Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grand Pinyon

24 x 30 oil on alkyd primed canvas. Click on photo for larger image.

I don't know if anyone else has ever had a painting that will just not lay down, but this was my experience with this one. I started this piece back in March and could not for the life of me have it look anything but contrived. This canvas has been on and off the easel countless times and set aside in utter frustration. Just because I am stubborn, I refused to give up. I fiugured the reason why it was not working was because there was something missing in my painting toolkit that I needed to learn. I imagined it to be important enough that I was willing to contimue to dust off and make another run at the canvas until I had something that was working. It remains to be seen if what I learned from this experience will affect my work. It is no Curt Walters by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I don't feel completely defeated.

What did I learn? Values and temperature are the only way a scene like this can be even remotely believable. Pretty simple tools, but the canyon will bring to light any weakness in this department.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pinion Pine and Couple of HooDoos

20 x 24 oil alkyd primed canvas.

On our way back from the Paint the Parks exhibit in St. George, my wife and I spent a couple of days in Bryce Canyon National Park. One evening prior to turning in I went for a short hike along the rim trail to watch the sun go down. I was quite literally stunned to watch the display unfold. There were some great old trees along the trail that gave evidence that this canyon is continuing to evolve. The ground would erode away and leave these old pines with the feeling that they had been constructed on stilts. This tree in particular caught my attention, but the setting and the background left plenty to be desired. I also wanted to include a couple of hoodoos to give it a more honest sense of place. That ended up being a challenging element to fit in because of the strong graphic nature of those rock formations. This painting is put together from about four difference reference photos with a good bit of it made up. I am still deciding if I am done picking at it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Zion Juniper

18 x 24 oil on alkyd primed canvas. Click on image for larger view.

I haven't had much time to do any painting as of late. I had a commission that I have had on the easel for the last month with alot of interruptions. I was asked to speak at the St. George Art Museum for their art conversations because of the paintings that I have on tour with Paint the Parks. This year I was awarded the distinction of a signature member of their organization. When I looked at the map, I saw that the city of St. George was just outside of Zion National Park. I got a chance on the way back to spend a couple of days hiking Zion and a couple of days hiking Bryce Canyon. I saw a bunch of trees that caught my attention and this is the first chance I have had to make a painting from any of the reference. This is a Utah Juniper. I have been fascinated with these old trees and the evident struggle for life in their trunk structure. I came back with a little over 500 photos, and I am still combing through them to see what I want to say about these places.