Monday, March 26, 2012


Play has a bad reputation. It is seen as a waste of time. It is not. Play is a vital and necessary part of any intelligent creature’s life. The higher the intelligence the more important play is.
Pumpkin in Coffee

For most intelligent creatures play is an essential part of learning. It is a way of exploring both the limits of our environment and ourselves.

Play is an essential part of art. We need to explore both our media (materials) and our own creativity. Play is how we do it. We need to understand just what the art material can and cannot do, and how to combine them to get the results we want. Most people call this experimentation. And it is. But it does not have to be dull.

Bags of Candy
Take the color chart.


Work, right? Well yes, but that does not mean it cannot be fun. And should be. Doing both color charts and value charts should engage us. They should not be simple chores assigned by an evil task-master (art teacher). These charts should be how we come to understand and love our material.

Yes they are serious learning exercises, but more than that. We need to come to an understanding of just what is color, hue, tone. We need to play with the paints/materials to learn this.

Home Made Color Wheel

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Red Pears

Red Pears

Opps, I did it again.

No, not broke your heart, but bought fruit by how it looks, for its color. As subjects for a still life. It just captured my heart.

This week the produce was especially colorful. Maybe it is the fact that winter has finally broke here. The weather is cloudy and rainy but warming up. Things are starting to bloom. 

These absolutely gorgeous red pears, the red/green mangos, the acorn squash with it shiny dark green and a splash of yellow, how could I resist? And those red onions that are really a deep purple? How can you say no to them? And don’t get me started on peppers! More and more the regular grocery store is stocking more than just the green. Now we get the golden yellow and the bright orange.
The influence of the Spanish culture is really being felt in peppers. Where once you might only find a few jalapenos, we now have at least 6 different little hot peppers, each with their own fire, and color. It is enough to make an artist go broke! 

But at least once the painting is done you can eat them! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

And Now for Something Different

Not all landscape drawings and paintings need to be totally realistic. Many of the best are far from it. They give only the impression of the landscape. Or the idea or are simply inspired by and area. The idea takes on a life of its own.

In drawing, this is more than true. You are representing a landscape, but of necessity, editing and changing it. With pencils things are reduced to grayscale. With pen and ink, literally black and white, or simply tinted and stylized.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Greenbottom and Lotus Painting as of March 3

Painting the misty colors and feel of Greenbottom in mid summer haze it a challenge. I don’t want it to look foggy. It was hazy but hot and wet. So humid just walking through the air left you wet.

I am finally beginning to get some of the color and feel I want. The background was still too vivid and bright. I did paint a thin glaze of red over the background hills, which is beginning to take them down a bit.
Most efforts to “gray” them out left them looking rather rainy and cold not at all what is needed here.

The smaller canvas of the lotus is beginning to look like the flower and leaf, with the leaf half under the water.

For such shallow water it was remarkably dark. Totally shaded by the immense field of lotus.