Fresh Paint, Clean Paint!

October 30, 2015

– Realization #2

It has been most of 4 weeks since my painting trip to Dutch Mountain. The afternoon and evening sun was just as dramatic.

These days I find myself pressed to paint. I want and need to paint! Keep in mind that, I have several circuses to manage here daily, so painting is not always the priority.   Yes, I could be pressed by a deadline, but i try not to dwell on that.  I am also a bit more selective on what is the exciting prompt for choosing my next subject.  (See Reflection #1)

The key here is Clean, Fresh paint.

I am also very keen on establishing a pigment wash to establish a feel for how the painting will fit on a panel.  I start by painting the shapes and wiping out my lights in undertones of cool or warm tone sequence mixed primarily from cadmium red light and quinacridone rose.  These are somewhat transparent and allow light to reflect as warm or cool.  The undertones set the pace for my painting.  Then I gradually build into the layers of colors and values.

20151029_190131 blue and violets

The trick is to build up the colors without quickly making mud on a small 6×6 art panel.  I start by painting a thin color coat of the local colors.  For a landscape that means mixing and painting the sky first. Then I generally lay in my next layer of cooler shadows in values of blues and violet tones to establish depth and shadow forms.

Next, I check my progression and mix for the next layer of warmer lights. Color harmony is very important and adds a dynamic balance to most of my paintings.  For this painting I chose warm earth structures and cool ground shadows.  After establishing my shadow I added yellow tint to all the lights sparkling on the rocks and highlights.  I try to mix my paint values and check them as I go, before adding the next layer of light and forms.  If it doesn’t match or fit with the harmony I take off, remix and match new color.

20151030_102118 blue violet yellows

Greens are much more challenging.  I generally try to establish greenery by simply scrubbing in loose greens and lemon yellows over the blue and violet patches.  Then check for balance in contrast to finalize the atmosphere, highlights, shadows and rugged surface.  Soon after, I begin adding the last few pieces, building up to the brights and final highlights.

20151030_120212

Clean paint is integral to all good painting. Be sure to know your color ranges and mixtures.  Clean paint is important to establishing the mood of a painting.  It is critical to preserving reflected light within the painting. Fresh clean strokes quickly establish atmosphere, depth, and volume of a painting through a tight space.

The important thing to remember is start clean, work clean, paint clean before you know it you will have beautiful color harmonies.

Front porch special!

Blue Porch on 1st Street.

Blue Porch on 1st Street. Oil on panel, 6×6.

Yesterday, we were invited to paint the historical part of Georgetown by the Heritage Society.  Georgetown proper was founded in 1848!  Much of the down town features homes, buildings and architecture from the early 1900’s. The weather was great already warming up into the 80’s and the last of the Georgetown poppies were gorgeous.  It made it quite challenging to pick just the one spot to paint.

So I settled for walking just beyond the town square and discovered a lovely little spot to paint.  I chose to work smaller on a 6″x6″ panel to be sure I could finish most of it while on site.  Then set to work out an interesting composition within the square format.   I love the dynamic juxtaposition of blue green porch with the vibrant red-orange poppies.

I am happy to say that I am very pleased to have captured the bright morning glow and shadows surrounding such a lovely place.  Even better to have it displayed next week in part of the Heritage Society exhibit as part of the Heritage awareness month.

Back in the Atmosphere!

February 21, 2015

I’m back in the atmosphere…of Plein Air painting that is.    It did take a push and a shove but I am getting there.  So I am learning to make the most of my time to enjoy what I love most.  Painting and visiting new places…so en Plein Air it is!

Today, we were graced with awesome weather and even a spot of sun now & then.  So I ventured out to the stomping grounds of older Austin – Hyde Park. Oh, but what will I paint?  There was so much to choose from, I finally just started painting where I was standing.

Quacks Corner Table - Hyde Park, Austin

Quacks Corner Table – Hyde Park, Austin

The trick is to find an agreeable spot, off the sidewalk jet not obscuring the painting view.  The limited sunlight did prove challenging in mixing accurate colors.  But I mustered my brushed and pushed paint.

The neighborhood is so active and hospitable!  I was so busy painting, I did not have time to take in all the yummy smells from the well-known restaurants.   There is so much more to capture.  Yes, I shall go back.

For now, I hope you enjoy my posts and stay tuned for future painting ventures.

 

Boggy Creek Farms

October 12, 2013

Today, I ventured out to Boggy Creek Farms.   A local farm located in the east heart of down town Austin just off 7th street.  The farm grows a large selection of veggies and greens as well as fresh eggs!  Of course we can always find a variety of scenic spots to paint as well like neat garden patches, chicken coops, and parked tractors.

By paint out norms it was a very brief painting.  More of a impressionable sketch of  the garden statues.

Boggy Creek Farm Garden.  2013_10_12

Boggy Creek Farm Garden. 2013_10_12

This morning I offered to take my son along for painting too.  We could share painting and time together.  But the morning brought a few more challenges to consider.  It was indeed a Boggy fall morning with muggy heat and swarms of mosquitoes lying in wait.  *yes, that was with mosquito spray.  I think they were immune or very hungry.

So out of self preservation, it was a very short paint out , but I am pleased with the expressive paint strokes.
A nice gesture to inspire another larger painting soon.  Once I stop itching…

Archway to the Oasis.

October 8, 2013

Archway to the Oasis.

Archway to the Oasis. 6×6 2013_09_21_02

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The Oasis offers panoramic views of the Texas hill country as the Colorado river winds its way to the dam, even in our record droughts, it is still beautiful.  But all must enter through this archway to the Oasis.  I felt drawn to painting it as the morning sun began to warm the stack stone work and the people began to trickle into grab an early lunch on the balcony.
The Oasis on has a long history of great views on Lake Austin.  The original structure burned down some years back and the family rebuilt the existing complex of multilevel balconies and scenic views.  Good to know that there is still a great place to see our hills stretch far into the horizon over a bite to eat.

Painting at the Oasis!

October 5, 2013

Wow! I painted…

Oasis view of Bagby Beach 6x6 2013_09_21

Oasis view of Bagby Beach 6×6 2013_09_21

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The rains have had a welcomed cooling effect for us.  For a moment, the rain looked to dampen any planned paint outs.   But I was willing to risk painting rain or shine.  Good thing we had lined up painting at a great spot regardless of the weather.

Non other than out at the Oasis west of Austin, TX .
The Oasis offers sweeping west views of the Lake and all its Texas size hills rolling off into the distance.  We were graciously shown to a 3 floor balcony with amazing views of  the lake.The crisp autumn weather greeted us with lovely lights and shadows playing across the hill scape.

The challenge is settling on a spot to paint with so many views to choose from.    But I found it intriguing to watch the light play along the rocky shores echoing the water line and ridges of the hills playing along the Colorado River as it snakes down to the dam.  That was my inspiration for this first painting.

Water Gardens

September 9, 2013

Water Garden Vase

Water Garden Vase 6″x6″

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Week end paint out inspirations right in our own community.  The local water garden and nursery features a number of spots that offer a quiet shady spot to paint in the last of the summer heat.  Koi ponds, water fountains and plant arrangements to inspire the gardener as well as the painters in all of us.  Not to mention plenty of room for my Easy-L easel.

I love how this sweet little gem came together for my painting.  It was a bot bumpy at first but I refined my focus and re-sketched me composition & washed it in.   The light played a good deal of hide & seek, but I captured the vase form, water splashing in the pond quiet successfully.

Saturday offered a beautiful sunny morning although cold to once more venture out for painting here in Austin with our local Plein Air Austin goup.

Of all places to visit Rainey Street!
Rainey street can be found north of the river just east of Congress Ave. The neighborhood has a long history of quaint bungalow style homes from around 1934 here in Austin.  The past few years have seen a new revival of the area in the form of restaurants and Beer gardens.  Now the tiny houses are shadowed by the growing high-rise condos and boom of life in downtown Austin.

Rainey Street

Rainey Street

For myself this paint out offers a stroll down memory lane.  Rainey Street was / is the very same street my grandmother spent many summers playing as a child.   So I bundled up and set off to find my painting inspirations.

My first stop was to find 80 Rainey Street.
IMAG0166

Long before the dams were built the river rose almost every year and the lower edge of Rainey Street was often under water.  Several houses were washed out, so each time my grandmother’s family would move higher up the hill.  80 Rainey was her child hood home.
So surreal to see so many homes renewing along the street and know several more are simply no more. Gone are the homes at 60 and 68 and 82 and the old oak tree in the back yard where she once practiced her coronet.  But the house at 80 Rainey still remains, the challenge was to find beauty in the play between light and shadow.

80 Rainey ~ Memaw's childhood home.

80 Rainey ~ Memaw’s childhood home.

So I set up my easel, broke out my brushes and paint.  It was great to enjoy painting out side even in the brisk cold.  I decided to crop in on the recognizable feature of the house the corner bungalow windows and the lovely shadow patterns.
My intention was to capture the once love of a family home many generations ago and I believe that I did just that.  In such a simple morning paint-outI might have found new inspiration to delve a little deeper in the Austin city and landscapes.  There are more paintings to waiting to be found.

Plein Air Painting Again

October 15, 2011

It has been a spell since I managed to squeeze in a bit of Plein Air painting in the Austin hills.  Though I spent last Saturday at the Round Rock Chalk Walk and finished a small city scape. It’s not quite the same as venturing into our local creeks and hills to paint. There is just something special and energizing about painting out in nature.

Painting under the Oak tree.

Today, I joined fellow Plein Air Austin artists for painting adventures. I trekked out to Bull Creek Park located on the West side of Austin.  The park has recently been reworked to feature restrooms, plenty of picnic tables, hiking trails and a pavilion near the creak as well.  There you find limestone cliffs chiseled and weathered into  wonderful cliff faces.  Large rock slabs make up the beautifully carved creek bed of Bull Creek nestled amongst hiking trails and large shading oaks. There was even a bit of trickling water to sooth the mind for a spell of painting before the sun rose to high over the hills this morning.

Bull Creek offers plenty of great spots to paint. The hard part to plein air painting is of course toting all of your paints and easel to where you want to paint. The second part is settling on a spot and finding a workable composition. So today, I settled in under a trusty oak tree near enough to hear the babble of the creek but still offer plenty of shade and 2 agreeable compositions. On of the hill side shadows and a second of the rock slabs.

I find it best to stick with small formats (3.5×5 up to 5×7) when in the field.  This ensures completing a scene before the lighting changes significantly.  Yes, some times I can manage to paint more than 1 while out, like today.  But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with the results.  So I cam home to put a few finishing touches on the hill-side and try to resolve the rock slabs.  But even with good reference pictures of the rocks, I still struggled to get it together even here in the studio. I have to venture out another day for a better chance at resolving the rocks in to a solid composition.

So I shall conclude today’s painting with just the one little gem.  Yes, there are actually houses on the top of the hill edge, up there.

Bull Creek, South East face. 2011.10.15. image: 4.5" x 5"