Saturday, December 31, 2011

Palette Box is mostly done

In the evening of new year eve, I finished most of mechanical part of the palette box. It's obviously not perfect, some gaps are here and there between moving parts. But I think it would just function as I need it to do. For the rest, I would stain the surfaces and put a pair of case catches, which I ordered online last night, to securely close the lids and put a strap handle for me to be able to carry it easily.

A happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ghostly horses are taking shape

Although I'm quite busy making the new field easel, I'm not forgetting painting. As usual, I'm making shapes of two horses with very thin layers of paint on canvas. They might give you ghostly feeling. But once I put some more paints in high-lighted areas, this painting would provide more completed feelings. That's the benefit of filling out entire canvas at early stages as Jim Lamb would tell his students. The difference would be my painting at this early stage is very thinly painted. I don't know why I do painting in this way but it's from the beginning of my career.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Folding Lids

I started working on the top lids. The photo is a half of it. They're going to be attached to the side walls of the bottom box with piano hinges.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Piano Hinge attaches Front Wall

 It's not perfect but the front bottom wall is now reasonable aligned with the piano hinge. I needed to chisel the box side to make 1/8" of indentation. Now the bottom box is done. I'll move on to the folding top lids that would swing-open to both sides.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Interesting color of the surface

While waiting for glue to dry, I realized the tripod was not fully expanded or opened for last a month or so when I worked hard to adjust the curvature of the supports. When it dried up, I went back and started curving the shape again with a file this Christmas Eve morning. Now I think it's reasonable steady again as you can see in the photo. Not much gap between the legs and the woods.
Then I suddenly realized the color of the palette surface/plywood skin is very close to my hand skin tone. I know it's just a coincident. But amazing to me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

3 sides of bottom box are in place

All side walls of the bottom box, except for the front wall, which would be unfoldable, are glued on the bottom plate (palette surface). I would nail them later to secure them.
Now I need to decide how to attach the front wall with piano hinge next.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Additional Support is done

It didn't take long for me to finish the right side of the additional layer of support, since I've learned how to make it with the left side. Now the bottom plate/palette surface is much stabler compared to the situation without the layer.
Now I need to build the box above it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Additional Support

One side of additional layer of support is done. Then I'm gluing on to the bottom layer. I need to do exactly the same on the right side next. It's taking time but this is the most important part of this new easel. I just can't rush it. Or it would end up with big disappointment. Need to be very patient.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Carefully making curvature this time

This time for an additional layer of the supporting mechanism, I made a make-shift vice and secured the piece of wood firmly before start curving it. I'm careful not to get too greedy but gradually making the curve deeper, and often trying with the tripod before curving further. I hope it would pay off at the end.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Foreground is almost done!

Wow! This is a good example how quickly I can make progress if I'm really into it. Look at the difference from yesterday's photo! I spent only two hours today to make the difference. The ground colors need some adjustment or a little more layers. But basically it's done.

Next I need to improve the group of trees in the center.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Hourse Painting

Also I just started a new horse piece. Size is 14"x22". The same horses at the ranch near Cle Elum. I thought I could make them standing closer than the photo I took. But when I tried it in Photoshop, it didn't look good or natural. I guess the distance between them is telling something. So the title of this would be "Side by Side".

Sky and Clouds are coming to life

Worked on sky and clouds today. The color transition of sky is about to be done. Cloud shapes and values are getting closer to the end. I might want to put some warmness and coolness to those colors. It would be experimental.
Now I need to get back to the ground.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Parklange Gallery

I recently joined a new gallery in Kirkland, WA. It's a artists-owned co-op gallery. So I can be a member for longer regardless sales I can or can't make. I'm hoping I can sell a few per year constantly.
At the gallery, I'm obligated to share shifts for gallery keeping job twice a month and 4h each. Last Sunday was my first and learned a lot for retail business, including credit card handling.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Show at Starbucks

Today I took out my pieces from Georgetown Sturbacks. I'd been showing these for last two weeks or so as a pinch hitter due to no-show of this month's artist.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Finishing up Summer Shade

Even though I still don't like the colors of leaves, I would be working on the lighted part and shadow part on the ground then putting finial touches on the leaves again to finish this piece.

I'm a little dissatisfied with the outcome. But I know well that my skill is not that good to come up with an attractive painting with this subject matter and composition. I need to move on to the next challenge. I might come back to similar subjects in the future though.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sky and Clouds: wet-in-wet

The second update of the day is about wet-in-wet. I started shaping clouds in the sky by curving in with sky colors. Sky always changes colors from top toward the horizon. I might leave thin clouds for later to glaze after sky colors dried up a little bit.

Palette Base

This is the base of the palette box. As half-expected, it's not steadily attached to the tripod, which I need to improve by adding more support against the rounded legs.

At this point, then, I realized the position of canvas is too high. I can always lower the tripod, but it would make the palette surface too low. This was a little bit design mistake. I'm now making the side bar on the canvas holder, where the binocular holder bites on, higher to lower the holder. Making the palette surface higher is too much backward work at this stage.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wondering how to stabilize

This is the basic mechanism how to hold the palette box attached to the tripod. As in the above photo, it's already firm against pushing down force at the front. However, it's still weak against down force on the side (photo below). At this moment I'm thinking two things:
1) raise the precision of the curvature.
2) add another layer above the current plate to have more than two points of contacts against the tripod.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Started assembling the palette box

Although I haven't come up with the final idea how to attach the box to the tripod, I started making the box. The panel in the photo is the bottom side of the bottom plate. The opposite side will be the palette surface.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Piano Hinge arrived

A piano hinge I ordered on-line arrived today. It's about 31" but I'll cut it into multiple to use them for the new palette box.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Leaves are making shapes

It's hard to see the difference from the photo in the blog on 11/4. But those leaves are in much better shape now including cast-shadow part. I still need to sharpen edges on the right side. But now I can apply thicker layers with closer colors to the final layers.

Since I applied and accepted by Parklane Gallery in Kirkland, I need to produce more paintings monthly basis. So I spent good time this weekend and worked on this in wet-in-wet manner, which I think the key to finish quicker. The outcome would be quite different compaired to my normal way, glazing or scambling over dried layers, though. I even touched Sauvie Sky as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Defining Foreground Greens

I haven't touched this piece a while. Tonight I tried defining the foreground greens value- and color-wise. They're a little too dark if you consider lots of summer lights in late morning. I'll reduce values when I add more layers on to them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Plein Air along SR-10

Saturday night I stayed at Timber Lodge Inn in Cle Elum and drove out Sunday morning for painting along SR-10. I drove back and forth on the hwy then ended up setting up my easel where I can look down the steep slope to the bottom at the river level. I particularly impressed by the vertical line the edge of the trees created. Although I'm not satisfied with the color of the light yellow ground, I liked the way I finished those trees. The purplish brush was added at the last minutes. It could make it a little less purple.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Still working on edges of leaves

Although I don't like doing this, I had to make those edges of leaves sharper. One reason is I couldn't decide or make desirable color combinations for leaves. If I found the perfect formula for the colors, this painting would be attractive enough without sharp edges, which I can't find.

The background shade doesn't need sharp edges obviously. Then I should be able to enjoy putting subtle difference in values.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Canvas Holder is done

The canvas holder part is done. It's relatively light weight at the same time it's solid. I'll put two screws through the top piece and the bottom bar to bite on a stretched canvas.

Next, I'm going to design the folding palette box. The mechanism to attach to the tripod would be a copy (probably patented) from a field easel I saw at an art shop in Portland, OR. I might need to give another visit to Portland to see it again since I don't seem to be able to find the same kind in major art shops in Seattle.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Canvas Holder is getting in shape

Assembling those vertical and horizontal pieces together into a canvas holder frame. After the glue dried up I'll put some screws in place to make it stronger. Only one more piece to attach is another horizontal bar for the binocular clamp to bite on. It needs to be much thicker than the other part.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Contour Drawing...

I knew I had to do this some point. I guess that's why I didn't touch this piece quite a while. It's not so fun but I needed to define contour of leaves. Otherwise the focal points would never be defined. That's why I don't like painting flowers.
After I finish this part, I can putting more colors on this painting, which is much enjoyable.

Sliding Mechanism has been built

As in the photos, this part is done even though I'm already seeing some weakness of this mechanism. Probably the sliding bar would be worn out first due to the pressure from the screw. But that's all right for now.
I'll move on to the next step: build a frame around this bar.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cutting Metal Strip for the back suport of the sliding piece

The insert nut has been successfully hammered into the hole of a new pieces of wood without splitting this time. This time I cut the piece of poplar wood to keep the wood grain along with the longer side of the rectangular. Also the size of the hole is 3/8". Then glued much smaller piece of wood to wrap around the sliding bar. But I thought thin wood pieces would be too week to support backside against tension when I tighten the thumb screw again the sliding bar. So I decided to cut a metal strip to be screwed on the back of the sliding piece of wood. My Dremel tool comes very handy for this type of task.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sky and Clouds over Sauvie Island

It's been quite long time since last time I painted sky and clouds as the main subjects. I think the last one was "Clouds over Vashon Ferry" in 2004, which is decorating my kitchen wall. It was huge, about 4'x9'. This one is mid size, 22"x18". I was inspired by the shapes of clouds when I was checking the reference photos I took there this summer. Then immediately picked this to paint. The direction of clouds match the direction of green stripes on the farm ground. Stonehenge like isolated mass of trees in the center divides sky and ground.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I knew this would happen....

When I went to Cole Gallary in Edmonds, WA, in Saturday afternoon, I realized how nice the weather was this weekend and we could expect another good day tomorrow. Means I should go out to paint!
So, I suddenly made up my mind and booked a cheep motel in Cle Elum, WA, and rode on my motorcycle Saturday night.
Sunday morning was a little chilly in upper thirties. But about the time I turned onto Teanaway Drive from US-970, the morning fog started burned off and blue sky started showing.

I set up my easel near by Teanaway River, where is very common artist spot. At least Ned Mueller painted there this summer and sent me the outcome. My advantage was very colorful trees in fall. I spend about 2 hours until 11AM to come up with the result in the photo. Although it doesn't show well about the difference between sun-lit part and shadowed part due to lack of experience, the colorful trees helped this painting obviously.

After I came home I tried to make some progress on the new field easel. But when I followed the instruction of the insert nuts then hammered a nut into 11/32" hole of the piece of wood it cracked as you can see below. I knew it might happen but I did it anyway. I guess I need to try a size bigger hole, which is 3/8", next time.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Drawing the sliding mechanism

This part is the key mechanism for the canvas holder part of the new field easel. So I drew a diagram how to build it. If I cut popular lumber exactly I drew, it would probably work. But thin slicing or dadoing lumber with a table saw always comes with risk for chipping. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Found a Key Component for New Field Easel

I'd been looking for these quite a while. The main problem was I didn't know the name of the pieces of hardware I was looking for. It's really hard to find something that you don't know the name on the internet.

I went back to one of information seeking principal I've learned at the graduate school; (Ahem!) find a person who knows what you're looking for. I simply went to a near-by home depot and asked an associate with a sample from my studio easel. In less than a couple of minutes, the associate showed me where they are.

They're called as thumb screws and insert nuts. With these pieces of hardware, the sliding piece of wood can press down a stretched canvas and hold it tightly.
My next step is to design&draw the canvas holder including the sliding mechanism.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I guess I know what I need to do to finish this...

The colors of this digital photo is way off. So you don't see the actual colors I put in the background pasture. But I tried some bold colors there to see the effect. Other than that I really need to finish the left horse, which is not the focal point anyway. Then want to try more impasto technique for the foreground flowers.

I'm going to try finishing this piece this weekend.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Came back after 6 years

It was the end of 2005 when I went to Bellingham for onsite painting. I remember it was very dark even in the middle of the day when I was painting at the same spot but in different angle. By now the lot was bought by someone and new buildings were built as well as a short service road. Trees and weeds have grown enough to block the original vista I painted 6 years ago.

Yesterday, the weather was nice in the morning when I got there and painted. So everything was whitey and I lost some sense of colors. But I didn't forget to put Olympic mountains in the further background. I need to learn how to interpret those colors to make attractive paintings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Working on the face

Started working the face of the horse. The overall shape seems to be fine but those ears are a little too small. I need to adjust them next. Otherwise I think I'm getting there.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Binoculars Clamp arrived

A good news is the binoculars clamp I ordered on-line arrived today via UPS. It's nice and strong. A bad news is the thread hole at the bottom of the clamp is 1/4", which doesn't fit 3/8" thread screw on the base. So I need to use the mini-ball head that is dual-threaded to fit either size, which is heavy itself. The weight of the ball head and the clamp combined is 1.14lb (851g) total. It's quite heavy to walk around with while looking for the best spot to paint. I might look for a lighter ball head with 1/4" thread screw. But I'll wait at least until I build a stretched canvas holder. The clamp hasn't come cheap since only kind I found, then got, was from the same Manfrotto made in Italy. I found an used one though. I don't want to spend much more until I'm sure this system I'm thinking now would really work.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Values of darks

It was not intentional to make shadow shapes less dark. I usually make them really dark dark especially at early stages. It was because I put the lightest light already on canvas. After that whenever I touch dark paint mixture my brush always has white pigments even after I cleaned it carefully.

Although it was intentional, it created an unexpected effect to this painting at this stage. As you can see easily the horse(s) look like getting a lot of sunshine and even shadow parts are getting reflections from many different angles. In other words they're hazy in viewers eyes. I like this much. I'll try keep the value contrast in this way toward the end of this painting to see what happens. It would be quite different compared to "Breeze" I painted two years ago. I might change my mind though.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Plein Air on Maury Island

We are still in summer here in NW this year. Or it finally arrived. I couldn't miss this opportunity and got on a ferry to go across the water from Fauntleroy Ferry Port. I rode my motorcycle through Vashon Hwy and got to Pt. Robinson Park on Maury Island. I walked around the beach near the light house. But somehow any angles on the beach didn't inspire me. So I walked up to the parking lot and walked into a trail, where I decided to set my easel. The aspect between height and width is a little off but I think I'm getting better with color & value contrast between light and shadow. I need to keep doing this to get better with this. The objects in upper left quadrant are big stones. I couldn't define good edges with the background so they're vague.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Positioning leaves are not so easy

I still keep moving around leaves on the canvas. Originally they were too high so I moved them downward. To define each major leaf I need to decide the color of background shade and carve it out. I think I want to put more colors at the bottom for the highlighted part of grass.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Tripod

My current tripod that holds my hand-made pochade box got a crack at the top plastic part. I've been thinking how I can fix it or get it replaced a while.

But when I visited Portland last weekend for gallery/PAM walk, a friend of mine in Portland gave me a heavy duty tripod. It's Bogen Manfrotto 3001 made in Italy. It has a heavy (14 oz) mini ball head attached (right photo). It took me a while to detach it, which I finally did today using a bench vice because it was very tight after carefully examining how I can do it without breaking anything.

That particular model has been discontinued. But the top of the base unit has a 3/8" standard thread (left photo) so I can attach any manufacturer’s head. I'm now looking for a clamp head to hold binoculars or something heavy. And I'll build a stretched canvas holder that can securely hold  up to 12"x16" canvas and attach it to the clamp. Then build a folding box pallet that can be tightly attached to the two legs of the tripod. I got some idea how to do it from a pochade box at an art supply shop in downtown Portland. It's going to be a long term project. The outcome would become my Ver.2 pochade box system.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Sauvie Sky"

On the way back from Portland on a perfect summer day, I stopped by Sauvie Island on Columbia River along US-30. I spent only a little more than an hour to paint this. But I thought I made the shadow part much darker. Then sky was a little less color than I thought it was. Next time, I need to remember and avoid the same mistakes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reversed the process slightly

As most artists do, I regularly make bigger shapes by defining/refining shadow(negative) shapes. But this time, since I've been too busy in day job and didn't have time to even stand in front of canvas for last three weeks, I needed to do something differently to regain confidence and remember what I was up to. So, I decided to define highlighted(positive) shapes at this early stage. The effect was immediate as you can see in this small photo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A bit different landscape

After last two, or three, workshops, I started feeling I have to change the way to pick the composition and paint en plein air. Now I feel none of my recent trials outside are not good enough to make studio paintings from. As the result, I needed to find something from photos I took instead. And I started looking closer subjects than before. Then picked this one I took near North Bend very recently.

The title would be "summer shade". There is no "back ground (farground) in this. Only nearground and mid ground. I covered the shadow area with dark cool green. The size is 14"x18".

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Base values are filled

To me this is a little surprise but the bigger shapes (horses) are good already. Darkest dark and lightest light are filled by now. The background green should be much lighter in the photo but for the contrast, I might make it darker. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

White Horse is the next

In this composition, the horses stay a little higher on the canvas because a band of daisies is at the bottom. The key shapes are mostly whitish. Transferring subtle color changes to other colors would be the key of this painting. The size is 14"x20".

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yet another update

Well, I didn't plan to update for this piece any more. But I had to. Because this is the first time curving background sky into trees worked as I intended. I've probably overdone that though. I realized I spent more than an hour forgetting how much time has passed tonight. Originally it was too dark. I made the trees much lighter because they're further back. I think the values are about right now.

I'll work on the foreground further and enhance cow's bodies a little bit then call it done.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Filling out foreground

 This would be the last update before finishing this piece. Spent some time to fill foreground. I wanted to show spiky frozen grass stems. I haven't decided what to do with the background sky. Currently the sky colors are smeared with reddish tree colors, which was done at a very early stage. But at the same time, I don't want to eliminate soft edges between trees and sky.

 I also want to put some more highlight colors on the cows as the final touches. But otherwise I'm so far satisfied with this painting.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sun has almost set

This would be the last update of this painting before finishing. I started working on highlighted areas and cutting into rock shapes. I need to be careful not to make too light for too much areas. I think I need to make three color values 1) light snow area, 2) dark shadowed snow area, and 3) rocks. And gradually reduce the value range among them while I work from top of the mountains toward the bottom. Then it would be done.