Archive for step by step process

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!!



Druuuuum Rolllll!!!!!

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

Introducing!!   Debra!

And what she does when she’s being creative.

debrawire wrap

wire wrap

Debra is my wonderful wife. One of her favorite pass times and method of relaxing is to do wire wrap jewelry. She’s been doing it for about five years now and is getting pretty dang good. Most of the time she uses copper or silver wire to wrap anything from glass beads to semi precious stones. She buys the stones already finished and puts a nice wire wrap design on it. The pink stone above is a died stone and the necklace portion is made with pearls, lapiz and died shell.

And she digs tools.

And on the American Impressionist Society front Mitch Baird won Best of show!!   AIS <—– This is a link to the online catalog. Congratulations Mitch!  His piece, “Morning Ensigns, Italy” is one heck of a painting. The judging must have been tough because there was a lot of really great work. Scroll down a ways in the catalog to see my personal favorite “Coyote Valley” by Nancy MacDonald.     Sweet!

I’m working on a piece right now that I’ve been photographing as I go. I’ll post a progression as soon it’s finished. It’s about there so it won’t be too long. Perhaps tomorrow.

Later!  🙂



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by Eldon

These three paintings are the latest additions to my collection. They are, in order of appearance, works done by Dawn Normali – Estes Park Colorado, Barbara Muir -Toronto Canada, and Josh Been – Salida Colorado.

5x7 Dawn Normally oil

Get up close to this one of Dawn’s and you’ll see some of the juiciest paint you can imagine. Thick, wet, imaginative brush strokes seem to be Dawn’s trademark. This is the second piece I’ve gotten from Dawn and the technique is much the same in each. What do I admire most about Dawn and the work she does? Dawn isn’t afraid to put it down and leave it down. No hesitation.

Dawn is in process of setting up her own Word Press Blog. I’ll post a link when it’s up.

8x8 Barbara Muir acrylic

Barbara Muir describes herself as a  portrait artist. She is from Toronto, Canada and has been a good friend for quite a while now. Her subject matter, though,  goes a long way beyond portraits  as you’ll see when you visit her blog, Barbara Paints. Barbara’s use of color never ceases to amaze me. It’s pretty easy to get into one of Barbara’s pieces and feel what she’s saying about her subject. She also paints a lot of herself into her work. The result is simply a happy thing all around.

8x10 Josh Been oil

I got this piece from Josh Been this past summer when Debra and I took a mini vacation to Salida.  Besides the use of grays in this painting I’m drawn to the brush work. The energy shown in the brush work indicates the painting was done rather quickly and a lot of attention was paid to edges. I’d love to just sit and watch Josh handle edges. Get in close and take a look, you’ll see what I mean. When you’re looking at edges look  mostly where the light and the shadow meet.

And…what’d I do all week?                           Nothin! …..other than goof off and drink some really good wine from New Zealand with friends, go to bed early several times, take some naps, and purchase  a tube of white paint.  (Along with a bunch of  small and trivial, sometimes totally boring,  activities to numerous to mention. ) Say that three times fast. 🙂

Night all,


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,


Evergreen Barn #4/What a sky!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2009 by Eldon

Monitors are notorious for being off color. I don’t think I’ve seen two of them show the same intensity of color or a like value. Of course I’m probably a little picky being an artist and being concerned with those things but…..if I need to show someone exactly how something looks I’m  taking my chances sending through cyber space.  And I really want to show you this sky the way it shows on my easel. 24x36 oil sky

But we are taking chances and here it is. White, Ultramarine Blue, a touch of Bright Red  some Yellow Ochre with and a very light touch of Cadmium Orange in the upper right corner where the light is coming from. My sky is warmest and most bright nearest the light and coolest on the far left. I fooled around for quite a while before coming up with the shadow color for the cloud. I needed it warmer than the sky but it needed

 sky detail

to be cooler than what I had in mind for the sunlit portion of the cloud.


The color for the lightest and brightest of the cloud turned out to be a mixture using every warm color on my palette and Titanium White. ( I see white as being the coolest) I used Cadmium Yellow Pale, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange and Bright Red mixed up one way or another and in some magical way this cloud appeared and is there to stay. I wish I had done a video of this part of the painting. Some information is just worth keeping. 🙂

24x36 oil

And that was a day or so ago and since then my muse and I have had some sort of meeting of the mind and as a result I can put up a nearly finished painting in my Saturday Night Blog!

Yer gonna love this!


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!