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