Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Perfect weekend weather for being out.

We were blessed this past weekend with weather that was made for painting in. It was dry with good atmospheric moisture, despite a pretty low dew point, and the winds were calm to dead calm. Having been in the studio working on some paintings for the November NOLA show, I took advantage of the good weather and snuck out and did these four 11x14's on my 'easel break' each day starting on Friday night.

'Friday Evening' - oil on linen - 11x14 - © Marc R. Hanson '08
A sky full of clouds got me out to try to capture the warmth of the evening. I pulled over at the first wide spot and went to work trying to wring out a supporting cast of characters for the cloud dance.

The other thing I am doing (for all of the artist materials junkies out there) is trying out some linen that I haven't used for many years. It's primed with acrylic primer, is Claessens 166 and is my new linen lover! :) For some time I've been searching around to find the best surface for me to paint on considering cost, ease of application of the paint, and it's appearance as a finished product. This linen is looking like a pretty good candidate at this point. My favorite is hand lead primed linen but that is just becoming so expensive that the Scotch in me is holding onto my wallet with a vice grip.

I used two different linens here, the Claessens and Signature Canvas's own acrylic primed linen. Both are great, the Signature linen having a little more pronounced weave than the Claessens. There is no difference to me in the way the paint feels as it is applied and I will be making use of them both as needed. The Signature linen would be perfect for larger paintings, the Claessens is good for smaller pieces. If you haven't checked them out, Signature Canvas offers some great deals on linen by the yard and stretched linen and cotton canvases. I only discovered them in the last couple of months and have used them exclusively now for my linen needs.

These first two pieces are on the Signature linen, and the second two on the Claessens. Enlarge them to see the difference in weave. It's really nice to have these kind of weapons in the arsenal. :)

'White Barn' - oil on linen - 11x14 - © Marc R. Hanson '08
I am a roller skier and this barn is on the 18 mile route that I ski, I pass it every time out. Saturday morning I had a wonderful ski session and decided that when I got home and showered, I would come back and paint it. The skies were blue but dark with moisture, causing the barn to stand out with a lot of contrast in value and temperature. The kind of thing that I like to paint.

'Chrome Yellow Evening' - oil on linen - 11x14 - © Marc R. Hanson '08
Same day as the White Barn painting. But I went out around 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening. The reward was a sky full of warmth, winds calm and a joy to paint.

'Balsam Branch Mill Pond' - oil on linen - 11x14 - '08
On Sunday morning I drove east of here about 20 minutes into Wisconsin. The area I chose to paint in is called D.D. Kennedy county park. It used to be an old grist mill and is now a beautifully preserved chunk of native prairie and woodland along the Balsam Branch river, near Balsam Lake, WI. Just a calm, quiet morning to be there.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Catching Up... Again!

Time does fly, doesn't it? I'm going to overdose on posting today. I am posting some paintings that were done as demos at some recent workshops, and a few others that I've done around here. Also, please don't think that I don't completely and entirely appreciate those of you who take the time to respond to my blog. That would be a big mistake to think that. Even though I don't always reply in a 'timely' manner, or miss some altogether, it doesn't mean that they aren't read and fully appreciated...They Are!!! When I receive them via email I always read them and tell myself to be sure to log into my blog and give you the reply that you're due. I have a lot of those "best made plans"... that we all know about. Mine are in me, they just don't always make it to the keyboard and cyber space as often as I intend them too.

'Merriam, KS Nocturne' - oil on board - 8x10 © Marc R. Hanson '08 (Gary...forgive the title if it's different! I didn't write the original one down. )

This was painted on the first night of the Merriam, KS workshop in June. The workshop started at 6pm on a Friday night and was supposed to go till 9pm. So what is one to do for a demo at 9pm... a nocturne of course. And that was with what I'd call, 'gentle prodding' from a number of the painters in the class. It all worked out, bugs, battery failure, and the constant flash and red illumination from the students cameras. They were all very supportive, but I have to say that I didn't think about what a flash would do to my night vision until they were going off in volleys! It's also very unnerving to be in the middle of your nocturne and to have the entire painting surface become a glowing red matrix from someone's digital infrared sensor. We all had some good laughs about that. Surprising tho that I was able to see anything at all to paint however.

'Grey Skies' - oil on linen - 8x10 © Marc R. Hanson '08

This workshop was a quick 2-1/2 days. We did my 'value to color' exercise on Saturday and that is what I demoed that day. On Sunday morning we had rain so I worked up a little gouache sketch in the classroom to a larger pastel that is not finished as of yet, and so won't be posted. Following lunch and a break in the weather, we headed out for the last afternoon of the workshop and by request I did this painting as a demo. This class was a short one, so for many of the students it was good to see me paint. As an instructor it's always a balancing act as to how much teaching by example/demos is appropriate. I stay flexible on that one. This class seemed to have more people who would prefer to see a painter work, other classes I've had tend to want to do the work themselves and receive critique. In my own experience, when I've been at workshops I tend to get more out of watching the instructor work than struggling along myself waiting for those 'magic' words a few times a day. And we all know that there are no magic words. But for those of us who are more observational in our learning, watching a demo is pure heaven. I enjoy watching any painter work, child, beginner or pro. So anyway, this is the result of the demo. We were still surrounded by pretty intense clouds and the little orangeish colored house made a good compliment to the cool greens and blue greys of the sky.

'State Grounds' - oil on linen - 8x10 © Marc R. Hanson '08

Now we're in Michigan... Traverse City to be exact... the end of June. A Gorgeous place to just be even if you aren't painting! This demo was done on the last day of the 5 day workshop. It was a steamer of a day. But we met on the old state mental hospital grounds, amidst some architecturally stunning buildings. They're all being restored and put to use as condos, studios, restaurants, and offices for business. Last year I did a pastel demo of this same red door from a different angle and up close. This time I moved back down the grounds to look at it through all of the green grass and trees. I saw a nice complimentary color set up and a pretty nice little zig-zag leading to the door formed by the placement of the tree trunks. A foreground mostly in shadow helped to frame up my favorite red door... so I painted it.

'Red Boat On The Carp River' - pastel - appx 10x16 © Marc R. Hanson '08

This demo was painted up in Leland, MI near Fishtown on the 'Carp River'. I didn't see a carp and the water reminded me more of somewhere a big old Rainbow trout might find interesting. The water was crystal clear, no kidding. I haven't seen water as clear as this was since my days around Lake Tahoe. There were beautiful old Chris Crafts docked along the edges of the river.
It was nearly impossible to see the waterline on these boats, it was so clear, making it seem as if they were floating in mid air instead of on top of the water. The boat I painted was not one of those, but was available. Just a lovely color arrangement to paint, painted exclusively for my 'one' pastel painter in the workshop.

'Michigan Beach Scene' - oil on linen - 10x16 © Marc R. Hanson '08

Ahhhhh.... BEACH!!! And they have them in abundance on the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan. These were the only people out there besides those in the workshop. And the beach went for miles in both directions. Last year the wind was so bad that we couldn't be out on the sand for fear of getting 'skin' lifts from the blowing sand, in places that we wouldn't want one. This year the weather was near perfect and we all painted a great day. I did this in the afternoon following the morning session. But alas a beach is just a beach so the following day we went into Leland to paint along the Carp River. We might have done too much driving for some, a half hour each morning to get here. But the options are so beautiful that in general I think that people enjoyed it with a few exceptions.


'Carriage House' - oil on linen/stretched - 20x24 © Marc R. Hanson '08
I decided to take my time and paint a larger plein air piece. Took all day! But that's fine with me. Personally, I'm getting a little tired of the 'run out...paint...back in two hours' sort of approach. I am becoming more and more interested in spending time on larger compositions painted from life. I do a couple of these every once in awhile and am trying to be more consistent about it. That's my goal, to paint large paintings on location. Keep me to it, please!!! :)
Yes, the beam of light is right in the middle horizontally. What do you think? I've tried cropping it, and am willing to do that. But it looses it's staging unless it's where it is. I started this painting out by placing the open dark door just off of center, on purpose. Then as I measured from the subject and began to place lines of objects, I realized that I was splitting the canvas in half. I know that is a 'bad thing' in some books. But to me it became a challenge... How to incorporate the lower and upper half in order to tie the entire composition in as a unified whole? I did that by carrying the shadow color of the upper grassy area into the shadows of the shrubbery around the base of the tree and building. I don't know if it works for sure but am satisfied that I made the building the scale that I wanted it to be. When I crop it, I loose the feeling that I'm looking up into the area of the building, which I was. It's on a little knoll, a gradual elevation change, but one that sets the stage for the sense of place that I was after.
I'm open to criticism on this...but hey...it's MY painting!!! :)

'Horse' - oil on linen - 6x8 © Marc R. Hanson '08
Pretty self explanatory I'd say! Painted last night just to be out painting. Good light for awhile though. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sneak Preview of New Orleans Show in November!

"Waterfront Stroll" - pastel on UArt 600 - 18x22 - © Marc R. Hanson 2008

On November 7th, 2008 I will be participating in a gallery artist show at Coleman Fine Art in Charleston, SC that will feature paintings of New Orleans, LA. I've talked about this a little bit here before and posted another painting that I completed for this show earlier in my blog life. These paintings will all be available at the show, and not until then, but I wanted to post them now to show what is happening on my easel as I prepare for the show.

This painting was painted from a sketch that I did from the upper levels of a parking garage one morning. Mary Whyte, Phil Sandusky ( a New Orleans painter) and I spent a rainy day up in this garage at Phil's suggestion and it was a good one. Phil has published a book about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and knows how to find a painting location in New Orleans no matter what the weather! Thanks to him we had some spectacular scenery with fog and rain on the subject, not us.

What caught my attention in this scene was the contrast between the illumination from the lights and the cool quality of the color in the surrounding fog covered landscape. I quickly found out that my job would be to orchestrate everything in the picture in a way that would support the warm orange lights and the halo of illumination that surrounded them. As we worked the fog from the river, just off to my right side, would come in so thick that almost everything would be obliterated. Then it would recede and a lot of the scene would show itself briefly until the fog rolled in again. I chose to paint the very impressionistic feeling of the scene when it was almost completely obscured by the heaviest fog.