31 October 2012

Landscape Painting is Hard

Seems like I only paint figures and faces, but I love a good landscape painting or drawing.  While my current focus is portrait and figure, I plan someday to include landscapes in my repertoire.  Here are some pieces I tried recently for fun.  These gave me profound respect for artists who can do a nice pen-and-ink or a good landscape.  I painted them from photo reference collected on road trips in Zion National Park in Utah and the Eastern Sierras of California.  I know I can't expect much without lots of time in the field...painting from life.  I'm looking to try plein air in the coming year.

Ancient Bristlecone, 10x7", pen and ink wash on paper


I love looking at well-done pen-and-ink drawings with masterful washes.  There are so many talented inkers out there.  Just google "sketcher blogs".  Urban Sketchers is a good site to follow, many contributors.  An individual artist I especially like is Erik Tiemens of Virtual Gouache Land.  I see his work and I want to pick up a pen and start inking.

The subject here is a bristlecone pine, which lives in a forest somewhere around 10,000 ft up in the White Mountains of eastern California.  There's a tree in this forest which is almost 5000 years old, the oldest known living individual organism on the planet.  They call that tree "Methuselah" and keep its location secret to protect it.  I like that.

Zion Hoodoo, 16x20", oil on linen
My second piece is an attempt at a landscape painting.  I like the notan here.  I think the big pieces fit together well.  I know it needs something, but just don't have the experience to finish it.  I will probably go back to this painting and finish it once I have more experience with the genre.

The subject is a large pile of weathered rocks in Zion National Park...so-called hoodoos.  This formation was about 30 feet tall. 

It's easy to loose the trail out in the desert.  Thoughtful hikers set up mini-hoodoos, usually 12-20" high, to mark the way.  These mini-hoodoos can stand for decades before falling over.  It's comforting, when you hike out in the middle of nowhere, to come across a trailside hoodoo.  Confirmation...you're on the right path.  Thank you, hoodoo builder.


8 comments:

  1. My son used to live in Bishop CA...such an incredible landscape. We fell in love with it. Your pieces are absolutely beautiful. I would not have thought your hand at it was an inexperienced one.

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    1. Lisa, Thanks for your kind words on my efforts. You must know the Eastern Sierras pretty well. We just came back from a fall foliage trip a few weeks ago. What can I say...incredible, awe-inspiring, transcendent. Words fail. One of the most beautiful areas in the western US, in my opinion. Best regards.

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  2. Oh that is amazing! I wish I'd been on those road trips with you, the farthest I've been west is Dallas, TX. Do some more ;-)

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    1. Hey, Tina. Always love to hear from you. I saw the portrait on your site this morning...you must have sensed I was lurking :o) Loved it. I found it very evocative, like all your work. If you ever come out west and need a good nature fix, it's hard to beat Zion or the Eastern Sierras. Take care. C

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  3. I love the tree drawing! wow! That's a portrait. You are a portrait artist and you've conveyed the unique personality of that tree better than any landscape artist could do!

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    1. Katherine, Thank you so much...high praise. You are very perceptive. I have a major thing for trees. I'm drawn to them. Devoted tree-hugger :o) But you are right...of course it's a portrait, whether it's a person or a tree or a building or ? Thanks for your thought, well-said.

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  4. Nice landscapes! Love the drama in the Zion piece.

    Erik Tiemens and I are putting on a two-person show at Holton Studios in Emeryville in December. I know you're SoCal, but if by chance you find yourself up in the Bay Area during that time, you can check out his landscapes in person~ They are pretty amazing.

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    1. Terry, Thanks for the heads-up on your upcoming show...that sounds like it would be worth the trip north. Would love to see some of your pieces in person, too. That's an impressive group of artists at Holton Studios. Thanks for your visit and comments.

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