Friday, September 30, 2011

Once Upon a Time

This is for September 2011 Daily Paintworks, The Fall's challenge. It's oil on 12x16 canvas panel.

This DPW challenge suggested to first tone the canvas with a bright color, and then to let peeps of this bright color show through a fall themed painting. This DPW challenge was again something new I really wanted to try. So I looked through my old photos since Hong Kong, where we live now, doesn't really offer any fall colors like those back in the northeastern US. I found this picture when we visited the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park New York along the Hudson Valley. My older son was only a little baby then and was fascinated by the brightly colored dried leaves on the lawn at the Mansion.

To tone the canvas, I used a mixture of red oxide and yellow orchre acrylic paint. Once the acrylic dried, I used oil paint and a size 10 brush to block in basic color blocks for the trees, sky and lawn, leaving holes with the underlying color showing through. Then I went in with smaller brushes to paint in the baby and added in more bright highlights. The main colors included sap green, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red, mars yellow, ultramarine violet and yellow orchre.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paris Road Bridge - New Orleans

This is my second submission to the Sept 2011 Virtual Paintout New Orleans challenge. It's oil on 12x16 canvas panel.

I have been doing some research on Ralston Crawford paintings lately since a commissioned work I'm working on is of Precisionist style with deep perspective, and Ralston Crawford is one of the better known artists of that style.

While I was virtually traveling New Orleans in Google Maps, I came upon this bridge at Paris Road. There's one view (ref) that reminded me so much of Ralston Crawford's White Stone Bridge and with the same type of lighting from the right. So even though I've already submitted to this month's VP, I decided I had to try to paint this Paris Road Bridge Precisionist style.

I used the long deep perspective that was also used in the White Stone Bridge painting. The bridge structure was no easy feat, and I had to simplify the bridge a lot. I found painting long straight lines with oil very hard to do. I sketched in the basic shapes with a ruler, and then painted all the lines in oil basically free handed, and boy was this more tedious than painting the peonies petal by petal earlier this month! Color scheme was very simple, blue, white and grey plus a touch cadmium yellow and orange. Finally I added some wispy clouds with a fan brush to help draw the eyes up even more.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Three Onions on Chopping Block

This is for Rookie Painter Sept 2011 challenge, Three Onions. It's oil on 10x12 canvas panel.

I thought the original reference photo was fine, so I didn't alter too much from the original. (ref) I kept the color mostly in the same family. For the onions, they were mainly cadmium orange, burnt sienna, mars yellow, cadmium yellow, raw sienna, raw umber, ultramarine violet, cadmium red, coral, and white. Chopping block was white plus raw sienna, plus all the left over colors from the onions, while the background is Gamblin's radiant violet plus white.

Red Hibiscus - Limited Strokes

This is for Daily Paintworks, limited strokes challenge. It's oil on 6x8 canvas panel.

This challenge really pushed me out of my comfort zone - limited strokes. Since painting in oil is so forgiving, it's very easy to go over the same stroke over and over again try to, for example, correct color. With this challenge, we were supposed to use a bigger brush, size 8 or above, load it up with color, and one stroke per shape.

I chose a picture of a red hibiscus I took from our backyard a few years ago. It certainly was very tempting to go over the strokes trying to fix things, but here I had to learn to let it go and let it be - so hard to do! The flower itself took about 12 strokes, plus 9 highlights here and there. The dark purple background took 6 very large strokes, and the abstract leaves took 6 strokes, bringing the total of 33. This challenge makes me realize that I need to need to do more of these kind of limited strokes exercise and there are certainly not easy to do!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sun Moon Lake - 4 values

This is for Daily Paintworks Sept 2011 four value challenge. It's oil on 12x16 canvas panel.

The Daily Paintworks actually has some good challenges, and this is my second submission. This four value challeng was interesting because we were basically restricted to using 4 basic values and forced to simplfy what we saw. I was looking for something that would look interesting in a black and white, and remembered this picture we took a few years ago at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan. The boats and dock were supposedly used by Chiang Kai-Shek decades ago. The picture I thought was beautiful in color and would be very nice in black and white, so I decided to use this.

The four values are: 1. lightest grey: sky and sky reflection, dock, 2. medium grey, far mountains and mountain reflections, 3. dark grey, near mountain and reflection, boat reflections, roof of boats, 4. very dark grey (cobalt blue + burnt umber), boat, side of dock and lantern posts. It was hard painting this photo with just four color, and I cheated a little. For example, for the far mountains, if they were just one solid color, they would lack definition. So I added in a little line of lightest grey and did some blending. I also added a pop of color for the lanterns, just to make the painting a little more interesting.

Chilling Out by Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans

This is for Virtual Paintout Sept 2011 challenge, New Orleans. It's oil on 12x16 canvas panel.

Started the virtual tour by Lake Pontchartrain, I came upon these two guys sitting by the lake just chilling out. One guy dozed off and slumped over while the other guy was looking out to the lake. (ref) To me, I wondered if the two guys were involved in the rebuilding of the city, and one got too tired and rested by the same water that caused so much damage, and while the other guy was reflecting on what had happened. Okay, it sounds a bit cliché but that's what had caught my eyes.

The Google map image quality was actually very poor, so it was hard to make out the details what the men looked like. Moreover, the color in Google map was too dull and grey. So the composition and color for this painting took a bit of imagination on my part, such as giving the water more movement to the water in contrast to the people resting.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kota Kinabalu Sunset Clouds

This is for Daily Paintworks Help the Children of Africa Challenge . It's oil on 12x16 canvas panel.

This is the first time I've submitted to the Daily Paintworks. There are so many excellent artists participating and the paintings are all so beautiful! When I saw this charity challenge, I had to do it.

This photo was taken last year when we visited Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. The villa we stayed at was won from a fund raising auction at my younger son's school the year prior. Before the trip, I knew where Malaysia was, but I had no idea Kota Kinabalu existed (it's in the middle of the Pacific ocean next to Brunei), and boy was this place beautiful! The first afternoon we got there, a rain stormed had just passed, and there was a double rainbow. We sat down looking out to the ocean and the rainbow. As the sun started to set, there were these massive colorful clouds. So when I had to find something to paint for this challenge, this picture was the first one I thought of.

The main colors included Prussian blue, ultramarine violet, sap green, white, cadmium orange, cadmium yellow, coral, colbat blue, compose blue, Portland grey medium, and violet grey.

All proceed from the sale of this painting will go to Action Against Hunger.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Two White Peonies

This is for Rookie Painter, August 2011 challenge. It's oil on 11x16 canvas panel.

When looking at the reference photo (ref photo), I wanted to try to capture the luminescence quality of the flowers. Having so many patels made the peonies hard to paint. The values between light and shadow were so close, and thus additional complexity.

When painting the flowers, I actually made the value difference between light and shadow a little more pronounced for ease of painting (still not that easy) and also to give the flower more definition, rather then just a couple of white blobs. I also lightened up the background a little for the smaller flower on top trying to avoid having the painting too bottom heavy. The main colors were naples yellow, coral, Gamblin's radiant red, ultramarine violet, violet grey, sap green, ultramarine blue, van Dyke brown, burnt umber, yellow orchre and white.