Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Larger Version of Rocky Bighorn...

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20"x 24" oil on canvas

I have decided I need to break away from
the confines of the smaller 5x7 format
for at least a little while. My habit
also being to keep my little studies
around 'till something catches my eye and
feeling it would look good as a much
larger painting. I decided on this bighorn
ram...and will use a 20"x 24" canvas. Not
huge by any means...but a decent hanging

I first set my study up next to my art
table as reference...

I'm thinking what would be informative,
experimental and fun...would be to put
to task one of Emile Gruppe's ideas of
juxtaposing an overlaying of complementary
color to its opposite color's undertone.

Allowing hints of the undertone to show
thru, thus creating some color vibration,
(color vibration...something Edgar Payne
said was necessary for good paintings).

Gruppe used to say that we don't know
just how red a red is without, for example,
the color green nearby to judge it against.

Also...Payne taught that color as nature's
light presents it is 200 to 300 times more
intense than pigment can imitate, so painters
of their day would incorporate devices such
as this undertoning to enhance color to be
that much more effective.

To ready this direction, I paint what will
end up a blue sky first with a thin turps
and orange undertoning. The eventual warm
bighorn and rock structures will receive a
bluish valuing of undertone-

Having laid that in, you can see in the upper
left I have started to dab in the finishing
overlay of sky pigment, and in this next one
a close up of more sky painted in, revealing
some of the undertone left to be seen.

How much of that undertone will actually be
left visible will work itself out as I make
decisions in the painting's progress...but
even a hint of it will add to color vibration
as well as color rhythm which then assures
unifying harmony overall-

With much of the sky having been painted in
it is time to move on to another area. It is
good to jump around. Some artists have the
habit of finishing one thing off completely
and then moving on to another, but it is
best to work the whole of the painting and
bring it to a finishing together. This leads
to better judgment of the painting working
first and foremost as a painting and a whole

That being said, I now begin to paint in the
rocks...and it takes relatively few strokes of
buttery paint to suggest the presence of the
rock. I think of course this is the contrast
of the complements that causes this sensation-

Lastly, or to end this session anyway,
I want to establish something of the
presence and statement of the bighorn
itself. I suggest some darker values to
establish depth, and color to render form-

Here then after a second night's session, only
about an hours opportunity...but getting closer
to finishing already. Note how very small hints
of blue in the bighorn are visible, which helps
connect it to the sky...bits of orange yet
visible in the sky...color rhythm happening all
over the work. An experiment in Gruppe and
Payne'ology if anything else...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rubbing Territory

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5"x 7" oil

We are entering that time of year...
exciting if you love the ourdoors,
where bucks are going into their
pre-rut phase then followed by the
blown outright rut.

Beginning with ground scrapes, the
rubbing of bark off trees to caution
other traveling bucks they are
encroaching claimed territories. An
inch-two inch tree/sappling usually a
2-1/2 year old buck or so...but when
3-6 inch trees are shredded in this
card calling know a dandy
mature buck is in the area...!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mount Juneau Brown Bear

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5"x 7" oil

My son, Jason...and I on one of our
last days in Juneau, Alaska...took the
tram that traversed up the side of the
mountain overlooking the city below.

About 3,000-4,000' in elevation...and
walking up the path we met folks
coming down telling us they had seen
a bear just over the next peak's ridge.

Of course...with Admiralty Island about
seven miles away (the Fortress of Bears)
hosting about 3,000 brown bears, and
southeast Alaska alone residence to
about 16,000 black bears...this should
come as no surprise.

One of the joys of the pristine last great
wilderness is that you experience nature
in its wild state. Perhaps one of the very
worst things you could experience, is
nature in its wild state!!! hahahaa....

This is how you wish not to see the
Alaskan brown bear. Poor eyesight with
perhaps one of the best noses, standing
to make better sense of your presence
and what you are. Not a good time to
run...but very slowly back away. Pray
there are no nearby cubs...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bighorn Ram...

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Took about an hour end of day, but
here it is now finished. I think, for
myself anyway...for the better. Though
I caught enough sense of it in the
initial start...

5"x 7" oil

Finished my elk earlier today, and with
left over practice is to scrape
it over to one side and mix it well...the
result being a neutral, or perhaps a mud.
Often though...a lovely mud at that!

I like to use rather than waste this mud
to start or initiate the next painting,
and having just about fifteen minutes, I
made a few marks with the charcoal vine
stick...and quickly blocked in masses. The
background is totally fictitious.

The immediate look of the work as is in
so short an order of time, is that it
reminds me of the wildlife art of Bob
Kuhn...though, he was a master. Once I
finish it, likely tomorrow...I doubt that
it will look Kuhn'ish any longer...but its
fun to capture at this point a sense of it!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Buglin' Elk

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5x7 oil

High in the Rockies...the bugling of a monster
elk bull is heard echoing, the call traveling
down into the mountain valley. A crisp chill
in the air...

Friday, October 13, 2006


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5x7 oil

Started this ...first referring
to photos I had taken in Juneau, Alaska this
past summer...and doing a number of Wolff
carbon pencil sketches...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Now on sale...(visit my Will Paint for Gas sales blog)

5"x 7" oil

Due to some requests, I put this together as a demo for
interested artists at-

Fun little piece to do...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Alaskan Brown Bear- two...

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5"x 7" oil

Second brown bear in an ongoing series
of paintings of my impressions of my
Alaskan experience, and wildlife.

This is that time of late afternoon or
evening (the sun not setting till after
10pm or so), when the sky is filled with
the glow and glare of the sun. Walking
along you bathe in the glare, but then
the eyes have to adjust to see what's
just up ahead...then a bit of movement
confirms your greatest fear...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Point of Crossing- Whitetail

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5"x 7" oil

This ole buck is perhaps watching several
does cross this point of a river to see if it
is safe. Didn't get this big being dumb!

Shadow Lurking Elk

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5"x 7" oil

A fictional setting based upon color and mood,
using my plein air exeriences painting outdoors
I wanted to see if I could easily enough pull off
instudio, a convincing envirnoment for this
handsome bull. I personally like the results...

my 5"x 7"s are about 1-2 hour efforts, and
become candidates to possibly refer to for a
larger canvas.

Alaskan Brownie...

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5"x7" oil

Spent several weeks in Alaska this past summer,
and painted about 20 plein air studies of the
beautiful scenes of mountains, Gastineau
Channel, and Mendenhall Glacier...but quite often
with one eye out for the possibilities of "you know
who" showing up.

Actually quite safe, especially if you follow the
advice and good sense of the locals, but you still
hear the stories...and you know they are there.

I was about seven miles off the island called, "The
Fortress of Bears" or Admiralty Island, which has
three thousand brown bears. I was surprised to
find out that southeast Alaska has about 16,000
black bears as well, and we were more likely to
see one of those.

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