Saturday, December 15, 2012

North River Sunset By Robert Beaulieu

Years ago, being as all typical folk singers, Jone Mitchell had the usual long rap between songs (Joni, just sing will ya!) Any how, she was talking about musicians against artist. She discussed the musician has the opportunity to perform the same work over and over. Whereas, the Artist, only performs once. "Hey Van Gough, paint me a "Starry Night" again!" (Then again Joni, don't you get sick of singing " the BigYellow Taxi....)

How does this relate, well as artist we do occasionally do the same paintings over (ask Monet).  This past week, I was inquired about purchasing one of my paintings as displayed on my web site.  Unfortunately, it had already been sold.... the client really liked that version (although I had two other North River paintings )   Hey no, problem, I'll just paint it again.

So Viola, another edition of North River Sunset, and believe it or not, it gets better every time..


Monday, December 10, 2012

Robert Beaulieu Plein Aire Painting, Cohasset Commoon

Last time we reviewed a step-by-step, we were in a studio, doing a figure.

A few Weeks back, I created a few new 9 x12 paintings for the South Shore Art Centers small works show. One of them was of the Cohasset Common, on a beautiful crisp fall afternoon. Using my trusty camera phone, I recorded a few stages along the construction of the painting....

Lets begin....

Interesting, but sometimes one of the most time consuming aspects of the painting, is to ensure the correct location. Although, I knew I wanted to do the common, but just where, to have the best composition.  Walking around with my easel and paint kit, i viewed different sites using a viewer.  This can be a rectangle cut out from cardboard (approx. the same shape as your canvas) and "sight" your composition through this "frame"  A number of times, I have set up, even started, and find myself maybe moving a few feet in one direction or another to gain the optimum view!  As you can see in the photo, a number of vehicles blocked our view of the church. Fortunately, they did not obliterate the scene, and could be easily omitted, and still know whats going on with the view.

Anyhow, now that we are comfortable with the site and composition, like the figure study as before. I cover the entire canvas with a light earth tone wash.  A few strokes indicate the composition and major elements within the composition.  I may take my towel, and also wipe out few of the highlights. Basically, I am making a simple monochromatic study.

I next scumble in color to see where the balance of the trees are, the grass and the sky,  This gives me a good relationship of value and color balance.  My tonal balance may be ore in a middle ground. Already, we're starting to establish the feel of the artwork.

Our major players of the composition are now established.  in essence, its now a building program of adding detail upon detail. the trunks and branches of the tree are starting to be assembled.  Note, that a number of the branches are dark while in the shade, and the other are a warmer lighter tone, as the light seeps through the branches.  This really make the tree have some volume and dimension.  In this particular scene, a farmers market was being held, so I started incoporating small bits of color to describe one of the tables in the middle ground. Having a few figures in the scene, is a great way to "Humanize" the scene, as well as establish an excellent size relationship.  I have also established he strong contrast of the stepple against the sky.

Okay, we're continuing the detailing... a couple of little tricks.  Although the windows in the church were 16 over, 16, at the distance we're painting, they really fade out, so , just a dark square was used to show placement of the windows ( a flat tip brush, and a short dab is all it takes.)  Since the church itself was bathed in a very warm late afternoon sunshine, I use a white, with just a touch of yellow within.  notice that I "outline" the windows with a horizontal, and vertical brush stroke.  This cleans u the edges of the dark window, and also kind of establish the casement of the window. I'm also starting to build out the farmers table, by not looking at total detail, but color and value shapes. Trees are taking shape now by establish the dark and light shapes (our first steps with the tree, we scumbled in more of a middle ground)  I call this "pushing and pulling," to establish the dimension and light source falling on the tree.  The foreground grass is really bathed in light, and use strong vertical yellow graeen to make it Pop.

Almost done, I establish cooler shadow patterns on the church and then go back with my strong light and painting the facade of the church. I use a vey slight tonal change in the color, so that it captures the feel of the clapboards.   I use horizontal strokes to paint the facade.. the pattern and stroke of the paint again, enhances the clapboard siding of the structure.   This is where we do our final detailing of the leaves, both on the tree, and the ground as well as the farmers market table and figures.

We are done.  This was all done within a two hour time period.. Sometimes, I do the paintings back  to the studio and nudge/refine the painting.  But, creating an Alla Prima painting right there on location, lends a certain  spontaneity that may be lost in the studio.

This one I was pleased with, and just left it alone.. I hope you can enjoy it as well

Its now hung at the South Shore Art Center's Small work show with a few other small works that I created..

Thank you .... Bob

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Robert Beaulieu, Painting the figure

After many years of painting figure studies at Scott Ketchum's Monday night workshop, this past monday, I took some shots of my work as it was in progress.
I like to share with you my approach to working with the figure.

Photo One.
Photo One. You can see that I did an overall warm wash with oranges, burnt sienna and a little blue.  I usually always start this way, but may actually use olive greens , or even blues and purples, I kind of do this by the skin tone of the model.. very pale, actually greens work well ( then all over tones are kind of pinkish)... a little outline of the general porportions of the model are created, as well as taking a soft paper towel (Bounty only) and wipping out a few highlights.. you can see form taking shape already. The background was also serves a slight lubricant for further application of paint.

Photo two
Photo Two:  The form is now being further defined by scumbling in some of the background tones and adding a few more highlights (as well as a few shadow areas) and tones to the figure. I'm keeping my tones still in the mid range so that I have an option adding lighter highlights, or accent with darker tones, all to eventually create more form.

photo 3
Photo Three: Its really a building project. More tones are added to the figure.  I may now start concentrating on one part of the body (the head). Hands, heads, etc, I ususally try and do during one sitting between breaks, cause no matter what, the model never seems to get into the perfect duplicate postions (especially hands).  But, I still leave myself the option of painting different parts of the figure, to ensure, I am not getting too misbalanced with this particular point. Also, make sure you walk away form the canvas, step back take a look... and no cheating while on break.. you can touch up background, but no touching the (ahem) model.

photo four
Photo four.  We definitely have some form and rhythm going now, and all is starting to take shape. Its now time to add a little more background in to accentuate the model and softly build up the figure..  With the wash applied in the beginning, (using turpenoid) my canvas is still oilly, ( but not goooey) so that tones can be easily applied, spread and molded. You can still see how the initial wash is still an important part of the overall tone.. Its basically the mid tone color range. Literally in some cases my "pinkey" finger becomes a great smoothing tool ( and thats probably why I have paint all over my Mitsutbishi as well.) As you can see I have also taken this one setting of the model to start detailing out the left hand.  Actually the right hand is out of the picture, (she has her arm extended over the couch) but I have indicated putting the hand back in for balance of the composition.

photo five
Photo five. Although I do the face and hands in one setting, I'm not afraid to go in and detail it a little further (we have really already captured the positioning etc. of each.) More detail is added to the background as well as reflected lights.  note that the skin tones tones will reflect the surrounding light, hence, a bit of green bouncing back into the shadow areas. I asked the model to change her hand so that I could start painting the right hand...other participants in the workshop at that time, have established their studies well enough, that a 10 minute diversion does not bother them. As I build my background, I staart working my greens, and in the shadow area, I go cool, and basically use a purple tone, makes a great contrast.  As a footnote.. I Never use black... I don't even have a tube of black in my paint box. there were two definite wraps the model was sitting, you an se the separation in the previous photo, but as i went further into the detail, I found the separation of the two caused a misbalance in the composition, and it became too much of an eyesore, hence, it was omitted and softened.

Photo six:  Viola, three hours later we are done.  What happened to the hand..
photo six
Well to be honest, it just did not work in the location I had wished, and it just didn't look right, so, easily, I omitted it, and went back to the original pose.  Don't be afraid to make changes along the way, and especially don't try and correct mistakes, they tend ot get worse.. Many times doing these three hour poses, I may find that after the first hour, I wipe my canvas clean and start over.  In Plein Aire, which I will do another time, you always need to be able to edit, omit, add or change.  Anyhow, as you can see many of the finer highlights are added since photo five.  Could I continue to work on the painting longer, yes, but do I want to. No.  I really like the spontaneoty of working for three hours.. If I came back and did another three hours, the following week, i would feel as though the looseness of the study would be lost.

Thank you for viewing and will post plein aire in the near future


Robert Beaulieu's Main and North at South Street Gallery Silent Auction

Sponsored by the South Street Gallery a Hingham Square paint festival was held the weekend of September 14, and 15th.  This concluded with a silent auction held on Saturday night with partial proceeds of the sales going to the Hingham Food pantry.

I was one of many of the painters who were seen across many vantage points of Hingham square.  My choice was painting right in front of St. Pauls church, with a view of Main and North Street.
That night at the auction reception, I was very pleased to see multiple bids on this 9 x 12 creation.

A successful evening with a number of fine works sold, my congratulations to the South Street Gallery and a big thank you to Kate.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Robert Beaulieu at the South Shore Art Center Festival on the Green

Look for my entry in the South Shore Art Centers "Festival on the Green" in Cohasset, held over Fathers Day Weekend. I will also be painting on the green that Sunday morning, stop by and say hi.

Also, I am one of the featured "Dinner" Artist and will be making a painting donation for the Saturday evening "Dinner" Reception.

 For more information contact the South Shore Art Center at

View of the Festival From 2010

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Robert Beaulieu fine art hits Road and Track

Having been a Road and Track Reader since Junior High School days, two months ago an editorial appeared that I had to just comment on. So a quick two minute e mail was sent out in response, and viola, permission was asked almost immediately to print the letter with a photo of my art. This past week its on newstands.
 Is this my 15 seconds of fame in National exposure?????

Monday, April 2, 2012

Welcome to my new blog page.  Right Now I just want to get up and running, and in the future, I will be posting artwork tips on artwork, class schedules, and show schedules.

Or just general Musings..

Please feel free to join me in  any comments, or additions to my blog...

talk soon..