Thursday, July 16, 2009

Durant Nature Park

One of my favorite parks in Raleigh is Durant Park.  A few weeks ago my kids had their wrestling picnic in one of the shelters.  I was able to sneak away and get some pictures of the creek.  It seems the water in the creek is always pretty low so this results in alot of tree roots hanging over the creek.  Definitely makes for some interesting pictures and of course later on interesting paintings.

For this painting I painted one layer on a 24x36” Gessobord.  I deliberately omitted painting a lot of detail on the big tree and the rock system in the lower right corner.  When I finished painting the panel, I primed certain areas of a glass pane, and painted those.  When finished I placed the glass on top of the panel.  I started exploring this method of glass painting when I did my second DVD Abstracting the Outdoors: Unlikely Surfaces, it really allows for a different and interesting depth perception that I have yet to achieve from a one layered two dimensional work.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Geometric Sky

In creating a typical landscape, I find the sky to be one of the most important elements to the painting.  The viewer’s eye is directed to the vanishing point where horizon line disappears and eventually dissolves into the sky.  Challenging the viewer with a “non-traditional” sky I find accents other parts of the painting.

In Croatan Forest 1 and 2, I used varying square and rectangular shapes of blues, whites and grays to achieve this “geometric sky”.  Just by cutting shapes in masking tape and applying different color glazes in layer over layer allowed me to achieve this effect.  I am currently experimenting with shapes other rectangles to take this to yet another level.

Painting with Detail Bottles

Detail bottles are 1/2 oz. squeezable plastic bottles with tiny applicator tips in different size openings.  I like to create a mixture of 30% paint and 70% glazing medium.  They are sold in a set of three, so I typically mix three different colors.  From there the paint mixture can be applied to create string like effects.  I find this works well for things like waterfalls, ripples etc.

In creating Looking Glass Falls (pictured) I used the the detail bottles to create the waterfall in a combination of white, silver and turquoise.  There is also some impasto effect to give the waterfall more dimension.  In contrast to the darker colors used to represent the rocks in the background this waterfall really stands out.

Painting on Glass

Lately I have been doing a lot of painting on Glass in conjunction with Geesobord panels.  I find painting on glass to be difficult, but the effect when complete is stunning, as it creates a depth perception when laid over on the panel. 

In my upcoming DVD Abstracting the Outdoors: Unlikely Surfaces I demonstrate this technique as it relates to my style of painting.  Generally I paint the sky and the body of the water on the panels.  Any trees, rock or other objects that would typically be in the foreground are subsequently painted on the glass.  Varnishing the glass can be tricky, as the paint has a tendency to lift off, but I am finding the end result is usually very good.  I am currently working on a bigger piece in this style.  Check back soon to see how this comes out.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

Located just south of Goldsboro, NC is Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.  We visited the park in late Spring, this visit was preceded by about seven straight days of rain.  Alot of the hiking trails were flooded, but it created some cool pictures that would not exist under normal conditions.

 When I began painting these pictures this was my first go around with acryl gouache on watercolor paper.  I use acryl gouache in nearly all of my paintings, but usually as more of an accent layer over traditional heavy body acrylics.  Previous paintings have always been done on canvas or boards, cold press watercolor paper provided me an interesting new dynamic.   Unlike canvas, the paper allows for softer strokes and better detail. Of course some of the impasto and sgrafiito techniques that I like to use are not possible on this surface, but overall I like this surface as I can do paintings a bit quicker.  They also look nice under glass in a metal silver frame.

Paintings around the Triangle

I do not need to travel far to find some outstanding subjects.  One generally does not think of Interstate 540 as a picturesque area of beauty, however several of my favorites paintings have materialized from places in and around Wake County.  Milburnie Fishing Club (pictured) was inspired by a real place just off highway 64 in Knightdale.  I was lucky enough to capture this area at sunset, while the mauve / red sky definitely has some artistic license, the area is quite interesting with hundred of sunken trees.  I’ve never fished there, but I’m sure the bass are plentiful.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eastern North Carolina

Several of my pieces are currently available at the Vision Gallery in Atlantic Beach, NC.  In the spring of 2009 we visited the gallery and made a day trip of it and took in some of the surrounding landscape.  I’ve never been a big beach painter so I knew this would be a challenge.  At the advice of the gallery’s owner we hiked around Hoop Hole Creek.  I took a lot of pictures, but nothing really popped out.  I knew if I were to paint this area, the painting rather than the location would need to be my area of focus.  I decided to create a polytich of 12, 10x10” panels.  I painted each panel separately and tried different painting techniques on each.   When finished they were all mounted onto 36x48” oak board to create a full composition.

My favorite area of this region is Croatan Forest.  Situated between New Bern and Atlantic Beach the landscape is diverse enough where one might see towering pine trees and dense forestry adjacent to a sandy beach and serene coastline.  I created three paintings from the pictures I took.  All three were accepted into different juried shows.  My favorite of these is Flanners Beach (pictured) this really illustrates a wild and diverse forest scene in contrast to the serenity of the beach at sundown.

Western North Carolina

Arguably my favorite area of the country is western North Carolina.  In early November of 2008 we took a trip to see the waterfalls.   It is amazing how much we saw in just an eight hour period, but I know we only scratched the surface of all there is to see.

We started the trip by visiting Looking Glass Falls. In January of 2009, I painted a 36x72” work of the falls.  This was the first time I really experimented with making paint a “liquid” to create a waterfall effect.  The end result came out spectacular and was later accepted into the Radius 250 show in Richmond, VA and subsequently achieved an Honorable Mention for this show.

So far I have painted about a dozen pictures from this trip, but my personal favorite is Whitewater Falls #3 (pictured). I was fortunate enough to capture this magnificent setting in peak autumn foliage.  Again I used some liquid detail to create an interesting effect for the waterfall, but the array of reds, oranges and other autumn colors really make this artwork pop right off the canvas.

Dupont Forest is an area where many of these waterfalls are located.  When I painted Dupont Forest my goal was to really experiment with the variety of trees, rocks and how they interacted with the brilliant cobalt blues of the river.  This piece was later accepted into the National Juried Art Show at the Rocky Mount Art’s Center.  When I attended the opening in June, I was thrilled to find out that this work won first prize for the show.  It is currently on display at the museum through September 2009.

Beidler Forest

In July of 2008, my family and I visited the Beidler Forest in South Carolina.  Located about an hour west of Charleston, this area was the perfect place to find subject matter for my paintings.  I would term this area more of a swamp than a forest.  The landscape was that of a science fiction movie with trees growing horizontally, and a water edge that could not be defined since trees and other typical things associated with land were growing in the water.

I painted seven paintings from this trip.  Beidler Forest #3, #4 and #5 are currently on display and available at the Vision Gallery in Atlantic Beach, NC.   Beidler Forest #6 was the basis for a full length DVD and was later accepted into the National Juried Art Show at the Rocky Mount Arts Center (where it currently is).  My favorite piece of this series, Beidler Forest #7 (pictured) was accepted into the juried show for the Raleigh Fine Art's Society.  It currently is in my possession and in August will be featured at my gallery show in Wake Forest, NC at the Sunflower Studio and Gallery.