Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Apples

8x10, oil on masonite

A little different direction for me - I've only painted a couple other still lifes, both of pears.

I didn't like these apples until I set it aside to dry and stepped back a few feet - then it all came together. I think the fruits are not large enough on the canvas, but when framed it's less apparent. And by the way they were very delicious apples.

The great thing about painting food is that the items are a tax-deductible business expense. I'm thinking next time I will paint a large pizza and a pitcher of beer.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Summer Field

6" x 6" oil on masonite

A scene from the grounds of the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nag's Head Woods

6"x6" oil on Masonite
My first plein air painting.

I've been putting this off, because I'm terrified of painting outdoors - it's so difficult to frame the scene. I decided to bite the bullet while we were in Kill Devil Hills last week. I visited the Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve. It's a gorgeous area with several trails. The one I chose was very steep and difficult and never resolved into a view of anything. So I picked a spot where I could at least stand on flat ground and painted the backlit trees - that's a scene I'm familiar with, given the several renditions of Grove of Trees I painted recently.

The result wasn't the best painting I've ever done; it was a little flat. One mistake is that I used Sap Green as a shortcut—no more greens from the tube ever again, they never look right. But my setup worked great, and now I've broken the ice with plein air painting. Later I touched up the painting in my studio (below), and I'm pretty happy with it now. It looks like I completely repainted the scene, but really I only spent about five minutes improving the contrast and adding a few more tree trunks.

p.s. If you visit the Woods, I highly recommend the Roanoke trail, which we walked a few days later, sans painting equipment. Gorgeous scenery; a smooth, flat trail; and it ends at a little beach on the sound. It's marked as "moderate" on the trail guide, the same as the tortuous Sweetgum trail. It has to be a typo; there is a world of difference in difficulty between the two.
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