Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Quinn



Quinn

20" x 16"
Oil on hardwood Panel

When I started painting Gwen and laying in her hair, it was enjoyable and I looked for another chance to work more with hair in an interesting way. 

I quickly realized that there were many options because all our daughters also have beautiful hair. However Gwen and Quinn were on the scooters together and working on Gwen I also had many photos of Quinn.

So I sketched in this profile pose of Quinn and started working on her hair.

For a little peanut she has a lot of hair with drama.

The background here just evolved, I laid down an under-painting and kept working in layers until I liked the effect. Perhaps I wouldn't have chosen it if I had just laid out the colors on the palette at the beginning.



Monday, December 15, 2014

Gwennie and the Scooter






Gwennie and the Scooter

24" x 18"
Oil on hardwood Panel

Gwenneth just makes me happy. When I see her I smile.

She is very exuberant and enthusiastic about life. She can ride a regular bicycle very well and very aggressively too I might add, however one day she was riding a small scooter and I wanted to capture that moment.

I'm pleased with the sweeping action pose, almost a cartoon figure with the long line from her left shoe to her forehead.

And I thought that her jeans worked well, although the shadows have a lower value in the actual painting.

Gwen's hair is more light brown than the photograph indicates, I think that the camera is picking up yellow from the sweatshirt.

The background was the lasting problem with this design. Above is the current painting and below shows the painting in an earlier version.





Again, the hair is not this bright yellow in the painting -even this earlier version.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Alice



Alice

16" x 12"
Oil on hardwood Panel
[click in the image to enlarge]

Alice is a perpetually happy and cheerful toddler. She was just on the beginning edge of walking when we saw her last.

She finds some delight in whatever is happening around her.

One might say that this is an attitude of gratitude. A wonderful quality to emulate

I tried to bring some of her cheerful energy to this painting.

The viewer's perspective is a bit unusual for a child portrait in that the viewer is at the same level or a bit below Alice

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Griffin and the Baby Chick



Griffin and the Baby Chick

20" x 16"
Oil on hardwood Panel


This does not need very much explanation.

Griffin is sensitive little guy. 

He was carefully holding a baby chicken.

His innocence and special nature are reflected in the innocence of the tiny yellow hatchling.

Alternate photographic effects below. Some Graham Indian Yellow paint was used although it is not especially visible. It is a wonderful transparent pure hue. As opposed to the cadmium's which are quite opaque.








Friday, November 14, 2014

Helping Mommy





Helping Mommy

20" x 16"
Oil on hardwood Panel

Alice Holbrook is the precious model.

She finds many useful things to do around their home.

She is very busy emptying cabinets, unrolling the toilet paper, pulling all the books out of the book basket, moving and re-arranging Grant's toys and getting all the kitchen tools out of the drawer so they are ready for use.

It is very tiring to watch her efforts.

And it will be over much too soon.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reading Stories


Reading Stories

18" x 24"
Oil on hardwood Panel

[click on the image to enlarge]


All children seem to enjoy reading stories. They will sit and listen to a story that they have heard many times before, perhaps they have heard the story so many times that they have the words memorized. Still they are enthusiastic.

Given an opportunity they often grab a stack of books, hopefully this will prevent the reader leaving early.

This is special time for them. They have our undivided attention while we are something that they want to do. This is quality time.

So it is an important part of childhood - this unique interaction between them and mom and dad or grandma or great grandmama.

Nelda is the reader and she is a wonderful model of selfless service and love.  Liam joins her to enjoy a good story.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rebecca






Rebecca

20" x 16"
Oil on hardwood Panel

[click on the image to enlarge]

Any comments about Rebecca must include many superlatives.

She is a wonderful, caring and beautiful young woman.

I wanted to explore some portrait techniques and liked the reference photo used for this work. This has a modified Rembrandt type of lighting, although not as dramatic as his works. [ and yes also not nearly as good...]

The background is mostly a blend of Windsor orange and viridian.





Monday, October 20, 2014

Grandma receives a Gift


Grandma receives a Gift

18" x 24"
Oil on hardwood Panel

[click on the image to enlarge]

I wanted to portray this moment when a gift has just been received. 

Particularly the child's wait for a reaction to the gift. Children take so many cues about their worth and our values by our spontaneous reactions to life situations.

Perhaps the gift isn't our first choice [or our tenth...]

But the child is precious and her feelings are the ones that are really important in this exchange.

So what will happen next? What will Grandma say? What feelings will be conveyed?

Mostly this is a reminder to myself about these moments.

If we are going to learn to serve, and do so joyfully then these are the moments that help to shape us. It is better to give than receive because the gift is, or should be, a token of love. A portion of our esteem and caring for someone.

We are always teaching.

This presented an opportunity to do two portraits in one painting. With an older model and a very young child.

Hair, skin texture, luminous characteristics, eyes and yes some wrinkles are part of the changes we see.

Lois , dear Grandmother who is now gone from us [and was a wonderful example of love], and Campbell Brock are the models.



Friday, October 10, 2014

Tony Grove Lake




Tony Grove Lake
[Logan Canyon]

18" x 24"
Oil on hardwood Panel

[click on the image to enlarge]

Tony Grove is located near the top of Logan Canyon in northern Utah.

This small body of water and the surrounding area is a favorite local hiking and picnic area.

Spring comes late to this alpine location, so the snow can linger here much later than it does at lower locations. However the roadway and the hiking trails are usually open. 

It's close to Cache Valley and Utah State University so it is a very pleasant day hike location.

Because this was painted from reference photos, one of the main problems was controlling the green. It's easy to have so much green that it is overwhelming. As you look around this painting you will find many areas that the eye accepts as green forest or meadow are in fact not green at all. Incidentally the greens were all created with mixtures, there was no green paint on the palette.

Lori mentioned that I seem to like dead trees better than living ones and for painting she is perhaps correct. Most of my landscapes will include a dead tree or two.




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Seeking the Words of Eternal Life




Seeking the Words of Eternal Life

18" x 24"
Oil on Masonite Panel

The idea for this painting grew over time.

Trying to become like our Father in Heaven is a process. Part of that process is trying to understand God and to follow the lessons in our personal education while here on earth.

Reading the scriptures places us in a position to feel the spirit and receive personal revelation. Sometimes that revelation doesn't occur until weeks or months after we have read something, when it is brought back into our thoughts.

So prayer, scripture reading and mediation all align to help us become more like the Savior.

The commandment to search the scriptures was not idle advice.

If we read or think His thoughts then we are starting to become like Him

Emery Brock was the model. It would be difficult to think of a better one for this subject. Emery read the Book of Mormon in its entirety before she was baptized.​ More than that she wants to be like the Savior.

A wonderful example to me.

And counsel from Sister Wendy Bagozzi - Study and ponder and come to know Him.

The painting is not a portraying of any particular place although clearly meant to reflect study within the home. I like the unity it has, the palette was relatively limited although not a three color Zorn type palette.

-- 



Different camera settings. The two dark spots are the bottom are holders at the base of the tripod stand that the painting is setting on.


Framed

What am I painting on?

I've been asked about the painting surface.

I have painted on several surfaces:

stretched cotton canvas
plywood
linen glued to wood panels
art store stretched canvas

I found that I spent too much time trying to get the surface smoother or stable.

Now I almost always make my own.

Most are 1/4 inch hardwood plywood or high density hardboard [hdf or 'masonite']

The hdf is a nice surface but a little heavy. It is hard to get a 4 x 8 sheet that isn't already warped. They don't store the stuff on a flat surface at the big box retailers. It is always laid on 4 large beams with waves between each support.

​The plywood is lighter. I have used Home Depot's Sandeply but now mostly like Lowe's hardwood plywood. I think that the surface is more uniform, a bit heavier and a little smoother, plus the back is already sealed saving one step.

When cut to the dimensions I want -
-seal the back with varnish if not already coated, this is to prevent moisture from distorting the panel
-it is then coated with at least three coats of Jerry's Best Gesso
​-sanded after the second and last coat with an orbital sander
-finished with Zinsser's Total Cover oil based paint. This is tinted to an ochre hue or less commonly left white

I put that on because the un-coated gesso is 'dry' and sucks the oil out of the paint leaving it flat.

This provides a stable, much smoother surface.

It can also be placed into frames that are too shallow for stretched canvas.

Incidentally paints [Windsor and Newton, M. Graham and Gamblin], mediums, brushes, varnish, hanging supplies, etc. are almost all purchased from Jerry's online.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Midway Solitude


Midway Solitude

18" x 24"
Oil on Panel
[click on the image to enlarge]

Midway, Utah is a small mountain valley or series of hollows nestled into the base of the Wasatch Mountains.

Perhaps because it was similar to Switzerland in appearance it attracted several Swiss farming families in the early days of its settlement

As a child I lived nearby and enjoyed visiting family members in this area. It has a volcanic soil and a light weight, air infused lava rock and some of the homes and public buildings were made of this yellow/grey 'pot rock' material. Some warm springs and the Homestead which makes use of one are also here.

It has been labeled scenic and is now a cosmopolitan area with expensive resort and retirement homes. I guess this is a part of what some may consider progress. 

I designed this painting not to show any particular area however I wanted to suggest the feel of the area in the earlier days.

Perhaps not really worth much in worldly terms it has a wonderful soul-restoring peace.



another camera setting


And a warmer temperature

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Moran Point




Moran Point
Grand Canyon

16" x 24"
Oil on Panel

Moran Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is popular viewpoint. It's named for an artist - named  'Moran' amazingly enough, except there seems to be a disagreement about whether this is referring to Thomas or Peter.  Whatever....

There is also a scenic Moran Point in Yosemite NP. And a more famous Moran Point in Yellowstone NP - this time definitely associated with Thomas. He made the place famous and it repaid the kindness by making him famous and successful. His paintings were also a factor in leading to the the national park designation for that unique area.

I became interested in this Arizona site while looking for reference material associated with Capitol Reef.

This has wonderful contrasts

I designed this with a late afternoon treatment. When painting I often establish the most dark and the light areas and then work from distance to foreground in landscapes. This painting was done by doing a more complete gray scale under-painting and then adding the color.

Perhaps it improved the unity

This painting is also in a 2:3 size ratio rather than more conventional 3:4 [18" x 24"], I think that this puts emphasis on the linear nature of the area but not as much as the 1:2 ratio used for 'Capitol Reef'

The downside is that the panel and any frame must be custom made.



The greys are very sensitive to light levels and processing in the digital images.

Framed in a modified plein aire style frame that I made



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Capitol Reef


Capitol Reef
1910

18" x 36"
Oil on Panel

Capitol Reef, located in southern Utah, is contained within a present day national park of the same name. It was called a 'reef' because it presented a long obstacle to crossing by the early settlers especially with a horse team and wagon.

The area has a surprisingly warm summer climate which is suitable in some small oasis valleys for fruit cultivation. The Fremont River supplies the irrigation.

This barn is usually called the Gifford Barn, although it might more properly be called after Calvin Pendleton, the early Mormon settler who built it.

I designed the painting to depict the early days of his stewardship.

The location is not easy to get to today, so one can readily understand that the Pendleton family ate and used what they grew or developed themselves. That might incline one to faith and prayerful diligence. At least the law of the harvest was surely a daily lesson for them.

Also the observation that without a steady supply of living water, this fruit harvest was not possible.

This area, the historic home for a handful of families, is also called Fruita. The last family moved away in 1969.

The painting has the prominent grey green hues of this American desert. Some of this was created with viridian, an intense green that I don't usually use. The sky which has a cerulean blue color was also painted with mixtures of viridian. In both instances the chroma has been stepped on rather severely.

The rock cliff face has a bit more iron oxide orange than the photo demonstrates in this view.


Plein aire frame



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Teasing the Waves


Teasing the Waves

18" x 24"
Oil on wood Panel

Griffin was playing on the beach at New Brighton early this summer. He was trying to get as close to the waves as possible without getting inundated when a breaker hit the beach. I suppose that everyone who has ever visited an ocean has done something similar.

Katie took a picture which captured the action and was the reference photograph for this painting. However for the design I wanted to turn the waves at an angle and have them quartering as they approach the viewer.

Besides the obvious interest in this little boy at play, I wanted to paint the waves and particularly the foam near the shore. It has an interesting action as the waves pull it apart just before they wash forward both breaking the foam and creating more

A simple design and it was fun to paint. And now I'm leaving the ocean and painting a much drier climate.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Campbell


Campbell
Summer 2014

20" x 16"
Oil on sandeply Panel

Rebecca provided me with many very interesting photographs and it was difficult to decide what poses and effect I wanted to work with. And Campbell has been here often this summer so I had the luxury of checking the painting from life.

I wanted to vary the background - making it cooler than the other portrait. I like the contrast between the cool background and the very warm features. The painting also uses different facial details than the other one.

To add some unity to the painting I chose to design a new dress so I could also add some limited color to it. I should have left well enough alone, as I painted the left shoulder about five or six times before I was satisfied.

It has very limited shadow but I was pleased with the result

Thank you Campbell. You are a special model.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Virtue


Virtue

25" x 17.25"
Oil on Sandeply Panel


If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things [Articles of Faith 13]
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
[Proverbs 31]

I got the idea for this painting and it's title while studying some photographs taken by Rebecca.

I see this young woman looking outward and forward into the future.

It seems to me to have a very basic Christian value. The verses in Proverbs  discuss much more than what we usually consider modesty. For example: 

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
 Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.


Virtue seems to encompass basic goodness and a wholesome power that comes from good works. A purity of purpose and character.

It is a quality impossible to counterfeit

The tree framing the girl is also symbolic of the growth and possibility of a small seed nurtured by the gospel and atonement of Jesus Christ



Framed

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Soaring above the Beach



Soaring above the Beach

24" x 30"
Oil on sandeply Panel

Gwen and Grant playing on the sandy beach at New Brighton Beach in California. 
On the day depicted there were an unusually large number of sea birds - gulls, pelicans, grebes, cormorants and terns soaring and fishing just offshore.

Perhaps it was seeing those birds or just childlike enthusiasm, whatever - they began to soar or dance in pure enthusiasm with the joy of being in this place.

It was a cherished moment.

This painting was on my easel for about five weeks as I worked it, changed my mind, changed value and sunlight and tried to create a unity of effect. No palette can stay fresh for that length of time so part of the challenge was recreating the palette each time I worked on it after an absence.

Katie Powers took the photo used as a reference for this painting.

I'm especially pleased to capture Gwen's sailing energy and her whirling figure.

As you can see from the dimensions above, it is a bit larger than most of my works in this category.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Henning



Henning
2014

16" x 12"
Oil on sandeply Panel

The original was painted some time ago. It hung in my office for a time and has more recently been in the studio.

After seeing it day after day, I decided to re-work some passages. As a rule I continue to make minor changes in paintings for a week or two after I think that they are done and publish them. Then I don't go back even if I see something off.

In this case I thought it needed a little attention.

This rendition is a little more mellow as befits the subject.

Campbell 2014


Campbell 2014

24" x 18"
Oil on masonite panel

Campbell has chosen to be baptized next month and therefore she is dressed in white in anticipation of this ordinance. White is symbolic of the purity of the atonement.

She is a special young lady and has a very lively sense of humor. 
She is also caring and loving, as befits a disciple of the Savior.

Campbell is a blessing in my life.

Her mother took the reference photo used in this painting.






Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cold Water in High Country


Cold Water

18" x 24"
Oil on Sandeply Panel

I have been fascinated by the nuances of painting snow. This painting combines snow with water reflections and massed color.  I like the combination of the cold water with the cool blue elements and the warm color in the rocks showing beneath the surface. I think that is why it seems to work. We know the water is icy cold yet it has a warm hue beneath the surface.

The conifers are a cool element although there is also some warm yellow and red scattered throughout those passages

Jay Moore painted a vertical scene with these elements, I thought that I would try it in the horizontal form, so I reworked the scene.

I think that the receding underwater rocks are more realistic in the actual painting than the photograph. It's interesting how little blue can be put into the sky and it will still look 'real'. The colors lose saturation and definition as they recede. 

The snow and the underwater rocks are soft rounded shapes while the conifers and most of the shrubbery is angular.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Running in the Surf


Running in the Surf

18" x 24"

Oil on Sandeply Panel
[click on the image to enlarge]

Our family enjoys getting together at New Brighton Beach on the California coast.

Katie Powers took some wonderful photos of the beach activities. Using one of those as a reference photo, I was able to explore the surf and atmosphere of the day. It suggests the foggy offshore haze typical of the area but still a sunny day on the beach.

It is very tempting to put lots of other focal points in a scene like this.  I liked the way this worked with our view point lowered to their level or even a bit below it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jared


Jared

16" x 20"
Oil on Board
[click on the image to enlarge]

Jared is a special spirit living next door to us.

The family members are all blessings to us and our extended family. Jared is the youngest of seven siblings, he has three older sisters followed by three older brothers.

The painting tries to bring some of the lasting joy from an eternal perspective.

I should explain that Jared likes red cars. The value on the car color is muted so that his face is still very dominant as the focus.


different lighting


framed

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Valley Ranch



Valley Ranch

24" x 36"
Oil on Wood Panel

Since this painting was reworked after the prior posting, I wanted to post it again.

Grant and I also framed it and it will be hanging in the office.

After looking at it a few days I decided to recast the sky atmosphere and then refined the mountains and the foliage areas.

The edge of the red barn has some yellow elements and also some green which causes the color to vibrate a bit. There is also some of the red scattered in the mountain shadows and the foliage which adds to unity within the painting. Even the small grass/weed tufts have one or two red spears in most of them.


Autumn at Twilight


Autumn at Twilight

18" x 24"
Oil on wood panel
[click on the image to enlarge]


Alternate camera sitting
demonstrating how much the appearance varies with light changes

The first photograph more accurately reflects this painting.

Autumn provides wonderful colors for oil painting. This scene with the sun within the frame is an interesting setting. I like the yellow sunset sky and the distance violet hills. 

Stapleton Kearns painted an autumn scene that I admire. I rearranged the elements in that painting and laid it out. That was perhaps not a wise choice because his paintings have very strong design as a characteristic trait. 

Because the scene is back lit, it is very sensitive to changes in room lighting.

This was a fun painting to work on although it took many sessions to create a balance that I was happy with.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Valley Ranch


Valley Ranch

24" x 36"
Oil on wood Panel
[click on the image to enlarge]

I enjoy painting snow scenes, the subtlety of snow, which is not white but opalescent and beautiful, is fascinating. Tilting your monitor or moving slightly will allow you to see a bit more of that

I started with the dark Angus cattle and the red barns and then modified the design from that. The small metal shed also provides an opportunity for interest and eye movement. In deference to Lori 's sensitivities, I allowed the range cattle a place of refuge.

The barn has legendary cattleman John Hartley Carlile's 'historic' brand. It's surprising how much interest that small mark adds to the end of the barn.

The atmospheric changes result in the more distant mountain snow being a duller and a bit more grey violet hue than the foreground. Massing the dark is also a design feature.

This is a larger painting, especially when framed, the size that might fit behind a sofa, etc.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Self Portrait with Red Tie



Self Portrait with Red Tie

Oil on wood Panel
24" x 20"

I've been painting although busy with other activities as well. So I have not posted for a time.

After doing several other family members I decided to try one of myself. Painting others is different for several reasons. When looking in a mirror I see a 'mirror image' so it is reversed from what others see, but photos are reversed from what I usually see.

It was an adventure. I changed my plans about the level of finish and detail as the painting developed, so that was interesting. 

I like it and Oscar indicates that it is great, while Lori wants a big toothy grin or at least a smile. Curiously portrait paintings from a century or two ago very seldom had a smile. Only with the advent of photographs did every start to say 'Smile' for a portrait.

I felt that the balance was good



Friday, April 11, 2014

Going to the Prom




Going to the Prom

18" x 24"
Oil on wood Panel

This painting just captures a small moment.

I thought the solid black would be an interesting challenge - making enough detail to be convincing while still black with black shoes and a black tie. The lapels have less blue than the photograph indicates.

Overall I am pleased.

The black is ivory black which has a dark blue undertone which helps with color harmony here.

I took some license with the setup and with Rebecca's hair color.

It was fun to work on. Her arms form interesting light bridge between the two.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Powder Mountain



Powder Mountain

24" x 30"
Oil on wood Panel
[click on the image to enlarge]

I have not done a landscape for a while and wanted to work on one again, especially with snow. All my relatives in Cache Valley love snow.

This painting is more about design than some I've done. It is mostly light or half tones with the dark elements massed.

I think that it has good unity: cerulean blue and a light brown are found throughout with a decided violet hue to the shadows. The tree design, hopefully, follows a progression. The sky is deliberately dull and less sharp than the landscape. If you slide a small circle around the painting you will find very few pure colors, rather complements and mixed values are throughout.

I sharpened some edges for emphasis and muted most others. The aspen on the left are in more shadow and we view them more from the shaded side - they are more dull and don't have the sharp highlights of those on the right.

It's the size painting to go behind a love seat or small sofa comfortably.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lori in Guatemala



Lori in Guatemala

28" x 22"
Oil on wood Panel
[click on the image to enlarge]

My wonderful companion and best friend.

While traveling Lori has a predictable set of requirements:  sun protection, sunglasses, large purse and Diet Coke or since we were outside the United States in this case Coke Light.

This was inspired by scenes from a small village in Guatemala