Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Herculean Muscle

“47 Bridge (Three Tanks)”    SOLD
oil on panel, 2011
6” x 6” (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

Here is one of my 3 paintings that is in the  6" Squared Exhibition and Sale at the Randy Higbee Gallery this Saturday December 3rd.

The 47 Bridge, its design born more out of its practical need than aesthetics. The middle spans raise up to allow boats and ships to pass in the channel underneath, the reason for its boxy towers. The two near towers for auto and truck traffic, the two far ones for the railroad.

But its very utilitarian design gives it a herculean look, one of muscle. It is not a design to be admired for its grace or beauty. There are no sweeping curves of suspension cables or steel arches, no ornamentation. It belongs to no school of design other than its industrial purpose. So it stands disproportionately tall for the channel it crosses.

An obvious approach to support it’s brawniness would be a worms eye view but that would say nothing of its relative place in the bigger picture of the harbor mechanisms.
The high vantage point I’ve done here doesn’t minimize its stature but instead allows it to dwarf the surrounding area, both the background and the foreground tanks sitting low in the composition.151

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tiger Stripe Shadows

"Train Bridge (w/ Shadows)"
watercolor on paper, 2011
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

I love this late afternoon view of the bridge. The shadows from it and the unseen section stretching across the pavement resemble tiger stripes, giving it a nice linear aspect. It makes for a busy composition so a limited palette serves it better than a more colorful one, which would have made it too chaotic.150

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

6 Inch Squared Show

Here is the announcement for the square format show and sale at the Randy Higbee Gallery.
Artists from all over the country are participating with all the paintings done in the 6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm) format.
The opening night and artists reception is December 3rd.
The show will hang until the 22nd.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Encina Power Station at Dusk 1 & 2

"Encina Power Station-Dusk 2"

"Encina Power Station-Dusk 1"
"Encina Power Station - Dusk 1"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2011
6 5⁄8” x 10” (16.83cm x 25.40cm)

“Encina Power Station - Dusk 2”  
oil on panel, 2011
7” x 5” (17.78cm x 12.7cm)

You won't see this palette from me very often. I have an aversion to pinks and most purples. However it was unavoidable here to accurately depict the time of day.
In "Dusk 1" I pushed the pink/purple as far as I could towards a slightly dirty earthy color, by adding burnt sienna, so it was not Easter lavender (yuck!).
In "Dusk 2", which I prefer over the two, zooming in allowed me to loose the pink altogether and again the purple is earthier, more like a dusty desert chaparral color. I then substituted an orange for pink at the horizon. The black helps to kill the 'pastel' palette too.

These are from my series on power plants.
Two elements of our coastal landscapes and a common motif in my work. The mix of industry and nature. Not beautiful to some but in scenes like these I see themes that go beyond the mere industrial or nature images alone. Themes in the tradition of Homer and Hopper.

Man and nature side by side. Industry has to be placed somewhere so it’s impossible to ignore. Since we like to live in beautiful areas we end up with power stations becoming part of the landscape.

Dusk 1 - This one shown in a panoramic view encompassing the lagoon with the station at it’s center.

Dusk 2 - Set in a palette of soft muted colors but contrasted with black. A calm lagoon and clear sky, it’s all there... maybe even therapeutic.148,149

See the nocturne version of Encina Power Station here.

Click on images for larger view

Saturday, November 19, 2011

UP Yellow

"Union Pacific Yard"

"Union Pacific 8381"

 "Union Pacific Yard"
watercolor on paper, 2011
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

"Union Pacific 8381"
watercolor on paper, 2011
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

"Union Pacific Yard"  A simple watercolor broadly painted, large shapes. This view from across the street gave me the compositional device of framing the rail yard with fence, tree, pole and ground plane shadows, highlighting the bright yellow locomotives.

The "Union Pacific 8381" in the heart of the LA Harbor passing an industrial plant. Here is a great example of how the UP bright yellow locomotives stand out against the blues, silvers and grays of the harbor industry landscape as well as showing the gritty unglorified nature of industry without apology.

This is not a painting where the medium, in all its transparency, is celebrated. It is not flashy brush work. It is not pure vibrant colors that sing like a songbird.
It is the subject first. The medium takes a back seat. That inspiration comes from studying (and reading about) the watercolors of Edward Hopper who did not want the medium to overcome the subject, which he felt was more important and a notion I agree with.

This was done by applying the watercolor in repeated washes, more than is typical of the medium, and by scrubbing out then reapplying more washes, building a dense, solid almost inpenetrable wall behind the locomotive, which is placed low in the composition and establishes its place in the greater picture of industry. It is the engine in its environment, working, in the same way wildlife  artists might show a bull, an elk or a bear in its own harsh but true surroundings.146,147

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OMA Store 5

"Tree Nocturne (Downhill)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5” x 4” (12.7cm x 10.16cm)

This painting is the 7th of those at the Oceanside Museum of Art store. Click label below to see the others.
The nocturne ... its origin, mid 19th century French from Latin, nocturnus, meaning ‘of the night’.
Like most from my Tree Nocturne Series this is from a combination of imagination and memories, which lends it a subtle surreal quality. Working this way I allow things like the slightly off kilter street, the rustling tree wrapping around the streetlight, the distant harbor veiled in a marine layer. All to give it a more dreamlike quality.145

Link to value thumbnail here.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Update-Previous Post & Acres of Books

*I have posted an update on the demise of the old Art Deco Building from my previous post 'State of Limbo' and the watercolor painting above "Acres of Books (backside)".

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Burnscape Series - Black and White

Ashen Landscape

Singed Tree

"Burnscape #6 (Ashen Landscape)"
watercolor, Pelikan blk india ink on paper, 2011
6" x8" (15.34cm x 20.32cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

"Burnscape #5 (Singed Tree)"
watercolor, Pelikan blk india ink on paper, 2011
6" x8" (15.34cm x 20.32cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Burnscape Series - Living in Southern California and seeing so many wildfires it would be easy to focus on the destruction. My attraction for the burned landscape isn't for its destruction... but instead how it modifies the landscape, turning it into a charcoal terrain... it is rebirth, the way Mother Nature intended.
It is how She manages her jurisdiction, by controlling dense undergrowth. We usually get in the way.
Man has traditionally prevented fires, the growth becoming so thick that when fire does occur it is devastating. Another topic on the Man vs Nature theme.

TOP: Certain vegetation produces white ash resembling snow. I sometimes refer to these as California fallscapes, winterscapes or snowscapes. Also revealed in the barren terrain are these odd lunar like holes (animal burrows) usually concealed under the growth.

BOTTOM: Grassy vegetation turns a charcoal black. Fire passes some trees when the grass is low to the ground, the heat turning some leaves brown but leaving other parts untouched and green. For composition and design reasons I focused on the pathways left by the fire trucks.143,144

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Atomic Number 16 & Caterpillar Yellow

"Sulfur Piles #3 (w/ Palm)"    SOLD
watercolor on paper, 2011
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

"Cat Hydraulic Excavator 320C"
watercolor on paper, 2011
6" x8" (15.34cm x 20.32cm)

Two of my recent watercolors, and different approaches, in the industrial genre.
On top is another view of the sulfur piles in the port. The high chroma bright lemon, sometimes cad yellow piles are quite a sight among the more earthy and somber colors of industry. A subject I simply can't pass up.

Below, in this one I let go of an absolute realistic depiction, having some creative fun. Wanting to give it something extra I decided to place it in a setting that looked more like a play in both lighting and staging, imparting some drama. A dark background and artificial type lighting to accentuate the bright yellow Cat and orange web fencing.141,142

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank You Again

Again I would like to Thank those who have joined/followed my blog, Thank you!
As I said before the whole google friend connect/send a message doesn't make sense to me. I have never been able to figure out how it all works.

In fact, it's all screwy... at times followers avatar/favicons/photo URL's fall off the followers list only to re-appear the next log-in or refresh, I don't know why. I finally gave up, deciding I was put on this earth to make the art, not figure everything out.

I do notice and appreciate everyone who takes their time to visit and/or leave comments.
I know how busy I get and how little time there is in a 24hr day.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Urban River 1

"Santa Ana River #1"
oil on cradled panel, 2011
12" x 24" (30.48cm x 60.96cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Urban nature is a sort of oxymoron. It took years to come to terms with seeing our rivers encased in concrete banks as part of the natural world. I could never quite call them rivers.

But this is how we modify nature as it passes through our cities before being returned back to nature and into the ocean. There is a push and pull of man/nature going on. Concrete and manicured rock banks, then natural silt islands and vegetation growing in the middle. Nature briefly contained and on display. Ebb and flow.

I do see the beauty in both, the smooth hard man made surfaces and the delicate organic forms of nature. They simultaneously compliment and contrast each other.140

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OMA Store 4

"Tree Nocturne (Billowing Tree)"
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 4" (12.7cm x 10.16cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Here is another of my small paintings at the Oceanside Museum of Art Store.

The nocturne... its origin, mid 19th century French from Latin,
nocturnus, meaning ' of the night '.

My Tree Nocturne series. I've kept the series compositionally simple, focusing on the tree and usually an unseen light source.
This painting breaks from that slightly.

There is more of a surface showing in the street, the cracks and buckling of decades old concrete, before asphalt. The sidewalk, hints of commercial storefronts and power poles all adding to its more urban setting.139

Link to value thumbnail here.

Click on image for larger view