19. Lines of Bodie

Today I ventured out on my own, influenced by practice sketches by Peter Sheeler and his videos.  This is from a photo I took in 2016 up at Bodie, California, when it was moving toward noon on a hot, hot day in August.

I rather like the composition, particularly the lines of poles marching over the hill in the distance.  If you ever have been to Bodie, you know it’s a long drive down a long and bumpy washboard road.  The telephone poles and lines emphasize the town’s isolation.  As far as painting the subject matter, I started out with a line drawing, painted, and then came in again with the ink pen.  It was so, so, so hard to not try to draw and paint every line and rock.  Simplification was a big challenge for me.

As I painted, I worked hard to recall what I have learned doing the practice studies.  Keeping things simple also meant keeping the palette simple, and the brush choice as well.  I started out with sky in Cobalt Blue after wetting it down with a big round brush.  Then I kept myself isolated to a dagger brush – first time to use one, too.  The remainder of the palette included Quin Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Sap and Hooker’s Green, and by accident, a tad of Indrathene Blue.  The paper is 5×7 Arches Hot Press and taped down with a 3M painter’s tape with specialized edge-sealing qualities, which really worked to keep the tape from pulling up as it got wet.

Overall, I like the lack of mud and the contrasts I developed between light and dark.  Pen and ink come to save the day again!

18. Wet-in-Wet Pond in Mist

Another lesson in wet-in-wet technique with Peter Sheeler.  This one really worked well for me!  I like the results below.  My weeds in the foreground on the left were not as dry-brush as they should have been to get the crispy qualities – the right side was more successful.  I’ll be doing another of Peter’s exercises later today!

16.6. Holiday Cards: Winter Stream

I used six of Peter Sheeler’s videos to create cards for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present, along with using them for practice.  Doing all of these has proven to be more thought-provoking than I realized.  Copying by watching a video is really informative.

In many ways, this was perhaps the most deceptively simple in appearance, but in reality the most complex.  The reason for this is the stream.  Water is never easy to express (at least for me).  There are ripples, reflections, shifting colors to reflect the sky and scenery above.  Besides all this, there is the snow.  It also reflects along the banks of the stream, which you can see in Peter’s video, but which never made it into mine – this is on the center left of the stream.

Mine below has some good areas – certainly there is white! – but bits of it are a tad overworked.  The scan is not as subtle as the painting, either, but I am not really sure how to deal with that.  I decrease some areas of saturation in the image using Lightroom . . . and I am not sure if I am going to include this card in the set because of the smudges and such.

 

17. Moonlight

Night is always mysterious and exciting.  The moon overhead – clouds – wind- the creaking of branches – the rustles in the undergrowth.  This is what I decided to try, using an old sycamore tree as the subject, and a bit of my imagination.

First step was to decide on colors, and approach.  I decided warm undertones for the tree and the sky.  I used a bit of Quinacridone gold and Yellow Ochre for a thin wash.  From there, successive glazes in Ultramarine Blue, Indrathene Blue, and Carbazole Violet.  As things progressed, some Burnt Sienna.  You can see the different layers below.

At times I used a hair dryer to dry the layers . . . other times I painted as I held the hair dryer.  I used rounds, flats, and finally a rigger brush (for the very first time!)  It was okay to use the rigger in the background, but crossing it along the bottom of the tree – I don’t know – I think it detracts from the rest of the tree – hard to say at the moment.

 

16.5. Holiday Cards: Fence & Flowers

One thing I have always loved is the countryside.  Open spaces.  Wild flowers.  Weeds.  Where I live, you can find them, but they are the dry places of the West.  I have a longing for the plains and grasses, green trees and rain.  Peter Sheeler’s video catches a glimpse of this.

Here is my version below.  Part of me wants to paint the flowers, but thought it best to stop here.  I like the feeling that you have just climbed a hill, and there this scene is at the top, and you look way beyond . . .

 

 

16.4. Holiday Cards: Laundry

Another practice study from Peter Sheeler.  Here he uses masking tape – painters tape – to create a frisket.  He tore pieces of tape and pressed them into the paper, as a resist to the dry brush technique he used to create the sense of a very windy laundry day.  As a kid, I remember those days, pegging the clothes and sheets.  It was a lot of fun, a lot of work, but always worth the smell of fresh air on your sheets when you went to bed.

First, here is the picture with the “laundry” masked with randomly torn bits of painter’s tape.

And here is the final picture.  To frame the picture, I used more tape around the edges of the picture.  If you watch the video, you’ll see why!

16.3 Holiday Cards: Fallen Leaf

Once again, a demonstration from Peter Sheeler which I used for a card for my sister-in-law.

Peter’s is far more masterful than mine!  Who’d have thought a simple leaf could be so difficult?  I went in afterwards and inked in some extra lines and put a frame around the picture – the leaf looks like it is floating in space.

 

16.2. Holiday Cards: Daisies

The second card in a series for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present.  I used Peter Sheeler’s demonstration (below).  I love his lines and color!  Copying his style is teaching me a lot about simple color use, powerful lines, and particularly compositional elements I haven’t considered at all.

What I learned in this video was how to portray dappled lighting.  This gives character and depth to white petals.  What do you think?

 

16.1. Holiday Cards: Birch Trees & Snow

As a present, my sister-in-law asked for some hand-painted cards.  Given I have enjoyed Peter Sheeler’s videos, I thought I would use his exercises as a way to practice painting, and fulfill a family member’s request for a Christmas present!  Here is Mr. Sheeler’s video:

Birch trees are some of the easiest and most lovely trees to draw or paint.  The white trunks and white snow made for a good chance to work at keeping white space.  The other thing is that the palette was limited, which I am beginning to find refreshing – a lot of colors can be made from two or three.

15. Wild Night on the Town

No, not really.  But a fun night meeting up with a friend at a local coffee shop / bar / whatever, and some time spent chatting and sketching.  I even drank tea and ate madeleines, so the artistic muse was happy.

It’s fun to watch another artist work, and it’s fun to see what catches the eye.  We sat opposite each other and what was in my eye line was different from hers.  It makes for altogether different projects.  Another thing about just hanging out with another artist is that you learn about things you never considered or used before.  Nothing like continuing to learn, eh?

So, below are my sketches from our hanging out last night.

If you play Sherlock, you might figure out where we were.

Any guesses?

Happy Friday!