I’ve been working out this idea for a while and finally got the under painting pretty close. Then it started peeling off between the gesso and primer. I had to just take the whole thing off.

Peeling off between gesso and primer!

Redid the whole thing in about 2-3 days. Now to let it dry and start the next layers.

The redo of the underpaint

 

Karen, at Gard Vintners called me up the other day and said I could set up anytime. We hadn’t talked for 6 months at least and had never set a date for a show at their nice wine and music place in Ellensburg. I had two days to pull it together and hang a show of about 25 pieces. Looking through my older work, some enamel paintings and oil pastel drawings from the 1980s seemed to fit with some of the newer acrylics. They all had to be taken apart, cleaned up and reassembled. The glass and surfaces were really dirty, but with some cleaning the colors popped and I could see what I was going after almost 40 years ago. There is a continuity to these two eras, something that ties my work together that is only knowable after this many years.

Preparing for show

 

“Chelsea” 16 x 20 oil on panel 2019

I’ve been working on fine tuning my technique for figures and portraits. In this painting of my friend Chelsea, I used something similar to the Venetian Technique with a complete tonal underpainting in an earth red. In this case Terre Rosa and Venetian Red but with no white,

just the white ground showing through the scumbled drawing. In this way I had the time to really work on the drawing  without the complexity of the color. After that was completed and dry I could work over it keeping the shirt a looser more painterly style with solid strokes of opaque paint while tightening up on the face. This technique seems to suit my temperament right now, it can be as tight or loose as I want to go while getting the placement and tonal structure correct first to create the illusion that I’m after.

This spring has been a color feast for the eyes. The early sun hits the top edges of the Manastash Ridge and glows with pinks and purples, defining the rolling shapes of the hills. I’ve been making my morning coffee and doing a few watercolors looking out our kitchen window. Now the snow is gone and the glowing emerald is just beginning to cover the hills.

Manastash Ridge – watercolor 9″ x 11″

After sitting with this painting for a couple of weeks and getting some respected outside opinions, I’ve sanded out this guy on the left. I just couldn’t get the shadows right. Luckily, Neal, was over at Tito’s and I got some shots of him with better lighting. I did a tonal sketch at full size and here I’m whiting out the lights to lay a bed for the new painting.

Reworking- white out the lights

I’ve been at Mille and Bill’s amazing land on Maui for the last two weeks, painting everyday. The plants have such different colors than our eastern Washington plants. Here I’m trying to get the subtle pastels on the tops of these leaves. Watercolor is so fleeting and dynamic, such a challenge of spontaneity. 30 sketches … some aren’t too bad. 

I’m at Mille and Bill Kohls on Maui. Yesterday we went to the March for Our Lives march and concert at the Maui Arts Center. A heart felt local event, amazing young speakers with clarity and vision. They really are getting their skills as public speakers down. The Kohl’s have welcomed me and let me use the double decker bus to stay and paint in. This is a painting in progress of Lulu and Penny, Bill and Mille’s daughter and granddaughter. Picture of Sam painting a portrait of Lulu and Penny on Maui

Picture of painting the hills outside the shop
Painting the hills outside the shop 3-2018

I’m trying to get the winter color of our hills today. The gentle clouds drifted over the lip of the ridge and then vanished. Such fine gradations of muted grays. There are a couple of geese that come to our pond every spring, we want to think it’s the same pair. They flew in, honking to announce their arrival, landing together in the water. I’ve been thinking of some kind of bird flying by in this painting, but it can’t turn into a cliche. These Canadian Honkers might be the ticket.

As the surface dries the particles of ink disperse, flow and deposit.

The website is coming together, but I’m having a little difficulty keeping track of all the pieces. It’s a balance of the diligent work of the technical and the looseness of the artistic. While this painting energy is here I’ll try to ride the wave and keep it going, doing a new painting just about everyday. The technique is settling in, it’s an event, a few key strokes that evolve into the image. They must stay a mystery, with a certain level of control and craft to get them to work along with a big dose of uncertainty and randomness.