Saturday, February 28, 2015

WHAT MAKES FOR LIVELY COLOR?

NATURAL ORDER.  On my last Facebook post, I was asked what accounts for lively color in our paintings, as opposed to feeling flat and uninteresting. A subject I truly love, and always work at with fascination. I attempted a short answer to my friends question, but the answer is actually too complex to address in a paragraph. So, I decided that a picture is worth a thousand words (I just thought that up!), and here is a demonstration of what I said, showing the resulting color harmony that results from giving attention to the elements of light.


A number of things affect the appearance of color in our paintings, and it's mostly a matter of relationship (the scale of light and dark). A clear separation of value steps is the beginning of beautiful color relationship. In daylight there is something like 3 or 4 steps between the lighted portion of an object and the part which is in the shade (I use a nine step value scale). This separation will hold true for every object in the scene. For instance a red ball will appear somewhat more orange in the light (because of the warmth of the light source), and somewhat more violet in the shade. The area of the ball that lies along the transitional half-tone between the light and shade will normally appear to be the true color of the ball and stronger in chroma than the colors in the light or shade. There is a beautiful natural harmony in the relationship of these as the object's local color is influenced by light. Contrast this same affect with say a green ball in the same light and a beautiful complementary harmony results, made even more beautiful by the relationship of the two colors as they appear in light, shade and half-tone. This is only a small beginning, but if you begin to apply this to your paintings you will see an immediate improvement in the quality of your color. I hope this helps, Tia. Best wishes.


NATURAL ORDER
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
6x8 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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

INTERPRETATION IS MY GAME

When I find one of my old paintings that I think can improve or that I'm interested in experimenting with, I use the painting as the reference for a new interpretation.  Interpretation is my game!  For me, every subject is an invitation to reinvent what is there.  God made it beautiful.  My job is to use those clues to invent and design a painting of my own.  I'm not interested in trying to render the facts as they exist in nature.  I want to use them as suggestions for shape, value, color and edge arrangements.  Fun!

BULL CREEK REVISITED
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
9x12 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, February 23, 2015

EXPLORING INCLINATIONS AND GROWTH

This is a study in which I reconsider how I painted the first version.  There is no way around change if we are growing in our painting journey.  Our tastes and what excites us about painting is constantly evolving.  I think it's a mistake to attempt to "nail down" a particular style.  What we learn always leads to new discoveries about what could be.  Here, I am indulging a direction that I find exciting.  The fun-factor in this painting was off the charts.  I'll be trying to learn and expand more of the possibilities.

CREEK STUDY
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
8x10 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, February 13, 2015

FUN FACTOR TOOLS FOR PLEIN AIR

Many of you noticed the five page article that Plein Air Magazine did on me in the current issue, and have sent your congratulations, and "likes".  Thank you, very much.  I appreciate your encouragement. A number of you have asked to see a copy of the article. So, here it is.  I hope you enjoy it.

In answer to questions resulting from the article: I have four workshops scheduled for this year, so far.  They will be in San Angelo, Texas; Breckenridge, Texas; Sun City, Georgetown, Texas; and Wenmohs Ranch, in the Texas hill country. You can see more workshop information and dates here.

PLEIN AIR MAGAZINE
©Jimmy Longacre 2014

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

WAITING FOR SPRING

Friends are telling me they're worried about having a "false Spring", where everything leafs out and blooms, and then a last freeze comes through and kills everything. What can we DO!! Uh…nothin'. Paint what you've got, and wait for what's next. We'll be okay.

WAITING FOR SPRING
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
8X6 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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I PAINT WHAT I SEE!

I freely admit that I exaggerate! I'm not embarrassed. Reporting the facts doesn't interest me.  When I see something that inspires me, something that has the seed of beauty, I get excited about what could be. Here, I was walking the trail that runs along a favorite creek, watching for the light, water, limestone and plants to conspire.  When the basic elements come together, the game is on.  I rearrange, extend, trim, add, leave out, change sizes,  and dramatize whatever is there.  It's wonderfully fun, and my embellishments don't hurt anyone.  I'm a storyteller not a journalist.

SHADOW LACE
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
8x10 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, February 9, 2015

PAINTING THE UNEXPECTED

When the sun came out last Friday, and the temperature was headed for the eighties, I headed out to the creek to look for painting subjects.  I was hoping maybe to find a dramatic stand of sycamore and boulders on the bank of the clear green water, and I did.  But this humble subject caught my eye when I got there, and I couldn't forget how striking it looked.  So, this is the subject I selected to paint.  Interpreting this scene was fun from beginning to end, and a good lesson, too.  Striking beauty is not limited to only the big dramatic subject matter.  If our eyes are open to the patterns of light and dark, when we're out, we find things that we would never have conceived if we remain in the studio.
FEBRUARY HEAT
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
9x12 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, February 6, 2015

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE_2015

My workshops for this year will focus on "INTERPRETING THE LANDSCAPE_ Indoors and Out".  Being able to paint your own interpretation of the landscape is what makes it so much fun.  Learning to "see" with a painter's eye, and then translating that into the language of expressive design is the key to raising your fun-factor. I have scheduled four workshops, so far:
Breckenridge, Texas_ April 2 - 4
San Angelo, Texas_ April 17 - 19
Sun City in Georgetown, Texas_ June 10 - 12
Wenmohs' Ranch_ June 26 - 28
You can check my website for those nearest you, and more information at
http://longacreart.com

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings


GALLERY LINKS




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ON BULL CREEK (to the finish)


Okay, these three steps show you (1) how the painting looked after blocking-in local color values (image2), (2) after I scraped it down (image3), and (3) the finished painting (image1) Again, this is not a plein air painting, and it isn't the way I approach painting outdoors.  This is done in the studio, from a photograph.  This is only one of a number of approaches I use, depending on my objective for the painting.  In this one, I wanted to rather carefully control the drawing, and the notan wash is a great way to to just that.  It gives the opportunity to place the shapes as you designed them, and establish the three main value areas of the design.  
Yesterday, I talked about the limitations of photo reference.  One of the big corrections, here, is to plan the values so you can see into the shadows, and then to tone-down the incredibly high chroma colors in snapshots.  To extend the values, it's necessary to stay within the range of the general value of the shape you're working in.  In other words, avoid placing any values in a given value shape which actually belongs to one of the other value groups.  If you do this, you will retain the design structure of the notan and the painting will have more impact. To adjust the color so as to not be so saturated as the photo reference, I suggest you pick an important color from your focal area, and then key all other colors to relate to its degree of chroma.  Keep in mind that it's usually a good practice to make the chroma in the focal area the most saturated.
Why step #2? This step isn't usually necessary, but I thought you might like to see what I do if I'm not happy about the block-in. Could be I don't like the value or hue relationships, or the paint quality. I take my palette knife (or a dead credit card works great) and scrape off all the paint, right down to the canvas.  Notice how it softens the edges and somewhat darkens the painting.  This makes a very nice underpainting to build your val-hues back onto.  
The finishing phase, is mainly a matter of taking care of edge relationships, adjusting val-hues, and developing the focal area to have the greatest amount of descriptive detail, strongest contrasts, and a bit of calligraphy to add scale and the feeling of focus.  Get this right and it's amazing how little you need to do elsewhere.


ON BULL CREEK
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
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

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ON BULL CREEK_PHASE ONE

I've been asked to do another step-by-step.  I'm going to break this one down, over the next
few days. This particular approach is not a plein air procedure.  Instead, I'm going to show you one of the ways I work in the studio, from a photograph.  It's also useful when the structural complexity of the subject needs more control. Take a look at the reference photo, below.  A painter attempting to interpret this scene is going to have a big problem, unless they've had a good bit of experience painting out doors and learning how things actually appear.  Cameras can't give a natural rendering of light and shade, and the color is way off the map. The red square surrounds the area I'm interested in painting.  Selection and focal emphasis are very important to your interpretation.  My focus will be the little waterfall.  I'm not interested in just reporting on whatever I can see in the photo.  It's my job to use the information
available for my design.  You'll see how I edit, simplify and move things around a bit as the steps develop. First I do a very quick 3-value notan to consider the basic structure for my painting.  When I'm outdoors I do this little painting in my sketchbook with a mid-gray and dark-gray marker, about 3"x3".   In the studio, at times I will do it in Photoshop.  Very easy to re-arrange and try-out different ideas.  The object is to invent a strong and interesting design that evokes the subject in three values.  It's fun, and it's a very powerful tool for beginning a solid interpretation.  If you can't get it to work at this stage, it's not going to get
better later.  Then, I roughly transfer the notan to my canvas by covering it with a mid-value, transparent scrub-in over my pencil sketch which I have sprayed with workable fixative.  I wipe out the light shapes with a rag, and add the dark shapes with more paint.  You can see that I start to indicate a bit of definition within the shadow areas. Everything is left very rough at this stage.  Just enough to separate the three value groups, and pique my imagination.  Next, I'll show you how I begin to block-in color on top of this foundation.

ON BULL CREEK
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
12x12 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings


GALLERY LINKS

Sunday, February 1, 2015

DEVELOPING A QUICK STUDY




This little painting was developed from the 6x8 demo.  My student had a photograph that she had chosen to work from.  At one point in our session I did the quick demo painting.  The next day, I used the demo to do a further development of the scene.  Just trying to have fun adding what it seemed to need.  

RUNNING AGAIN
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
9X12 oil on canvas panel

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

GALLERY LINKS