Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Down to the Sea

Second completed painting in my Aran Islands series.
Oil on Stretched Cotton 18x24
Depicts fishermen hastening to their fleet of currachs to go out to hunt a shoal of basking sharks. A century or so back, these creatures were a vital source for lamp oil from the shark liver. More so the liver oil than the meat, I read in my research.
As before, I am trying to paint in the style of Irish artist, Paul Henry.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Studio in the Woods, Brown County

22nd Annual Great Outdoor Art Contest, T.C. Steele Historic Site, September 11, 2010
16x20 Oil on Stretched Cotton.
This was an interesting day, unusual in regard to lighting conditions, which were overcast with rain and intermittent fog (or clouds) rolling through.
Everything was wet all the time, including my canvas, pallette and brushes (and me)-but I still had great fun!
In this work, I know I failed to capture that atmosphere. All values should have been more subdued. This effort is too "colorized".
I hope I live to 110 years or so, as, eventually, I will get it right.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I have tried to cultivate the habit of taking pictures a lot during the painting process. I actually found it helpful, later. Sometimes, weeks after, I will prepare a self critique, as a Word document, with phases of the process inserted. The critique is a way of keeping oneself honest.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plein Air Franklin Farm

Finished Painting
9x12 Oil on Raymar Panel

Plein Air Time 100 Minutes
Studio Touchup Time 30 Minutes

Work in Progress # 3
Trying to control hard and soft edges.

Work in Progress # 2
I was anxious to show the lower sky haze.

Work in Progress # 1

Composition Sketch
Close to lens view, but wanted to include some cornfield
and distant trees on right

My Camera View
Spent over one hour meandering around Franklin back roads,
trying to find the right scene with a good safe pull over spot, and enough
seclusion. Very hot, sultry conditions (temperature around 86 F)-needed to
paint fast.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Heading in a Direction

Storm Watch

Launching the Currach
My first efforts at oil painting occurred in my early 'teens. The paints and other materials were a gift from one of my uncles and, for a couple of years, without any tutoring, I pottered about learning as best I could, how to use the paints. At the time, I was given a biography of Paul Henry, who was at that time, the early 'fifties, one of Ireland's most gifted and prominent artists.

I copied a considerable number of the color plates in that book, one or two of which have survived in my family home.

Recently, as much out of curiosity as nostalgia, I decided to see how I would perform/react/fare-whatever word suits best-to the experience now of copying one of his pieces. I chose this painting, because of the fluid, dynamic and dramatic position of the figures and thoroughly enjoyed the initial drawing of the figures, which I did very quickly. In fact, in order to convey the fluid movement, it was essential to draw quickly (with the brush).

I was not concerned with making a faithful copy-just conveying the general mood. The big problem I had was finding a good color copy. Initially what I found was from an on line source, but it left me feeling that the color reproduction was far from true. From there, I investigated further and found a new publication in the central library, downtown Indianapolis, which showed different colors. So.... I sort of compromised and towards the end, flew on my own.

Here are the two side by side. My copy is the second image (obviously, I guess).

This effort led to more research into finding photos of West of Ireland fishermen and Currachs. For the un-informed, a Currach is an ancient Celtic No Keel wooden fishing boat, formerly covered in animal skins (in tarred canvas these days). These boats, extremely lightweight and buoyant, are very effective in the rough Atlantic on the west coast, but hard to handle-usually with three or four oarsmen. Currach images in Irish painting scenes are somewhat cliched, but I have never done one. Now I am looking further for composing more paintings.

In the meantime....going, as I said, In a Direction, I looked at Patrick Flaherty's famous documentary Man of Aran (on the same Currach quest), and from that, created the painting shown, which I am calling Storm Watch. It is supposed to convey the anxious search by the boy in the film, looking out to sea for the return of his father in a currach. View the movie on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back to Basics

Yesterday, following my stumbling and bumbling around the Noblesville area, discovering that I am not translating what I know onto canvas, I resolved to set aside a portion of my time to re-learning basics. The primary aim is to look at light and shadow, i.e. Values. Towards this end, I intend to do some plein air value studies.

I was quite surprised when, same day, I came across the Blog of an English artist, Paul Foxton, who describes a similar pilgrimage he has made to get back long forgotten skills (in his case-not mine). In my case, most of these skills are work-in-progress.

Anyway, I thoroughly recommend visiting the following links:

Learning to See Blog


Foxton Website


Potter's Bridge, Noblesville

Last week, Thursday through Saturday, I participated in the Noblesville HCAA Second Annual Paint Out. This event, both in its first and second year, attracted most of the best Indiana artists.

For me, aside from the pleasure of meeting with and talking to, many artists of all standards of development, the two painting days were a struggle. I had not painted plein air since October 2009 and was shocked (why-I don't know) at not being "at speed" when trying to create art. The worst thing was my inability to translate the values I was observing into paint on the canvas.

I made three paintings and the one shown here, inadequate though it may be, was the best (and first) painting I created. This one, I entered for the juried competition. As usual for me, on the day when each artist sets up his or her work for judging, a cold dose of reality hit home when I viewed my work alongside many beautiful paintings. However, it is all a learning process, including closely examining other people's work to see how they see and solve.

I was delighted that Jerry Points won Best of Show, with a beautiful painting. I have not yet looked, but I suspect (and hope) Jerry displays it on his Blog.

I am making one more Post after this, today, which may be of interest to any reader.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Three other sales

From Top:
Red Barn at Yellowwood State Park
The Long Walk, Galway Quay (this is the Watercolor version-I never photographed the Oil version)
Old Brickworks, Manor Kilbride, Wicklow (this sale was an inkjet print tabletop framed)

Nashville Barn

Fifth Sale from Broad Ripple

This is a plein air work made near the T. C. Steele Historical Site in Brown County, Indiana

The Hook, Wexford

My Fourth Broad Ripple Sale

A painting I enjoyed creating, being a strong reminder of a really enjoyable time spent in south east Ireland with one of my brothers, now deceased, who was an angling fanatic (some of it infected me but is now virtually usurped by a love of painting. This is a region where we shore fished for flounder and bass.

On the Rocks at Doolin

My third Sale at Broad Ripple.
During a one week painting workshop in Lisdoonvara, County Clare, in the south west of Ireland, 2008, Doolin was the most frequent site visited. It is a stimulating place for an artist.
This rock table adjoining the harbor shows, in the middle and far distance, the Cliffs of Moher.

The lady who bought this painting has very strong Irish Traditional Music connections, including at least one visit to Doolin. While classicly trained, she also plays "Irish Fiddle". If she reads this, I apologize, as I am not doing justice to her story.

For those of my viewers (most-I'm sure), Doolin is the "center of the universe" in regard to Traditional, in particular for fiddle playing and has generated many of the greatest musicians living and dead. In this country (America), it would compare with the heartland region for Bluegrass Music-perhaps Lexington. It is rather interesting actually, if one considers the comparative size of the American Bluegrass region and the strongly Irish and Scottish music influence coming from tiny locations such as Doolin (population around 200!!!).

Doolin is so famous for the music that, in the spring and summer, it is crammed with tourists from all over the world, thirsting for the pub music sessions. One never knows who may turn up to play.

I painted there on a workshop for a week in 2008. The scenery is just superb and an artist's paradise.

Rosscarbery Makeover

Broad Ripple Art Fair Art Center Student Sale 2010

My second sale.

Whatcha Lookin At?

Broad Ripple Art Fair Art Center Student Show 2010

This is the first of five paintings, I am pleased to say, that were sold to new buyers, and, with one exception, I had the pleasure of conversing with each individual. The one exception is the cow painting, which was bought while I was away helping at another sales area. I have to say that this picture has always pleased viewers. It was a pleasure to paint under the gentle guidance of Susan Mauck in her painting class at the Stutz ArtSpace

My biggest regret from this show, was not establishing any means of contacting any of these buyers in the future. While many viewers took business and postcards away from my booth, during all the pressure of preparation for this exhibit, I omitted to attach to the back of many of my painting, my usual 4x6 marketing card, with a thumbnail of the painting, title, size and description, plus my contact information.
It is all a learning experience (including creating the art-I am glad to say).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Babysitter

This is the third painting of a series By the Water. I have many more compositions in mind.

This creation is a composite, actually, the child being from one photograph I took on Sandymount Strand, Dublin and the dog (and sea and shore) from another scene I shot several years earlier at Rosslare Strand, County Wexford, Ireland.

One interesting (and unforseen) struggle I had was caused by the color proximity between the sand and the flesh tones of the little girl. I'm not sure if I solved the problem to my satisfaction, but, at least, a lesson was learned in regard to planning the color composition, or seeing the problem beforehand (I think!!!).