Monday, March 29, 2010

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Finished

Here is the finished Immaculate Heart of Mary oil on linen. I wanted to show how it looks now with the process completed. Most of the final stages require cleaning up the massed in color. It is just a matter of refining the light and shadow relationships. I like to say they're like the Hatfields and McCoys because they do not like each other. Well, actually they are very independent families that need to be painted separately. I mix the light colors in one area of my palette and the shadows in another. However there can be some "bounce back" from light areas into the shadows. See where the chimney shadow is on the warm yellow house? The snow on the roof to the right becomes slightly lighter and warmer on that side–even though it is still in shade. Things like this are so beautifully interesting to me. It is something I have observed for years as an outdoor painter. Photos don't always give such subtle information.

I also fixed the perspective of some of the buildings. It is tricky because of the "worm's eye view." To help create this illusion I put the painting up really high on my easel. That way I have to look up and reach up to paint. Sometimes I have to trick my brain to get at the truth.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paint and Pixels Exhibition

My identical twin brother Don and I just opened an exhibition at The University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. We are both alumni of the IUP art department. The show features his graphic design and my paintings. Above is shown my wall mural of 80 panel paintings titled, Homage to Indiana County, Pennsylvania. I spent the last 11 months working on this project. The IUP museum is in the process of acquiring it for their permanent collection which will be displayed in the Preforming Arts Center. An 80-page book of the paintings is available at The exhibition will be on display until May 1st.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Immaculate Heart of Mary, oil on linen, 47 x 70

First image above: This is the completed first pass of the foreground. You can see it was pretty much painted in with full color. Notice the sky was left unpainted because I wanted it to relate to the ground masses.

Second image above: This is shown with an apple to see the scale. Here I finished the sky and found more detail in the light and shadow families. I find it easier to keep the sky clean by painting it last. This way I can use the sky color to paint right up to the edges of the already massed in areas. That allows for edge treatment while the sky is still wet–notice where the trees meet the sky. They are being washed out by the strong light and the trees are taking on more sky as they recede into the distance. That is why some sky color is mixed into them. It weds them with the same "DNA" as the sky. This creates the illusion of atmospheric perspective.

It is not yet finished. I'll probably look at it for a week or so, then decide if some areas could be tweaked. But I must admit I'm really pleased with it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Immaculate Heart of Mary, oil on panel, 9" x 12"

Edward Hopper was once quoted as saying, "If I could say it with words there would be no reason to paint it." Well, that's true, but it is still nice to share the process and what inspires us as artists. Here is the latest effort on my easel and why...

Sometimes I just have to see something from a certain place at exactly the right time to know it is worthy of a large painting. The idea of doing a large painting of Immaculate Heart of Mary church on nearby Polish Hill has been in gestation for several years. A few weeks ago I saw the church from the strip district at about 5:30 pm on my way to downtown. The warm, sweet light bathed the entire winter scene. The planes that faced the light created angles that point upward towards the domes and heaven above. (Hey, it is a spiritual painting :) The church towers over the neighboring houses in a really dramatic way–especially from the strip. I could see it as a completed painting in my mind's eye. First, I took a picture. Then I returned the next day to the exact location, again at the same time of day, and did the small oil study, 9" x 12" above. The source photo, which can be seen taped to the canvas, was used to make the grid. This is where it is now, a 47" x 70 ", oil on linen, somewhat blocked in with oil washes. I'm just trying to get the light and shadow shapes placed correctly.
I'll post again when more progress is made.

Here is the wikipedia link to the church: