"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

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
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...


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.

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Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.