Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yuletide Carolers

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my blog readers! The following is the steps I took to create the final painting "Yuletide Carolers". I have not done a full scale painting in a while, so this was a bit of a challenge. I wanted to create an image of our church with some Dickens style carolers at the front door. The feeling I was going for was a warm inviting feeling, even though it is cold and blustery out. The painting will have a cool dominance to enforce the feeling of cold. The warms were placed at the center of interest. With that said, here we go...

These were some of the initial sketches with 3 values applied. The value patterns show an overall mid with the lightest value at the center of interest and the darks creating the contrast at the center of interest. I was concentrating on creating interesting shapes and not "things".

I then created a more refined sketch. This helps me to get a better understanding of the shapes. I added some marker to some of the shadow areas. I try to keep thinking of shapes and not things.

I created some small (6"x8") initial color studies. These also helped me to loosen up a bit before I dove in.

I sketched the shapes in pencil on my watercolor paper, soaked the sheet with a sponge and applied the first loose washes of the mid values. I made sure that I did not paint the white or light areas.

After letting this wash dry, I was looking at the composition, and decided that I was not happy with it. The shape that bothered me the most was the large shape of the church split the paper exactly in half. I should have caught this at the sketch stage. Since this painting was to be used for our family Christmas card, I was pressed for time. I try to start the work on these holiday paintings early, but unfortunately this was a busy year and the time slipped by quickly. So I created another sketch that resolved the problems. I shifted the view which helped to create shadow shapes which I could use around the light value shapes. The church shape was set more to one side.

I created a more refined sketch to work on the composition a bit.

Here is the value pattern I will go with.

I roughed the shapes in pencil on my watercolor paper, soaked the entire sheet and applied the first loose mid washes.

I then added some dark shapes, using my value sketch as a guide.

Define more mid value and dark value shapes.

Reinforcing values and refining shapes.

More shape refining and a signature.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jury Duty Sketches

It has been a while since I have posted anything. I am trying to saddle up and get going on a series of paintings along with working on some Christmas cards. This page out of the sketchbook was done while I was on jury duty. This is a great time to get some sketching in.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lighthouse study

We took a family trip to Pictured Rocks in the UP of Michigan this Summer. During the sunken boat tour, we passed by an old restored lighthouse. This sketch is a quick study of this wood and stone light house

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Linoleum Block Cut Experiment

I have always loved the simplicity of woodcuts. My father was in advertising his entire life. I remember him taking me to the printers so he could oversee some of his printing projects. The the guys at the print shop hand leaded type and etched out the halftones used for printing. This was way back in the days before desktop publishing. I finally tried my hand at a linocut. As most readers of my blog know, I am a big fisherman. Having the privilege to catch even the smallest trout in a stream is an extreme thrill. They are the jewels of the creeks. My best friend and fishing buddy Corey caught a beautiful brown trout in our usual haunts. A quick picture was taken and the jewel was set free. The colors on trout are magnificent. Anyway, I developed a quick line drawing from the reference photo. I have been wanting to do a linocut, so I decided this would be a great subject. My intention all along was to enhance the linocut with watercolor. This way the colors of the trout would shine. If I was not going to use watercolor, I would have added more black so that there is not an even amount of black and white space.

Here is the original sketch.

Here is a shot of the linocut in process.

This is the first impression from the linocut. There are a few adjustments that need to be made.

This is a quick watercolor test to experiment with values and color. This is by no means the final version. I will make some more tweaks, create another test impression. Once I am satisfied with the printing, I will print out about a dozen or so to watercolor. Stay tuned for the final version.

Friday, July 13, 2007

EDM 126 Sponge

Here is a quick watercolor sketch of my sponge.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bluebird Study

Blubird study using 5 brush stokes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Trout and Salmon

Here are a couple of fishy characters. The splashes of color in the background was accomplished by using a small bottle with a needle applicator. The bottles were filled with various colors of watercolor, then sprayed on the paper. Additional drops of clear water were sprayed on to soften some of the edges.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pimp My Easel

Sounds like a new artist reality TV show, but it is not. After using my Cheap Joe's brand French Easel, I decided to make a few modifications. Being a professional Industrial Designer and Inventor by day, I just could not help but make a few modifications. When I paint, I typically have two large buckets of water, a sponge, pallet, Windex bottle sprayer and a handful of brushes. Most of the stuff stores neatly in the drawer and in the back of the easel. When the easel is fully deployed ready to go, I open the drawer which contains my brushes, a knife for scraping and some tissues, and place my pallet on the open drawer. To prevent the pallet from sliding, I placed 4 feet on the bottom so that they straddle the drawer on either side. To make the easel a more stand alone unit, I needed a place to place my water buckets. The key is that they needed to be placed in an easily accessible location. I fashioned some L brackets out of aluminum and fastened them to each leg in the slots with a thumb screw and wing nut. This way they can be easily disassembled and placed in the box for transport. I thought the sponge placement would be a bit more difficult. I was able to fashion a sponge holder from a piece of aluminum angle and a piece of gray PVC flat stock I had laying around. I used a torch to heat the PVC at the desired location and bent a 90 degree angle. I attached the angle to the PVC with rivets and voila, a sponge holder. I found that attaching the holder to the leg joint on the easel an ideal location. Water bucket below, sponge above. I added a few drain holes in the PVC so that excess water will drain back into the bucket below. I also added a hook to the drawer pull to hold my towel. Stay tuned, I am sure I will have more modifications.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Approaching Storm

Finally something to post! My month long design project has finally come to a close, so I can now get back to the serious work of painting! The above image was created for a Mother's Day card. I usually create all of my cards for various occasions. This one was an interesting challenge. I used the Cheap Joe's greeting cards that I purchased some time back. The painting is only 3" x 5". I am not use to working at that size. I ended up making 3 "Fancy Cards" as my wife calls them. All of the same subject. The image above was the last one I did, and one of my favorites. Quick sure brush strokes, completed in 3 minutes. The first two that were done took too long and looked over worked. This was a fun exercise which I will definitely do again.

Friday, February 09, 2007

East Side Stroll

This painting was created as a commission which was the result of my "Fishing on the Fox" painting which hangs in our local library. Our town is situated in a river valley which offers great views, if you look for them. East Side stroll was inspired by a the beautiful Fall foliage which can be seen from from a small park which overlooks the river valley. The building is the village hall tower which is an old and recognized landmark for out town. I took some artistic license in showing the tower, but it adds local personality to the painting.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Milwaukee Morning

I completed the painting as a gift to the greatest fishing buddy a guy could ever have. One of our favorite places to fish is the Milwaukee River for steelhead. This is one of the most incredible fish to catch (when you catch one). They are not called the fish of a thousand casts for nothing! I wanted to create a morning Fall scene which is usually one of the most beautiful times on the water. I over did the reds in this painting a bit. The fisherman is also a bit stiff, not loose enough. This is something I really need to work on.