Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Studio Stuff pt. 2


Alexander Valley, 11 x 14, oils

The scene is Geyser Peak overlooking Alexander and Dry Creek valleys. All part of Sonoma wine country. I include the photos below to help show the process of rearranging elements, removing elements and even making things up (like the grape clusters.) It's an unusual composition, but my goal was for it to be about the repetition of the vines and rows, with enough other things for the eye to follow to be interesting.

Photos by Terry DeGraff

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Studio Stuff pt. 1


Wilkerson Pass, 12" x 16", oils

This is a much larger version of a painting that I did in January. I've always like big sky paintings with low horizons. I started this central Colorado scene months ago but wasn't satisfied with it so I just let it sit on the shelf for a while. I would come back to it when I knew what it needed. With time I realized that the two cedars in the lower right were the center of interest but they weren't, well, interesting. There wasn't much to go on from my photo reference so I did an image search on cedars to get a better feel for them. I didn't copy the new reference, I just let it advise me on what was needed. Here's the original study piece:

Wilkerson Pass, 6" x 8", oils

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

STEMS Plein Air Part 2


Water at Play, 11" x 14" oils

I worked on this waterfall scene for a couple of hours until the morning light changed and I had to quit. I came back the next day to finish only to find it was bone dry with a fat water mocassin crawling right up the middle of it. I'm sure he was as confused as I was. I can't begin to describe how empty a dry waterfall is. You even notice the lack of expected sounds. It's a landscaped feature and a staff member told me that the water is pumped up from Wolf Creek so if we don't get enough rain, it quits. It was almost a week later when we got some rain and it was once again a thing of beauty. I'm so glad I had the chance to finish it.

Both nights he noticed me up on the bridge.

For my next painting I hiked down to Wolf Creek to paint an interesting bend in the river. I worked on this for two sessions in the evening. On both occasions the same deer came down for a drink at exactly the same time. The only difference was the second time a raccoon was sitting on the opposite bank. They noticed each other and froze for a few seconds (of course I forgot to bring my camera.) I guess if you want to see wildlife, go out to the country near sunset and just stand quietly in one place for an hour or two.

Raccoon Rendezvous, 9" x 12" oils

In the end I chose to submit the first three painting for this Kansas show. I still like the last one but it doesn't feel finished and I was out of time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

STEMS Plein Air Part 1


Day's End, 9" x 12" oils

On May 22 I joined approximately 100 area artists, kicking off the STEMS Plein Air Event with a sunset paint out. It was a bit of a reunion painting along side so many artists I have gotten to know over the last twenty years. The location was the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Johnson County, Kansas. At 6:30 we were off and had two hours to turn in a painting. I've had bad experiences trying to paint actual sunsets before so this time my target was the southern sky where the light doesn't change so fast but still has all the color. There were very few clouds so there wasn't much drama but the golden hour with it's lengthening shadows made for some interest.

The Monet Garden, 12" x 12" oils

Gina joined me for Sunday's outing. After we toured most of the gardens, I settled on painting about the most complex scene there. And it probably would have been a disaster if not for the bright overcast sky. As it turned out the light changed so little that I was able to spend 5 hours on it. Cloudy days are great days to paint.