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Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Very Thankful Day

It was a warm and wonderful day ...inside. The weather outside, on the other hand, went from sunny and cool to cloudy and very cold, ending up with 45 mph winds and flurries last night. I did get some work done in the studio, but kept running into the cottage to get a whiff of the delicious aromas cooking on the stove. Yum!

The aromas of Thanksgiving are some of the best. It was very hard to concentrate on painting with all those goodies cooking away in the kitchen!

It is a cold and windy today on Black Friday! (I hate that name). Barbara and I are having a late breakfast and desperately trying to keep warm, but definitely not huddled outside some store waiting to snatch up an “I-got-to-have” thing-a-ma-jig.

I hope all those die hard shoppers got what they wanted this morning. Some folks were out there at four a.m. this morning after waiting 12 hours for the stores to open. Now that is really NUTS if you don't mind me saying!

Though turkey took front row on Thursday, but I did get a little work done on the Old Stone House. Here is a peek:

I'm beginning to color in the trees.

The house is starting to take shape but still needs more work!



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Grass Is Always Greener

I spend a few hours this morning working some more on The Old Stone House. For starters I spent time working on the hills and local buildings to the left along the hill side. I toned down the buildings to blend them into the background, leaving only ghost images to indicate they are out there. I will continue to work on these as I see the need to soften them more.

I painted in the rectangular field that sits horizontally to the rear and left of the house. Then I painted in the low shrubs that bordered the field just to the rear of the road. As promised I filled in the road with hard-packed dirt to depict the "country" road as it might have looked a few hundred years ago.

I toned down the front lawn of the house and added a few details in the rough area beyond the lawn to the right.

I began adding grass in the foreground by adding layers of darker colors. I used Indian red, raw umber and a mixture of sap green and yellow ochre. I used some olive green to define a grassy border along the country road.

You are probably wondering what the "leopard-like" anomaly is supposed to be in the right lower corner of the painting. Actually, that object has been there since I first laid in the foreground. It is a clump of yellow flowered weeds. Now however I've added a little texture in anticipation of further developing the weeds later. It will take shape as I work that area later.

The painting is not too wet just damp in some areas. At this point I will take a break for a few days to allow the entire painting to "cure" a little in front of the studio windows. I may need a few extra days because as of today, heavy rains have started. Remnants of hurricane Ida will be with us for a while. I don't expect much sunshine while she passes through.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Love Those Hills

I am back working at the Stone House again. Yesterday afternoon I worked on the hills that rise above and behind the Old Stone House. The situation of the house is really a beautiful spot. I've tried to bring some of the color out in the hills. I'm working from a photo taken last February, which is definitely not as colorful as I have made them in the painting. Keep in mind that I will be doing an antiquing technique on the painting as my final stage. So, the hills and surrounding countryside will become darker and "older" with an application of Sepia glazing. All the colors will settle down then. I have mixed a little mortar like color into the surface of the exterior walls of the house. I will add a few stones to this surface to represent that unique look of stone. The stone on the house gives it a stunning beauty, which I hope to capture even at this distance.

I have also defined some of the lawn and brush behind the house. The patch of lawn is too flat at this point but will have more texture as I work on it. I have also defined several of the neighboring buildings in the upper left of the hills. These too will be toned down as I push them back into the hills.

Although the road has a macadam surface I will probably treat the road as it would have been in an earlier view with a more typical hard-packed mud surface.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Old Stone House in Stages

Once I actually got started painting the Old Stone House I have kept pretty busy adding bits and pieces to the canvas. For some of you taking a look at the progress of this painting it may seem like I’ve been hung up on some details along the way. I admit that I have been sidetracked of late. Although I’m only a few feet away from my studio, you can’t imagine how often I have had to postpone the trip over there! Something seems to always come up. First of all we had a weeklong vacation to Lake Lure, NC, which we both needed desperately! Then we had visitors stay with us for another week. It was fun but it kept us busy. Just before they left I had a short bout with the flu (not sure which kind it was) but I was happy to say it wasn’t a long illness. Barbara, on the other hand, had a pretty nasty time of it. She caught it a week after me and we are pretty sure she got the H1N1. However, by the time she was strong enough to leave the house to see a doctor, he pronounced her cured! However, she has continued to have a bad night or two since. If any of you have either suffered with the flu or had to care for someone with the flu you know that your lives are basically on “hold” until the stuff is over with.

All of these little segues don’t necessarily get you where you want to be, but eventually life gets back on track. This brings us up to date, so to speak.

After transferring the initial drawing to the canvas I began applying acrylic in complimentary colors as an undercoating. I chose to use an undercoating of colors similar to the various shades of the finished sky. I used a combination of yellow ochre and burnt sienna as an undercoating for the field in the foreground. I used broad brush strokes for most of the undercoating. This is not the prettiest stage but a good starting point when finishing up with Water soluble oils (WSO). I kept the undercoating light to start with so that I could preserve the pencil lines as guides for easier placement of objects, for example tree branches and limbs.

During my next visit to the studio I used a new technique to darken the tree limbs and branches. I found an excellent product by Fiber Castell called, Pitt Artist Brush Pen Sets. The set I used is called “Terra” for the earth colored pens it includes. The Pitt Artist Pens come in a variety of nips. The Terra set had all “brush” Nibs. The pens contain a fine quality of pigmented India ink that is both acid-free and archival (pH neutral) that are ideal for watercoloring over your lines. I was quickly able to refine my pencil drawings and better define the lines as I add heavier acrylics and WSO.

I also added more underpainting along the road that horizontally dissects the painting. I also added additional acrylic to the rear area of the house and added another heavier layer of yellow ochre to the field in the foreground.

Yesterday afternoon I began working on the sky. I used a combination of cerulean blue hue, Titanium white and a mixture of French Ultramarine, Indian red and cadmium red hue. I brushed in the sky with ever increasing layers of WSO. As you can see the Pitt Artist Pens are still visible through the light colors. I will do more refinement of the sky as it dries while I work on other areas later in the week.

You probably noticed the yellow rectangle behind the house. I learned from my sister that this area is actually a field and not a pond as I had initially thought. There are definitely disadvantages to working from a photograph, especially when I was not able to actually do a demo at the house. My sister has been a big help pointing out objects via e-mail. It is truly a cooperative effort.