Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bike Race Watercolors

Started a series of watercolors that I hope to build on that are based on a local cyclocross race, the Rockport Rampage, held in Rockport, IN.

I went to the inaugural event a couple of weekends ago and set next to the course to try and do a quick sketch. It was a little cold and windy, but I pulled one off...not a great one, but I did it.

I love bicycles...anything to do with two wheels, really, and cyclocross seems to be a great combo of off road, off beat, and right up my alley. So, putting my artistic talents to it just seemed natural. It's the first time I've tackled a subject like this and sure won't be the last...

Here is the sketch I did the day of the race in my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

Then, this evening I've worked on two small watercolors that I used my photos that I shot that day for reference.
We'll see as time goes on what else I come up with for this series. I'm kinda stoked on the whole idea.

          "Rampage #1"
        5"x7" watercolor

         "Rampage #2"
       5"x7" watercolor

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Painting Above the Dam

We had a welcome break from the extra cold weather we've been having, so I grabbed my gear and went in search of my painting for today.

I decided to run up to Hawesville, KY. to the overlook on the Ohio River that looks down on the Cannelton Lock and Dam. It was a beautiful view today, but the wind was relentless. One time even blowing my tripod over while nothing was even attached to it. Luckily it never dumped over with my painting on it...I was wary and had a hand on it most times, like when I was painting I had to hold it as steady as I could.

I initially put in a down river bound towboat, but once I got home I switched it around and made one approaching the lock. That set me to remembering my short stint onboard a towboat many years ago as a deckhand and locking through this very place...funny the differing perspective.

Be sure and check out my video below.

"Above the Dam"
12"x12" oil on linen panel

Here are some photos from the spot.

And here is my short little video...the first ever that I have shot while painting.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Tetons

With it being just too insanely cold out to go paint, I have been hanging the studio reading and going through photos. I guess no time is better than the present to start making more work from my 2012 trip to Wyoming. I have been hesitant because I've not been too happy with the photos I had. But, thanks to all of the plein air work I have been doing, it's given me the confidence to work from the photo, but to only use it for composition and ideas.

Like the photo I used here, it's pretty boring, but I liked the composition.

The worst thing to make is a boring painting, and I've made several. So, on this one, I made up a sky I thought would make a much more interesting painting.
If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any others, please contact me.
e-mail: derrt33@yahoo.com
phone: 812-306-1699

"The Grandest of the West"
 12"x12" oil on linen panel

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Overcoming The No

What is overcoming the no? Today it was my internal battle whether to stay in and enjoy the warmth of the studio or go out and paint in the cold and wind. I finally willed myself out the door by late afternoon and went in search of something to paint.

I was pretty sure I wanted to head across the river and try to get a scene of the bridge or something with the river in it. But, as I was looking, I saw this lone tree out in a huge field and the ruts filled with snow and ice. That was going to be it. So, I set up and went to painting as quickly as I could.

Winter ruts, don't we all suffer those at this time of year?

           "Winter Ruts"
   9"x12" oil on linen panel

Friday, January 17, 2014

SOMA Figural Arts Collaborative

A few of my fellow artist friends are holding a showing of their work at the Anna Eaton Stout Gallery on the campus of Brescia University.

Here are a few shots I took while attending the opening tonight. The show will hang until Feb. 7th and includes the work of Diane Albin, John Atkinson, Charles Shoemaker, and Larry Simpson.

Check it out while you can.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Self Portrait

What got into me to do a self portrait, I'm not sure, since I have never done one before. I think it was stumbling across a YouTube video series by Duffy Sheridan that did the trick. I was inspired.

Now, I didn't have all the colors that he had on his pallet, or the soft bristle brushes...but, I do have oil primed linen panels that I make myself, so I'm good in that department.

I also had to mount a mirror next to my easel so I could look at myself...the hardest part of the whole deal, looking at myself, that is.

I started out with a charcoal sketch...I need to work on loosening that up in the future. But, I got a some what resemblance of myself.

From that I washed in a background color with some white, raw umber, and viridian.
Then started building up skin tone in three values that I mixed from cad. red medium, yellow ochre, burnt umber, raw sienna, ultramarine blue, white and maybe a dab of this and that...

Then it was just a matter of placing darks and lights to try and build form.

I decided to stop here for the night after working on the eyes a little. I don't feel like I have them quite right yet...they are the most important think. If I get those right, then everything else keys off of them.

For those interested, here is my work space. I have the smallest room in the house, 10'x11', with an eastern exposure window...not ideal. But, it works for now.


And, here it is, night #2 on my self portrait.

I immediately noticed my eyebrows were too high, so corrected that. Also, the width of my cheekbones was making my face look too narrow.
Along with those changes, it was just a matter of looking at myself closely in the mirror and mixing colors and placing them where they needed to be to help develop the painting farther along.

Here is how it looks right now. I think I need to reduce the size of the irises of my eyes. They look a little too big and cartoon-ish.

This may be where I call it done. I have to stop somewhere or I could go on forever.

"Self Portrait #01"
16"x12" oil on linen panel

Friday, January 10, 2014

Painting During Our Heat Wave

As the whole world knows, we have been experiencing temperatures much lower than normal this week here in the midwest thanks to the Polar Vortex that swept down out of Canada....Brrr, it was cold for few days. But, today we've seen temps roar back above freezing and nearing 50.

So, what better time to get out of the house and paint. I grabbed my gear and headed out. I only had about two hours, as I needed to be home to get the kids off the bus.

I went to a spot that has been on my radar for a while on the backside of Ben Hawes Park. I drove up the road and found a safe spot to pull over, got out, set up, and started a timer on my phone.

It wasn't long before I heard a car slowly approaching and it stopped right beside me. The gentleman's curiosity piqued, he asked a few questions. I thought his voice sounded kind of familiar, but it wasn't registering just yet. I got around to telling him I was originally from Boonville, IN.

Now, this is where you just never know what you will see, hear, or experience when out painting in the outdoors. He said, "Do you remember the song, "One Night in Boonville?". Well, of course I remember the song, I was in high school in the '80's when that song was on local radio making fun of my hometown. I was never really offended by the song. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves...besides, it was mostly true. Ha, Ha!!
Now he tells me that he wrote that...and of course, it all makes sense then. He's a local DJ, very well known, Brian Jackson.

We chatted a bit more, but my timer was running and I needed to concentrate.

So, you just never know....

Oh, and here's the painting.

"Barn On Willett Road"
8"x10" oil on linen panel

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Going to Hawaii

OK, so I'm not going physically. Once again, thanks to Google Street View, I'm going to retrace some of my steps from our trip to Oahu.

We had rented a Jeep and rented a place to stay on the North Shore, Kawela Bay to be more exact. We drove around the windward side along the Kamehameha Hwy. following all it's twists and turns along the ocean side and amongst the overhanging trees. I was having dreams of my Swiss Family Robinson fantasy tree house somewhere along here.

Well, I can't have the tree house or get back to Hawaii any time soon, but that can't stop me from painting.

Here is a link to the view I grabbed: http://goo.gl/maps/46dtb

And here is the image I created in my sketchbook.
7"x11" watercolor

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Another One For The Virtual Paintout

So, I spent some time looking around Provincetown, MA. to find another scene for the paintout. I never know what may catch my eye and this time I seen a person sitting on a stoop enjoying a smoke, talking on their phone, and their pooch staring up at them. So, I just had to paint them. It's cool to wonder about this person. I mean, what was the story? Where are they now....No, not in a stalker sort of way!! I can put myself right there, listening to the dogs tags clink on the leash clasp, and the chatter of passers-by, the smell of the smoke (not something I like, mind you), and feel the heat of an August day.

Sent myself a screenshot, e-mailed myself a link so I could find the spot again if need be, and pulled out my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook and a pencil and loosely sketched in the subject. I used a pencil this time over a pen to allow me to get some softer edges.

I worked quickly and tried not to let myself get too bogged down in details. For one, the faces on Street View are pixelated out, so I just kinda hinted at the face...which isn't the center of interest anyway.

Once again, it was a fun exercise. I may becoming addicted to this.

Here is the screenshot.

And here is what I did with it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cape Cod Virtual Paintout

If you haven't heard about it or seen it yet, a fellow Kentucky artist, Bill Guffey, started a very cool blog with a very cool idea. Use Google Maps Street View feature to create works of art from all over the world. The blog is very near it's 5 year anniversary and you can visit it to get more info, see the extensive amount of artwork that has been created, and better yet-participate yourself.

For me, this is my first submission to the Virtual Paintout. I've used Street View in the past and actually one of the works I created was given a purchase award at the 2013 Owensboro Art Guild show at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.

This month the Virtual Paintout is focused on Cape Cod, MA. and I was thinking lighthouses. So, I snooped around the map until I found one I liked and grabbed a screenshot, made me a cup of hot tea, sat down with my sketchbook, pen, and watercolors and whipped out the following painting.

Here is the screenshot I worked from. This is the Nobska Point Light, by the way. Near Woods Hole, MA.

And here is the finished artwork in my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

William Kentridge

Today was a non-painting day for me. But, I don't let my time go to waste. I spend it reading and researching all things that will help me achieve my goals. Since I have no new work to show, and this is a blog devoted to art, why not give you some insight on what I find important or interesting...even enlightening.

Today, I want to introduce you to an artist whose work fascinates me, William Kentridge. I had the good fortune of catching an exhibition of his work at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC. some years ago and it still resonates with me.

Obviously his working methods and subjects are like nothing I do personally, but I just really like what he does. Maybe it's the raw simplicity of his use of charcoal, yet the complex nature of his work.

I'm posting a short video that gives a brief glimpse into his work. But, I suggest watching the others that are on YouTube also.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nutcracker Still Life

We still have our holiday decorations up and before we start taking them down soon, I wanted to try and paint a still life from one of the displays.

My wife likes to collect nutcrackers and we have them interspersed throughout the house.
I particularly liked this grouping and the low lighting, with the shadows and reflected light on the wall behind. The only lighting comes from some minimal ambient light but mostly from the lights strung around the top of the cabinet they are standing on.

I was feeling a bit ambitious around midnight when I started this one and worked on it for about an hour or two while the house was silent. I rigged up a small light over my easel to get things going.

After getting the kids off to school this morning, I waited until the sun was on the west side of the house and opened the curtains to give me a little extra light to work from without the overhead.

Finally, I had it about where I wanted it and took it into the studio where I resolved some edges and other little details around the focal point.

"If Ever There Were A Rag Tag Bunch"
9"x12" oil on linen panel

Below is little bit of it in progress and a shot of my view with my little cigar box easel.

Can't Do Without It

Sitting here in the studio having my hot tea, got Widespread Panic in my ear, and was just noticing my dirty ol' backpack sitting on the floor. Dutifully awaiting it's next assignment, whether it's packed to the gills with painting supplies or cheese, crackers, and beer...or extra clothes for the kids...or, Well, you get the idea.

I have other packs, but this one seems to be the go to guy. Has yet to fumble after over 11 years of service.

Yes, see, this pack has special significance to me because I purchased it at Wild Iris Mountain Sports in Lander, WY. during my time living there in 2002-03. If you are a friend of mine or know me at all, I have a love affair with that town.

I needed a pack smaller than my full on backpacking pack to use on day hikes up in Sinks Canyon and around Lander to carry my watercolors and other supplies. At the time I was just a budding artist, if that, and getting out in the great outdoors of the American west, particularly Wyoming, had been a dream of mine for a long time. So, maybe you can imagine why that period sticks with me so.

Today, I use this pack for all of my plein air outings and now it sees more oil paint than anything else, which is beginning to leave an archive of color marks all over it. It also serves as my grocery bag when I ride my bike to the store. Dang, it's almost to me like the little blue blanket is to Linus from the Peanut comics.

So, when I think of what is probably the most necessary piece of equipment I use, my paints, or brushes, or solvents, or canvas, or even my easel may seem to be it. But, without this pack to get those things out of the studio and into the outdoors where I love to paint, then it sure would be a cumbersome attempt at doing anything but painting in the studio.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Day

Today is New Years day 2014 and I decided to kick this year off right, with a painting.

I drove out to Carpenters Lake in eastern Daviess Co, KY and found this spot by the boat ramp. I liked the sycamore hanging out over the water, so I positioned my easel on the dock and went to work. I also liked all the muted color, which forced me to work on my greys. All mixed from my three primaries. I have no black on my palette.

I spent about an hour and a half before the light and sky started changing too much to keep going there. I packed up and came back to my studio here at the house and finished it up.

"Carpenters Lake"
8"x10" oil on linen panel

Updated, 4Jan2014
I wasn't happy with the first go. So I made some slight changes. I did away with the reflection of the tree trunk and made a small spit of land to give the tree an anchor and some context.

Below is what I finished on the day at the lake.