Thursday, March 31, 2011

Partly Cloudy

Now, this is probably more what folks think of when they  think "New Mexico".  This painting is from a photo of a place called "Ghost Ranch". We;ve hiked there on several occasions and it is a really great place to paint. I can't remember why it is named Ghost Ranch., but it is a place where Georgia O'Keefe
painted many, many times.  That flat topped mesa way in the distance is Pedernal, and Georgia included it
in quite a few of her paintings.  Now, the  Ghost Ranch is a church (I think Lutheran, but might be mistaken) retreat center, but they do allow the public to come and hike.
Of course, terrain is all based on altitude. Yesterday's post was from probably around 9500 feet elevation. This scene is more like 6500 feet... so you get high desert, with mesas, cliffs, junipers and sage.  For me, any excuse to add horses or cowboys will do. They just seemed to fit here.

And that cloudy sky?  Not so usual here in the Land of Enchantment. So I thought it was worth noting in the title.

Spring Thaw, Rio Nambe

Most folks don't think of scenes like this when they think of New Mexico, but here in the northern part of the state, we're on the tail end of the Colorado plateau, and the Jemez Mountains where we live are the very southern end of the Rockies.  This stream is up north of Santa Fe, in the slightly higher Sangre de Cristo mountains.  The name means "blood of Christ", and if you could ever see them in the sunset hour, you would know why.  Especially in winter when snow covered,the red light of sunset really makes them glow.

Our snow is about all gone now.. only the north facing slopes and shady areas still have patches. We might still get a few dustings, but they won't last long.  But I do like it when the snow begins to melt and leaves interesting patches in the open areas... makes for great design sometimes!

This is an awful photo. I don't know what it is, but I can't seem to get good clear shots lately.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Decisions, decisions....

Simple Things

Seems I can't get a good photo today to save my life.  This is a still life I have been working on, with a painted Japanese silk screen behind it.  I wanted something besides just a flat background, and decided to do this screen.  The big challenge with that is keeping it very reserved and soft, so that it stays in the background.
I also had to be real careful about color choices so that it would harmonize with the rest of the painting. This whole painting is basically a study in red and green, painted with a palette of cad yellow, cad red, transparent red oxide, yellow ochre, viridian, ultramarine, and cad orange.  And white of course.
I try to repeat colors when I can. The shadows on the white cloth as well as the form shadow on the teacup are really the background color.  The viridian in the bottle is repeated in the copper kettle verdigris. Even the apple red finds its way into the kettle.

I am considering painting a real chickadee, who has landed on the table out of curiosity, perhaps wondering about those painted ones on the wall there.. Chickadees are brave, curious little birds, some of my favorite to watch at the feeder.  But I can't decide whether to add one or not. What do you think?

Resources You May or May Not Know About

Every blog post has to have a picture, so here are two tiny art card paintings (2.5x3") because I couldn't find anything else I wanted to post.

I thought I would list some resources for materials, instruction and feedback that you might find useful. You may already know all about all of these, but on the off chance you don't, check them out!
First: materials.
Online art supply stores, listed in no particular order, that I use all the time:

Instruction:  rent instructional videos of all kinds, some really good ones out there, easy and cheap. sort of like netflix.. only for art instruction. - There are literally thousands of painting videos and demos on youtube.  Try a search for
"potrait painting" or "oil painting demonstration" for example.  There are some amazing ones, and some duds, but it'll sure keep you occupied, and maybe even inspire you. - great source for books, and DVD;s if you know what you're looking for. - wonderful resource for used books, or some that might be out of print or hard to find.  If you know what you're looking for, check here.
North Light Books - another publishing house that specializes in fine art instruction books.

Inspiration: - if you want inspiration, definitely the place to go. Or if you want to find quality prints of fine art for copying and learning, find 'em here. - check out the art contest entries - or maybe enter yourself! - another art contest - you can enter, or just be amazed at the great work being produced today.

webhosting: - Fine Art Studio Online.  Get a FREE (really free) 30 day trial and create your own great looking art website.  Fast, easy, professional. Even if you're not a techie, your page will look good.

Artist community:  Here is a huge community of artists, with forums specified to your interests( portrait, landscape, abstract, whatever).. Get feedback, encouragement, critiques, and suggestions by fellow artists.
Occasional online demos and instruction, all free.  Warning: can be addictive!
The Blogosphere:
you all have your favorite blogs.  I have several  that I follow regularly, and others that I visit on occasion.
I encourage you to check out: - they do more than just list daily paintings by their artists. They host weekly "challenges" which are open to all artists, and right now are using one of these challenges to raise money for Japan. - one of the dailypaintworks artists - always makes me laugh.

Don't forget to check out ebay, craigslist in your area,  consignment shops, used bookstores, and even the local yard sale listings for books, DVD's and interesting still life objects to paint. I've found a few treasures here for cheap. Most all of my still life props come from junky stores or ebay. If your local dump has a "swap shop" or similar, look for goodies there! Free and the perfect way to recycle!

Lois adds to the list. I just checked it out. Great stuff there! Here's a link to a nice painting video about painting water.

If any of you have some favorite resources, please share them in the comment section and I'll add them to the post!
Thanks, and happy painting!