Thursday, November 17, 2011


Warm in November, Oil on Linen, 12x16
(reworked December 2. More sunshine added December 14.)
Anticipation was the name of the game here. There were just enough clouds in the sky that I suspected that the the golden hour was going be fantastic. So I set up in a location where I figured I would have a good composition and color without being blinded by the setting sun. Then it was a matter of planning the painting so I would be able to capture the illusive colors as quickly as possible when they appeared. I was constantly asking myself questions like, "where will that shadow be in an hour? What color will the grass be when the sky turns yellow. When you look at a plein air painting, you should be able to tell what time of day it is. Forget the fact that it took the artist 3 or 4 hours to complete the painting, during which time the lighting was constantly changing. 

There is a great video you may have seen on public TV this week. It was made during the Grand Marais Paintout this summer. I competed in that paint out but not the "quick paint" portion which the video focuses on. I think the producers did a great job of capturing what a plein air painter is up against. Click here to watch the video. You'll see some friends of mine in action.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lion's Park, 12x9, Oil on Linen
There's an Outdoor Painters of Minnesota show that will be opening soon at the The Frameworks here in Saint Paul this weekend. The reception is Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7pm, The FrameWorks, 2022 Ford Parkway. I am going to enter several paintings including this one, so you might see it there. If not, it will still be a good show to see. We have some extraordinarily talented members.
The River, Oil on Linen, 12x16
The last couple of paintings were painted incredibly fast as the light conditions had changed before I even had a chance to set up. I had to mix up piles of color and just put color notes around the canvases. What happens is that you will second guess yourself once the light has changed. When the clouds move in, you see tons of detail in the shadows you never saw when the scene was brightly lit and you can hardly believe that the brilliant colors you have on your palette were actually there a few minutes ago. When this happens it's time to trust your instincts more than your eyes.
From the Fort, Oil on Linen, 12x9
Painted in August, I realized that I had not shot it yet. I have now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cherokee Bluff, oil on canvas, 12x16
I'm grateful for each additional day that there are Fall colors remaining. I painted this yesterday. Last night was clear and cold.This morning as the sun came up the brilliant yellow maple leaves fell en masse. The world is suddenly without yellow. Tomorrow, strong winds are predicted. Oh well, snow is another favorite subject. It shouldn't be too long now.