Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ouachita Riffle, Saline County

Ouachita Riffle
9X12, Oil on Panel
Over a year ago I went over to the Ouachita National Forest to do some plein air painting and picture taking for Saline County.  The trip netted me this one of the North Fork of the Saline River as a studio piece from photo.  Earlier on in th day, I found a little stream on a road north of Lake Winona, parked and walked into the woods to see what I could find.  Lo and behold, there was this rock structure that is so indicitive of the Ouachitas that I had to set up and paint it.  I had just recently bought some tubes of gouache that I wanted to try en plein air so I broke those out first and had a disaster on my hands.  So I canned that and got out the oils and started in again.  I was really excited about the start of the start of the painting.  I opted for a more standard and quicker oil sketch with block in.  But at some point I got disenchanted with it.  The day was a touch overcast and cold and I was having a lot of trouble hitting the values right so I pulled up stakes and took off.  This thing sat under the table in the my studio for months and then I drug it out and fixed it up.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

20 Favorite Paintings

Last night was a meeting of the Arkansas League of Artists.  One of the highlights of these meetings is the demo and talk by a local artist of note.  Last night's demonstrating artist was Emily Wood.  I have been a fan of her work for a while now.  She paints loosely and on wood panels, both of which are common traits between us!  She paints pretty much only figuratives these days.  I love her approach to using the natural wood grain and selective opacity/transparency for focal point emphasis.  This seems to be very similar in nature to my current exploration of thick/thin dynamics.  I encourage you to visit her site, she does really cool work!

But more to the point of this post, she said something that struck me as interesting and I think I'm going to try to it as an exercise.  She said that when she started her MA work, an instructor had the class select 20 favorite pieces and write exactly what they liked about them.  It was an exercise to help define your personal tastes as guidance for what you want out of your own work as well as developing critical analysis skills in looking at art.  Now, I think we all pretty much do this in some form or fashion and I know I have been for a long time.  But the formalization of a process is sometimes key in gaining the most out of it.  So look for this to get started in the coming days.  I already know a few paintings which will be on the list.  If I had no idea what to put, then I would be worried, I should know by know what I like!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Two Rivers Twilight, Pulaski County

Two Rivers Twilight
12X16, Oil on Panel

Two Rivers Bridge crosses the Little Maumelle River where it runs into the Arkansas River.  The piece of land on the right of this scene is a large peninsula with a natural area park on it called Two Rivers Park.  There are extensive walking and biking trails in the park which are connected to a larger trail system known as the River Trail via this bridge.  About a mile downstream (to the east) is another pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas River called the Big Dam Bridge.  When it was built it was the longest pedestrian bridge in the world.  This awesome system of bridges and trails is wonderful amenity for the city of Little Rock and the whole state really.  This area serves as the focal point of a movement towards a healthier, more physically active city and on any given day you can find thousands of people using this trail system.  I myself am there regularly, pedaling down the River Trail or across the Two Rivers Bridge, weaving around the many walkers through Two Rivers Park to hit the roads on the other side, heading out to climb some hills around Pinnacle Mountain.  The state of Arkansas is a healthier and better place for this trail system!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Maumee Sycamore, Searcy County

Maumee Sycamore
11X14, Oil on Panel

This was from a photo taken during a camping trip last summer.  I embarked on this one with the thought that is was an incredibly difficult subject and it was going to wind up an utter disaster.

Maumee is on the Buffalo National River and is essentially a very large bend.  The camping area here is small and there aren't many good spots with shade.  Lots of great painting scenes here though and I think I hope to get back up there pretty soon.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Painting Arkansas Solo Show

I have a solo show opening next week at Cantrell Gallery.  The reception is Friday, June 28th from 6-8pm.  The show runs until August 17th.  If you are in the area, please come by and see it!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Old Main, Summer, Washington County

Old Main, Summer
14X18, Oil on Panel
Every Arkansan should know this building.  Even if you didn't go to school here or prefer to cheer for that other school over in the Delta you should still know where this is.  For non-Arkansans, this is Old Main.  It is the cornerstone building of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  The building has two towers but this painting only depicts the south tower.  There is a legend that says that the architect who designed the building was a Confederate sympathizer and designed the south tower to be taller than the north tower.  However, during construction, the contractor, who was said to be a Northerner, noticed the difference and flipped the plans thus making the north tower the taller one.  There is no proof of the veracity of this story so we will never know but it is a fact that the north tower is slighly taller and has a convex shape while the south tower is concave.  The building was completed in 1875 and was at the time the largest building in the state.

This painting will be featured in a solo show I have coming up at the Cantrell Gallery.