Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TELLING ONE STORY - THE BIG PICTURE

It takes many of us a lot of painting experience to begin to realize that good painting needs a clear concept of what we're trying to do.  There are so many fundamental things about painting we need to understand and put into our work that it's easy to get lost and overwhelmed long the way.  With consistent effort we move from plateau to plateau, and without a burning desire to "get there" we  would surely give up.  Too many disappointments and failures.

The thing that has helped me the most to keep on keeping on is the realization that all our technical skills begin to come together as we use them to express one clear idea.  Excellent rendering ability alone won't do it.  Learning the rules of perspective won't do it.  Understanding how color works, and any number of other individual skills won't get us there.  Composition and design remain arcane mysteries wrapped up in too many "do's and don'ts" until we begin to see what it is that drives the whole process.

So, what is it that puts us on the track of really enjoying making our own paintings?  I'd say it's wrapped up in doing everything we can to emphasize one clearly seen and felt idea about our subject.  Until then, we are spending our energy on external motivations and rules and frustrations.  Trying to approximate the look of the paintings of artist's whose work we admire while wrestling with problems that in and of themselves can't assure successful paintings.

However, surprisingly, once we learn to clearly identify what one thing we're trying to emphasize about our chosen subject, the "what for" of whatever skills we have take on purpose and meaning in our efforts.  The fun begins, and our power starts to grow.  Our own work begins to interest us.  Even our beginning, rudimentary efforts begin to produce interesting results when we know what we're trying to do.   I want to say more about this in my following posts.
 
RUST & FADED PAINT
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
9x12 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS   
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Friday, February 24, 2017

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Knowing what I'm trying to accomplish in a painting is primary for guiding every other decision I'll have to make in creating a composition.  If I'm simply beguiled by an attractive "thing" (tree, barn, creek, whatever…), I'll wind up taking dictation from that thing without thinking through how I can compose it so that it will emphasize what I find beautiful about the scene.  That, for me, is the fun and satisfaction in painting.

Almost without exception, composing requires stopping to think about what I want to say and what I have to work with.  It's rare that I find something that's ready to paint just as it is.  For instance, I may try several ideas for cropping the scene and identifying the focal center.  I may then want to remove unrelated clutter, rearrange what's there for better size and balance relationships, or any number of other things that I feel will give my primary concept emphasis.  I find that my best paintings are about one thing, and one thing only.  That concept must be the star of the show. Everything else plays a supporting role, and a lot of what's there won't even make the cut, when I've answered the question, "What's it about?"

IN THE GROOVE
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
12x16 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ICE CREAM, CANDY AND COLOR

No restraint  on color is like gorging on ice cream, candy and doughnuts.  I know this, but it's so hard to put the sweets away.  If you've looked at my past work, you know I enjoy pushing the color.  I've made some pretty sweet confections at times.  I'm learning to reign it in, and liking how it tastes.  This piece is by no means somber, but I really had to tone it down from where I began.  I fell in love with that riot of fall color on the river bank, and just went overboard on the doughnuts. Anyway, what I'm learning is, with just a bit of pure color in place, it's the grays that make it appetizing.

 INDIAN SUMMER
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
14X18 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings
MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Friday, February 10, 2017

FIRST IT'S A DESIGN

WHEN I WANT TO PAINT,  I HAVE TO CHANGE HOW I SEE.  It usually requires a conscious effort  to make the switch from what I call "thing-o-vision" to "art-o-vision".  Our normal mode of seeing, "thing-o-vision", habitually identifies the proliferation of things and details we see as our eyes bounce around from one "thing" to another.  Art-o-vision sees only shapes, values and color in a simple integrated pattern.  If I don't make the switch,  I can only take dictation from the myriad things and details before me, and the fun of painting turns to tedium and disappointment.  Art-o-vison allows me to see the simple beauty, and harmony in the scene.  Then, the fun is in trying to arrange those simple shapes, values and colors into a design that will focus upon and emphasize the beauty I've found.  Everything else plays a subordinate role to enhance my idea.  Now, I'm ready to paint!  But first, before anything else, it's a design.

SUN-STRUCK CYPRESS
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
12X16 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Saturday, February 4, 2017

REPORTAGE AND POETRY

REPORTAGE AND POETRY are literary terms that describe a difference of intent in writing.  But it can be very useful for painters to consider these terms in relation to our work.  We can say that reportage aims to present facts and details, while poetry gives special intensity to the expression of feelings and ideas by a distinctive style with attention to the elements and principles of visual language.

The "elements" are the marks we can make: line, shape, direction, size, value, color and texture.  The "principles" identify what we can do with the elements to create: dominance, contrast, repetition, gradation, harmony, unity and balance.  Some folks enjoy paintings with tremendous amounts of descriptive detail and literal rendering.  At the other end of the spectrum of visual language is pure abstraction, with little or no regard for identifiable subject matter.  

The usefulness of this distinction for the painter is in how expressively we are learning to communicate using visual language.  We can all make marks, but it's the application of design principles that raises the poetic quality of our paintings.  

MORNING HAZE
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
14X18 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Sunday, January 29, 2017

BEING WILLING TO FLOP

HEY, I'M BACK!  I've spent the past few months doing the almost unthinkable: abstaining from social media!  I felt it was time to take account of what I was doing.  In the words of an old song from my youth, "I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in."  (Kenny Rogers and the Fifth Dimension.  If you remember that one, our memory traces the same years.)  Anyway, as fun and helpful as it may be to post and hear from you, I wanted to take time to just play and experiment with my painting.

The cycle of painting and growing as a painter requires an occasional healthy dose of "free-forming it".  Time to play with no one looking over your shoulder.  Experimenting with ideas,  following interests without worrying about where they're leading, and being willing to flop.  That's where the fun and growth really kick in.  I may write more about that in coming posts, but for now I'll show you some things that have come out of my little retreat, and just see where it leads.

This painting was selected to be included in the 2017 Plein Air Southwest show, put on by Outdoor Painters Society.  It is one of the results of my experiments, and pointed to a fresh direction for me.
I'll be back with more results.

REDBUDS
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
12X12 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Friday, September 2, 2016

TAOS WORKSHOP ALERT

This was done in mid-August, before these last, wonderful rain storms.

WORKSHOP ALERT: Two spots still available for my TAOS WORKSHOP in September! 
I hope you will join us in painter's paradise. This workshop is for those interested in building solid plein air painting skills. We'll be focusing on seeing "the big picture", subject selection, design, notan, values simplification, and paint handling.
Last year we had a wonderful time exploring favorite painting locations of painters who are drawn to the area. Rivers, mountains, desert and canyons, from Ghost Ranch to the Wild Rivers part of the Carson National Forest. You can get all the information about the workshop and accommodations below.
LOCATION: Taos New Mexico
DATES and TIME: September 18 through 24 (9 to 4 daily)
MEDIUM: oil
SKILL LEVEL: beginners with basic skills to intermediate
SIGN-UP NOW: contact: Ursula Beck, Founder/Director, tas@laplaza.org, 505-758-0350
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Taos Art School
http://taosartschool.org/georgia_plein…/georgia_pleinair.htm


UNDEVELOPED
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
12X16  oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA?


This one is an example of a game I enjoy playing. Take a plain, ordinary scene and try to find the seed of a fun painting idea in it. Then, do everything I can think of in a painting to give dramatic emphasis to that one thing_"the seed".  This is actually the guiding objective in any of my paintings.  The difference here is the humble source.  Not much to really stop for.  It's fun, and a great exercise.  

Ask yourself, "What's the big idea?" What is it you want to bring out?  Do everything you can in the planning and execution of your painting to make stunningly clear. 

Having one simple idea of what you're trying to emphasize in your painting is a great way to give your painting impact.  Let the 'one thing' govern all your decisions about what you want to do in your painting. 

SUNSTRUCK
©Jimmy Longacre 2016
16x20 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX



Friday, August 19, 2016

COME PAINT TAOS WITH ME!

WORKSHOP ALERT: Two spots just opened up for my TAOS WORKSHOP in September! 
I hope you will join us in painter's paradise.  This workshop is for those interested in building solid plein air painting skills.  We'll be focusing on seeing "the big picture", subject selection, design, notan, values simplification, and paint handling.     

Last year we had a wonderful time exploring favorite painting locations of painters who are drawn to the area.  Rivers, mountains, desert  and canyons,  from Ghost Ranch to the Wild Rivers part of the Carson National Forest.  You can get all the information about the workshop and accommodations below.
 LOCATION:  Taos Art School
DATES and TIME:  September 18 through 24 (9 to 4 daily)
MEDIUM:  oil
SKILL LEVEL: beginners with basic skills to intermediate
SIGN-UP NOW: contact: Ursula Beck, Founder/Director, tas@laplaza.org, 505-758-0350
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Taos Art School
http://taosartschool.org/georgia_pleinair/georgia_pleinair.htm
THE LLAZY LLANO
©Jimmy Longacre 2016
12x16 oil on canvas panel
Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel
GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Thursday, August 18, 2016

THINK BEFORE YOU PAINT

This required a lot of editing and rearranging. I was so taken by the receding pattern of the rocky peninsulas that I started off as a slave to what I was seeing. What had looked so interesting at the outset turned out to be visual confusion. I scraped them out and replaced them with a few that I put where I wanted them for the design.

MORNING ON THE LLANO
©Jimmy Longacre 2016
12x12 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel






GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Monday, July 25, 2016

THANK YOU!

VERY HAPPY TO HAVE "BURROW MESA BIG BEND" chosen for the June BOLDBRUSH FAV15%! The competition attracts over 2,000 entries.  A collector/friend had asked for, "something from my Big Bend work".  I had been working on a series of Big Bend paintings, and so, I had something in mind that I wanted to try for this.  You know that feeling when you're working on a painting that just seems to have it going on from the start?  Well, It's nice to be able to reaffirm my collector's decision.

BURRO MESA BIG BEND
©Jimmy Longacre 2016
20x24 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Friday, July 22, 2016

GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR SUBJECT

I'm having fun preparing to do a painting of Barton Creek for a collector. This is one of the paintings I've done to become familiar with the area.  The final painting will be fairly large (28x38).  When possible, I like to do a series of smaller paintings in preparation.  The series may be drawings, sketches, and small paintings.  Besides being a lot of fun, the approach tends to get me interested and opens my eyes to the feel of the place.  Not only that, it helps me build confidence and excitement about the project.   

COTTONWOOD SNAG
©Jimmy Longacre 2016
16x12 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX