Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Morning Drive to Class

Here are a few photos of my drive to Fayetteville. The fog was still misting through the trees. Some shots were taken through the windshield while driving (I know, dangerous to do.) I left later than intended so the photos had to be taken while driving.

Friday, September 26, 2008

09-26-08 Class

Today's class was great. First, I asked Tim to look at the British Columbia Lodge painting. I knew the background tree colors were all wrong, so he offered me some suggestions on that. So now I will be sanding down the tree area and reworking that area. So neat to have a knowledgable artist willing to help!

We started off the morning with a new plein air study, working for an hour or so. Then Tim talked on composition, value studies, and a bit on Sargent and Homer. Then we work on last week's plein air. By that time the sun was in approximately the same place as last week. Below is a slide show that shows some of what was happening today.

Class Day

The early morning has been spent sorting through the plein air box and other art supplies, making sure I have everything for class, plus cleaning the palette that I didn't clean last night. Taking a class is a lot like planning to paint outside, having to be prepared for anything. That means paper towels, bag(s) for trash (in case we paint outside), a hat to shade the eyes, mediums/mineral spirits, not to mention brushes, paints, painting supports and palette(s). It looks like I'm getting ready for a week's vacation, *grin*. Class is a lot like a vacation in that I can get away from the normal everyday things that must be done and concentrate solely on listening to the instructor and painting. It is wonderful and sometimes stressful at the same time.
I'm planning to leave for class a bit earlier than usual so that if something catches my attention, I can take photos of the scenic area I drive through to get to Fayetteville, AR. The foothills of the Ozarks is beautiful this time of year, as the leaves are beginning to change color and are lazily floating to the ground. The walnut trees especially have dropped their leaves. The photo below was taken a few years ago of a place just up the highway from me. I took the photo while driving then cropped it to focus on what captured my attention. I am hoping that the colors this Fall are even lovelier.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

BC Lodge, Near Finish

Today was spent working on this painting. Defining more of the boats, adding poles, reshaping the plane and defining the ferry boat. I see a couple of poles that need to be straightened on the viewer's left. I may also work on the rocky beach area beside the main building, making them less purplish and carrying in some of the color of the cliffs.

There is a closeup shot of the foreground since the larger photo darkened it so much. Hope you enjoy the painting!

Friday, September 19, 2008

09-19-08 Class

Each student was at a different place with their painting. Some more finished than others. I was still working on the copper pot. Put in more background then Tim sat down and began placing large deliberate strokes in the back and foreground. We worked on these paintings for about an hour than I worked on the perspective exercise we did previously, adding more intense paint.

The other students paint for seven hours and I paint for three. So it will be interesting to see how far along they are with their plein air paintings. Tim was quite excited by my plein air tree and I am still mystified as to what he saw that caused the excitement. I didn't take a photo of the painting but did crop a close up from the photo Tim took of me with the painting. It is a terrible image but you will get the idea.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

09-12-08 Class

The photo on the right is a still from the video I took while Tim was placing some light values on the pot and a few neutrals bluish-green-grays in the background. We went right into to painting with a few demos by Tim on each painting. He again advised that I place deliberate strokes, looking at the copper pot then look at the painting to see where the stroke needs to go. He thinks it should take about an hour to finish the pot in the next class but I believe he has more faith in me than I do. I wonder why it is in class I feel less competent and always hesitate before painting. That is probably a normal feeling, especially when being taught by someone as talented as Tim. I have to remind myself that is exactly why I'm taking classes; to increase my skill level both in viewing and painting. Can't do one well without the other as they go hand in hand. I've been paying special attention how different artists hold their brushes. Note that Tim is holding the brush very lightly and far back on the handle. He can do the finest of lines held just that way which amazes me.

It is busy around here, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. I sure miss Cindy who was coming in once a week to do the heavy stuff for us but she is working somewhere else full-time now. When I take breaks, I try to get in a few strokes on the Lodge painting. If I don't have time for that I try to look at it with fresh eyes to see if an area needs to be refined or less defined. I am so loving painting in oils, as I do in watercolor. The Golden Open acrylics are sitting in the drawer waiting on me to try them too. That should be fun and exciting, when the chance finally arrives to do some painting with them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bruce Peil Workshop Presented by ANA

Artists of Northwest Arkansas
Presents the Fall 2008 Workshop
Bruce Peil

This workshop is about understanding that a painting is made up of interlocking shapes of color and value that are all relative to each other. Emphasis will be put on seeing the correct values, painting natural feeling colors with simple shapes, and getting accurate information down quickly on location. The object is to have each piece of color be correct in relation to the one that came before.

One problem I see students having is painting too large outdoors for their ability to finish before the light changes. So, if we go on location, each student should be prepared to paint as small as necessary in order to capture the scene before the light changes. The first day will be spent in the studio talking about my approach to painting, and doing some preliminary value studies.

The remainder of the workshop will be spent doing small quick studies to learn to get an accurate start and to capture ‘that moment in time’. An inaccurate start always leads to a failed painting.Bring photos to work from when painting indoors. Demonstrations will be done when necessary, and each student will receive personal attention.

Each time we approach a new subject will be a different situation, and should be treated with a fresh outlook and not a much repeated formula. In other words, we should paint what we see, not what we think we know. Other topics discussed will be composition, contrast, edges, planes, perspective, and simplifying equipment.

For more information about the workshop scroll down the home page of the Artists of Northwest Arkansas website. To view Mr. Peil's work, visit his website at:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Calm in NE Oklahoma

We have had lots of rain thanks to Ike but if we had winds in our area last night, I slept through it all. My heart goes out to everyone affected by Hurricane Ike. Seeing the damage brings home how vulnerable we are to Mother Nature.

Very little painting done yesterday on the BC Lodge painting. Instead, I've been studying the photo taken this morning of the painting and am not at all happy with the foliage on the hillside. Did you notice the swath of dark tree areas on each side of the painting? How they cut the hillside into three separate areas rather than being integrated? I'm trying to think in terms of warm/cool, light vs. dark, small shapes vs. large shapes. directional flow of the of each plane in the hillside. I am also going to begin another painting so that my mind can go in a different direction rather than obsessing about the Lodge painting.
I read a quote somewhere that I really liked and am paraphrasing here; "I'm not striving for perfection but, excellence." Excellence is what I'm trying to learn and hope you will share my struggles and accomplishments with me!

Friday, September 12, 2008

BC Lodge, 09-12-08 Progress

This photo is showing yesterday's progress. There is some glare on the photo and I'm find this a difficult painting to photograph.
Class has been moved to Friday's so hope to have more photos to share later today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

BC Lodge, 09-08-08 Progress

More progress made last night on the left side of the painting (viewer's left.) Sometime during the day or night, I hope to work on this more.

Monday, September 08, 2008

BC Lodge, A little more progress

A little bit of progress and hope to have an opportunity to paint more today. It is quite a challenge to paint those tiny areas without messing up the area next to it. This painting is teaching me a lot such as the best brush to use for task, i.e., narrow strokes, soft layer, more texture and also importance of direction of the stroke. The water looks quite turbulent right now which has to do with the direction of the brush strokes. I think it's pretty cool that something can be changed just by a brush stroke! The water is almost mirror like except where the plane has disturbed the water.
My palette for this in the alkyd oils has been raw umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, cad. yellow, indian yellow, permanent rose, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue and viridian. I took the photos outside and the photos had a glare on one side or the other so I had to crop and merge two photos.

Friday, September 05, 2008

BC Lodge, Small Progress

Not much progress made on this painting yesterday or today. The perspective looks a bit off on the main lodge so have to check that and do some repainting.

Mom's 90th birthday celebration and a family reunion are coming up in two weeks, so any painting is going to have be in class and inbetween household duties. With my sleep schedule though, I have been painting between 1 and 4 a.m. which has been great as the house is so quiet with no interruptions.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

British Columbia Lodge, Next Stage

Today, I've been working on the upper part of the painting with still quite a ways to go before that area is finished. The darks have to be addressed as they are showing quite bluish in the photo but in real life they are much more neutral. I discovered that alkyd oil paints dry quite rapidly when painted in thin layers. That can be a bonus when wanting to continue on with the painting and not having to wait very long for the paint to set up.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

British Columbia Lodge, Oils Underpainting

A friend sent me a photograph taken by her nephew of a fishing lodge he enjoyed in British Columbia. The photo is showing an aerial view taken from the airplane as they were starting their landing. The trees alone drew me to the photo and thought how much I would love spending time in country this beautiful.

The underpainting, using alkyd oils, was begun last night with a bit more done today. I'm waiting for the paint to dry before developing the shapes of the structures. There is still a ferry boat, small boats and boat ramps, plus an airplane to add to the scene. I hope I can meet the challenge.