Wednesday, April 30, 2014

En Plein Air: the Wooden Bridge over the Creek (Oil, 12 x 9)

This is a bridge at Dennis and Rocky's farm. I tried to express the subtle difference in light when the sun went through the foliage in the woods.

En Plein Air: Daybreak in My Backyard (Oil, 8 x 10)

I've long been yearning to paint either daybreak or night scenes since I read about how Frederick Remington studied color in order to paint Western night scenes. I have been observing daybreak or night scenes for some time. This morning I woke up early and realized it was a good opportunity to paint daybreak. I also know how quickly the lighting would change, so this paint I completed really in very short time.

Monday, April 28, 2014

En Plein Air: Monday Morning at Gulf Coast Town Center (oil, 10 x 8)

Like usual, it was quiet and slow on Mondays at mall, especially in the morning. When I got there, I saw only clerks and workers busying themselves with preparation for business to open. Maybe you have guessed where I stood. Yes, it is the entrance to Dick's Sports Goods. I fortunately set up under the corridor cover with a huge column which happened to block the sun from my eyes. The green cover for customers in the open-air is Aurelio's Pizza. I forgot the name of the bar in front ground. Toward the end of my painting, a mother and her child came to sit outside. I added them to the picture. It took me longer than usually because it was difficult to handle values of objects with the shining sun in the back.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

En Plein Air: Wheel Barrow under the Tree (Oil, 10 x 8)

It was a prefect day with clear sky and cool temperature. The orange-color wheel barrow looked pretty bright, especially in the sun. The process went smoothly. Of course, I could have added more details, but as a plein air study, I tried to understand the contrast between directly lighted area and shaded background.

Friday, April 25, 2014

En Plein Air: Foggy Morning and Breakfast

The fog was really heavy this morning, but I knew it would not stay long. After I set up, I had to hurry. The painting took not quite an hour. After I was done with the first one, I painted the horse. With the animal constantly changing its position, I had to rush, too. So it also took less than an hour.

Foggy Morning
Oil, 10 x 12

Oil, 8 x 10

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Lisa (Oil, 20 x 16)

It was Punta Gorda VAC portrait studio day. Today's model was Lisa. I don't remember whether I painted her before. Her face looked familiar but I don't see her portrait in my past works. Possibly, she came to pose for us when we needed two models and I painted the other one. I tried to use a more subtle approach but obviously I was not successful in breaking the bondage of my habitual routines. Anyway, not bold enough. I know I need to constantly remind myself of doing quick strokework. Some effects you can get only when you are driven by a subconsciously purposeful eagerness.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

En Plein Air: the Stable of Dennis and Rocky (Oil, 10 x 16)

I believe I've hit a jackpot, that is, Dennis and Rocky's hospitality. I went their beautiful home again this morning. Dennis offered to show me around the horse farm behind their house. When we are under the thick foliage of the woods, I saw numerous shafts of sunlight shoot through leaves like hundreds of flashlights making lighted spots on grass, bushes, or water. It was so beautiful! We further went to his friend's and neighbor's orange grove, goat farm, and their seclusive spot for relaxation on the creek. Wow, this is the right place for pelin air painting. I am sure you'll see more paintings I make of the place. What I made today is a corner of their stable.

Monday, April 21, 2014

En Plein Air: Country Road (oil, 12 x 16)

You may have guessed that it was Tuchahoe Road. Indeed, I went there again. Today, I drove all the way to the road end. On my way there, I ran into the black cowboy Burddie again. This time I did notice there was a pair of Texas long horns fixed on the nose of his truck. He stopped his vehicle on the roadside. When we both stopped side by side next to a large fenced-in horse farm, we both winded down our windows. I asked him who the owner was of the horse farm and if I could go there to paint. Burddie said he didn't know whom it belonged to, but told me there should not be any problem for me to paint there so long as they knew I was  a friend of "black redneck Burddie." I expressed my thanks and believed he must be pretty well-known in this area.

When I was setting up at road end, a couple living on the roadside farm came out to see me. They are very nice and friendly. their names are Dennis and Rocky. Both retied. Dennis was a retired police officer. When I was done with the painting, they invited me to their farm. They had built a bridge over the creek. Dennis showed around his farm. We didn't go deep down into the woods. Dennis told me that next to his property was an orange grove on Highway 80. He told me he would tell its owner about me so that I could not only paint on his farm, but also go into the orange grove to paint. I was really lucky to have met with such a friendly couple and have the opportunity to further explore the beauty of that area.

As you may notice, I made the mailboxes the center of interest in the painting. I tried to express the shimmering effect of light by softening the color with a fan brush. when I was completed, I felt I overdid it a little. Just an experiment.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

En Plein Air: Docked Unknown Schooner (oil 10 x 16)

I believe I painted her before and Woody has moved her to the current dock. Viewing from the covered dock, I liked the curves of her body. Tried to hit on her but couldn't find her name.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Talon (oil, 20 x 16)

Thursday, it was Punta Gorda VAC's portrait studio day. Two students from Edison College posed for us as models. I happened to set up for the handsome young man named Talon. He said he was doing general study for now and eventually he planned to get into art major. Good luck, Talon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

En Plein Air: Woody's Covered Dock (Oil, 12 x 12)

It was pretty cool this morning with a breeze though for most part it was overcast.  I wore a jacket at first, but had to take it off towards noon. Before I left home, I took Cutter bug spray with me and, also, I sprayed my shoes with Home Defense. This way I would not be bothered by ants. Yesterday evening I felt an itch in my ankles and noticed two small blisters which obviously resulted from ant bites.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

En Plein Air: Entrance to Dale's Cattle Farm (oil, 9 x 14)

Again it is a scene along Tuckahoe Road. I happened to meet with Dale mowing the lawn on roadside.

Monday, April 14, 2014

En Plein Air: Beatrice's Truck (Oil, 10 x 16)

I went to Tuckahoe Road this morning and painted Beatrice's old truck. It was a beautiful morning. I set up behind a mulberry tree by her vegetable garden. I like the way the pick-up was tilted. When the calf came into the picture, I had to switch and catch its image first before it left the site. As they did before, other members of the friendly family came to watch me paint and we had pleasant conversation.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

En Plein Air: Mr. Wakefield's Old Residence (Oil on Canvas Panel 12 x 16)

When I drove down the trail this morning, I thought Mr. Wakefield still lived there. By the time I saw the building, I realized that he had long before moved to heaven. You could tell the age of the house by the way the house now leaned on one side with oak boughs growing across over it, almost shading the whole dilapidated house from the sun.Still, there was a kind of beauty about the view as the sunlight shot down through the cracks in the foliage and made the weeds shimmer softly under the dark green vault of leaves. Some unknown trees by the the house were faithfully blossoming and bearing a kind of fruit which looked like wild berries.

Friday, April 11, 2014

En Plein Air: Alison and Beatrice's House (Oil on canvased panel, 11 x 15)

 I went to bucolic Tuckahoe Road again this morning and, as planned,  I painted Alison and Beatrice's house, which their brother Ray told me was built in 1910 by their grandfather. I like the rustic simpleness of the house. In order to break the straight line of the highway, I added in the picture half of my car on the road shoulder.

The whole family came out to watch me paint. To honor Beatrice's request, I added her kitten in front of the house though it was too small to see clearly. They told me that down the trail by their house, there was another rustic house in which a guy named Wakefield lived. The name immediately reminded me of Oliver Goldsmith's the Vicar of Wakefield. Should I meet Dr. Primrose and his family down the road? I laughed to myself. I love to paint this area. I definitely will come again and again to paint horses, Beatrice's 20-year-old pick-up with body and trunk different in color, and many many more. While I was painting, I finally met Roger and his wife Amy who happened to drive by. They stopped to watch and we introduced each other. They did mention that Burdie left a voicemail on their phone about me. They invited me to paint their farm and assured me that the two dogs just looked fierce but would not attack people. I met quite a few friendly folks there. A guy driving a truck with a horse trailer asked me for my card. I guess I have found wonderful topics to paint in that area.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Stephanie ( Oil on Canvased Panel, 20 x 16)

It was Punta Gorda VAC's portrait studio day. Today's model was Stephanie who was a professor of women study. It was the first time that Stephanie posed for us. She said she came to pose for us because she was impressed by the portrait I made of Jessica last week. When she said that, I remembered that toward the end of our session last Thursday she came to the exhibition hall. She did make a comment on the portrait of Jessica. I don't remember what she said as I was busy packing things. Anyway, I felt flattered. Maybe she didn't quite like her own portrait. I think I made her look stern.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sketches and Plein Air Painting

I made a mistake yesterday that I decided to go out to paint in the afternoon instead of in the morning. When I saw the skies were overcast and the weather person said there was rain in this area so I stayed home. However, later, it was said the rain was mainly in the northwestern part of Lee County and I told myself that maybe we didn't have rain here where I lived. So I took a chance and called my friend Woody, telling him that I would like to paint around his docks. Before I could set up to paint a small boat in his covered dock, it began to rain. Reluctantly, I hopped back into my car, headed home. When I came to Tuckahoe Rd. intersection, I impulsively turned left onto the side road. It was a road without outlet. Even now I don't know why I did it. Possibly, I felt I didn't want to make a fruitless trip and go back home empty-handed. The road had had such a mysterious effect on me that deep down inside I might have a desire to explore it.

I drove along the narrow road with little traffic. If there had been a vehicle coming from the opposite side, we might have to drive with one-side wheels on the road shoulder in order to make room for each other. I passed the sign saying "Limit of Lee County Road Maintenance" and immediately I noticed the road was not surfaced further down. By then, it began to pour and I decided to make a U-turn so that I would not be stuck in mud or something. In spite of that, I realized how beautiful the area was and dogeared the place in my memory.

When I got home, not satisfied with the fact that nothing had been accomplished. I turned to my computer and found a video clip from Croquis Cafe. I made a few one-minute and one 2-minute sketches with a writing marker and felt better about the afternoon, but the 5-minute drawing didn't go well with the writing marker. The following are just the 1-minutes and 2-minute.

This morning, it was a perfect sun-shiny day, not hot or humid at all. After breakfast, I drove to Tuckahoe Road and stopped my car on roadside and set my my easel. the farm belonged to Beatrice. When I was painting, I met her sister Alison and later her brother Ray. They were all very nice and didn't mind if I went back to paint there again. Later, a white pony came. His name was Lily, according to Alison. I made a mistake by setting up my easel too close to the fence, so curious Lily stretched over the fence and picked up my brush container with his mouth. he caused such a mess that my brushed were cast all over the ground. When I bowed down to pick them up, Lily began to nibble my straw hat. "Oh, please..." I had to take care of him while painting. In the middle of my painting, an African-American cowboy Berdie stopped his truck and came to see my painting. He told me that down the winding trail behind me there was a beautiful horse farm. The owner's name is Roger. Berdie said to me, "Tell Roger that you are a friend of n----- redneck Berdie." It was very nice of Berdie to tell me about the farm. I did drive down the trail and tried to know Roger. Of course, I have stayed in the south long enough to know that the use of the n-word that way is African-Americans' privilege. However, I didn't have the chance to introduce myself to Roger. Two fierce dogs stopped me from getting out of the car as I was nearing his house.

I know I was inspired today by Australian artist Colley Whisson. Many people consider him a tonalist. It is true that Whisson handles values very accurately. Personally I believe he is also a colorist who, like Calvin Liang keeps an excellent balance between value and color. The following is his website. He has a peculiar way of painting, that is, throughout the painting process, he uses almost only wide, short-handle wall-painting brushes. He handles it so well that I could see how he benefits from the use of wide brushes. he is very generous with his video clips on the website. You'll enjoy watching them. Again, today's painting took one hour and a half.

Hay Stacks at Beatrice's Farm
Oil, 12 x 18

Sunday, April 6, 2014

En Plein Air: A Swaying Small Boat (Oil, 12 x 12)

After reading the whole morning, I felt an urge to paint. So right after lunch, I drove to Owl Creek Boatyard, which I haven't painted for quite some time. I met and had a chat with a gentleman named Ted, who lived in Colorado but docked his yacht in Alva, FL. He planned to sail his boat through Panama Canal and eventually dock it in Seattle. Wow, what an exciting voyage it must be! I wish I could do that, too.

Later, I walked around the place and decided to paint a small boat tied to the cabin on water. Don't mistake it for Ted's yacht. If you are able to sail this small boat to Seattle, you are creating a world record, I think. The boat swayed back and forward in breeze like a dog on leash. The view reminded me of a line from a famous Chinese poem written in Tang Dynasty. I painted the cabin before. The whole thing took an hour and a half. Like the one I did yesterday, I tried to push myself to paint fast.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

En Plein Air: Friends on Mrs. Foter's Farm (Oil 11 x 18)

Recently I noticed there was water in my bathroom. I didn't know where it came from and felt devastated. The plumber didn't think it was a plumbing problem. It didn't seem to be coming from the roof. Finally I called the insurance company. An inspector was sent to check the problem.While further inspection was needed to locate the leak, I felt I needed to do something to take my mind off the awful situation and do something that would give me a break. Therefore, I loaded my car with the painting kit and hit the road. 

I drove along the N. River Road till I saw Mrs. Foster's farm. I painted her farm a few times before. Mrs. Foster was so nice that she told me that I could come anytime and didn't have to call her beforehand or knocked on her door to get her permission. So I did exactly what she told me. Only her daughter Don came out of the house and said she remembered me. 

I saw a horse, a bull, and a cow were grazing on a hay stack in the shade. I quickly stopped my car and pulled things out to set up. I was eager to put into practice what I learned from Californian plein-air master Calvin Liang's teachings. Calvin Liang is a Chines-American artist. I am very much impressed by the way he handles the balance between tones and colors. What I did today was a quick oil sketch. It took only an hour or so. I didn't try to make my first layer thinner by adding medium as his student Jose describes Liang's initial steps in his workshop. Jose did such a good job in depicting Liang's approaches that I am going to list both Liang's website and Jose's blog below so that you know what I mean.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Alla Prima Portrait: Jessica (Oil 20 x 16)

I went to Punta Gorda VAC Portrait Studio today. We had two models: Gene and Jessica. Gene is our own member, a pleasant and active gentleman whom I painted before. You may find the portrait I made of him in this blog. Jessica is new, at least new to me. She is a college student in St. Pete. She said she planned to major in art. That is great, I think. Starving artists like us do perish fast. We need successors, of course.

I experimented a little in today portrait. Recently I have been studying quite a few portraits painted with dark background. I longed to create the portrait image with a strong sense of space and depth. The image would make people feel like being chiseled out of a black marble. Well, I didn't totally reach my goal. Possibly, I wasn't bold enough.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sketches at Dentist Office

I had a dentist appointment this morning. While waiting, I did the following two sketches.