PaulBlog will consist of a lot of thoughts about oil painting and what makes Paul's Pointillistic/Impressionist paintings different from the others, along with other random thoughts on the arts including music. We'll post daily or frequently on the front page, then move to here. If you want to discuss, for now we publish a new painting almost daily, so join us and discuss on Facebook.
Monday, June 1, 2015
I got some detail done on the Daffodils today. On the left Daffodil notice the couple strokes of Ultramarine Blue for the shadow just inside the edge of the bulb. The blue gets lighter as it comes out into the rib. Then there's another stroke of blue green to the left of that just below the heavy stroke of yellow. Notice the difference in the yellows between the left and right Daffodils, which is a little more orange on the right. Some strokes of Deep Chrome Yellow are added to the flower on the right, some strokes of Light Chrome on the Daffodil on the left. The right one has a few strokes of the blue inside the bulb, a few strokes of light Cobalt Blue as it comes out into the ribs, and below the edge setting off the top of the bulb of the Daffodil. I think I got a bit of color tunnel vision with the yellows and greens of the Daffodils when I was painting them before, and they tended to look flat. Now I'm getting some other colors to accent. One of the cool things about oil painting is that you can come back to it at any time and correct any tunnel vision you may have had.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Put the Iris Garden away today and retouched the Daffodils. I've been looking at that one for a while now. When I finish a painting I hang it on the wall for a while and look at it. Sometimes I know at that time I will be retouching in the future, and the Daffodils was one of those. I'll do more with it over the next couple days. Today I retouched the center, the inside of the bell of a couple of the Daffodils and some of the green leaves. More to do tomorrow. The gardener, William the landlord came in and looked at the Irises and Daffodils today and asked me "Isn't it difficult to retouch after the colors on the palette change?" I told him I remember which colors I used wherever. I can tell from their look, too. With the Daffodils I used four different yellows for the flowers, remember which ones where, and proceed to retouch as needed. I started with the things I knew I wanted to do, and as I move along other things present themselves. I'll be another day or two with it. The Irises, maybe I'll retouch it, maybe not. I see a few things I CAN do, but as Paul Gauguin says, "Don't finish your work too much." That one may be best to leave it alone at this point.
May 30, 2015
Worked some more on my Iris Garden today. I signed it below the Chinese Poppies, above the Peonies, Paul 15. A lot of art dealers say not to date your work because some collectors may see a date of, say 1997, and wonder why you haven't sold it yet. It's a valid point. Curators, on the other hand, say to date your work so it can be easily catalogued. I've never been too concerned with selling, and I take the latter approach. While realizing I may be painting for a dumpster somewhere, I'm more concerned with curators and posterity. When I was young and considering whether to become a painter or musician, I chose painting in large part because of all the crap that happened to Skip Spence with Moby Grape. When they went into the studio to record their first album, Skip was the only one who was ready to do an album and by default he became the arranger and the first Moby Grape album became aan instant classic, and is still considered one of the top 100 rock albums ever. CBS put a million $$ into promotion, but botched every part of it and eveerything went erong that could go wrong. It was a commercial success, but barely. When they did Wow everyone had their own idea of what it should sound like and none of it was what Skip envisioned. He contributed three joke songs and never did another of his serious (best) songs with the band again. As a painter I saw that I wouldn't have to rely on anyone else to CREATE my work, only to market it after the fact. That was what tipped the scale for me. I chose the path of Schopenhauer, "I strive after nothing but the truth, and write as the ancients wrote, with the sole intention of preserving my thoughts, so that they may be for the benefit of those who understand how to meditate upon them and prize them." If I make money, great, if not that's ok, too.
May 29, 2015
Happy Birthday President Kennedy, Man of Peace!! My Dad died May 29, 2002 at 92, and my Sister May 29, 2011 at 74. I talked to her the day before, she said she was going in the hospital, and she would call if she died. The next morning she had left a voicemail that she had died. I called the hospital and managed to talk to her one more time, and got the call that she had died that afternoon. Worked on the Iris painting more today. Finishing is difficult and time consuming. Claude Monet spent so much time on it he said "What a boaster he who claims to have finished a painting." One of the most complicated aspects was identified by Eugene Delacroix said when he said "A man of talent who composes should suppose that what his inspiration has furnished him has it's value. There are two things experience must teach us: One must correct a great deal, but one must not correct too much." Balancing those two is everything. As with yesterday I worked over the whole painting. It was productive and I like it. The Peonies have been brought out, as have the yellow Irises. Worked on the violet Irises, and added some more yellow green background to bring them out more. Also worked on Mount Shasta.
May 28, 2015
"One is only a master when one imparts to things the patience which is inherently theirs." Eug. Delacroix. Working on the Irises, mainly the yellow ones because there are a lot more of those. You can see that with the light yellow on the right on the palette, and the darker yellow just to the left is the what I use for the darker passages. I also worked on the violet Irises, which is the darker blue paint to the right of the steely blue mass in the lower left corner, which the steely sky. I added red strokes to define the Chinese Poppies, along with blackish red violets to a couple to show the seeds. Worked on the wine red leaves of the yellow Irises, tipped them in yellow, which looks like light orange by juxtaposition, but they're hard to see in this picture. Added some of the little blue things in front of the green stalks for the Chinese Poppies, which is the Cobalt Blue just to the right of the darker Ultramarine Blue for the Irises. I went over Mount Shasta with the whitish wine red in the middle of the palette and added a couple dark passages for cliffs. Did a lot of work on the background greens to bring out the Allium and violet Irises and harmonize with the other things.
May 27, 2015
Going over my Irises with a light Cadmium Yellow and I like them. Also lightening the green background and going over Mount Shasta with the white Carmine for the lights and some light Cobalt Violet for the darker passages. The light yellow helps to distinguish the Irises from the Chinese Poppies. I still need work on the background greens to bring the purple Iris and Allium out. Notice the big white mass in the center of the bottom of the palette and see if you can see the difference between the Cobalt Violet on top and the whiter wine red on the bottom. On Mount Shasta, these are reversed, with the white pink on the top, lightest part of the Mountain, and the violetish below. It's clearer, but not much on the actual painting. There are 5 different greens on the palette, beginning with the yellow green on the bottom left, darker less yellow on top, blue added below that, but just a little, and Emerald on the right, but not smeared, with a darker version to the right. They are the colors of the Iris leaves, the yellowest for the greens against the Peonies, and the other two in the background.
May 25, 2015
I've been working on my Iris Garden a little over the past couple days and getting another blood transfusion. Also went to the McCloud Mushroom Festival on Saturday. Great wild Porcini Risotto and Buttermilk Battered Calamari. The Irises are taking shape, along with the Peonies and some Chinese Poppies. I'm lightening the green trees in the background that are across the street in front of Mount Shasta. The beige Irises are getting colorful with the Vermilion just to the left of the orange on the palette, and I'm defining the wine red bottom leaves. The California Poppies in the foreground, above the red peonies are starting to provide a nice vibrant orange to contrast with the Irises. Also got some work done with the violet Irises. I do need to lighten the greens in the background and maybe some clouds over Mount Shasta.
May 21, 2015
Working on the Iris Garden the past two days. The colors are much stronger now. The color of the beige irises hasn't changed, but everything around them has, and it makes them lighter and stronger by juxtaposition. The green next to the red peonies is now bringing them out, as are the violet Irises bringing out the beige ones, the big pink flowers, and the orange poppies. Mt. Shasta is also much more defined, but the contrast with the cloudy sky is quite low. "It's certain that by studying the laws of colours one can move from an instinctive belief in the great masters to being able to account for why one likes what one likes, and that's very necessary nowadays when one considers how terribly arbitrarily and superficially people judge...the colours follow one another as if of their own accord, and taking a colour as the starting-point I see clearly in my mind's eye what derives from it, and how one can get life into it. Jules Dupré is like Delacroix in landscape, for what enormous diversity of mood he expressed in symphonies of colour...the corner of a garden by him that I saw and have never forgotten; black in the shadow, white in the sun, bright green, a fiery red, and then again a dark blue, a bituminous greenish brown and a light brownish yellow. Truly colours that can have quite a lot to say to one another." Vincent van Gogh
May 19, 2015
Laid in the other irises today, or at least where everything will go. Last year when I painted the irises they were all small, but they worked so I left them like that ans finished the painting. This time I was more conscious about the size and made them big enough so that I've got space to paint IRISES, with the petals and define the individual flowers. After I got the composition worked out, I had to go to Yreka for the afternoon. The palette isn't that much different from yesterday, so I'm just posting the composition of the painting today.
May 18, 2015
Day 2 of my Iris Garden painting. Vincent van Gogh, Monet, Delacroix, Gauguin, and all of the other great colorists say to ignore local color, the color we see in nature, and proceed with the color on our palette. All of the colors are mixed with the broken tone of the Naples yellow and violet mix, to a greater of lesser value to lighten and darken. As you can see, the colors are strong and vivid, they harmonize, and will get stronger or softer, depending what color they are placed next to. Today I put color to lay out and INDICATE where the the soft yellow irises, purple irises will go, and what I need for contrast. The yellow green on the palette is in the foreground with the red peonies, the light green to the left will probably be for some tall pinkish orange flowers, and the emerald green in top right is for the leaves of the irises. The red in the center of the palette will be the peonies, against the yellow green, the white next to it for Mt. Shasta, and the beige next to both of those is for the soft yellow orange irises. The whitish blue on the far left is for the sky. I find one of the most beautiful views of Mt. Shasta is when the sky is ALMOST the same as the color of the Mountain.
May 17, 2015
Started a painting of the flower garden outside my window today. Very sketchy so far. On the palette just to the left of the hole is my Naples Yellow tone. On the far left, the dark violet. Those are broken next to the dark violet, with a blue tone just below that. To the right is a broken orange that will be one of the irises. It's mixed with the green just above it, and notice the difference between the white right next to it and the white above the hole. The one next to the orange has pink mixed in and is the color of the snow covered mountain, the other has a neutral tone mixed in and is used to lighten the gray violet. Moving to the painting, notice the difference between the foreground green that will have red peonies, the yellowish green, and the dark green against the Mountain. There will be violet Irises, there's a bit of blue, and orange Irises with leaves with wine red petals. Also some blue things, allium, and maybe some poppies, at least probably.
May 16, 2015
Went to Sacramento to consult with another doctor the last couple days. He says they have "no clue what's wrong with me." Back to work on Magic Johnson today. I pretty much finished it with the shadows on Bird's arm, around Magic's mouth, and lights on his top leg. Also lowered the contrast around the lower foot and heightened it around the upper foot to bring that foot forward. I went over the violets in Magic's uniform and defined the numbers, shorts, and socks. I signed it in the upper right, however I could retouch it a little more after looking at it more. It's probably finished, but as Claude Monet said, "What a boaster, he who claims to have finished a picture."
May 13, 2015
Haven't written in here for a few days. I've been spending a good deal of tine at the doctor, and today in the hospital getting another blood transfusion. I did get a diagnosis yesterday, though of pancytopenia. I have spent some quality time painting though. I've worked at retouching my Northern California Coast and Mendocino Surf. Those are finished. I've also worked on Magic Johnson and he's pretty well finished. The mouth on that is a pretty classic case of what Delacroix said about "There are two things Experience must teach us, one must correct a great deal, but one must not correct too much." It doesn't quite look like Magic and I might be able to make it so, but he's driving to the hoop with his mouth open, and it's probably in a position it would have been in a fraction of a second before or after, and the motion is good so I'll probably leave it. Regardless, it's like Michaelangelo's answer to his critics when they would say that his people didn't look like who they were supposed to, "In five centuries nobody will know the difference."
May 10, 2015
Worked on detail on Magic the past couple days with my small pointy brush. I still need to do more in the face and legs, along with Bird. If you look at the top right there's a big whitish patch that is actually a deep spectral pink that's the white in Bird's uniform. The violetish beside it is the purple in Magic's uniform and the light tone on the far left of it is the dark white tone in Magic's lower leg. Aside from that most of the rest is flesh for Magic. The top leg is coming forward quite nicely now and the other is receding thanks to the different whites of the socks. I worked on those things Saturday but sometimes I have the TV on. Saturday they had the complete Lord of the Rings Trilogy on and I watched that for 11 1/2 hours and didn't write in here. Now I have seen that in it's entirety in one day, seen Wagner's Ring in the theatre over a week, on video in a week, and listened to the entire 14 hours in one day on a trip to the east Coast.
May 8, 2015
Nine years today since I've seen Ann. It's been a long time. I didn't paint today because I had to go to Redding for a Cat scan. Didn't have my first cup of coffee until after I did all that. Filled my blood with iodine, had to flush it out with a lot of water, and didn't get to toast Ann with a shot of the best whiskey last night. Talked to Lu Thursday night and she reinforced my thought to make my last days good, even if I get less: Quality over Quantity. She told me that's what Dusty's father did when he had his fatal illness and what I have thought. Lu always gives good advice, like after Ann died, go to Brasil. I'm really getting tired of all these medical procedures.
May 7, 2015
Vincent van Gag said "Painting is drawing in color." I'm doing that everywhere on Magic today. On the lower arm is a great example. On the bottom of that arm I painted one long stroke of Vermilion to separate it from the background. It was a bit too strong so I put a little of the light violetish skin tone over it to make it work. I had to lighten it again, so I added a little orange to the Vermilion and flesh mix, drew that stroke, and now it's separated from the background, works with the flesh, and a couple strokes of Carmine above and down the arm to the hand make it work as a black man's arm under the bright lights of the basketball arena. I also did some work on the position and details of the head now, and I'm liking that. Did some work on the yellow uniform, too, and added some violet tones around the foot of the upper leg to move it forward by juxtaposition. Decided I didn't like the arm brace, so, as is the beauty of oil paint, I just painted it out. The big patch of light, muddy violet on the upper left, including the darker just to the right of that, is the flesh tone I'm using for Magic Johnson.
May 5, 2015
Worked on Magic's shoulder and the arms today. The colors on the shoulder is near the bottom and center of the palette. It's the light flesh looking tone, but mostly the darker violetish tone to the left of that, and the Cobalt Blue directly below that. If you follow that line of colors toward the top of the palette, you see a flat blackish tone to the left of that that's the black for the band on the bicept. The tone is this nice offbeat violet I like, Prussian Blue and Deep Cadmium Red. The blue to the right of that blackish tone is what I used in the background to shape the lower part of the arms and legs.
May 4, 2015
Been at the doctor in Redding and in the hospital yesterday and haven't written here in a couple days. The good news is no cancer. Worked on Magic today. There's more to do, but notice how the torso is starting to turn to the left with the shoulder getting bigger toward the left, the lower torso moving farther in the same direction, and Magic's side darker. The front leg is also starting to move the same way, and Larry's starting to go past him. The colors are on the palette, with the purple moving the figure by stroking from the outside of the figure. The purple in Magic's shorts is also instrumental in moving that leg, and I've moved his head to the left, over his shoulder as he looks to the basket.
May 1, 2015
Worked on the figures of Magic and Larry today. Got a little detail, but was mostly interested in making sure everything is "loose" and accents the motion, while blocking in the masses that you can see in the detail of the legs, mostly. Also, if you notice the patch of violet in the center of the palette, you see the "Forum Blue" on the palette and juxtaposed in the background in bold strokes in the detail of the painting. This helps create motion in the figure as it moves near and in the direction of the body part in motion. Magic's turning to go around Bird, and Larry's pretty much at the top of his leap. One other thing worth noting, if you look at the strokes in the legs, they're single bold strokes, then gone over only a little to blend, and that's another important aspect of capturing motion: Be bold then correct.
April 30, 2015
Magic Johnson was drafted #1 in 1979 by former LA Laker owner Jack Kent Cooke as part of the deal to sell the Lakers to Dr. Jerry Buss. The Lakers won the Championship in his rookie season, with the point guard filling in for center Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who was out with a migraine, in the deciding game. Cooke hated the color purple, one of the Laker colors, so he renamed the color Forum Blue. I spent today working on a nice Forum Blue background of juxtaposed reds and blues, loosely stroked with that #12 brush. The bold strokes help with the illusion of motion, and the figure of Magic is really starting to pop out of the Forum Blue as he maneuvers around the leaping Bird on his way to the basket. It also gives me the opportunity to let the figures and backboard dry for a day, and now I've got plenty of room to expand the figures and make them move. I'll upload more pics tomorrow.
April 29, 2015
I'm working on Magic Johnson today but I also have an interesting observation of Mount Shasta that's worth noting. My painting of "April Sunset on Mt. Shasta" has two interesting diagonal clouds across the top. Those same, or very similar unusual clouds are there today, too. I like noticing weather patterns from year to year. Last year we had a snow storm April 3, and this year we had one April 7. Both were melted by the next day. That was the only one that covered the ground this year. We had one other last year on 12/5/13. With my painting of Magic, I've got two very broken tones I'm using: one is a very muddy green for Bird, the other, just as muddy a violet for Magic. They are mixed a lot, and bring each figure out of the background. I'm writing this while I paint today and I think it will be more interesting, relevant, and easier to follow my method, which is what it's all about, as opposed to specific particulars, but we will get into those, too. For a couple specifics: see the green at the top of the palette? Next to it just to the right is a very muted green. That green is mixed with the violet in the background, either directly or by juxtaposition. The juxtaposition of the strokes of that green and the violet will change, but in the end will help with the motion of the figures.
April 28, 2015
Oil painting is like sculpture in that with sculpture you start with a big block of rock, or whatever, and carve chunks OFF. With oil painting you start with a blank canvas and put paint ON. Yesterday we started with a quick grisaille sketch of Magic Johnson. Today I put paint on and started to define the figure of Magic. The trick is to shape the player while not losing the sense of motion of the sketch I did yesterday. Today I'm using a flat #12 sable brush, as opposed to the big flat bristle brush I started with yesterday. Also, I should mention that the grisaille layer from yesterday "is a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome or near-monochrome, usually in shades of grey. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture." I use it with a good deal of turpentine so the canvas is pretty wet and the sketch is very loose with a lot of motion like a quick 30 second sketch. Now the problem is to keep that motion while defining the action of the figure. In this case it's Magic Johnson driving around a leaping Larry Bird to the basket. The trick is to continue to draw the whole figure in ovals to shape the body, while keeping it in motion, and enabling me to throw this hip or leg out, or whatever to accent the motion at the end. But we're getting way ahead now.
April 27, 2015
Decided to start a new painting today. I went through some recent photos of my recent trips, then decided I wanted to do something else. I've been thinking and writing a lot about Eugene Delacroix lately and how I learned to draw figures and motion by tracing his quick 30 second sketches, and continued the practice all through my career by doing 30 second sketches of sports and other things. I've been watching a lot of basketball on TV so I got some old basketball photos and decided I wanted to do a painting of Magic Johnson, so I started one of the Magic Man, who was always one of my favorites, although the only ones I had painted of the Showtime Lakers were Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes. I haven't painted basketball in many years, and within the past 5 or so years have only painted two sports paintings, a football and hockey painting, so here's the sketch we'll see if I can work some late in life action with Magic.
April 26, 2015
Pretty much finished off my Mendocino Surf and signed it in the lower left today. Once again, white on white. In the lower right of the painting you see 3 elongated rocks, with some white foam below them and connection to another rock right by where the first patch of beach slices into the surf. Just above that rock is a white crescent of foam. That's the detail on the right. If you look at the detail there's some pink, yellow white, and blue tones around the top. The white strokes at that top are the lightest, along with the white between that and the yellow. The light blue strokes above the yellow give a different white value and the white tinged with red pink close that white off with a white that's just a bit darker, but still a white value as can be seen in the picture.
April 25, 2015
Back to Redding for a biopsy yesterday. Worked on retouching my Mendocino Surf again today. The left is the picture, the right is detail of the center of the painting between the two black rocks. This is what I talk about when I talk about white on white. Look at the painting on the left and that center appears white bordered by strips of green. Look at the detail and there's not actually a lot of white. Towards the bottom, next to the green strip, you will see a lot of light blue white strokes underneath with a few strokes of Zinc White on top that become lighter by juxtaposition with the bluish tones underneath. As it moves to the center of the detail the green gets more yellow and the few strokes of Zinc becomes whiter, but overall it's less obvious. The top white has strokes of orange with blue white and violet white strokes with more broken white on top that becomes more white by juxtaposition to the darker colors next to them. Back to the painting, that white patch in the center becomes smaller, more distant, and the top part with the darker tones becomes the stronger white and lighter by juxtaposition than the bottom part of the detail.
April 23, 2015
I worked on retouching the Mendocino Surf painting. All that white is really difficult to define and distinguish. The ONLY solution is to use several different whites, or they become flat, all the same, and you can't distinguish any of the ribbons of foam from each other. The surf is flowing from right to left, for the most part, so that's the way I use the light and shade. The whites on the right side are darker, or at least, lower contrast. I'm using a light wine red ink that appears white by juxtaposition to a whitish green, and a bluish white. As we move to the left there's a big patch of white foam with the pink, a more yellowish green, and a white mixes with chrome yellow and flake white and a bit of blue. The roiling surf in the foreground is zinc white and chrome yellow for the lightest peaks of the surf, against very light green, strong bits of blue and the wine red. The surf around the top is pretty much the same combination of colors , but a bit darker to form sort of an arrowhead to accent the power and speed. The greens and blues, especially are stronger and darker to make those peaks lighter by juxtaposition. I'll do some more work on that tomorrow.
I also picked up the Rockport painting that's well documented on this blog from start to "finish." I had that pointy little brush and a beautiful pink Carmine on my palette so I put some on the rocks right on the horizon and set them back very nicely, but not too much.
April 22, 2015
I put the daffodils away today and worked on a painting of the Mendocino surf to retouch. I didn't photograph it but I worked on the foam and waves then went to the City, Yreka. I'll do more with the Mendocino surf tomorrow. I did that painting before I started this blog, got it to a point where I liked it, but as I say, finishing a painting is somewhat subjective. So much so that Claude Monet said "What a boaster, he who claims to have finished a picture" and Paul Gauguin cautioned, "Don't finish a picture too much." I'll photograph it tomorrow after working on it some more. It was one of those paintings that I worked on it for a while, got to a point where I didn't see what else to do, set it down fully intending to pick it up again, now a couple months later I picked it up to work on finishing with my brand new pointy little brush. I would be really surprised if I don't pick up the daffodils again fairly soon.
April 21, 2015
Finishing a picture is pretty subjective. Eugene Delacroix said "The man of talent who composes should suppose that what his inspiration has furnished him has it's value. There are two things experience must teach us: one must correct a great deal, but one must not correct too much." I'm definitely working on finishing these daffodils today. On the right you see a detail of the upper left. I did a lot of work on the leaves with a small pointy brush, and will probably do some more to set the far left leaves back some more. I've got a lot of light greens on the leaves, added violet to the green and painted some dark strokes to create shadows and bring out the lights by juxtaposition. I also put some shadows on the yellow of the back tulip to set it back just a bit. In the detail on the right, I also worked on the horn in the front, left the bottom leaf alone, and retouched the one just above it. I will probably retouch that line in the middle of that leaf and darken it a bit.
April 20, 2015
Working at finishing my daffodils the past two days. What I do is not to try to paint these SPECIFIC daffodils, but, rather look for the UNIVERSAL aspects of the daffodils, such as variations of color, reflections, the transparency of the leaves. That's what ART is, is finding the universal in the particular like these daffodils. Each one is different from the other, and they're ALL different from the ones in nature. After all, I'm using different materials from what's in nature, so I proceed from my palette and try to create a reasonable facsimile rather than try to imitate nature. I'm just painting A daffodil as opposed to THAT daffodil. The past two days I've worked on detail, such as the greens, oranges, and yellows of the horns of the daffodils, while paying attention to highlights, transparencies, and reflections.
April 18, 2015
Happy Birthday Sister Barbara and Skip Spence! Didn't touch the flowers today to give them a day to dry. Worked on the greens in the background, the blue green stems. I used the really light green from the palette in the stems in a swatch from the lower left through the upper right. Also worked on two leaves in dark green for the tulips and with the light green I also had a darker version to give a bit of depth, which you can see in the lowest right corner and upper left that's a bit harder to see. I also put a good deal of Ultramarine blue from the lower left of the palette to the lower left violet in the painting.
April 17, 2015
I didn't write here the past couple days, but I did paint a little. Today I really got back to it. The daffodils are looking quite good and I really went at the tulips today. I shaped them a lot with the orange and vermilion , the deep chrome yellow, and the light cadmium yellow. I also worked on the inside of the horn on the top left one, which has been giving me fits. It's mostly the greenish tone at the top mixed with the yellow beside it. About that yellow: it's greener than it appears on the palette and toward the bottom of it on the palette is mixed with the yellow orange tone below and to the right. I also added the very light violet to the big violet passage in the bottom left of the painting with the whitish violet in the top left corner of the palette. I also put some light green for the stems rising up around the daffodils.
April 15, 2015
I didn't write in here yesterday because I was at the doctor again. Today I'm not uploading any pictures because, while I was working I got called into the hospital for a blood transfusion. That's where I'm writing this. I've worked on the daffodils the past couple days, and will try to post pics tomorrow. I do need two more units of blood, though so I may not be able to. So, here's what's happening: I've only told a few close friends so far, but I'll post it here. By the end of March I was getting so tired I couldn't walk the length of my two bedroom apartment, about 100 feet, without resting. It got so bad I went to the hospital where they diagnosed me with severe anemia, gave me a blood transfusion of 4 units, which I'm told is equal to all of my blood. I've had many tests since, but I still have the same diagnosis, although yesterday a doctor suggested I may have blood cancer. It's funny because this new website has been a few years in the making. When it finally went live in mid January I told my friend Luciana who designed it that I've felt for quite some time this site was the last thing I had to do in life. She laughed. I had also told a couple other friends, including my friend Jim. The end of January I went to Sacramento, via Avenue of the Giants and a hike along the Mendocino Headlands cliffs, and felt just fine, including the 14 hr. drive. When I got home this started around the middle of February. It's all moving pretty fast now, so we'll see how it progresses. I'm OK with it. Meanwhile, I work on.
April 13, 2015
I worked on the daffodil at the bottom today, adding the third of the brilliant yellows, the Chrome Light. I also worked on the daffodils at the top left with the Deep Chrome, worked them over with a white tone quite a bit with a couple light greens, and more yellow, among other things. I also laid in a dark yellow green in the background, and worked on a lot of shadows, mostly with green and orange. You can notice the Orange Yellow in the center of the palette and the Chrome yellow to the right of it next to the hole. These are the differences I'm talking about. On the other side of that orange tone on the palette you will notice a deep red. That tone is the shadow around the bottom right daffodil, and the dark violet is what makes the yellow flower jump out. That red violet is also with the blue in the violet in the lower left. Finally, I put some color in the tulip in the upper right corner. Somebody came by Friday night and picked the two tulips that I had laid out in the top right. They had just withstood being buried in snow, and somebody picked them. They were right outside my window, but I photographed them and there are still more in the other flower bed.
April 12, 2015
Worked on the yellow daffodils today, specifically the Lemon Yellow one in the center, the top one above it, and the one to the right of it. The latter two I used my Holbein Light Cadmium. Did a lot with the yellows and accented those flowers with the yellow green tones at the top of the palette. Those greens, and the yellows, for that matter, have a good deal of the beige tone and white violet to the immediate left of the yellows on the palette. Yellow is such a delicate color that it's pretty difficult lightening and darkening, and you can see from where my brush has been dragged through that white violet. Also notice the whites around the hole and the white to the left of the yellows. Finally the difference between the Light Cadmium on the far right of the palette, and the Lemon Yellow to the left of it. The Cadmium is mixed lighter, and the Lemon has more greenish tones in it. All of this is very subtle but it's what really is a major difference between mine and ordinary paintings. You'll see stuff like I do in van Gogh, Monet, and other of the Masters. It's what makes for an infinitude of different colors, as opposed to broad flat masses like the California Plein Air paintings, which tend to look just flat with no harmony or depth.
April 11, 2015
Today I went in sort of a circle around the picture. I colored the top left and bottom right daffodils, with the Rembrandt Deep Chrome Yellow, which you see in the lower right corner of the palette. It's all broken with the beige tone,and the whitish tone that's beside and below the beige, and the pile right next to it that has violet added and is a bit darker. If you look at the bottom right daffodil around the right side you will see a dark red tone that's right below the whitish tone at the bottom of the peltate in the bottom center. The way I arrange my colors on the palette is yellow, vermilion red, deep wine red, blue and the variations of each. With the blue at the left of the palette, the blue is in the purple flowers in dark wholish colors and the deep red is also in there, except this is a thumbnail and these colors kill each other.
April 10, 2015
Today I went over the green stems of the daffodils with the side of my #8 brush, defining them somewhat as opposed to barely indicating like yesterday. The green is the obvious one at the top of the palette. Below that on the palette is a white violet I used to mix in with and break that green and also mixing with the stronger green beside it on the palette and laying in the top right corner behind the tulip. That passage also has a stronger violet and I will strengthen it some more. The green stems are now helping to carry the viewier back into the picture, especially in the center above the violet patch at the bottom, and closing off the lower right. The yellow has been drying a couple days now, so I'm ready to pick that back up again.
April 9, 2015
I added some of the purple flowers around the bottom and I like the way the bottom daffodil pops out by juxtaposition to the violet tones. That purple has a lot of Light Ultramarine, Quinacrodone Red for great violets, and Cobalt Violet mixed with the beige tone mixed with a lot of white. By mixing with the very white beige, and some Zinc White I get clearer but harmonious colors that are accented by juxtaposition to the yellow. Then I added some green stems with the side of my #8 brush. The green is a cadmium green with some Emerald Green, and some white tone. That will pop more as I go over it a couple more times. This picture is starting to look good now but has a ways to go.
April 8, 2015
I've been gone from here for a couple days while doing a little painting Sunday, then taking time off to do taxes, then dealing with birthday stuff most of Monday, while painting only the tulip in the top right. Back to it today full bore. Since the last time I wrote here, I painted the said tulip, and Daffodils on the middle right and top center with a Holbein Light Cadmium that I use when want a lot of different yellows, like this painting. Once again these yellows are lightened with the beige tones and some whitish tones made with more of the violets. These are hard to see, but will play a bigger part in a little while when I'm REALLY lightening and darkening. The Daffodils in the top left and bottom right are made primarily with a Deep Chrome Yellow by Rembrandt. In the early 1980's Rembrandt reformulated their colors and I squirreled away about 6 tubes of their Deep Chrome Yellow which has an orange tinge to it without being the least bit overbearing or chalky. I break it out when I want a lot of strong yellows and used it on those Daffodils. On the palette you see a patch of orange, the Chrome Deep is just to the right of that. I use the green at the top of the palette to define the shadows in the flowers, and to separate and define the leaves.
April 4, 2015
Worked on two of the daffodils today with two close, but different yellows with different accents. In the lower right corner of the palette there are three different piles of pure yellow. Farthest to the right, closest to the edge is Cadmium Lemon. Next to it, and a little above is the Cadmium Light I use everywhere. Below that on the bottom edge of the palette is some Chrome Yellow Light. T went over the center daffodil with the Lemon, and the one below it that forms the bottom of the curve is the Chrome Light. I mixed predominantly green into that one to accent the creases, folds, and basic shadows in that one. I will do more with all of that as it progresses. I used the beige tone with some greens to do the same in the center daffodil. You can see that beige tone on the far left of the palette. Then I was looking out my window at the tulip and decided to put it in the upper right corner to balance the painting. I can always paint it out, but I think I like it.
April 3, 2015
Today I added violet ground cover around the bottom, very broken greenish passages around the top, and green shoots with the side of a big brush. If you look at the palette, you see the beige tone I've been using in the center of the palette with a patch of strong violet below it. That violet has a lot of the lightened beige tone mixed in and it's in the painting around the bottom to make the daffodils pop out. The top right has strong green mixed with very light Ultramarine Blue to make an offbeat green as an underpainting, before I go over it with the green shoots, which I use a light Emerald for, all of these lightened with beige, and some of which mixed with the light Ultramarine, and some darkened with violet. I didn't touch the yellow daffodils today.
April 2, 2015
This is probably the clearest example yet of what I talk about with breaking colors and using what Delacroix calls the "dust tone that's the universal half tint" The big patch of the beige tone on the palette is a mixture of the Naples Yellow tone on the far right of the palette, the dark violet on the left, and Flake White. That creates the beige tone that's used in EVERY MIXTURE of color on the painting in greater or lesser value. That's what van Gogh talks about in his Letters and like Monet, Gauguin, and the rest of the Impressionists, uses it in EVERY COLOR MIXTURE ON THE CANVAS. You can look at the Cadmium Yellow on the palette and that yellow has a lot of the broken tone, and the violet in the broken tone intensifies the yellow, and you can see it on the painting where the broken tone intensifies the yellow daffodils. You can also notice the green in the background, both the darker, stronger green around the center and flowers, and a lighter green, especially in her upper right corner. That green is closer in value to the beige background and harder to see, but it illustrates the ESSENCE of what I talk about a color (green) being killed by a broken tone that creates HARMONY in the whole painting. I've now got the Daffodils with the base yellows, Lemon in the center, Holbein Light Cadmium for the top center and middle right, the odd Chrome for the bottom center, and Deep Chrome for the top left and bottom right.
April 1, 2015
Been in the hospital since Sunday. A lot of blood work. Out and back to work now. Finally got some energy and had a good day with the Daffodils today. The far left end of the palette shows the Naples Yellow (muted) broken into the Black Violet, and moving to the right intensifies as I add the Cadmium Yellow light. On the painting you see all of this with the very broken background with the Daffodils beginning to emerge from the mud. I haven't done much with the flowers in the upper left, but the central flowers emerge and wind down in the "S" from top to bottom which creates motion, harmony, and unity within the painting. When I work like this with the broken tones of mud I can easily add colors to enhance the basic colors of the yellow, violet, and neutral passages with the green stems of the Daffodils, maybe a tulip or two that have just emerged, and some of the purple violet ground cover IF I CHOOSE.
March 31, 2015
You can see the colors on the left on the palette on the left with the with the yellow violet dark tones in the upper left, and the violet yellow in the lower right center, with white added in the swatch in between. The painting is on the right. They look very similar, as they should, but the painting shows the composition, with the "S" curves, which give the painting motion. Notice the Cadmium Yellow winding down through the center, two more in the right side, and two more in the upper left, as that darker violet closes off the lower left. This is how Van Gogh, Monet, and those guys got harmony in their underpainting, and what Eugene Delacroix called the "Universal Halftint." It's the ONLY way to get Harmony in Color.
March 28, 2015
Really felt awful today and got very little done. I did mix a batch of Cadmium Yellow, though, and roughed in the three daffodils in that center "S" curve for the compositional line down the center. In the painting on the right you can see that swatch of the yellow "S" that starts at the top and winds down to the lower left. You will then notice the grayish curve that goes from left to right that closes off that bottom left corner. There is a patch of really broken yellow-gray in the top left, and another in the bottom right. Those will be the other daffodils, and that pretty much defines the Composition of the painting.
March 27, 2015
Started a new picture today. I've got an excellent display of Daffodils outside and decided to paint some bright yellows. Everything starts out with broken tones by breaking the Naples yellow on the right of the palette into the blackish violet on the far left of the palette. Everything is very harmonious with the lighter whitish and yellowish tones at the bottom of the palette, darker near the top, and green left over from yesterday. Everything is a light grisaille, mostly wet with turpentine and everything grayish and loose. Take a look at the painting on the right. The yellowish light tones in "S" curves from top center top center to bottom, from the right center around to the lower right corner, and the upper left corner around to the lower left corner. That corner will be closed off, probably with some violet flowers Those are the major compositional lines.
March 26, 2015
Pretty much finished off this painting of the Northern California Coast from Rockport. I will probably pick it up again in a month or so to retouch it, but maybe not. It takes about 6 months to fully dry, and in that time the colors will work into each other. Today I took a lot of the Carmine reds at the bottom palette, threw it onto the cliffs and some of the dark rocks in the foreground. Also strong Prussian and Ultramarine blues for the blacks in the rocks. The rocks on the horizon line I also lightened and broke the violet of those rocks, pushing them back and bringing the foreground rocks forward with the strong, whole colors. Also, the reds and oranges on the palette at the top got thrown onto the canvas in the lower right for the water and sand.
March 25, 2015
Not feeling good and didn't get much done yesterday, but back at it today. put more distance from back to front today. I suppose I could just let it all go like this, but I see more to do, so I will do it. I did a bit more blending the sky blue with the Cobalt Violet rocks by the the horizon. If you look at the dark ochre tone at the top right of the palette, that's what I'm putting in the lower right of thee painting. The waves and white froth is the Carmine in the bottom center at the bottom of the palette. The darker version of that Carmine is in the hillside, smooshed with Vermilion. There's also that dark Carmine in the dark rocks in the lower right. This is getting close, but there's still some to do, with the dark rocks in the foreground and a few other things that will present themselves as I work.
March 23, 2015
Once again, we're looking at close-ups. I'm trying to point out the relationship between the black rocks by the horizon as the move forward to the front. By the horizon those black rocks are simply a light violet base with light, strong blues, like on the palette in the upper left. coming down from upper left to center right it gets darker, a small light blue patch, and a dark Carmine red at the bottom of the palette. move up to the right a little and w3e get a white Carmine for strokes in the water that are hard to see here, but represent the foam on the water in the lower right. We also see the relationship here between the black rocks at the horizon as they get darker as they move to the front where they become blacker. The reds in he cliff that I've talked about are also more visible in this close-up of the cliff. All of this stuff unites at a distance which we will see in a day or two when we're done with this.
March 22, 2015
These pics today are both close-ups so you can see similar colors on both the palette and the painting. On the right of the palette is a big swatch that runs top through blue greens down through a number of reds and violets. Look at those reds and see them in the cliffs. You will also see the blues in the cliff for dark passages that you see on the palette if you make that left turn on the palette to all those strong blues. Between the red violets and blues there's a light sky blue that gets mixed with the greens for the areas around the horizon. Above the blues is a cobalt violet tone that I'm using for the rocks in the distance, which I will use to bring the dark rocks forward with the darker blues and violets.
March 21, 2015
If you look at the very light blue in the center of the palette, notice the brownish ochre just to the left of it. That's what I've smooshed into that light blue, making it a little darker, and thrown into the sky just above the horizon from lower left to upper right center. You can also see where the greenish tone of the is thrown into the sky from upper left to lower right. It's VERY subtle, but as Delacroix says, "One is only a master when one imparts to things the patience which is inherently theirs." Small changes, but it's what ordinary pieces masterpieces. I put some Viridian with light lemon yellow into the water around the blackish rocks. Also, I'm setting some of those backs, and bring the nearest to the front. More subtle changes by adding vermilion and blue to the cliff. These are details that most people don't bother with, but it's what sets mine apart. People who DO try that many colors usually do it with loud, obvious colors. I do it with strong but subtle colors that kill each other at a distance.
March 20, 2015
Worked on softening, harmonizing, and getting the masses, like the cliff to recede in their centers. I work from the inside, out. The edges are still hard and sharp, but that will change. On the palette look at the swatch from the green, through the light by the Naples yellow, through the grayish tone and sky blue. The various parts of that swatch go in the water near the horizon, the grayer version at the waterline just below the rocks in the water, and the grayer blues in the sky just above the horizon as I try to darken that just a little while trying to lighten the middle portion of the sky just a bit. If you look around the outer portions of the palette you will see some stronger, but still softened a bit colors that I'm using for the blackish VALUES of the rocks in the water,but they will have pretty strong colors,along with being pretty soft.
March 19, 2015
Continuing to soften today. That big pile of light bluish green between the off white and green is a mixture of the sky blue, darker blue to the left of it, the light green of the water, the dark yellow ocher between the white and green, the dark green next to that pile, and some Emerald green, all rolled into one. It's sort of a light, colorful mud, that I threw into the sky above the horizon and the ocean below. I've also been throwing it into the rocks, with a strong, light blue, and the cliff. This mud in various values is what creates harmony, and it's the ONLY way. Everything's starting to harmonize now.
March 18, 2015
Working on that Northern California mist and fog today. The light violet, blue, and greens in the center of the palette, along with the sky blue in the lower left of the palette. When all of these soft colors get mixed together we get what Claude Monet called the "Envelope" that was so necessary for him. It's also a classic example of color being a series of corrected mistakes. Everything's starting to get softer and will continue to do so. The cliff is essentially the same colors as the water and sky, but darker. This painting is getting to be fun.
March 17, 2015
Dark and gloomy today so I didn't get a lot done. I threw some violets and greens into the cliff, then ran errands for the rest of the day. We'll do some softening into the mist tomorrow. This painting wants to show that Northern California mist and fog in this instead of harsh contrasts.
March 16, 2015
I don't try to imitate when I use photos for painting. Like van Gogh, Dalacroix, Gauguin, etc. I use nature and photographs to remain REASONBLE. I'm painting my picture from the colors on my palette, not from a photo, nature, a model, or anything else; those things are just used as a guide, nothing else. That's one of the first things I learned from van Gogh, Delacroix, and the others who went before me. On the palette I'm using today, notice the lightest color in the center, which is a very broken orange, which I drag up and mix with the broken green of about the same value, and dragged it down to mix with the blue. There's a lot of it mixed with the sky blue to lighten, which is getting pretty strong, and the orange with the light green that I'm using for the water. I used a lot of the greenish tone mixed with a fairly dark yellow ochre on the top of the cliff, juxtaposed with a violet tone with dark green in it for the darkest passages on top or the cliff and the sides, which I will probably darken some more tomorrow.
March 15, 2015
There are a lot of golden tones and blackish tones to set color and, more importantly, to set tonal values. This is light and shade with a little color, which will come soon. If you look at the palette you see a lot of ochers, golden tones, and broken violets, with light broken tones for the water. I like these soft foggy, misty effects. The Northern California Coast is full of these softer tones. I love bright, bold colors, but these softer ones are also beautiful. The Santa Barbara Museum has two excellent Monet's of bridges in these soft violet and green tones that blend like this.
March 14, 2015
Looking at the palette, to the left of the strong Naples Yellow are the colors that are on the painting today. I drag the lightest into the blue and throw that into the sky, but it's still quite broken and becomes blue on the canvas by what's around it. There's also some golden green on top of the cliff, which is made mostly with yellow ochre, which is directly below the Naples on the palette, and juxtaposed by the broken violet on the painting. These broken tones are what give body and harmony to the colors as they become more prominent in the painting. This is how van Gogh and Monet made their colors when you look at and analyze the actual paintings.
March 13, 2015
I absolutely love the California Coast. A few months ago I posted several paintings of the Coast around Carmel and south to San Luis Obispo. When I was in Mendocino recently I loved that, too, and realized they were very different. Yesterday I started painting the California Coast from the top, Rockport, where you hit the Coast above Mendocino. It's a lot different from the south. Yesterday I laid in the basic sketch. Today the tones are still the basic broken tones in different values, but everything is clarifying itself. The palette is from end of the day with the violet and Naples Yellow mix to a neutralish tone, lighten with white to a light broken tone, and drag it into the blue to the far left bottom. If you look at the painting on the right there's a little of the sky blue, but very little else, ONLY neutralish tone, but a lot of the form is there now. This is where harmony in color comes from, as we'll see. This composition is a lot simpler than the Redwood Canopy, looking straight up in the first picture we painted here.
March 12, 2015
Started a new painting of the Northern California Coast from my January trip to the Redwoods and Mendocino. This one is looking south from Rockport, the northernmost point where you hit the coast. It doesn't look like much yet, but it encompasses the whole painting. If you look at the palette on the left, it's where I start. The dark violet tone on the far left of the palette is mixed with the Naples Yellow to the left of the hole. It's mixed to the dark neutral tone, with more yellow and white to lighten. Below that has white added, and it's dragged into the blue as it moves to the left. You can see all the colors smooshed together in the palette on the right which shows how the colors harmonize on the painting, which is various shades of the same harmonious broken tone on the canvas. These broken tones will be used to lighten and darken as the painting progresses and will unify and harmonize all of the colors across the painting.
March 11, 2015
Pretty much finished off my big painting of the Mothership Cloud Over Mount Shasta today and signed it. I did a pretty extensive retouching of it, though, so I'll hang it on my wall some more and see if I need to do more to it. That could be tomorrow, next week, or next month. These things take time and can't be rushed. As Delacroix says, "One is only a master when one imparts to things the patience which is inherently theirs." That can't be mentioned enough.
March 10, 2015
Getting close with my cloud over Mount Shasta. The great French painter says "One is only a master when one imparts to things the patience which is inherently theirs." Claude Monet is also someone who spent a lot of time on a painting. Below is Monet's Grainstack at Sunset from MFA, Boston. This has always been one of my favorites. Let's take a look at the thumb below. There are a lot of soft sunset colors. Look at the horizon, the glow of the sky just above the line. There's just a hint of vermillion red, melting into a soft lemon yellow. The haystack is soft blue, with a dark orange at the top and bottom. Just below the crown is actually a pretty strong vermillion in this thumb. Now click through to the large image on the MFA website. Here you notice the vermillion under the arch of the haystack and sort of a greenish orange at the top point. The sky has just a hint of red melting into a lemon yellow glow, turning to a very broken violet turning to blue at the top. That whole sky is what I talk about when I talk about broken tones, The blue at the top makes the mixture of yellow and violet more intense, but not very in the center. in the haystack and foreground, look at the play between the orange and blue. Those are broken tones, and you can see how the orange, with a bit of yellow, is magnified by the broken blues around it, but everything is very harmonious, not jarring, because of all that very broken blue. Now, take a look at how the thumbnail fuses and you hardly see any of this, just the picture, then click through and you see much more of the details.
March 9, 2015
Worked on my cloud again today, but I'm posting some pics of the painting that show the finish without showing the painting. Most of my paintings have finish like this, which is how I juxtapose color like Claude Monet. The left and right pics are how I paint with strong greens for the evergreen forest. Notice the violets, blues, and reds, especially in the right picture. The reds next to the blues turn them to violet, by juxtaposition, but there's so much green, when you set the painting back 20-30 feet, they blend in the eye and simply form very colorful shadows. This was one part of the painting, the forest, I wondered about before I began retouching, but decided it was fine as is. The detail in the center is Black Butte, which is a much smaller twin peak next to Mount Shasta. I see it out my side window, although nothing like here. Now look at the light brown under painting. Then notice a few violet tones and two fairly thick wine red strokes just above the left corner. Set the painting back and you won't even see those strokes, but they will darken the mountain and give an infinitude colored ridges and accents. Most of my paintings have color details like this, and that's what makes my paintings different from most paintings. If you go to the MFA, Boston or another museum with a couple mid period Monet's or later, and this is what you will see if you look close up.
March 8, 2015
Continuing with my cloud over Mount Shasta today. It's probably the most unusual cloud I've seen, so I will probably wait until it's finished. I will also post a couple of the photos that I'm working from so you will believe it. It looks like the Starship Enterprise docking on Mount Shasta, seen from Castle Lake. There's also a lot of landscape in it. As I sit here looking at my painting I'm seeing a lot more to do. Just before I stopped today I painted a far away hill into the background. There's a lot of cloud action in this sky, and it's starting to come out. I tried to post a painting of Brian Jones playing his recorder on Facebook, but FB saw it as a horizontal picture, and previewed it that way, which is to say it showed nothing relevant to the painting, so I'm posting it here with a link to the big painting.
March 7, 2015
I started retouching this big painting of a cloud over Mount Shasta today. It's been hanging, framed, in my studio since September. It has taken me that long to figure out what I wanted to do to it. The revision I'm making is pretty significant to one section of the painting that shows the top of the mountain. I'm not going to put a photo of it yet, but this kind of retouching usually goes pretty fast because I've been looking at it for a long time, defining the correction in my mind. Eugene Delacroix said, "A man of talent who composes should suppose that what his imagination has furnished him has it's value. There are two things experience must teach us: One must correct a great deal, but one must not correct too much." This is why it sometimes takes so long. I was looking hard at two different segments of the picture. I'm making significant revisions to one, but not the other.Before I'm done I could retouch most of it. We'll see.
March 6, 2015
I paint 7-10 hours a day, 7 days a week, 340 - 350 days a year. When Ann was here we would go to San Francisco Opera, Ballet, Vegas, and various road trips. I probably painted 320 - 330 days those years. After she died, I took road trips, camping, Vegas, and painted those 340 - 350. When I moved to Mt. Shasta, I moved to the place I vacationed to as often as not. So where do I take those vacation days? Delacroix said "One must absolutely change from work to rest and back again." The first year I was here I went to LA for a couple days in August. In late February I went to Vegas and Santa Barbara for 5 days. Finally, after my first year here I decided to take days off when I would go to Lassen, about 4 times last year, and Redding, for a day every 6-8 weeks. That's what I did today. Yesterday I finished my Mt. Shasta painting and I still have two paintings to retouched, so tomorrow I'll either pick one of those up or start a new one. Thanks for reading this and stay tuned.
March 5, 2015
I finished retouching my painting of "Mount Shasta From the Klamath River" today. It was a good painting and I could have let it go, but the past three days of retouching have made it significantly better, at least in my mind. What I did was to move the mountain back into the sky a bit and move the foreground forward a bit. Not a lot, but significant. The thumbnail is below and I'll post it on Facebook tomorrow. The rap on me with Skip Spence and the rest of my musician friends was that if I liked something it was good, but if I didn't like something it wasn't necessarily bad. It's like Rick Nelson says,"You can't please everyone, so you might as well please yourself." A lot of Rock and Roll Philosophy really hits it on the head. Spent most of the afternoon photographing new paintings and processing them through Photoshop, so I'll be posting them soon. A lot of the other work associated with painting.
March 4, 2015
I retouched the painting of Mt. Shasta again today. I'll post the finished painting soon. Like van Gogh, one of the main reasons I paint is to leave souvenirs. I've had a pretty good life to here and the way I celebrate is to leave paintings of the good, bad, and the ugly. The latter usually has to do with violent surf, twisted figures, and the like. When people ask me WHAT I paint I say whatever interests me, from a beautiful sunset, to ballet, samba, football, or flowers. One of my favorite things was sitting on the floor under the basket at UCLA basketball games. I painted several action figures, and even the cheerleaders. When I was young I wanted to do something artistic SO bad. I met rock musician Alex "Skip" Spence and we became best of friends. I like to say that everything I have that makes life worth living I got from Skip Spence and a whole lot of work. One thing he impressed upon me was the value of work. He told me that John Mayall made Eric Clapton because he made him sit and play his guitar 6-8 hours a day. When I became a painter, I read the same thing from van Gogh, Delacroix and others. Although it's not popular anymore, I spent a year or more learning the fundamentals, like drawing, tonal values, which van Gogh REALLY stressed, and doing it 7-10 hours EVERY DAY. That was 1974 and when I look around today I see the value of what I learned from those Masters, and the value of all the work. As Schopenhauer said, "the best knows himself to be the best because he sees the superficiality of the rest." When I hear or read that there is no quality in art and it's totally subjective, I see that all around, but as van Gogh said in comparing the Art Business with the Dutch Tulip Trade, "I prefer to be a small gardener who loves his flowers." I made that decision in 1974, have been true to it to this day and have never regretted it for a second.
March 3, 2015
I retouched a painting of Mt. Shasta today and didn't take pictures. I was thinking of ART, art, and music while I was painting and listening to music. The great French painter Eugene Delacroix said that "Those who have systematized their styles are usually the coldest due to the very nature of art." There must be a certain amount of improvisation by the artist. He went on to blame schools for the decadence in the arts for that and other reasons. Indeed, the greatest ARTISTS, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, van Gogh, Gauguin, and the best of the rockers of the 1950's and '60's were all self taught. I was a Classical music radio announcer and know the similarities and differences between the music, art, and cultures. Picasso's famous quote "The world today doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?" came to mind. We'll discuss him later, but while listening to 1950's Rock and Roll I heard a song that resonated. "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" by George Hamilton IV: He picked a Rose and gave his girl that and the Baby Ruth ..."because that's just what I happened to have in my pocket at the time..." Art should be a reflection of the culture we live in. It "doesn't make sense is" either a cop out or simple idiocy. Everything makes sense in some way. The music of the '50's, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, "Sixteen Candles" is a reflection of the high school culture of the '50's. That's the job of the artist to make sense and sort out the connections and apply them to the art of choice. It continued into the '60's primarily with the Beatles, the Stones and others, then evolved into the protest movements of the latter part of the decade as Vietnam heated up and the "Youth Generation" got into drugs with the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and finally The Who with Tommy and Quadrophenia and The Doors, "Trading your hours for a handful of dimes." Through all of the changes of the "decade" from about 1955-1973 it was Rock Music that analyzed and defined the changes every step of the way, and then jumped out front to lead. That's REAL ART
defined almost exclusively by the music and musicians of the time.
March 2, 2015
I'll look at it tonight but I think this painting is pretty well done. With an oil painting, once it's painted and signed, the colors will work into each other and change as it continues to dry. This painting may need to be retouched in a month or two. Today I strengthened the greens significantly. If you look at my palette, you will see 3 yellows in the lower right corner. The Lemon is the lightest, most vibrant and used in the green that's closest to the center and right. It's also mixed with the Zinc White, which makes clearer, more vibrant colors. That green is the one that is closest to the top center and the tree coming up from the bottom left corner. It's the main focal point of the painting. The yellow green to the immediate left on the palette is mixed with the middle Chrome Yellow Light, and shows up just to the right and above the lemon green. The rest of the greens come out from the center. The reddish and violet tones on the palette are the light and dark tones in the tree trunks.
March 1, 2015
I'm getting pretty close to finish with this Redwood Canopy painting. Today I spent accenting with some pretty strong colors, like the Vermillion, Ultramarine Blue, and Violets in the detail on the left. All of these have a little of the universal broken tone to get their harmony and colorful shadows. It's sort of a cross between Impressionism and Pointillism. Notice the strong Vermillions against the yellow greens, spectral greens, and dark greens in the detail on the right, from the green passage next to the tree leaning into the center from the lower right. These passages of red kill themselves against the large passages of green when seen at a distance or shrunk down to the thumbnail in the center.
Feb. 28, 2015
Working on detail with my Redwood Canopy painting. Worked mostly on the tree in the upper left of the painting. I added some Vermillion mixed loosely with Flake White and orange for the light passages, and a light violet, in the middle of the palette for the ridges on the bark, and for the ridges on the lower left, center, and right trunks around the bottom. There's also a darker, redder tone just above and to the right of that violet tone that has Carmine added. The dark tone to the left of the violet tone has Ultramarine for the indentations of the ridges, and the violet above that has Cobalt Violet and Carmine of a middle value that is the lighter portion of the deep shadows of the bark. Yesterday I lightened the sky blue in the bottom upside down "V".
Feb. 27, 2015
What I'm doing with this painting is, I started working from the center, out. I defined the focal point as the center and I'm proceeding to draw the viewer into the canopy. Now I'm working around the outside to darken, add strong color, and direct the focal point into the canopy with all the tree trunks taking you there, and the greens keeping you from leaving thought the sides. That's composition. I also need to spend a lot of time analyzing/studying a painting while I'm working on it. I do a lot of that at night. I paint under natural light so I spend a good deal of time studying under artificial light in my studio, where I live, paint, and watch TV. Not feeling well for a few days, and didn't get a lot done today. I painted a little that's obvious to me, but won't be to you, so more photos tomorrow.
Feb. 26, 2015
Today I took the very broken Naples orangish tone on my palette at the bottom right. I had several green tones left from yesterday, mixed them loosly together, and mixed that broken tone with the green, and threw it on the canvas just to the left of the center trunk at the bottom. I also threw some of the broken tone straight onto the canvas juxtaposed in amongst the green. Meanwhile I threw some dark green next to the tree angling into the center from the bottom left. You can see that in the lower left detail pic, once again, juxtaposing the broken tone. What this does is to mute the green around the bottom of the painting, accenting and strengthening the stronger colored center focal point of the painting by juxtaposition. If you look at actual paintings, not prints, by Claude Monet, you will see this effect used often, especially in the mid and late works.
Feb. 25, 2015
I added some Alizarin Crimson to the top center left tree that's covered with foliage that shoots to the top. It wasn't right so I added some Ultramarine Blue, went over with bold strokes to indicate shadows, but it was close, so I smooshed in a little green and it worked. Color, a series of corrected mistakes like music. On the palette you see some light spectral green at the top of the palette. That tone is mostly at right middle edge of the painting. Added more lemon green in the top center, with stronger orange tones as the greens move out from the center.
Feb. 24, 2015
Today I added some strong colors for accents, lights, and shadows. This is the real fun in color. Look at the palette and in the lower portion you notice a light blue, which also has orange tones. Those are the light tones in the sky. To the right is a strong red Vermillion. You can see that in the detail image on the left for shadows in the green on the right edge of the painting. If you step back, those reds kill each other, making very colorful shadows. This is a closeup detail, and in the painting that effect will happen in the thumbnail. Look at the top right of the palette and you see a very light blue green. That tone is to the left of the tree trunk on the right and below the lemon green tones above in the center, which become orange tones on the upper greens on the right and left.
Feb. 23, 2015
Today I start out with a full palette. Like music, color in painting is a series of corrected mistakes. Van Gogh says to "Just dash the color on" and today I threw color on the canvas in the sky, foliage, and moved it around to start getting strong colors. The sky blue is mixed with strong orange white. The foliage is strong green mixed with Emerald. The lightest is the light green mixed with lemon yellow in the top center, and branching out with orange green just below. I pen the rest of the day working on my new website.
Feb. 22, 2015
It's a seven day work week here. Today I started off with several whole colors before mixing with the broken tones. If you look at the end palette on the right you'll see much stronger colors than before. I left the sky alone today and worked with the trees. I added strong greens and yellow greens to the trees, lightening and darkening. I added Emerald Green to some passages, lemon yellow to others, with the lighter tones in the center and, for the most part, darker as it moves to the outer edges. With the tree trunks I added some Cadmium Red, some dark violet for the ridges, very broken oranges for the lights in the top half. If you look at the end palette on the right, you notice the orange tone next to the light Cobalt Violet violet tone to the left. These are the two colors that I'm using most to lighten the trunks, but you hardly see either in the trees. This is where the colors are getting much stronger, and they will get stronger tomorrow.
Feb. 21, 2015
The starting palette still has the violet broken into the Naples yellow in the center in 3 different values. There are now colors around the outer edges. On the bottom, from right to left we have Lemon, Light Cadmium Yellows, Orange, Magenta, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt, and Prussian Blues on the left, and green on top. I start working around with the sky. The base color is mixed with the Flake White mixture,but you will notice there's also another white. It's Zinc, which gives clearer tones with cooler colors, and here I use it for the sky blue. I mix some magenta with the dark broken violet to give reddish tones for the top trees. The lightest passages here are very broken orange, which is barely noticable, but will strengthen the blues I will probably use to define the ridges in the trees by juxtaposition. The lower trees have the sky blue mushed in again to make them lighter and cooler. The lighter greens are mushed in with the lighter broken neutralish tone, and the darker greens are mixed with the dark violetish tone. Everything's starting to get more definition and the colors are starting to get set for bold, defining colors to follow. The end palette is on the right.
Feb. 20, 2015
I missed photographing my palette before I started, but it looked a lot like when I ended yesterday. Today I took a big brush and blocked it out in a little more than where I ended yesterday. I started with lightening the sky with the lightest violet yellow tone with a bit more white added than yesterday. I had some dark green left over from yesterday and mixed it with a little of the yellow green, and the dark violet yellow tones to add a few shadows and darken the color scale a bit to allow me to start adding stronger, purer colors tomorrow. I put some magenta in with the dark violetish tones for the trees, and mushed it together with some of the sky blue tone for the lighter passages. Those are the colors I finished with on my palette.
My first Blog Post: Feb. 19, 2015
I started a new painting of the Redwood Canopy today so I'm
going to explain how I color with broken tones, which is absolutely essential to understanding the color theory of van Gogh, Monet, Delacroix, etc.
If you notice the palette on the left you see Flake white next to the hole, Naples Yellow
in front, and black Violet on the far left end. I "break" the violet into the Naples yellow to make the dark violet yellow and the brownish tone, which is the mixture with a bit more yellow in with the violet, and I add white just below that. In the middle palette I bring out the lightest tone to mix with the blue on the lower left for the sky, the middle yellow violet mixed out into the yellow green at the top, and the dark tone just inside the dark violet tone is used for the tree trunks. This reduction of color into mixtures of similar neutralish broken tones is what prduces harmony across the colors of the canvas.