Tag Archives: oil painting

the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix

He inspired so many people to paint. He showed them that anyone can do it. All it takes is practice. It’s not a gift from god to a special few people called artists. He was one of the first art therapists because he had such a calm zen like attitude, happy accidents and happy trees etc. When your life goes down the tubes you can feel better painting. If you keep at it long enough you aren’t depressed anymore.

I can’t paint like that. His way is so contrary to what I learned in art school that I’ll probably never try. Yes, I was brain washed in art school, but it’s ok. There are millions of artists painting like Bob Ross. Not many artists that know the old traditional ways are sticking to the old ways, so, the chances of anyone forging my paintings after I’m dead are slim. The academic tradition is dying out. Anyway, who wants to forge an artist that isn’t commercially successful, like me?

That’s all beside the point of this post.

The alarming thing about the documentary is that Bob’s business partners stole the rights to his name after he died and they made millions off the sale of merchandise with his face and name and his son didn’t get any of the money. Bob saw the problem coming before he died and tried to stop them but couldn’t.

Everyone that watches him paint loves him. He had a real genuine personality which is so refreshing in the totally fake art world we have today. He really loved people and it comes through.

I could never buy any Bob Ross merchandise because they used him to satisfy their own greed. And if someone wants to buy one of his paintings they might be buying a forgery.

What does it mean? His business partners were his best friends. You can’t trust anyone, I guess. Is it better to be unknown? Then you know your friends aren’t after your money.

plein air painting from a couple years ago and scary thing that was a false alarm but weird

The painting is long to fit in the window at Jerry’s Artarama. They asked artists to paint on canvases to fit in the store windows to block the view of the merchandise racks from the outside of the store. This was in front of a rack of paper so I thought it would be safe because they’d have to move a lot of paper to take it out of the window. It was in the window for a couple years and I wanted to get it back and rework the water but didn’t ask because I knew it would be difficult to get it out of there.

So, today I went there to buy some things and my painting was replaced by a tiger. I asked where my painting was and the guys didn’t know. The girl that arranges the windows would be out for a couple days. I gave them my phone number but expressed my concern about it with out acting too alarmed because I’m really cool in weird situations, but I was afraid it was stolen. The manager didn’t even remember the painting and he worked there for a year!

He went around the whole place looking for it and finally spotted it in a window behind shopping carts. You could only see the sky. The rest was blocked. No one would ever notice it. I was so relieved to see it. I took it home, never to be on display again! They still have some empty windows but instead they hid it.

Every time you put a painting out there you run the risk of losing it. Now, if I want to throw it away that’s one thing, but if it goes missing that would be kind of upsetting. I used to worry when entering shows in those huge sprawling non profits with back doors and no one’s watching that someone would walk out with one of mine. It did happen to a guy and the newspaper did a report on it. That artist said it was worth the loss for the publicity and sales he got afterwards but I know if it happens to me it wouldn’t make the news.

I wonder why the store didn’t just call me or email me and say it was time to pick it up? That I could understand. But hide it behind carts? Next to the front door where it was easy to slide out? Makes no sense. That also reminds me of the non profits because they liked to mainly reject my paintings but when they got hung they were in the hallway, or way up high, or next to the bathroom, or in a corner or some place I had to hunt for them, like behind a sculpture.

I’m really glad I got this one back.

It’s the view from the beach side at First Landing State Park looking out over the Chesapeake Bay at the bridge tunnel. This is a close up.

omg. I just looked at the back of the painting and someone had put a price on it of $40. This is looking more like a plan to rob me. That’s another weird thing because someone tried to rob me earlier this year and made off with a bunch of my art and I got it all back, except one thing I can remember which they didn’t return. That thing was a drying rack I made from stretcher strips and button twine. It’s possible they kept more of my art and I just don’t remember what I had because it was all my good stuff from so many years, since I regularly cull my collection and toss the old stuff I don’t want.

Now I feel like someone up there is watching out for me because I only went to the store because a fellow blogger told me to buy a different kind of palette knife.

So, Thanks to God!

underpainting for magnolias / story

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My life has been weird so far. I see a lot of strange things, people tell me strange things, weird stuff happens around me that leaves me thinking w.t.h. just happened. Normally I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to worry others, but this is too much. I’ll tell you what happened yesterday.

I was home working on my painting and taking a break to heat up some food in the microwave when I heard a LOUD bang! I looked around but had no idea where it came from. I was blaming the guy upstairs when I heard a knock at my door. It was a guy who looked scared so I opened the door. He asked me if I’m ok. I said yes I’m ok, what happened? He said he was cleaning his gun and it went off! (the idiot) I asked him where the shot went and he said about 5 feet behind me. I looked but didn’t see a bullet hole. He said it must have gone into a beam. The guy wanted to come in and talk to me. I said no. Then he offered me $500. He was afraid I’d call the cops. I don’t want to call the cops on my noisy neighbors, I think they’re soldiers and soldiers get a pass from me on the noise. The guy was very worried and kept apologizing over and over. He offered me the $500 three times. Normally I wouldn’t accept money but yesterday I said ok, I’ll take the money. It would probably be a $500 fine if I reported it and he would get in big trouble if he is in the navy, but I didn’t ask. So then he went back to his apt and got the $500 and brought it back up to me. He kept saying if there’s anything I need, to knock on his door any time.

Now this is only one story. Imagine if I told you hundreds of weird things like that. You’d think god was f—–g with me. I don’t know what to think. I’m not saying some supernatural power has any interest in me, but I certainly see a lot of coincidences and random flukes of the universe.

One funny thing about it was that when I was drinking my tea yesterday morning I was thinking about how there’s no need to worry about getting cancer from smoking. I’m smoking whenever I want to because there’s a million ways to die and I’m not afraid. I was giving myself a big pat on the back for being so fearless. Then my neighbor was probably worried I’d freak out.  I never freak out. I’m so calm it’s ridiculous. I should be a zen master.

This weird stuff that happens to me, I can’t keep it out of my paintings. There’s a dark and dangerous part of life that I stare straight at. I don’t try to put it in my paintings, but I can see it in there. I think the viewer can see it too but not identify it. It gives an interest to the shadows in my paintings. It’s not too scary for the viewer because they don’t know my weird life stories.

This is only a start on the painting. I’ve been packing to move in the end of March. I’d stay, but they’re making everyone move out one block at a time for renovations. Then the rent will go way up. I like the apt and no one is really bugging me, but the guy upstairs is noisy. It’s just not worth it to pay $200 more a month for the new appliances they’re putting in.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I can get back out to paint in plein air and finish this before I move. Or maybe I can paint it at home. I’ve made good progress on packing and still have plenty of time.

swamp underpainting / oil

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This is a 30 x 30 canvas. I need to do a detailed underpainting because this is a complicated plan. So far, I have my sunlight and shadows blocked in. The underpainting is an important step because this is when I make the most decisions. I can tell that it’s close to correct perspective because I can fit the trees in with spacing that’s close to what I see there. And I decided how much Spanish moss will be in the painting, how much water, where I want the most contrast in order to make focal points, etc.

Now I  have to go over the whole painting again, maybe twice, starting with the sky and the background trees at the top and working my way down the canvas into the foreground with layers of glazes. I’ll brighten it up a lot and give it some depth. I want the grays in the trees to look pearly so I’ll use warm and cool grays together and try to keep the values from light to dark with the same contrast as I see in nature.

I think the water will be the hardest part and it’s the last thing to finish. I don’t have that figured out yet.

This is a start. I have over 10 hours in it so far, and 6 trips to the swamp. including the times I sketched. It could still take weeks to finish because of the weather. I want to get there early in the morning and leave around 10 when the light is different and the park gets crowded. I didn’t expect to make this much progress this fast on the painting, so I think I can finish it in Dec.

Box Canyon @ Ghost Ranch / oil

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If I could describe the Ghost Ranch, I’d call it mystical.

I have to make this a fast post because it’s hard to stay connected.

A weird thing happened to my roomie and me. Half the time the lights don’t work in our cabin. Sometimes they flicker. Sue told the maintenance guy and he came right over. Naturally they worked then. He left and the lights went out 10 minutes later. I think it’s a bad circuit breaker, but are we haunted?

a view from the Ghost Ranch / oil

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Art camp is great! There’s so much to do and the energy is great! The food is good, the artists are friendly and there’s no drama! It’s so beautiful up here at the Ghost Ranch, I’m not going on the field trips. I want to stay right here.

I tried to make a post with more pictures but it didn’t fly.

I’ll try again with just this, but I have my doubts the computer will continue to work as hoped,

 

Bay Scape / oil

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Should I call this finished or should I paint a ship coming in? I have the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in the painting. Should I add some pelicans on pilings? Maybe some happy little pelicans flying away in the sky?  Or a guy wind surfing?

I tried three times on the sky till I finally got something I can live with. The first time I tried to make a blend of lighter blue on the horizon to slightly darker blue over head without using glazes. I tried to make my blend with thick paint, blending the values wet instead of letting it dry and going over it a few times with glazes to get my blend. That didn’t work. I think blends are difficult.

Then I tried to do the sky with dots like Pointillism. That didn’t work either. I want to try Pointillism but I’m not sure about the proper technique. I’ll try Pointillism on an easier subject some time soon.

So then I tried to do clouds with some blue sky showing through and that looks better.  I used my Maroget medium and glazes on the sky. I like my clouds to look light and fluffy without hard edges. Now, how about that water? I don’t know, I might try again. I’m open to suggestions on it.

I took my painting supplies out to the beach at First Landing State Park a few times when it wasn’t too hot and not too crowded and mixed my colors there, but mainly painted it at home from sketches. Sand got on my painting but I got most of it off when the paint dried.

background for painting of lotuses / stealing ideas from Matisse

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The paint is thick so I’ll have to wait till later this week to paint the flowers. I’m not sure what Matisse’s oil painting technique was. He liked to put his paintbrush on the end of a long pole and stand way back from his canvas so I’m practicing that. It’s hard to control the brush. I think the practice is supposed to make the artist “loosen up”.

The other times I tried to paint with my brush on a yardstick I didn’t use medium. I painted on a dry tinted canvas and I’m not used to the brush having so much drag on the canvas. That, plus the brush on a stick made it a strange experience. I guessed Matisse probably didn’t paint in the couch like I was taught to do, so I didn’t use my Maroget medium. Painting in the couch is when you paint a thin layer of medium on the dry canvas and paint your colors on top of the medium. It makes a slick surface for your brush and it’s easy to use glazes or paint with thick texture. This time I decided to use my Maroget medium and paint in the couch to make it a little easier to control my brush on a stick. To use medium or not to use medium, that is the question.

I doubt if I’ll be able to stay true to any one style. There’s so many that I like and I only steal the good ideas. Plus, I don’t have all the info on Matisse’s technique. It doesn’t matter. Rules don’t apply to me.IMG_2090

These are my sketches for the lotus painting. The eight smaller papers are my pastel sketches from the Japanese garden at Norfolk botanical where I hung around on eight different days for a couple hours. The three larger papers are my enlargements of my leaf sketches done by taping a sharpie on a yardstick like Matisse. You can see my scribbles where the sharpie went off on it’s own.

Then I cut out the leaf shapes and arranged them on my canvas different ways to decide the composition. That’s something Matisse enjoyed doing. He cut shapes out of colored paper and arranged them. The arranging part is where I got hung up for a while.

I have to sketch my flowers again on tracing paper and figure out how many I can fit on the painting. I don’t want to crowd them because they’re not crowded in nature. Maybe only three on my 18 x 24 canvas. I did a lot of sketches I won’t use and will never frame but that’s ok. It isn’t about the finished piece, it’s about the process. The questions answered, the new experience, the practice. Know what I mean?

Diana Fauve / oil

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It seems a little ironic that my first subject to try fauvism is Diana because she’s the goddess of the hunt and fauve means wild animal.

Matisse said you should use color to express emotion and I thought he!!, I’m not emotional. Then I remembered the plaque at the museum said Diana represents the feminine ideals of independence and chastity so I thought about those things when I was working on it and picked colors I like to work with.IMG_2078

Yesterday when I got home from sketching at the museum I knew my sketch wasn’t right. I wanted to correct it but not go back to the museum so I taped my sketch to the wall and taped a piece of charcoal to a yardstick so I could stand back and do it again. The first try I taped a sharpie to the yardstick and that sketch looked real bad. Almost human. So I tried charcoal and got this sketch which looked better than the sketch from the museum. You can see places where my charcoal on a stick went somewhere on it’s own.

I tried two more but this one was the best so I used it for my painting. I’ll do the charcoal on a stick practice again. I’m pretty sure Matisse did it thousands of times. It’s good to stand back from what you’re working on and you can’t really focus on any certain little thing too well. It seems like you have to draw a bunch of lines and pick the one you want. IMG_2081.jpg

Here’s a few fauve portraits for you. The one on the left is Matisse, Madame Matisse. Then portrait of Matisse by Andre Derain. Then portrait of Derain by Maurice Vlaminck. On the right is portrait of Vlaminck bu Andre Derain.

It looks like your sketch doesn’t have to be 100% accurate. That’s a nice thing about fauvism. I don’t know if mine fits in with this fauvism thing but it was kind of fun and easy to do. I’ll probably do another one from a marble bust.

An interesting story about Matisse is that he cofounded an art school with some other artists but he didn’t want to be paid because he didn’t want it to be an obligation. He went on Sat. and did the critiques. He must have been a harsh critic because another teacher said it took him all week to build up the confidence of the students and on Sat. Matisse would destroy it.

On the first day of school the students were so excited to do fauvism they hung all their bright fauve paintings in the room and when Matisse came in he was mad and told them to take all that garbage down. Then he made them sketch busts! The students were not happy.