Archive for Estes Park

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.


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.


A Progression

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2009 by Eldon

12x24 oil on canvas

This is the start of a landscape I’ve been trying to get to for a while.

What I concentrated on most with the upper area was painting space and getting the landscape to go as far into the distance as I could get it to go. I began with the darks of the pine trees close up and painted them lighter and a little more gray as they went back into the picture plane. Beyond that, in the row of trees further back and the hill sides, I painted with a lot less detail and a lot of grayed color to keep things going away into the distance. I brushed in the sky and clouds even more pale  but fairly light as the sky in that area holds the light source for this piece.

Then I pulled back and painted the brush along the river banks. The color here is warmer and I’ll keep painting warm as I get back closer to the foreground. The red/brown shadows of the pine tree are my first intrusion into this area.

12x24 oil on canvas 100_4250

This bright blue (cobalt + white) area in the water is warmed with a bit of alizarine crimson and brushed in pretty quickly. This passage is going to give me something to paint into (wet into wet) with some of the sky color a little later.

I also darkened those shadows on the water cast by the pine trees. The light source is behind the trees and the trees are casting a shadow onto the water. When the light source is directly behind an object, in this case the pine trees, a shadow is cast into the foreground. The shadows cast on to  water blocks a reflection from the sky and lets someone from this point of view see down into the water to the bottom of the river bed. The color here seems to be very warm and rusty. Also I laid in the foliage lower right keeping the same concept in mind of warmer color up front, cooler in the distance.

12x24 oilon canvas 100_4252

Here is where I began painting wet, lighter color into the water. I’ve also started painting in some reflections and color from the sky. The shadows on the water were a little hard edged so I took this opportunity to soften edges and get them to become more a part of the surface of the water.

12x24 oil on canvas 100_4253

Next the base color for the sand bar. I’ll use this base like I did the blue in the water. I’ll paint back into it wet in wet and develope the textures and shapes of the rocks in that area.

detail 100_4254

detail 100_4255

detail 100_4256

The above three details show how I worked my way across the sand bar. Up close it simply looks a little lacy but takes on shape and detail as the viewer gets further away from the piece. I used a round to do the detail in this are. (I’ve only recently found that a flat isn’t the only brush in the world.)

12x24 oil on canvas 100_4264

Now the painting is more or less complete. I’ve finished the sand bar and placed a few details in the trees such as the trunks and a few branches. The trunks on the left and close up are warmer and a little more distinct than those on the right. My center of interest was put in last.

Happy Daize!!


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,


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.


Why Did The People Cross The Road?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2009 by Eldon

Today was demo day at the Evergreen gallery. It was a typical Evergreen day. The weather, as per normal, was clear early on then it clouded up and rained a little. From inside the gallery we dealt with the motorcycle noise as the biker folks passed up and down the street and we dealt with the sound of breaking glass as the guy from the winery across the street made trip after trip to the recycle bin. Dozens of dozens of faces peered through the windows trying to see the small sculptures put on the sill and what Mark (gallery owner) had on the walls. Most went on by and out of sight down the boardwalk but a few art lovers were curious enough to venture inside and get nose to nose with what ever tripped their triggers.

12x24 oil demo

This is what I did for the folks today who came in to see the gallery. It’s done from a photograph I took last summer during the Estes Park Plein Air event. (coming up again soon) It went rather well I think. People seemed to like it for the most part and I think the ones trying to seem indifferent were sneaking a look as they made their way from one wall of paintings to another. Either way I had fun and as a final touch I added these two figures. The two weren’t in the photo but I thought it would be a nice touch. Something to get folks to feel like it could be them walking down this dirt road. I liked them, Mark liked them and I thought, “yep! it’s finished. ”

Then the painting came home to dry and get a signature. I put it up on the easel and it hit me. These two imaginary people were totally in the wrong place.  Their placement made the bigger part of the right hand side of the painting seem like it wasn’t necessary. I’d have had to crop about 20% off the right side before the piece came into balance.  Shoot! I liked it better before. Yet I had done some killer work on the figures. I really hated to do what I had to do. Mark is gonna suck a lot of wind when he sees the image below..

12x24 oil demo

The folks have moved on it seems. The painting is back and feeling more balanced. It’s still a nice piece and at least I can see myself taking a leisurely stroll along this back road and enjoying the sun and a nice breeze. There’d be a nice slow conversation as my friend and I meandered along. And….once in a while we’d have to make for the ditch when some local farmer came bombin along. A great way to spend a little while on a Sunday afternoon. But I am not one to let well enough alone.

12x24 oil demo

So why did the people cross the road? In a word, “composition”. the painting works at least as well as it did without these two figments of my imagination and I got what I wanted. I am able to give the viewer the opportunity to get into the painting too.

Until next week,