Saturday, September 28, 2013

En Plein Air: Meloy Hay Co. on Buckingham Road, Lehigh Acres

Oil 9 x 12
It was an interesting morning. I was grabbing something to eat for my breakfast as the weather man on TV was reporting the sunrise time was 7:19 AM. After that, I loaded my painting kit into my car and hit the road. On Joel Blvd., I saw a patrol car on the roadside in distance with its red-white-blue lights blinking on the top. I thought to myself there must be an accident down there. When I got closer, there was no accident. As soon as I passed the patrol car, he got back on the road and followed me. So I made a right turn and stopped on the road shoulder. The cop came and said, "You should have turned on your headlights." I responded, "The traffic regulations require headlights on before the sunrise which was 7:19AM today. And Now it is 7:30 AM. Besides, don't you feel the sun is now glaring into your eyes?" He smiled, "I just gave you a warning. That's all." O.K. Maybe it was kind of boring to him early Saturday morning.
Originally I planned to paint a tractor and a crane in the field on Highway 80. Several times I passed the spot and felt the basic yellow color scheme could make a good picture with their reflections in the swampy water. When I stopped my car on the roadside and looked at the scene again, I realized that I was in a disadvantaged lower position compared with what I saw in the car. Besides, the road shoulder has so many anthills that I felt like walking into a mine field. Therefore, I went back to my car and kept driving on Route 80.
As I was nearing Buckingham Road section, I remembered the Hut I painted before. I immediately turned into Buckingham and heading for the Hut. Before long, I saw on my left-hand side the land became open and wide-spread. I saw some farm machinery and dilapidated shacks. I was so happy to see this place and followed the dirt road. The picture took only an hour and a half. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Alla Prima painting: Yolanda

Oil 16 x 20

Yolanda was the model who posed for us at Punta Gorda VAC Portrait Studio. She is a restaurant manager. I forgot which one. As usual, nothing could get seriously into my ears whenever I am painting. I know it is helpless if you want me to remember the conversation at studio. If there is something I happen to catch, chances are that is something I heard during the break.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today's Painting: Hideout (Acrylic)

Acrylic 10 x 20
Each morning when I bike, I have to stop by at the swamp on Wheeler Road and stare at it for a while. I think swamp is a fascinating world in which the real objects are intertwined with reflections in such a way that their juxtaposition  makes it so easy for us to be mesmerized and step into a surreal hallucination created by our own imagination. No wonder Monet could even ignore the form of the objects in order to wander in his world of color.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Today's Painting: Two Horses and a Llama (Acrylic)

Acrylic 10 x 16
On my biking route, there is a farm. Once I tried to meet its owner but the neighbor said he seldom came. The animals simply roamed around on their own. They were very friendly to me. Whenever I stopped by, they would come towards me and stayed behind the fence watching me for a while even if they had to walk across the farm from the other side. Maybe they felt lonesome. Morning is always beautiful. The colors are brighter when everything is moist with dews and sparkles in the sun.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Today's Painting: Roadside Weeds in the Morning (Acrylic)

10 x 16
As I promised myself, I have to resume painting in acrylic. With acrylic, I often had had problems with color transition. Today I used a lot of fan brush and, when I mixed colors, I added glycerin as a water retarder. It worked well with me. Hope you like it. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

En Plein Air: Harns Marsh, Lehigh Acres, FL

I went to Harns Marsh this morning. There was nobody there. I was impressed by the vastness of the area around the blocked dirt road. I wanted to paint the impression. Therefore, instead of the size of 9 x 12 panels which I usually used for plein air painting, I went back to my car trunk and found a 14 x 18. I planned to paint the picture in 10 x 18 and would cut the rest of the panel when I got home.

Later, a bird-watcher came. he parked his car on the roadside and went across the road block with his binoculars hanging from the neck. In about an hour and half, he came back and told me that even though I was not allowed to drive my car beyond the road block, I could walk beyond and there was a lot to see inside. Maybe next time I can put my guerilla painting kit in my backpack and walk deep into the marsh to paint.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alla Prima Prtrait: Jamie

Oil 16 x 20
It is Punta Gorda VAC's Portrait Studio day. Jamie was our sessions' model. She is our fellow artist John's daughter. Half way through, I asked some of my fellow artists nearby during the break, "Why does she look pretty stern in my picture? Is it because of my angle?" My friends responded, "We were just talking about it. We felt the same way." I guess maybe that was the popular impression of her personality. However, I did soften her cheekbones a little. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

En Plein Air: Gulf Marine Ways Boat Yard

Oil, 14 x 18
This morning I discovered the Gulf Marine Ways Boat Yard was a very paintable place. Unfortunately what I did wasn't very satisfactory. Maybe I was a little too bookish. Dalessio always advised students to paint facing the sun so that it would be easier to control the value of the painting. That is why I chose this boring composition. When I was home, I was not happy with the composition and the value in the picture, I used a 14 x 18 panel to redo it. I tried to retest the principle that area of interest should be in the upper part of the picture. Actually I placed it lower than the central line. I don't feel it is out of balance. I tried to express the clouds in the early morning, but didn't save enough space. Just a study. I painted two times on the same day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Today's Painting: Red Pine Needles

Acrylic 10 x 16

For quite some time, I've been double-minded. Among all the media, I like oil the best. Especially after I made my own guerilla outdoor painting kit, I kept using it. However, in the back of my mind, I knew that my acrylic palette was drying. Since the end of the painting class at FGCU in spring, I have never touched it. I still have many acrylic paint tubes and I hated wasting them. So today, I finally decided to open it and to use it. This scene was on my biking route and was very common in the morning when the sun rays cut through the pine trees and made shining stripes in the woods. The pine needles on the ground glowed with a reddish orange color, very eye-catching. The orange color was reflected up to the leaves and sort of neutralized the dark green foliage of the trees, making it much warmer. After this painting, the comfortable feeling with acrylic came back to me and I think I will keep using it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

En Plein Air: First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Myers

Oil, 9 x 12
Originally, I planned to paint Louis St. just under the I-75 Highway Bridge over the Caloosahatchee River. I was told and also saw in Google map, it was beautiful there. Unfortunately, I didn't get there. First, there was an 18-wheel truck jack-knifed on the road and blocked the traffic. After everybody circled around it, I found the place didn't look like Google Map indicated. I stopped a forth-coming car to ask. The driver told me that it used to be really beautiful but someone bought the river-side property and it has been fenced in. No-one could get there any more. Therefore, I continued driving on Highway 80/Palm Beach Blvd. until I hit Centennial Park. I didn't want to paint boats again. Remembering the church I passed by before, I decided to paint it today.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Alla Prima Life-Size Portrait: Artist Marilyn

Oil 20 x 16
Marilyn is a Punta Gorda artist. Actually she is the mother of the 10-year-old girl Kelsey who posted for our portrait studio the previous week.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

En Plein Air: Docked Sailing Boat

Together with some Ft. Myers Beach artists, I went this morning to the dock right outside the Seafood Restaurant, Fort Myers Beach. It was a shrimp boat dock. There happened to be a sailing boat docked there.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Color Study III: Caressing of the Morning Sun

Oil 9 x 16
That was an interesting experience. This morning when I went biking, I remembered to take my camera with me. Recently I tried to form the habit because too often I ran into a great view but I was regretfully unable to do anything except stopping to watch it for a while and make an effort to memorize the color and light relationships. On my way back home, I took a picture of the view. I practice the three elements of color this afternoon by simply using my palette knives. I didn't start using brushes till very late. Over the process, I took pictures at different stages as a reminder for myself in the future. I posted them below to share with you.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Kelsey

Oil, 20 x 16
Kelsey is a 10-year-old young lady, a little chubby but lovely. Her mother is an artist. Kelsey was Punta Gorda's portrait studio's model this morning. Whenever I paint children, I always caution myself to remember first thing first because usually their patience is limited and can't sit for long without fidgeting. I think I have trained myself well enough to have the ability of painting people in their natural state, namely, they can talk or move around naturally instead of sitting motionlessly like Abraham Lincoln patronizing photographers. Children are after all children. Kelsey, as I had expected, began to feel not very comfortable during her second sitting, so we shortened the time for each sitting to 15 min. The length of break time was not strictly observed, since we understood she needed more time to recover the courage for resuming the rigid sitting. So I am not sure if the painting actually took as long as two hours. It's funny that I often did better if I was pressured for time. Maybe it was because I consciously had to cut off unnecessary trivial details. As a matter of fact, one of  the principles in art, that is, less is more, happened to be advertently reinforced this way.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

En Plein Air: Outside Doc. Ford Rum Bar & Grill, Ft. Myers Beach

Oil, 11 x 14
It was still cloudy around 8 AM in the morning. I went to Ft. Myers Beach. Again I got off the road right before the bridge and went under it. I set up on a dock at Gulf Star Marina. It was a quite and cozy corner until the sun came out of the clouds. I had my umbrella with me so I had the painting in its shade. All docks were empty. Maybe people were still tired from Labor Day. I sort of liked it because the docks formed an interesting group of lines of different lengths which unified the whole picture. While I was painting, I did hear some splashing noise from the water. I thought it was fish. To my surprise, One of the sailors who happened to carry something to his boat which was outside my picture told me it was a dolphin. How nice! I learned a lesson. When I opened my umbrella, there was almost no wind, not even breezes, so I became lazy and didn't weight down the tripod with my heavy paint box. Right before I started to wrap up, the wind knocked the easel off balance. Fortunately, there was not much damage and I could easily fix it.