Archive for August, 2009

some get rained out,

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by Eldon

which is almost what happened at the Quick Draw Saturday. There was this big black cloud that threatened to drench the auction the entire time. I haven’t any idea why the thing stopped and shifted to the S. E. but it did. Maybe it was the hundred or so people in the park sending out vibes that we just didn’t need it. Anyway all we got was a sprinkle or two and the event went just as planned. Below is the 90 minute painting I did.

16x12 plein air

It’s hard to believe I brought it home with me. But it’s not all bad. It means I get to keep it. I really like this one. It’s more abstract than I usually do and the depth (hard to see in the photo)  is even more than I bargained for. It’s a lesson to hang on to.

18x24 pleinair oil

This is the piece (above) I did in the Livermore area near Fort Collins. I’ve wanted to paint there for a while now and I wasn’t disappointed. My host let me have the run of the property.  Overload!!!!  It’s a most beautiful area with great subject matter everywhere. So many choices made the task of finding just one thing to paint pretty hard. I pulled it out  though.  It’s titled “The Open Road” and measures 18×24 inches. It’s one of the three I submitted for judging. It’s better in person. The photo was taken in the gallery because I spaced getting it photographed here at home. The light was a little weird and we had to hand hold the camera.

20x16 plein air oil20x10 plein air oil

These were the other two entries submitted for judging. The first is titled “Dynamic Duo”, the second is “Little Growie Thing”. Growie Thing fits since  have no idea what it is. I figured since I was there and it was there and my paint was there it’d be a great time to get it on canvas. It’s one of my favorites.

quick drawquick draw

All those painters, so little time. There’s a painter on that bridge somewhere.

quick draw

Don’t pay any attention to the shifty eyed guy in the white shirt. He’s a camera hog. Can’t be trusted.

M. J.near Dawn's house

Margaret Jensen doing the same pot of  flowers as me and what day in Estes would be complete without the wild life. ( Oh wait! That was Wednesday night.)



One more day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by Eldon

I’ve got one more day I can paint for this years plein air event in Estes Park. I’m heading north tomorrow to a special place near Fort Collins. They’ve given us a 50 mile radius of Estes to paint so I’m going to paint down in “the valley”. This is a place I’ve been wanting to go paint for a couple of years now. To say the least I’m way excited.

I painted today in Rocky Mountain National Park. The morning was great but as per normal the rains took over in the afternoon and kind of put a damper on things. Oh well, The painting below was worth the trip and I was draggin heinie tired so I came on home to blog.

16x20 plein air oil16x20 oil


16x20Here’s a little progression of today’s painting. 16×20


This (below) was yesterday. 18×24 in Upper Beaver Meadow. I’m not all that good a photographer so this one doesn’t show as nice as it is. It’s better in person I think.

18x24 oil plein air

One day to go and then next Saturday is the Quick Draw. That’s always a blast. I’ll keep ya posted. In the mean time I’ll get rested up. I’m draggin out my tracks.

later 🙂


Major Disappointment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2009 by Eldon

Coni Grant, Rick Frisbie and I painted right here last year during the Estes Park Plein Air. It’s  my favorite place to paint in Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve painted this little group of pines from nearly every angle and in every season. I call it “The Stand”.

Look closely. See the reddish colored trees near the right hand side of the photo? That’s Pine Beetle kill and it’s done in two or three of  my trees. I feel almost like I’ve lost family. Losing those trees is a major disappointment. And how do we expect the remaining trees to fare with a Pine Beetle Hotel right next door? It aint good and there’s no way I’ll live to see it again  the way it was.

this year

The rest of the forest is well on it’s way to ending up the same way. The trees are turning red for miles. I spent some time today driving through Endo Valley and Moraine Park. It’s the same thing all over.

miles of red

Still I managed a couple of paintings today. Way early this morning I was out in the park waiting for the sun. Once again I thought I had it figured out and the peak I wanted to paint was going to light up like the sun itself and I’d come on home with a dazzling piece of work.     Didn’t happen.

16x20 plein air oil

But the peak just west of there lit up beautifully so all I had to do was switch focus a bit and keep on keepin on. It was 44 degrees when I started and nearly 70 when I finished. I had dressed in layers though so as the morning went along I shed more and more clothes.

shortly after sunrise

20x10 plein air oil

This painting, 20×10, was some kind of little growie thing I found reaching for sunlight from deep  in a bunch of down timber. Maybe I was drawn to new life or something after seeing the forest in such shape. At any rate it seemed to asking for attention and I was more than willing to give it.

More soon,


One down, a gazillion to go

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2009 by Eldon

It’s a good start.

18x24 plein air oil

I took the hit, I wanted to be out and set up for this painting before the sun came up. I was.

I was up at 5:00 a.m. and set up 20 minutes before the sun knew I was even in the neighborhood. The muse and I had it figured out. The sun was going to just touch the top of that mountain and the rest of the scene was going to be in shadow. The light was going to be a pinkish orange and the foreground would be full of soft blues, violet and black green. That was before a long row of clouds lay down low on the horizon. The sun came up behind the cloud and when it broke over the top the entire scene was bathed in a front light that flattened every thing. A challenge but I gotterdun! I’m off to a great beginning with nowhere to go but up! And I’m not finished with this scene. I’m looking for some really deep shadow so  maybe a late afternoon version is in order. It’s not far away, just 17.4 miles.

Hmmmm back lit, that’s it, it needs to be back lit.

Back in a day or two,


Double Vision

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2009 by Eldon

Artist David Leffel once said to a friend, “My paintings are about light,” and his friend replied ” I thought they were about quiet.”


Mr. Leffel was talking about concept. He states further, “Concepts are plans for solving problems of light, air/space, dimension or form, color, value, edges. Concepts involve how the painting will be “read,” the value range, the colors that will be used, brushstrokes, everything.”

And further still, “Every great painting can be defined as a picture with one essential idea. It is what the entire painting is about.”

(The quotes above were taken from the book, Oil Painting Secrets From A Master” by Linda Cateura, first published 1984 in New York by Watson-Guptill)

24x36 oil the other way

So there we have it!

Coni Grant posed the question in her blog a week or so ago, “So, What’s It About?” —–>Go see her post. <—–She was talking about focal point and it’s an interesting idea she puts forth. After thinking about it some, though, I think focal point is another but no less important part of the whole when we consider concept..

Also there have been some interesting responses to her question. You’ll also see some great works by a lady who definitely knows what painting is about.

So… if we can believe Mr. Leffel it’s about everything!!   I agree.  At least when it comes to representational stuff.  (Things might be different in the abstract world or the non-representational realm though the “idea” there could be to demonstrate to the viewer some sort of emotion or  some other thing unseen on the canvas. Which would still leave the artist with the problem of concept and what he/she is going to have to do to send the message.) If the color used isn’t right to convey the message to the viewer, or the values are too high a key to draw out the desired response or the brushwork doesn’t correctly model an object  I’d have to believe a painting is about more than one thing. And the only way, I’m thinking, to know what it’s going to be all about is to do a little thinking before we begin. Inspiration is only the beginning. Beyond that is all the decisions that have to be made. A concept is born and botta bing botta boom we have a road map showing us the way to a finished painting. Sticking to your concept will make things a lot easier.

Which brings me to the two images above.  Both of these pictures are identical except in that they are mirror images. (I just flopped the photo over using the program Fireworks)   So, if our idea of concept is true, what’s the difference between these two images? I guess the answer would have to be “everything”.

Was I in any real danger?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2009 by Eldon

We had a good day at Stoneheart. My friends Vicki and Jim and Clay and Barbara dropped in to see the goings on. We painted for about 4 1/2 hours and this is the result. I say “we” because it was a collaborative effort. We had a long afternoon discussion (lively) about this painting as it took shape. We discussed things like where to put a particular shade of violet or what was going to happen to my fingers if I kept messing around in certain areas. We all eventually saw the moose and though the rabbit has been painted out it is not forgotten. Thank Vicki for that nice cool hue along the top of the roof and the violet in the shadows just to the left of the house and thanks goes to Jim for finding the moose. Mark (gallery owner) is to be commended for his wonderful  imagining of the beautiful lady in the house. All in all it took a bunch of us to get this painting done. Thanks for the help guys, I couldn’t have done it alone. 🙂  To be sure though, all kiddin aside, this painting would not be as nice a piece if my friends hadn’t been there to lend a hand and threaten me from time to time as they did. I had fun.

18x24 oil on canvas/demo

I met a lot of nice people in the mean time.  Daniel Voigt and his family came by.  Daniel is one of my fellow artists in the gallery. He does large abstract pieces <—— that are totally wonderful.  Andree Hudson was in for a while too.  She paints WOW! Take a look. Her painting,

Blue Fire” <——  is awesome.

Next week begins the Estes Park Plein Air Competition. It’ll be busy busy after that. Keep your fingers crossed, I haven’t been out much to paint and I’m rusty. I’ll keep ya posted.


Another Demo Day at Stoneheart Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2009 by Eldon Hi! It’s a day late but not forgotten.. I went painting last evening and I came home worn out so I elected to let this blog thing slide for a day. Anyway, I’m back and I want to tell ya about the Demo next Saturday, Aug. 8th, at Stoneheart Gallery in Evergreen. The image below is from a week ago at Stoneheart, it’ll give ya some idea of what you can expect next week. The above link will take ya to some info. It’s a ning kind of thing and you can sign in if you already have a ning account. If you don’t, you can set up a password and you can come back any time and see what’s going on in the social. You can leave comments about what’s in there (or what’s not) and there’s a chat so you can talk to others doin the ning thing. OR! You can choose not to do any of that and just show up on Saturday and we’ll paint and have a good time anyway. Mark King, gallery owner, is our host.

demo 12x24 oil

It’s going to be a very laid back informal event. Anyone who would like to come out and see us can come for a little while or they can stay all day. I’m setting up around 11:00 A.M. and will try to make it last until around 5:00. <—this is the Stoneheart site.

Below is the painting I did last night. It’s pretty rough. I got there when the sun was just inches from going behind a bunch of trees. I recorded as much as I could before my subject was in shadow so things are a little less careful than normal. Which is OK since I intend to use it just for reference when I start a larger version this evening. Sometimes I want a plein air piece that will stand by itself and sometimes I just need reference material. I needed a plein air fix last night though so I really wasn’t thinking about it too much either way. This is what I got and I like the scene well enough to do it again and take some care with it.

12x16 plein air oil

So… this particular painting, being one I’m not totally crazy about, leads to one that I am. This (below) was a “last week painting” in the studio done from a photo taken in S.E. Colorado last summer. For those of you in the area it’s just south of hi-way 50, between Rocky Ford an LaJunta. I may keep this one. There’s something about the light I like.

10x20 oil

Talk to ya soon.