Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Last works of the summer

Well school has started again and I'm spending my time at a desk instead of in front of an easel. I didn't let the summer end without completing a few more small pieces though, it has just taken me awhile to post them here.

Oil on canvas panel

This one was started on a day with an unusual amount of free time (I think I had work off or something) which meant that I left it half finished, waiting for another free day to finish it. Unfortunately that never really came so I ended up adding a few strokes of green and initialing it before we packed up and moved. So here it is in its unfinished/finished state. I'm alright with it :)

'Bear Lake triptych'
Three 8x10"
Oil on canvas panel

This was a very enjoyable and educating experiment in plein air painting. I haven't painted outside from nature very often and I discovered that THIS is what I need to do to improve my painting. Nature doesn't hold still- clouds move, water changes, animals and people meander about and shadows are constantly changing. It forces you to make quick decisions and stick to them, there isn't time to try a few things/colors out to see which you like better. Instead you're scrutinizing your view trying to figure out how to capture something as incomprehensible as the FEELING of your landscape. How do I paint the smell of the water and gasoline, the sound of seagulls or the breeze that takes the edge of the sun's burning? While working out this dilemma you have to mix colors and start blocking in your major shapes. This resulting in the equivalent of a casual jogger entering a half marathon. I just wasn't used to this demanding of a painting session, but I loved it. Sure it may have left me sore but it showed me possibilities that I hadn't understood before.
I painted each of these in one sitting on separate days. Finishing paintings that quickly and moving on to the next one added to the painting 'exercise' and I really enjoyed doing it. I gave these three to my Grandparents as it was their condo we stayed at. The first one I painted from a bench on an old marina, looking down at the waterline. I knew I wanted that sailboat to be my first subject as I have seen it in roughly the same place every summer for years. I woke up, walked down with my painting supplies and got right to work. It was a great way to start the day. The second was painted from a picnic table in the shade a ways down the beach. The mountains in the background are the same in all three paintings. The third was painted from a second story balcony a short walk away from the water. The sailboat's mast from the first painting is visible and since this was done in the afternoon the beach is full of vacationers. The outcome shows that I have a long way to go before I begin to get the hang of plein air painting, but nevertheless these were some of my favorite paintings ever. Also I think this is my first series or triptych, and I loved creating related pieces.


  1. These are great! I could tell immediately that it was Bear Lake! I especially like the 3rd one with the wakes and the waves in the water. You captured that really well.

  2. Wow. I love the feel of these paintings...especially the sailboat one. I think you ought to do more plein air!