Thursday, September 7, 2017

BACKLIGHTING AND DESIGN

Backlighting can produce strong design effects because it produces big value shapes of the sides of things away from the sun.  In this case I have not used full, direct backlighting, where the sun is shining directly at the viewer.  The sun, here, is actually just out of the picture and to the left, but since the sun is still in front of us, the effect of strong dark value shapes is still in play.  With this type of lighting situation, the painter can arrange those dark shapes to the hearts desire to achieve a striking composition.  If you want to experiment with this, remember to be conscious of the angle of the sun coming into the picture, in order to keep the effect consistent, and avoid confusion.

SUNRISE OVER THE RIDGE
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
16X20 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, August 20, 2017

This painting was done with a limited palette, using venetian red, gold ochre, cerulean blue hue, white and black.  It's a great way to change up your usual procedure.  Using only the three primaries plus white and black allows me to focus on the shapes, values and color temperatures to suggest an effect of light and atmosphere.

PEDERNALES MORNING
©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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MORE VAL-HUE STUDIES

Another couple of the val-hue studies I do in preparation for doing the actual paintings.  I can't over-emphasize the benefits of this practice.  Rather than thinking about "things" I'm going to paint, this involves designing the shapes, separating the values and trying out colors.  Spending an hour or two in trying out light and dark shape arrangements (notan), Simplifying shapes and making sure no two are alike in size, direction or value puts you way down the road towards a successful painting, rather than trying to render the literal appearance of things (boring!).  If the value relationships are correct, almost any colors will look good!  This is 80% of whatever creativity will go into your work, and it really raises the fun and learning factors exponentially.

DRIFTING SHADOWS &
MORNING ON BEE CREEK
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
6x8 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, August 11, 2017

NOTAN AND VAL-HUE STUDIES

If you're not doing any preparation before beginning your paintings, you may be missing out on one of the biggest progress boosters in your painting tool-kit.

When working in the studio, it's a good idea to use some of your time to explore and prepare for the paintings you have planned.  No matter how you how you paint, loose, tight, whatever.  You will benefit by these steps:
1.  Decide what you want to emphasize about your subject, and then compose everything with that focus in mind.
2.  Do several small, quick notan doodles with a view toward organizing the shapes as being distinctly in the light or shade.  These don't need to be any bigger than a business card.  Plan to emphasize the one thing you want to emphasize.  Whether outside or in the studio, do not try to copy your subject from from nature or photo.  Use your reference to derive the information you need.  Don't just take dictation.  It's no fun and you'll soon tire of the drudgery.  Leave stuff out that doesn't support your focal idea.
3.  Simplify your subject into a few big shapes, without any detail.
4.  Finally, do a quick, small, val-hue study.  (4x6, 5x7, 6x8)  Take care with choosing your values.  They're the key to the success of your painting.  If your value shapes are rightly related, you're way down the road towards beautifully related hues.

Now, use your val-hue study as your primary reference to create your painting.  Don't copy color from photos, they're all wrong.  The shadows are way too dark, and colors are wild and disorderly, and the values cannot be trusted.

PEDERNALES MORNING
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
6X8 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, August 3, 2017

SHOW OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT

These four new paintings are part of my show which will open this Friday evening at the Fredericksburg Art Gallery, 405 Main Street in Fredericksburg. I'm excited to be showing this group of new paintings, and I hope you'll be able to stop by if you plan to be in the area. I will be painting in the gallery during the day on Saturday. The show will be on display throughout the month of August.

If you'd like to preview all of my paintings in this show, please, visit my website. If you care to purchase one or more of the paintings, before the opening, Clayton or Camille, at the Fredericksburg Art Gallery,will be glad to help you. 830-990-2707

TITLES OF PAINTINGS
Terlingua Cliffs
Lavender Flow
Frio Rio Fandango
Out To Pasture

©Jimmy Longacre 2017
oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel


GALLERIES
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery_ Austin, Texas




Monday, May 15, 2017

PAINTING THE LIGHT

Painting the light is what I'm trying to do in my landscapes. This scene changes dramatically during the day as the sun moves through the sky, and I paint it every now and then. This is one of my favorites. Part of the fun is to select color that is not the expected and then try to relate the values and hues in such a way that I still portray what happens to a scene because of the existing character of the light.  Iin this case, late afternoon on a bright sunny day.  A couple of the main influencers I'm using here is recognizing that color in the foreground will usually be more saturated and contrasty.  Moving into the distance, color tends to get cooler, lighter and grayer.  It's a great exercise for becoming more aware of the beautiful effect of light on my subject.

LATE AFTERNOON
©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, April 20, 2017

Painted in the studio, after re-inventing a plein air study that doesn't look much like this. I was mainly trying to capture the time of day and suggest the depth in the scene. I decided to jump into a more complex problem, after my exercises with simple compositions. I really had to apply the things I mentioned in my last post. Simplifying things down to design the shapes in the light and the shapes in the dark into two big separate groups. Then, we have a chance at painting what otherwise would result in visual chaos. It always impresses me how important it is to work out the separation of values in the big shapes. I try to block-in each of those simple shapes as flat silhouettes in their average value and dominant color. If we get those properly related it's easy enough to go back and add a lighter or darker value shift to suggest more "detail" without trying to paint "things".

HILL COUNTRY MORNING
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
16x20 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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jimmy Longacre_subjective realist landscape paintings_ VALUES AND COLOR SELECTION

One of a series using simple compositions to practice value separation of shapes, and color to indicate depth.  Learning to arrange the various shapes in a painting so as to make a clear value interpretation of a scene is the biggest help in choosing "right color".  

Value must come before color, because above everything else it makes order out of the scene we want to represent.  I work with a range of nine values, #1 is the lightest possible light, #9 is the darkest possible dark. The painting is blocked in using only values #2 through #8.  This way I can reserve the high-lights and darkest darks to place the accents as I'm finishing the painting.  With the values worked out, first, I can then select hues with confidence.  Almost any color will work if it's value is correct.  In this painting I have intentionally selected the warmest, most high chroma colors for the foreground, and the color becomes cooler and grayer as it moves into the distance. 

EARLY SUMMER
©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, April 6, 2017

SIMPLIFICATION – THERE'S THE KEY!

Whether we're painting from life, or photos, our job is not to copy what we see.  The complexity of detail, color and the range of light in nature is overwhelming, and photographs are full of all kinds of lies and errors that are deadly to our art.  Painting is about the composition of shapes, values and color designed to evoke something beyond simple recognition of the subject matter.

All the skills and information we are amassing are the tools we use in our efforts to interpret the subject.  Our interpretation is more important than what we're looking at.  The subject reference doesn't present us with much that's ready to be painted.  Life or photographs are just the painter's departure point.  There is much thinking and planning to be done, before we mix the paint and put it on the canvas.  Questions to be answered about how we'll arrange things. and solve problems.  All with the hope of creating harmony, balance and a connection for the viewer.  So many things that can frustrate our efforts!  Much of what is seen will need to be discarded when we see that it is non-essential to what we're trying to paint.  Simplification is necessary to managing the ingredients that go into a painting.  There's the key!

ROCKY HOME
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
20X24 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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

ZEROING-IN




My last couple of posts have dealt with identifying and emphasizing one thing that you want to communicate in your painting.  Here's one example of what that can mean.  The reference photo, above takes in a lot of beautiful subject matter, and a number of compositions could be derived from it.  The photo on the right zeroes-in on one aspect that particularly interested me, and you can see in my painting how I ended up cropping the subject and emphasizing the burst of light in the right-mid-ground.  Then, I edited-out things that did not support my concept, and did all I could to emphasize my main point of interest.

Often, in my workshops, I see students take on everything in a reference photo simply because that's what's in the photo!  This mental attitude is what I refer to as "thing- o-vision".  If we don't consciously shift into "art-o-vision" we automatically begin taking dictation from our reference, whether painting from life or photos.  This approach effectively rules out our opportunity to exercise our design and compositional choices that make our painting interesting and expressive.  Among other things to do, before beginning to paint, try "zeroing-in" on one concept that excites you about your subject, and then make a game of showing off that one thing.  Don't bother with anything in the reference that is extraneous to your concept, and think of ways to emphasize your concept.  More coming up on that.

BLUE CREEK
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
8X16 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

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