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'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.


Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Great job on all of these, Marc! By the way, reading about nocturnes reminds me of our interview - the article on nocturnes will be out in the October 08 The Artist's Magazine.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking at these all day! Wow!
I'll comment later when I catch my breath - right now, I'm still in eye-elixir light-headedness.
Thank you!!!

Donna T said...

Wonderful paintings, Marc! That beam of light in your Carriage House doesn't bother me at all - centered or not. If it was the only light it might stand out but it's balanced by the light on the left side of the house and on the trees on that side. Thanks for showing all of these, your work is outstanding!

Anonymous said...

Grey Skies - A heavy, wet-dishcloth feeling in the air comes right through the canvas, like it's about to wring itself out onto me. And, maybe it wasn't too stormy, but the trees look like they're being pushed around by a lot of hot, suffocating air. And, the orange house seems more like it's reflecting the turbulent, storm-fractured light than like someone grabbed a can of paint to paint it that color.
I love this painting (I love them all!)!
And, I love the contrast in the trees and air between this painting and Carriage House. There, the leaves are delicately fluttering in the sparklingly clean air - air like on a morning after a stormy day - and casting dancing shadows on the white house. Blue light air that clears the lungs.
Because you mentioned it, I tried cropping it - the only possibility, to my eye, that didn't wreck the painting was a teeny bit off the top. But I like it as it is. Without even reading what you wrote, I had that sense of walking far across a soft field of green to get to that open door and look in to see what's in there.

I love the clean lines and brushstrokes of the house that reflect the easy shadowplay of the leaves and sky.

These two paintings make, for me, a beautiful atmosphere and light contrast.

So lovely.

Dianne Mize said...

Marc, I have shot myself in the foot recently by giving critique when an artist asked for it and then getting scolded so I'm a bit nervous about responding to your question about "Carriage House". And, as you say, it IS your painting, but then I ask myself should we ever use that as our reasoning for whether we make a correction or not? I'm talking, of of course, about your composition's division being across the middle. I think my advice would be for you to lean on your own professional knowledge and do what's best for your original intention about the painting. And knowing your work and your aesthetics pretty well by now, I think that's all the advice you need.

Oh, and I really do appreciate the quality of your work overall.

Dianne Mize said...

Marc, after all my lofty commenting, you Carriage House keeps bugging me. It has such beautiful dappled light in the woods and on the house and ground, would there be any tiny dapple that might stray over into that frontal shadow? Just enough to break the feeling of equal intervals? From somewhere?

Anonymous said...

I like the way, in "State Grounds", that I have a sense of standing in deep dark tree shade; but even without seeing where, I know the trees end because of the unshadowed light in the back of the left side of the painting. I like the varying shadow depths: from the almost black-out ones I can't see into, to the purple-red shadows on the dark face of the building, and everything in-between. ...your dramatic value contrasts, but also your colors in them. Big swaths of contrasting value and color....and the mysterious red door....this painting has such a different sense to it......very intriguing and resonant.......
eye-elixir: still going on from these paintings!!!!!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Michael... Can't wait for the article. Thanks.

anonymous... I could use a publicist in case I ever get a public! Interested? :) I appreciate all the time you put into making these comments. I agree about the Carriage House...I could have designed it better from the start by making the building smaller, come up with a more interesting zoom view into it, used the broken light that was actually across the foreground... and about a hundred other ideas that are possibilities. But truth told, I sort of like it 'front and center'. I like to refer to my experience at Olana, Frederic Church's estate in Hyde Park, NY a few years ago. While touring the inside we noticed (several other painters there painting with us) that a lot of his studies on the walls were of sun/moon sets and rises, and they were split right in half horizontally and the sun or moon in each ptg was bullseyed right smack dab in the middle of the compositions. Needless to say we began to wonder what he was doing breaking that so called rule of not dividing an image in the middle. But what Mr. Church knew, and I do now, is that if you want to hold the viewer in one place, create a sense of calm (in other words, no movement) one of the best tools of the trade is to bulls eye the composition. You cannot move around the painting if it's done right, you feel static, ready to settle down and take a rest. I think that is exactly what he intended to do, to create a sense of calm in paintings that were of very serene and calm subjects, moon and sun risings and settings.
I'm not saying that's what I did, but the result is of that same nature and sometimes we don't always plan out the good things that happen in a painting.

Sometimes they happen despite us.

That said, I agree with you Dianne that there are things that could be done still. When painting the light was dappled across the foreground and I thought it would help, had it in there, but it was too busy and was a distraction from the building and all the 'busy' foliage surrounding it. So I chose to simplify the foreground. Not saying it was the right thing to do...

My comment about " my painting" was tongue in cheek, I assure you. :) Any painter who asks for a critique and then scolds the 'critique' er should keep quiet and suffer their own problems.

I appreciate all your time.

anonymous... The State Grounds are the state mental hospital grounds for Michigan. The architecture is amazing, almost gothic, which makes it a little spooky considering all that probably went on there at a time when people with mental handicaps weren't exactly treated with the kind of respect and care that they are now. So this red door has me wondering what it led to? I don't know, but it's the only red door that we saw on the grounds... I'm getting carried away. They probably just had some red paint and now it's a red door!!!

Thanks all.

Anonymous said...

perhaps you need a publicist to GET a public!!!
so, sure, i'll be your publicist!
: )

and, re: Carriage House - I think I said I like it as it is... but it was great reading your description of
F. Church's paintings. I've often liked paintings with that "cut in half" rule broken. rules like that are starting places for beginners, anyway, i always think. rule-bound anything is a big drag. rules point to something unseen, like telling a child never to go into the street.....but, once they get the point, that rule is thrown out, except by the fearful.
and, Carriage House is VERY peaceful. restful, even.

I didn't want to say so, before, but State Grounds gives off that sense of deep, mysterious, covered history. you convey that very well. i didn't really want to look at that painting when i first saw this post, but when i read the word part of your post, i knew why - the history of the place. but i kept coming back to look into all those shadows - the black-out ones and the revealing ones - AND the warm light beyond the dark. it really comes through - even without knowing what it's about. but i do love that warm light on the other side of the spiritual darkness.

...i haven't even commented on the warm light in the beach painting. that's such a yummy dreamsicle painting!

...or Nocturne - HOW do you do those nocturnes??? that is such a cool painting. very, very summer night! and, then, there are all those brilliant, glowing and sparkling light holes being poked through the darkness. LOVE that painting, TOO!
not very pithy on these last ones, but i've already gone on WAY too long.
: )

Anonymous said...

The Red Boat on the Carp River...
You have this way with green: rendering its variations and personalities that matches what I see. Invigorating! I feel sad for the colorblind who cannot appreciate this in creation or in your work.......
There's marvelous vibrant peace in this pastel painting. Frank Gardner painted some marvelous vibrant peace this summer, too!
Thank you.
(Your work this summer seems to have a new something/direction/
inspiration/something to it - am I imagining that?)