Thursday, June 18, 2009

A hot one today!

My son Erik was up for the day and we went out to paint and learn. I did this first little demo for him, and then painted later in the day after he drove home. We have some possible weather developing and I love to be out trying to capture the skies when they're hot, unstable and active.

'Red Shed' oil, 6x8, © Marc R. Hanson '09

'Unstable Air' oil, 11x14, © Marc R. Hanson '09

Monday, June 15, 2009

Plein Air Boat progress

This is where my 'Plein Air Boat' is in it's life. Since I took these on Saturday, I've added another coat of resin, rounded off the bow gusset and have begun to sand. It is a drop away from being in the water. That drop contains hours and hours of sanding, priming and painting. People who do these sort of things will tell you that at this stage of a project like this, when you're 90% done, it's the last 10% that will take 90% of the total time. Finishing is always tougher than the initial construction. But it's the most satisfying part too.

My plan for this boat had it's genesis back in 2005. It's a 12' flat bottom rowing skiff with a reinforced stern for the use of either a small (1-2hp) outboard or a trolling motor. I purchased plans, epoxy, and assorted supplies including some very beautiful Meranti ( a mahogany ) marine grade plywood, and began work on it. Within a couple of days the basic boat was cut out and assembled. Then I moved and very little work has been done. Now I'm on course to launch this summer.

The idea was to use it to access shallow swampy areas in the backwaters of the Mississippi River near where I used to live. Canoes are too unstable to paint out of. Now I live in an area with hundreds of little lakes and ponds and the St. Croix River. With a small boat like this I'll be able to access views and locations that even a small fishing boat won't be able to go. Besides, it's fun to build. This would be good to paint out of, or to just get to small spits of land or sandbars to stand and paint on. I'm also looking forward to just taking it out for some exercise in the mornings on the river.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back to a little "reality"?

Following my last post of the abstracts, I've been trying to bring myself back to some "reality". My reality is painting my surroundings. So that's what I did a few times this week. I'll confess that after a month of 5"x7" paintings, these 11x14's bring me a little apprehension. That's so weird because before my April project, 11x14 was a normal every day size for me to paint. Now I'm having to get used to all of those square inches of extra space. I will, just sharing.

'June On The Road' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
The late afternoon sky caught my interest in this one.

"Baba O'Riley" oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
It was a beautiful night on the river Thursday, lot's of boaters on the water. Across the river on the sandbank were a couple of dozen teens playing at full blast (been there) the Whos' "Baba O'Riley", a huge hit with teens since it was released in 1971! Most of us probably know it as "Teenage Wasteland"!!! I found it a perfect song to be greeted by on arriving to paint. What a theme!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Letting go! Twice....

"Skynrd" 24x32 oil on linen © Marc R. Hanson 09
That title really was awful! This might not be much better but it's not so 'blaghhhhh!'

"Jazz" 20x30 oil on linen © Marc R. Hanson 09

Here's an exercise in doing something completely different than I normally do, just to give me perspective. In case you're wondering, I have a reason to do this besides that 'it's fun'. It's an incredible release for me. I am also trying to develop more of a heavier use of paint on my 'normal' work and this is an exercise in doing that. If I can apply 3/8" of paint on these and fill a canvas of this size in a half hour, I know that I can bring that quality to my other work that will only help. I'm always experimenting with technique, purpose, materials, pushing for something further. These are probably a step towards something else...?

I walked into the studio today and said to myself "Marc, do something completely emotional, something that is not preconceived, something that lets your brain shut off and the intuitive side kick in." So I turned on some adrenaline pumping music from Lynrd Skynrd, one of my all time favorites, turned it up too, and let the sound of their music push my instinctive reactions to the music around on the linen. The song that I ended up repeating was 'Simple Man' one of my favorites of theirs. I was moving so fast that I lost track of what I was even doing. This was the most creatively exhilarating experience that I've had as a painter in a LONG time. I still have a huge smile on my face from the experience. IT was well worth using up a lot of odd paint that I don't normally use without any feeling that I'm doing something wrong or not good enough.

At the end of the half hour session I was sweating and basically took a deep breath and let out a 'WHEW!". The painting is a 24x32 inch stretched canvas painted in 30 minutes.

Okay... now I'm having way too much fun! This one is a 20x30 inspired by Miles Davis's 'Kind of Blue' classic work. I like to listen to that era of jazz while working anyway so this was a great one to allow myself to become absorbed by. Seems that there is no end to those compositions, they move through aural space seemingly with no end in sight. Amorphous comes to mind. Again, painted in about a half an hour of pure energy.

Take a look at this...

I am posting a link to 'Black and White Painting Challenge 5-26-09' a blog created by my students from the workshop up here in TF two weeks ago. I always have at least one exercise in my workshops that concentrates and explains the value of working with and understanding Value Relationships and their importance to understanding how they relate to color in a painting.

It's a closed group for now, but please go take a look at what they're up to. I'm impressed and think that you will be too.

This was only a three day workshop so we only spent one day on how to simplify a composition's masses, and how to then mass values into their 'correctly' related value families within the composition in order to create more unity.

I had them do three small value study compositions : #1- keyed to light value ( 2/3 light-1/3 middle), #2-keyed to middle value ( 2/3 middle-1/3 light), #3- keyed to dark value ( 2/3 dark - 1/3 middle). Similar to keying a colored painting to high, middle or low key. What this exercise shows them is that you 'can' control mood, effect...what you want to say about the subject, simply by composing it with a predominant value or color key.

During one lecture I also showed them an exercise that I do with longer five day workshops. It involves a similar idea, but taking one composition and beginning with two black and white steps, moving into two color steps that simply develop the composition from one three of four shape idea to a full color rendition. I showed them a bunch of these that I've done as demos for classes and workshops but did not have time to demo it for them. However, at least one of them has done the exercise on her own and as you can see, she did a great job.

Anyway, I'm very proud of these guys that they went back home and started the blog in order to continue to 'study' what we started in class. There's no sign better than that to show just how serious these people are. Painting black and white is not as exciting as painting in color. But the sign of a serious student, we are all students, is that you continue to want to learn and improve your knowledge of painting. These guys are a perfect example of that and I take my hat off to them all.