Limited palette color study

“Early Summer Serenity”, 8×10.5, oil on canvas panel After a couple of weeks away from my easel, I was itching to get some painting in today. I’ve been doing more sketching and working on engaging my right brain during the process, which makes me enjoy it much more. My favorite way to sketch these days is gesture drawing because I approach them in a much more loose and carefree way. Yesterday I pulled a photo of a local park out of my reference photo stack and did a quick sketch of it in two values. The foreground wasn’t very interesting,…

Day 20 of notans

Notan sketches of a waterfall, Yellowstone National park With this set of notan sketches, my focused practice project is complete! It feels good to have created 100 of them and to feel energized by it, not burned out on them. Having the 3-minute time limit definitely helped with that. Without it I would have certainly fussed around for a long time — not that spending more time on them wouldn’t be useful. With more time, I could make them better, increasing the potential for making better paintings with them. My original goal with this project was to design better notans…

Day 19 of notans

Notan sketches of Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park For today’s notan sketches I revisited a setting I loved at Grand Teton National Park. Schwabacher Landing has everything: water, views of the mountains, trees, meadow. And beavers if you’re lucky enough to spot them. I had used this same photo as reference for the first day of my value thumbnails challenge back in May. I explored the reflections of the trees and mountains on the glass-like surface of the water, but I don’t really care for the symmetry created by the reflection. At least not as the main focal point of…

Day 18 of notans

Notan sketches of a pond and trees I’m working on a study for my online course with Matt Smith — or put another way, I’m overthinking and over preparing for the study. Today’s notan sketches remind me to work from large and abstract to smaller and detailed. When I look at these sketches they don’t really look like “things”, which is exciting because it’s allowing me to look for the dark/light harmony more. Quieting the left side of my brain that wants to label things is definitely an ongoing practice! Getting back into gesture sketches would help, and I think…

Day 17 of notans

Notan study of trees along the edge of a field I had taken the photo that these notan sketches are based on one evening earlier this summer, when dark clouds were starting to roll in and create drama with the sky and light on the trees and field. There were intense orange- and yellow-greens from the evening sunlight, and with the purplish-grey of the sky it was a really interesting color combination. I played up the darkness of the sky in some of these to accent that edge between the sunlight trees and relatively dark sky. This one would make…