A new Anza painting in honor of the upcoming Anza Days 2016 at Canoa Ranch and Tubac Arizona. This one is of Anza and troops coming out of the woods near the river. I painted this one with casein and then finished in acrylic.
On September 7, 2016 remnants from tropical storm Newton hit Tucson and it rained all day. Its so unusual for us here in the desert to get a full day of rain. I got out my casein paints on the patio and painted my garden using rainwater. Casein is becoming my favorite medium for plein air painting.
I recently finished a series of paintings of three of the Archangels.
These are digital paintings. I started them on my iPad pro using the Procreate app. I did most of the rendering using the Apple Pencil. It responds just like a brush or pencil or what ever tool I assign to it. At a certain stage, I flipped them onto the computer and finished them in Photoshop.
Another plein air study from my backyard. I sprayed myself down with mosquito repellant and sat for about an hour and a half on my back patio. My goal is capturing values and lighting. There were lots of hummingbirds, woodpeckers, towhees, dragonflies and butterflies flying through my field of vision. I need to include some of them in the next painting.
Here two recent one hour studies. The first one is of the giant aloe plants at the Tucson Botanical Garden. I went with OPUS (Old Pueblo Urban Sketchers). These aloes are about six feet tall.
The second is from my backyard. A quick study of my Shrine of the Virgen de Guadalupe, trying to capture the way the light was playing over the plants and the mosaic.
For years I've been studying the paintings of Peder Mork Monsted. I love the way he captures values, color, lighting, and form. Here are 4 of my studies of his work. He worked in oil paint, but I thought I'd see if I could reproduce his technique in several different mediums.
Acrylic paint (Golden Matte Acrylic)
Acrylic paint (Nova Paint)
What amazes me about Monsted is that his paintings seem almost photographic, but they are actually fairly loosely painted. I think it is his mastery of values and lighting that creates this effect. My first attempt was with oil paint, but I discovered that I can capture this style just as well in acrylic or casein.
I've been working on quick little paintings from nature. These are fast paintings done in under two hours. This one was done in about 50 minutes. This really helps me focus on getting the core values, colors, lighting, form and composition before I have time to think about it and over work it. I painted this one on my back patio.
Tucson is getting hotter now, so I found a shady spot on the patio of the Research Center on Tumamoc Hill and painted the courtyard. I've painted this area several times in different seasons. As we move into the hottest, driest time of the year, I notice a lot of plants are shriveling up and going into drought dormancy. The brittle bush which was vibrant with flowers just a few weeks ago, are now just brown leafless twigs. The Foothills Palo Verde trees are in the final weeks of flowering as are the cholla.
The Palo Trees are blooming again in Tucson. The Blue Palo Verde is in full bloom in Tucson and the valley floors, and the Foothills Palo Verde is just starting to bloom on the hillsides. I did this one inspired by the intense yellow flowers in an almost "Jackson Pollock" abstract manner.
Here is some green for Saint Patricks Day! Desert Green. In most landscapes the leaves are green, but here in the Sonoran desert, the Saguaros and other cacti are green and the Palo Verde tree is green all over. These are both on-location sketches from the north slope of Tumamoc Hill. My main goal in these is to quickly capture the lighting, colors and forms before I have time to think about it. So I try to compete these in around an hour.
Encaustic on Paper
9 x 12 inch
Another painting with my new Encaustic Wax paints. I love these scenes of plants symbiotically growing above, below, around and next to each other. In most of these Tumamoc studies Im trying to absorb the harmony of these clusters of plants.
Acrylic on Paper
9 x 12 inch
This was painted on a beautiful afternoon with storm clouds coming and going and a few sprinkles on me and the painting. Lots of plants in bloom - especially the brittle bush which literally covers the entire mountain with bright yellow. For this sketch I used the same acrylics that I used to paint the Presidio Mural. Ive found that they are actually great for these quick paintings, although there is a bit of value shift from wet to dry colors. The biggest issue I have is getting an strong opaque yellow without using the toxic cadmiums.
Here are a couple of my recent plein-aire painting sketches from Tumamoc Hill. This first one was painted with casein in about half an hour as it was still cold up there - you can see the snow on the Catalina Mountains in the distance.
Casein on paper
This one was painted in a little over an hour with my "new" paints: water based encaustics from Cuni http://www.encausticcuni.com This is first time I've used these paints. I really like them. I've always wanted to try encaustics, but never wanted to mess with heating up wax to paint. These paints however work straight out of the tube. It is thought that this is same formula used by the ancient greeks and romans to paint the famous Fayum mummy portraits, which are still in perfect condition after almost 2,000 years.