Posts Tagged ‘oil painting’

Trail of Tears State Park – Park 2

November 2, 2016

trailoftearsoverlook-enpleinair

Trail of Tears State Park

We ended our first park adventure, with a stop at the Trail of Tears State Park. A bittersweet place. The views from the overlooks were beautiful while the historic displays and accounts of hardship and death along the forced relocation march-particularly, the delayed crossing of the Mississippi River during winter, was a tragic reminder of one of the saddest times in American history.

While wanting to depict something specific to the park and what had happened in this area in 1838 and 1839, I settled on the view from the overlook. It was peaceful. The view was a perfect place for reflection while I painted.

To learn more about the park:

https://mostateparks.com/park/trail-tears-state-park

To see my “paint the parks” progress:

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/trail-of-tears-overlook-en-plein-air/519833

 

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A new challenge……painting the Missouri State Parks

October 27, 2016

passport-bookI’ve begun a new personal challenge……and I’m taking my mom along with me!

In light of 2016 being the centennial of the Missouri state parks, I’ve decided to try and visit as well as paint en plein air at each park. I hope to finish this challenge in 2 years, but we’ll see. It may take longer (there are 88 places to visit!), but in the end, the real goal is to learn more about the history of our great state and to see some beautiful country along the way. The other driving force behind this goal; my mom confessed to not really visiting many of the parks or really traveling Missouri much—OK, we need to change this! Challenge accepted!

I, myself have visited a lot of the state parks through the years and even painted at a few of them the past couple of years, as I’ve become more involved in painting en plein air. I only became aware of the “passport” book this past summer, after a friend was telling me about these little books that listed all 88 state parks and historic sites in Missouri and encouraged people to get their “passport” stamped at each park they visited. This got me thinking, how fun would it be to paint at each park while mom and I were earning our stamps! How cool would it be to finish the passport with 88 little paintings reminding us of our travels and adventures?!  Again, challenge accepted!

This isn’t a new concept but it is new to me—painting a large series and spreading it out over a year or two. I do not normally have the patience to do more than my annual painting a day for a month challenge. I admire people like artist Billyo O’Donnell, who set a personal challenge of this size and knock it out of the park. He visited and painted each county in Missouri a few years back. He did this over a span of years and the resulting work was amazing!  I really enjoyed reading his book, hearing the stories behind the locations, and seeing the subsequent paintings from his adventure! There is some beautiful and diverse country in Missouri and each place has something that makes it unique! You can check his adventure and more about the book here: http://www.paintingmissouri.com/book/

Now, I’m not claiming to be anywhere near Billyo’s artistic level, nor will the resulting travels end in a book or gallery tour, but, I think the result will be interesting in it’s own right and will carry with it a great sense of achievement and hopefully result in some wonderful memories!  I think it will be fun to see the personal growth through the paintings after they’re all lined up at the end of the adventure–hopefully my skills will be noticeably better!  I think it will also be fun to see what caught my eye on each particular day and what I chose to depict for that park visit.

To follow along on mom and I’s adventures…..stay tuned and I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I’m sure we will!

Plein air at Tower Grove Park- Wait, my subjects left!?!

April 7, 2016

What do you do when your subject leaves before you’re finished painting????

I recently took a workshop with Dave and M. Shawn Cornell and the focus was on studying your subjects in sketch, paint, and just with your eyes and mind–committing as much as you could to memory. The logic behind this is so you can “paint what you know”. To drive the concept home, we did several Notan (small drawings used to establish balance in a painting’s composition) sketches of landscapes and views, totally from our mind. After doing several of these, we then chose one that seemed to be the strongest idea and worked on developing the concept. We did more detailed Notans if the scene, detailed Notans of the details of the scene, and then small color studies of the scene. Finally, we did a larger painting using only the reference materials and studies we’d made. Normally what we found, is that the scenes were places we recognized, saw on a daily basis, or favorite places that have been committed to memory because of our fondness for the location.

This was a tough exercise for a lot of us (including myself), but it would turn out to be a great exercise that I would put to use, sooner than later.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I had been doing the “painting a day challenge for the month of March”. I’ve been trying to limit my time on these little studies each day, to one hour….or at the most an hour and a half. Each week, I sort’ve changed subjects or themes. One of the last weeks, I was painting horses. I’ve been drawing and painting horses since I can remember but, I still needed practice in getting them down quickly and correct so, these studies were proving to be great exercises for me.

Last Sunday, I went to Tower Grove Park to paint with members of the MOPAPA group. I painted a flowering tree first thing, then I migrated to a pavilion to eat lunch with a few of the members. As I was walking up there, I saw a Clydesdale hitched to a carriage and the gentlemen driving him was there to give carriage rides to the park visitors. I took a few pictures, chatted with the driver a bit and went on for lunch. After lunch, we decided to set up and paint one more painting before calling it a day. I walked around and looked at the flowers and the ponds and kept coming back to the Clyde and carriage. Could I pull it off? Could I paint quick enough to get a gesture and idea of the scene before he went around for another ride? I decided to take on the challenge and setup my easel from across the pond from the carriage, where there were tulips in front of the horse. I started covering my canvas with a wash and started drawing feverishly, and there went my subject. He was only there for a few minutes before he started giving a tour around the gardens. Eventually he came back and I started painting like a mad woman again….he left about 5 minutes later. So, my quick draw studies and my exercises at the Cornell workshop started paying off. I started filling in what I remembered from studying the horse and carriage earlier while chatting with the driver. I also adlibbed a bit based on what I knew about horses and harness in general. I reached a point that I really needed to see the carriage again….so, I worked on the background, waiting for my subjects to return….except they never did. They were done for the day.

So, what do you do when your subject leaves? Well, if you haven’t done any homework or studied your subject much, it’s going to be really hard to paint what you don’t know. So, you either have to surrender or hope to come back another day and hope for the same lighting and subjects. I had accepted the challenge and feel like I pretty much walked away winning. I’ll let you decide.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/untitled/470223

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/untitled/470222

Painting a day 2016-Day 29-Spring at Shaw Study #1

April 1, 2016

 

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In honor of April Fool’s Day, I’m going to post out of order…..that, and I had the “day 29” post all ready before I had day 23…..so, there’s that….

Spring has sprung and I have a renewed need to get outdoors and paint!

Now, I won’t lie, I had the need to get outdoors to paint, even during winter–I love snow!  However, something about the trees budding, flowers blooming, grass turning green, birds singing, peep frogs chirping, and warmer temps (I could go on and on….this is one of my favorite times of the year!)….I just want to be outdoors painting.

After the time change, so that it stays light a bit longer….I try to get together once a week at one of our state or county parks with a group of painters and paint after my “day job”.  It’s a great way to schedule a time to paint–if it’s on the schedule then it becomes a priority instead of “I’ll paint after I get everything else done.”  This is also a great way to share a common interest among friends (to also meet new friends), offer encouragement, light critiques, and share tips and tricks.

One of the locations we like to frequent is Shaw Nature Reserve.  I am constantly in awe with each visit because it seems like there is always something new blooming.  Right now, the daffodils are in full bloom.  When I say daffodils–they have them!  There are literally thousands of them blooming throughout the park.  It is amazing and overwhelming at the same time.  How do you capture that in a painting?  Ho do you portray the volumes of flowers and still show the viewer that they are daffodils vs. some other yellow (and white) flower?  Of course, not only did I have that dilemma but I was also drawn to the blooming trees that seem to be in their prime, flowering glory as well.  I had sensory overload….and as my usual self, I attempted to put it ALL in right from the start.  I should know better than that by now but, hey, it was all so beautiful.  I will admit, I wiped off part of the painting not once, but twice.  While the final result wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, I’m still happy with the study results and think I have enough there that it might be fun to paint it again…strictly from the study.

A few hours of painting with friends, outdoors, on a crisp, spring day–perfection.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/spring-at-shaw-study1/469207

Painting a day 2016-Day22-Plow horse

March 30, 2016
Plow horse-study 7"x5"

             Plow horse-study
                         7″x5″

This guy is one half of a big, Belgian team of horses that  I “met” at a historic horse, mule, and oxen farming days.  Such big, beautiful animals that seem to look graceful even when pulling a plow.

Every time I see a team of Belgians, I think of my grandpa “ship” and the summers he kept a team and let me “help” with a few of the chores involving the horses.  I was fascinated by those big, beautiful, blonde horses with the huge hooves.  I remember watching him harness, hitch, and drive them as if he’d been doing it all his life…..oh wait, …..he had.  What I wouldn’t give to have had a few more years with him to learn to drive a team like he did.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/plow-horse-study/469081

Painting a day 2016-Day 21-Austin Study 3

March 28, 2016
Austin+Study+3

Austin Study #3 7″x5″

I got into photography as a result of my painting.  I knew I needed to gather my own reference material and photography was another creative outlet….except with the occasional, quicker result.  The more I got into photography, the more I loved the challenge of getting a new composition or viewpoint and coming up with a fresh, point of view.  I combined that with my love of being outdoors and playing with my horses and wildlife.  I even found myself lying on the ground while the horses grazed…..I’m sure the neighbors thought I was out of my mind….

This little painting is based on one of those days….lying on the ground, listening to soft crunching noise my horse ate grass around me.  Occasionally he’d come over and sniff my hair, tickle me with his nose and then move on around me—almost as if he’s just checking to see why I’m laying there and if I’m OK.  I miss that big furball with the gentle, kind soul.

“Life is too short, ride your best horse first.” ~unknown

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/austin-study-3/468610

 

Painting a day 2016-Day 20-Dixie Study

March 27, 2016
Dixie+Study

Dixie Study -7″x5″

This is Dixie.  Another in my dramatic light and vivid color mini series.  Black horses really do have a lot of color when they have great lighting and you look for it.  The photo reference for this was beautiful and worked well as a photo except it was too underexposed and I lost all of the detail in the shadow on the left side.  I tried to improvise and fill in some of the detail–I think I somewhat succeeded but the painting just didn’t meet up to my vision.  Although, sometimes it is tough to capture that vision in just an hour ala prima (all at once, wet on wet) session.  I think I’ll try this subject again….another day.  Until then, HAPPY EASTER all!

Painting a day 2016-Day 17-Murdoc #2

March 24, 2016
Murdoc 2- 5"x7" study

Murdoc 2- 5″x7″ study

“The horse knows.  He knows if you know.  He also knows if you don’t know.”  ~Ray Hunt

This is Murdoc,…aka Doc.  He is a very intelligent yet frustrating equine, -depending on who you talk to.  I am usually amused by his antics, my dad and my husband….not so much….

 

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/murdoc2-study/468030

Painting a day 2016-Day 13 Mulie Study #2

March 19, 2016
Mulie+Study+2

5″x7″ oil on canvas

 

 

“I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path and I will leave a trail.”Muriel Strode

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/mulie-study-2/466676

Painting a day 2016-Day 12-Sunlight and Sage-study

March 15, 2016
Day 12 painting a day

Sunlight and Sage study 7″x5″

I decided to continue working with the mule deer reference photos because; a.)I have so much of it and haven’t really painted much from it yet, and b.)the doe paintings seem to be really flowing.  It is good to be challenged but it is also good to have a balance between the process and progress and feel like you come out on top once in awhile.

While camping, we usually leave camp before daylight so that we can be out and about right at daybreak.  There are two huge reasons for that, the light is great at that time and that’s when the wildlife really get to moving.  Plus, the crowds and traffic are low at that time–so, there you go, there are three reasons!  That saying, “the early bird gets the worm”….very true.  When camping and hiking at a well visited park like Rocky, the best shots are those that take you away from the crowds.  Those that take you off of the beaten path and out of the tent and on the trail bright and early.  Sometimes it is those unexpected shots that you’re just blessed with being at the right place at the right time.  Sometimes it’s when weather is moving in and everyone else gets out of the rain, mist, wind or snow but you stick it out just a little bit longer.  And then sometimes it happens when you just set up in the woods, sit quietly, wait and watch.

This little painting was based on some reference material gathered in a big stand of pine that was beautifully lit by warm, filtered light.  We weren’t sure where we were headed that morning and just decided to head towards the Bear Lake area and stop when we’d decided the light was right and where wildlife movement seemed promising.  As we were headed down the road, I spotted a couple of does and several little ones moving through the forest, just off the road.  We pulled up to the next vehicle pull off and parked.  We decided to hike back down the mountain a bit, down into the pines on the opposite side of the road, find a quiet, spot on some boulders with tree trunks somewhat breaking up our silhouettes and just wait.  We figured if we just waited patiently–we might get some good shots once they crossed the road and moved into the sunlit gaps within the forest–and if not, hey, it was a beautiful morning, the air was just warming up, and the smell of pine and fresh air was strong–it just didn’t get any better than this.

Well, that’s what we thought….  Except that the icing on the cake was that our gamble paid off and I snapped several beautifully lit shots of the does and little ones as they browsed on the grasses and shrubs growing in the openings.  We sat there and just watched them wander about, until they finally moved on through the valley.  We got up and quietly walked back to the road, moving on, in search of our next peaceful moment.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/untitled/465330