Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Early To Rise"

I've decided to take a moment, and share each of my pieces with you so that you may get to know them better.  Each painting is a part of the world the way I see.  Someone I knew, something I saw, or something I think.  All of what I paint I find beautiful in some way.  With these Hot Air Balloons, the beauty is obvious.

Color is what draws me to this scene.  The brilliant colors of these balloon is quite unnatural, and therefore must be explored.  Beyond the vibrant colors of these balloons, the shear size of them brought me to attention.  Not only did I want to capture the utter beauty of the designs, but somehow capture their enormous size in a painting.

The composition was going to be key for this.  Having some of the balloons partially inflated on the ground, while others were ready to disembark the earth, would give the viewer a range of understanding of how these balloons came to be suspended in the sky.  I also felt the need to "scale" them against something.  Naturally, they could be scaled against the people that wrangled them, they could also be scaled against the awestruck onlooker.  As you can see one couple posing for a picture in front of a sea of color.  Also trucks and distant trees give to the illusion of grandeur.

I am quite pleased with this painting, felling as though I have captured all I wanted to.  The morning these balloons neighbored my house is a morning I shall not soon forget.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

You gotta head out sometimes!

Meandering Along the Southern Oregon Coast

A big part of being an artist, in my mind, is the ability to head out into the field, and practice your skills en plein aire.  Something I find challenging, relaxing, adventuresome, and just plain fun.  My main trips to the great outdoors are to the Oregon Coast.  Dramatic jetting rocks, blue waters, shining sun, and hiking trails; all these elements create a weekend to be enjoyed.  My medium of choice is watercolor.  Easy to pack, lightweight, fast drying, watercolor is the perfect medium to drag with you on a hike.

The above painting is from a tall bluff at Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, Oregon.  A favorite among Oregonians, a sunny day at this park is well worth the drive.

This painting is from the bluff known as Otter Point, a few miles north of Gold Beach, Oregon.  A small hike to the tip of this bluff, and a look south is this scene.  But beware, the wind really blows out there!

To get to this view, I climbed down the north side of Otter Point, and settled on a rock in a very warm little cove.  This place was tranquil, and I plan on returning soon.
Another scene from the overlook of a bluff.  The immediate cove is Cape Sebastian, then Meyer Creek flows into the ocean, followed by a long beach, then Pistol River flows into the ocean on the far side of this view.  Hwy 101 drops down from the ocean mountains to follow the beach in the amazing location between Brookings and Gold Beach, Oregon.  This beach is another favorite spot.  However, if you plan on hiking the Pacific Coast Trail from this overlook, it's a steep trail down to the beach, and quite an extraneous hike!

This final painting is from the Thomas Creek Bridge Lookout, north of Brookings, Oregon.  The Thomas Creek Bridge is the highest bridge in Oregon at 345 feet from sea level.  Another beautiful spot, and I enjoy the contrast of lush green foliage, and this wind-battered tree.

A great tool in any adventure outdoors is a guide.  A great one for the Southern Oregon coast is 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range (Oregon 100 Hikes)

Another Trip To A Local Park

Another place I enjoy a visit is Litha Park in Ashland, Oregon.  Meticulously manicured gardens, and a trickling picturesque creek create gentle and beautiful views.  Visit the Wikipedia page for the history.

Upper Lithia Park is a quieter area, away from the playing kids, hustling downtown, and Shakespeare festival.  This little spot by the creek was bursting with plants.  The challenge with painting this subject on the spot is capturing all the detail of the plant life quickly.  I don't want to paint every leaf, but I still want to viewer to understand those leaves are there.  Impressions are key to this subject.  However, once I've finished with this session, I will take a photo, and once back in the studio, this study can lend some perspective to a final piece that I may have missed just in a photo reference.

Here I've abandoned the paint for pencils.  In the lower park there is an open spot of grass that is a popular stop to sit back and enjoy the park.  With live figure drawing, I cannot seem to apply watercolor fast enough to capture people who don't know to hold still.  But hey, pencil is great, too!

So give a painting excursion a try....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"George Washington Prays For America - 2009"

The inspiration for this piece comes from an art show prospectus.  In late 2009,  an art show was announced showcasing artwork depicting American ideals.  What makes America great.

Of course I was excited about this project, and immediately began to think of American subjects.  Innovation, diversity, perseverance, and dedication are interwoven into American culture.  I, however, find myself wondering what historical events brought us to greatness in such short historical order.  The accomplishments of the group of people known as Americans are vast.   Where did this immense sense of pride come from?  This contemplation lead me to begin to research my country’s heritage.

One individual that I seem to have gravitated towards is George Washington, well known as the Father of America.  He reluctantly served our emerging country.  What I glean from this is his inability to be corrupted by politics, monetary gain, special interest, and falling victim to “getting ahead” by selling out even the tiniest amount of one’s moral self.  Mr. Washington led the continental army with integrity I have not yet heard of, and something any and every person should aspire to maintain in their own character.  Perhaps something more common to the early American than modern Americans.  The honor and integrity in which he led these men, commanded respect and honest to goodness love, led this country into a leading role in history.

What I decided to showcase in my piece is the quiet faith a person must possess and the unabridged love for a country and a people so diverse to warrant dedicating your life to the assurance of success.  After failures, hardships, tragedies, triumphs and glory, Mr. Washington not only ensured this country's place as an independent entity in the world, but he returned once more to lead this country in the right direction after retiring to his quiet home.

In my day, my country is once again under attack.  This attack isn’t with muskets, canons, or Red Coats.  Not bombs, nuclear weaponry, or even terrorists' makeshift plane-bombs, although those things have put us in danger.  What I’m referring to is a Progressive movement slowly chipping away at the freedom both you and I enjoy.  Each day I hear of another event that takes a little piece of freedom and turns it into a government “program”.  The movement has been working on this since the early 1900’s, and they are at the final push to transform America.  We are told that America is undergoing a “fundamental transformation”.  Into what I wonder?  The founding of this country created a document of rights and rules that have created a free country the world has never seen.  I believe every American should not only read the Bill of Rights, Constitution and Declaration of Independence, do not believe what anyone says is in it, but know for yourself what Mr. Washington, Mr. Ben Franklin, Mr. Sam Adams, and Mr. John Adams among others would fight so hard to create.  Know our history, know our founders.  If you truly believe in America and what she is, stand up for our country.  Knowledge from the original source is the greatest asset for maintaining our freedom.

In my painting, Mr. Washington sits on some steps, could be the capitol, a memorial somewhere, or a town hall in your town, quietly praying for this nation his own blood, sweat and tears created.  I imagined for a moment, what if Mr. Washington were alive today, how would he feel about our management this country.  Would he be proud of you or me for our service to this great nation.  Or would he be ashamed of our disassociation with American Ideals, our lethargic attitude towards freedom.  American dedication to values; faith, honor, hope, truth, integrity, and charity is what made us.  Mr. Washington would be praying for us indeed.

That is what I believe Mr. Washington would pray for.  What do you believe he would pray for?

I will continue to read and research our American history and keep you all posted!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Critique Of Another Kind

As probably most of you know, I come from a line of artists.  My mother, Olivia Schemanski, is an artist, and her father before her also an artist.  Not surprisingly my son shows great promise of artistic talent.  What he does with that is his choice of course.  So in the new age of computers and blogs, I've attempted to create a place where art, technique and inspiration can be discussed.

"The word critic comes from the Greek κριτικός (kritikós), "able to discern"[1], which in turn derives from the word κριτής (krités), meaning a person who offers reasoned judgment or analysis, value judgment, interpretation, or observation[2]. The term can be used to describe an adherent of a position disagreeing with or opposing the object of criticism." - From Wikipedia

Another major piece of the artistic, and really any aspect of anything creative is an ample supply of criticism.  I know, I know, who wants to hear about the "bad" points of anything you've worked so hard to create. Without some constructive thoughts, our potential cannot be reached.  Proper criticism holds the key to advance our works far beyond what we can accomplish in our studio.

Well, let me introduce you to Critical Round-Up.  A modern critical blog about not only art, but that which is creative and inspires us to be.  Check out this informative blog, become a follower, and put in your two cents.... heck, you should leave a quarters worth!

Till next time.....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Greeting and Salutations!

Welcome to the page for Rubber Duck Artworks! I hope you check back regularly for updates!