"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Painting for a Poet.




"A Poet's Painting" By James Swanson and Traveler Jill

Join me in my effort to paint the planet from my studio, one painting at a time. Become a friend and we will travel together to make beautiful pictures. Signing in is the first step or contact me at

video
The Painting start to finish.


A quick trip and paint in the Adirondack Mountains. I'm working and working on a large Traveler painting right now, but it's becoming work. The painting is at a point where the paint needs to dry completely, so time for a quick paint day.

My next Traveler Jill and her family have a place in the Adirondack Mountains where they vacation all the time. I've wanted to paint this next image ever since Jill sent it to me. It reminded me of a painting I did last year that I really liked.


"Shadows of winter" by James Swanson

Remember to be a Traveler in this project, just become friends with the Artist, have a great story to share, and some type of small souvenir like a postcard or used lift ticket to contribute to the blog and painting. Jill was kind enough to send me some pictures and a map, as all good Travelers do. Connecting with old friends, making new ones, and learning about new places is what this project is about. And like I always say, "Come find me, I'll be painting somewhere." and join in the adventure to cover the world in paint.

I usually like stories to go with the Travel paintings, but Jill has come up with something a little different. And anyway I'll be painting a few of Jill's pics of the Adirondacks.


Thanks Jill.

Jill's Story: Historic Hamlet of Essex

located on the western shore of Lake Champl
ain
known for its picturesque Greek Revival architecture from 1820-1860
one of the most intact early-19th-century villages in America still existing today
and a little painterly prose:

Jill's Poem:
A brush stroke of luck found the place

Palette of history


Progress at snail's pace


A Hamlet posing for its portrait


Standing pretty much still

Will nil...

Stay

Come what may

Gravel roads give way

To glistening waters blue-gray

Rocking life to sleep all day

And I am here deciding nothing

For nothing is black or white

Just paint peeled or faded

Like old barns or curtains drawn tight

And so I blend just right

Into the horizon

Like a nice medium tone

I am home.

The Step by Step of "A Poet's Painting"
This is how I went about painting this scene from Traveler Jill.


Intial sketch
No matter if I'm painting live or from photos I always do a little sketching to warm up and get to know my subject. What I look for in these sketches is the design for the painting. You can see in this sketch a Z design that will show the viewer through the painting.

Drawn out on Canvas
This is how I start a painting, basicly transfering the sketch to the canvas. In this case it's 12"x 16' linen canvas

Block in of painting.
After mixing the colors up on my palette, I quickly lay down the paint on the canvas. Here I mixed the paint a lot brighter and more chromatic than it is, for when I paint on top of it some of this color will show threw.

Re-defining of color
This is where I'm really looking at the colors, trying to create the space in the painting.

Getting there.
I'm almost there, just a few color adjustments and strong finishing brush strokes to put in.

Painters Tip- The Palette knife: Don't think of this tool for just mixing colors on the palette. This knife comes in real handy in many ways like- laying down thick paint in a way a brush can't, making straight lines, and doing tiny details. I never feel a paintings finished if I haven't used the knife on it. The dark areas in the trees , the shack , and branches we're done with the palette knife and then lightly brushed over. I picked up this tip from the painter Richard Schmid a long time ago.

Details from the painting.


The Finished Painting.


"A Poet's Painting"
12"x16" oil on Linen

Thanks for looking in, I'm working on more paintings, so keep checking in. Remember, if you want to work on a painting together come find me and it all can start with a click of the mouse. Well my canvas and brushes are pack and I'm off to Italy to meet up with an old friend Fran, arrivederci til then.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Heaven Trail" Traveler #1-The Painting Battle.




"Heaven's Trail" by James Swanson and Traveler Jerry

Join me in my effort to paint the planet from my studio, one painting at a time. Become a friend and we will travel together to make beautiful pictures. Signing in is the first step or contact me at
video
Video of "Heaven's Trail" start to finish


In this First Traveler painting, our Traveler Jerry has finished making his long drive from Beloit Wisconsin to Portland Oregon. He battled the whole way on his trip. First he was driving the 2000 miles alone, well almost alone he did have Winnie with him. A 150-pound St. Bernard, jpg]" border="0">who liked every state they went, threw. And second Jerry in a wheel chair. I'm sure it was a lot rougher on him than it would be on anyone else.Jerry you’re the toughest guy I know, thanks for being a part of this journey. I couldn't have found a better place to start.
Postcard

Remember to be a Traveler in this project, just become friends with the Artist, have a great story to share, and some type of small souvenir like a postcard or used lift ticket to contribute to the blog and painting. Jerry was kind enough to send me some pictures and postcards from Portland as all good Travelers do. Connecting with old friends, making new ones, and learning about new places is what this project is about. Like I always say, "Come find me, I'll be painting somewhere." and join in the adventure to cover the world in paint.

Battle for Portland, painting style: In every painting there comes a point of make or break. There can be a fine line to keep working on a painting or forget it and start a new one. I call these points Battle Points. Places in a painting were the painting seems to fight you. Spots where big choices have too be made about either color or design and a lot of times both. These places are where your painting will come a live and live. I never feel a painting is finished until I've battled with it at least once. Pushing it to be what I want it to see and feel like, to bending it to my will, make the painting cross over to my side, the side of victory. Ah! The smell of oil paints in the morning.

With this First Portland painting I've battled. I had battles with parts of the right side of it, parts of the left, and don't forget about that middle. It's all about making adjustments as you paint. Making one adjustment and how that affects other areas of the painting, and then making more adjustments. It's kind of like putting out a wild fire-you fight it in one spot and it jumps across and starts up in another place. When you work a painting as a whole this happens. Juggling adjustments until the whole painting comes into focus.


End of Day 1

There always seems there is one area in a painting that battles a painter the most. In this case, it was the tree side of the painting. When I started the painting I thought the dark trees, as a mass would hold some interest.

Then I felt no it needs something.

Something more.


Almost.

Getting closer.


Got it.

As you can see a battle sometimes never goes away, but you have to keep painting until it does. Thanks for looking in on this painting journey to see the world and experience it from my friendly Travelers view. Remember if you want to hook up on a painting contact me here or through my web site www.jamesswansondesign.com/paintings . I 'm going to be moving on down the road here in Portland to meet up with my next Traveler Jackie. Keep checking in I nave many day paints to come, along with so good painting tips, and great Traveler stories.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Portland Quick Paint




Start the video below and see how this was painted.

video

Join me in my effort to paint the planet from my studio, one painting at a time. Become a friend and we will travel together to make beautiful pictures. Signing in is the first step or contact me at

Sometimes it's good to get away from a painting and start a new one. I usually have 2 or 3 paintings going at one time. You can get tired of looking at the as scene day after day. Even longer when your painting big monster of a painting. The first traveler painting is on it's way, the paint is a little too tacky and sticky for good brush stokes so I'm going to let it sit for a day or two and do a quick little painting to get my juices going again.

It's nice to get outside of the studio and paint in the fresh air. sometimes I take my miniature painting set up and go find a field or hill somewhere to paint. Painters call it Plein Air painting. It comes from the French Impressionists who would take train trips out into the country and paint for the day. A lot a good information can be had by painting from life. Plein air paintings tend to be small, because of the light changes so fast. The colors are fresh and the brush strokes confidently laid down. There's no time to be timid. See it, and get it down on the canvas.



This is a Plein air painting that I use all the time for color when working in the studio. I painted it in 20 min. at my cottage in Michigan one morning. See if you can tell where I used it in the new painting .

Well today is not a good day for Plein painting. It's raining and has been for a few days. Time to paint from the studio. A lot of times I've been get multiple images from Travelers. In this case Traveler Jerry has sent me a few quite wonderful pictures from Portland. I've pick out a image of his that probably wasn't shot too far from the painting I've just been working on. So here I go, my day in paint. From start to finish here it is.


My rough sketch.

First a rough sketch and composition of the piece. I'm getting to know my subject doing this sketch. This is a pretty easy composition, it's all laid out before me. A classic S. Simple, very clean way to lead ones eye threw the painting.Look at the sketch and you can see the S shape.

OK, music is on colors are on the palette and mixed. Ready to go.

Canvas tinted and painting composition sketched.


Paint! Paint! Paint! I wanted to have this painted in one day.


The Painting is Blocked in.

Painting Tip: Getting back from a painting and see it from the art viewers position. one of my biggest problems is I don't stand back from a painting enough. When you work up close it's easy to see all the subtleties of color and stroke. Thing is though, when you stand back you don't see them or they red differently. What is a beautiful arrangement of color becomes bland and sometimes shapeless. So get back!



Painting's getting there. Also, if you want to participate in this painting adventure sign up and become friends, have a good travel story to tell and small token or souvenir for the painting- like a postcard or lift ticket. I just received a scorpion in a lolly pop. Just wait you'll see it. So come find me and join in on this journey.


Pretty much Done.



Detail



Detail

OK, I'm about there with this one. I have one more painting to do here in Portland and then I'll be off to meet up with my next Traveler. Thanks for looking in and see ya on down the road.


Framed and ready to go.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 2 of Portland journey Painting







Coming into the studio this morning I was feeling good about my painting start from yesterday. That was until I took a look at the painting. Everything I felt good about I didn't today. From design to color this painting needed help. It's funny, this always happens when I start a painting. The first day everything looks really great and I feel good when I leave that night and the next day I end up repainting everything. Well, almost.


End of Day 1 start


Looking at the painting with a fresh eye a few things popped out at me. First problem was in the design. I can see I split my canvas corner to corner with the strong diagonal of trees. I'll have to fix that, by bringing the sky, water and mountains over farther. This is a gorge so I think the mountains are really hills, but living in a place where they call us "Flatlanders", I would say they are mountains.


First changes to painting-working on mountains

Second problem needed to be fix - the mountains, sky, and water were all about the same size and length. One of these will have too become more dominate than the others. Since this painting is about depth, the mountains should become bigger, the water smaller and more curved, and the sky should be thin across the top of the painting.

Working on design and foreground.

After those two problems are fixed I can start working in the dark mass to pull out trees shapes. This is a big area of the painting and it will need some interest. but I don't want too take away from the focus of the painting. And that is the bright sun light spot on the highway and the white semi truck that is just coming out of the shadows.



Well that's the plan for day 2. Planing out what you want to get done each day helps keep a focus to the painting. I'll work one area at a time and won't get distracted with other parts of the painting. Time to hit that trail and get busy. Turning on the tunes, mixing up some new paint and turn those big hills into mountains. Lets see how my day goes.



Remember to be a Traveler in this project, just become friends with the Artist, have a great story to share, and some type of small souvenir like a postcard or used lift ticket to contribute to the blog and painting. Making new friends and learning about new places is what this project is about. Like I always say, "Come find me, I'll be painting somewhere." and join in the adventure to cover the world in paint.