Clyde Aspevig is one of my favorite landscape painters. His work is an amazing combination of color, texture and shapes. This weekend I went to see an exhibition of his work at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. The power and beauty of the work far exceeded my expectations. I thought I would share a few of the images from the show and my thoughts on his work.
Walking into the gallery, I was immediately struck with the strength of the compositions. Every piece, whether an intimate scene or a large panorama, was engaging from across the room. They looked majestic but intimate; spontaneous but filled with detail.
As I approached the paintings I stopped at about 6 feet to I notice the changing colors. They were much more complicated, brighter more interesting than from far away. Colors emerged from neutral rocks; snow banks were not white after all, but lavender, pink and blue.
Walking in for a closer look, I was surprised by the bold brush strokes which where almost abstract in their application. The paint was irregular, very thick in some areas with texture and interest, while smooth in others. Each painting had three distinct impressions depending on where I was standing. I had to go back and study each one again and again to fully appreciate the skill with which each one was executed.
Detail of Snow
I had loved Aspevig's work from images I had seen in books. But I realize after seeing the show, a mere reproduction, no matter how wonderful, could never convey the many dimensions each one possessed in person. The real paintings are spectacular. I am truly inspired by what I saw.Comment on or Share this Article →
Looking across the pond, the morning sun made the gable of the building glow. The reflections of the autumn colors in the still water caught my imagination. This would be serious fun.
Combining both the shapes of the actual trees with their reflection, I applied the varied colors of the vegetation. The sky and water were crucial to understanding the values, so I applied those quickly with a palette knife.
I was just starting to work the details when a woman came over. She told me she was also an artist who lives nearby and visits the Arboretum frequently. We talked about how special this spot was and she was very complimentary about my painting. This morning she called and bought Reflections in a Pond. I am always thrilled when one of my paintings is acquired by someone with a personal connection to the scene. Thank you for purchasing my painting.
The Los Angeles Art Show takes place every January in downtown Los Angeles at the Convention Center. Galleries, artists and dealers come together to show their art which is all for sale. Here are a few highlights from the show which took place this weekend.
Besides the historic paintings there are also contemporary galleries at the show. I am always impressed with the work by the artists at Arcadia Gallery. They include Jeremy Lipking, Malcolm Liepke, Robert Liberace and Brad Kunkle to name a few. These artists are contemporary representational artists who, if you are not familiar with, deserve a closer look.
Figure Paintings by Robert Liberace
The Ocean from a California HighwayComment on or Share this Article →
It is always a treat to paint with the California Art Club group. Great artists, good locations and always fun conversations. My good friend Marian Fortunati and I, Sharon Weaver, headed past Malibu Creek State Park to meet the other artists at Tapia State Park.
The view of the craggy mountains as you walk down the path is spectacular and it is difficult to imagine the scale until you see the figure of Marian as she scouts for a painting spot further along. The heavy branches of the giant oak tree kiss the ground, creating a cave of leaves. It would be a welcome retreat in the summer heat but this January day the sun was mild.
I started the under-painting with the colors complement; red under green. The first sketch can look pretty strange but the red helps to balance the predominantly green landscape. The yellow/green field in the foreground has lavender as the undercoat. It is easy to achieve a wide variety of olive hues for the oak tree by mixing Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Orange in varied amounts.
Not bad for a mornings work. I enjoyed talking with George Malone, Lynn Gertenbach and all the other artists who participated in the monthly paint out. I hope to see you all again next month.
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I love living in Southern California and this week is a perfect example of why. The warm sun has been shining all week and the days are clear. All the lakes, streams and ponds are filled with rainwater from the recent rains.
When the Thursday plein air group met at this small lake at the Peck Road Water Conservation Park in Arcadia it was a treat. I was able to paint the reflections of the mountains and fall colors in the water. Autumn comes late to LA so even in January there are still golden leaves on many of the trees. The birds were in abundance on the lake, enjoying the day as 30 or more artists painted at the water's edge.
If you are an artist, I recommend joining a group that paints outside. The experience is invaluable. I am always amazed at the wonderful paintings, the warm friendship and enthusiasm of the group. I learn every week and look forward to exploring new places to paint.
Maybe you have seen the Southern California red tagged houses and the mud slides on the news. Our earth isn't too stable here, so with all the rain sometimes it just slides away. Hill residents look down on us lowly valley dwellers but we are the lucky ones since we only have to worry about floods and earthquakes.
I painted this a few months ago in Valencia of the Santa Clara River basin for a show the California Art Club is having at Marston's Restaurant. It is the first time I have actually seen water in the river. Haven't yet heard what paintings, if any, will be in the show but I am sure it will be announced any month now.
I had a wonderful surprise as I was painting. A large coyote came out of the brush for a drink in the stream. I didn't notice him at first and by the time I got my camera he was gone.Comment on or Share this Article →
With so many days of rain and the Holidays, I have had a lot of excuses not to go out plein air painting but as I was doing my end of year inventory, I found this painting which I thought would be appropriate to post since I am in a moody phase.
I painted Malibu Lagoon during a paint out with a local club, the San Fernando Valley Art Club. It was the first time I have visited this coastal park and I was impressed with all the birds in the area. It is a lovely setting with wooden walkways, bridges, islands, views to the ocean and coastal inlets.
On this day the fog was thick and got thicker as the morning turned to afternoon. The soft diffused light and misty trees in the distance were a study in subtle colors. The fog never cleared so the trees winked in and out, never forming distinct shapes. Painting reflections in water is one of my favorite subjects and the lagoon's reeds were the only hard edges. With all the rain we have had here in Southern California, the streams will be running so I am hoping to paint more water this week.
Who would have guessed the outcome of Saturdays football games? The Vegas pay offs must have been huge as the Seattle Seahawks defeated last years Superbowl champs, the New Orleans Saints and the NY Jets triumphed over the Indianapolis Colts. Both winning teams included the USC, University of Southern California, factor with one former coach, Pete Carroll and one alumni quarterback, Mark Sanchez, on the winning teams.
Seattle's first year coach Pete Carroll, the former USC coach, somehow convinced the Seahawks that they are winners. Here is a team who entered the playoffs with the worst record ever, 7-9, but despite being down 10 points early in the game fought back to win. This surprising outcome included one of the most amazing runs ever when Marshawn Lynch broke 6 tackles, nearly fell over twice and stiff armed another Saint to stumble 67 yards into the end-zone for a touchdown.
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But the NY Jets were not to be out-done as they took on the Colts in the next wildcard playoff game. The Colts were dominant in the first half but Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, formerly of USC, started connecting in the second half. This game wasn't decided till the last minutes as Payton Manning marched the Colts down the field to take the lead with a field-goal. Mark Sanchez return the favor with under a minute on the clock. Manning's expression on the sideline said it all as the Jets come from behind victory stunned the Colt's. It was a WOW moment.
Don't you love it when the underdog wins? Congratulations to both teams for their spectacular victories.
In my last post I talked about my process for choosing a plein air painting for an enlarged studio work. Above is the 30x24 painting inspired by the smaller study, 'Rest Stop.' The pier and boats at Balboa Island were emerging from the morning haze as I painted the plein air study. I wanted to capture that same hazy mood in the larger work.
With any conversion, there are changes that are needed when making a larger work. In the original painting the building is mostly brown, but in the photo it is actually white. When I tried browns in the large painting, the dullness of the image was distracting and uninteresting. I wanted to keep the building neutral but more lively.
I remembered an artist who uses greens when painting white horses. I thought I could try a similar color adaptation. Using green, blue, and pink, I experimented with color for the shadows on the white building with an interesting result. From far away the building reads neutral but on closer inspection it is filled with color. As the building developed so did the rest of the painting. The overall colors are cooler and better reflect the morning light.
I also changed a few of the proportions in the larger painting. The building is not so square but instead lower and longer. I clarified the details of the stairs leading to the pier and added the lettering on the banner. Every painting has challenges and rewards. I had a great time painting Hangin' at the Mini Mart. It stretched my use of color, opened up a whole new area of subtle tones and clarified the importance of mood. I'm lovin' it. I hope you do to.
I like to use a successful plein air painting as a sketch for a larger piece. I thought "Rest Stop" would be a good candidate. The 8x10 painting, done at Balboa Island, was painted on a hazy day with subtle colors. I was thrilled with the mood so it seemed a logical choice to convert to a larger studio painting.
Before committing to a larger painting, I first evaluate the plein air study to determine if it is a good candidate. Here are a few things I look for:
1) A strong composition is essential in all works but smaller works are a little more forgiving. For a large piece the composition must be great. I study the composition for any problems.
2) I want to have a scene that will support the details needed for a larger painting. I need a photo taken on the same day which I can also use as a reference.
3) Does the plein air study capture the "feel" of place at that unique time. This is an intangible element that is difficult to define but obvious when present.
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A sketch of the scene is always helpful. A black and white rendering often will show a flaw which a study with color is hiding. I also like to map out the armature (see right sketch), or backbone of the painting. This shows the basic structure of the painting which in this case is a Z shape. Once I have thought these items through, I start the larger painting. Even with all this planning, inevitably, there will be things that don't work. It is amazing how different problems come up when you see the same scene a couple of feet bigger than the original. Proportions, color changes, and adding more details all need adjustments and demand further attention. I'll include the studio painting of 'Rest Stop' in my next blog post.