"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, December 29, 2010

A Day to Remember.

By James Swanson / Traveler Chrissy
16"x 20" Oil on canvas
Watch the journey of this painting here

The Artist and the Traveler Project has seen and painted some beautiful views from this planet, now comes a view from the heart.

Traveler Chrissy( Dark shirt), her fiance and wedding couple Jay and Chelsea 
Recently this project was contacted by our next Traveler Chrissy with a big request. Chrissy wanted to have a painting done for some very special friends of theirs who were recently married in the Adirondacks.
View of the summer camp.
Chrissy Story: We were in South Hero, VT over Labor Day weekend for a very special wedding. Our friends, Jay and Chelsea were getting married at a summer camp they rented out on an island on Lake Champlain
 Lake Champlain
 It was an extremely special wedding for my fiance and I because the the bride and groom are both such good friends to us and we were both in the wedding party!  The weekend was wonderful- filled with activities like touch football and kickball or more relaxing activities like yoga and arts and crafts.  The location was picturesque- we were surrounded by woods in a secluded place on the cliffs looking over the water.  There were sailboats in the water and mountains in the distance.
Some of the tents that they slept in.
 We stayed in one-room cabins or platform tents, ate meals (besides the wedding meals) as a group in the mess hall, and showered in out-house type rooms.  It brought everyone back to their childhood and we were all so thrilled for Jay and Chelsea. It couldn't have been a more perfect weekend for a more perfect couple.

"Cliffside" was the name of Jay and Chelsea's cabin.  This cabin was tucked in a corner, behind the trees, on the cliff, facing the water.  As I walked up to it floored the first time, I was awed by the simple beauty of the trees, water, and decor surrounding their quaint love shack. In front of the cabin was a bench that looked onto the water. The only thing that prevented a thirty foot plummet down the cliff into the water was a rustic wooden fence that bore the name "Cliffside."  We knew we wanted to do something unique and special for their wedding gift and as soon as I saw their cabin location, I started taking photos.  With the help of James, the painting is a re-creation of the most magical, wonderful, and fitting weekend for our special friends: Jay and Chelsea.

The Traveler Painting "Cliffside"

These are the photos Chrissy sent to work with.
I liked the top left photo for the cabin, the right one for the water,
 the bottom left for the milk carton and clothes line, and the railing from the last one.

The Artist and the Traveler has painted a lot of requests before, but Traveler Chrissy's idea for a wedding present is a first for this project and I am honored to paint it for her. On to the steps of "Cliffside":
The Painting design is sketch on canvas first. The tough thing about this painting will be making the verticals work and keep interesting. Their shadows should help with that. 
The dark values are painted in first. This is how I start almost every painting.
 It's a great way to get the structure for the painting down.
Mid tones are painted in next. That is the grass and trees mostly.

The painting is blocked-in now that the water and sky have been added. 
Time to start making adjustments.

Starting to work on defining the rail. I took my time and scraped and painted 
the words in with my palette knife.

Clothes line and milk carton are now in. I also added two clothes pins. 
Now for a few more changes and it should be there.

Done, I felt after putting in the milk carton that it drew too much attention away from the cabin. So I toned it down and added a few leaves to push it back. I also worked on the ground. It needed the path to be windier and the tree shadows a bit more cleaner.
 Details from the Painting.
Framed and ready for delivery.

By James Swanson / Traveler Chrissy
16"x 20" Oil on canvas
Painting a request or commission is a little different to paint than normal paintings. When you are painting, you kind of have this feeling that you are being watched, and in the back of your mind you know this painting is already sold and must be perfect to you and those watching behind you.
My thanks goes out to our Traveler Chrissy for searching me out for this painting and all of her photos and story. I hope Jay and Chelsea like it. And best wishes to you and your Fiance on your up coming nuptials!
The Artist and the Traveler project is always open to new places and stories. If you have one that you would like to tell you can contact me here or at the website www.theartistandthetraveler.org
Until next, Happy Trails to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cable Car Named Desire of San Francisco.

 "Cable Car of San Francisco"
By James Swanson / Traveler Galen
12"x16" oil on canvas
In this journey of travel and painting, I've met a lot a fantastic people and made some great new friends.
Traveler Galen
Our new Traveler in this series is Galen. Traveler Galen puts the word world in world traveler.  He has touch all four corners of this plant and then some.
I came a cross Traveler Galen when I was trying to find someone who has been to Greenland. I couldn't find any one I knew so I had to do some free styling to find someone. And I found Galen.

San Francisco Cable car, All photos are from Galen's website.
Galen had some nice photos of Greenland and when I checked out his site I was flabbergasted. His website is a encyclopedia of travel trips. There really isn't a place on this earth that he hasn't been.
Traveler Galen's Tale:The driving force behind the San Francisco cable car system came from a man who witnessed a horrible accident on a typically damp summer day in 1869. Andrew Smith Hallidie saw the toll slippery grades could extract when a horse- drawn streetcar slid backwards under its heavy load. 
The turn around
The steep slope with wet cobblestones and a heavily weighted vehicle combined to drag five horses to their deaths. Although such a sight would stun anyone, Hallidie and his partners had the know-how to do something about the problem. 
End of the line.
Traveler Painting " Cable Car of San Francisco"Out of all the places that Galen has been to pick from, and I pick cable cars in San Fran, go figure?
Galen's photo that I'll be drawing inspiration from.
 I've spent days looking at  Galen's in depth travel site and I think I just needed to get a painting under my belt to get to get things moving. Anyways it won't be the last we see of Galen I'm sure.
The painting steps to Cable Car of San Francisco.
The rough sketch on canvas to get me started. Galen fad a real nice shot here or me to work off of.
The dark colors are painted in after that.
Sorry, I got into this painting and missed taking a few painting steps. But what I was thinking about at this stage was trying to capture the warmth and cool shadows of the street. The buildings, well when I painted them in I just wanted to keep them loose gooey.
Here the painting is all blocked-in. There is still a lot of things that need to be worked out yet, but I know  where this painting is going.

Most of the details are in the now. But there is a few color adjustments yet to be made. 
Here I've started to concentrate on the cable car more. Defining the car and the people a long with the ground shadow is what was needed.
This painting is pretty much there now.

 Details from the Painting.

Framed and ready to go.

 "Cable Car of San Francisco"
By James Swanson / Traveler Galen
12"x16" oil on canvas
I thought this would be a good painting to start Galen and us off on, and I think I was right. Gale the Traveler is off to Africa right now, and promises to have some more adventures tales for us when he gets back. Thanks Galen and good hunting. If you have a day check out Galen's Travel website here.
this art project is always hunting for new travelers with stories to tell. If you have one you would like to share pass it along to us here or at www.theartistandthetraveler.org
Next up a wedding to remember, until then bon voyage!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There's no place like Home.

"Grand Junction Horse Barn"
By James Swanson/Traveler Jim S
28'x24" oil on canvas

Learn how this painting was painted here and at the end of this blog step by step.

So far in the Artist and Traveler adventures the Artist Jim Swanson has learned about walking in the UK, nap time in Italy, counting in China, Fly fishing in Montana, and sleepless in Seattle. Now it's time for the Artist to tell his traveling tale.
Traveler Jim S, with family painting on the beach in South Haven, Mi.
Meet Traveler Jim S. (OK that's me) an artist in Chicago for more years than I will tell. Making a living as an artist is a tough business, it's usually feast or famine, the hours can be weird and unpredictable. 
South Haven, MI
That's why years ago my wife and I invested in a summer cottage Near South Haven, Michigan to get some sanity back in our lives, for us and our kids.
Osterhout lake
The cottage is located near the blink and you missed it town of Grand Junction. It's about 15 minutes down the road from South Haven MI.
Christmas Tree farm
What I really love about our cottage is it's location. Besides being a great quick get away place, it's also painting haven. There's water in front of me, old pine tree farms behind, and open fields everywhere to fill my canvases.
Neighbor Ralph's horse corral
 But right down the street is neighbor Ralph's horse barn, and he and his three horses let me paint there when ever I want.
My new painting buddies.
Traveler Painting Grand Junction Horse Barn: The day I took these shots I planed to do a painting right there in the horses pasture. With the horses checking me out and giant horseflies fling around my head I set up to paint.
My Plein air box for field painting.
I had my paints out, canvas ready, and sketch done. But what started off as a great sunny day ended up with me running for my life with easel and paints under arm, when a huge thunderstorm came through. The storm was so big it knocked the power out for three days and I ended up whipping the  canvas off, but not this one.
 The photos that I'll be working from.

 The steps of Grand Junction horse Barn:
Sketch on canvas. 
Dark colors are painted in first.
Here I am laying in the different greens of the painting. The brighter warmer greens will come forward and the cooler bluer greens will fall back creating depth.

Now I put in the ground and start on the sky.
All blocked-in. Wet paint is everywhere at this point, but a lot of good things are happening. The red barn is nicely put in, the trees have good form, and the darks are clean and fresh.

Almost there. The horse has been put in and the sky has been worked on.
Done, I had just a few clean ups to do to finish this painting off. A lot of the adjustments were just color adjustments.

Framed and ready to go.
"Grand Junction Horse Barn"
By James Swanson/Traveler Jim S
28'x24" oil on canvas
This painting was a lot of fun to do and I hope that shows through in it. I thought I had some great reference to work with on this one and knowing the location sure helped with the details.
Thanks goes out to Traveler Jim S. for this nice find (oh that's me).
I'm always on the look out for new places to paint, contact me here or through the website www.theartistandthetraveler.org
Thanks for joining me next up a quick trip to San Fran.