October 31, 2017

My Exhibit at Powell Fitness

Thanks a lot to Kim LaRosa for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work at her fitness center.

There was reception/party is on Friday October 20, lots of people came and enjoyed appetizers, live music, open bar, and of course my artwork. :)

That's me at Powell Fitness, right before the reception started.
Robie with Kim LaRosa, owner of Powell Fitness.

Thanks to all that came! I got to meet some amazing people that night. :)

The show includes 25 paintings, in assorted sizes and subjects; it will be on view until end of April, 2018, at Powell Fitness, 3967 Presidential Parkway #A, Powell, Ohio.

October 13, 2017

Over There - Painting Over an Old Unfavorite En Plein Air

In September I committed to painting 30 paintings in 30 days, or at least getting as close as I could to painting every day.
I ended up doing pretty good, considering how busy the month was. You can read the blog post with a photo of the whole "production" here.

A few of the September paintings were done by covering up an old painting that I didn't like.
And... oh boy!!!    I think that triggered the one single most important thing I discover about myself in September: I love starting from a complex ground, that has texture, shapes, and different colors. 
I enjoy the challenge of keeping some of the under-painting showing though in between brush strokes.  It keeps the painting loose and creates interesting visual effects. And it feels finished much sooner, preventing the most popular mistake for all painters: over-painting.

Below you can see how I turned an old plein air landscape into a new one, step-by-step.

Over There - Painting Over an Old Unfavorite En Plein Air

I had a painting of a path I had done at the Wetstone Park, I did not like how I treated the far section of the path, and I kept it in the "can-be-fixed" stack of paintings in my studio for a long time.
After more than a year, I decided that I was not going to work on it, it was time to let go and start fresh.

"Over There"
8"x10" Oil on board
First Step: The drawing of the new composition

The beginning stage, drawing over the old painting.

The first thing I did was turn the old painting sideways into a vertical format, and draw the outline of the new composition. I drew with red and yellow.
Other painters, when they see me painting over an old painting like this, tell me that they would find it very confusing and distracting, especially at the beginning stages, but to me, somehow, it's fun.  : )

The fact that the old painting had a horizontal layout, and the second one was vertical, and that somehow helped keeping things clear in my mind. 

Second Step: Blocking in the colors that make the most impact

Stage two, blocking shapes in.
The drawing let me place the different masses and allowed me to focus on visualizing the big shapes. Then I started blocking in the shapes with paint. 
The first colors I put down were the two that made the most difference: the sky and the path.
I love how the old trees worked out to make the rest feel like it was already painted.

Third Step: Filling in the shapes, adjusting the colors.

Stage three. More paint in the grass and trees. 

Some of the old painting's colors were kind of working for the new one, but they had to be adjusted and unified within the shapes.
I put down horizontal strokes near the path to create the illusion of flat ground, and vertical loose strokes for the tall grasses.

That's me next to my painting. Behind, you can see the view. By this time the shadows had already shifted, but I stuck to the initial shadow plan, that left more of the path in sunlight.

Final Step: Thicker paint.

Final stage
I created some variety in the sky and fixed how the trees and the grasses looked, to adjust them to what I was seeing. I like to apply thicker paint towards the end, often with a palette knife. 

The horizontal texture from the old tree trunks was creating a disturbing texture in the sky, which kind of forced me to go down particularly thick with the sky paint, and I like the palette knife application of the sky color.

As the time passed, the shadows moved quite a bit, and the lovely glow on the tall tree and the path faded away. Instead of trying to "chase the light" adjusting my painting to the changes in the environment, I stuck to my initial plan, and tried to make some of the branches and the path glow, the way that struck me at the beginning.

 ___  _  ___

"Reflect upon your present blessings
- of which every man has many - 
not on your past misfortunes,
of which all men have some."
~ Charles Dickens

October 5, 2017

Thanks to Powell Fitness for Featuring my Works

Blessings come in many ways, and sometimes they take the form of a phone call offering an exhibit opportunity.

I almost passed on this one, because the phone call came in the spring, at a time when I had way too much on my plate already, but luckily for me they persisted and emailed over the summer, and that time I said YES! : )

The Powell Fitness owner, Kim La Rosa is an energetic, fun, and inspiring person, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have my art in her center for six months!

She's celebrating the 12 year anniversary on October 20, I'm hanging that week and I'll get to be part of the celebration, how cool is that?

Amazing things have been happening to me.
I have to admit, I have days when I wonder do I even deserve all this goodness? But hey, it would not be fair to complain right? So here I am, embracing all the opportunities I can manage, and enjoying every bit of it.

The reception/party is on Friday October 20, 2017, 6:30-9 pm, with appetizers, live music, and open bar. At Powell Fitness, 3967 Presidential Parkway #A, Powell, Ohio.

I'm going to have several of my paintings on view, including small ones, big ones, and some of my newest work.

Thanks for reading. Have a blessed day, one with golden opportunities knocking at your door.  : )

October 1, 2017

My September Painting Challenge, How Did I Do?

So, in September I pledged to paint as much as I could, 30 paintings in 30 days, to be precise.
How did I do? Was I able to reach the goal?

I don't know about you, but for me September seems to be one of the busiest months of the year, every year. I love embracing a painting challenge like the 30 in 30 because it gives me the incentive to try extra hard to paint as often as I can, on a month in which I would probably put painting on the back burner, otherwise.

As expected, some days I did not get to paint, and other days I did not focus on the challenge, but worked on my hand-painted greeting cards, or I on bigger-ongoing paintings.
However, on other days I was able to paint several little studies, then of course there have been the good days, when I actually started and finished a single painting.

Long story short, below is a photo of the September production (minus some greeting cards and a couple of big painting there have been work in progress for a while).

Not too shabby after all!

Daily oil paintings and studies for the moth of September 2017 by Robie Benve

A few need some final touches, but I am pretty happy with what I got. :D

I took a short video of this display and I will post it on my facebook page.

Thanks for reading and for the moral support! And a big thank yous go to my painting teachers and mentors, especially Joe Lombardo and Sean Wang, that always encourage me to paint as much as I can and provide insightful critiques.

September 28, 2017

Today's Plein Air Painting Adventure, Step-by-Step

Today I went out to paint with a group lead by the talented artist Joe Lombardo and we painted at the Whetstone Metro Park, in Columbus, OH. Sadly, today was the last outing of this session, but the good thing is that we managed to squeeze in a one-hour demo by Joe, a critique session with pot-lock, and a little less than a couple of hours of individual painting. Yay us!

I had brought with me several panels with old paintings that plan to paint over, and I picked a small 5"x7" panel as the paint-over candidate of the day.

Starting from a previously painted panel that I don't like, frees me in several ways. 

First of all I have no fear of ruining it, it can't get much worse than something I don't like, right? So I paint with less fear, and it helps me keeping the strokes fresh and loose.

One other advantage is that the canvas is already covered in paint, and I can use the specks of the old painting showing through in between strokes, and make them work for the new one.

Furthermore, the old painting has some kind of texture already created, often non-related or even contrasting with the new scene. I scratch the excess texture with the blade of a palette knife, but a lot of it stays. I actually like how that underlying texture creates some kind of visual tention and interest.

Soooo, today I got my old painting out, and I started painting over, every once in a while I remembered to take photos at different stages of the process, as you can see below.
It even fell on the ground face down and got covered in grime and dead leaves, but it did not bother me.... :)

Here is me with the final painting.

Me with my plein air painting at the end of the session, when I went back to my home studio.
I did a few re-touches after this.

This is the old painting that I covered up. I had done it in my backyard two or three years back, and it just did not have good value structure or composition.

So I drew the new composition with thin paint.

Drawing of new composition on top of old painting.

Than I started painting the new scene. (below)

Perhaps I should mention that I was using a very limited palette, made of red, phtalo blue, lemon yellow, and white. Very challenging because so limited, but the colors are so powerful that you can mix pretty much anything you need, as long as you apply control. Especially phtalo blue can take over the painting, it's so strong.

Starting applying the paint... This is when it fell down.

The new scene was coming together nicely, and I like it much better than the old one, I call that a success!

A few more trokes and details.

At the end this is what I ended up. Not too bad for being a daily painting done outdoors, with shadows moving, colors shifting, bugs, and even the fall face down. lol Can you see the particles of dirt still on the lower and upper right side?

Final painting,
still untitles.
Oil on board

And that's my painting adventure for the day!

I sure enjoyed it, and learned a lot from it, plus I ended up with a keeper.
Good day!

Thanks for reading!

: )

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September 9, 2017

See You Later - Oil Painting of Barred Owl at Inniswood Gardens

"See You Later"
Oil on Canvas

Inniswood Gardens is a wonderful Park in Westerville, Ohio. I love to go there and walk around, on my own, with friends, and also with my kids.
The park has several different areas, with specific habitats, and environments, and nice areas for kids to play, including a great tree house.
Anyway, this painting features the boardwalk in the wooded area, and a barred owl, a bird that can actually be seen in the park.

On a personal level, I am very attached to the park because they gave me the opportunity to have my solo show in the Innis house last fall.
I had several of my landscapes in the show, and the reception was well attended, thanks to the terrific support from the staff and the patrons.

Can't wait for the fall colors to be back, that's my favorite season in any park!

"See You Soon" will be in the show "Reflexion from the WAAL", the fall show for Worthington Area Art League Members.

An artists’ reception will be held on September 17 from 2:00-4:00pm, at the Mill Run Church. 
The public is invited to visit with the artists, enjoy light refreshments, and view over 100 pieces of artwork by members of the Worthington Area Art League. Ribbons will be awarded at 3:00pm. 

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June 13, 2017

Schiller Park Bridge - En Plein Air Painting

"Schiller Park Bridge"
Oil on board

Plein air painting is all about immersing yourself in the landscape during the painting process, and fully enjoying the experience .

After many spring outings with awful weather, this day was really beautiful. Sunny and breezy. I finally truly enjoyed every second of it.

Sometimes I add a few final touches to the plain air paintings in the studio, after I get home. That's because:
1. Two hours are usually not enough (at least for me) to complete a painting and also add final details.
2. Back in my studio I can look at the painting with fresh eyes, and notice right away some things or changes that are needed.

But this time I did not touch it any more. This is true 100% done on location, with no come-backs.
Some areas are a little unresolved, but I like that.

In my learning curve of painting skills and techniques, I am at the point where I try to stop while I am ahead. Too often I end up over-working a painting, So I try to stop sooner, leaving more details out, and some areas showing the under-painting. It's fun.

I also love using limited color palette. This one is a tetrad palette, using colors of four hues only - One of my favorite ways to pick colors, looking at the color wheel, the tetradic scheme.

Thanks to my plain air teacher Joe Lombardo for sharing all his amazing knowledge and pushing me to embrace painting challenges. :)

May 19, 2017

Triad at Three Creeks Metro Park - Plein Air Painting

"Triad at Three Creeks Metro Park"
Oil on masonite panel

On Thursday we had another thunder-stormy and very wet day on our Plein Air outing. (At this point we look at each other and laugh "It must be Thursday!" lol) 
The challenge of the day was to create a painting with a specific color scheme, and here is my painting using of a triadic color scheme: red orange, blue-violet, and yellow-green. Great exercise! Thanks Joe Lombardo for the inspiration! 

To lift our spirits up, we were joined by a lively and excited group of graduates that were celebrating their academic successes under the same shelter that was keeping us dry. 

The sun came out, and I made it out of there before a football hit my easel, and without getting soaked by water weapons.
Another success story! wewwww!

May 9, 2017

Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow - Oil Painting of Italian Coast

"Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow"
24"x30" Oil on canvas

Ah, this place!
Every time we go to Pompei I ask to take a walk here, on the promenade of Castellammare di Stabia. The views are always amazing, especially when the sun is setting.

The place is full of life, history, nature, and the beach. The food and the ice cream are to-die-for.

This is where my husband grew up (lucky him), a lot of his friends and family still live there.
His high school was a few blocks from this view.

I love walking there.
I love when his yesterday meets our tomorrow.

May 5, 2017

Painting Outside Is Always a Challenge, but So Much Fun! - Yield to Pedestrian, Oil Painting

"Yield to Pedestrian"
Oil on Panel, 12"x16", framed

Every week I go on a plein air outing with a group led by the talented Joe Lombardo. Last weeek we did a few 10-minute studies of different views of the same park, then it started pouring and we had to flee.

The 10-minute studies were fun and non-committal, I just had to get the main ideas down, no need to make a finished painting. And they were small. Easy peasy.

This week, the task was to make a big painting en plein air, and finish it. What???
The weather was crappy again, and I really dislike painting rainy landscapes.
I was really intimidated, so I picked a board that was big, but not huge. A 12"x16" would do. Much bigger than the usual 6"x6" I get out on rainy days. : )

But I was determined to do it. I had a strategy. :)
I talked to my self in the car, on the way there. I told myself:
I am fearless.
I am talented.
I am courageous.
I am creative.
I fear nothing.

Yes, you got it, my new motto shall be: "Fake it until you make it".  lol
But hey, it worked.

I threw all fears to the side, and tackled the board as if it was the easiest thing on earth.
The painting came out pretty good, I think, and most importantly, I had lots of fun figuring out how to render the various elements.

This is me painting under the shelter, out of the rain.

Maybe I should also mention that, just to make it a little more challenging, I worked from a tetrad limited palette*, making only four family colors available. To mix certain colors I had to get really creative, like for the bright orange of the cones, impossible to mix from my tetrad, but I got as close as I could to the bright effect.

When I got there Julianne took this photo of me and my umbrella:

"Maybe if I keep smiling the rain will go away"

* A tetrad limited palette is when you use two couples of complementary colors from the color wheel. If you connect them with imaginary lines on the wheel, they form a square or a rectangle.
I used: blue violet, yellow orange, red violet, and yellow green.

Here is an example of tetrad color scheme that I did for one of my articles on hubpages.