April 29, 2014

A Couple in Love Looking at the Sunset - Oil Painting

9x12" Oil on board

The sunsets at the beach are the best ones, and while I was in Florida last year I enjoyed every single one of them. One evening I took a photo of this sunset, and there was a couple just at the right spot, admiring it too.
I tried to imagine their story, and I decided that they were a newly wed couple, deeply in love, full of romantic thoughts; their eyes, blinded by love, could see hearts everywhere. :)

April 22, 2014

A Plein Air Painting in Crazy Wind - Whoosh!

"Pickerington Ponds"
8"x10", Oil on panel

Oh my, what an experience for a rookie plein air painter like me!  I went painting at a local park. The wind was blowing like crazy, and the gusts made holding a steady brush so difficult, not to mention the flying easels, brushes, and panel! lol

But I made it, I finished my painting even in the adverse conditions.
I have to admit that I refined it in the studio afterwards, mainly because it flew on the grass face down when I was packing up to leave.  Wet paint and grass make an interesting texture, but in some areas I had to remove the debris and fix the damage.
Overall it was a lot of fun!  And refreshing. I truly enjoyed being out, with the sun shining. I so needed that, after a winter way too long and too cold that kept me indoors.

So this is officially my first painting in the wind, and I like it. :)  The grass was not green yet, even if it was mid April, it could very well be an autumn scene. Maybe I should go back in a month or so and see how the colors have changed.

April 14, 2014

Sunset Oil Painting - Looking Forward to Tomorrow

"Looking Forward to Tomorrow"
22"x28", Oil on stretched Canvas

In Italy we have a proverb that says "Rosso di sera, bel tempo si spera", which means when the sky gets red in the evening, you can hope on good wheather.
That's why I called this painting "Looking Forward to Tomorrow", because of that saying.
But I also see this painting as an emblem of positive thinking: it's about being hopeful and believing on what tomorrow can and will bring.
When we focus on the positive, good things will come.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. 

When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”


April 9, 2014

Painting Clouds Used to Be a Big Challenge for Me

"Clouds on Blue"
8"x10, Oil on board
How do you paint clouds?
Until last fall I found them very challenging and intimidating to paint.
Then I jumped right in, during a painting workshop, I asked the teacher - Kim Casebeer, a very talented plein air painter - to help me paint clouds, she gave me one of the million photos she took of Kansas skies and lands and advised me to start from that.
I started, I made mistakes, I corrected them, and I only asked her for advice a few times, but knowing I had her available if I got stuck made me braver, and I broke the ice with painting clouds.

Yes, I had painted clouds before, but with effort and doubtful results.
Look at me now: skyscapes are my favorite subject!
Between sunsets, sunrises, and cloudy skied, that's most of what I have painted lately.
This is my reference photo that I took at the
soccer stadium while waiting for the game to start.

I understood a few simple rules when painting clouds:

1. You've got to keep in mind where the sunlight is coming from. Clouds are thick, they have volume, so the sunlight creates areas that are extremely bright and others that are quite dark, even in white clouds.

2. Clouds are full of subtle color changes. What may seem like a gray cloud at first has actually blues, greens, purples, and pinks in it.

3.The best way to know how clouds look is to watch them live, right in the sky, and observe their coloration and how they change continuously.Then it's easier to paint from a photo because you know your subject.

4, It's ok to be a little creative with colors. In this painting I added pink in the cloud even if I did not see much pink in the photo, but its darker value helps defining the volume of the clouds.

Am I good at painting clouds?  I would not say that I am good at it, but I am surely learning, and what is most important I am not scared of painting clouds anymore. It's still a challenge, but a fun one!

Thanks for stopping by!