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Archives for August, 2007

Choosing your view (or Naming Your Poison)

I’m just back from a pleine aire, oil painting workshop and it seems that my topic — to paint in the middle in the muddle or to recollect in tranquility — has arisen again on A&P. Hi Sunil…..

Obviously I’m fascinated with the immediate ambiance as much as I am with the final product. The milieu from which I just returned, however, had its problems. The big one was the lack of focus within the landscapes we were asked to paint. So the topic of the day is — how do you find your viewpoints and hold them? more… »

Thoughts on painting from photographs

Karl recently mentioned here that he prefers (and revels) painting in the context of his reaction to his surroundings. He averred to say that a photo of the landscape would not do justice because 

“Photographs record what a place looked like at a particular moment. They don’t record what it felt like to be there” 

My personal experience is a little different. more… »

In Progress (guest post by Tree)


I’ve been working on a series of photographs of the homes in my neighborhood. This project started after about three years of walks with my dog at different times of the day and encompasses a whole gamut of thoughts and feelings that I’ve had towards my home.

The more I saw the same things every day, the more meaning all of it took on for me until I had to get my camera and take photos. I suppose there’s a lot I could write about but I want to focus on two ideas regarding this project:

more… »

New project

Now for something completely different from my usual inanimate landscapes. Probably almost every photographer in Montana has done horses at some point. They were actually a major subject of my first photos when I started up with digital photography, and starred in my first self-assigned project (not on the web site; I guess it’s still in progress). But they were eventually neglected as I mostly pursued my long-term interest in landscape and abstraction. Then I saw some postcards of the Horse Nudes portfolio of Kathe Lesage and realized what I’d been missing. Last weekend I had a chance to do something about it.

more… »

Why paint outside instead of from a photo?

A photograph offers so many (and so obvious) advantages as a source for painting as to raise the question: why would any responsible person even consider painting a landscape outdoors?

I’ve been thinking about this while painting outside lately. I think the answer comes down to this: I need to ask, what is it that I am painting when I paint a landscape?

Is it the landscape?

Or is it my being there, my reaction to the landscape? more… »


The dunes have a fall towards the Great Lake that is difficult to capture in its full steepness.

Below a raven and crashing wave:


more… »

Color and oil paints – I

Color is a difficult thing to get your arms around. In fact I think one could spend a whole lifetime trying to understand this facet of art and become proficient in only a miniscule percentage of the approximately three million degrees of color difference that the untrained human visual cortex could distinguish easily. On the canvas, getting the right overall value of a particular hue such that the harmony of the whole remains preserved is rendered even more difficult given the reality that most oil paint companies make a maximum of about 60 unique hues of differing chromaticity. As I trudge through the long stairwell leading to my color nirvana, I have realized that there are two ways of approaching and understanding it. The approach is a bit dichotomous, but it seems to serve me well. more… »