Saturday, March 28, 2009

Robert Burridge - Red at Night - Drawing Back Into the Painting

I often draw back into my paintings. I like using Derwent black 8B or Faber-Castell. I work these pencils either dry, then spray or brush with water - or I dip the pencil in water and continue to paint/draw all over the painting. This painting, "Red at Night" is acrylic on canvas.
It's part of my "No Full Disclosure" exhibit at the Mendocino Art Center.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Carol Marine - "Backlit"

Carol Marine - "Backlit" - bid

When I first set this up I thought - oh no that's way too difficult. But I really liked the light on the flower and the ground through the jar. So I did it anyway, and I'm really thrilled with how it turned out. My secret? Squint squint squint squint squint squint squint.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - Sketching Surfaces

Yesterday was my day to clean up all my oil gear. After this week's workshop, which is a plein air pastel class for the Sedona Art Center, Trina and I hit the road. I won't have the opportunity to paint in oil for another week or so. Both brushes and palette needed to be made ready for a week of storage and car travel.

Because I didn't want to throw away the bits of paint that were left on my palette, I decided to play with Judson's "Cartón Board." Last week, I had a student give me a couple of small samples. Here's what Judson says about the board:

"Toulouse-Lautrec and Vuillard used tan card stock for oil painting. This thin resin-sized card stock is far more permanent than that used by the famous painters of past centuries. Great undercolor for oil paintings."

I doubt the board is archival, but it's great if you just want to do some quick sketching. You can secure it with a few pushpins to a sheet of corrugated cardboard. The board is very absorbent, making it perfect for oilier paints.

We had a big windstorm yesterday - 55 mph gusts - but I found a sheltered nook to do the below sketch in.

"Stormy Villa"
6x6, oil

Michael Chesley Johnson -

PS Don't forget my art sale, Thursday and Friday (March 26 & 27), 2-5 pm at the Arts Center!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Libby Caldwell - Waiting Patiently

Oil on Canvas, 16 x 16

A child sitting at a table, sunlight reflected up from the white tablecloth creating a soft glow under her chin, waiting for her meal to be served...perfect subject matter for not only a journal sketch, but taken one step further it works well as an oil painting.

Robert Burridge - Small Interior Study

I continue with my small warmup series of acrylic paintings. My intention was to make a prominent focal point of color, neutral background and use the "golden section" composition.
My four accent points are: 1) dark blue spot of color on the bottom of the vase, 2) focal point of flowers - violet/pink spots of color, 3) chair back, and 4) dark square that "grounds" the chair.
The white table cloth pushes the table and vase to the forefront, the golden rectangle "doorway" makes the background, along with the chair recede.

Small Interior Study - 10x10 inches acrylic on paper.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Carol Marine - "Serene Green"

Carol Marine - "Serene Green" - 6x6in. - bid

I found this flower and more like it growing wild in my yard at my new house in Bastrop, TX. I love finding flowers outside because they can be so much more delicate and varied than what you can find in the store. Because of that they don't last as long picked and they are harder to paint (smaller parts) but still it such a joy to find and paint.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Creating Light - Michael Chesley Johnson

Creating a sense of strong light has to do with correct value and color temperature choices. Many people think strong value contrast alone does the trick, but it's not true. Temperature contrast also plays a part. In the demonstration pastel sketch below, not only did I keep my lights well-separated from the darks, I kept the shadows considerably cooler than the lights. I started off with a red-violet underpainting for Cathedral Rock and then layered more neutral browns and greens over it - but still keeping the color cooler than the sunlit greens and "rim lighting" along the edge of the rocks.

By the way, there are still a couple of spaces in my pastel plein air workshop next week Also, in conjunction with the workshop, I am hosting a two-afternoon "art sale" of my work.  The sale will consist of both framed and unframed work, oil and pastel, and of all sizes.  Dates are Thursday, March 26, and Friday, March 27, from 2-5 pm.  Work will be displayed in the Theater Classroom.  Come down and see some of the work I've been posting.

"Cathedral Rock Sketch"
5x7 pastel

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Adele Earnshaw - "Sundown over West Sedona"

This quick little oil captures the view from my father's deck, looking over West Sedona towards the sun setting behind Mingus Mountain.

Friday, March 13, 2009

aztec regalia 1

Betsey Nelson - Aztec Regalia 1

aztec regalia
seeing vince's post on a first sketch of a painting got me thinking that a series of shots of a painting in process might be interesting. this is the start of a pastel painting. next week will continue the process.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Carol Marine - "Harde Barn Apt"

Carol Marine - "Harde Barn Apt" - nfs

I was recently in Westford, MA teaching a couple of workshops. 2 generous souls allowed me to stay in their lovely barn apt, which is where I did this interior scene. I was fascinated by the slight difference in value between what was inside and outside the window. I also loved the way the light reflected off the red table in the foregound and the book and cup of water sitting on it. I gave it to the owners of the barn as a thank you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - A Perfect Day

It was a beautiful day today, and I decided to go out and shoot footage for the pastel video. (As you may recall, I plan to release two videos as companions to Backpacker Painting.) Everything went right today. That's a rare thing in outdoor painting, and even more rare when a painting session is combined with a recording session! No wind, no interlopers, no air traffic and a good painting. Here's the painting I did:

"A Perfect Day"
9x12, pastel
Michael Chesley Johnson -

and here's a little trailer I put together. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adele Earnshaw - A study, 'Jack'

This little 6" x 8" oil practically painted itself. It's a study for a larger piece. I had planned a more complicated background, but once I painted the jackrabbit, I decided to keep it simple. Anything more than the few spots of light would have detracted from the rabbit.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Splash of Light II

Splash of Light" 24x36 oil on canvas
(will be for sale at the Sedona Arts Center in the month of April)

I am enjoying the more horizontal format than I usually paint in. This is a larger version of a previous post. I am also enjoying a larger format - more freedom - more space. But nice to have done all the exploring in smaller works. This composition started as a 6x8 inch oil, then later a 16 x 20 acrylic was done, later this was repainted with oil on top of the acrylic painting. That composition was cropped to a more horizontal format and made large, now in the 24x36.
Please Email me for purchase information.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Libby Caldwell - Doll with Beaded Collar

Ink on Paper, 6.5 x 8.5, $110

This is a journal sketch. I used both brush and dip pen for this. The doll is handmade, and has an intricately beaded collar and dried pods and woody tufts in her hair. Her face if made of fabric, and her eyes, nose and mouth are all hand stitched. I like sketching and painting in ink because I can indicate these detailed areas very quickly. This is a technique I often use when I am journaling, and it's also one that I teach in my workshop: 'The Reflective Journey'.
My next workshop will be on April 25th & 26th 2009 at The Sedona Arts Center.

Please Email me for purchase information.

Robert Burridge - Extended Color

A technique I like to incorporate in my painting is to create the illusion of a glow around my bright, reflective surfaces --- extending the color. For instance, a bright magenta flower next to a dark background will extend its bright color into the surrounding atmosphere. So when “visually mixed,” I paint a soft pinkish halo around the bright magenta flower. Adding spots of the same magenta color in different values overall pulls the painting together for me.

Original 10x10 inch acrylic painting on paper.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Carol Marine - "In Line for the Tub"

Carol Marine - "In Line for the Tub" - 6x6in.

I am in Westford, MA at the moment, teaching 2 back to back workshops. The first day I was here there was a snowstorm, which for this Texas girl was a bit of a shock! I just finished with the first workshop which went really well, and I start the next one tomorrow. I did a little snowscape today from my window on my own and wanted to post it here but ... it's very difficult to get a good photo outside when there is snow everywhere, and I don't have my special lights with me. Alas.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Michael Chesley Johnson - Extreme Limited Pastel Palette

Pastel students sometimes complain about having to lug 200-plus pastels out into the field. When this happens, I have them do my "extreme limited pastel palette" exercise. We go through their pastels and pick out 14 sticks - a cool and a warm version of each of the three primaries and three secondaries, plus black and white - and then they use them to do a painting! The results can be surprisingly good. You really can mix just about every color you need.

I will confess, though, that you have to work hard at it, and not always do you get the exact neutrals or vibrant hues you'd like. But, you'll come very close! And it's refreshing to carry into the field just a pocket full of pastels rather than the whole store.

Here's a small piece I did with the extreme limited palette:

"Sail Rock Shadows"
pastel, 5x7

By the way, there's still room in my weeklong, pastel-only plein air workshop at the end of March. Contact the Sedona Arts Center to register. Spring is happening, and we'll have some really nice spring foliage to paint!

- Michael Chesley Johnson,

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Libby Caldwell - Morning Tea

Oil on panel, 11 x 14, $275

This painting is inspired by a journal entry from February 2009, when I was on a road trip with one of my daughters. I had made the morning tea, and because we were traveling, we used glass jar mugs.

Please Email me for purchase information.