Archive for June, 2009

June 29, Miami-Whitewater Forest

June 30, 2009

Today I went back to the scene of the first painting in this series, to document seasonal changes.  As you might expect, the difference between February and June is green, lots of green.  

Painting at Miami-Whitewater Forest's west entrance on a very green June day.

Painting at Miami-Whitewater Forest's west entrance on a very green June day.

I didn’t set up in exactly the same spot. I stepped back a little, so the scene is viewed from slightly more afar. This wasn’t exactly on purpose. I actually made a copy of the February painting to take with me, but left it sitting on the counter at home by mistake.  So the composition you see in this recent painting is my best memory of the February composition.

 

 

The weather was near perfect, and only about 20 degrees warmer than it was on an unusually warm February 9th. Both days were clear and very sunny, although today I tried to hide from the sun, rather than seek it as I did in February.  Since I was set up on the side of the road, I could actually sit on my tailgate in the shade of the hatch while I worked. 

 

West Entrance, Miami-Whitewater Forest, June  9 x 12 acrylic on panel

"West Entrance, Miami-Whitewater Forest, June" 9 x 12 acrylic on panel

West Entrance, Miami-Whitewater Forest, February 9 x 12, acrylic on panel.

"West Entrance, Miami-Whitewater Forest, February" 9 x 12, acrylic on panel.

June 20, Shawnee Lookout

June 22, 2009

I felt the need for broad vistas, so I headed to Shawnee Lookout by the river to the west of Cincinnati. I drove the park road to its conclusion at the lookout trailhead, packed up and hiked in. With my easel and pack it was about a 20 minute walk to the overlook. It was a nice view, although I was a little disappointed at the amount of human construction in the view. I guess I wasn’t surprised, given the location. Being an artist with a bonafide artistic license, I was able to edit out the offending constructions in the view. Out went the power plant, the I-275 bridge, the railroad bridge, the powerlines, etc. This is much better than Photoshop!
As I painted, I was paying attention to the atmospheric perspective, but it changed radically as I worked. When I first arrived, the air was very clear and I could see the most distant hills distinctly. By the time I packed up, it was very hazy, and the most distant hills were starting to fade out. As the haze increased, the colors changed considerably. This is something that always challenges the plein air painter. Light and shadows are always in motion, and as the light changes, so does the color. 

Painting at the Shawnee Lookout overlook

Painting at the Shawnee Lookout overlook

 

"Shawnee Lookout, Edited"  11 x 14, Acrylic on panel

"Shawnee Lookout, Edited" 11 x 14, Acrylic on panel

June 15, Glenwood Gardens

June 16, 2009

 

Just off the Garden Loop trail, looking south

Just off the Garden Loop trail, looking south

The sky looked pretty threatening, so I decided to go somewhere relatively close to paint today. 

 

I walked out the Garden Loop trail a little ways, finding an interesting battered old Sycamore tree standing inside the loop. I set up my easel at the edge of the mown grass, hoping that was enough to keep me out of the serious chiggers. The light was bright overcast, so there were no dramatic shadows to play with. Once again, I used atmospheric perspective to break up the composition. The distant trees had a slightly bluish cast to them, which I exaggerated slightly.

I was tempted to paint in a faint set of tire tracks still visible from a passing mower or service vehicle. I might do it yet, as it would give the scene a nice sense of linear perspective. 

While I worked, Purple Martins swooped around me, catching insects over the field of grass. 

 

"Inside the Garden Loop" 11" x 14" acrylic on panel

"Inside the Garden Loop" 11" x 14" acrylic on panel

June 12, Sharon Woods

June 13, 2009

The weather hasn’t changed a lot, it just stopped raining.  Even though it was cloudy, Sharon Lake was lovely in its stillness. I hiked down below the Lakeside Lodge, and set up on a small dock looking southeast across the lake. The water was still, the air calm, and the birds noisy and active. The rattles of Kingfishers echoed across the lake, and a few times, a pair involved in a chase passed close by.  After I was set up and painting for awhile, a Great Blue Heron took off just 20 yards from me. It had been so still that I just hadn’t noticed him.  Mallards paddled back and forth across the lake.

On a misty, gloomy day like this I enjoy painting the moody colors of greens and blues. The mist provides an atmospheric perspective with both color temperature and value.  

Painting at Sharon Lake on a cloudy day.

Painting at Sharon Lake on a cloudy day.

"Sharon Lake Mallard"  14"x 11", acrylic on panel

"Sharon Lake Mallard" 14"x 11", acrylic on panel

May 31st, Miami-Whitewater Forest

June 11, 2009

It never fails to amaze me how time fills up in the spring. This is the time of year when I would most like to have nothing else to do but watch flowers bloom. Instead, there are all sorts of family rituals to attend, house maintenance and garden chores to attend to, and etc.  Weather is another great excuse for not painting more. We’ve had a lot of it.

A front passed by and I had a beautiful day on Sunday to head out to find a scene to paint. I ended up in Miami-Whitewater Forest… deep in the forest, to be exact. I was drawn in by the shady green leafiness, the sounds of Pileated Woodpeckers, and the promise of solitude. I found a fantastic old grape vine and set up the easel. While I worked, the Pileated Woodpeckers drummed (startling, like a machine gun) and made their calls.  They always make me think of some exotic jungle bird. 

The complexity of the forest interior is always a challenge to paint.  The ancient vine gave me an interesting object to concentrate on, while doing enough detail around it to suggest the real complexity of the scene. The leaves of the Pawpaw trees around the vines made an interesting counterpoint to the twisting wood.

 

My easel set up in the forest

My easel set up in the forest

"The Old Vine"  12" x 9"  acrylic on panel

"The Old Vine" 12" x 9" acrylic on panel