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Please contact Fountainhead Gallery at http://www.fountainheadgallery.com

sea, ocean, seaside, oil painting, landscape painting, oil, art, tonalist art, tonalist painting, tonalism, classical realism, fine art, contemporary landscape

Seaside, 18×24

This painting was inspired by a trip to the Pacific Ocean.  As the evening hours approached the clouds rolled in, creating a luminous sky juxtaposed by a darkened ground lane.  I remember the distinctive glow of gold light at the tree line and the hidden dark stream flowing into the sea.  The smell of salt water is fresh in my mind as I look at this piece.  I love the movement in the clouds as they echo the shape of the stream below.

winter, trees, pond, fog, representational art, nocturne, oil painting, landscape painting

Winter Moon, 20 x 16

I love to paint nocturnes because the  night time is full of mystery in the absence of light.  The reflected light of the moon illuminates the sky and water, bringing the viewer to an intimate spot on the shoreline.  I try to create a peaceful respite for the viewer, where they can call bring a bit of their own experience to a painting.  Maybe they will remember a time like this and finish the story from their own experience.

skagit valley tulips, tulip fields, representational art, fine art, contemporary landscape painting, oil painting, landscape painting, spring tulips

Skagit Valley Tulips, 7 x 14

The Skagit Valley is one of my favorite spots in Washington!  The expansive sky is one of the reasons I made this composition a wide, flat horizontal.  I chose a color harmony of yellow, blue and a bit of green for this piece, which is very Pacific Northwest!  If anyone has visited the tulip fields in spring time they will instantly recognize the major elements of trees, fields, flowers, distant mountains and sky as the iconic Skagit Valley. Our memories tend to sift out extraneous detail and this painting reflects my experience and the mood on a beautiful spring day.

barn painting, oil painting, landscape painting, impressionist art, classical realist, contemporary art, fine art, representational art, landscape painting, dusk, seascape painting, ocean, art

Barn By the Sea, 20 x 24

Another Skagit Valley painting, reflecting the early evening hours in late October, with a moonrise peeking through the clouds.  I love the subtle color shifts in the grasses in Autumn and how they are reflected in the clouds above.  The distant San Juan Islands create a finishing backdrop for the land to meet the sky.

Pacific Ocean, beach, figures on beach, dog on beach, sand, sunset, tree trunks in sunset, seascape, oil painting, ocean, seascape painting, contemporary art, contemporary landscape, contemporary painting, representational art, landscape painting, classical realism, tonalist landscape, classical painting, pacific ocean,

Beach Walk, 12 x 16

I saw this couple and their dog on the beach near Kalaloch, WA on the Pacific Coast and it reminded me of my own experience, walking with someone I love, stopping, picking up rocks and drift wood, and possibly finding a sand dollar at low tide.  I can hear the waves and whoosing behind me as I take in the salt water air.  This is a memory piece (I do not use photographs as reference material) for all those times at the beach.  I am looking through the trees from high up on the bank to the people and dog below.  I am looking at my memory, and maybe a memory of the viewer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nocturnes at Reinert Fine Art Gallery, Charleston, SC

I am pleased to announce that my nocturnes are available at Reinert Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina!    On our recent visit there we took a tour in a horse-drawn carriage through town, learning about the history and visiting the fabulous old neighborhoods that were built in the 1600’s! Charleston was the leading city in the South from the colonial era down to the civil war.  Charleston is one of my favorite places.  I love this town for its friendly people, the fabulous cuisine, and most of all, its celebration of the arts.   I am honored to be working with The Reinert Fine Art Gallery.  Their website is reinertfineart.com.

Blue night landscape painting

Harvest Moon over Mt. Si, 8×12

Nocturne, indirect painting method, memory of trees on ridge with moon light on grass and water

Moonridge, 8 x 10

Painting of oncturne with evergreen hill and pond reflecting moon light

Moon and Pond, 10 x 12

blue night landscape with full moon, mountain

Cloudy Nocturne, 8 x 12

mt rainier at night, blue sky, white mountain, dark trees

Mt Rainier Nocturne Study, 8 x 8

 

Drawings – Field Drawings v. Studio Drawings

graphite drawing, desert plants, sage

Sage Garden, 7 x 10, SOLD

Snoqualmie Falls Drawing, 17 x 13

Snoqualmie Falls Drawing, 17 x 13

Many of you know that I create my paintings from studies – drawings done on location AND in the studio.  It’s funny why artists use the term “study,” but it really makes sense.  While we are working on a drawing we ARE actually studying the subject, whether it’s a figure, still life, or landscape – observing as much as possible in a limited amount of time in order to understand how everything holds together.

When I am in the field I will begin with a few quick thumbnail sketches before I launch into a drawing.  Then I will jot down a few notes that help me remember important pieces of information for later on.  I always include the date, the time of day, weather conditions, lightest light and darkest dark, color harmonies, and, most important, the reason for doing the drawing in the first place.  Why is it an attractive scene?  Why does it compel me?  What am I feeling at the time?  Landscapes are mirrors of our souls and I always try to figure out what it is that compels me to this location.  The top drawing, Sage Garden, was done outside on a very hot day in eastern Oregon.  I love the desert and the great variety of  plants that grow there!

The bottom drawing of Snoqualmie Falls was done in the studio.  I came back from the field with a 9 x 12 plein air painting of Snoqualmie Falls and worked from that to create this larger study.  I knew that I wanted to make a larger painting so it made sense to go into more detail in the drawing stage before I launched into the painting.  It’s amazing what we can remember from being in the field.  I work on my memory through drawing exercises and it has helped immensely.

I am trying to photograph more of my drawings (there are TONS) and I will post them in the drawing section of my website periodically.  If you ever want more information please let me know.    Thanks for visiting!

Clymer Museum Juried Show!

winter field, gray sky, creek, distant fir trees, purple mountains

Patterson Creek, 8 x 12

I am pleased to announce that my painting, Patterson Creek, has been accepted into the 2015 West of the Mississippi Juried Show at the Clymer Museum and Gallery in Ellensburg, WA.  I look forward to the opening on Friday, March 6th, to see all of the wonderful landscape paintings on view.  Please join me if you can, it promises to be a wonderful show!

This painting was created from a series of sketches and drawings done on site.   Later, back in the studio, I reference the drawings and my memory to create a series of thumbnail sketches to work out the final composition.   How I remember what I saw has more to do with what I felt when I saw the scene rather than the specific details.  I remember this day last February, and how this particular field had a soul searching quality to it.  I was inspired by the yellow grasses that stretched outward (or inward?) for a long distance, to the place where the land meets the sky.

Indirect Painting Technique

Here are four paintings recently completed using an indirect approach.  Starting with a monochromatic under painting gives me a visual of the final picture before  I  start adding color.  The first opaque passage is followed by several rounds of thin glazes, scumbles, and velaturas.  After adjusting  the values,  colors temperature and chroma, I adjust edges and add the final details to bring the picture to completion.  It’s a slow process of working for a short period on one piece before setting it aside to work on another.   I like how the painting develops slowly, over time;  it is similar to how a memory is recalled in your mind-  you see it and feel it emerge from the inside out.

fir trees, distant mountains, yellow clouds, early evening sunset

Rattlesnake Ridge, 9 x 9

 

winter field, gray sky, creek, distant fir trees, purple mountains

Patterson Creek, 8 x 12

 

Dawn, fir trees with dead snag, orange sunrise sky, dark foreground grasses

Morning Majesty, 9 x 12

 

Evening at the Slough, 8 x 10

Evening at the Slough, 8 x 10

 

Rattlesnake Cove – Indirect Painting Techniques

Here is the finished painting of Rattlesnake Cove!   The process for completing this painting went like this:  I started with a vine charcoal drawing, using a golden section grid to “scale up”  (enlarge)  my graphite study onto the larger panel.    Next, I completed an underpainting, using a mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.  Then, when this was completely dry, I began the slow process of adding thin layers of opaque and transparent paint, waiting between sessions for the surface to dry.  My medium for this piece was a mixture of refined linseed oil plus sun-thickened linseed oil plus turp.  As the painting progressed I thickened the medium mixture (or reduced the quantity of turp) to stay true to the fat over lean principle.  It was a challenge to create the illusion of sunlight breaking through the tall trees and illuminating the willow bush in the water below.  I will never forget that image when I first saw it last summer at Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend, WA.  You can read about earlier phases of this painting on this blog in a post called “Color Sketch of Rattlesnake Cove.”

 

landscape of trees and water, reflection, lake, indirect method

Rattlesnake Cove, 19.5 x 12

Color Sketch for Rattlesnake Cove

I made a drawing of this willow bush against the dark trees a couple of weeks ago.  The water was still and dark showing little reflection of the big trees in the background.  When I returned to the site this week to capture the scene in a plein air color sketch the lake had dropped by several feet (Rattlesnake Lake is controlled by a dam by the City of Seattle).   All the water in front of the willow had disappeared and I was looking at brown lake bottom instead of the beautiful yellow reflections.  What to do?  Well, I decided I liked the memory of the scene from before so I stayed put and painted, making up the reflection from memory!  How convenient is that?  Once again, my paintings are about a confluence of time, place and concept.

Here is the color sketch.  I worked for two mornings during the same time for about two hours each day to complete the painting.  I started with a burnt umber wipeout and painted on top of that.  I like how the warmth of the darkish reddish shows through and gives it an overall color harmony.  This sketch is about 7″x12″.  The larger studio painting will be a golden section size of 12″x19.42 inches.

This is an iphone photo so please excuse the glare.  I’ll be getting professional photos taken soon.

James Whistler and the Memory Color Sketch

James Whistler (1870’s) was famous for his memory work – particularly his nocturnes.  He used to have a friend row him in a boat out on the Thames and he would sit for hours looking and memorizing the scene.  It was too dark to draw or make notes so he would speak out loud to his companion and ask him to verify what he was seeing.  When he returned to the studio he would rush in and slap thin coats of paint on the canvas as fast as he could before the memory faded.

I’ve been working up at Rattlesnake Lake on a couple of motifs.  This one caught my eye right off the bat and I sat down to draw – immediately – before the light changed.  Instead of snapping a picture (which would be a whole heck of a lot faster and easier) I sat and drew the scene before me.  A couple of days later I sat down at the easel in my studio to do this color sketch.  Having drawn the image already I was familiar with it and it didn’t take much to conjure up the scene in my mind’s eye.  As I put down my impression on canvas the painting began to appear – looking much like the drawing, but in color.   Soon enough the painting began to make its own aesthetic demands.  There is an “alchemy” that takes place when I swing back and forth between the memory and the image on canvas.

 

 

Painting From Visual Memory and Imagination

Have you ever looked at something for a long time and then closed your eyes and tried to see the image in your mind’s eye?  That’s your visual memory.  It’s a muscle that can be developed to aide in the creation of paintings!

Athletes use it all the time when they try to “imagine” themselves performing a trick or move with precision.  If they can see themselves doing it in their imagination, chances are they can execute it when they try it for real.

I use my visual memory all the time when I create thumbnail sketches for future paintings and sometimes to create a whole new painting – like this one!

I haven’t named it yet.  It’s part of a series I’m doing of the Pacific Northwest.  It’s about 16″x12″