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“Latour Creek” Oil Painting

A few blog posts ago I shared my camping adventures and a Plein air painting I started during that trip; you can read the post HERE.  I started “Latour Creek” oil painting in the dark and scary forest, next to Latour Creek,  where my attention was drawn to the dappled sunlight highlighting various parts of the forest, especially the creek. Sadly, I had to finish the work in the studio because of the mosquitos attacking me while I was painting. Work has been progressing slowly, on “Latour Creek” oil painting to which so far, I’m very pleased with the results.

There have been a few revisions as is typical of the editing process.

Here are my first set of revisions:

Revision 1 of Latour Creek oil painting

Did I write all over the painting you ask? No. I used a photo editing app to write my notes. I can easily see my mistakes once I’ve taken a photo of a painting. Funny how that works. I guess it’s the same as looking at one’s work in a mirror; the mistakes will be more noticeable.

 


I fixed all my edits and then rephotographed the painting which showed me I am not finished.

Here’s revision 2:

Revision 2 of Latour Creek oil painting

You can see by my edits where I feel some elements need more refinement.  More spectral highlights on the grasses need to be added and the edges of the foreground rocks need some softening. The mid-ground tree on the left needs more attention to define the shape. The tree needs some splashes of light on a few branches, to show the dappled sunlight.

I always set a painting aside for a while, not just to allow the layers to dry between sessions, but to come back with a fresh eye. This painting is a complicated scene and is taking a bit longer to finish, but that’s okay. Painting is about the journey and the enjoyment of the process, so for me, I don’t mind if it takes longer to finish a piece. It’s like reading a good book; we don’t want it to end. Right?

Every time I look at this painting, I’ll always remember what if felt like to paint this scene. I can still feel the coolness of the air and hear nothing but the quiet of the forest, and the babbling creek as the mosquitos buzzed around my face. That’s what I love about Plein air painting the most; the memories!

Much Love ~ Rhonda

 

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Camping and Plein Air Painting in the Forest

A couple of weekends ago we did a camp out and had a great time. It was a spur of the moment, “let’s do this!” kind of deal, and our destination was up in the mountains at an out of the way campground. We arrived late on Friday and never thought to make a reservation at the campground. To our dismay, the camp was full and without a reservation, things didn’t look good for us. So we asked the camp host if he knew of a spot to camp down the road, and as we were talking, the owner overheard our conversation and came over to us with a wonderful idea! He said they had one spot in the overflow section and if we didn’t mind not having a campfire ring, we were welcome to use it. He cut the rate since it wasn’t a full on campsite, and we were over joyed.

We ended up in a secluded part of the campground near a multi event area which wasn’t being used and the whole situation turned out perfect. We set up camp, made dinner and settled in for the night. The next morning we rode out in the UTV, with the goal of finding a spot for me to paint, and my husband to fish. We rode all over the mountains looking for a place called Mirror lake, and never found it, but did however find a spectacular spot at the top of the mountain and the view was awesome! At 4200 ft. elevation it was a bit cool, and there was still snow on the higher peaks, so I was glad I brought a coat.

The wildflowers were abundant and beautiful and had just begun to bloom. The hillsides were covered in patches of daisies and poking up through them were these beautiful vibrant red flowers.

After, driving around all morning, and not finding the lake, we settled on a spot for lunch next to a creek in the dark and scary forest.

This is Latour Creek and you can see where some folks had camped and left their trash behind. This is just so annoying to me. “Pack it in, Pack it out” is written for a reason! The forest is not the city dump people! Geez.

Anyway, after lunch I brought out the gear and my plan was to fill the panel with a complete underpainting before I lost the light. The dappled light highlighting the stream was absolutely beautiful.

 


 

It was very cool and quiet, with only the sounds of the running creek and an occasional ATV driving by. The creek was too shallow for any fishing so my husband did a bit of hiking while I painted. All was going great, and then the inevitable happened… no, not rain… Mosquitoes. Seriously? For some reason bugs love to eat me and when the mosquitoes discovered I was tasty, my painting session ended, as I was rudely bitten on the chin. I took reference photos and made some sketches, then packed up the gear.


 

We arrived back at camp in time for dinner, and on the menu was campfire pizza and a nice glass of wine. So yummy. I made the dough at home and cut up the veggies at camp and didn’t even know if this would work, but it did.

I don’t know what it is, but camp food just tastes so delish. This pizza had onions, mushrooms, red pepper, tomatoes and Canadian bacon. After we ate, we sat around our little camp stove and gazed upon the fire, sipping our wine and having chocolate for dessert. The clouds moved in to give us a spectacular sunset and it sprinkled during the night which was so nice to listen to.


 

I’m having to paint from my reference photos since I wasn’t able to complete my under painting, and made some adjustments to the composition:

Composition changes

Don’t worry, I didn’t mark up the painting. This is an acetate overlay I use to make sure elements aren’t “dead center”.  I use a dry erase marker to make notes for the changes. This piece will take me longer since there are so many rocks in the scene, and I want to get the dappled light just right.

I will be taking some time away from the easel and blog posts, as I work freelance for an architect and he has sent me some new plans to work on. If you want to stay in the know about when I put up a new blog post, you can sign up for weekly emails, which are delivered on Friday mornings whenever I write a new post. Click HERE to sign up.

See you next time!

Much Love,

Rhonda

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Review of “Rainy Day” oil on paper plein air study ~

The weather has been soggy these past few weeks, which puts plein air painting on the back burner for a little while longer. So I decided to set up the gear inside by a window and pretend I was plein air painting. This worked out well, as I didn’t have to struggle with the elements and had all creature comforts available. I know, you’re saying “That’s cheating!” Well, you are correct, but I have to keep moving forward! I freely admit, I’m a lightweight when it comes to the elements!

I am still in the process of re-working  my gear to include only the most necessary items, which means going through and honestly evaluating all the equipment. In the past, I’ve carried way too much stuff. Plus, I have had to pack brushes and paint into my plein air bag from the studio, which was always a hassle. Now I am almost complete with having two of everything: gear for plein air and gear for studio. Now I can grab my bag and go when inspiration strikes.

It was pouring rain yesterday when I worked on this piece and fog was a problem, as at times it rolled in so thick I couldn’t see my scene. Here’s what I was looking at:


Forest and the road

Continue reading Review of “Rainy Day” oil on paper plein air study ~

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Sunset at the Villa

In my last post I shared a 16″x20″ painting I’ve been working on depicting an Italian scene at sunset. I’m now at the final adjustment stages and am very pleased with how this piece is progressing. Just a bit of contrast tweaking, and some other little details and I’ll be able to let this one dry for a long while before giving it a good coat of varnish.

It was painted with a limited palette consisting of only four colors, yellow ocher, cad. red, white and black. I did however add just a touch of cerulean blue to the shutters for a surprise pop of color. One thing that is hard for you to see is that the sun is not as large as depicted. The camera cannot pick up subtle variations in highlights.

(The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the painting, but is instead signed with my maiden name.)

Sunset at the Villa

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Snowmaggeden and work in progress

So it’s been snowing – ALOT! We had a very mild beginning of winter from Dec. all through Jan. Then things changed big time! First the polar vortex arrived the first week of Feb. and the temps dropped from the low 40’s to 10 for the day time highs with wind chills below zero. Whaaaat? It was sooo cold!

Then the snow arrived. And it dumped a foot of snow the other night! It’s been snowing constantly on and off for the past week. Here’s a peek at our backyard;

Snow

In the foreground are the table gardens, virtually gone. I did have some lettuce growing in the greenhouse but the polar vortex took care of that idea. No more lettuce. Next year I hope to have some kind of heat in place in the greenhouse.


In the meantime I’ve been doing some work on the painting I started last week.

Work in progress

I can’t decide how I’m going to lay out the foreground so I figured I’d better stop and work out the composition before going further. I imported the photo of the canvas into a digital photo editing app and played around a bit:

Digital art

I’m thinking a path and a vineyard on the right. Maybe on the left a field of sunflowers. Some birds in the distance, a chimney, finish door and windows with a pop of blue on the shutters. Lots of work yet to do. I’ll share more as progress continues.

Stay warm!

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New work in progress~

Here’s a new work in progress I’ve started! It’s a 16″x20″ canvas and it will depict an Italian Villa, cause I love all things Italian!

I’m using a limited palette called the Zorn Palette.  The palette consists of only four colors – Yellow Ochre, Vermillion, Ivory Black and White. I know! It’s been quite interesting not having blue on my palette. So to compensate, this scene is at sunset! That works for me. I’m also using palette knives as much as possible to give nice juicy texture. There will be cypress trees to the right of the house and I’m thinking a vineyard in the foreground. Originally I under-layed the composition with a thin wash of “tube” green just to give me bearings as to where everything should be. You can see in the trees that  I started working on to the left, how nice and true to life mixing your own greens can be, instead of using tube greens.  I’ll be working on this for a while and will keep you posted as I progress!

 

Work in progress

 

 

 

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Yellow Roses work in progress ~

The last of the roses in our garden had two buds that never opened due to the cold settling in. So I brought them indoors to see if they would open in the warmth of our home. The rose bush I cut them from typically makes peach and dark pink edged roses with hints of yellow, but to my delight when they opened, the roses were all yellow!

I was inspired to paint a new 6″x6″ oil on panel before they were gone, but became frustrated and almost wiped out the smaller rose. I’ll work on it later when I’m in a better frame of mind. Sometimes the paint just gets the better of me.  There will be leaves and a bud  in the composition when it’s finished. My palette is yellow ocher, cad yellow medium, lemon yellow and the background is a mixture of transparent brown oxide and manganese blue.  I hope to work on it some more after Thanksgiving. : ) Stay tuned!

 

Yellow Roses work in progress

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New Daisy painting ~

The Daisies are in full bloom! They grow wild and the other day I picked a vase full as my subject for a new painting. I read somewhere that if you put an aspirin and a tsp. of sugar in the water it keeps the flowers longer. So I did and took the arrangement into the studio. I worked out my color palette and laid in the background color on my panel, with the plan to begin painting the next morning.

Guess what? The aspirin killed the flowers! I came into the studio the next morning to find all the flowers keeled over. Bad information! I had to go in search of fresh flowers and luckily was able to find some as they are starting to end their life cycle. I made a sketch and transferred it over to my panel and now all is good! That’s if nothing else weird happens over night!

More to come as I progress.

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A little plein air painting

This past weekend we did a two day camping trip. I took the medium pochade box and found a perfect spot next to a whitewater creek in which to paint. The temps were a bit on the cold side since we were 3200+ft. in elevation. There was still snow on some of the shadow side of the roads. But all in all it was a great weekend!

Making a preliminary sketch of my scene.

This is the scene I used for my 8×10 oil painting.





I was able to lay in all the base colors and will bring up the light values in the studio. Will share the finished piece soon!