Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Paintings

I see it's been awhile since I posted. I taught a two day workshop a week and a half ago in Zumbrota, MN to a group of eager students. We had good weather, good subjects but frankly, not enough time. Before that and following the week, I have been working on a 24x36 painting on location. I finally had to finish it in the studio yesterday because the season has progressed and what I was painting is now a thing of the past. I think that I spent 5 days, about 3 to 4 hrs or more at a shot on location, and one day in the studio, about 5 hours. So I guess this was painted about 80% on location with just the finishing touches done yesterday.

This is the largest on location painting that I've done. At first I thought it would be a one shot painting...duh...not so. And in fact what I really value about working this way, I have discovered, is that returning for multiple visits gives me time inbetween to consider what I've done, critique the progress and adjust along the way. I have completely found that to be an advantage and the process has drawn me in and taken hold. My only regret is that winter is close, not because I don't look forward to painting large winter paintings on location, but because it is nice to be comfortable while dealing with what is a pretty difficult thing to do anyway.

The Beauport and large palette are GREAT! I love that easel.

'Autumn Fields'- oil, 24x36 © Marc R. Hanson '09

I've included a couple of photos of my start. I meant to film the progress but I was consumed by it and completely forgot to follow through on that.

This next painting is the result of some hazy weather that kept me from working on the larger painting one morning. As I was heading to the location I saw this scene and desperately wanted to paint it. But it was in an area where there was no way I could safely get off of the road for more than a couple of minutes. There was no room to stand out of the way of traffic. The other thing was that the condition that was so attractive was about to dissolve as well. So the only thing left is to resort to the camera and memory. That's what I did.

'North End'- oil, 16x20 © Marc R. Hanson '09
This was painted with a limited palette of Cad Yellow Lemon, Prussian Blue and Alizarin Crimson. A perfect palette for this particular color scheme and mood.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mid September Peas

"Mid September Peas" oil on linen/bd, 11x14, © Marc R. Hanson '09
I worked on a large piece this morning, a 24x36 and had an interruption that for some reason did a number on me for the rest of the day. I've discussed it on Facebook, am past that and want to move forward. Suffice it to say that I needed to get out, way out (that means north of Taylors Falls a few miles, where I would be left alone and I could paint. I did that and painted this scene of a tree line with a foreground of soybeans, sometimes called "peas" depending on where you live, just to release a little 'tension'. It did the trick followed by a good evening workout. Now I feel like I can breath.

This weekend I'll be in Zumbrota, MN teaching a workshop through Crossing at Carnegie. We have a full class, should have good weather and I'm looking forward to it all.

Thanks for looking in.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Working larger outside.

When painting this week, with a couple of exceptions, I've been working larger on site. This is a learning experience, one that is going to take some time to absorb and adjust to. I'm so used to containing all that I want to say in 154 sq inches or so that doubling or tripling that is a real challenge in simple things, like paint handling. It's a logistics vs time equation you have to become comfortable with. I'll be real honest, I'm also dealing with this... how do I get the same kind of look to the larger work that is a natural result in the smaller work that is painted on site? Or is it even necessary, is the result from working larger such a different animal that I shouldn't even worry about this? These are the questions that I'm facing from my personal point of view.

Even with those questions present, I am already 10 times more comfortable a week into this than I was with the first one, which wasn't even that large. None of these are 'BIG', 20x 24 the largest. But they're larger than what I have been doing so I'm giving myself a break on the struggles and just letting it work out as it does.

I'm comfortable enough now that the next one going with me is going to be a 24x30. I'll work at that size (weather and conditions permitting) for a while and then go up again in scale. They are beginning to look smaller already. I don't any longer feel like I'm staring into the face of the mainsail of 50 ft yacht!

I'm sure that some readers/artists of my blog are probably wondering what all of the whining is about. Many of you might already paint larger on site and don't see it as that big of a deal. I hope to get there soon....

Also, the Beauport easel is my new best friend. I love this thing. I'm sure that the Take-It-Easel would be even better, but I'm going to get my $99.00 out of this one before I worry about the $300.00's that the other one costs. I'm even painting the smaller size panels on it and find it so much more friendly in that use that if it weren't for it's size and the weight of the paintbox I'd take it every where I go to paint.

ALL of these were painted on location...

'September Pastures' oil 16x20 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Well... this was the first one last week. This isn't that big but I'll tell you that it was a good size to introduce myself to outside. I had enough issues with it, and it served it's purpose.

'Full Over Balsam Lake' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Obviously not a big one. I am working on an 18x24 of this same scene. The full moon is gone, but the land hasn't moved. In this case I'll do as much work on the larger one on site as I can, as the conditions permit, and then use this study to finish it up. One of the things that I see in painters working large on location is that the work tends to be of lighting situations that are more stable, towards the middle of the day, using the longer light situation to paint with of course. I like the end of the day light, the last hour or so, and those situations that are fleeting and one of a kind. In those situations I still want and will use the smaller studies as reference, it's the only way to really grab those last minute spectacular events.

'The Island' oil 16x20 © Marc R. Hanson '09
I have to remind myself with the larger paintings to be careful not to just 'record'. I want and need to stay tuned into the emotional side of painting even on the larger scale. I know that the more experience I gain doing this, the more comfortable I'll become with it and the more attention I will pay to that. In the mean time, some of these are going to be simpler, more 'records' of the place than the kind of statement that I really want to be making. Time....

'Loosestrife Autumn' oil 8x16 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Kami and I went out to paint purple loosestrife which is in abundance this year. It's an artist's dream, but it's invasive and not a good thing to see in the environment. Well anyway, we had a ball with the light at the end of the day and the effect that it's warmth had on the greens that are changing towards fall's palette and on the loosestrife itself. YUMM....

'September Beans' oil 20x24 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Man did this morning feel like September! Everything in the landscape is warming, except the temperatures. I wanted the sky in this one. I haven't mentioned time required to paint these. This one took about 4 hours, the 16x20's about 3 hours.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tilley Foster Farm Workshop-Brewster, NY-8/24-8/28

There's nothing like reducing a couple of weeks worth of teaching and painting into 5 days! That's what happened last week in New York to 13 students and one instructor. I taught a process of developing field work into a studio painting that by all rights should take a little more than a day of field work and a day to work it up into a finished painting.

Of course you could take the large one outside and do it all on the spot and that is what I am working towards doing more of myself. Even if I do that, these preliminary steps are still SO valuable that I will probably continue to use them as often as I discipline myself to do so. It's "easier" to just get to painting... but that is also fraught with the possibility that the basic considerations... aren't considered until you're into trouble.

I'm teaching this approach to as totally, as is possible, investigate the issues involved and the problems to be solved, before you start to paint on 6 sq ft of expensive linen. Many painters, myself included, talk about the importance of 'Concept', 'Memory' and 'Visualization'.

In this approach the main 'Conceptual' work is done in the very early stages. Using the B&W value studies, the small and medium size color comps to explore your concept allow those surprises that happen along the way to be incorporated as part of your evolving conceptual basis for painting the painting. I don't know about the rest of you, but I frequently get into a painting and find other things about the subject that I find as or more interesting than what I might be painting. What if you work the idea up progressively,on a smaller scale initially, to uncover those other ideas that pop up as you actually get deep into the oil and pigment and larger in scale?

As the process moves forward there is a discovery of 'memory' and a 'vision' of what the painting will become. You find yourself relying less and less on staring at the subject matter and more and more "thinking" as a painter creating a piece of art vs a copy of the subject.

So here's the work that I did as a demonstration (in one and a half days) to explain this idea to the class. They were successful with many 'revelations' expressed. They were surprised that they were able to work on large paintings without relying as much, or at all in some cases, on photo reference. Nothing wrong with the photos, but the essence of their feelings about what they were painting came through in a much more 'pure' artistic sense, and it was gratifying to see.

Demo Value Study- 5x6 oil-on location study

Demo Color Comp 1- 5x6 oil-on location study

Demo Pastel Color Study-11x13.5-on location study
This one was painted from life for information to use the following day in the studio work.

Demo Half Size Color Study-11x13.5
The morning of my in studio demo, this was painted from the previous three studies to finalize my ideas about color on a scale that was proportionally about 50% of the finish size of 20x24.

'Tilley Foster Farm' oil on linen 20x24-studio painting © Marc R. Hanson '09
This is the final painting. If this were a 10 or 12 session weekly class or an 8 day workshop, I would have painted this 24x30. But I had to cram all of the supplies in my car and do this all in a day and a half to allow the students time to do the same thing. I gave them two and a half days! It has changed from the studies in a number of different ways. That's the nature of doing this and the reason for it at the same time. Changes occur in translating studies to larger paintings.

'Peach Lake Nocturne' oil on linen panel 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
We had a nocturne night following a very good Italian dinner. The lake was next to the home of my very gracious host and friend Jamie Grossman. Jamie is the one who has been trying to get this workshop to happen for a number of years. She did, it did happen and was nearly perfect.

At Tilley Foster Farm there is an effort under way to save endangered breeds of some of the domestic farm animals that came over to the Continent with the settlers. I'm not sure about these two guys, but they were very entertaining to watch. Must have been something very interesting... or very tasty down in that mud. Either way, they can have it!

This is the Putnam Arts Council's building (red building top photo and photo above) containing their gallery, office and studio space. They were wonderful people who's goal in life is to foster and promote the arts in their county and region. My hat's off to them and a big 'Thank you' too. They are about to loose this location and that's a real shame as it's a perfect location for a workshop like mine. Come to find out, this was a first for them, to host a week long workshop. I hope we made a good impression for the future.