Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thinking about compostion

After talking to a painter friend, I decided to look more closely at the last painting I showed here. Lisa--Glowing.  My friend asked me what I really wanted to show in the painting, was it the sky, the sun shine on the water, the waves under the bench--is the figure the center of attention or all the background around her.  Upon reflection, the figure and the light around her is really what I wanted to capture. I cropped the painting  using software so I can evaluate what was going on with the composition of the  painting.

First the original painting--what do I want to be the center of interest--Lisa of course--what is taking away that attention?

First I cropped conservatively, taking out some sky, water beneath her feet and the sun streak to her left side. 
It is feeling better. Next----

I cropped the painting even more. Concentrating only on the figure not the background. Now it is looking better. The figure is the center of interest. The background around her tells a little story about where she is but does not detract from her. Now that I am looking at the painting with a critical eye, I see that the background around her shoulders is too bright and needs to recede more. the orange and pink no longer are relevant and come forward too much.
 I made this painting using a photo and unconsciously used the composition that the photographer got using his camera. Cameras record everything the lens sees. Artists are discriminating and can use only what makes the painting stronger.

Thanks to my friend, E. for his help in evaluating the painting.

Painting in the Studio

Ever since we got rained out on Saturday, it has rained and been gloomy every day.  Here it is June 21st,  the longest day of the year and we have grey skies, no sun to enjoy and so much rain the ditches are running full.

So what does one do? One goes to the studio that we pay rent for and camp out there. I can't complain too much because I had fun with this painting. It is so different from my landscapes and flowers. I have never done a figure or a face with oil. I totally enjoyed the last three afternoons.  I think I am finished with this one but will look at it for a while and decide if it needs touch up any where.

Here she is "Lisa--Glowing" My son took a cell phone photo of Lisa, his wife, one night when they were playing on the Mississippi near their home. I interpreted the photo in this painting. Loved doing it and plan on more figure paintings in the future. The back lighting was a fun to work with. I wanted the light to look like an aura around Lisa. I left her face until last, worried about doing a face in oil paint. Or a face in any medium at all! Her features are recognizable but not necessarily as our Lisa.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paint Out--Rained Out!

Gerry and I sponsored a paint out on Saturday. We decided that down town Mankato has lots of interesting buildings and pocket parks so we volunteered a site near the Emy Frentz Guild. We have the Cray Mansion, The Hubbard House with it's gardens and many other interesting buildings in the area. And the building near by for breaks and a quick snack before starting the day.

We set up early. Mark and Laura from Morristown and Faribault arrived right on time. Pat from St. James came, too. She heard about the paint out when we were at the Arts by the River. Good to have her here. Then Joan came and so we had 6 of us on a day that was supposed to be dry and partly sunny. HA! Look at these photos.

Another good reason to have a plein air umbrella. Gerry struggling to close up her easel in a down pour 
AND keep a hand on her umbrella. 

Laura running to shelter in the Emy Frentz building. We all got soaked!

The morning went well, even though the promised sun did not show. We had taken a break for lunch in the gallery leaving our easels where we had set up. Gerry decided to go out to finish her painting but quickly came back to say it was starting to rain--better get our stuff! Just then the sky opened like a zipper and the rain came down in buckets full. We all ran out to pick up our stuff. What a blast we were laughing and running, making more than one trip and getting wetter and wetter. The water was running in the streets ankle deep. Joan was trying to take shelter in the gazebo in the garden but the roof was not solid. She was wetter than any of us. Her water colors are now wet into wet.

Thank Goodness, we had the gallery to shelter in. We dried off, had a cup of coffee to warm up and then broke up early for the day. We did have fun and have some funny memories of this paint out. But no finished paintings. We will definitely do this again---on a sunny day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

One of those totally beautiful days

Our weather has been pretty iffy this spring. On again and off again hot cold rainy, windy, yuck. But Yesterday was a day in paradise. Warm sun, slight breeze, bird song and sound of rushing water in the back ground. Sorry E. much better day than you had. We set up at a friends home on the Blue Earth River. I tried a long view of the river with a boat on the water. It just wasn't making it. Wiped it off and started over with a more intimate scene of our friends garden.
Peonies are in full bloom right now. I am not happy with the water of the river in the back ground. It is that strange cocoa with green reflections. The river is high with run off from a storm of 3 inches. And it was hard to keep it looking consistent with the trees in the way.


I deliberately left the lower corner undone. there were more rocks lining the garden and I felt that more would be redundant. There was also a small tree in the back ground that I painted out after I came home it just confused the composition. I am much happier with it now. Came close to wiping it out too. I am going to blame the full moon messing with me.

Sorry for the poor photo. This is way bluer on my screen than in real life. There is more life in the dark background than shows too. Cameras and computer screens just do not do paintings any favors.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Art Fair Weekend

All those frames we were making were for the first annual Arts By the River. Art and music and food in the new Riverfront Park in Mankato.  We framed 14 plein air paintings. Here they are all lined up and ready to be packed up for the show.

And here they are at the show set up and ready to find new homes. I brought them all back to my studio. Maybe next time.  I shared the table with my painting buddy, Gerry. She didn't sell either but did make some contacts for commissions.

It was very nice on Saturday and had lots of people who attended the show. We did see some people buying art. There were lots of lookers just no buyers at our table. Sunday was another matter, cold, windy and spitting rain all afternoon long. Guess when it cleared and got nice--just before we were ready to pack up for the weekend.  Sighhhh............

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How many blogs begin with "It has been a while"? Well, here we go again. I know that I have been busy and working hard and now have gotten outside to paint plein air but where the time went since March I cannot recall at all. Just lots of stuff happening.

I am in a small art fair in Mankato at the new River Front Park this coming weekend and needed to make my little plein airs look good....well, maybe better. Buying frames for all my paintings was going to be way too expensive so my in-house handy man has been building frames for me the last two days. He has both the talent and good tools to make framing look easy. I remember back in my school days trying to make frames using a simple miter box with a flat saw. Really ugly frames were the result.

Our local Menards (hardware box store) carries oak trim for the frames. I wanted to have a floating shadow box style frame for the paintings. We bought corner braces that really work well (2 for $8) at the same store. They work with a spring and slide right into the corners correcting alignment as they settle into the corners. Dan really likes the way they work.

A while ago, Larry Sieler on Wet Canvas, Plein Air forum, showed us the strap brace that he used to make his frames. We found a similar one at Menards for $24. Both braces work a bit differently but having both sty

Two Frames Drying at the same time. 
Fourteen Frames made and finished and paintings mounted in two days.

Here are all the frames hung in a line, painted with Krylon spray paint (satin black) or stained. We like the stained frames for the spring plein airs which are lighter in value than the ones that will go in the black frames. Most of the frames are 8x10. We could get two frames out of one length of trim board. We figure the 8x10 frames cost about $4 without labor. Not bad since these frames turned out really professional looking.

Here is a view of how the paintings float in the frames. Now all we have to do is sell a few at the art fair this weekend.