Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wildflowers & Palms

When I first moved back to Florida thirty years ago I didn't paint palm trees. I had hardly ever seen a palm tree before. So it took a while for me to get enough courage to paint the palm trees. Now I seem to paint one in every landscape painting. This painting was done as a demonstration in my workshop last month. I was showing how to paint palms, wildflowers and a simple sky with clouds. I kept the composition simple, knowing that if a put in very many palm trees it would take too long to complete the painting. We did a lot of masking on this painting. I masked out the lighter valued palm fronds and the wildflowers in the field. Then I went back in and painted them in light colors after the dark wash had dried and I removed the mask. The sky takes up a very large space in this painting and I was able to paint the sky in about five minutes. This allowed me to spend the rest of the time working on the palms and wildflowers in the field. These wildflowers grow along the St. John's river and only flower for one to two weeks in October.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brick House in Winter Park

I was requested to do a painting of this house as a birthday present for the man of the house by his wife. It is a beautiful house located in Winter Park, FL. I always like seeing a red brick house in Florida. There doesn't seem to be too many of them around. I did take quite a few photos of this house on different days at different times. I finally got my best reference photos in the early morning when the sun was shinning on the front of the house. The trees on the left cast lots of shadows and made it hard to see the house later in the morning. I tried to keep the roof and bricks simple and not show every shingle or each brick. The detail is in the white trim and the shadows cast by the trees. The only directive I received by the person asking me to do the painting was to be sure I included the landscaping. Wouldn't you like to live in this house?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snow Shadows

I recently returned from a trip to Ohio. I traveled with some watercolors paints, brushes and a pad of paper. I couldn't leave before I attempted to paint the snow on location. This was the first time I ever painted plein air in the winter. I was told to use alcohol in the water to keep it from freezing but I had drank it all the night before. (Just kidding) I didn't have any. Thus, while I was painting, the water was freezing in the brushes and the mixtures on the pallet turned into slush. I got in the basic shapes of the background woods and hills, the main tree trunks and the shadows on the snow. Then I went inside to warm up. I painted all the smaller limbs on another day in the comfort of the living room. My main composition was to get the feeling of the shadows radiating out from the center of the painting. I did complete a few other smaller snow paintings later in the week, after the temperature soared above 32 degrees.