Thursday, June 28, 2012

Zorn Palette Exercise

I am teaching a head painting class this summer and after about of week of monochrome exercises, we moved on to limited palette. I decided to introduce the students to the possibilities of color that Anders Zorn's limited palette.

 I have always been impressed with the color range Zorn was able to achieve with just two colors, Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Red, plus black and white. There is some discussion as to what were the exact colors on the palette (Vermillion or Cadmium Red for example) as well as if additional colors were used, but for the purpose of this exercise, I used just those four.

I mixed up a number of hues for the benefit of the class before we got started in order to demonstrate what is possible. Above is a Richard Schmid style grid palette that shows the range of color you can get with these four colors including a surprising greenish gray arrived at by mixing the yellow ochre and black.

I gave it a shot in class, never having used it before and enjoyed the process. Between helping the dozen or so students, I managed a little more than an hour on this one. I think I will push the clarity of color a little more in upcoming classes, but I really liked the subtle shades of green and violet that I got in the shadows.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rabbit Brush - Sold

I recently got a check for a small painting of a piece of sage brush that I did on location  in Bishop, California.The expanse of open space in this area of California was a challenge and delight to paint. I immediately liked this when I painted it and felt it was quite successful. It then hung in my house for several months and continued to grow on me. It has always been a bit melancholy for me to sell a piece of original art. For years I have accustomed myself to licensing out the rights of my illustration work to my clients and then having the paintings returned to me after their use. I am at a bit of a crossroads now in this regard. Most of my current illustration work is digital so there isn't even a physical artifact to hold in my hands and my focus has also expanded to gallery work where the whole objective is to sell the original art.

Wow, what a contrast! I am slowly coming to grips with letting my paintings go. I have shifted my attitude in order to be excited that I get to share my work with others. The emphasis is now on the creation process instead of the end result. In the sharing and not the keeping. Besides, I have WAY too many old paintings stacked up in my studio and its time to let them go.

See my latest offerings at Williams Fine Art

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Painting Moraine Lake- Banff

Last week we got back from a fantastic trip to Canada which included a couple of days in Banff, Alberta. One day a minor miracle occurred in which I convinced all three of my kids to draw along with me at Moraine Lake, the often overlooked little brother of Lake Louise.

It must have been the cool but pleasant weather or possibly the stunning scenery which persuaded them, but they never once asked if I was finished yet. I brought enough sketching and painting supplies for all of them to choose something, and that possibly helped make the outing enjoyable as well.

I just got to soak it in and paint for an hour or so, which was great. It didn't hurt that when the boys finished (or got bored), that there was an incredibly turquoise glacier fed lake to skip rocks on.

The ice was still coming off the lake and plenty of snow still clung to the peaks which made the view even more stunning. I broke in my brand new Moleskine watercolor sketchbook using pencil and my portable Cotman watercolor set.

I also broke out a couple or Niji water brushes for the first time and I have to say I was impressed with their functional practicality. My youngest son even requested one for his birthday. Overall a great time at one of the most beautiful places I have seen. I can't wait to make a bigger painting of this view.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vote For Life Needs Art

I want to thank all the readers and followers of this blog. Your support the past two years has truly inspired and motivated me to keep Life Needs Art vibrant, current and informative. The blog has been nominated for a Fascination Award as the best art instruction blog of 2012.

accelerated degrees

I need your vote now to give me a chance to bring home the prize. Voting begins today and continues through June 25. Click on the badge above to go to the Fascination Awards site, log into your Google+ account, scroll down to comments on the Art Teacher blog section and +1 my blog Or click here to go directly to the voting. Thanks for all your votes!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Maynard Dixon's Footsteps - Part 2

Last week I showed my photo of the fields of Toquerville, UT compared to a painting done by Maryard Dixon in 1933. After I realized that we had stopped at the same vista, I started wondering if there were other spots we had seen or painted on our trip that had also been painted by Dixon.

Subsequently, my friend Dave Meikle who went on the trip with me sent me the above painting. It is exactly the same vista that we chose for our first painting of the trip, but in the afternoon and without all the Dixon drama.

I hesitate to even show the painting I did it since I think it is pretty much a dismal failure as it is. I do think I can use it as an under painting and pull it out of the weeds, but it was pretty disappointing way to start the trip. The pieces did get better after that first one, so all was not lost.

Every time you pick up a brush outdoors, you want to do a good picture since it is always a one shot deal to paint plein air. The truth is that it doesn't always work out. Once I learned that, it was a lot easier to swallow a  "bonk" like this one. Looking at Dixon's interpretation, I am humbled, but determined to make the next one better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Painting The Virgin River - Zion - Part 2

Boulders on the Virgin - Zion, 8" x 10" Oil; by Greg Newbold
 Here is my second attempt at the Virgin River painted during the early afternoon at Zion National Park. It was interesting that this subject didn't seem to suffer from the dramatic shadow shifts that some of the other Zion vistas exhibited.

I think I was more successful at capturing a range of value and color than the first painting I posted last time. I like the arrangement of shapes and the contrasts of the rushing water in this one and for the most part it works. I think this subject will make a nice larger painting and I'm looking forward to taking it on again sometime.

The view was stunning- what a pleasure to paint in this spot, despite the heat of the day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Painting the Virgin River - Zion - Part 1

 On the second day of my recent painting trip to Zion National Park, we decided to take on the challenge of painting moving water.
Perched on a rock right at the water's edge

I had never attempted painting a river en plein air, so I was excited to take on the challenge.

early stage- blocking in
 I liked trying to capture the contrasting colors  and values of the rocks above and beneath the water.

Virgin River Ripple- 8" x 8" oil on panel, Greg Newbold
My first attempt shown here was fairly successful but I felt that I could have pushed the warm/cool contrasts in the water and introduced a few more cool greens. That said, I enjoyed the process and like the abstract shapes that the rocks make.

Friday, June 8, 2012

In Maynard Dixon's Footsteps

Fields of Toquerville- Maynard Dixon, 16 x 20; oil- 1933
I traveled to Zion National Park to paint last month with fellow Artists David Meikle  and Ron Spears. Along the way we tried to find some of the vistas that Maynard Dixon painted including this place just a few miles outside of Zion in Toquerville, Utah. Below is my photo of the same place.

Funny how very little the view has changed since Dixon painted it in 1933. We even arrived at this place at roughly the same time of day based on shadows. Dixon probably painted his version maybe around 9:00-10:00 am. I am looking forward to painting my own version sometime in the future.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Painting in Zion - Part 2

We painted this vista in the mid afternoon of the first day of our painting trip to Zion National Park. After a dismal failure in my first attempt of the day (which I'll show sometime next week) I was looking forward to redeeming myself.

We took the shuttle bus up the canyon to a spot where you could see several famous formations including Angel's Landing, The Organ and The Great White Throne. I found a spot looking toward the back side of Angel's Landing where some Cottonwood trees were catching some great back lighting against the dark face of the rock. I ended up with some contrast and saturation issues that I will need to resolve, but I think that the structure and drama of the piece is working nicely.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Uncle Sam Van Winkle - Finished

Uncle Sam Van Winkle by Greg Newbold- digital

Just delivered this piece to Liberty Magazine. This was a fun job to work on with art director and designer extraordinaire Bryan Gray. He relayed the concept to me and then pretty much let me do my thing. I think this arrangement always results in better work. Hopefully I'll get a chance to work with him again.

See rough sketches here
See the finished sketch here

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Butte With Bales

Butte With Bales- 10" x 16" oil on panel by Greg Newbold
Just finished this painting of a nice Southern Utah butte with a field of hay below it. I am constantly amazed at both the formations of the landscape here in Utah as well as the tenacity of the people that live and work on this arid land.

Here's how it looks in its nice 22k antique gold frame.
This piece will be going to my gallery Williams Fine Art on Monday morning. Hopefully it will find a nice home.