Saturday, April 30, 2016

Home of Beautiful Sunsets - My First Commission!

In my time, I have not sold a lot of paintings, but I've sold a few. Recently, after a near bidding war over my Grundy Lake Sunset (and by bidding war I mean a conversation that went "I'd like to buy that one too." "Oh, I've already promised it to someone else" "Darn.") I got a request from Sharon—a family friend who has already previously purchased two of my originals (here and here)—to paint a picture of the sunset from off her back deck.

Acrylic on 12x10 canvas
For years, before it was amalgamated into Tay Township, a sign at the main entrance to Victoria Harbour, ON boasted of being 'The Home of Beautiful Sunsets'.  It was not in any way false advertising.

I had two challenges in this piece; first, the photos I was working from were cell phone images of not terribly high quality, so to be honest, a lot of the background detail is out of my imagination.  Second, I have an odd love-hate with painting sun-glare.  This time I managed to get the look I wanted by alternating glazes of cadmium yellow hue and titanium white.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Girls in Old Quebec - Redux

This re-do is a bit different than ones that I've done before. Most of the time when I've made a second attempt at a painting, I paint overtop of what is already there.

This time, I decided to just go from scratch.

You may have seen my earlier post of a picture I did of my girls on a visit to Quebec a few years ago, and read of my trials trying to use gouache as a medium.

I kind of suck at gouache.  Acrylic is really more my 'thing'.

So I decided that since I still really like this image and wanted to do it more justice, I'd try to tackle it in acrylic this time.

To refresh your memory, here is the original piece I did in gouache:

Gouache on 12x16 canvas

And here is my second attempt:

Acrylic on 11x14 canvas
Putting preference of medium aside, I like to think this is a pretty good indication of my progress as a painter.  While there is still some issue with proportion (that wall in the background was actually about three times Reagan's height, rather than double).

Truth be told, I was never happy with the original.  This, I am happy with.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Grundy Lake Sunset

I was pleasantly surprised how quickly this came together.

Grundy Lake is a provincial park that my family and I camped at for a number of years.  We usually managed to luck out and get a site with very close access to the water, and some very nice sunsets.

Acrylic on 12x9 wood panel. SOLD.
Like my previous piece, I took advantage of the ability to move colour around and instead of being frustrated by my inability to create solid colours, I tried to use the transparency of the paint mixed with the gel medium to my advantage.

I like a lot about this picture. I feel like I caught the brightness of the sun. I find getting whites and yellows to have that ultra-bright glare can be difficult in paint. They seem to come out dull, or the glare looks less like glare and more like.. well, paint.

If I had to pick one thing that bugs me, it's that the reflection of the sun is not quite lined up with the sun itself.

Oh well. Otherwise, I am pleased.

Purple Fantasy Mountain

Night time scenes are challenging.  Did you know that?

I'm starting to figure that out.

I guess what it basically comes down to is that instead of figuring where to shade, you have to concentrate on where to show light.

And always the muted colours.

Acrylic on 10x8 panel - SOLD
I'll be honest. My original thoughts were to paint a scene of our local waterfront at night.  There is a spot just outside of town where you come down a hill and you can see the entire bay all lit up.  I thought I might be able to paint from memory, but lets be honest, that didn't happen, so I just kind of let this picture take me where it wanted.  Where I ended up was not even remotely to where I started out.

Oh, there was water, so that's kind of the same, right?

(I still plan to paint that scene, at some point. But I need to take some reference photos first. Or get myself a plein air set-up.)

Wood supports don't seem to suck color up as quickly as canvas does (even primed) so there's a lot of opportunity to move color around, which can be liberating and frustrating, at the same time. I must have colored the board in with purples and blues, and then wiped them off again, about twenty times.

What resulted was an interesting sort of glazing effect. I was using a lot of gloss gel which gave a bit of transparency to the color as well.  This worked out well for the sky and water, giving both a bit of depth.

The frustrating part would come when I got things looking just about right, and then I'd try to blend a bit more and rub a whole swath of color right off the board.

That happened a few times, and it sucked.

I don't have a lot of complaints here. The stars look a little juvenile, but that's about it.  I like the look of the water quite a bit.