Atelier en plein air……

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2011 by Eldon

How many times has an artist heard he or she should never use black? Or, here’s a good one, “Your light source should always be upper left.”  The list of those “You shalt not do’s” I’ve heard goes on and on and on. How about, “You need to stop doing those vignettes” or “All the brush work in your painting should be the same” or the opposite with “All your brush work needs to be different.”

It all boils down to some expert telling someone else if they don’t do it the experts way they’re doing it wrong and, I guess,  just because someone believes he/she is an expert,  he/she can say about anything and everyone needs to just fall in line. Note the following statement made by Jean Stern, Executive Director, the Irvine Museum, Irvine, CA. in the Summer Issue of Plein Air Magazine, 2011. (The title of the article is “Plein Air Painting: A Vehicle, Not a Destination”. page 28)   This is not the entire article but you can find it on line   here   if you don’t subscribe to the magazine. I quote:

“Today, the term plein air is nearly universal among contemporary artists and the collectors of their works. Quite often, as seen in countless art magazine advertisements, the legitimacy of plein air painting has been subverted to accommodate those who seek to appropriate the popularity and commercial success now attendant to that designation. Today, there are many who describe themselves as “plein air painters” who,in fact, are not.”

I smell plein air police.

Smore:   “At the same time, the practice of plein air has suffered the abuse of being reduced to a sort of status symbol. Indeed in many circles it has become a yard stick: If you are not a plein air painter you are not a good painter.”

Awe c’mon!

Smore:   “Plein air is a philosophy, and it is not the artists’ Nirvana. It is not the end product. It is, in fact, the beginning. It is how one starts the process of creating a landscape painting.”

Well, I’ll buy it’s one way if you’re into that sort of thing.

Smore:   “The plein air sketch confirms it’s reason for being when it leads to a refined, studio painted final work.”

What? Really?

Smore:  “It is tempting to keep the small, carefully observed, brilliant little jewels that tend to sell so well, and, unfortunately, many artists do just that. Now is the time to restore our dedication to landscape painting, not only as artists, but as collectors, dealers and historians. The sweet siren’s song of the small plein air sketch as the painters’  panacea has to be left behind. (I would consider it but this fellow isn’t my boss, my daddy OR my Mrs.) To paint the landscape is one of the most ancient of human endeavors. Landscape is surely the most supreme of art subjects, and needs to be shown in a large format.”  <—-opinion?

Geez, gimme a break!   Is this fellow having a hard time selling large paintings or something? And the final statement in the article reads as follows:

“Honor nature by properly portraying her majesty and grandeur. A small plein air sketch just won’t do.”

Now wait. I have to ask. Who died and left this man in charge of deciding what plein air is all about and how it should have evolved over the last couple of hundred years? I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right to his opinion because he certainly does. I  just don’t buy it!!  And he’s not telling just me I’m wrong if I don’t see it his way and snap to!!. He’s also dissing collectors, dealers and historians as he sets himself up as the guy who “knows”..

The vast majority of my plein air work is executed without the slightest thought given to what is “supposed” to follow. I do a lot more work out doors than I do in my “at home studio” and I like it that way. Most of my plein air work never sees a larger canvas.  The little “jewels” that sometimes drip off the end of my brush don’t need to be “confirmed”. They are what they are. They are small paintings living a life of their own, done in my atelier en plein air. ( Atelier en plein air, loosely translated means “out door studio”.)

Above are two paintings done  Atelier en Plein Air.  Having been executed in my out door studio I am certainly hopeful that Mr. Stern is OK with what I’ve done because these puppies are for sale.

Mr. Stern, I’ll cut you a deal!!

Till next time…….


Want to make a comment somewhere?   —— >    <—–That’s a close as I can get you right now.    Eric Rhodes is the kyo muk .

An oldie but a goodie!!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2011 by Eldon

An oldie but a goodie. I can relate.

This piece has been around for a little while. It has been put up and I recently found this photo of it. I thought I’d post it and see what “yall” think. It’s one of my favorite plein air pieces. It was done during a plein air competition in Manitou Springs, Colorado. I guess I’m gettin the itch to do some flower work with it finally being Spring and all. So ….



Finished and Finished

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2011 by Eldon

The painting above (18×24 inches) is the final stage of the painting sequenced in my last blog post.  Not too bad but nothing to write home about either. What I have the most problem with is the less than interesting cloud flattening out the top third of my canvas. The longer I stared this thing down the more aware I became of my need to DO IT OVER!

Seems I do that a lot but I have found in most cases it’s worth it and beyond that, for this one anyway, necessary. So….

this is how I began my re-do of what’s above. The canvas is 36×48 inches and is museum stretched canvas. The “wash” is a mixture of Raw Umber and a little Cad Orange.

I wasn’t planning to post a progression of this one so I only took one photo of how the top portion was laid in. My friend, Kirk Larsen, asked for a sequence so I took a few more pictures of the rest of the process.

I’m not sure why I worked from the top down on this one. Maybe it was my preoccupation with that cloud but it seemed to work and I painted

and finished as I went.

So, this is the second finish for this piece. Much better, yeah?

Have a great week!


Starting A Tractor

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2011 by Eldon

As promised here are the two videos  showing you how I started (and finished) a tractor. My computer took about 15 seconds to load and start each part of the demo so give it just a bit to start for you. It’s worth it. Also there is no audio that’s worth listening to since I had the radio on in the background and I don’t say anything. Turning down the volume will keep you from having to listen to a very bad  sound track. The video is pretty cool though.

Below is the newest piece on the home easel. It has a way to go but it should be complete in the next couple of days and I’ll post the rest of it then.

The initial drawing using Bright Red by Winsor Newton.

Starting to lay in some color here. This scene is very cloudy so I’m using a lot of blue and gray. I have a gray by HOC called Grey of Grey that I’m mixing in so I don’t have to mix a gray with yellow or red in it.

More of the same.

And this is where I’m at right now. Probably I’ll work on it a little more this afternoon because in a few minutes I’m outta here to do some plein air painting with some buddies. Stay tuned for the rest of this one and, if it turns out I did a  good job in the field, the plein air piece I hope to do. Cross your fingers.

See ya next time!! Happy days!!


I’m Baaaack!! Jamissme?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by Eldon

Yep, it has been a while. My hiatus was both good and bad. Good in that it was a much needed  break and bad that it was such a long one. Oh well, what’s a guy to do but get started again and say “HEY!” to all his friends?


Last winter seemed to go on forever. I was one of the gazillion or so hard working  Americas experiencing the recession and a long period of time out of work. I painted plein air a lot while doing the job search and managed a few paintings in the studio as well. As the winter wore on even that slowed to a snails pace and eventually it all but came to a halt in early February. Oh well, “Changes” is the new word and I’m back and busy with the business of art. I’m still unemployed so I’ve made the decision to push harder to market my creative endeavors.

That means new work, new prices and new galleries.         And, below, a new medium to compliment the old.

Title: Fog at Red Rocks       This is actually a color photograph. If you look closely at the dark rock shape upper left you’ll see a tiny bit of the rust color that makes the Red Rocks area just west of Denver so beautiful. It was one of those gray days and all the color simply disappeared.

And!!  Druuuuuum roll!!   Some of the same ole same ole from this last few months!!!  Three pieces done while the winter crept on, doing it’s best to drive us all nuts and keeping Spring out of our reach. Well, I got news for it, it didn’t work…..totally. 🙂

Anyway, first is a plein air piece done near Sadalia Co. with a group of plein air painting friends.

12×16 inches  titled: “Beaver Dam”  This maybe deserves to be a larger painting. We’ll see. I’d love to go back this Spring in the GREEN!! and see what it looks like.

And below!!  A piece taking half the season to get to and then get finished.

18×24 inches titled “Clear Creek”  (Wes’ Bend looking East)

And last but not least is new subjects.

18×24 inches untitled    I’ve discovered I like painting the old vehicles and that I’m not too bad at it. (curtsies)

I ( “I” meaning I couldn’t have done it without  my wife Debra) produced a short video recently titled “How to Start a Tractor”. It’s in 2 parts and it’s out there on the net somewhere. I’ll post a link in the next installment of my ramblings for everyone to see.

And very last:   I have always had a price list for this stuff in the upper right list of links on this page. I’m not crazy about raising prices but it has been a few “years” since I’ve done it. A new price list will replace this one soon. Probably in the next couple of weeks. Until I get it all figured out, if anyone is interested in purchasing any of my work, I’ll honor this current price list until I get the changes made. The changes will be substantial I’m afraid. We’ll be updating the web site as well.

Until next time…..HAPPY DAYS!!!!!! IT”S GETTIN GREEN!!!

From the Graveyard

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by Eldon

It’s not what the title might lead one to believe with Halloween just around the corner but Fright Day IS coming and I’ll post some weird stuff for everyone in a few days in honor of that frightful occasion but for now I’ll post a piece from the tractor graveyard.

I was in Pueblo a week or so ago and was exploring South East of the city hoping to find a place to set up my easel and maybe take a few photographs.  Seems I got skunked in the painting arena but I did manage a few photos. This painting was done from a photo I took as I passed Mr. No Trespassings place. I think the guy is a little narrow minded (for the record I think there should be a law passed allowing an artist to have access to anything anywhere anytime) but what the heck, my camera gets things to come up close, so I stuck it as far across the fence as I could and snapped a photo of what I call a real tractor.

David Leffel showed me this block in method of getting a painting started several years ago. A while back I saw another artist doing the same thing so Naturally I thought I’d see if I could make it work with this old tractor. 🙂

The under painting is just Alizarin Crimson and the block in is a mixture of that and Sap Green. It makes a heck of a Burnt Sienna. Anyway, once the initial block in was finished I just started modeling the tractor to be more and more dimensional. The block in lead to color and I just kept modeling and refining shapes until it seemed the plan had come together. It was fun.

No title yet. I’m considering “Lurch”. Not because it can but because it wants to.

Two special links

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2010 by Eldon

to some of the finest art you’ll ever see. The next best thing to being at the museum.

Link #1 <——-

Link #2 <——-

When you have a few minutes take a look at the art behind these links. It’ll knock ya over!