Composition 2

8 x 10 ins, oil on canvas board

The painting above was developed from the thumbnails on the bottom half of the sketchbook page, 2c. I have the 3-value sketch on the left and then four Notan possibilities to the right. I chose the lower left one from which to paint.

I think that this time I kept to the value pattern more accurately, but I lost it a bit at the left end of the tree line—the values of sky/trees/field become too similar there. I like these colors better than my Composition I painting.

Composition I

8 x 10 ins, oil on canvas panel

Mary Gilkerson was an artist and teacher from South Carolina, whose art and videos I have liked for a while. She painted colorful landscapes using a palette knife. Sadly she passed away in April 2022.

The people in charge of her estate decided to offer her video classes to the public on YouTube at no charge. Thank you!

I have been following her ‘Composition, Color and Light’ course and it has been extremely helpful in learning how to compose a landscape, and in fact a painting of any subject.

She makes the process of developing a Notan (black and white value pattern) from a photograph understandable in a way I’d never seen before:

1. Develop a 3-value study of the scene in question.

2. Make several thumbnail variations pushing the mid-value to either black or white.

3. Choose the one that is most pleasing to you as the value pattern for your painting.

Below is my sketchbook showing this process, and indicating the value pattern I chose. But then I didn’t keep exactly to it, and I used strange colors, so I was not entirely happy with the painting above. I have since practiced quite a bit more and have some better results—in future posts!

Red and White Roses

Red, White and Blue, Oil on canvas panel, 9 x 12 ins

This is the final painting from Kelli Folsom’s Painting Roses Masterclass series. ( I bought this Masterclass as a stand-alone series, but now you have to join her Vital Art Sessions or Art Life School to see it).

It was so much fun to paint. For the background I experimented with ‘12 Shades of Grey’ that I bought from Jerry’s Artarama last year. It was a bit risky, since the tubes do not list their pigments, but I liked the background effects that resulted.

Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses, 11 x 14, Oil

After I enjoyed the lesson by Kelli Folsom so much (Terracotta Pot with Grapes, that I painted with my sister), I bought her Masterclass on painting roses. The first lesson was black and white studies of roses structure and form and the second lesson was on colors for roses.

This painting is from the third lesson. It included instruction on still life set-up, composition and colors. Kelli has such a warm, friendly and encouraging manner that it is a pleasure to listen to her, and her information is always useful. I loved doing this lesson!

Painting With a Sister

Still Life, Oil, 7 x 9 ins

My two sisters came to visit me Nov-Dec 2021, to celebrate my significant birthday on the day after Thanksgiving. We all have art interests and I was very happy to be able to paint with my sister Hilary. We both painted from the same lesson by Colorado artist Kelli Folsom, in the free Intro to Art Life section of her website.

It was so much fun and we were both pleased with our results!

Plein Air in PA III

Oil on canvas panel, 9 x 12 ins

Our third Plein Air class was in the middle of very quiet Amish countryside, near New Wilmington, PA. The three of us stood within in a fairly small area but all chose different views, so came away with three totally different paintings.

I liked these big trees overshadowing the farmhouse buildings, with the big barn a little closer to me. There were numerous Amish buggies coming and going, and horses being used to plow the fields, so almost the only noise was of horses’ hooves. Altogether a very peaceful three hours of painting.

Plein Air in PA II

Oil on canvas board, 9 x 12 ins

For our second 3 hour lesson we went to a rural area and found a pumpkin field. One fascinating aspect of painting outdoors with other people is that we can stand in a small area together and produce totally different paintings!

My choice of view and subject was based on the pumpkins leading up to the white barns, which are silhouetted by the dark trees. I also liked including the distant hills. I had a strong sense of representing the feel of what was in front of me rather than the exact image. To that end I ‘moved’ the pumpkins around quite a bit!

Plein Air in Pennsylvania I

Oil on canvas panel, 9 x 12

A few weeks after arriving in Pennsylvania, I visited the Hoyt Art Center in New Castle, PA and found that they offer 4 classes in Plein Air painting. This seemed like a good opportunity for learning and encouragement, so I signed up!

The teacher, Nancy Hawkins , is a kind and gentle lady, who gave useful instruction and good encouragement. On the first lesson I was the only student! We sat on the back patio of the lovely Hoyt Art building for three hours and painted this view to the south. It was exhilarating!

Master Copy II

Copy of a painting by a Master, oil, 12 x 12 ins

This is another painting completed in a series of lessons with Kari Rajkumar. The original is a self-portrait by John Singleton Copley, a famous and well-established Colonial artist, who moved to London in 1774. I’m afraid I made him look slightly chubbier in the cheeks than he painted himself, but the process was absorbing and instructive.