Friday, December 31, 2010

Last update in 2010

I just finished reading this "Landscape Painting" by Mitchell Albala. Then I checked back my blog to find when I started reading. It was back in Feb. It took me 10 months. But it was really good. Half of the stuff in the book was something I'm already familiar with, which I've learned/heard from multiple instructors of workshops/classes I attended before, or read in some articles in magazines. But even the stuff I already know has assured me that that's good stuff I should keep in my mind all the time.

At the end, he wrote about discipline to keep ourselves motivated and inspired. Here is the direct quote from the book, which I completely agree:
"In my experience, there is no foolproof method for continued artistic growth---except to consistently put yourself in front of projects that interest you and to keep painting. Most artists will testify to the fact that whatever skill and success they have achieved, they achieved largely through tenacity, consistency, and hard work. Momentum is powerful. The longer I don't paint, the more inertia I must overcome to pick up my brushes and get restarted. When I paint more frequently, I gain momentum and am more inspired to continue."

I think I just need to keep painting to get to the next level and beyond.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Coming to life

As I planned I almost finished the foreground and sky. It turned out in my favorable way. I guess I need to put some more highlight to the foreground because those areas are the lightest light. Warm light on the thin clouds worked better than I imagined.

Now I just need to finish the midground snow then branches of the bush in the shadow. And I would be done with this piece. Hopefully I can finish it by the end of the year. I might change my mind and put this on the upcoming small show at a Starbucks in Georgetown in January.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Changing Colors

Lighting around this A-easel is always poor and it's difficult to take a good photo. But you might be able to see I started changing the colors. It was close to noon and light was coming down from high above. I want to show that even though it's not in the reference photo. Otherwise this panting would become very dull color-wise.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shapes are getting defined

Shapes of horses are almost defined. The length of legs and face were the key but I probably don't have to come back and change them later any more. The tanker might still need some more adjustments but it shouldn't be a big deal as long as horses are right.

I started toning the body of the black horse. To see the color/value contrast, I made the dried grass lighter. The value or color value of the tanker might be tricky because one house is dark but the other one is light.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Much better than last night

As I planned, made a good amount of purple mixture first then added white, cobalt blue, arizarin, or orange to create some variations out of it, and applied to the front bush much thicker than before. It worked well. i wanted to adjust/add more to the part but it's getting mushy. I'll leave the part and work on the foregound snow & shadow and the background sky next.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Value, value, and value

Well, I don't think tonight's effort to make progress on this painting made any progress. I guess it made it worse. I tried focusing on the front bush and adjusting the values. But I think I made the snow in the shadow too light. What I need to do tomorrow is making a mound of mid-value purple and from the purple I can make it a little lighter, warmer, cooler, darker, or whatever. Also I need to start applying thicker paint. Then it probably wouldn't take much longer  to finish this piece.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Still can't define bigger shapes

Coming closer to a month since I updated last time, I still can't define the shapes of horses and tanker. Moving borders of shapes from left to right, upper to lower, and opposite directions, back and forth... Those borders are still fuzzy. At this stage, straggling with shapes, I can't think about the colors at all. So far it look redish monotone. But I need to fix shapes first.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Values of Shadow Part of Snow

Not much progress made lately. Still can't decide the values of shadow part of background and middleground of snow. I think I made them too light today. I need to come back later. But at this moment, I want to cover bare canvas in the foreground, left side of the canvas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Felt a little strange at AIC [updateing from an airplane!]

  First, I need to tell I'm updating this blog from an airplane on my way back to Seattle. SW Airlines was offering $5 in-flight WiFi, which was hard to resist (cool!).
  This trip was for my day job. However, I squeezed every part of Thu and made a 2h window at night when the admission was free.
  I don't exactly remember when I was there last time. Probably about two years ago or more. They changed the room plan quite a bit. I guess it happened when they opened the new modern wing last year. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to visit the new building last night. Or maybe because it took me additional time to figure out where the all impressionism paintings were. Then when I finally figured it out and walked through the stretched section, I felt something strange, which I never felt in the past for more than 5 times of visits. They didn't make me feeling much admiration this time. The colors are the same as before for Monet's haystacks, poppy field, waterloo bridge, Degas' millinery shop, dancers, Pissaro's landscapes, Renoir's girls, women, and so on and on. Nothing has changed on them. The change happened to me instead, which I came to understand while browsing American Art section when I was looking for after-Civil-War era landscape paintings.
  I've been learning more and more color making and value placing based on modern realism. I'm not intending to do any more exactly like the impressionists did more than a century ago. I know I still need to learn a lot more from their master pieces. That's for sure. But...
  After I left the AIC and sat at a table in Bennigans, watching the entrance of the AIC through the window, a little sadness came to my mind and Sam Adams tasted a little more bitter than it should be.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More progress on "Snow..."

  Even after I knocked down the top of the mound on the horizon, the border with the sky is a little higher than the reference photo. As the result the middle ground on the right has more space. But that's not so significant in this composition. Instead of leaving the background mound far away, I would put some more brush in the center ground, which suggest the mound comes around the left side behind the biggest bush and is connected to the mound on the left in the foreground.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thinking about "Haystacks" Series

  At this early stage of this snow scene painting I'm already feeling this would become a very interesting  piece I ever painted. As soon as I started filling the mass of snow-covered bush this reminded me Monet's haystacks series. I think I want to lower the top of the mound in the background not to compete with the focal point in the foreground. I probably won't put as many colors as Monet did. But I would put variety of both warm and cool colors to finish this piece.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"paint like a child"

  When I was painting this tonight, it reminded me Picasso's quote "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child". I started like a child painting. At this moment, I just want to define the major shapes and positioning of those. So mainly scrabbly brush marks on the surface.
  But I'll gradually shift my focus on to values.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paint the sides first!

  When I started painting like this after one week of blank period due to my day job, I realized I hadn't painted the sides of the canvas. Especially for the painting like this, which would have lighter colors, painting the sides has to happen first. I stopped painting and painted both sides, left and right, with dark color. I need to wait until it dries up and rotate the canvas 90 degrees then paint top & bottom sides.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Drawing for new horse painting

  After came back from a party hosted by a fellow artist at Alki Arts, I did this drawing tonight. I didn't comment anything about Alki Arts before, where I became an commissioned artist a couple of weeks ago. But I brought in only three pieces and Diane, owner/director of the gallery, put them in the back room for now. Until she decides when and how to show my pieces in the front room to public, they're just providing me some storage space for those pieces. That's why I didn't write anything about it before. I'll report it officially once the time comes.

  Back to this drawing....I took this photo in Spring along SR-10 between Cle Elum and Ellensburg, WA. There was a horse ranch on north side of the road. The tanker behind the horses was completely rusted and provided interesting color variations to this composition's background. I need to spend some more time to adjust the shapes of horses. Unlike the landscape piece, horse shapes have to anatomically sound.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Snowscape Piece

I came up some idea for next two pieces, one landscape and one horse painting. This is the sketch I did tonight for the snowscape. I drove up to Grand Coulee, WA, last winter and took a bunch of photos. This is one of them. I didn't paint there even though I loaded up my painting stuff in the back of my car. So this would break my recent policy for landscape - paint on-site first then make a studio painting. But I felt that's ok after joining Ned Mueller's workshops twice.

If you can see what I'm intending to paint based on this rough drawing, congratulations! You're very skilled and experienced. This place is on top of the plateau, a little east from the big falls of Grand Coulee.Not so many difficult and/or complicated shapes. But it would be all about colors of snow and the rocks peaking out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wrapping this up

 Over the last weekend, I finished "Barn and Cattle". Not as good as I intended, but I'm somewhat satisfied with what I've done on the green-predominant landscape. It could have gone wrong on the every corner, which I avoided.

  For this cattle piece, I need to finish the details of the front cow as well as those hiding cubs. Then I need to finish the foreground pasture where sun hits. But I think I'll finish this piece over this weekend. Now I need to think about the next piece. I haven't decided what I would paint next either landscape or animal piece. I might need to go out painting before I can start working on the next landscape.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Left side trees are refined

They are not as good as I want them to be. But I would say ok and don't want to touch any more. Because it would lose consistency of colors if I overworked this area.

Next, I need to work on the trees on the right side. And then the tallest one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another 'Ah-ha' Moment

   This is not something you can get without attending a workshop like the last one. After somewhat satisfied with the shapes of cows, I boldly mixed the highlighted colors of the front cow. I originally thought they were quite off from the actual colors, but they weren't. I used a lots of cad orange and applied the mixture with bold short & straight brushstrokes, just like Ned's. This is what I wanted to do for quite some time! As the result, the cow is more lively and the painting is vibrating. I think another important point was these strokes/colors were applied in wet-in-wet fashion. This is another key point.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Background is almost done

  Worked on the background. It's almost done. I wanted to finish this part before forgetting what I've learned at the workshop last week. I might come back and make things darker or lighter depending on the balance with mid/foreground. But it would be at the final stage. Now I need to work on the main subjects.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A couple of color adjustments

One more update for today. After Ned's workshop over the weekend, I looked at this piece first time tonight. Then the yellow grass in the foreground annoyed me a lot. I needed to knock it down by painting over with a little less bright/intense color. Then made the barn a little darker. And then made the mountains in the background much more grayer with lighter values. I touched the front hill as well but it's still greener that I wanted it to be. Finally I added more shadow part to the center-lower-yellow-green tree, next to the barn.

Ned Mueller's workshop

Ok, I did it again. This time it was hosted at Rockwater Art Center in Poulsbo, WA, Fri-Sun. Totally 7 students attended to his 3 day workshop. As usual (like last time) landscape with and without figures and portrait were subject matters. The Photo above left, I started drawing then painting the face but he took over and mostly finished. The one above right is however all by myself. I still couldn't determine the right value relationship for the areas. Also brushstroke was the problem.

The next two photos below was the most interesting part and what I've learned through this workshop. The photo on the left is a little unfocused but still can show what I've done myself on the second day. I think I got values mostly right. Including shapes and colors. Then on the last day after his demo, I asked him how he would finish this piece. The result is on the right. He enhanced color of the cow in the center and put clear shapes of ears, eye and nostril. He also touched the foreground and added more colors and brushstrokes. This is something I wanted to steal from him. As you can see, although not much big changes were made, the right side is more "completed". Right? I'll try applying this to "Family Time" :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I changed the colors on the background mountains/hills, sky, and the highlighted trees. I know they're a little bit over exaggerated. But I'm experimenting something I haven't done before by taking some risks. It might give me an opportunity stepping forward. I hope....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Worked on the pasture and touched up a little bit on cows. I don't think I can improve much more on this part. I need to get back to the background mountains/hills and trees next.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Filling up canvas with values

Trying to fill out the entire canvas with similar to final values except for lightest light. At the same time adjusting shapes of the front cow. It's already started showing the depth. I probably need to push a little more the shadow part darker on the ground.

Friday, October 1, 2010

First of October

This is the first update of this month, October. I'm trying to determine how sharp the contrast between lighted area and shadow area should be in this painting. Behind the cows, the middle ground are in the shadow. Then further back ground is in light. And the cows are right in sunshine. Also I'm wondering how I could paint the atmosphere surrounding the cattle.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Enhanced tree colors

Moved on to the opposite side of the canvas, and improved colors of these trees. This time I was careful making these colors.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Progress on Cattle Painting

Started shaping the front cow. This cow would be the focal point because the colors and lights on the body. For the same reason, shaping this cow is relatively easier than the dark one behind.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I guess I failed today

  I tried making progress on the front hill behind those mid-range trees. I think I looked at too much details of the hill in the photo. The lighter values were too light and they're too close to the colors of the trees, which caused to lose depth. I think I need to make much better colors and simplify their patterns.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Started New Cattle Painting

I started this more than a week ago. But last Portland visit last weekend and some big updates at ArtsWest Artist Association(AWAA) web site kept me away from making progress on this painting. I took the photo in June when I painted outside (see the post on 6/27/10). Size is 14"x18" on standard stretcher bars. I decided to make animal pieces smaller based on consideration of better chances for sale. I titled this "Family Time" because the front cow seemed to be a mother of cubs behind. I'm not sure the black one is actually the father of them though.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Canvas Plier

Today the new plier I ordered at Jerry's Artaram arrived. The head is quite wide. Maybe 1.5 times wider than the previous one. You can compare the size based on the piece of canvas underneath the plier. I used the same piece when I took this photo. See the post on 9/5.

The teeth are plastic. I haven't tested yet but I can imagine it would provide much better grip than the metal teeth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trying to decide colors of trees

The color of the yellow green tree in the center of the canvas has become a good reference to decide colors of the other trees. The tall tree is warmer than the others. So I added some orange to it. Others are more greenish green rather than yellow green. I need to decide the color of the hills to make this painting interesting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Starting with the center

After I broke the plier yesterday, I went to Dick Blick in Capitol HIll today. But the type of plier they carry at the store was a similar with the one I broke. There was a stopper to prevent from over-squeezing though. I was disappointed and came back home and ordered the one I was thinking on-line at Jerry's Artarama, which I don't have to pay tax.

Anyway, I made some progress on the painting. Refined the values of the front of the barn. Then worked some on the shorter tree in the center. To define the outline of the tree, I needed to put more colors on the background hill as well.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I thought it was a lifetime

 Today I went to Utrecht to get 4 pairs of 11" and 14" standard stretcher bars. I already ordered 2 dozens of 9" ones online. I'm waiting the arrival. I need to make about 10 relatively small stretched canvas in various sizes for the upcoming Jim Lamb's plein air workshop in two weeks. Then I was stretching canvas tonight and I broke the plier. I thought it would last at least for my lifetime. Apparently I kept over-squeezing it last  7 years. I bought it at Daniel Smith almost as soon as I started painting in oil back in 2003.
  I'll get a different kind, like the one coming with rubber teeth. It would be around $30. I wouldn't spend more than $100 (Holbein one costs $130. I'm assuming it's "made-in-Japan"). Otherwise I would buy just a regular plier at a Home Depot for $20 or less.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quickly covered entire canvas

Now composition and placement of major shapes are clear. The cows are still a little lower than I intended them to be. I might adjust it later. Or not.

As always all colors are much darker than the final. But that's all right. I'll let them dry up a little bit. Then from here I'll start working on each part one by one slowly.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Barn is making shape quickly

Tones are way darker than actual ones. But still being aware of the relationships between them then experimenting colors especially greens. Looks like the cattle were located a little too low when I drew them. I'll define the location next.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kenmore Art Show

Currently my three pieces, Breeze, Pals, and Three Sheep, are in Kenmore Art Show at Northlake Lutheran Church in Kenmore. I took a couple of photos for my pieces:

This show is quite suitable for me. I went to the preview for artists Friday evening before it opened to public on Sat. Some of them are really good. In Painting/Drawing category, a figurative pastel piece by Patty Forte-Linna won the 2nd place. She's represented by Cole Gallery in Edmonds where you can find some of my favorite artists' pieces. Her web site is below:

This show lasts until Aug.29(Sun). I'll make this show as one of regular shows I would submit my pieces every year.

Probably the last update for the horse

Agin, it's taking too long for this horse. There are other projects going on but I could have touched this more for last 3-4 weeks, which I didn't. I don't think I can improve any more about the horse with my current skills. It's about the time to stop before ruining it. For the back ground, the technique to finish the fence was from both Michele Usibelli and Ned Muller. Thanks to those wonderful artists and teachres.

The rest would be the all about greens. I'll play around and experiment to see what I can do.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Feeling defeated....

Well, the photo says all. After spending a little less than 2 hours early in this morning (I left home before 6AM), I told myself I didn't have enough skill to finish this piece on site. It's just west of Darrington, wa, along SR-530. Gracier Peak is in the background. In foreground a bare tree is in the center and another tree is on the right. But I couldn't get desirable colors of the peak, or middle ground green mountains and forest. I was actually not sure what my desirable colors were. Then lost. The bare tree, which is the focal point of this piece, never came to life. I guess I need to shuffle my palette again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Come back to the horse

  Last a couple of weeks, I spent lots of time and effort on some house related projects (deck roof replacement and fixing neighbor's shed) so that I couldn't have time to paint.  But now I finished one of them, the deck roof, and had some time working on the horse.

I filled most of the canvas now and start thinking contrast between lighted part and the others on the body of the horse. I intentionally faded the color of grass and made it dull to avoid it competing with the colors of the main subject. I need to make the lighted part lighter from here. That's what I'm thinking now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Next Landscape Piece

Based on the on-site painting, I made a decision for the composition and made rough sketch on 18"x26" canvas. I moved the tallest tree a little toward right and the cows toward left to make a good space to show mid-range trees and background hills in upper left part of the canvas.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shaping the horse is done...I think

I think the shape of the horse is about right. Except for those legs. The length and angles are not quite right yet. Probably I can't figure them out until putting more colors on them as well as surrounding areas.

I love putting horse's skin tones. Unlike cattle every horse has different colors and their patterns. I still need to decide how to finish the pasture and the back ground.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shaping the horse

Before filling out the body of the horse, I started curving out the outline in this early stage. Since every part is relative to the others if I adjust the outline later, the shapes inside of it might need to move around. I just wanted to minimize those before start working on the details inside the body.

The angle and size of the head would be crucial for this painting, which I haven't gotten right.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Second Plein Air of this summer

I went to the same area along SR-530 again yesterday. It's just about 6 miles east from the spot I painted last time. This time I found a good shade so the colors are a little better than last one. I think I made good greens for the hills behind the barn. I didn't spend much time to finish the foreground pasture. I put some cattle in, which I saw around the pasture. I took a lot of photos of cattle so that I can paint some separately later.

Another challenge was the cloud covered mountains with some snow in the background. Not too bad for the first attempt. I need to check the name of the peak before painting in a larger format. I might use the name for the title. I'll keep going SR-530 this summer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Last update for Umtanum Ridge

  As usual I worked on this piece too long and it started losing consistency of colors. From here I would add just a little more contrast for the shadow of sagebrush. But that's all about it. Then I'll call it done. Probably I should have made this canvas a little smaller. Because not so much variety of objects in this painting. As the result I needed to paint much more details of sagebrush than I wanted to do. Next time I'll consider this aspect more carefully when I decide the composition.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Last day of Cast Drawing Class at Gage

  Today was the last day for the class at Gage Academy. All first quarter students have been working on the final project through last three Saturdays. This is my outcome. The big cast shadow was done Friday night. Today I worked on rendering on the top right corner of the cast. As the instructor Susan Bari Price pointed out, I tend to make all shadow part too dark even at early stages, which causes me to end up erasing a lot. I think I just don't get used to the way drawing works: you can only add values, you can't subtract. I'm so used to "blocking" with the darkest dark value at the beginning of oil painting. In oil painting, you can make it lighter relatively easily but can't put darker colors on wet light colors. You need to wait until the surface dries up. So you need to start from darker. It's opposite from drawing or watercolor.

  Even though this piece is unfinished I'm somewhat satisfied with how this drawing turned out as well as what I've leaned throughout last 9 Saturdays. I might take another class or workshop at Gage. But not many options for night classes or weekend workshops unfortunately.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

En plein air after long drought

I forgot to take a photo of the set-up with my motorcycle before putting the wet canvas into the top case secured by a specially-made wood-framed carrier, which was designed holding a 16"x12" stretched canvas and perfectly fits in the top case of the motorcycle. So you can see only top part of my pochard box sitting on top of the carrier in the photo.

Anyhow, it was along SR-530, probably about 10miles east from Arlington, WA. I arrived there about 6PM Saturday and spent 2 hours until 8PM. As you can see, sun was sill up when I left there. I should have taken my sun glasses off. But I needed to set the pochard box against the sun to put the canvas and palette in shadow and sunshine was directly hitting my face.  So I couldn't re-create subtle tone changes in green as well as I wanted. I'll look for a folding umbrella with a crimp by next time. My painting umbrella is too long to attach to my motorcycle.

The cattle were not there when I set stuff up. Right after I started drawing the barn and trees, they showed up. I quickly put them on the canvas before they were gone. I now think the tallest tree aligned to the barn is kind of awkward. I'll likely move it  toward right when I work on the studio version next.

For those two hours, I felt I was really into it. I guess it was because of the long drought.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A horse is walking down

Due to the class at Gage on Saturdays, my weekends are really short and hadn't had time to go out to paint outside to study potential next landscape pieces in studio. Basically I ran out of study&color-thumbnail paintings after the "Umtunam Ridge".  I need to have a long stretch of en plein air streak this summer after the class is over.
Meanwhile I decided painting another horse from a photo that I recently took at North Bend. I drew it on 15"X20" canvas. I still needed to erase some part a couple of time to get the proportion right (sigh).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting my confidence back

I didn't spend as much time as I wanted on this today. Because weather suddenly turned great about 3PM and I needed to mow lawn and do some yard work very quickly then rode on my motorcycle to take some animal photos in North Bend/Snoqualmie. No I think I got good photos to paint from after, or even before finishing this pieces. You'll see it soon in this blog.

Acutally when I started working on this piece again before the weekend after about a month of absence, I was not sure how I could finish this piece. As usually I do in the situation like this, I went back to the basics, values especially shadows, on the ridge and now in the foreground. I felt my confidence came back and started enjoying painting this piece again. I'll keep working on the foreground this week since I finished the homework for the Saturday class already.