"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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Portland Quick Paint

Start the video below and see how this was painted.

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.



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.

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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.