Thursday, June 16, 2011

STEMS Plein Air 2011


It's hard to describe the three weeks that encompass the STEMS Plein Air Event. I was off to a great start by winning the opening night sunset paint out. This was a $500 purchase award by Peggy Rice of the Rice Gallery. The celebration would be short lived.
Before the Storm, 8 x 14, oils
The next day an EF5 tornado devastated my home town of Joplin, MO. From Monday through Wednesday I was in a STEMS workshop led by Phil Starke. Phil is both a great artist and teacher and I took lots of notes, unfortunately the weather was very unstable and on Wednesday we had to run for a tornado shelter as a small tornado touched down south of us and the funnel went right over our heads. I was done.
The View from Aunt Twyla's Apartment
I spent the rest of the week in Joplin supporting family and friends as well as helping an aunt salvage whatever we could from her heavily damaged apartment. I was eventually able to get back to painting and was able to submit three paintings to the STEMS event. All three made it in the feature show, "The Journey Begins" won third place in oils and "Inside Out" sold. This is funny because I felt that "Hanging  On" was the best of the bunch. There is nothing more subjective than judging art.
Hanging On, 9 x 12, oils
Inside Out, 11 x 14, oils
The Journey Begins, 11 x 14, oils

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Step-by-Step Ozark Creek Scene


In May I did several small studies at Femme Osage Creek, two which included this impressive sycamore.  I also took photos for future reference which is what this painting is based on. I grew up swimming, fishing and floating clear streams like this one. After a spring filled with plein air painting it was nice to come back to the studio for this one.

I started by tinting a 16"x 16" canvas a cool and warm yellow and then knocked it back with a paper towel. I then did my underdrawing in brown with a #8 flat. I don't normally do such detailed starts but the root system was very complex and the whole painting depends on it.

 I then layed in all of my midtone shadows, covering up most of my initial drawing. I could still see it well enough to proceed. I saved the highlights on the roots.

At this point I restated all my accent shadows, this time much darker. I then took the tree to near completion and added the highlight through the trees. This gave me a complete value range.

After that it was just going around the painting taking each area to the level of detail desired while trying not to overwork it.