Friday, February 17, 2012

Highway 23


The light changes quickly when painting outdoors. That's pretty obvious, right? It is easy to predict this change when painting a building that aligns with north - south directions. The light hits the East side of the building until 11:00 AM or so. Then there is a transition between 11:00-1:00 PM. This is when I like to take a break from painting for the day. The light then hits the West side of the building. Of course the South facing walls are being lit up for most of the day.

This barn didn't align with those directions. Many buildings do not. The light was the best on this barn for about 45 minutes each morning that I worked on it. Because the barn is weathered, it quickly turned from direct light to grazing light to long shadows from the irregular barn boards, and finally to complete shade. This isn't neccesarily harder to paint, it just has to be planned for. I guess it's these sorts of things that i like the best about painting. There are as many different ways to solve the puzzle as there are painters.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Workshop in Lima Ohio

Reedsburg Farmers Co-op 16x24"

Teaching is a big part of painting for me. I enjoy working with others, I get just as much out of it as the students do. This week, we had the first session of a six week drawing class that I'm offering through continuing education at the University of Wisconsin. There are 16 students enrolled, and it is the largest class that I've led. There were a couple of "repeat offenders" in the class, but mostly new faces.

I'm starting to plan my summer, which is going to be busy, and am excited to announce a 2 day, landscape painting from life, workshop in Lima Ohio. With my painting workshops, I try to assign a couple of exercises up front to put the students in a position to have an experience with value and composition. This works nicely to move the group towards the goal of making striking, organized, and colorful paintings. As a part of my lesson plan, I prepare and hand out worksheets with key concepts of the lessons. I know that most artists are visual learners, but it's always good to teach in a few different ways. I do a lot of demonstrating during these workshops, and I explain what I'm doing as I do it. After the workshops each day, it's nice to grab a bite to eat and talk about what we did and why we did it.
I can't wait for Lima!

For more information, or to register, please contact:
Ruth Ann Sturgill
Studio of Fine Arts

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blue lit Gold


I like the idea that paintings are right outside of my front door.
I try to remind myself of this daily.
This cuts down on driving time and allows more time behind the palette.
When I do not remind myself of this, bad things happen.
I end up driving around, aimlessly, down some country road looking for something that's not there. I end up painting a landscape that is just a band of land, bluffs or trees and sky.

Some great abstract compositions are in my backyard, down the street or a few blocks away. It might be that I grew up skateboarding around these places, and I'm familiar with them. They feel good to paint.
I've painted this big blue warehouse, in front of the co-op several times. During the last hour of light, it catches a great, golden, quality of light that I don't need to drive any further for.

I was out on this piece for a few days, under similar lighting conditions. Being an alla prima man at heart, I painted this version one day when haze blocked the sun. It snowed the next day and put me out of business.