't get the colors right so you will have to trust me when I say that the mountains are not electric purple in the original.  This was done last week while we were in Saratoga Springs NY.  This beautiful park celebrates the famous Battle of Saratoga which was a turning point in the American Revolution.  This was one of the lookouts where the Americans had set up camp.  The Hudson River lies just beyond the tree line.  It was a beautiful day and I hope to get back to the park and paint more this Fall before the snow falls!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Show at Sorelle Gallery

"Early September Marsh", oil on linen, 24 x 24

This painting will be exhibited at the Sorelle Gallery's "Reveal Fall" show starting Friday, September 28th.  The show runs through October 11th so please stop by if you are in the Albany area.  This painting has been on and off my easel for a long time.  I had done several studies in pastel before starting the oil version.  I finally resolved some of the issues that had been nagging me and I am happy with it now.  This piece is quite large for me and I really enjoyed painting larger.  Hopefully more to follow.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September at the Beach

"September at the Beach," 6 x 8 oil on linen panel

I can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post!  We've been traveling between Newport RI and Saratoga Springs NY so it's been busy.  The weather has been beautiful in both places and it is really starting to look and feel like Fall.  It's actually perfect plein air weather.  I like the brushwork in this little study.  I was trying to apply the paint in the same manner as my pastels which tend to be much looser than my oils.  It's something I am really trying to work on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

End of Summer

"End of Summer", 6 x 8, oil on linen panel

We are taking care of boat things in a marina north of Newport RI.  There are a lot of boats hauled out awaiting their repairs or just hanging out for a while which makes for great plein air subject matter.  This old fishing trawler caught my eye right away.  I think it's one of the "hanging out" boats:  it's been sitting there a while.  The colors in this painting are a light brighter than my usual palette.  I grabbed my paint bag not realizing I had taken several tubes of paint out a few days ago.  I was left with cad yellow, yellow ochre, quinacridone red, transparent red oxide and prussian blue.  I rarely use prussian blue. It is a very strong pigment and can take over the entire palette if not used carefully.   I kind of like the pure color in this but I would like to do another version with my more complete palette to grey it down a bit. I'll post a second version if I get to it in the next day or so.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Plein Air Postcard Syndrome

"Rose Island Lighthouse", oil on linen, 6 x 6

For the life of me I can not get a decent photo of this painting.  I've tried every camera setting and photo editing fix and I can't get the color right.  It is also picking up strange accents like the orange in the sky which is much more subtle and the darks in the rocks which is also more subtle.  Weird.  Any and all photo suggestions are welcome.  Anyway, I did this study using only my sketches which is something I've been trying to practice more and more.  I want to free myself not only from photo references but also from what I call "plein air postcard syndrome."  I think many artists get caught up in the technical challenge of trying to capture a scene exactly as it appears at any given time of day when painting plein air.  I know I do.  While I may not have escaped the postcard aspect in this composition I deliberately focused on finding interesting patterns in the building and rocks while I was sketching.   I think a second pass at this scene would focus more on the rocks and and the front part of the lighthouse rather than trying to get the whole building into the composition.