Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014... The End!

Yes, I'm sad this is over.  What artist doesn't want a month to do Nothing but paint uninterrupted,  with orders (from self) not to let Anything stop them?  I feel very lucky that I was able to have a month like this. Painting isn't over, of course.  But choosing when to paint is how I will be proceeding from here on out.  And guess what?  It won't be those perfect, blue bird days.  I've come to enjoy the adversity that Nature throws at us.  But I've always known that, and have never been a fan of 'perfect' days.  'Perfect'... is a matter of personal taste.  Perfect is good for beach chairs and umbrella drinks, not for painting the moods of Mother Nature.  The hardest days, like when I was a little under the weather and thought I was coming down with the full blown winter cold and flu, and had to out in the 40-55 mph winds, are the days when there is nothing going on out there except lot's of sun and blue skies.  I will write more about all of this in time.

Today I went back to Sawhill Ponds near Gunbarrel.  After being tossed out of it's sister wildlife area yesterday, I was eager to walk back into it to explore the ponds.  These were all gravel pits at one time, now reclaimed as wildlife habitat.  Since I've lived here, they have not been full of water, but are this year.  And it's a real treat to be able to explore, observe and paint them.  The ponds there are full to the brim and the reeds, weeds, trees and brush are all looking wonderfully wild and like perfect nesting habitat for the many species of waterfowl that are already there pairing up.  Of course that means that hawks (evidence of a duck kill, a plucked duck, by a raptor greeted me first thing on the trail this morning), owls and other fur bearers, like the beavers, are having a nice life right now too.

I'm a BIG fan of wetlands, marshes, swamps and that kind of habitat.  This area of Colorado is not overflowing with that kind of habitat.  My favorite memories of fishing, hunting, exploring, and painting, during my years in Minnesota, are of plying my way around areas like the river bottoms between Wabasha, MN and Nelson, WI, on the lower Mississippi River in my canoe, or fishing boat.  This is where the cradle of so much of the marvelous bird life we have to see is nurtured and raised.  Everything, but a desert tortoise, loves wet, marshy lands.  I'm no exception.

Knowing the complexity of all of that vegetation is, I decided to make it a pastel day.  Reason is that with pastels I can really dive into all of the calligraphy, detail and textural qualities that is there.  It was an absolutely gorgeous morning, no wind, some clouds, sun.  The best laid plans...

About 3/4th's of the way through my first painting "Habitat 1", out of no where the freight train wind that barrels down the eastern slope of the foothills, hit me square in the back, sending my 'working' pastel palette and a pastel pencil container... flying!  It almost took my entire pastel easel and set up over the edge of the bank I was painting near.  The working palette, for those who don't know, is a separate palette that we use to put the pastels in that we are using on the painting of the moment.  Mine this morning had about 25 or 30 small pieces of pastel in it.  When the wind took it, it went into the weeds, where the pastels are perfectly camouflaged.  I found about half of them, but many were lost.  That's not as bad as having the entire pastel box blow over, but I was still pretty peeved.  I finished up that painting and fought the wind for dominance while packing up my gear, then hiked back to the van.

Big No No... never take your oil painting gear out of your vehicle just because you're not using it... or think you won't!  I left mine at home.  Whew...!  Drove back, picked it up, and went back to Sawhill for the rest of the day.  The wind had died down by now, could have used the pastels.  Murphy's Law firmly in place.  It was still windy some, so I was glad not to have to worry about dumping pastels again.

I decided that I was going to stand  in the same spot for the rest of the day, and paint portions of the wetland habitat that was in front of me.  It's so beautiful this time of year, but SO complex... it's almost scary.  Instead of trying to explain it all, that would be nearly impossible, and instead of taking the other approach and generically rendering it with big blobs of color, I really tried hard to pay attention to my 'impression' of what was in front of me, and to let my need to explain, leave me.  I had a ball painting this way.  Maybe, finally, on the final day, I have discovered something about myself and my painting that is going to make the entire month worthwhile!  It's worthwhile for many more reasons than just that.  But I feel like I had an epiphany today.  I have to think more about that before I try to really write it out, but will.

I want to thank everyone who has been following me along this month.  I know that there are many who I have not communicated with who are reading and looking in... Thank You!  And to all of you who've commented, purchased the paintings, and been wonderfully supportive... Thank You!  I'm not going to write much more right now, but will in the near future, about what I found out, what I learned, and more.

For now, it's been a fun way to spend February.  I'm going to miss it... but am looking forward to a more relaxed March, like you wouldn't believe!

Thank you again for looking in... Enjoy!

2-28-1 "Habitat 1"
Pastel - 8x10
SOLD

2-28-2 "Habitat 2"
Oil - 8x10

2-28-3 "Habitat 3"
Oil - 8x10

2-28-4 "Habitat 4"
Oil - 8x10
SOLD

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 27, 2014

Wait...Clone today too!  Truly a beautiful day in most every way.  I took a drive down to Boulder to the South Boulder Creek trail area early.  I think it was already nearly 40ºF by the time I arrived, with skies that were a mix of great clouds and blue sky, mostly clouds, but with a lot of open sky and sun shining on parts of the landscape.  To me, this is the best kind of sky for painting.  I love the mix of shadow and light on the land.

By lunch, however, the skies in that area had filled in, but I had 3 paintings done and was satisfied with the morning. After lunch, I wandered back towards Longmont, stopping at Sawhill Ponds, and then on next door to Walden Ponds.  Walden Ponds was just perfect for painting today.  So I grabbed the gear and started hiking into the park.  There were ducks and other birds all over the place, spring is certainly getting close.  To my delight, I found a wonderful wetland area, a pond created by beavers who were active very recently, judging by all of the downed trees.  I noticed that park personnel have skirted the remaining trees with chicken wire to stave off the busy beavers.  I saw paintings all over the place, and was eagerly anticipating spending the rest of the afternoon, until sundown, painting.

I started my 4th painting of the day, "Beaver Work", and was happily painting along, noticing bird watchers with spotting scopes all around the area.  About 10 minutes into the painting, a sheriff deputy comes hiking in and walks up to me.  I figured she was curious, wanted to see what I was painting, right?  NO... She says that "Technically, you're trespassing!"  I was shocked... I had walked around the lake from the main path, kind of on the heels of a lady with a spotting scope who was counting waterfowl.  I'm a life long outdoor sportsman, and have NEVER trespassed while hunting or fishing.  It's against my rules of behavior.  It's closed because the flood blew out the walls of most all of the ponds, and the trails are all blown out too.  So it's a danger issue, which I can understand.

Evidently, there are huge signs on the gates.  I saw one of these gates and signs on the way out... a steel gate, propped up on a trail, no connecting fence, just a lone gate (funny looking) with a very large yellow "Park Closed" sign attached.  She told me there were three of them I would have had to go past.  I told her that I did not go past even one, I came in on the shore of the lake, off of the trail, that I now know was open, so did not pass any gates.  Plus, there were at least 3 spotting scoped birdwatchers in there ahead of me.  But, so be it.  I had a nice talk with her about the park, looks like it won't be repaired for a year or more, at least.  Pella Crossing near me in Hygiene, isn't even on the repair slate so far.  The flood really wrecked havoc on the places that make this such a nice place to be able to experience the outdoors in.

I had barely blocked this painting in, about where it's still at, and was disappointed to have to quit.  She told me that I could take 4 or 5 minutes to finish up, pack up and leave.  I painted a few more minutes, took it to the point it's at here, all while she stood there and watched and talked, then packed up and she escorted me out. :)

It had a lot of possibilities... then it didn't happen.  And it won't, unless become a covert plein air painter!!!

Thanks for looking in... Enjoy!

2-27-1 "Over Flat Irons"
Oil - 8x10

2-27-2 "Creek Bend"
Oil - 8x10
SOLD

2-27-3 "Subtle Warmth"
Oil - 8x10

2-27-4 "Beaver Work"
Oil - 8x10

2-27-5 "Wigeon Whistles and Redheads"
Oil - 8x10

2-27-6 "Slate Light"
Oil - 8x10
SOLD
This painting was a very fast attempt at capturing a fleeting sun effect as it was slipping behind clouds for good.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 26, 2014

Wow!  Today was a day to clone!  I walked outside into slightly less than an inch of new snow on the ground, painted one painting before it was mostly gone.  For my second painting, I found a few little shadow patches of it left.  We nearly hit 50ºF today, and I hear tomorrow is going to beat that.

The first subject today caught my eye because of it's subtlety, close values with just slight shifts in color and temperature.  It looked like a large Impressionist painting... maybe Twachtman or Monet.  I did my Marc on it, but the scale of the it is barely honored by the size of canvases I'm painting on.  It's one that would be nice to come back to.  Which reminds me of something that I realized a couple of days ago.  That is that I haven't taken any photographs of the actual scenes I've been painting all month!  I could be regretting that, but I don't.  One of my goals in time, is to remove myself from the use of photo reference as far as possible.  It's been good to spend this month only painting from life.

Obviously, if I do work in the studio, I'll either have to use these studies or photos of the studies, if I don't have photo reference.  As I approach the end of this month, something tells me that it's going to be very hard for me to spend much time in the studio from now on.  While I've been razzed, in a friendly way, about choosing February, a less than 'nice' month weather wise, the benefit is that there isn't going to be much that is going to dissuade me from heading out to paint from now on.  I HATE the wind, but was out there in it.

Painting in winter has been part of me since I started painting landscape from life, going all the way back to the mid 80's in Minnesota, but I wouldn't say that I 'eagerly' leap out into the cold with a big smile on my face when the mercury starts falling south.. not until after this month.  I'm sad that the snow is probably gone for the rest of this month, maybe some on Friday.  Why?  Because it offers so many wonderful design opportunities, color and value contrasts... uh... when the sun is out.  If it's a gray day, it still affords some nice patterning to paint, but...  Frankly, I have realized that I prefer the sun.  So many days have been painted in the grayness of the overcast in winter, with snow.  I have boxes of them.  While everything is worthy of painting if the artist has the eye to turn it into Art, I prefer not to paint it much anymore.  It's offers such a limited range of color that I'm losing my interest.  The uniqueness is over for me... give me SUN!!!  But not clear blue skies... or other boring weather.  The month has shown me that I love, and prefer, adversity in the weather when I'm out there painting.  It's so much more interesting to work with, than beach chair weather.

Thanks for looking in... Enjoy!

2-26-1 "Snow On Haystack"
Oil - 8x10

2-26-2 "Golden"
Oil - 8x10
(I have already fixed the 2x2's... 2 trees x 2 snow patches in foreground.  These things show up on line when you don't see then in real life. )

2-26-3 "Ice Edge"
Oil - 8x10
SOLD

2-26-4 "Terra Rosa Path"
Oil - 8x10



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014

Ok... I've hit the subject matter "recognition" wall.  I started out eager to paint the sky this morning, thinking that would be good exercise for me to do, just paint clouds.  We had a great sky before 9 a.m..  That's when I painted the first one.  From then on, the atmosphere went slowly gray, ending in flurries.

Without sun for good light /shadow contrast, or snow for good patterning and value contrast, I was at a loss today to fill my quota.  The over all flat grayness of the day was tough to tune into and find anything that excited me at all.  I found three paintings, but it was a struggle to even find that many.  I think I drove around more today than I have all month.  Hopefully today was the wall and tomorrow I'll be on the other side.

I painted back out by my prairie dog buddies for the second painting, Prairie Dog Blues.  I named it that because while painting, an absolutely stunning Golden eagle slowly drifted overhead, causing a flock of magpies, and the prairie dogs to go nuts!  The eagle was fighting pretty good winds, yep, windy again.  So it slowly wandered in lazy 8's, back and forth over us.  For me it was a great experience.  For the critters in the area, a nightmare.  It floated off eventually as I watched it until out of sight about a half mile or more away.

The last one for today, That White Fence, was painted on the north half of 61st St.  The road I paint a lot on, that was in the heart of the flood disaster.  I picked a day when there was a solid train of large semis making their way down to the river to dump dirt.  It made painting a little unnerving.  It's a dirt/gravel road, it was a tight fit for us all.  I see this place all of the time, with this very long white fence going around the property.  I don't know what is in there, other than some farming, some trucking and who knows what else?  I'm glad I painted it finally.

Thanks for looking in... Enjoy! (Snow falling now)

2-25-1 "Huge Layers"
Oil - 8x10

2-25-2 "Prairie Dog Blues"
Oil - 8x10

2-25-3 "That White Fence"
Oil - 8x10



Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014

Today was an odd one.  The morning started with us under a heavy fog, one that limited visibility where I am to 1/4 mile or less.   As the sun began to make it's presence known, and the early morning temps dropped as they tend to do as it rises, hoar frost began to coat weeds and branches.  Within an hour, enough sun was making it's way through the moisture near the ground to change the color of the frost and vegetation to a warmer palette.  I began to see a neutral yellow/neutral purple complimentary color color scheme all around me.  By the time I had finished the first two paintings, the winds had picked up, cleared out the fog, but left a ground haze that added measurably to the atmospheric perspective, which I really like to paint.  That's when I painted "Haystack Wind", showing the view south from my studio, out past the 'goose pond' and Haystack Mountain and further on down the Front Range.  Thank the wind for the dust particles and weed seeds in that one!

Then all of a sudden, the skies were fairly clear, the wind was gone, and I painted 'Afternoon Lull'... which didn't last long at all.  The wind switch was thrown again, and the light became ultra dramatic in the afternoon. To the East the skies were a heavy slate blue-gray, the foreground to middle ground areas were a mix of areas in shadow, and areas being slammed by the western sun.  I jumped into my van and raced off to a road not far from away where I knew I could get an overview for many miles, all of the way to Lyons to the NW, and all the way to the plains past Longmont to the east.  While setting up, one of the bluffs north of Longmont was slammed with light while the rest of the landscape was pretty much in shadow.  I had a piece of Arches 'Huile' (oil) painting paper ready to go and spent about half an hour trying to grab just the simple statement of that light effect.  Normally, if I hadn't set the parameter for the 8"x10" size for this project, I would have grabbed a few 5x7 or 6x8 pieces of the paper and painted very fast color notes.  It was astounding!  BUT... the wind was being very nasty, knocking over my gear, getting sand in my eyes, and it was getting colder by the second.  So I said, 'enough'... there's always tomorrow.

I was thinking about how I decide what to paint, how to paint it, what to paint on, and what medium to use, each day.  Actually, I was beginning to wonder what the heck is wrong with me that I do that?  I have no idea why, nor do I endorse this method, but I would get bored to death, especially painting this many paintings consecutively, if I only used one type of surface, only used one medium, Only used one approach to painting, and only painted from a scripted view point.  There is something in me that won't allow me to do that.  As you've noticed if you're reading this blog daily or frequently, some days I am zeroed in on small sections of the landscape, somedays I paint broad views, but loose, or more tightly controlled.  Some days, some of the paintings I put up here are so much my interpretation that you couldn't go find the location, even though I could tell you exactly where I painted them.  There are days when I feel that to keep my level of interest up, I have to only use a little slice of reality as a kick off for the paintings I do of the area.  After all of the paintings this month, I am still discovering more to paint here, it's endless, in my little corner of Colorado.  But, I am being very creative with how I choose to express it all.  Even if I thought that was an odd way to be an artist, it's too late for me... :)

Thanks for looking in... Enjoy!

2-24-1 "Frost Fire"
Oil - 8x10

2-24-2 "Slow Burn"
Oil - 8x10

2-24-3 "Haystack Wind"
Oil - 8x10

2-24-4 "Afternoon Lull"
Oil - 8x10

2-24-5 "Prairie Dog Whistles in the Wind"
Oil on Arches Huile paper - 8x10

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 23, 2014

Today was a light day with only two paintings brought home to post.  I did a third, but ended up wiping it off.  I was goofing off with some things that I needed to get for the house, and I also think my body is saying "Hey, it's Sunday...!".  Oh well, it just means I'll make these two up in the next day or two.  My meals this month have mostly been grab and go, especially at night.  By the time I'm done with all the painting and blogging, I hardly feel like cooking, and am tired enough not to want to go out to eat.  I think I will tonight.

I went back to South Boulder Creek to paint the same spot as the first one from yesterday, but with a new light dusting of snow.  It was chilly, but nice.  The second one ended up being painted in my backyard.  Both are pastel on Wallis 'Belgian Mist'.  I'm including some pics of my pastel set up, some have asked about it.  It's made of inch plywood, and works like a popular manufactured one on the market.  Mine is larger and heavier duty than the commercial varieties, in part so that it will hold the large Dakota Traveler pastel box.  It works great, and is very stable when it's on that Monfrotto tripod.  I like this versus a pastel box that mounts on the tripod head.  For one, the weight of the pastels box with pastels is so great that you almost need an industrial strength tripod that comes with it's own transporter to support them.  I also like not having to worry that I'm not going to turn the wrong knob on my tripod head, and dump the entire box.

Thanks for looking in... Enjoy!






_________________________________________________________________________________

2-23-1 "South Boulder Creek"
Pastel - 8x10
SOLD

2-23-2 "Tree Mood"
Pastel - 8x10

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22, 2014

Today was the first day of the last week of this Leap Into February!  It was a nice day too, a little windy (surprise!), but overall a very, very nice day.  I took a drive to Boulder to paint along the trails on South Boulder Creek.  This area was under water in a serious way during the floods, but it's open now, not looking too bad, and full of people running, biking, and of course... walking their dogs.  The evidence of the flood is everywhere, weeds and brush in branches of bushes and trees 4' off of the ground.  That tells you how high the water was.  Much of the habitat along the creek has been washed away, but many of the large trees are still there, the smaller brush will grow back fast with all of the nutrients in the soil from the flood.  There is a lot of trail repair still to do.  Despite all of that, it's a great place to paint.

By the end of the day, and my last painting, the light went very flat, and cold, not my favorite situation to paint.  I did anyway, but might have been wise to call it a day at number three and get out of there.  I say that because with the failing light, what was in front of me was not appealing to my taste as a painter.  From experience, I know that if I'm not charged up about the subject, it will transfer as I paint.  Then again, there's something to sticking out a situation, many things can be learned.

We had snow falling in the foothills as I left the area.  There was a lot of drama to see to the west on my drive home.  That's what I love so much about this area.  As you've seen in the first three weeks, the weather here really does change constantly.

With that, I'll share what I did today.  Thanks for looking in... Enjoy!


2-22-1 "South Boulder Creek"
Oil - 8x10
SOLD

2-22-2 "South Boulder Creek 2"
Oil - 8x10
SOLD

2-22-3 "South Boulder Creek 3"
Oil 8x10
SOLD

2-22-4 "South Boulder Creek 4"
Oil - 8x10


Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014

Today was windy, but warmer, and that made all of the difference in the world.  In fact, it was much windier than yesterday, when I about froze, but we hit the upper 50's most of today.  I saw about 8 eagles in a park in town.  A couple of them were soaring, but moving backwards for a bit!  The ducks on the lakes didn't look like they were too happy to be floundering in the white caps either.

I went back to Sawhill Ponds right  away this morning, painted the 'Windy Shore', and said that's enough of that!  The cool breeze coming off of the water in 40 - 60 mph gusts was too much.  Thinking of somewhere that I could find a wind break, and still have something to paint, I headed back to the ranch, where I live.  There are several out buildings, a couple of old fences, and weeds and trees to paint.  It was the right choice.  The last three paintings were all painted in what is basically my backyard.

It's very likely that this month is going to end and there isn't going to be a "nice" day to paint!

Thanks for checking in...

2-21-1 "Windy Shore"
Oil - 8x10
©Marc R. Hanson 2014

2-21-2 "Backyard 1"
Oil - 8x10
©Marc R. Hanson 2014
SOLD

2-21-3 "Backyard 2"
Oil - 8x10
©Marc R. Hanson 2014

2-21-4 "Backyard 3"
Oil - 8x10
©Marc R. Hanson 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20, 2014

As my dad used to say, "If I was a betting man..."!  And, if I were, I'd take odds that on March 1st I wake up to blue skies, calm winds, 72ºF and 20% humidity, with birds chirping and some green beginning to show in the sunlit areas of the pastures.   Wait... that was a dream I had!  Never mind...

I had a plan today, to paint.  Actually, I'm going to make anyone who is reading this, and would like to paint more than they're able to due to what ever is keeping them from it... jealous.  Because that's the only plan I have had every day of this month.  Get up, have coffee, b-fast... and go paint!

What I didn't have planned, was to get so chilled today that I would find myself approaching being hypothermic.  Especially since I've had a fair amount of wintertime outdoor experience in the way of skiing (x-cty skiing and winter camping), hunting, fishing and of course... painting.  And especially since the temps today were not too low, mid-20's to mid-30's.  But it was the wind, that drove the chill right through all of the layers I had on.

I went to a near by wetland area and wildlife sanctuary pretty early this morning, after taking care of some personal and family business.  My thought was that since the winds were howling already, in the 25-30 mph range, with higher gusts, I would stay at this one location and paint all of my daily paintings there to save the hassle of loading it all up more than once.  By about 1:30 I had finished up 3 paintings, and thought, "Great, I'll get at least another one or two done.".  By the time the 3rd one was done, I knew I was colder than cold.  I was all set up, had the easel weighted with the bag of tire chains, the brush caddy weighted with a big rock, easel legs splayed out with a wide footprint to keep it from tipping over.  But I had been beaten up by the wind, and chilled enough to feel the need to go sit in my van with the heater, and radio, on to warm up my body.  Not just to warm the toes and fingers, I was chilled to the core.  I sat there for about 30 minutes, I still didn't warm up.  I thought "What the heck, I'll go do another one.".  But when I got out of the van,  I felt like I remember feeling when home sick with the flu in the past... I was shaking with chills, and couldn't stop.  After sitting in the warm van for a half an hour, I literally couldn't stand to be out of the van.  I may be crazy to be out there painting at times, but I'm not stupid.  I grabbed my painting gear, threw it in the van, and headed to the closest restaurant I could think of, to have a giant bowl of hot soup.  It helped, A LOT.

I tried one more painting in the late afternoon.  It just didn't work out.  I was miserable beyond normal.  That's including painting earlier in the month in -12ºF temps, and in the snow.  That felt warm, comparitively speaking.  I wiped out the last effort and accepted that I had a good day, and called it.

I just heard on the local weather that it's going to be as bad, or worse tomorrow.  We'll be looking at 40-50 mph gusts tomorrow.  I learned my lesson, and will take some "sitting in the van with heater on" breaks in between paintings.

Now I'm home, with more hot soup on the stove, and a glass of a good, blood warming, Malbec.  I'm satisfied with the effort today, even if it fell slightly short of my own expectations.

Thanks for checking in... Enjoy!

2-20-1 "Sawhill #1"
Oil - 8x10

2-20-2 "Sawhill #2"
Oil - 8x10

2-20-3 "Sawhill #3"
Oil - 8x10 
SOLD



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014

I'm buying a kite shop!  That's all I'm saying about that.

This morning, until about noon, it was gorgeous!  I can't wait to paint in March, April and May.  If it's going to be anything like what the last couple of days have been like, minus the wind, it's going to be fantastic painting!

I'm afraid that it was not a very news worthy day on the painting frontier.  Yes the damn wind was blowing hard, but other than that, pretty uneventful.  I think I'll leave it at that.  Other than to say that the last 6 paintings I've painted, yesterday's last two, and the four today, are painted on the acrylic primed hardboard.  I like the absorbency of this surface, for now.  I have all of the Centurion OP Dlx panels ready to go, and will probably be back to them tomorrow or the next day.  Like I mentioned yesterday or the day before, I am one who likes to change out materials once in awhile.  Especially when painting this intensely.  Keeps me on my toes because every surface has it's own peculiarities and ways it needs to be handled.

The last painting today was painted very fast, less than 30 minutes.  The wind had shown up and was blowing in full force.  I didn't have the interest in fighting the rocking of the panel holder for long, so I pulled up in my back yard, next to my studio, and painted it.

Thanks for checking in... Enjoy!

2-19-1 "Lightning"
Oil - 8x10

2-19-2 "Calm"
Oil - 8x10

2-19-3 "Goose Ice"
Oil - 8x10
SOLD

2-19-4 "Long View"
Oil - 8x10

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014

And I thought yesterday was windy!  I'm going to stop complaining about it, because one thing I've learned about the wind here, it may never go away, so I'm going to have to deal with it. 

This morning I just didn't think I wanted to stand out in it.  We awoke to gusts in the 30mph range and higher.  So I grabbed the acrylics and thought I may spend the day in the van, with the windows open, painting from it.  I did that for the first one this morning, couldn't stand doing it for many reasons, like being cramped and not being able to move my arms freely, so painted the rest of the day standing out in the crazy winds.  It was so windy that I used a cinder block hanging from my tripod, to steady it.  The wind kept unscrewing my panel holder from the quick release plate underneath it.  I've never have had that happen before!  

I painted two in the afternoon, had a good start on the 4th one of the day, but ended up chatting with some passerby's so long that by the time I returned to the painting, the entire lighting situation was gone... not just a little different... gone.  Considering yesterday's number of paintings, and the extreme conditions today, I decided enough was enough, and scraped the last one off.  

Funny thing is, even in all of this crazy, annoying, difficult to paint in weather, I always go home with a big smile on my face.  I mean, how much better can it be than spending all day, every day, out in Mother Nature trying to find a way to express how wonderful you feel she is???  It can't be any better!

You may see some sand and other debris in a couple of these paintings.  It will come off once the paint is dry.  Also, I painted these on acrylic primed hardboard today.  And will again tomorrow.  Not sure why?   I like to switch things up to keep it interesting. 

Thanks for checking in... Enjoy!

2-18-1 "St Vrain Farm"
Oil - 8x10

2-18-2 "Ditch Gate"
Oil - 8x10

2-18-3 "Animal Farm"
Oil - 8x10

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014

Another day of wind, but not quite as bad a wind as yesterday's was.  I was about to head out this morning when I realized that I was almost out of toned panels.  I had toned about half of the 120 that I purchased, and now was close to running short.  For what I'm doing this month, I like a dried, neutral toned surface to work into.  It saves the need to get the 'white' covered, it already is by the tone, and it means that I can scumble or apply direct color and any white showing isn't an eye sore.  I use Raw Umber and French Ultramarine Blue, and OMS, to do this.  Apply a wash of it, wipe it with a rag, then put them in the horizontal drying rack.  A rack that my friend and fellow non-stop, very good plein air painter... Rene Plein Air... kindly sent me.  It works Great!

At this point, every day begins with the challenge of 'what to paint?'.  I am not traveling to do this project, I paint in my neighborhood.  I haven't even traveled as far as Boulder, only about 8 miles away, to paint.  One of my goals in doing these kind of intense projects is to find out what I know about where I live, in my hood, and what the possibilities are for interpreting it with paint.  If I get in the van and head out all over Colorado, it's defeating my reason for doing this.  But... at times it's hard to see the possibilities near me.  Especially when the weather is 'blahhh'.

Today it started as blahhh... and before long the wind was an issue.   I decided that it was going to be hard to finesse a painting at all while being battered by the wind's irritating banging on my panel holder, again.  What to do?  First thing was to find somewhere to paint that wasn't as affected by the wind... my choice... Roosevelt Park... in the heart of downtown Longmont.  Okay, so it's a city park, not the most organic of places to paint.  But... it's surrounded by an older neighborhood, and it had a rose garden, albeit not real nice looking right now.

Location solved... My solution was to give myself a challenge.

These things I do, like switching up palettes, and today's challenge, are only taken on for my own education and advancement.  I'm not sure that they're good things for anyone to do, but I find that giving myself a job to do out there is an advantage for me and my growth as a painter.

I decided to set a time limit for my paintings today... thank goodness for iPhones.  I set a 30 minute time limit for each painting.  I started the timer, began painting, and when the horn went off, I put the brushes down.  These paintings are raw, only showing what I could do in the 30 minute time frame.  But what it showed me is so much more valuable than spending the day doing them.  It's an exercise in being in a place and finding a subject to paint, in making decisions without dilly dally, in getting to the big picture,  in putting down the essentials, and in being able to stop at the end of the painting period.  They're not completed paintings, they're quick impressions, but they're all very honest and accurate notes about what I was seeing out there today.  I painted 4 in Roosevelt Park in Longmont, then headed out into the country, where I thought the wind had died down (it hadn't), and painted 4 more.

Saw a nice fox and a rough legged hawk on a kill today... and a nice lady who thought it was nice to see "A Thomas Kinkade painting in their park!". :)

Thanks for stopping in... Enjoy!

2-17-1 "30 Mins #1"
Oil - 8x10

2-17-2 "Winter Rose Garden"
Oil - 8x10

2-17-3 "Roosevelt Park"
Oil - 8x10

2-17-4 "Winter Rose Garden #2"
Oil - 8x10

2-17-5 "Behind An Old Fence"
Oil - 8x10

2-17-6 "Flood Victims"
Oil - 8x10

2-17-7 "Hawk's Perch"
Oil - 8x10

2-17-8 "Ending"
Oil - 8x10
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