"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, November 22, 2009

"The Orange Forest"

"The Orange Forest"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Barry
12"x 24" Oil on Panel

How this painting was painted.

Been there, done that, and doing it again! When ever I go outside to paint - plein air painting-and find a good spot to paint there is usually another good place to paint close by. Sometimes you hit the jackpot and never move more than a few feet all day.

Return to Half Moon Bay

This is what happened in this series a little while back when I painted a photo from
Traveler Barry.

Traveler Barry editor of the Coastsider.

I had a good experience painting this one from Barry and knew that the other photos that he had sent me were just as good.

"Beachwood at Half Moon Bay"
This painting won a best in show award.

I planned to paint a few of those photos, but was just waiting for a place to fit one in. The chance came not too long ago when I wanted to try out painting on a gessoed wood panel.

Some of the photos I received by Traveler Barry.

Traveler Barry's Story: Barry was working on a story for his Coastsider Magazine about a vacant piece of land called Beachwood and it's development in Half Moon Bay. He took some wonderful photos for the story, and I happened upon one and was able to contact Barry about being a Traveler.

The vacant land that is fought over.

Barry on the parcel of land -The city wound up taking possession of the property for $18 million. They will most likely seek to develop it as profitably as possible. It'll probably take a few years. A lot of the landscape in you painted should be safe because it does contain wetlands, but until the wetlands are delineated and the Terms are agreed upon, we won't know.

Update: In the November election, the slate representing the current city council majority swept the field, so they now have all five seats. While Beachwood was destined for development in any event, I expect the result to be a very aggressive move to develop the property faster and more thoroughly.

The photo from Barry that I will work from.

Traveler Painting " The Orange Forest" Traveler Barry was able to catch some beautiful early evening light on this field. That is what drew me in to paint this place at Half Moon Bay. The warm light of morning or evening is really the best time for photos., ask almost any photographer.

The Sketch: In looking at the photo I decided to add a little more roll to the hills, and I wanted the orange lighting on the trees to stand out- re the orange forest name.

The translated sketch to the gessoed wooden panel. The paint that is laid down on this panel is grabbed by the surface. It sticks and doesn't slide around much. A good feel.

As always I start with the darks to set up the structure of the painting.

Painting in the sky and ground.

Painters Tip: Structure of a Landscape painting - It's pretty simple idea, the Sky will always be the lightest light. Next lightest is the ground, grass, flat horizontal things. The lightest after that are, angled thing like slopes of hills, or rocks, and boulders. The Darkest areas of the painting are verticals, like trees and sides of buildings. Things that see that much light.

Painting is all blocked in. All areas are painted now it's time to adjust the colors.

Adding the house: When I had the painting to this point, it felt heavy on the right side. All the interest was there and it needed to be balanced off a little. To even the load I added the house. A human element in a landscape painting is like adding a tree. The viewers eye will go right there, so making the element small like the house will draw some attention but not keep it from the rest of the painting.

Done. There weren't any clouds in the photo, but the sky need something to give it space. My first try with the clouds was too illustrative. Yeah the looked like clouds, but didn't match the rest of the painting feel and stood out to much. Simple clouds, simply painted,with not much detail is what was called for.

Details of the painting
Finished and Framed

"The Orange Forest"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Barry
12"x 24" Oil on Panel

They say a good artist can find beauty in anything and anywhere. In this little undeveloped field in Half Moon Bay Traveler Barry found a lot of beauty. My thanks goes out to Traveler Barry again for this fine find and his updates on the land. I hope it not re-zoned for a strip mall.

If you would like to become a traveler in this painting journey contact me here or at the web site www.TheArtistAndTheTraveler.org and have a story to share. I am currently looking for Travelers who have been to The Isle of Man in the UK and Africa.

Thanks for looking in, and I'll see ya on down the road with another painting journey.

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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.