Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ski Roundtop

12"x 14" oil

Well this morning took the cake. I painted this view of ski roundtop at around 8am. The view is from a field at my parents house and when I got to the house the temperature was 18 degrees f. That's after I painted. It's always colder in the fields downhill from the house. I'm guessing it was around 12 degrees with a very slight breeze and good sunlight. This is the thickest I've ever had my oil paint get. I mixed quite a bit right on my painting surface. The stuff I mixed on palette left peaks when I pulled it off. Much like stucco or icing. I wear boiled wool shoes and this was the first time my feet got chilly. Of course I was standing on hardpack snow/ice. I'm almost tired of describing the weather but this year is exceptionally cold. Spring is going to feel really good!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

yellow tomatoes

8"x 8" oil/ceramic tile

This is the most difficult still life subject I have ever attempted! When I saw these yellow tomatoes at the store they cried out to be painted. Everything was good until I set them up and turned my artificial light on them. The edges dissappeared and there was not much more than a glow. I will say I was fascinated by the appearance but dumbstruck on how to paint them. I went with my usual routine, darks first and keep warm shadows indoors. Finish with cool light highlights. Well I'm not happy with the outcome. I think this subject should be painted in a whole new fashion. I'm going to eat these these tomatoes and then go and buy some more. The next batch will be painted with one idea in mind. Make them glow! I noticed at the bare minimum the bottoms glow orange and the tops yellow. This is a very minimilist approach but is the one I will use next time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow and Ice

Tough conditions today. Most of the day was very dreary. We had 4" of snow overnight and then sleet and freezing rain. Driving home from work though the fog lifted and there were some incredible scenes popping out. A majority of purples mixed with some magenta/perm. rose along with the muted whites. The ice on the trees was spectacular! I wish I could paint more plein air on week days, however I think this will stick around awhile so may capture it on the weekend. This is my favorite car. Jetta TDI. 50 mpg diesel. And it burns homebrew biodiesel in warmer temperatures! I'm painting yellow tomatoes tomorrow evening and they will be the next post. Cheers

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

8 1/2"x 18" oil

Day 4 was a half day. I dont know the exact temperature that morning but it was probably around 15 degrees farenheit. I was on a hilltop and trying to get the right color of a mass of pine trees. The area I was in had these great masses of darkness that were pine tree groupings. I did this one around 9 am, little wind but gray conditions again. Finished this one, went back to the lodge for lunch and then home. I find the abstract compositions with good color the most interesting pieces of most art. It is quite a journey to find your voice through painting. Some day I wish to sing!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 3 Warm Springs Lodge

16"x18 1/2" oil

8"x8" oil/ceramic tile

The third day brought snow showers and much colder temperatures. The wind was howling. The most interesting thing to me was the changing sky. It seemed that the only thing remaining sunlit was the sky. My subject stayed gray and cool. The clouds were moving so fast I couldn't nail them. I must say I bailed on this one. One thing I do not like is very windy conditions. I mixed warms and cools so quickly they became blended and the painting lost its truth. I did another one in the afternoon,but I wiped it out. Finally in the evening I set up some apples and did a still life. Again, the ability to paint with controlled light is such a relief after a day of plein air work. But I'll be back outside tomorrow!

Day 2 Warm Springs Lodge

5"x20" oil
12"x14" oil

4 1/2" x18" oil/ceramic tile

Day 2 was relatively warm and sunny. I did 2 plein air works and a still life. The frozen creek painting is of Sherman creek. I saw the nice color and light effect so pulled the car over and set up with one easel leg in the creek. Painted rapidly(35 minutes) and quit.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 1 Warm Springs Lodge

14"x12" oil
8"x8" ceramic tile

I just returned from a 4 day plein air/ still life painting trip to Warm Springs Lodge. Every year the Seven Lively artists group heads to Perry county Pa. to paint and compare works with a final critique on Sunday. We had good light the first two days, days 3 and 4 were cold and gray. I'm posting the work in chronological order. I set up for still life in what amounts to be the boiler room in the basement. Sounds dreary but I could completely control the artificial light on the subject and the easel as there were no windows. After a day of plein air work the idea of controlling light is not only tempting but is a relief! I did a sycamore tree around 10:00 am and a still life of two pears later that day. One of which is lying down. The critique thought the upright pear was too straight. Maybe curve the stem or change the shape a bit. Good call.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2 Apples

8"x8" oil/ceramic tile

Here are some apples on one of those 8" ceramic tiles again. I love the way that paints moves on the ceramic surface and the background takes care of itself. I'm going on a four day painting excursion Thursday. There's no internet access where I'm going, however next week there should be lots to post. I'll be doing 2 plein air works a day and throwing in some still life after dark. Can't wait to just paint!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter day on the Susquehanna

16"x20" oil

All right. We finally got a day in the mid 20's with a skiff of snow. Off to the river. I used my new palette for the first time. It's a " French Companion". On sale at asw express right now for $53.00. I highly recommend it for large mixing abilities. I'm in no way affiliated with asw but wanted to say what a good deal this is. It's made to be used with a french easel but works fine with my gloucester. Just turn it a bit sideways. I cut mylar to fit in the wings for a more neutral color but you could mix right on the wood and it comes with a watercolor plastic palette for even more possibilities, not to mention it will hold a handheld wood palette. If your mixing a bunch of color this thing would be sweet! Today I didn't need much space. Gray day, all cool colors. The only warm color used was a touch of cad yellow in the steam from Three Mile Island. Yep, Three Mile Island. I tweaked the location of the steam for compositional purposes. It felt good to get back out even though I had a security guard watching me from a distance the whole time. On the left is a hydro electric plant and I guess they dont want some crazy artist doing anything irrational. On second thought I don't blame them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Onions and Garlic

Just finished a commission. These paintings are done on 8" square ceramic tiles. I did one of peppers for a client and they wanted 2 more to make a set. The only restriction- no fruit. I'm cool with that. The garlic head is a really interesting subject. I went with the basics. Show multiple cloves. Onions are also interesting with the various layers of skin. I still stick with basic form and ignore some flaking transparent skin. It was 3 degrees above 0 this morning so I'm still in studio. In fact I could see my breath in my studio while painting these, and the studio is heated! Granted it's on the third floor and receives the least heat but come on this is a bit much. These old houses don't have insulation so I guess that's the price I have to pay. The head cold is finally gone so I expect to get outside soon-when I can feel my fingers while painting. Cheers

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


28"x32" oil

Here's one from the archives. I did this one at the Art Student's League Manhattan in Daniel Dickerson's class. It's from a photo and was back in the day when I used brushes. This painting looked very different about ten minutes before I called it quits. I was so frustrated I decided I hated the painting and took out my trusty palette knife and scraped the whole canvas. Voila, it looked better already. With a little highlighting via a finger, a knife and a brush I decided to stop. It felt like a success. So oddly enough my first epiphany with using a palette knife wasn't about application, rather it was about reduction. Sorry about posting old pics (1998 ?) but I like seeing artists progressions and maybe somebody else does too. Just a side note, I believe Daniel is still instructing. He must be 90 years old by now. I remember a student asking him if he showed in galleries and he said " maybe when I grow up". I bet he still doesn't! Interestingly enough his work is in museums.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

3 Coffee cups

16"x20" oil
I wanted to get a bit more color pushed around. Went with these 3 coffee cups and decided to use lemon yellow, zinc white and mix in some premixed purple. Enjoyed putting it on but later felt it was a bit much. As I started scraping I liked the result. It looked like a woodcut print.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

David Oleski Coffee Cup

8"x10" oil
This little mug is proving to be quite difficult. There are so many reflections and I always try to reduce to a minimum. I struggle with handles and this is true again.I continue with the squint more theory and the handle almost dissappears a little below middle. It's not easy making a coffee cup a piece of art but I will keep trying. The cup itself however is a piece of art thanks to david's artwork on it. This was painted under artificial light.

I really wish I could get outside and paint but this persistent head cold just won't go away. I dug out an old painting done on the cape during a dismal day. Never did like it so I scraped it best as I could and decided to do an indoor study. So here it is my "official painting" of "David Oleski's official coffee mug". I just finished it and may tweak it a bit.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

11"x14" oil

Here are some hot food items on a cold day. Green curry, hot chili paste etc... Painted in studio under natural north light.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

11"x14" oil
Well this my first plein air painting of 2009. I painted it between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 am. It was 27 degrees outside with a breeze. Let's just say it was chilly! I painted about as quickly as I ever have and am a bit rusty right now. I'm not terribly happy with the piece but will post it to remain honest. I do like the grain silos as a subject and will paint this group many more times in various conditions. I think the only thing I was trying to convey was the fact that it was morning, cold and not cloudy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

16"x20" oil

Happy New Year!!! Here are some finished Sierra Nevada pale ales. Seems appropiate considering the time of year. Very good but not two hearted pale ale caliber. This is a color harmony painting meaning all colors were premixed and put in their appropiate position.