Thursday, December 10, 2015

Training Visual Memory

Morning Walk, Fence Line
(painted from memory)

One of the key ingredients of the Drawing/Painting Program of The Landscape Atelier is the training of visual memory. Many years ago, I embarked on a journey to find a way to use memory in my own work. Over time, I developed some techniques and strategies which helped me retain visual information. As a result, I became comfortable working from both memory and imagination.
When I started The Landscape Atelier in 2014 I knew I wanted to make memory training part of the curriculum. Last month I gave a paper at the TRAC 2015 conference entitled The Training and Use of Visual Memory for Representational Landscape Painters which describes why memory training is important, the literature and history of memory training, the method we use in the Atelier, and the results we obtained over the first year using these methods.
My paper is now available to read online. Here's the link. This will take you to a page on my website. Then just click on the title of the article.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Let's Try Again- New Paintings & Drawings

Several readers wrote to let me know they were having trouble viewing the images in my last post. So I am reposting them. Thanks to those of you who let me know!

You should be able to click on all images for a larger view.

This first image is a painting which is headed to the Small Works, Great Wonders show at the National Western Heritage Museum in OK City.

Woods Lake Interior
20 x 16

I am hard at work on some larger paintings, but here are several drawings and a few small paintings. 

Two Trees 
charcoal on Twinrocker handmade paper
12 x 10

charcoal on Twinrocker handmade paper
12 x 20

 Morning Walk, Fence Line
11 x 14

Backyard, Evening
8 x 10

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gilcrease Museum- Collectors' Reserve

I am pleased to say that these three pieces are headed to the Collectors' Reserve Show & Sale at the Gilcrease Museum this fall. The Gilcrease has a fabulous collection of American art including some beautiful examples of Hudson River School paintings and holds what is considered among the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections of fine art, artifacts, and archives dealing with the American West. Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the museum grounds include 23 acres of thematic gardens showcasing the gardening styles of different time periods in the American West. It is an honor to be included in this exhibition.

 Aspen Brook Study
6 x 12

 Late Afternoon Light
12 x 16

Farm Pond Morning
16 x 20

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th and New Work!

To all of you in the USA, Happy 4th of July!

This painting was begun before I went to Colorado in June and was based on field work I did last year in June. I had gotten it to a point and was really stuck, so the trip came at a good time enabling me to revisit the motif and refresh both memory and inspiration.

Last June I worked most of the time in a lovely aspen grove near my cabin. I did numerous drawings of individual aspen trees as well as ponderosa pines (which I posted here and here)  and some motif drawings as well. But I did not really follow up on any of them until a few months ago. The idea came from a desire to revisit the subject but also the fact that I had been looking at the work of Emil Carlsen quite a bit. I was intrigued with his backgrounds and how he was able to create something that was at once atmospheric but also had some very definite decorative qualities and a flatter picture plane.

So, my idea here was to not follow my usual method of creating a background with multiple layers of scumbles applied with rags but to use more of a dry brush approach with more texture and opacity, but to try to make it read simultaneously as "air" but also decorative and somewhat flat. At the same time I wanted to continue with the challenge of face lit subjects and to also play with the idea of volume and flatness in those forms.

Aspen Grove Interior
39 x 33

Oddly, the "experimental" part of the painting seemed to go fairly well and I was happy with that part after a couple of passes.  Here are a few details.

But, the part that should have been easy- the foreground grasses- just would not come together. I had originally envisioned some dappled sunlight in this area but every configuration I tried ended up detracting from the "main event", so eventually, when I returned from my trip I eliminated it. As a result I repainted the foreground about 6 times. Luckily, although I lost the transparency as a result, the layers and shifts in temperature (which this image doesn't capture very well) made up for it. The more simple "light shade" of the foreground seemed a better fit for the image.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New Work- Chroma is In the Midtones

This painting was started a year ago- either at the workshop or just after. The underpainting sat in my studio unfinished. Last summer I used it as a demo piece for the "scumble with rag" video I made (the back trees). Then it sat around again. With the coming of spring I felt inspired to work on it again. I was particularly interested in working with some of the concepts we have been studying in the Color II class and which I discussed in this post on the Field Notes blog - obviously vibration but also the idea that the mid tones can hold more chromatic color.

I lightened the value range from what I might typically do and tried to keep the color rich in the mid tones, while keeping the lights a little darker and the darks a bit lighter, narrowing the range. I am interested in exploring this further and am working on two other pieces now which include these ideas.

 Spring Morning II
24 x 18

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Work

Winter came back with a vengeance this week, giving us our first snowfall. My favorite haunts were covered in four inches of snow.  Here they are, back in November, shrouded in fog and rich with the color harmonies of late autumn.

 November Fog
20 x 20
 Foggy Morning
20 x 24
November Morning at the Pond
20 x 24

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Spring Workshop!

Hi Everyone! Hope your new year is off to a grand start. We are busy making preparations for our annual spring workshop to be held March 27- April 2, 2015. This year promises to be better than ever - our new studio on the historic square of Clarksville is finished, our printmaking studio is ready to go, and as always our beautiful spring landscape is just steps away. Come enjoy acres of beautiful fields of lush spring grass, huge oaks, pines, hickories and elm starting to leaf out, and blooming dogwood and wild plum. Barn buildings, wildlife and farm animals complete the list of motifs available to paint. Plus, of course, our gorgeous sunsets and twilights!

Our spring workshop includes daily instructor demos, help at your easel, access to our 700+
volume art library and some fine hospitality and home cooking too!
This workshop is organized as a field to studio learning experience for painters of all levels. Our first few days in the field will include several instructor demos (both drawing and painting) and learning a diffferent way to collect reference for studio paintings which will reduce your dependence on photography and bring authenticity to your finished studio work.
During the last half of the workshop, we will work in our brand new beautifully equipped 4000 square foot studio, finishing paintings begun in the field, as well as starting new paintings and learning about indirect painting techniques like glazing, scumbling, velatura and transparent grisaille.
Come join us for an exciting week- one that is guaranteed to introduce you to new ideas and techniques for taking your work to the next level!Registration and information here. 
Want to hear what students have to say? Click here.
Questions? Please email me. Hope to see you this spring.  Happy Painting!