And the Stupidity Continues….

“Cloudy Day at Alta Lakes”
Oil on Panel
20×16″
2008

I swear, I don’t know where my brain has gone!!

I painted this painting twice this week. To make a long story short, I ordered the wrong size frame for the first version, and with no time to order a new one, decided to paint the same scene again to fit the frame (I wanted it to go with another painting that it will hang next to in a show). I also did a plein air study of this same scene last summer – let’s just say I won’t be painting this area again anytime soon!!

Anyhow, this scene was a good example of how painting on location can be such a valuable tool. I don’t do as much plein air painting as I’d like to, but spending time outdoors (painting or just soaking up the feel of a place) is a necessity for getting things right in the studio.

This scene was a bit difficult to do from a photo – it was a cloudy day with just a bit of directional light defining the form of the rocks. With the light as it was, my camera made all of the rocks look the same shade of blue, with little variation to show distance, form, or perspective. Luckily, I had done a small plein air study last summer, and remember the feel of the place well since we’ve been there multiple times. I used the photo as reference for the drawing, and improvised from there.

Still deciding which version I like the best. I’m feeling a bit partial to the original (smaller) painting… (For the record, the smaller painting is closer to the window in this picture, so it looks a lot lighter than the other – in real life, this isn’t the case)

Re-painting and Stupidity

“Aspen Interior”
Oil on Panel
14×11″
2008

In the past, I’ve only been willing to a certain extent to make changes to a painting after I considered it “done”. I had a method in place that involved working on each area with thick paint while wet. Once dry, that was that. If the painting worked, it went out the door. If it didn’t, I trashed it.

Lately, I’ve been really focused on improving my final product, and part of the process of improving has given me a willingness to mess with dry paintings more than I ever have before. If a painting is decent enough to send to a gallery, but has an area that’s nagging at me, I’ll put it back on the easel and do some more work.

This painting is one of those that just wasn’t quite right. A few days after I finished it, I took the photograph above and noticed that the knots in the biggest aspen tree were uniformly spaced and all the same color/value (does anyone else find that photographs can point out things that you can’t believe you missed in real life??). It started to drive me insane every time I saw the painting in my studio, so I finally put it back on the easel and repainted the entire tree trunk, in addition to touching up the knots on the tree to the right. I also ended up messing with the foreground grasses just a bit. Changing the spacing and value of some of the knots gave the painting more interest, and improved it to the point that is didn’t drive me nuts to look at it.

The problem is that I sent it to my Winter Park gallery last week without remembering to re-photograph it! In a moment of supreme blondeness, I framed and varnished it and sent it out the door. Now the only photo I have for my website is the one that drives me nuts – grrr!!!

Art and Technology

“Hanging On”
Oil on Panel
11×14″
2008

(For the record, this is a terrible photo of this painting – the value range is so close that I can’t seem to get it quite right, even with lots of tweaking in photoshop!)

I’m starting to realize that I’ll be moving to small-town America in a couple of weeks, so I’ve been trying to do all of the “city” things that I can before we move.

Yesterday we went to the Denver Art Museum to see the, “Inspiring Impressionism” exhibit. It was kind of a neat exhibit showing the influence of the old masters on the impressionist painters, with a nice range of work that I had never seen elsewhere. The only problem was the amount of people – it’s kind of hard to walk up to a painting and check out the brushwork when there are six people standing five feet away listening to their headsets! I don’t know what it is about the impressionists that seems to attract the masses…

Anyhow, I have a love-hate relationship with the Denver Art Museum. The new wing is neat, there are some cool installation pieces, and I like the comtemporary art collection. But I can’t believe the Western American art wing isn’t bigger – I swear it’s smaller now than it was before they expanded the building (sad since DAM has such a great collection) – and it seems like there’s a lot of wasted space due to the architecture of the building.

One positive thing I was noticing yesterday was how high-tech the museum is, which is pretty cool. The impressionist exhibit featured flat computer screens in the center of each room that allowed you to “touch” a part of a painting to zoom in on the brushwork – pretty neat. The other parts of the museum all have little nooks and crannies where they show video interviews with artists or have touch computer screens with interactive information on the work. They have a huge Daniel Sprick still life and you can go around the corner and hear him talk about his inspiration for the painting and find out everything you’d want to know about his process. They also have i-pods installed near the benches in most galleries where you can pick up the headphones and listen to even more information.

Aspen’s favorite thing was an interactive installation called “Bubbloo.” It’s a fun little area where images of bubbles are projected floating across the floor, and the bubbles “pop” if you step on them or touch them. Once you pop all of the bubbles, a screen on the wall displays information about a piece of art in the museum, and a map of how to get there. Popping bubbles = hours of entertainment for a toddler!

We spend a lot of time visiting museums, and I think it’s nice to see that the Denver museum is at the front of the pack when it comes to using technology to make viewing art an interactive experience. For the record, there were more people at the museum yesterday than I’d ever seen there on a Saturday before – good news!

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note, Happy Easter to everyone!!

Taking Breaks


I took a much-needed break from all things art-related and relaxed at my in-laws’ house in the mountains the past couple of days. Well, I delivered some paintings to the gallery up there yesterday, and I guess that’s technically art related, but I didn’t paint, take photos, or do anything remotely business-oriented other than that, and it was REALLY nice to take a breather. Now I’m nice and refreshed and excited about what I’m going to work on next. Sometimes I forget how good it can be to have some time off!

Taking Breaks


I took a much-needed break from all things art-related and relaxed at my in-laws’ house in the mountains the past couple of days. Well, I delivered some paintings to the gallery up there yesterday, and I guess that’s technically art related, but I didn’t paint, take photos, or do anything remotely business-oriented other than that, and it was REALLY nice to take a breather. Now I’m nice and refreshed and excited about what I’m going to work on next. Sometimes I forget how good it can be to have some time off!