Friday, July 31, 2015

Day 19 : An Oil a Day 30 Day Challenge . . .

Day 19 : It's Not Far

Practice that turned out rather well.
I quickly sketched out the fields in black with a small brush then
I filled in the areas with color and left some of the trees in black and the darkest green.
Painting alla prima is freeing, I've found.
It is so easy to go back into an area that should be left alone and keep working it
 until it's a muddy mess.
With alla prima, you lay the paint and leave it alone.
Make the decision to paint and stick with that decision.
I think I made some good decisions here.
It's different and I have yet to decide if it's my thing.

Details : 8"x8"
Oil on canvas

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 18 : An Oil a Day 30 Day Challenge . . .

Day 18 : Highway to Custer

I'm not sure that this one is finished but I do believe I need to step back for the day.
I am always challenged to get the foreground right
(in my mind, anyway)
and this one has difficulty fading into the distance.
Add to that scene a ribbon of highway and it can get gimmicky.
I'm going to let this one rest for a while.
It's getting one-dimensional on me here.
I'll pull weeds out of my neglected garden and come back.

Details : 8"x24"
Oil on canvas

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 17 : An Oil a Day 30 Day Challenge . . .

 Day 17 : Fort Robinson Bluffs

Getting back into the 'one a day' swing again and feeling the burn.
Spring a year ago, Ed and I took a driving trip west from Lincoln into the Sandhills of Nebraska and on into the Black Hills of South Dakota, through the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Custer Parks and a few others.
I'm okay with people calling Kansas and Nebraska 'flyover states' and it seems to keep the riffraff out of the way while you enjoy the unbelievable scenery.
No mountains to get in the way of the view.
No people, no crowds, nothing but sky and grassland.
In west central Nebraska is an old US Army fort - Fort Robinson.
Here is where Sioux Chief Crazy Horse surrendered and died.
The Fort Robinson Massacre was here.
Here is the site of a German Prisoner of War camp during World War II.
Local farmers would come to the camp for field workers.
The place is infinitely fascinating with history and lately I can't get enough of it.
Something in my center makes me feel at ease in the grassland and prairies.
It is hard to imagine the prairies treeless but you can read My Antonia
 and get a wonderful description of Nebraska through Willa Cather's eyes. 
Trees were brought in by settlers and people walking their way to the West, 
hoping to make homes.
Buffalo Soldiers were stationed here.
There are good things about this area and bad things - all concerning the Red Cloud Agency, Sioux, Lakota, and Cheyenne - and most definitely there can be sadness felt here.
I'm deeply moved when I'm out here and can't drink it in fast enough.

Details : 12"x12"
Oil on canvas

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day 16 : An Oil a Day 30 Day Challenge . . .

Day 16 : Seward July

Yeah, I took a break.
Not that I wanted to.
It was kind of forced on me by first my sinuses and then my intestines.
I won't go into more than that.

Here I start in once again at Day 16 with a quick and light summer scene.
From the Seward, Nebraska Airport, I can see a far off farm.
Looking so clean and tidy and bright from a mile off,
sultry summer clouds building and dying, building and dying.
Milo is yellow/green with heads ready to turn rust soon.

Details : 6"x6"
Oil on canvas

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 15 : An Oil a Day 30 Day Challenge . . .

Day 15 : Rising

Since life seems to be getting in the way of the last 15 days of my challenge,
I've taken to reworking my first few paintings.
A good thing.
I still get to paint only in smaller time blocks
I improve on the earlier works where I was experimenting with brushstrokes and color.
This one had a weird row of field-like mess along the bottom.
That's gone, the painting turned upside-down.
Turquoise and Cobalt Blue mixed on the canvas.
In these hot days of July we feel heat rising from the cut wheat fields.
Above the ground - rising.

Details : 12"x12"
Oil on canvas

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 14.9 : An Oil a Day 30 Day Challenge . . .

Day 14.9 : Mona Lisa
I am several days off schedule with my Oil a Day 30-Day Challenge.
Life kind of got in the way for a while there.
And it's going to be in my way for the next two weeks.
But I swear I'll get back on it as quickly as I can because 
I love the time I dedicate to these paintings.

I have renamed this painting Mona Lisa.
I just could not make myself like the grassy areas of the first painting
and I had to get back into it with a second attempt instead of
letting it drive me nuts.
Mona Lisa because I have to believe that DaVinci did no always achieve
intended results with the first attempt.
That maybe, just maybe, there is another crappy version of 
Mona Lisa beneath the beautiful Mona Lisa.
Maybe one where the background was wrong or one where her eyes looked
crossed or her smile was off. Maybe she had buck teeth. Who knows.
I just believe that there are fabulous artists out there who
have stared at their 'finished' works and thought,
So I got back into it last night and made changes to the foreground.
Oh, I'll try the other again with the disappearing fence line but for now, 
this works.

Details : 12"x24"
Oil on canvas