Monday, July 22, 2013

St. John's Bridge

Another work in progress. I'm working on this studio piece of the St. Johns bridge here in Portland. I'll be adding some foreground foliage next.

The foliage will be my answer to the bridge taking you right out of the picture! I do love the shapes and colors of this lovely old bridge!

Well, time to think about this for a day or two, not sure if I'm done or not!

Okay, in the studio today - Lets decide what to do with this one! I'm happy with the foliage on the left - except the almost straight diagonal line at the bottom... Need to fix that. Jury is still out on whether to continue the foliage across the bottom. The reason I might not is that I like to leave a clear path into the painting, not obstruction for the viewer. But in this case, because it's water, and pretty obviously a cliff or  bank, that might not be a good thing! Kind of feels like the water is going to flood out, or I might fall in. hmmmm. I am combining 3 different scenes to get this one. In one of them there are some purple spikelike flower along the bottom. hmmm.
Now the right had tree has some issues! It's too rectangular in form. I think I want some more branches coming down from the top - I want to be more under the tree. Then I think I need to thin out the middle section, just leaving the trunk, then have more of the left hand foliage growing up from under it. And I need more variety in the leave size on the tree. A few pretty large ones so there is more a feeling of depth in the tree itself. Finally, more warm colors in the foreground greens, I really want them to pull forward, leaving the bridge in it own distinctly distant values and hues.
  --- By the way, any suggestions you might have are more than welcome!

So at this point I got rid of all the middle foliage on the right had tree and added in more background hill.... I like it better already!

I played with repetition of the arch shapes in the bridge when I was making the tree foliage, as well as trying to mimic the delicate feeling structure of the bridge in the twigs and branches, if that makes sense! I think I might be done at this point..... 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On the Coast

Got a message recently from a couple living on the East Coast now, but from Oregon. They saw one of my small plein air pieces that had already sold and wanted to me to a do a larger - 18x24 version. Sure! Sounds like fun. This was a trip I took to the Oregon, where the Sixes River meets the ocean. Some painter friends and I stayed in a cabin on a Cranberry farm. This little painting was painted off the back deck. Such a lovely spot! We went hiking to paint on the beach, and somehow I got lost! No surprise, I have the worst sense of direction!
Anyway, its fun to work on a painting after years have gone by. I can see the changes in my style over time...
Here is the original plein air painting - "Coastal Morning" 8x10 acrylic on canvas

So how about some "Work in Progress" photos of the project?

The block in. I feel like there is enough going on in this scene that I should be able to enlarge it. Sometimes I have struggled with that because with one brushstroke you can fill a whole area that takes many more in a large painting. maintaining the same freshness is tough. As far as the composition, I didn't want to rock quite as big, and I wanted to create more of a feeling of depth. Beyond that, I didn't like how warm I went with the foreground shadows. Thought I would try cooler purply colors. We'll see how that goes!

Work done on the sky and the rocks. It was a morning scene, with that misty feel out in the ocean, the sun lighting up the big rock, the smaller one still in shadow. 


Worked on the mid ground. The reflection of the rock in the pools of water and the sillouetted trees with some sunlit bushes. In general I work from the back/top to the front/bottom

Worked all the way through to the forground, first pass anyway. I've taken a couple of days to look at it and see what bugs me. I want to do a little more work on the far big rock, it's looking too flat to me, the mid ground water needs something. If it were that smooth it would be reflecting like the little pools are. In the reference that area is has little wind ripples all through it. I need some more water pools in the mid area and the streaks of sunlight vs shadow need some work, grassy area needs texture. The path is too symetrical, I'm making more of a path than the reference has, but I need it to have more of a curve off to the right, and more indication of sunlight on it in some areas. Finally, trying to decide if there is too much contrast in the shadow vs light.

Okay, I think I'm happy with it now. I'll check it again in the morning. Hope they like it! :)