Landscape With Sunflowers

Landscape painting with sunflowers

Landscape Painting With Sunflowers

Acrylic landscape painting featuring a bed of sunflowers. This artwork is inspired from what I see from my studio window. 

Here's How It Was Created

What do sunflowers have to do with making lemonade? Maybe nothing, but while I was painting these from my studio window all I could think of was that I was making lemonade from lemons. The flowers are certainly not in their best form, as you can see in the photo (below). The light and shadow were nothing to speak of either.

So why did I choose to paint them when there were probably better subjects with less challenging issues? Well, for the challenge. When painting plein air sometimes your view and subject matter is simply a painting waiting to happen. Other times there are factors that are not exactly working in your favor. Thats the thing - you never know till you get there. Lately, in preparation for my Tuscany workshop, I've been treating myself to some "worst case scenarios" to see what tricks I can pull out of my hat. Which may be totally overkill... I mean really, a bad view or  uninspiring light in Tuscany? It must be the virgo in me over-preparing as usual. Or maybe it was just another excuse to paint sunflowers.

"Studio Sunflowers"  8x10" Acrylic

Yellow Tulips

"Yellow Tulips"  8x8" Acrylic 

Just returned from my recent workshop in Carmel CA at Carmel Visual Arts. I had a great group of 17 students who went from 0 to 90 mph in 3 days. The progress they made in so short a timeframe was stunning. We started the workshop with value simplification studies, moved on to methods for creating interesting brushwork (in fewer strokes) and finished off with 15 minute paintings.  

I'll be returning to teach an intensive 5 day workshop November 3-7 2014. Interested? Other topics to be covered: Color theory, color mixing, working with color schemes, creating colorful greys, and much more.  This time I'm going to allow for more chill time in Carmel - it is heaven on earth... and a great gallery town.

Tulips in a Glass

"Tulips in a Glass" 8x8"  Acrylic  

My 8 week painting class started yesterday, this is the demo I did to show my process. I used 2 brushes, each 2" wide. They are the type with the short handle and wide ferrule, like house painting brushes. One brush for used for the pinks and reds, the other for the greens and blues. There were a few times I was tempted to use a smaller one for the details and highlights, but for the sake of the demo and to encourage students to try working with larger brushes, I didn't. It took a half hour from start to finish, with a lot of stopping for explanations. I did 4 b/w value studies of this setup, and randomly chose one of them as my guide for the demo.

The only reason I can think of to paint fast is that there is a certain gesture and economy of brushstroke that results in an energetic and lively look. When I tickle and fuss with a painting for hours or days, it looses this quality. The brushwork gets muddled and overworked, the colors lose their zest. Not to mention that when you go over the same passage several times, you start getting a built up texture from the underneath acrylic brushstokes that have dried, and sometimes that texture is unwanted. When I feel my paints start to get sticky, I know it's time to wrap it up.