Sunday, November 11, 2018

Tumacacori Mission


This plein air piece, 8" x 10" oil, was painted recently at Tumacacori Mission in southern Arizona during the Plein Air on the Santa Cruz event and exhibition (in the town of Tubac). It was a fun, multi-day event and participants stayed at Rancho Santa Cruz in the verdant riparian zone of the  Santa Cruz River. The painting was awarded a second place prize.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Roziamento Trail Arroyo

 
Here is a view from the arroyo along the Rozamiento Trail in Albuquerque during a morning plein air painting session Saturday. The backlit Sandia Mountains loom in the distance behind a cottonwood tree and blooming chamisa on this beautiful early fall day. 12" x 9" oil. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Overlook View


Here is a painting done at the White Rock Overlook during the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico's paintout last week in Los Alamos, NM. This was a stunning vista view with the Rio Grande winding its way below. The painting was completed in consecutive mornings.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hiker's Reward


"Hiker's Reward", oil, 11" x 14" is a plein air painting of the Sandia Mountains as seen from Elena Gallegos Open Space in Albuquerque. I spent parts of three August mornings working on this painting on location. The open space is a popular hiking, biking horseback riding and picnicking area immediately east of the city. Albuquerque is at an elevation of 5,312 feet. Add another 5,367 feet and you are on the top of the Sandias. On the crest of the mountain is a restaurant that is accessed by the Sandia Peak Tramway, the worlds longest aerial tram ride (2.7 miles).

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

La Cueva Arroyo

Plein air piece, La Cueva Arroyo, oil, 9" x 12", painted at the end of August near the Sandia Mountains in Albuqueque. Clouds cast shadows on a varied terrain in the afternoon. Gnats are particularly abundant in this area of the foothills. They're just one of an assortment of distractions intended to torment the plein air painter. They get in the corner of your eyes, around your nose, and they buzz in your ears. Repellent works to an extent. The breeze, or wind, can, at times, also be trouble. But on a day like this, when the gnats are around, regular breezes can be your friend! Another challenge are the occasional vehicles that drive by, stirring up dust. A couple from Spain who were walking along the road, stopped to talk. They knew a few words of English, and I, even fewer words of Spanish. It's amazing how much you can manage to communicate, even with such limitations. I completed this painting in two outings. Some gnats are probably embedded in the painting surface. A true mark of authenticity!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

At Pecos Monastery


Here's a plein air painting, 9" x 14", oil, done this past Sunday on the grounds of Pecos Benedictine Monastery in Pecos, New Mexico. Members of Plein Air Painters of New Mexico were there to paint for the day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Afternoon Shower


The summer monsoon has finally begun to bring much needed precip to the Southwest, which is in the midst of a severe drought. This 12" x 10" oil on panel helps preserve the memory of what are usually brief events. Storms in the Southwest are much more appreciated and anticipated than storms experienced in Pennsylvania, where I spent my younger years. The wide open spaces also can make for more dramatic skies as formation of towering cumulonimbus clouds take center stage.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ghostly Ranch


This nocturne painting titled Ghostly Ranch, 9" x 14", oil, is of Georgia O'Keeffe country in northern New Mexico.  Silhoutted shapes in moonlight create a dreamy nighttime perspective of  this enchanted landscape.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Full Moon and Clouds


Here I have a photo of a 14" x 6 studio oil painting I snuck into my recent Twilight Skies show a couple of weeks after the opening. I am intrigued by the subject of well formed cumulus clouds surviving after sunset and illuminated by the moon, something I don't see very often in Albuquerque.  I thought the strong vertical format of this painting imparted a greater sense of towering clouds. Diagonal lines in the lower cloud and sky helped to reinforce that effect. I am considering doing some larger paintings of cumulonimbus (storm) clouds in moonlight, which will probably be best suited to a much larger sized painting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Canal Walk at Sunset


I was recently notified that my painting, "Canal Walk at Sunset," oil,  22" x 28", is among 31 pieces by local artists that will be purchased by the City of Albuquerque for display in public buildings. I feel fortunate and honored that my painting was selected from the 500+ entries by more than 200 artists.

In New Mexico, canals and irrigation ditches are more commonly referred to by their Spanish name, "acequia." The cottonwood tree-lined acequia in the painting is west of the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque. The dirt roadway offers hikers and bikers a view of the Sandia Mountains in the background.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Jemez Moon


Jemez Moon, 8" x 10", oil is among the nocturne and sunset paintings included in my solo show, Twilight Skies, at Purple Sage Gallery in Old Town Albuquerque, which shows through the end of June.  This painting went through a major transformation from its plein air origins through the finished studio piece. Specifically, I've made the cloud and tree shapes more interesting.
Below is the early version, which is closer to the original plein air attempt.



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jemez Pasture In Moonlight


This nocturne, Jemez Pasture In Moonlight, 10" x 16", is a plein air piece that was completed in the studio. I set up along the roadside near Jemez Springs, New Mexico. The tall cliff walls of this canyon region reveal a different, but equally impressive subject in moonlight as in sunlight. In this case, drama of late afternoon light and shadow had given way to the magic and mystery of the moonlit night.

Traffic along the road drops off considerably at night, and it was just me, the crickets and the black, indistinct forms (cows) that moved slowly in my direction on the other side of the fence line as the night advanced. The light green foliage of spring on the cottonwood trees as well as the foreground grasses also offered a good bit of reflectivity. As mentioned in the previous post, even with the bright light of a full moon, it is still necessary to render values lighter than they actually appear in the subject. I had to make some adjustments in this regard later back in the studio.

When working with nocturne scenes, forms are reduced to simple shapes more easily than when painting the same subject in daylight. This also serves to simplify the composition as most smaller details disappear into the larger value shapes. With either night or day scenes, it is the few big shapes that are most important in the composition, and night time removes all the extraneous details, making the artist's work easier.

With regard to color, moonlit landscapes tend toward blue, bluish green or purple hues. Objects in the foreground are usually "warmer"  versions of these colors. I've noticed some of the dark (shadow), non-moon reflecting areas tend toward a warmer tone, particularly in the trees. Here I used dark  yellow-brown mixtures and some alizarin crimson and purples. Of course, these are general rules and can change depending on the type of light source (such as artificial light). The variety (particularly analogous hues) and richness of color is one of the most appealing aspects of this painting.

BTW, I did not include any of the curious cows in this painting. That's not to say I didn't want to...

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mooney Rd. Bridge



Here is another painting, 14 x 18, oil, that started out as a plein air piece and was completed in the studio.

I was originally going to paint this bridge as seen from up on the road. But after exploring a bit, I found this vantage point down along the creek. I thought it offered more interest, particularly with the tree silhouetted in front of the partially obscured street light. The reflections in the creek contributed another element of interest and served to direct the eye into the painting.

I arrived early while there was still plenty of light. I had to analyze the relative positions of the primary light source, the street light, and objects in the landscape and make my best guess as to how it would look once it was dark. As it turned out, my guesswork paid off. Setting up early enabled me to start in on the drawing and have more familiarity with the subject before darkness set in. (By the way, once it was dark, I used a lamp to illuminate my palette and canvas panel.)

One of the first things you learn when you are painting landscapes at night is in most instances, you have to render the dark values much lighter. That was the case with this scene. I had originally made the darks way too dark, and even though it was truer to the real life scene, it just wasn't interesting. So, back in the studio, I adjusted the values upward a good bit, but left the darkest darks as they were. It is still a "low key" value overall.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Los Poblanos Moon

Los Poblanos Moon, 9 x 12 oil,  is one of 16 paintings I will have on display for a solo exhibition titled Twilight Skies: Sunsets & Nocturnes June 9 - 30 at Purple Sage Gallery in Old Town Albuquerque. Reception is 5 - 8 p.m. June 9, 2018.

This painting started out as a plein air piece and was later finished in the studio. It was my first attempt at painting on location at night using a new lamp attachment for my easel. Painting at night is different than daytime plein air painting. The environment seems quieter, but that might be a result of the fact that most everything is dark and there is a greater reliance on senses other than the visual. Different critters come out at night I noticed. A spider "parachuted" in from somewhere to establish a presence on my pochade box. I will post some other nocturnes with additional observations about night time painting in future posts. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nocturne oil painting class

Spaces are still available for my nocturne oil painting class at New Mexico Art League. Register at http://www.newmexicoartleague.org.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Warm Air, Cool Rain — SOLD


This 12" x 10" oil is the third of three paintings of mine that is in the 2017 ArtsThrive exhibition at Albuquerque Museum. The exhibition is up through Dec. 3.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Late Morning Thunderstorm


"Late Morning Thunderstorm", oil, 9" x 14" is one of three paintings of mine showing at the Albuquerque Museum's annual ArtsThrive exhibition, which shows through Dec. 3.

Sunset Rain — SOLD


"Sunset Rain" oil, 10" x 16" recently sold during the 2017 ArtsThrive exhibition gala at the Albuquerque Museum.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Distant Rumble — SOLD


This painting is one I did some time ago, but I'm not sure if I ever posted it. The view is of a portion of the Sandia mountain range in Albuquerque during the latter part of the day. It is amazing what a little dramatic light and shadow can do for a subject.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Drifting Cumulus


Cumulus clouds were plentiful on a summer day near Abiquiu, New Mexico, the subject of this 11" x 14" oil.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Green Door — SOLD


The Green Door, 9" x 12", was one of six plein air oil paintings done during the Placitas Garden Tour in May, just north of Albuquerque. The owner of the garden purchased the painting during the exhibition at the Placitas Community Library.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Along the Apache Trail


The Apache Trail east of Phoenix is a scenic stretch of mostly dirt road that winds through rugged desert topography connecting Apache Junction with Roosevelt Lake. Abundant wildflower blooms make springtime a particularly enjoyable time to make this drive. This 11" x 14" oil is available for purchase at the Big Horn Gallery in Tubac, Arizona. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sonoran Morning


The subject for this oil painting, 14" x 18", is the Sonoran desert in the rugged region of the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. The painting is available at Big Horn Gallery in Tubac, Arizona.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Near Sycamore Canyon


This 12" x 16" oil painting is of an area just off AZ State HWY 87 between Mesa and Payson, Arizona. This is a favorite drive through the varied terrain of the Sonoran Desert. The play of light and shadow on the eroded hillside is what caught my interest. There are a number of paintable subjects in this immediate area, including the tree-lined Sycamore Creek. The painting is available through Big Horn Gallery in Tubac, Arizona.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wild Flower Garden


This oil painting, 30" x 30", will be exhibited in the Biologique show January 17 - February 25 at New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque, New Mexico.