Thursday, August 4, 2011

Working on another commission

Wrapping up the final version of a painting for Vintage Hill Cellars, Spokane, Wash.
The view is Sentinel Gap on the Columbia River, Maybe a bit south of Vantage, with some foreground changes for the composition.
This one presents some interesting challenges, such as I have in effect never been there. I culled a bunch of reference images from websites of the vineyards Vintage Hill goes to for their appellations, I live in a similar climate zone. I've driven through the area, and even lived in Spokane as a child, but never been in the vicinity at this time of year, time of day.
I also don't have recent contact with a grapevine, so I'm reaching back to some well-aged memories of my Grampa's grapevines, and the batches he brewed in his basement in big glass carboys.
This is the third and final version. The first and second were acrylic on paper, and acrylic on canvas respectively, but this one is a full-sheet watercolor on 140lb Fabriano Artistico cold press.
Signed it this morning, after five months of work developing the composition and doing the studies and trials.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Heroic trees, looming skies

I've had a few images of this Laguna Beach pine beckoning from the reference picture files for a while now.
Yeah, it's one of those twisted tortured pines just begging to be painted standing up against towering clouds, bravely standing alone after the storm has passed.
So this is a first pass at the subject, and I think it calls for a bigger sky, less foreground.
Look up the work of Robert Marchessault. He's done a series of heroic trees against a huge sky with an appealing balance of detail and atmospheric mystery, contrast and soft blending of values. This one is a bit of a nod to his style. "Kumada" comes to mind.

Well, well, what have we here?

Socal tree scene for your consideration tonight:
I've had a run of palmettos in my sights for a few months now.
I successfully transitioned through one of those
quick-run-grab-the-freakin'-camera-BeforeThisGoesAway!!!! -moments. Went a little slack-jawed there, must have been the margarita.
Anyway, its another blazing sunset with those palms that are as common as fashion accessories in LA, this one dripping down the sky in gobs of blazing yellow, orange, pink, violet out of the deepest indigo to the east. So ends another day in paradise.
That's the setting for the source of this one. I decided to use the series of images for a Sierra Watercolor Society painting challenge. The society meets every other month, members can bring in work that answers a challenge: this one was a complete painting, dry paper to signature in under an hour.
This one is almost a formula. Very striking, but not really complex.