Friday, February 26, 2016

Snowing in the Forest 022516 12x12

I had planned to paint in the Brown County State Park as part of the Arts in the Park grant project.  We got snow the day before and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to capture the snow in the park in some areas I have scouted out. 

So I loaded my supplies in the van and headed out.  Much to my surprise, as I turned south off Lanam Ridge and headed downhill, the snow all disappeared!  Not a bit left anywhere!  I drove all the way over to the park hoping to find snow in the hollers but, alas, nothing!  Seems Lanam Ridge was the dividing line between snow and no snow!  So I turned around and headed back to paint in Yellowwood State Forest which did not disappoint.

Not a lot of snow on the ground but some and it continued snowing most of the afternoon.  Not the big fluffy stuff but the small, hard, snow pellets fell steadily and necessitated the use of the umbrella to keep the snow from gumming up my paint palette.  The scarf hanging on the tree branch during set up was wrapped around my face as I continued to paint!   Standing to paint for long periods can be bone chilling even when the temperatures hover in the mid-thirties.  Compared to the days when temps were closer to 20, this was downright balmy!

I started with the darks of the creek banks and then moved to the more delicate colors of winter.  The pale salmon colored beech leaves, the receding hills and trees in the distance, and the blue green shale of the creek are all rendered with a sensitive eye and hand.The creek itself is a mix of cerulean blue, cadmium yellow, and cadmium red light and cadmium red medium with titanium white.  

I work back and forth between the foreground and background, popping in the falling snow that was building up on some tree branches creating delicate tendrils snaking through the trees.  Here is the finished painting:

"Snowing, February 25, 2016", oil on panel, 12" x 12", by Charlene Marsh.

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Happy trails!


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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Snowy Vista at the State Park, 021516 12x12

Grey day in the Brown County State Park with temperatures in the mid-thirties and a gorgeous vista!  I love the way the snow is so white against the trees and grey sky.  This is a highly visible spot to paint along the main road with a small parking area for the scenic overlook.  Since this is an activity as part of the Arts in the Park grant I received from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Department of Natural Resources to celebrate the bicentennial of the state of Indiana, I wanted to maximize exposure to park visitors. 
I was able to park my car in the small lot nearby and carry my gear to this vista.  Easy peasy!!  MUCH easier than backpacking deep into the woods to paint.
For this painting, I started with the gleaming, sparkling white of the snow in the foreground.  If you follow my blogs, you know I usually start with the darks but this time I started with the lightest, brightest white snow.  I wanted to capture that virgin white and use it to set the values of the background colors.
I say "virgin white" but I never use paint straight out of the tube.  I mixed a violet from magenta crimson and ultra and cerulean blues to get a nice crystal snow blue violet, mixing it with lots of titanium white.  I wanted the white to be fresh, like the snow. 
Here you can see my painting with the vista.  Hard to compete! 
Temps felt quite warm after working outside in the low twenties just the day before!  The paint stays workable rather than turning sticky and making "icicles" of the paint. 

And here you can see the finished painting:
"Snowy Vista in the State Park", 021516 12x12, oil on panel, by Charlene Marsh.
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Happy Trails!
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Falling Snow on Valentine's Day 021416 12x12

Bitter cold, 21 degrees("real feel" even lower), with snow falling when I headed out to the forest to paint.  I took my umbrella to try to keep the snow off of my palette and panel.  I failed.  Snow still fell on my palette and the frozen crystals mixed with the paint giving the finished painting a certain authentic quality that could not be created in the studio.  Snow on the painting surface creates a very unique crystal effect that cannot be duplicated.
Kendra and I getting set up, again standing in the creek.  The snow is coming down quite heavily at times.
The water in the creek is the darkest dark in the whole scene so I start with that.  I use Ultramarine Blue with some Cadmium Red medium with a bit of yellow to make a dark, rusty green for the creek bed.
You can see from the pictures that I was in tight quarters with the creek bank directly behind where I was standing making it impossible to step back. Snow piles up on my umbrella.
 Here's how the painting looks under the umbrella near the end of the session.
And here, below, is the finished painting.  The colors are very delicate and hard to really capture in a photograph.  The paint surface and thick, crystallized paint is hard if not impossible, to see in a photo.  A photo is a pale shadow of the actual painting!  I guess that is why I am so passionate about REAL artwork!
"Falling Snow on Valentine's Day", 021416 12x12, oil on panel, by Charlene Marsh.

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Happy Trails!


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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Making and Prepping Panels

The support for my paintings is made from hardboard I get at the lumberyard.  I like the stiff, smooth supports for use with the palette knives for my paintings.  Canvas "gives" too much.  Canvas attached to hardboard has too much of a "drag".  Plain hardboard is "just right" for me.  I typically buy the 4' x 4' or 2' x 4' panels because they are much easier to handle unless I am working on a larger painting.  Then I will buy the 4' x 8' panels.  I mark the panels with a pencil and rulers or yardstick for the sizes I want to make.  I then cut the panels with a circular saw.  I usually cut the panels outside on the deck unless the weather is too cold or too rainy.  

This is a panel I have already prepped and tinted that I decided to cut down into smaller pieces.

After the panels are cut, I paint the back side with two coats of Liquitex acrylic gesso. I buy the gesso by the gallon.  I like Liquitex because it is a good consistency that flows nicely and offers good coverage.  I dip my brush in water now and then but overall the gesso doesn't need any thinning.  I also seal the edges of the panels.

I sand the front side of the panels to give them a little "tooth" and to knock off the rough edges on the sides.  I want the palette knife to be able to flow off the edge, NOT get hung up on a rough edge that sticks up.  Again, I typically do the sanding outside on the deck unless the weather is too cold or rainy.
After I have sanded the fronts of the panels, I seal them with Golden Medium GAC-100.

GAC-100 seals the wood base from the oil paints and prevents anything from bleeding through to the oil painting and distorting the colors.

After the panels have been sealed with the GAC 100, I apply two coats of gesso to the front and sides of the panels.  
I may sand again lightly in between each coat.  
The last coat of gesso is applied to the front of the panels.
After the panels are completely sealed and gessod, I tint the front with an acrylic Napthol Crimson paint.  
I like the red crimson color as my base because it seems to work well with my four season, forest paintings.  The red sparkles against greens in summer and looks like red cardinals in the forest in winter.  The red tint base is a middle value so dark values and light values pop against it.  

I generally start my paintings with the dark values so the middle value red base works well.
I set the panels to dry in milk crate type storage units.
Then the panels are ready to use! 

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Happy trails!


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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Snow Starting to Melt Deep in the Forest Code #012416 12x12

"Snow Starting to Melt Deep in the Forest, January 24, 2016", oil on panel, 12" x 12", c. Charlene Marsh.

I hiked back a good mile in the forest to paint this scene.  The temps were not as bitter as recent days - low to mid 30s - and the sun was out.  I painted this between 3-6 p.m.  Still some sun on the hill tops but shadows growing on the creek bed.

I really don't remember the light on the trees being this golden.  For once, a photo(by me) that looks good!  I like the sunny sky reflected on the creek in the photo below.  The picture is a little deceptive because it makes it look like my easel is set up right next to the creek when I am actually set up high on a bank overlooking the creek.

Here's a shot further back that shows it a little better.

Because the sun was going down behind the hill at my back, I tried to paint in the lights on the hill top first before it all went into shadow but I don't think it worked very well.  I usually start with the darks and move to the lights.  Hard for me to get the light key right starting with the lights.  So I moved to the darks.

You can see how the light has changed dramatically in this photo, below.  The sun has fallen behind the hills and everything is now in shadow.

Here is the final painting.  

"Snow Starting to Melt Deep in the Forest, January 24, 2016", oil on panel, 12" x 12", c. Charlene Marsh.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cold Snowy Day in the Forest Code #012216 12x12

"Cold Snowy Day in the Forest, January 22, 2016", oil on panel, 12" x 12", c. Charlene Marsh

I painted this snow scene out on location and it was COLD!  The temperatures hovered in the high twenties and never did get above freezing.  The sun was out and I wanted to go out while the sun was high in the sky, casting lovely blue shadows on the snow.  

I had a hard time getting any good pictures of the painting in progress because there was a large tree down across the creek and my set up was right next to it making it impossible to get back for a shot.  I climbed up on the creek bank for this shot.

This one, I was actually under the downed tree to try to show the set up.  My easel and I were were set up in the creek.

This is a picture of the painting in progress.  I used my camera phone and not sure why it came out blurry.  I am not even sure I should post such a lousy picture!  Tight shot because I was working in a tight area. 

Here is the finished painting.  I'm pretty happy with the final result.  Nice color, light on the hills, and lovely periwinkle shadows on the snow.  Whenever I finish up a painting out in the snow, I realize just how cold my toes have gotten!  I pack up the painting, easel, and tripod and take a hike to warm up a bit. 

"Cold Snowy Day in the Forest, January 22, 2016", oil on panel, 12" x 12", c. Charlene Marsh
Thanks so much for checking in!  Hope you are having a great winter season!


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