Phone camera malfunction #2

phone cam 1

One Friday last summer I took my family to Navy Pier in Chicago to view preparations for an America’s Cup sailboat race trial in Lake Michigan. I brought only my smart phone to take photographs of the event which was kind of silly as the boats are beautiful examples of high tech design.  They are able to rise out of the water on a foil which enables them to go much faster than the wind — up to 50 mph or more. I have some sailing experience, but I didn’t expect anything like these boats

The painting shown here as well as the previous and next posts are from that lovely day, except there are no boats pictured. I took many pictures of the boats flying along and at rest. When we returned home and I reviewed the photos I came across three images that were completely illegible, but interesting nonetheless. Smartphone cameras sometimes do weird things. I eventually decided that errant pictures would be fun to paint and that I could do interesting things with the shapes and colors.

Most of the colors are laid down in successive, separate layers rather than  in layers of mixed colors. I used bristle brushes to scrub the paint onto the surface which produced interesting effects due to the somewhat course ground, which has brush marks going in various directions. This scrubbing technique enabled lower layers of color to show through. The result is a bit impressionistic, but using a completely different manner.

While I was painting I kept in mind an image of an undefined landscape emerging from nothing, which prompted my choice of painting technique.

All of these paintings are 30″ x 30″ on wood panels. Please stop by my website to see more work.

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Phone camera malfunction #1

untitled americas cup 1_edited-1

One Friday last summer I took my family to Navy Pier in Chicago to view preparations for an America’s Cup sailboat race in Lake Michigan. I brought only my smart phone to take photographs of the event which was kind of silly as the boats are beautiful examples of high tech design.  They are able to rise out of the water on a foil which enables them to go much faster than the wind — up to 50 mph or more. I never saw anything like this. I have some sailing experience, but I didn’t ever expect to see anything like this.

The painting shown here and in the next couple of posts are from that lovely day, except there are no boats pictured. I took many pictures of the boats flying along and at rest. When I reviewed the photos I came across three images that were completely illegible, but interesting nonetheless. Smartphone cameras sometimes do weird things. I eventually decided that errant pictures would be fun to paint and that I could do interesting things with the shapes and colors.

Most of the colors are laid down in successive, separate layers rather than in layers of mixed colors. I used bristle brushes to scrub the paint onto the surface which produced interesting effects due to the somewhat course ground, which has brush marks going in various directions. This scrubbing technique enabled lower layers of color to show through. The result is a bit impressionistic, but using a completely different manner.

All of these paintings are 30″ x 30″ on wood panels. Please stop by my website to see more work.

Still life painting #11: Evinrude Outboard Motor

evinrude outboard moter

Sometime ago I decided to paint a still life of an outboard motor. The sight of these have long evoked nostalgic feeling and painting for me is largely about the joy of contemplation, so I knew this subject would sustain my attention. It took a while to find a suitable motor to paint. I wanted one that wasn’t too old and not too large and heavy. Eventually I found this 1948 2.5 hp model at an antique shop in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Lucky for me it came with a stand because it is a bit of a beast to move around.

I wanted this painting to be like the other pieces in this series in that they are painted head-on in a straightforward manner without perspective or dramatic lighting. They are all kind of schematic in approach and I intended to continue that with this piece. It proved quite difficult because I had to measure every item, every angle and every distance. It’s pretty easy to do this kind of work when the objects are small, but much harder when they are over three feet tall (and fairly heavy!).

The underdrawing, which can be found on this blog, was interesting to me because of all the markings from the measurements and I decided to reproduce some of them on the final layers of the painting.

This work is life-size on two wooden panels and measures 40″ x 30 1/2″.

Tree portrait in ink #4

easonoma

This is a large old oak tree I encountered in Sonoma County, California. Its short, thick, straight trunk supports very large spreading branches of enormous circumference, which are rather low. It is an unusual and beautiful tree.

Please excuse the blue tinge to the reproduction. I couldn’t find a way to remove it without altering the color of the ink. Speaking of the ink, this is sepia which is from the ink sac of the cuttlefish and has been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years. One of its most valuable properties is that it is permanent when it dries, so I can do ink washes over the lines. This is something that cannot be done with other brown inks where the original lines dissolve into the liquid.

The drawing is 6″ x 9″ on bristol. More work to be seen here!

Tree portrait in ink #3

easequoia

This is a drawing of a sequoia tree that I came across in a garden at Lake Como (or Lake Maggiore) in northern Italy. The variety of exotic trees growing within sight of the Alps amazed me. I couldn’t quite get me head around the giant palm trees growing so far north.

I was attracted to this tree because of its great spiraling pattern reminding me of galactic forms.

This and most subsequent drawings were done from photographs — no time to sit and work on short vacations.

I like drawing with pen and ink mainly because it is challenging to do one’s best with inevitable mistakes. I can get too fussy with pencil where the eraser can become an obsessive burden.

This drawing is done in walnut ink and measures 9″ x 6″. Visit here for more work!

Tree portrait in pen & ink #2

central_park

This is another ink drawing I did in Central Park, NYC. I remember showing these early nature drawings to my painting instructor at the time and she looked at them and asked me how I proposed to “finish” them. As far as I was concerned they were finished, so I spent some time feeling insecure and wondering what else I should do. I did not, however, attempt to do anything to the drawings because I liked them the way they were. As I have relayed elsewhere, one of my previous instructors told me that, “if you want to be a bore, tell everything.” She said it was something said by Voltaire. That statement resonated with me in a more vital way than any fuzzy concept of “finish.”

This drawing was done in walnut ink on bristol board and measures 6″ x 9″. See more work on my website!

Tree portrait in pen & ink #1

cherry_tree

Pen & ink, 9 x 6 1/4

This drawing was done in Central Park, NYC quite a few years ago. I would take some time to go to the park and draw trees after painting class at the National Academy. It was a pleasant way to pass the time and I learned a lot about how to use pen and ink and, of course, how to draw trees in a way that is satisfying.

Trees can be difficult for me because they have such a dense mass of details. My solution is to focus on part of the tree rather than capture all of it.

Later, as you will see, I made a series of tree portraits in pen and ink.

This is drawn on bristol board using walnut ink and measures 9″ x 6″.