Archive for November, 2009

Pink Slip

Posted in Uncategorized on November 29, 2009 by Eldon

Well ladies and gentlemen. Looks like I  join the ranks of millions of other out of work Americans. There’s a little work to finish up Monday morning then it’s on to a long long holiday.

Two things about that. It’s good and it’s bad. It’s good I get to paint more and have the rest I’ve needed for quite a while. It’s bad I have to tighten my belt (probably should anyway) and deplete a savings I’ve been a long time building.(that sucks)

Oh well.  As they say:

That’s the way it goes, first your money then your clothes. 🙂

Above is the piece I worked on over the Thanksgiving weekend. It was one of those pieces that fell together and made time cease to exist. Hours later seemed like minutes and I only had to wipe off a tiny bit  for do overs. I worked from a photograph taken in Rocky mountain National Park a couple of years ago. The photo is of my stand of trees in Endo Valley. I reversed the image before painting.

And this next one is a progression, sort of.

There are similarities to the composition of the snow scene and is heavily under the influence of a new palette.

I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a “sort of” progression. 🙂

Night all, stay tuned!!



And Black

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

Alright, I added black to my palette. There!  In addition to those other new colors  mentioned last week I’ve also added black.  I know, I know, ya never use black. “You can mix GREAT! darks with out using black”.  Right?    Right!.   But one can mix great darks using it too. Sargent used it. Velazquez used it. David Leffel uses it. Jeff Watts uses it.

And boy oh boy does Jeff Watts use it! I may be overstating  just a bit but sometimes it seems like every other trip to the palette finds Jeff digging into that huge pile of black. Jeff also puts his black right next to the white and normally has a little bit of gray mixed in between the two.

The detail above is from a 5×7 inch piece I did the other night. That dark color is mixed using black and bright red. Almost edible. It’s a combination I see Jeff using all the time and I did this little painting just so I could mix some of it.

I’ve watched, over and over again, Jeff ‘s Gesture Portrait  video. I’m trying very hard to emulate what I see him doing.  As best I can I use the same tools, color, brush work etc. so I can more readily get a feel for what he’s doing and his thought process. It’s working. I’m having a great time and I can already see it coming around to my way of application. As it should I suppose.

A huge perk from doing these things is the mixing of new color I’ve not gotten into before. Flesh tones intimidate me. At least they did until recently when I heard Mr. Watts describe the process. He says mixing flesh tones “is the easiest thing” in the world to do. Red, yellow and white. Any Red, any Yellow and White. I’d never heard it said. Go figure.

He’s right. It’s pretty easy.

Happy days!!


And down the road we go.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 15, 2009 by Eldon

This painting was done from a photo I took last year in S.E. Colorado. It’s near mesa De Maya and Willard Loudens place. I liked the view down the road and the distance. Beautiful country indeed.

12x16 oil on canvas

My palette has changed a little since starting work on the gesture portraits. It was very simple before and even with the addition of some new color is still pretty simple.

The before: Titanium White, cadmium yellow pale, cadmium orange, bright red, ultramarine blue, sap green, yellow ochre pale, burnt sienna.

The after:    Titanium white, cadmium yellow deep, cadmium yellow pale, cadmium orange, bright red, alizarin crimson permanent, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, sap green, yellow ochre pale, burnt sienna.

12x16 #2

Basically what I’ve added is  another yellow, another  red and another blue. Cadmium yellow deep is a warm yellow while the cadmium yellow pale is the cooler of the two. Bright red is the warmer of the two reds and ultramarine blue is the warmer of the two blues. I’ve considered for a while adding enough new color so I’d have a warm and a cool in each of the primaries. Finally I had an excuse to do it and I am finding I like how it’s working.


What it’ll do tho is change the color a little in my landscapes. I’m thinking so far I can use the same palette for both the landscapes and the portraits and get away with it just fine.


This piece seems to have started the way most of my painting start. Middle distance goes in first. (see #2 above)


Next I moved to the top of the painting. (see #3 above)


And painted back down the canvas into the foreground.


And of course the hard part goes in last.  Go figure. I don’t know how many times  I attempted to paint that darn truck. I suppose I could call this stage of the painting the “paint and wipe” stage. But….. after a while there appeared a pick up truck I could live with and the piece felt  finished.

The Bronco game is calling me.

Happy days!


Triple Stack

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by Eldon

I saw this approach on another blog a few days ago where the artist cropped an image and then blew up the crop. She did it a couple of times until anyone looking at the piece got a close up of part of the original painting. What I got from it was a chance to get nearly nose to nose with some of the brush strokes in important areas. Neat idea. So here is my version to get you up close.

12x9 oil on canvas

This image took me  a while longer than the half hour Jeff Watts takes to do his “gesture portraits”. I suppose in time I’ll be coming in closer to that time but for now all that seems important is getting a feel for what I’m doing, then getting my times down later. That and I don’t want a bunch of half finished paintings cluttering the place up.


A little more in your face and giving you a better idea of the surface of the painting and the brush work. This piece is pretty rough. The paint was applied with an old cheap brush giving each stroke a sort of stringy textured appearance.


Some of you may have a way to blow this view up even further. If you can, give it a shot and see the abstract quality of a very small area. It gets kind of chicken scratchy at that point. Have fun and we’ll see ya next week. Who knows what will crop up between now and then.


Don’t Confuse Em

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2009 by Eldon

That’s what they tell me. “Don’t confuse them!” What they’re tryin to tell me is “Stick to the landscapes, everyone already knows yer landscapes.” I guess if I throw something else in the mix I’m gonna confuse everybody. Folks are gonna walk away scratchin their heads mutterin something about how confused they are and Geez Louise! that Eldon has gone like totally nuts. Well Nuts is as Nuts does.  🙂

I can’t believe anybody followin my stuff is that soft headed. So……….I’ve taken to the task of learning this portrait thing and I’m gonna post at least a few of em. The painting below is  7×5 inches and it took me about 45 minutes.

5x7 gesture portrait

A little while back I purchased a video by Jeff Watts. Jeff demonstrates what he calls “Gesture Portraits”. He gives himself a half hour or so to paint a small gesture of someones face not worrying about a likeness but getting the essence of his subject onto the canvas and of course making it look way easy.  He’s good at it.  He demos nine little paintings that are totally beautiful. It seems in the video he is working from photos as all we get to see of the model is a still photograph. There is something caricature like about all nine of his paintings. Each subject has his/her own peculiar props and he seems to endow each of them with their own quirky little personality. And as such I’m not sure I’d go 100% with the gesture portrait title.  Caricature may be more like it. (personal opinion)

The piece below is 16×12 inches. It’s a little big for a gesture portrait and I set no time limit so I  don’t believe it really falls into the gesture category. It’s a pretty nice piece tho. It’s done from a photo I took of a little girl at the quick draw in Estes Park a couple of years ago.

16x12 oil on canvas

Still….no matter what ya call it I find what he’s doing hugely exciting.  There’s nothin stuffy about these lively, energetic gestures so I’m going to follow his lead and see if I can learn something that’ll translate into something that looks like Eldon Warren did it. So far so good! This post contains the first couple for me. Cross yer fingers that this gets easier.