"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, April 18, 2010

Long Journey Home.

"Long Road Home"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Diane
18" x 24" Oil on Linen
For Ogden School 6th Grade class.

How the "Long Journey Home" was painted.

OPA!!! OPA!!! Something must be cooking.

Flaming Greek Saganaki Cheese

I started this painting about a month ago for the 6th Grade of Ogden School in LaGrange, Illinois.

Ogden School 6th Grade class.

Following their directive to paint Greece, I went out and found a Traveler who has been to Greece and had a story to tell about their journey.

Photos from Traveler Diane's photo album.

Traveler Diane has been most kind with putting up with my pestering and questions about her trip.

Young Diane

Diane returned to her birth place after 50 years of being away to look for signs of her past and to take in the ageless beauty of Greece.

During Diane's 15 day trip she was able to meet her Greek relatives, and found a little of her past. You see Diane was adopted when she was 11 months old from Greece by her Greek American family. She also found that home is where the heart is, a little corny but true.

Diane and Greek relatives.

Since the 6th Grade at Ogden school are studying about Greece they had some questions for our Traveler Diane.

Questions from The 6th grade social studies class

Where exactly was the original photograph taken?
The photograph was taken on the island of Mykonos.

What body of water is this? The body of water is the Aegean Sea.

What coastal city is this? (If you can't tell, we've recently studied Greece's geography.)

Mykonos, also known as Chora (i.e. the Town in Greek, a common denomination in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town), which lies on the west coast.

Ruins on Delos
What types of boats are these? Fishing boats?

I think there were a variety of different boats on the shore. not sure what each of them were for - I don't have very good boat knowledge!

The Photo of Mykonos that I'm working from.

The Traveler Painting" A long Journey Home"
With the 6th Grade a long for the ride on this painting I've taken my time on it. In earlier blogs about this painting I've shown how I go about making a painting from start to finish. This is the finishing part of this painting.

Where we left off last time. The painting is totally blocked-in with paint, and some adjustments in color and drawing are taking place.

I've started here to look at the water and see what it needs. My son Owen a student in the class was good enough to point out that the water needed to be darker up front and I agreed.

The painting is still being adjusted. When you work on one area of the painting lon enough the other parts of the painting say they need some attention too!

The buildings in the backgroundneeded to be pushed way back. They were too bright almost lighter than the boat in the foreground. I was able to push them back by adding a little blue to the buildings color and send them back in space.

When I get to this point in a painting I like to step back and look at it in a different way. I first take a photo of the painting and then take the photo into a computer program called Photoshop and play around with ot to gat the look that I'm looking for. Can you see what I took out?

I still didn't like the way the water was looking, so I took another shot at it. I finally made up my mind to take the nose of a boat out and use the shadow of the water to be the road into the picture.

The painting is getting there now, but to keep the painting fresh looking I flip the painting upside down and paint for a while that way. This is a classic way to see the image as just shapes and not as things.

With the water working the rest of the painting fell into place. And since the kids asked about the fishing boat I did a little more research on them.

- Greek fishing boats have several things in common. For one they are all painted in beautiful clear and strong colors. It seems each fisherman tries to make a unique color- combination for his boat. And second they are all made of wood.

It's Done!!! Only a few little corrections to make and it's there. Here are some closer looks at it.

I heard from more than one Traveler that Greece has more churches per mile than any place else.

This painting was a painting within a painting.

I painted in a little ruin up on the top for my son Owen, because that's what he wanted me to paint in Greece.

My favorite part of the painting. It was one of the places on the painting that I painted once and never touched again.

"Long Road Home"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Diane
18" x 24" Oil on Linen
For Ogden School 6th Grade class.

What a learning expirence for me! Thank you Traveler Diane, I couldn't have painted this piece without your inspiration. It was a pleasure.

And to the 6th grade and
Principal Dr. Cynthia Boudreau get your pencils ready, you have to sign this painting too. Thanks for the questions and looking in, I learned a lot. Having a few 6th graders smarter than I am isn't so bad.

Until next time Ya Ssou!!, I'm off to meet up with our next Traveler.