Archive for September, 2008


Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2008 by Eldon

This painting was done plein air last Friday near Salida Colorado. It measures 12×16 inches. The storm over the mountains was coming way fast and I knew I had to hurry so I threw it in high gear and painted like a mad man. It was one of those “don’t think, just react” paintings and I finished in 45 minutes. Thankfully I was finished before the rain reached my little dry spot  The painting came off OK to boot.

Also! Just in! Coni Grant won THIRD PRIZE !!! at the Colorado Mountain Plein Air Festival. Check out Coni’s site and see the painting she did!!  Good job my friend!

 Didn’t get to paint on Saturday but I was there to snap this photo after the rain finally stopped.

My friend and painting buddy, Doug Martin, and I went to paint on Sunday a little closer to home. This road, near Sedalia, Colorado leads to a place called Crooked Willow Farms. We painted between spots of sunshine and shivered the rest of the time. It’s hard for me to pass up an opportunity to paint a view down a road so I put up with the clouds and the wind but before the day was over I was sportin a sun burn. Weather in Colorado, go figure. Doug’s web site:   I just looked at Doug’s new and improved website. That boy’s been holdin out on me! There’s a ton of work in there I’ve never seen. Knock me over!!!




“Brilliant is as brilliant does” my mama always said.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2008 by Eldon

And here are a few of the brilliant weblogs I’ve found down the rabbit hole.

My friend Barbara ( nominated my blog for this way cool award. Thank you Barbara. 🙂  I hope you all will let me slide for taking so long to post it. My blog is pretty new so I’m asking myself if I really know enough bloggers to actually nominate 7 others. My answer to that is “probably not” but I’ve seen a bunch of blogs in the last 8 weeks or so and there are some so filled with awesome art work that I’m going to nominate a few that really inspire me.   The painting “Making Our Way Across” Says so much more than “here’s 3 people crossin this bridge:. I don’t see many paintings that are as thrilling as this one. It doesn’t get any better than this, I don’t care who does it.   I saw two peices on this blog that have inspired me.  Aaron with “Spout” and “Odd Couple”, has shown us all what a real brush stroke really is. Every stroke was laid down purposely and then left alone to do what Aaron intended it to do. Of course  all the paintings on Aaron’s blog demonstrate this quality of work, these two just happen to be my favorites.  Carol’s work is another excellent example of quality brush work. Her style is clean and her use of color gives me big ideas about how I might make improvements in my stuff. “Yard Dog” is my favorite piece from this blog and I think “Codependent” comes in next for me. Great work, great blog.   I love taking a peek into this blog once in a while. Aside from finding some really neat figure drawings I always come away with a smile on my face. Bill and Lisa find plenty to poke fun at, including themselves from time to time, and I always come away feeling better than I did when I showed up.   This is Coni Grant’s blog. Coni is a good friend and she’s a painting buddy when we have the opportunity. I love her unique interpretation of our western landscape and her way of putting her views down with a brush. I have one of Coni’s pieces hanging near my fireplace and it is one of my prize posessions as I was lucky enough to be there when she painted it. Coni’s blog has lots of information in it and I like reading about her adventures painting plein air.   “Listen to This” is a wonderful lesson in the use of light not to mention the beautiful way Tom Brown works his painting magic. I strive to soften my work as much as I can without compromising shape and detail. Tom has demonstrated how someone who has mastered his medium does that.   I saw more work and more SOLD signs in this blog than I’ve seen anywhere to date. It’s no wonder.      Qiang-Huang is a master.      Every painting is a joy to look at and every painting has a lesson of its own. What a place to study!!

Rules of participation in the Brilliante Weblog Award:

1.  Put the logo on your blog.

2.  Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3.  Nominate at least seven others.

4.  Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

5.  Participation is voluntary.

6.  Have fun.

And here is a bit of color for this post. See yall next week.


A long ago painting and some links

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2008 by Eldon

This is a water color from a long time ago. My friend in Canada asked to see it. We had a short discussion about things painted that have changed and/or disappeared. “Anna’s Place” is one of many beautiful things I’ve seen go to the developers over the years.

Anna’s parents home steaded this property and Anna still was living here in the mid 80’s. The painting is a 22×30 plein air water color done from the end of her drive way. While I was working the local sheriff stopped and, after making sure I meant Anna no harm, told me the story of Anna and how the developers were waiting for her to pass  so they could have her land. I’m sure they waited as long as she could make them wait but a year later I went back to find it gone. I’ll keep this painting.

AND……..I’ve recently added some new links to my blog. Please do yourself a favor and check out Cynthia Reid’s new website. Cynthia is an oil painter doing her work with a knife and doing some totally wonderful paintings…………….Cynthia’s web site

Also……..There is a link to my old home, Colorado Boys Ranch. I did some growing up there in the late 60’s. CBR in those days was a home for kids who were in need of a place to belong and a bit of guidance. Over the years it has grown into a complete treatment facility for troubled boys and is doing a super job of getting the boys on thier feet and back into the world. A year or so ago CBR asked me to design the cover for their new book, “The Hero Within”. I did and the book has since been published and is now on the market. If you’ve an interest I think you can get it on Amazon or you could probably contact the ranch and inquire. There is even a chapter in there about me. Chapter 5 called “Water Gravy”…………..CBR blog

My gallery, “Stone Heart”  has a new Blog too. Wild!! With lots of cool stuff showin and a movin!! ………………Stone Heart Gallery blog

Coni Grant has a bunch of new work and info on her blog as well. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did. Coni has a unique view that translates beautifully to canvas. Coni Grant’s blog

And my wife Debra has given my website a new face. She’s publishing today and as soon as she’s done that  I’ll publish too. There is new work and there is old work.  I think you’ll enjoy this version of the site…………………Eldon’s new web site

All the links are above on the right as well. Have a great day!


How Do You Do That?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by Eldon

How? My answer is normally, “One step at a time”. Here is another, “One Step at a Time” progression of a painting done plein air. Vicki, a painting buddy, and I painted last Monday at Two Ponds Wild Life Reserve. She took a boat load of photos so this entry is here because she took the time to run the camera and because of her willingness to share photos with me. (Vicki takes a bow!)

Drawing and wash with cadmium orange.

Drawing and wash with cadmium orange.

This drawing serves as an under painting and also it gives me an idea of my light and shadow pattern. I draw with a #2 flat, usually the most worn out old brush I have.
Placing some darks

Placing some darks

Just placing some darks in step two and pulling the dark light pattern together. The dark light pattern is very important to me when I’m designing the various elements on my picture plane. These patterns are known as NOTAN. It’s a Japanese word referring to abstract patterns of dark and light. If you have the time, google the word. You’ll find some excellent material on the subject. I’ve also taken the time to flesh out the trees a little bit to give them some shape and volume.

A little more of the same ole same ole. Squint down a little bit to see this light and dark pattern. It doesn’t matter too much what your subject is, if these patterns are balanced and pleasing to look at your painting will have a much better chance of succeeding. Having your darks placed on the picture plane where they touch or almost touch will help your viewer travel around your picture more efficiently.

I suppose we could argue either way as to whether the shadows crossing the road are part of the light pattern or part of the dark. For my money they are part of my dark. Squint again and notice the patterns that have emerged and play the lighter values against the darker. I’m thinking this design is pretty much on.

I finished the foreground and brushed in some of the sky. I hadn’t planned it but I noticed the shape of the area where the cloud is going to be mimics the light pattern coming across the road. I liked it and decided I’d take the freebee. This photo is a value or two lighter than the previous. I didn’t rework anything. It’s just a matter of how much light was available when Vicki took the picture. Sometimes we had lots of sun shine, some times not.

Step six below gets my canvas covered and I feel like maybe this one is going to survive. The painting is just about finished and I’m beginning to think about the “So What” of it.

Another of my artist friends (Mike U.) was critiquing a painting of mine a while back and had all this wonderful stuff to say about it. “This is wonderful”, he said.  “Oh and look at the shadows under those trees.” “Eldon this is a really nice piece……….but so what?” My jaw is still sore. What he was getting at though was I needed to think a little bit more about what it takes to take a “really nice piece” beyond really nice to something exceptional. Thanks Mike for the insight and advice, I haven’t finished a painting since that I don’t consider how I might do that.

Finish. A few details and some guy in a red shirt.

This is Vicki’s painting. Aint she awesome? This is her 3rd plein air oil and has finished two more since. She’s shooting for 100. You go girl!!

3 paintings

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2008 by Eldon

Last Thursday I painted Van Bibber Park. The smoke from a fire near Craig Co. had blown in and anything much more than a mile away had turned a wonderful hazy blue. A fire burning up our forests was no reason to be happy but the atmospheric effect was definitely worth recording. Humidity does about the same thing but this is Colorado after all and we don’t get to see that color change often. When it’s good and dry around here the value and color changes are minimal even at a distance of four or five miles. Anyway, here is a painting titled (tentatively) “Smoke”.

This was on the reserve with my friends Jim and Vicki B. I met Jim and Vicki in 1982 or 83 just after I moved to Denver. Vicki is a watercolor artist and has recently taken an interest in painting oil plein air. She has given herself permission to do 100 plein air paintings and says then she’ll decide if it’s for her. After just 3 this last weekend she’s already in love with it and says we’ve created a monster. Judge for yourself, I believe she’s going places with this plein air business.

Vicki's first plein air oil

Vicki's first plein air oil.

A good days work. Of course Jim was behind the camera so no one gets to see him this week. He took a boatload of photographs though and we got a good progression. I hope to get it in here next Wednesday.