Archive for open space

Outdoors and In

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2010 by Eldon

This post had painting in it several days ago but between the plein air painting, the after plein air painting naps and the “other” stuff I’ve managed to neglect it. So…. I put in a couple more images to make up for making everyone wait.

The piece above is one of the “outdoor” pieces. This was my first paint trip to that particular location on Bear Creek. Despite the look of it being so cold it was actually pretty comfortable. I left my thermal coveralls  in the car. It was an incredibly brave thing to do for someone who feels about the cold as I do. No Wind.

My friends Wes Hyde and Mark Coulter went with me to a favorite painting spot along Coal Creek. This painting above was painted on another one of those warm cold days. It’s the wind that makes ya hate it! No wind that day either.

And above, an indoor piece. It is a mixture of two photos taken near Salida Colorado. It measures 10×20 inches and will be a part of the next delivery to the Earthwood gallery. I’m beginning to enjoy these foggy pieces.

And the Mamooey sky painting for Stoneheart. I’ve got to do a little edge work on this one and it’s ready to go. It’s a 30×40 inch piece and is an inny painting.

I was amazed at how this painting translated to black and white. It give me an idea how I did with the values.

And this old fat truck is from a photo I took about 30 years ago. It was, of course, on film so I had to scan it and get it to where I could print it out and paint from it. I have a sort of vision of how I want this to work out. Cross your fingers.  I have painter friends who would knock this out in a New York second and make it look fresh and loose. I’ve worked with steel and blue prints for so long I’m going to have to work really hard at keeping it from being hard edged and photo like.  A 12×16 inch inny.



Evergreen Barn #3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2009 by Eldon

The latest from Evergreen Barn.

24x36 oil

 My biggest challenge was to paint what “looks” like a huge hill side covered with trees and not get caught up in the details. I worked from right to left across the mountain side sculpting the basic shapes of the mountain,  lightening areas and trying to (with as few strokes as possible) make it look like there’s a gazillion pine trees back there. The photo above shows a sort of progression as I painted my way across the canvas. The peak far right and the center peak are nearly finished and the peak far left is still pretty much flat.


Then I painted on to the left edge and finished that open rocky area. Several times along the way I wiped some areas back to the canvas (yep,way too dark from the initial lay in) and repainted with a warmer, lighter green using ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow at times and other times just  sap green. There is a lot of cadmium orange, yellow ochre and bright red mixed into the greens to simulate the early morning light. I purposely touched the roof line of the barn with the dark green behind to help bridge a gap between the foreground and back ground. This is a stage I can’t let dry too much as I need a wet edge on the top line of the mountain when I lay in the sky. A soft edge is needed to help me put it all into the distance so I’d best get crackin!!

green mixes

There’s a limitless bunch of ways to put these colors to use but they’re pretty close to way I’ve mixed them  for Evergreen Barn.

30x40 oil

“Sun Rise on Fall River” #2 is the painting I’m using as a rough color guide for Evergreen Barn. You’ll see a lot of the mixtures from the palette above in both paintings. Sun Rise on Fall River just came home from one of my galleries. Just in the nick of time too. I’ve put it up where I can follow along with it’s color scheme and I get to enjoy it in the process.



The Evergreen Barn #2

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

I started here with the barn so I could lay in some approximate color and value. This being the focal point I wanted to be able to adjust value later behind the barn and having the barn already done would be my guide to doing that. I may have to lighten the barn and/or darken the back ground to get the effect I want.


Working at laying in the “S” curve into the composition I’ve dropped a very dark green into the mountain area. It’s probably way to dark at this point but it gives me a place to start in the back ground. I know it’ll have to lighten considerably before we’re done but it’s easier to lighten a dark value than it is to try to darken a light one.

24x36 oil

It’s a bit hard to see too because the paint is so wet I had a hard time getting the shine off the surface for the camera.  As it dries and I work into it a bit more that area will be easier to see.

G-nite!  🙂


The Evergreen Barn

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2009 by Eldon

I’ve been commissioned to paint this old barn near Evergreen and thought it would be fun to “blog as ya go” with it. These photos show a bit of the preparation and planning process, including a really rough Notan. Notan referes to the dark light pattern in a painting.


I’ve seen Notan done so completely every value in the piece has been planned out. I like them  a little bit less refined leaving room for the painting process to dictate some of the value patterns as I go.


I’ve prepped the canvas with “Eldon Orange”. (Cad Orange) I mixed a bunch of it up with thinner and poured it on then spread it around with a plastic bag as a rag would have just soaked it all up. It took a couple of days longer to dry than I had thought but finally it’s dry enough I can paint over the orange and not pick it up into the new layers of paint.

initial wash and drawing

And this is the start. I’ll be working to a predetermined color scheme and some of this under painting is going to shine through into the finished piece. I took the photo I’ll be using for reference at about 6:00 A.M so the color of the light was a pretty strong yellow orange. The orange under painting should re-enforce that.  I’ll be posting every few days until we’re finished.   I’m going to have a lot of fun doing this one.     So…. cross yer fingers everyone.  Here we go!


River Water and Wild Onions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2009 by Eldon

Is this cool or what? The Mitchell Museum in Trinidad Colorado has invited me and several other artists to show some work at the museum during the month of June. I’ve gotten them seven paintings, some older, some new. All are from S.E. Colorado and range from 10×20 inches to 30×40. Some of them folks have seen, some are still wet. I thought I’d post em in here for everybody to see.

10x20 oil on canvas

Title: Sunrise at Willards Place

The painting above is a 10×20 and stems from the paint trip I took last summer with Doug Holdread and several other artists at the Louden Ranch.  Take a look at Doug’s site, you’ll see a lot of really nice work in there.

10x20 oil on canvas


Another 10×20. This painting was totally fun to do. (a little nerve racking but fun) The reference material has been laying around here for quite a while. I guess I just had to have a reason to git er done. A special occasion I guess.

16x20 oil on canvas

Title: Willard’s Windmill

And this is Willard Loudens wind mill. It’s one of the first things you see when you drive into the bottom of the canyon where Lone Oak Post Office is. If you were to walk up to the windmill from this view and hooked a hard left you’d be looking right at the view of  “Sunrise At Willards Place” two paintings up.

18x24 oil on canvas

Title: Road to Lone Oak

Above is the road into Lone Oak. Who are those guys anyway?  There was this couple who hiked out of the canyon and camped on the ridge. Friends of mine. 🙂

18x24 oil on canvas

Title: Nuther Storm Brewin

This old snowy road is from the Red Canyon area. I’d guess it’s about 40 miles north east of Willards place. I haven’t been to this area for many years and I remember it as being one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. A lady owned the ranch then. Her name was Dourety. (No doubt I butchered that spelling, sorry) She was nice enough to let us run around her place a little bit. I’ll bet it’s been thirty years. Most beautiful.

24x36 oil on canvas

Title: Mesa De Maya

This painting above most of you have seen. It was the do-over from an older post.  I snapped the reference photo on my way  to Lone Oak one Sunday morning. This stone structure is my offering to the scene. The building doesn’t actually exist but you finds hundreds like it through out the area. These places were lived in and abandoned by tough, hard working folks who found it hard to make a living.

A little story:        My father in law many many many years ago had a little homestead east of La Junta Co. He said one day a young fella came walking by his place who lived out in this area. He asked the guy what they ate out there. River water and wild onions. I aint that tough.

30x40 oil on canvas

Title: Down Higbee Road

Another most of you have seen. Higbee Road is About 20 miles south of LaJunta and runs for a ways along the Purgatory River. I had a little bit of a problem with the composition in this one. The critique indicated the house was far to much to the left to be the center of interest (was true). While the piece was well painted I was to move the house to the right. Uh huh….Like they said, it was well done, I wasn’t about to repaint that old house so I gave the rancher a new silo. It improved the composition of the piece, pulled the viewers eye back to the right and added to the value of the property as well. Three birds, one rock.     🙂

So there ya have it. My offering to the Mitchell Museum. Wish us luck.

If anyone wishes to see a price list there’s one in “links” top right. When you hover your cursor over an image the size will come up. Just compare that size to the same size on the list.

Until next Saturday!!


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!!