Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Plein Air Painting !!!

Firstly, belated Happy New year to all my readers.  I know we are already into March but in my defense, this is my first post for the year.
The location.
The weather in Oregon is gradually starting to look better with some sunny days in the forecast.  It tends to be cloudy in the northwest, so sunshine is always a treasure.  Well, today was one such day, bright and sunny and I decided to sneak out & paint.  It was so liberating to breathe some fresh air while painting. 
There is this beautiful barn about 30 min from home that I have been meaning to paint for a while.  Today I finally painted it.  

Here are a few snapshots I took along the way as my painting progressed. It took me about 2 hours from start to finish.

Just getting started with the sketch. 11x14 oil on canvas

Initial block-in, 11x14 oil on canvas

Almost done...11x14 oil on canvas

Done !!  The final Painting.  11x14 oil on canvas

Monday, October 27, 2014

Working from Studies - Making of "The Overlook"

I have somehow gathered the courage to sit in front of my computer and write a new blog post.  It's been so long that it feels like my first post ever.  Anyway, jokes apart..I wanted to talk a bit about my painting process.  Here is a painting that I had been contemplating for months, but somehow never brought it to my canvas.  I painted the scene several times in my head, but there was always something missing.
Ref photo 1
Ref photo 1

Last week I just couldn't resist my itch to paint this scene that had completely taken over my mind and decided to come up with a composition.

Step 1.
After spending a few hours...I came up with a sketch that inspired me to go ahead and paint it.   Yes !!  It all starts with a sketch or rather many sketches.  Sketching is a very important stage in the painting process for me, It helps me to plan ahead of time.  That way I do not waste my time figuring out elements of my composition while I'm painting.

Step 2.
As you can see the 2 reference photos are very different.  I liked the mountain in the 1st, the lighting in 2nd, the trees from 1st., the overall composition from 2nd....and the list goes on. Now since I was referring to 2 different photographs, it was imperative for me to come up with a small study to understand how my lighting would work.  So I made a small 6x8 to better understand my composition and light.
A 6x8 study 

Step 3.
At this point I was only referring to my study. I retained the overall feel of my study in the larger piece with a few changes like, cooling my the shadows a little more.  I cannot express how much the study helped me.  It was a little time consuming and I was tempted several times to indulge into going bigger without gathering enough study/reference material.
Lesson learned....Slowing down in the initial stages, saves critical time later.  
So this turns out to be the most exciting stage after having done all the homework on the composition. Paint...Paint...Paint.... till you get it right !.. :)

Here are a few pictures I took along the way...  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you had a good read.  We can keep in touch over Facebook & Twitter


"The Overlook" 16x20 oil on canvas

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mundane Beauty !

"Harvest Moon" 22x28 oil on canvas
As a painter I'm constantly looking for compositions to paint.  I always have my sketch book on me so that I can quickly put down my thoughts before they sweep by.  It's not always feasible to visit scenic areas to get reference materials for my paintings and so I'm always on the look out even if I'm just driving to a grocery store.   I have in the past made paintings from a parking lot of Fred-Meyer.  Of course the painting looks nowhere close to a parking lot...but that's from where the idea came.
Construction Site
There is a construction site close to my house.  It's always cluttered with huge bobcat tractors and several other huge equipment.  Not a place that one would call "beautiful". However, a few weeks ago I happened to walk past that area closer to sunset.  And this time the area transcended into a scenic location for me.  The entire area was drenched in the orange glow of the setting sun. The same old trees looked dramatic in the yellow-orange light and it felt like a new place to be in.  It looked like never before.  I spent a few minutes there just trying to absorb the colors and the landscape, something I would never do at a construction site.  The place was still messy with all the construction work but this time I was able to see beyond the clutter. And right there I had my composition !! I knew right then, that I was going to paint this. It's just amazing how light can change the look of a scene so drastically and make mundane things look so spectacular !!

The next morning I began working on this painting.  I introduced the moon to the right to add a little more visual interest to the scene.  And here you have it!

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you had a good read.  We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter... Google+  and.. Pintrest 

Happy Painting! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stepping Aside

Sometimes it so happens that I just don't get the color right in the very first attempt.  And I realize this only as the painting starts to take shape.  Once I start a painting I usually try to paint as quickly as I can so that I don't loose the spontaneity.  I don't put the painting away or start working on a new piece unless I'm done with my current painting.  It helps me to stay connected with the piece until it's done and signed.   I like to think about the scene all the time, try to visit the place in my head and just relive the moment as I paint.  But sometimes; no matter what I do, how thoughtfully I establish the values, the painting just doesn't work for me.  And I do not sign off a painting until I'm very well convinced about it and feel like I've done justice to the subject.  So what do you do when a painting fails ??? Well, I wont lie, I get very frustrated when I'm not able to nail a subject.  Mainly because most of the times, the subject is so compelling that its just too hard to stop thinking about it.  It will keep lingering in my head all the time.  Its like a bug that to just needs to be fixed.  Since nothing good can come out of frustration,  I step aside from the painting for some time.  It's just a way for me to buy some thinking time.  These paintings sit in my closet until I get back to them.
First attempt 18x24
"Road Trip" turns out to be one such painting that sat in my closet for almost 2 months.  I connected with this scene because of the bumpy turning road, the electricity poles (something I was painting for the first time) and the shape of the tree.  So there was more than a thing that kept me glued to it.  The first attempt was on an 18x24 panel, not a square composition.  The second time, I tried changing the composition to a square and guess what, it worked !!

Finishing this painting was such a relief.  Although it took 2 whole months of thinking time, it seemed worth the wait once the painting was done.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you had a good read.  We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter... Google+  and.. Pintrest 

Happy Painting!
What do you do when a painting fails?  Do you have a method to cope?  Share your experiences in the comments below.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wandering in the Meadows--A successful attempt.

A couple weeks ago we planned a trip to the west coast of OR to see Roosevelt Elks.  It was truly blissful to watch them roam around freely. We got a pretty decent view of the elks. The purpose of this trip was to get more reference photographs, more inspiration and of course to see the majestic Elks up-close.  I plan to return to this location more often, next time I shall carry my easel for sure.
In my earlier post I mentioned how I was so desperate to introduce wildlife in my paintings.  Well, after several creative disasters I think I nailed one painting finally.  I can't tell you how satisfied i feel to have got this painting right.  This was a major creative block for me.  Every time I had to give up on a deer, I felt very frustrated. This time I attempted a bull elk,  simply because I had a ton of pictures from the recent trip.  I must say painting animals is like portraiture.  Its not just the color & values but also the anatomy of the animal that one has to worry about; and that is was made it tough for me.  Hopefully i'll ease into painting wildlife over time.
This time the process  was a little different from usual.  Generally I start with a basic sketch and then begin my painting. This time, just the sketch was not enough.  I had to practice drawing the elk before I drew/sketched it on my panel.  It took quite some time.  It is such times when I realize how important it is to stay in touch with drawing.  Once I sketched the elk on a paper I transferred it to the panel using a carbon paper. Thereafter the painting continued as usual.  It just felt like it took forever to actually begin the painting.
Transferring to the sketch to my panel

Ready to paint.
Wandering in the Meadows 18x24 oil on panel
Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you had a good read.  We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter... Google+  and.. Pintrest 
Happy Painting!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trying to introduce wildlife!!

Today, after a long time I decided to blog a little bit about my work.  I have been busy in the last few months with painting, having a couple shows and travelling.  I do have a few shows coming up until Feb 2013 so I am loaded with more work... yay!!...
I enjoy the fact of being loaded with more work, the process of preparing for art submissions, shows...It all gets me excited and a bit tensed.  :) .  Well, a tad bit of tension is good I guess...it keeps me on my toes.
I have been referring to the Olympic NP.  photos and almost every other picture has a herd of deer in it.  I saw them up close when we visited the park this summer.  They make the landscape even more picturesque.
I made several attempts to include deer in my landscapes but failed terribly....Everytime, I would sketch it in and then in the end make it disappear from the scene.  Somehow after painting, it would not look realistic enough in my landscape.

Firstly sketching the deer takes a lot of effort form my side.. I would practice sketching it on my sketch book and then try to in-corporate it on my hardwood panel...Its one of those times when you realize how important drawing is!!!  It was almost a wake up alarm!!
After all the effort of sketching and getting the deer anatomy right I would make an attempt to draw it on my canvas..this time with less use of eraser..
Somehow the deer would stay till the very end and would then they have to be cleaned off..I felt miserable every time I had to eliminate the deer from my scene.  I was not able to get the colors right..The furry coat is so difficult to paint..

So, unfortunately the deer never made it to the final painting.  I am hopeful I will find the courage to paint wildlife some day.  Its like I am wildlife challenged !!!...I know its a learning process and Ill get there some day.  Need to practice more drawing!!  Here's the finished painting.."Hint of Autumn"

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you had a good read.  We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter... Google+  and.. Pintrest 
Happy Painting!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Painting form Photographs

hey folks! I have been away from my blog for quite some time now.  Just couldn't find the time.  August has been a very productive month for me.  I have managed to get 3 paintings done... feels great!

 Way back Home 24x18 oil on panel. (left-photo, right painting)
Way back Home, This was literally my way back home from cannon beach, OR.  And whenever I look at this painting, it does take me to Cannon Beach.  Its such a bliss.  As its very clear, I did make some changes to the composition.  I increased the foreground to add depth to the painting.  Also added more light.  Increased the contrast to make it a sunnier day.  It was in fact a very sunny day (my sketch book notes say that) but I don't have a great camera and neither am I an awesome photographer.  So I majorly rely on my memory & sketch book notes for color.  Often, I edit the color that I see in nature. I was not happy with the greens in the photograph, so I decide to go a little warmer on the greens. I paint what I like to see as opposed to what is there.  Of course, being a "realistic" painter my aim is to keep colors very believable.  That's a part of the challenge.  Also, its very important to step back and let the painting stand all by itself away from the influence of the actual landscape.  Its been a process and I have evolved as an artist over the last 2 yrs.

Here are the other 2 paintings I got done in this month.  
Jewel of Oregon 24x30 oil on panel

Emerald fields 18x24 oil on panel

Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you had a good read.  We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter... Google+  and.. Pintrest 
Enjoy the rest of your summer and Happy Painting!