View Full Version : Alaska...Southeast Highway...WIP

09-07-2006, 07:00 PM
Well...I have a 36"x 32" canvas sittin' round and I can't hardly allow my memories of my recent time spent in Alaska go by without taking advantage of them...

So...I have surrounded myself with my plein airs, near 14 of them...to reference color...seining boats...and I don't really know where this is going except for a gut feeling. I have also a photo reference to set up some ideas and elements..but this will be driven by memory and color references/reminders from the plein airs I did out there.

Here are my references on my classroom blackboard...

I placed a big piece of plexiglas across my front architect's drafting table to mix paint on...and have decided I would make up a pile of bluish-violet for my dominant color and attempt a split-complementary driven palette. To excite and cause color vibration I have opted to first lay down a turps underpainting of red-orangish and yellow-orange to cause complementary contrast building the bluish-violet...neutrals and so forth over the top.

here was my undertone palette...

and my underpainting in about 20 minutes completed and ready to begin-


Now I mix up my pile of bluish-violet, put out my yellow and my reddish-orange...plus white, and will mix all colors and neutrals from these...

I begin with a flat and paint vertical marks as pertains to values going back, and try to distribute a bit to develop a feel for the whole-


here you see more jumpin' around-


and a couple closeups to show the simplicity of the stated brushmarks-



and where it stands after the first session...about an hour and fifteen into this so far...


We'll see where this one goes I guess... :)

09-07-2006, 08:04 PM
Appreciate so much the step-by-step. Looking forward to see where this goes.

09-07-2006, 08:35 PM
Well...my wife's scoring volleyball, so...it didn't take long. Decided to do what I could during the JV game, will go in now and watch the varsity girls play.

Here's where its at now...


here is a closeup-


and quickly suggested some of the boat and bit of water-

09-08-2006, 08:30 PM
2nd day of working on it, though only about an hour...first, I'll share my brush holder. I'm kind of known for finding off the wall places to stick my brushes. Outdoors it might be a snow bank, cracks between planks of a wooden bridge, really anywhere. This one is more practically...on my desk, I simply set them inside my paper towel as they get paint filled-


Here is my setup...which is basically a large art or architect's table at the front of my classroom. You can see a Johnny Depp wall mural that greets students coming into my room. Nearly all space on the walls in my room are painted with various subjects....


I use a phonebook for wiping brushes on and paint knifes, tear one sheet off at a time to use the next. Very practical...


Here is a way I wind up my session of painting....you see in the first shot the paint spent area of the plexiglass palette, and the next image where I scrape it all off to one side which makes a mud or useful neutral. Instead of throwing that paint out, I'll use it for mixing neutrals and such the next paint session...


Now...here is the image as it sits today, more work in the water, the boat and mountains. I always jump around so such will always be the case, preferring to work in a way that brings a finishing to a work at the same time, as a whole....not as separate parts-


closeup of one area of mountain work done today-


closeup of boat and wake...


09-08-2006, 09:03 PM
I just happened to see and perhaps thought noteworthy, that though much of this canvas is now filled in and what appears well underway...that the original red-orange undertone yet has some presence in offering an overall warm glow and excitement...creating some luminosity of light as well. Pleased with that...

09-09-2006, 04:09 PM
here's where its at today...my wife calling me, much too nice outdoors to stay indoors anylonger, so cleaning up and we'll go enjoy some early fall waterfalls in nearby county parks...

closeup of the boat as it stands now...


and the painting as it now stands...
the darks are reading a bit darker here (typically of what camera's tend to do) in the background distant shores. Having trouble tweaking the darks of the boat to look as is without it affecting the shoreline...(using photoshop). So trust me....the darks of the boat are a bit darker.

I was pleased with the dabs of paint suggesting the boat lights on...trying to suggest more rather than paint lots of detail. Oh to only paint as free yet nail it as Gruppe did!!!


will turn focus more to water now...and then perhaps done...total time so far about 4 hours...

still find myself pleased too, that this was all done with three piles of paint plus white.

A bluish-violet, yellow...and reddish-orange...


Bill Foehringer
09-12-2006, 09:02 AM
An impressive display of the painting process Larry, well done. It will be quite some time before I attempt a sail like that. What I like about it is that you basically did it as a plein air. Simple palette, basic subject, great execution in a limited time. I know what you mean about doing a studio piece as soon after the experience as possible. Our minds, at least mine anyway, only retain so much and then begin to 'overwrite' the old data with newer short-term memories. This is why sketching or doing plein air work can be so useful in the studio. The plein air work pushes the experience deeper into our minds and it lasts longer with more detail. Plus the feeling of a subject also fades. What is felt in real life is so powerful on location that it is very hard to reproduce 6 months or even two months later. BillF

09-15-2006, 07:41 AM
Excellent learning thread that shows the process.

Larry, please tell us more about the piles of gray. Do you try to create a "warm" and a "cool" grey?

09-15-2006, 09:54 AM
Bill..absolutely!!! My confidence right now in doing works of Alaska was the 20 plein air works painted while there. They truly are snapshots in the sense of capturing a location/memory, but more accurate in portraying what my eyes witnessed. I now rely upon them, and don't believe it would be in my interests to sell them. Too valuable to me...

Primary was my original strategy of a split-complementary color scheme palette...bluish-violet...then yellow and orange...(though I wanted that orange to be redder...).

Sticking to this limited three color palette plus white to then mix all colors, a natural harmony results. Scraping all the paint up at the end produces a gray mud or neutral...and I didn't need so much to concern myself too much with the neutral being cool or warm, as the mud always more or less ended leaning to a slight warm. When I used the mud...it was like a starter, such as sourdough bread...mixing my fresh mixed up palette into it. So a remnant of the prior day's painting into the new. Somewhat like pigment soup...

My attention then went to focus on nailing the values well...

I wanted an overall warmth that suggested the typical gray day...but broken by light clearing thru clouds and hitting the distant mountains.


09-18-2006, 07:14 AM
Thanks for the insight, Larry!

09-18-2006, 07:17 AM

shahid hussain
09-25-2006, 09:39 AM
thanks alot for taking your viewer to a same pleasure in which you have gone through.

09-25-2006, 10:00 AM
thanks much Shahid...greatly appreciated!!! :)