I did these two portraits during the winter when it's just not conducive to be outdoors painting. I prefer a candid look to the subject. These are both 8" X 10" done on a stretched canvas done from a photo.....however you will notice all the color I can throw into them, as though I had them sitting before me so they look pretty much like life.
As I have said before, when you are an artist you can do anything. When I left the Navy I felt I could do anything in the world. Man is my head growing big! Anyhow, just kidding, .....but this time at the John C. Campbell Folk School I was part of the Longbow making class taught by Tom Turgeon. I had not ever made a bow (okay, I tried once when I was a kid) and only shot arrows when I was a teenager. We were given a glued up blank consisting of Yellowheart and a layer of Bamboo ready to be filed and sanded into the correct shape. It takes a lot of filing and sanding skill to work your way around this bow (expect a day and a half). Since I've done wood carving and other wood related projects I felt quite comfortable. Tom Turgeon is an absolutely outstanding teacher...always open to questions and redoing a demo so you get your work correct. After a day and a half of filing and sanding, we were ready to shoot outside the woodworking shop at JCCFS. After that we concentrated on getting a nice color using dyes and then doing a polyurethane finish after the dyes were dry. So......where's the painting connection? We used dyes to get the color on the bow...only a few color choices so it helps to know about mixing colors. A little different than using paint in that the dyes dry very dark, but the polyurethane varnish brings back the color. Tom teaches the class all around the country, many in his home state of Utah. Great class.....you're an artist?.....you can do it. (By the way...that's yours truly traveling with classmates and our bows on the campus at John C. Campbell.)
This is a 11" X 14" oil on linen. The location for this is somewhere near Cambridge, Wisconsin along one of Wisconsin's "Rustic Roads". Usually the Rustic Roads take you through farm country on two lane roads and there are often very nice farm scenes. Though they are nice, there really isn't any possiblity of pulling off the road for plein air painting...no room. In fact I have done several works from references taken along a ride down the road. I read a book recently about a cowboy working on a farm out west...Wyoming...and he wrote that farmers and ranchers usually steer the cattle away from ponds like this and prefer to have access to water tanks for the animals. Apparently you risk the animals getting into a mess and into some contaminated water if you let them drink out of the pond. That said, this was a really nice scene which attracted my attention with the color and composition. And here's another thought....once I have set myself up for a shot, that's pretty much the composition I will use when I paint the scene.
This is a 30" X 36" oil of a place in southeast North Carolina near the Georgia border. I worked on this on and off all winter and recently finished it. I took this picture before I varnished it, but unless it looks a lot different this will do. There was a lot of layers done on those background trees to get them the way I wanted. Also, I did a lot of painting just to cover the canvas nevermind the finish. I got frustrated with or tired of this painting many times, but it is nice to have something you can put up on the easel and work on for a time and then let it go.
Here's the latest painting finished here at the studio. This one took a long time, meaning I spent several months working on this and others. Also, because I titled this entry as "Out of my comfort zone", I just don't do paintings like this. I didn't want this to slip into a genre of painting that I just don't like.....those paintings of boats on the water you see in galleries located near water. So I hope my brushwork and color have brought it into a better level.
The painting was inspired by looking out for the ferry to Madelaine Island in northern Wisconsin. This is the small harbor there.....there were other boats there as well, but I chose this because I liked the light falling on it. It's a 16" x 20" done in oil.