"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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Half Moon Bay

"Beachwood at Half Moon Bay"
By James Swanson and Traveler Barry
12'x36" on canvas

View the journey of this painting.

My next Traveler is a new friend on this Painting Journey. Traveler Barry and I have never met, but our paths crossed a few months back and I thought it was interesting how we met.

I was working on an advertising project and needed reference on what a beech tree looked like. I did a search for images and came a cross this beautiful landscape shot. I loved the color and lighting and knew it would make a great painting.

This picture was in a web magazine Coastsider
And it was shot by Traveler Barry near Half Moon Bay CA

So I looked up who shot the photo to find out more about it. It was kind of strange to contact a perfect stranger, but what the heck making new friends is what this project is about.

Barry was out visiting some land that he was doing a story on and took a few shots for his story. Traveler Barry was kind enough to send me the photos he had taken that day. The pictures he sent were all just wonderful and I could see them all turned into paintings.

Barry also had this comment when I asked to paint his photo,"Sure. BTW, that plot of land is still at the center of much controversy. I'd also love to see it painted as a scenic because on of the local yahoos declared it to be an eyesore."

One man's junk is another man's treasure, and this proves it. Thanks Barry for your time and photos, it's always nice to meet a new friend.

Beachwood Aged Painting: When I first saw the images Traveler Barry had sent me my jaw dropped. I was hoping for just a little more clarity about the spot I wanted to paint and got enough beautiful images for a whole series of paintings.

The Sketch- I was thinking when I saw this picture it would be just a nice little painting. A quick paint probably. After looking at what canvases I had in the studio I decided to take a shot at a long skinny painting 12"x36". Here's the sketch on canvas. This feels good, real good. What I want to do here is great a way for the viewer to get into this painting. So I'm working the shadows to zigzag me in. I'm trying a phthalo blue on my palette for the first time in a long time. It's a really strong color and a little difficult for me to mix in with the rest of the colors. It did make a few color combinations I use different, different in a good way.

Blocked-in. I'm trying a type of canvas that I never painted on before. It's really kind of slick. My brush strokes are acting a little funny not grabbing and taking hold of the canvas. I found thicker paint helps the strokes.
That was pretty fast. I must have mixed the right colors on my palette. With this type of canvas I've found it easier to smooch the paint around and am able to scratch back into the white of the canvas.

Artist Tip: Cool colors against warm colors is a good thing. Warm against cool and cool against warm is all-good. They are a good way to turn an object and give it form. Look at the little houses here. Warm light from where the sun hits and cool for the shadow side.

End of Day 1- I think I'm done or almost done. I like what I see; the long format works well with this image. Day 2: Wow I came in this morning and the painting was lying on the ground face up. Some how it fell off the easel. Weird. But the good thing is it must have done a full gainer to land right side up. That's good because still like what I see. With just a few adjustments in color and brush strokes it's done.
Details from the painting.

Here's my Beachwood aged painting.

"Beachwood at Half moon Bay"
By James Swanson
12"x36" Oil on Canvas

That was fun; I think I'm going to do a few more from that spot to go with this painting. Thanks to Traveler Barry for the pic and to you for stopping in, now I'm going back to Amsterdam to finish a painting, but after that who knows where in this world I'll be setting up my easel. You can also find me at http://www.facebook.com/TheArtistAndTheTraveler

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ciao Benvenuto Villa

"Ciao Benvenuto Villa"
By James Swanson and Traveler Fran
16"x20" Oil on Linen

The painting journey, take a look.

Hello and welcome again to The Artist and The Traveler painting series. This paintings Traveler is Fran. Fran is an old friend of mine. We started off our working careers together a long time ago in advertising. She was a writer and still is, and I was an Art Director. We worked on many ad campaigns together and had some good times. But like everything else, we each followed our careers in different directions and lost track of each other.

We met up again a while ago on Facebook and have been catching up on things. In her photo albums I discovered she had gone to Italy, and had some wonderful pictures from there.I asked if she'd mind me painting one of them? She said she would be thrilled to have me paint some pictures from her album.And that is when I came up with the idea to Travel the world and paint from my friends travel experiences. And I thank Fran for finally saying I have a good idea after all those years in advertising. About time.

Traveler Frans story: We celebrated my boyfriend's 50th birthday by renting a villa in Tuscany with some college buddies. It was a week chocked full of pizza baking, laughing, drinking, smarty-pants remarks and generally delicious times. This was the view as you approached, but we actually didn't take this picture until the last day we were there. We arrived prepared for fun and a dash of romance. We left engaged. I suspect someone added more than a dash to one of those Tuscan recipes.

Traveler Fran's Painting:
This painting is a little different than all the other paintings in this long series; in fact it really precedes this series. I started this painting before the concept of traveling and trying to connect the dots and people took shape.

This is why I don't have a lot of pictures of the painting from start to finish. What I have is a nice start and some good painting tips.

Here is my initial sketch or thumbnail. I always like to sketch these pictures I get from Travelers and break them down to their ascents. That helps me see what the design and composition options are, a good place to start. Know your subject, or in this case design.

Here's the painting at the end of day one. It's OK a nice block-in I can see where it's going and where it needs to be pushed.

Second day of painting. It's getting close. I do need to use a bigger brush though.
( sorry these painting pics have a big glare on them.)

Tip: Use a brush that is a little bigger than you need it for the area you are painting. There is no one-way to paint I just like to see the stokes of a painting. The colors of the painting are becoming more refined. I'm shooting for big depth in this painting.

This is the third day of painting. I think it's there. but something not yet right.

Tip: When you get to this point-it's close but you're not sure what to do, take a digital picture of it and bring it into Photoshop and look at it. The color might not be perfect but it's a great way to change things up for a look and not have to live with the changes.

Here I've circled and Photoshopped in some changes that I want to make. This is again a great way to help you think about your painting.

Here are the changes done in details from fixed areas.

The Trees along the road.

The top ot the hill.

And the finished painting.

I call it "Ciao Benvenuto Villa"- Hello and Welcome Villa.
"16 x 20" Oil on Linen.

Thanks for looking in and checking out this Travelers Painting, check out my archives to see other paintings being done. OK, I'm packed and now I'm off to Amsterdam to meet up with another Traveling friend who has a surprise. Catch ya on down the road. Buon Vicino!