Sunday, December 28, 2014

Color Opportunities in Painting


Armand Cabrera

I've talked about looking for color opportunities in your paintings in passing before but people ask me how do you go about seeing more color? Like everything else color sensitivity can be acquired with focus and practice. The best way to learn about color is to paint directly from life outdoors. While working indoors is better than working from photos, it is still constricted to the variety nature has to offer.
an example of manipulating hues

The intensity of the light and its direction, the quality of the atmosphere outside provide so many more choices for your paintings than any other way of working. In fact there are so many choices  outdoor work forces them to be made and it informs us about relationships of colors we could never calculate in the studio on our own. By focusing your attention on color and color relationships outdoors you will become more sensitive toward seeing colors.

an example of manipulating chroma and hue

For you to introduce color opportunities into your work the structure of the painting must be well grounded. To do this you must prioritize the aspects of color for each image you paint. Be aware that colors and their aspects are not isolated but that they interact with everything else in the scene. The success of your color depends on your ability to recognize what you see and translate the essence of that experience, filtering out the unnecessary or unimportant. This is where designing the idea of the painting helps you. Design is imposing structure and limitations on what you see to create a more powerful statement than just strict mimesis would allow. By consciously deciding what approach is best for a particular subject you improve its impact.

an example of manipulating values

The aspects of color you have at your disposal are Value, Hue and Chroma. If you understand this you can decide which aspect dominates the scene you are looking at. This is where the decision process allows color choices to be made and insures your choices are unique to your way of thinking. If you decide the values need to be maintained then the opportunities for color are with your hues or chroma; if the hues or chroma are being maintained then the opportunities are with values.  In my opinion a good painter reveals their process of seeing the world through these decisions.  Outdoor work gives you the largest possible set of combinations and relationships to pick from and prioritize with and that is why field work is important and must be continued throughout a career.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Larry the Cat

Armand Cabrera

Two weeks ago today I had to euthanize my cat Larry.  This is very painful for me to write and share publicly and I have always tried to avoid letting this art blog become a diary, nothing could be more boring and trite than that. I've held back posting this for these fifteen days for exactly the reason that it is personal but writing it isn’t enough. This is a part of my life so intertwined with my art. I find posting this to be my only real outlet for expressing the sadness I feel for the end of the symbiotic relationship I shared with a creature I could never fully understand but was completely responsible for.

I also want to call attention to the abuse most animals suffer as pets. People discard and ignore them as if they are inanimate objects to be played with when bored and they are ignored the rest of the time. Millions of animals are euthanized every year because people feel the need to own other living things. People breed them for visual traits that cause the animals all kinds of health issues and shorten their lives.

Larry has been my constant companion in the studio for the last six years. He was a rescue. He was probably around 6 years old at that time. He and another cat Burt were abandoned in an apartment in New York when the owner left the apartment and moved in with his girlfriend.  The person who abandoned them had a sister responsible enough to take the cats to a rescue instead of a shelter where they would have been euthanized immediately and they came to us through the rescue as fosters.

We took both of them in since they had been raised together from the time they were kittens and we thought it better to not separate them. Unfortunately Burt was already dying from neglect when we got them and he only lasted a month.  He had stopped eating when they abandoned them and was already in late stages of organ failure because of it. Larry on the other hand was 25 pounds and his belly dragged on the ground when he walked. He was unsocial and was quick to bite and scratch. He had respiratory problems from his weight. He liked to lie on his back, probably to ease the pressure on his spine and legs the excessive weight caused him.  The first things we did were start to regulate his food intake and try and give him more exercise. Eventually we put him on a strict diet and kept him to two hundred calories a day. To help him exercise, I would grab his back toes when he was lying around. He was too heavy to get me with his front claws or teeth but it forced him to do involuntary crunches with his attempts at reaching me.

Within two years we had him down to 16 lbs. and within two more years 14.5 lbs. (normal weight for his size) where he stayed until he got sick. His respiratory problems went away. He became much more playful and we fostered two other younger cats, Trigger and Sammy for him to be around.

After all of the things I put him through, Larry decided he was my cat. He started to hang out with me in the studio when I painted and would let me scratch him on the head every once in a while. Cats aren't as domesticated as dogs yet. Dogs have about ten thousand years on cats in that area but still there is some interaction and empathy cats are capable of. Larry liked to play and I could role a ping pong ball at him and he would hit it back to me for as long as I was willing to keep doing it. He liked his catnip and we grew it for all the cats. He also liked to eat the other fresh herbs we had in pots on the deck. 

Every animal has a unique personality and Larry was sort of a cranky older guy compared to the other younger cats. We were alike that way and so he was mine. He didn't like to climb or jump up on things, which is odd behavior for most cats. He didn't like to be picked up or sit in peoples laps. He was curious and had a sense of humor though. He would sometimes run into the studio like he was being chased (he wasn't) and then would run back out, and then peak at me around the corner to see if I would follow him.  He liked me to chase him and he would chase me back.

Whenever I would leave on painting trips he would hang out in the studio or sleep on my side of the bed until I got home. When I painted he would position himself near me, if I was on the computer in the studio he was close by my side. When I would read at night in bed he would lay on me and I would scratch his ears for him, it became his little ritual, if I lay down to read he wanted his ears scratched.

When he became sick this November I took him to the vet and we found out he had late stage cancer, the doctors said he would live much longer and asked me if I wanted to put him down right then. I asked if he was in pain and they said no.  After discussing options, I took him back home with some pain meds for any discomfort he might have and kept him comfortable and pain free for about a month. Things almost seemed normal for a few weeks I treated him as if there was nothing wrong with him even though I knew most likely the cancer would overcome him no matter what we did. The last day I had him it was obvious he was in discomfort and I arranged to bring him back to the vet for the last time. 

At almost sixty I've seen my share of death and disease with my friends and family. For me euthanizing a pet is much harder than the death of a human being. In most cases with people you can explain what’s happening to them, and while that might not ease their suffering, if they are lucid, it does allow them to prepare as best they can for the end of their life. Pets depend on you for care and wellbeing and in the end you are also responsible for their destruction, except you cannot explain to them what their suffering is or convey to them what you perceive as an intended kindness by ending their pain and so they still suffer some confusion at the very last. Larry was a good cat and will be missed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New paintings

Armand Cabrera

After my trip out west to the San Juan Mountains in October and lots of time in the field during November I’ve spent the last few weeks painting in the studio for my galleries in Vail CO and Pasadena, CA. These paintings are some of the studio work I've finished  from my reference of those trips. 

For me outdoor time is all about getting the mood and feeling of the place I’m in. Because I finish my sketches in one sitting my goals are different than studio work. Outdoors I don’t design too much on the fly while I paint. Instead I work to absorb as much of the experience as I can. Of course I’m also subject to weather changes and time constraints that may interrupt the process and prevent me from finishing the painting. 

I don’t mix outdoor and indoor work if I need more time for an outdoor piece I bring it back to the studio and get out a new canvas and paint it from scratch. For me this preserves the integrity of the painting process and my mood at the time I paint.

 In the studio I can be more contemplative and think about how to make the sketches into a more focused statement. I’m free to redesign elements or edit them more than I would outdoors. When I get a complete statement onsite I pass it on to my galleries otherwise they are the basis for studio work.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Setting Goals in Your Career

Armand Cabrera

I am pleased to announce I have been juried into the Illuxcon Imaginative Realism main show at the Allentown Museum for 2015. This will be my fourth time at Illuxcon and my third time as a main show artist. Illuxcon is the premiere venue for this type of art and I am honored to be in a show with such talented people.

My goal in 2011 was to start painting imaginative work again. I had been focused on traditional painting subjects since leaving full time production art in 2001. Although I still work digitally on projects for games and do some illustration, I wasn't painting it traditionally. This was unusual for me as most of my career was creating fantasy and science fiction work starting in the early 80’s until I stopped in 2001.

 I missed painting the subject matter and I was ready to jump back into imaginative stuff but wasn't sure there was a market large enough or a venue for what I wanted to do. There were people working as illustrators and production artists and selling personal work on the side but no one as far as I knew at the time was painting for themselves making a living painting like a gallery artist. I was coming at it from a gallery artist’s perspective and I wasn't sure if I could pull it off but I was going to try.

I’d heard about Illuxcon at the end of 2011. Illuxcon had been set up to showcase the best imaginative work made with traditional media. Artists were travelling from all over the world to attend the show. My goal then was to get into the main show at Illuxcon within five years and try to garner one of the coveted commissions given out every year to a handful of artists by the people in charge of the show. To do this I had to create a new body of work just to show for the Illuxcon venue.  I spent most of the year working on pieces in between my traditional landscape work for galleries and commissions.

In 2012 I grabbed a spot in the weekend salon which is the open non juried part of the show. This gave me a chance to see how the venue worked, what type of work was being shown, the quality of the work and the prices people were asking. My idea was to show imaginative work not made for any product and informed by my plein air painting and traditional gallery style. My style was a little different compared to most of the work in the show. I didn't want to change my style of painting to chase a new market; instead I wanted to see if the market would accept my genre work even though it wasn't quite what they were used to seeing stylistically. Although I had a positive response to my work at the show, I still didn't sell anything.

I thought the reason I didn't sell was price point. Even though I had established a decent price for my work in galleries only the very top people in this new market commanded those kind of prices. These people had worked to establish those prices in their market over many years of hard work. I wasn't going to be able to just come into the market at the top; I was going to have to build my presence up.  I worked even harder for 2013 including some figurative pieces of characters from fantasy books I loved. With all of my painting I wanted to continue to explore light and color in this work the way I do with my traditional work for galleries. I applied again and was juried into the main show.  I got great responses from the other artists with the new paintings but still didn't sell anything.

About a month after the show I was approached by Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire who run Illuxcon about painting one of the commissions for 2014 or later shows. We talked about size and price and settled on a fairly large piece. I decided to go with the 2014 slot so the painting would be shown the next year. Even though I hadn't sold at the show in 2013 I did get one of the commissions, so I was ahead of schedule with part of my goal but still needed to do better with sales.

I decided I would really focus on having some major imaginative paintings for 2014. I had a show coming up that May for one of my traditional galleries and I needed 15 paintings in a range of sizes for that show. I had to paint another 20 paintings for two new galleries that I had picked up. I knew I needed to have the work ready for Illuxcon 2014 by August. My plan was to have 25 new paintings, plus the 3 x 5 foot commission ready for the show. I was committing myself to more than 60 paintings in various sizes just for the shows and galleries in eight months’ time. It felt good to have these goals in place for the year.

2014 broke my dry spell and I had a good show with lots of sales at Illuxcon. I had inquiries about paintings before and after the show so I am looking forward to 2015 and building in this market and keeping this subject matter as part of my repertoire. Setting those goals a few years ago has helped me to do this. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Substance of Art

By Armand Cabrera

Can anything be more tragic than to feel the infinite beauty of your surroundings, to read natures innermost secrets and, conscious of your own helplessness, to be incapable of expressing those powerful emotions? ----- Isaac Levitan

Art is not just what we know; it is also what we feel but for it to succeed as art it must provide a shared experience to the viewer. There are many names for this idea heart, authenticity, honesty, genuineness, truthfulness, substance. Whatever your definition, good art reveals some insight about the author. There is a false dichotomy set up about this idea in the visual arts that goes something like this; facility is the enemy of substance. The more you know the less you feel.
Many times finish is confused with skill. I would say this happens as much if not more than confusing inability with insight. Real skill is ability and judgment in directing and designing all aspects of a work. Color, composition, brush calligraphy, edges, design, and subject choice.

While I would agree that adding as much detail and finish as possible to a painting doesn't add any insight, I would also argue that having no understanding about what you paint or how you do it will not add emotional content to a painting either. Accident is not intent and while randomness or even inability may be taken as intended brilliance that is a lack of keen observation from the viewer not cleverness from the maker.

In both of my examples what is lacking is intent by the originator. The inclusion of everything without an orchestrated purpose, hoping for meaning, is just as devoid of substance as the lack of skill in hope of understanding. To convey emotion and genuine sincerity it must first be understood as a goal by the creator of the work. It must then be attainable through the skill of the painter.  A painting succeeds or fails to the degree the painter lacks a specific goal or they lack the skill to attain that goal.

To convey honesty requires effort, it cannot be steeped in fad or fakery. Honesty is helped by technical ability but it isn't created by it.

There are ten thousand people in the United States who can paint and draw to beat the band. You have never heard of them and you never will. They have thoroughly mastered their craft and that is all they have—their craft… Merely knowing your craft will never be enough to make a picture… If you ever amount to anything at all, it will be because you are true to that deep desire or ideal which made you seek artistic expression in pictures. ----- Harvey Dunn

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn in the Blueridge 2014

Armand Cabrera

Over the last couple of weeks I've gone and painted up on the Blueridge Parkway or down in some of the hollows on the western edge of the Piedmont where it meets up with the eastern base of the mountains. The weather was poorest right at the peak of color but there were a few mild sunny autumn days that made everything worthwhile.  

Autumn will continue in the Piedmont for a few more weeks but most of the leaves will be gone from the upper slopes by then. I have plenty of reference for larger studio paintings and some finished pieces out on location. One of the joys painting outdoors is experiencing how different the same places and things can look year to year, month to month, day to day, hour to hour.

This time of year Shenandoah Park gets inundated with visitors coming to see the spectacular panoramas during the peak of fall color in Virginia. Normally I can drive into the park without any traffic and paint all day without ever seeing anyone, but not this time of year.  Crowds are everywhere during the week and double on the weekends. In a single day on the weekends its not unusual for me to talk to 50 to 100 people.

It reminds me of when I started painting and I was living in the Napa Valley and I became used to people talking to me while I worked. I think of it as good practice for good marketing. I've never understood people who can’t talk or are cranky to people that are curious about the painting process. While I don’t expect to sell when I go out to paint, I do sell paintings right off the easel sometimes or people stop into my local galleries to say they met me and sometimes they will purchase through the galleries. Not everyone can afford my paintings but they can afford my prints and meeting the artist can help decide a sale. Those sales wouldn't happen if I didn't talk to people when I was out painting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall color continues

Armand Cabrera

Once I caught up on laundry and correspondence after my Colorado trip I headed up to Skyline Drive to paint fall color in Virginia. The weather was a little dreary at first but the last few days have been spectacular and it looks like it will be a good year for autumn colors in the Piedmont over the next couple of weeks. I'll post more of my outdoor paintings and some process shots over the next few posts.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Painting trip to Ouray Colorado

Armand Cabrera

 Just a week after Illuxcon I was off to Colorado to paint fall color for five days with my friend Arthur. The weather was perfect most of the time although we did have one snow day which gave the peaks a nice dusting.

We timed it just right with most of the spots being at peak or a little before peak when we arrived. I finished eight paintings total and got plenty of reference for future studio pieces.

We had rooms at a bed and breakfast in Ouray and we made day trips to a predetermined place, splitting our time between the Cimarron Range and the Sneffels Range to get a morning and evening painting. At night we returned to town for a meal at one of the local food establishments .

The area boasts 10 peaks above 13,500 feet with 6 peaks above 14,000 feet. Unlike the Eastern Sierras which also has quite a few 14ers but prohibits vehicles in the back country, most of the close views of these peaks are accessible by forest roads and four wheel drive vehicles.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Illuxcon 2014 and Beyond

by Armand Cabrera

It has been a couple of weeks since I've posted anything here. My apologies, my schedule has interfered with my normal writing schedule. Last week I was in Allentown PA for the Imaginative show Illuxcon at the Allentown Museum. Before that I was getting everything ready for the show.

The show was very successful for me and I sold five paintings and a number of prints. I was also commissioned to do a large painting (3 x 5 feet) by the Illuxcon committee which was shown for the first time at the show. I had lots of positive feedback on my imaginative work and my idea to mix imaginative work with my plein air paintings appears to be paying off. People seemed to really like the way the work looked. I also received some magazine and book offers that may turn into some interesting work down the line.

This next week I will be in southern Colorado plein air painting with a friend so no substantial posts for another week. I should be back to normal and posting again by the 12th of Oct. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Behind the Scenes

Armand Cabrera

Most of the work for an art show goes on behind the scenes. I usually do two or three shows a year. That’s on average 20 to twenty five paintings for each show and this is on top of my normal production schedule that I maintain with my galleries and other clients in entertainment.

Shows take a lot of effort to plan and produce. There are editorial copy and ads and invitations to write and disseminate for all of the various outlets that we target for a specific show. The theme of the show must be decided upon well in advance. Travel arrangements made and trip logistics planned.  All of this needs to happen before or in tandem with the paintings being completed on time. 

I am lucky in that both Diane and I are technical enough to handle all of the promotion and prep from our side. The gallery or venue is also busy with preparations and plans and everything has to be timed just right for a successful show.

Of course new commissions will crop up and new opportunities will come along while we make our plans and must be fitted into a reasonable schedule to keep everyone happy.

The paintings have to be framed and shipped and the space hung. I like to have paintings finished a month or more before a show and ship everything at least two weeks before the opening.  This doesn't mean I don’t swap things out at the last minute or change my mind about what to include in a show but I make sure I have the body of work finished before I do that.  I like to offer a range of sizes and subjects for my shows and to demonstrate the range of my interests at that particular time in my career.  I think all of this helps educate my clients about my work.

My normal practice is to over produce so I can pick what I consider the best pieces for a venue. So if I decide on 20 paintings for a show most likely I will paint 40. This gives me a little wiggle room for subsequent shows and gallery requests later in the year. It also allows the gallery to veto a piece or two if they feel they wouldn't be a good fit for their clientele.  I prefer this to having anyone else participate in my paintings choices beforehand. Those decisions are all mine and they are what keeps me painting and growing as an artist.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Art and Labor

Armand Cabrera

"I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study
mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and
philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture,
navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children
a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary,
tapestry and porcelain." ~ John Adams

We just finished celebrating labor day here in the USA.

 Labor groups have been much maligned the last few decades. Some of the criticism is just but a lot of it is not. With labor groups weakening we are seeing a return to pre-1920 work ideas. Almost gone are the 8 hour work day and 40 hour work week. Gone is the idea you get paid an hourly wage in some industries like entertainment and gaming.

What has this got to do with art you might ask? Well everything. Labor movements of the last few centuries took their cues from the artisan guilds that started during medieval times and led to the renaissance for arts and European society. It wasn't quick, or without suffering but artists were there at the beginning.

Before the guilds you had very few classes of people in Europe. You had the ruling class, the clergy, the military class and serfs or slaves. Serfs were beholden to their masters and their masters could do what they wanted with them. They were expected to do everything to provide their masters with leisure time. It became obvious though that some serfs were better at building things than others, some were better at painting or pot making than others. Some had greater skill at metallurgy or woodcraft. The division of labor started to fall along lines of skill but these people were still slaves and when the ruler needed something they stepped to it skilled or not.

Guilds helped to change that. Guilds shifted the power back to the artisans who had unique knowledge that gave them skill with certain disciplines. Groups of people formed guilds around  disciplines to control the quality and the knowledge of a particular craft. The ruling class now hired and paid craft people to produce objects for them. Artisans became a class of people. It elevated them slightly from serfdom and peasantry. Their worth and status was not based on their bloodlines. Though the artists themselves were not revered individually their guild could be and that meant a better life for them and their family.

You worked as an apprentice in a guild under a master to learn to reproduce the master’s work exactly, learning over years to create a “master piece” something indistinguishable from the masters own work in the eyes of the patrons. Once this was accomplished an artisan could with his masters blessing then start another guild and continue the legacy of quality and style.

Guilds continued to elevate classes of people as society moved from small fiefdoms of slaves to freemen that were allowed to own property and control their own destinies. Again art and artisans led the way for this. As artists sought more control and expression over what they made the ideas of guilds loosened. Artists had more freedom for innovation and experimentation and this flowering of shared knowledge helped support the renaissance.  Artists were elevated to some of the highest levels of society as court artists, portrait painters, musicians, architects and muralists.

Every century brought greater freedom and a better standard of living for more people. Whenever things reversed and society faltered, groups of people would band together for their common interests and demand fair treatment.  The more skilled they were the more leverage they had over their place in society since their abilities could not easily be replaced.

Art and skill will always drive innovation and social change, as artists let’s make it for the betterment of all in society. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Armand Cabrera Videos

My partner Diane Burket is a voice over professional and has been going through my older posts and recording them as video podcasts. She has been posting them on Youtube the past few weeks  so I thought I would provide links to them here so people can listen when they choose. I will make a special section for them in the sidebar of the blog under videos

Mixing Greens

Painting Autumn Color

Aldro Thompson  Hibbard  Biography

Isaac Levitan Biography

Frederick Waugh Biography

Albert Thomas DeRome Biography

Collaboration verses Auteur

Armand Cabrera

As a production artist the idea of collaboration comes up a lot in my discussions with clients. A lot of the art world caters to making art in service of something else. I’m not talking here about people starting out or learning the particulars of a job requirement. I’m talking about professional artists who have established their ability. This is just as true for a portrait as it is for an illustration. In production art I’m often called on once the style of the project has been set and I must insert myself into that process as seamlessly as possible. 

Collaborative jobs take a special type of compromise that has nothing to do with an individual’s ability as an artist. Some people try to make the argument that it makes them a better artist but I disagree. I think it makes them a more pliable artist and individual.  At the very least it makes one a different artist not necessarily better or worse than when left alone. One who sees collaboration and compromise as part of the process needs to agree to the idea that other people who don’t actually do your job are better at it than you are; but to become that person you have to give up your own system of beliefs. 

When I work in production I give them what they want. If they just want a wrist to take their orders that’s what they get. If they want my creativity as a jumping off point for their ideas they can have that too. If they want to leave the authorship to me, I'm glad to oblige. They get to decide. I give them the best work I can, given the parameters they create.

No two people can be in agreement every step of the way. An artist must tamp down their personal voice and they most likely never know the artist you could be if left to follow your own heart and mind. Whether you make the decision consciously or not you have abrogated your abilities and knowledge to someone else. You will never know if left to your own devices, what you would have produced. Where would your art take you if left to explore on your own and accept or reject precepts as you discover them?

My solution for this is personal work. One of the reasons I developed a gallery presence is there is none of this in my gallery work. I in my personal work I paint pictures that I want to paint. No one is in on the decision process as I work. All the creative aspects of the painting are my decision. The gallery is free to accept or reject paintings I offer to them and buyers accept or reject what gets hung on the walls by buying them or not.

For me this is where my creativity and skill get pushed to new heights. It the only time I grow as an artist. I have to shrug off all of the outside opinions and dig down deep for my own solutions. I stand or fall on my experiments and decisions. Its all mine and its where the real art is for me. No one can see the visions in my head or how to paint them better than me. I could find solutions in other artists work but that would be a cop out for me, it has to come from inside. The best part of this path is when these paintings connect with clients. Then I know I have accomplished what I have set out to do. It’s not about shortcuts and monetary success though, it’s about the truth of my journey on canvas and it’s the only thing that really matters to me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Tone Frames

Armand Cabrera

I buy metal and gold leaf frames for most of my paintings. I like how the metallic gold finish complements the paintings but sometimes the frames are not the right color or too brassy and bright and detract from the image. When this happens I tone them.

Many times the frames I buy change from order to order even though they are supposed to be the same frame style. Toning your frames helps to keep them the tone you want.

 The best way to start is use some old damaged frames and practice until you get the results you are looking for. There are many ways to do this, this is my process.

I mix up a bunch of varnish cut in half with mineral spirits. I mix in a small amount of the pigment I want. Usually a mixture of raw umber as a base with touches of yellow ochre or viridian added depending on what tone I want the color to be.

I then ponce the mixture into the frame with a big brush so I get a nice pattern to the application and it gets into all the cuts of the carving. I let this set and then wipe the excess of with an old rag t shirt. Once it is fully dry I polish it with renaissance wax. 

Here is a frame with half toned and half not toned so you can see the difference it makes

Monday, July 28, 2014

Workshop Barn Demo

Armand Cabrera

This is one of the demo’s I did for my last workshop. Each day I tackle a specific problem in about an hours’ time to show the students how an organized approach and a firm grasp of the fundamentals will give you a solid painting. My approach is the same whether outdoors or in the studio working from sketches or photos. This was painted from one of my photos.

I started with the drawing. Using a medium sized brush I sketch right on the canvas any changes I make from the source material for size or placement happen at this stage so that when I am painting I can focus on color. If I have to continually correct my drawing in the painting stage I am dividing my focus.

Once the drawing is complete I choose some element of the painting to key everything to and block it in. Sometimes it is my darkest or lightest note but not always, whatever component I am the most sure of about its color and value is where I start. Then I block in everything else relative to that first notes color and value.
In terms of order I usually paint back to front, large to small, and dark to light. 

Once the block in stage is finished I flesh out the areas adding interest and details. I am careful to preserve the large division of light and shadow throughout the painting.

The finished demo Sky Meadow Barn 9 x 12. Painting time about an hour and a half

Monday, July 14, 2014

Great Falls Workshop

My workshop in Great Falls still has a few more spots open if anyone wants to get in at the last minute. The workshop helps raise money for the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts.

The class is for every level of artist and will focus on improving all aspects of the students painting while maintaining their personal style. All my instruction is individualized for each participants level and personal vision. I demo everyday and make sure everyone gets plenty of attention while they work.