"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.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Hounds of the Baskerville!

By James Swanson/ Traveler Paul
14" x 18" Oil on Linen

The Journey of this Painting.

Release The Hounds!!! as Mr. Burns likes to say.
On this painting journey there are quite a few places I'd like to see just because of a book or movie that I saw.

Traveler Paul

In this next piece we journey from foggy London to the area of Dartmoor to find out about what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" looks like, and met our next Traveler Paul.
Paul's Book

Traveler Paul is an authority on Sir Arthur Colin Doyle and has written a book about it "On the Trail of Arthur Conan Doyle: an Illustrated Devon Tour".

I came across Paul when I was researching Baskerville as an interesting place to see, and came upon "The Baskerville Weekend" and had to check into it.

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

The Baskerville Weekend is your chance to experience the stage from where the famous book was written, take carriage rides like Holmes and Watson did, tour the site of Dartmoor from the moors to the Churches and Graveyards,

and feast with Sherlock Holmes himself. It sounds like a great weekend for mysteries and sleuths, and our Traveler Paul is a big part of the weekend.

Paul's photo for his "Moods of Dartmoor" album which I will be working from.

Traveler Paul Notes: The photo was taken on a back road between Postbridge and Cator Court - very close to Laughter Hole and the East Dart River (Bellever) - this is near the location of Laughter Hole House and The Baskerville Dinning Experience.

Traveler Painting "Baskerville"- I really liked Paul's photo gallery of the Dartmoor moods, it gave me a real good sense of the place. The Photo that I worked from I felt caught the whole aspect of Dartmoor for me. I wanted to paint the painting moody, but not scary.

The Sketch: I'm painting this painting as a demo in front of my Oil painting class. I did the sketch of how I was going to layout the painting. the road would lead the viewer around the painting.

I toned the canvas with raw umber and oil and then wiped off areas that were lighter. I started the painting by sketching in my sketch and painting with the dark colors first.

Moving quickly,(it's only a 2 1/2 hour class) I painted in mountains and the middle ground.

Now I've gotten to the sky and foreground. The sky went in very fast and easy, and I like the way it turned out.

Working on the bushes in front. Here the color has to be the strongest to create depth. The things that are the closest have the most contrast in light and dark and color. So I wanted to paint them in first and then work my way back in the painting.

Working my way into the painting- I'm working on the middle ground here, building up paint thickness in the lighter colors. End of class at this point.

This is after I made a few adjustments in color and design.

Details from the Baskerville Painting

The framed Painting

By James Swanson/ Traveler Paul
14" x 18" Oil on Linen

Many thanks go out to Paul and my class for putting up with me on this painting.

Our Traveler Paul is writing up a storm he just finished his seventh book- "Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and Devon: A Complete Tour Guide & Companion". Look for it in your book stores.

Time to be moving on to find another Traveler. If you would like to be a traveler in this series drop me a note or clue to where to find you.

Until next time Cheerio!

Friday, May 7, 2010


By James Swanson / Traveler Dustin
16" x 20" Oil on linen

See the journey of this painting.

"Jack and Jill went up the hill." But in this case Dustin went up the hill with Jill.

Our next Traveler is our youngest so far.

Traveler Dustin, is the 12 year old son of my good friend Jill. Who was a Traveler in this series last year.

Jill and her family moved to their vacation home in the Adirondacks last year. Where she has been posting wonderful photo of their time there.

When I was first perusing her albums many of her photos struck me as a paintings waiting to happen. But one photo reminded me of a Andrew Wyeth painting.

Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" 1948

The only problem was, Jill didn't take the photo. Her son Dustin did. So Dustin is the Traveler for this painting.

Photos are from Jills Album

Dustin's Story from Jill:
Dustin took the picture because I told him too-hahahaha...wish the answers were more thoughtful than that...guess it was really a self portrait with my TMan taking orders and doing his usual best. I can always count on him to take the kind of picture I would take myself.
"My back's my better side-tee hee"

"luckily I have passed down "the eye" Offspring are cool aren't they?"

Our friend Jill is a poet and sent us this little diddly for her sons participation in this project.

A Prose for that painted pose -

"Walking away
Or moving toward
Thinking back
Or looking forward
Was I in the now
Back then?

When was that again?"

Dustin's photo that I will be working from.

The Traveler Painting "Jill" I found Dustin's photo alive in grays, and I've had it in the back of my mind to paint for a long while. The problem was fitting it in. The time has come.
The Sketch for the design of the painting. I really liked pretty much everything about Dustin's photo. All I want to do is slide Jill over to the left and out of the middle.

The Sketch on the canvas. I've also painted in my darkest dark color. I started with a wash of Burnt Umber on the canvas. I then rubbed out some areas and drew in the sketch.

The Start of laying in t of big color areas. This was a little scary of a painting to do, no a fence Jill. Keeping the colors tight in value and croma- intensity of the color- would be key. So I have pre-mixed my colors on the palette so there shouldn't be to many wrong colors standing out.

I'm working my way through the grays, in this painting, warm ones and cool ones. Trying to block in the painting and then to start making adjustments in color and drawing.

here I've started painting in the big areas and then working back into the areas with other colors. This is making the painting take form pretty fast. I watch my brush strokes also at this point, because you never know when a perfect stroke might happen.

My tough little critic. My son Owen came in the studio while I was painting and I asked him what he thought. He always has good suggestions on how to fix things. This time I just handed the brush to him and sad you fix it. And he did. Thanks Owen.

The painting is about 3/4 or more done here. A lot of little things need to be done like adding the touch of snow, details in the trees, and adjusting some colors.

Finished. I put in all the snow with a palette knife. I just scraped on the colors with it. It was also used in the details of the trees. If I put the details in with brush I would have tightened up. The knife keeps that from happening and creates interesting effects with paint.

Details form the painting.

Framed and ready to go.
By James Swanson / Traveler Dustin
16" x 20" Oil on linen

My thanks goes out to Jill and her son Dustin our Traveler, and my son Owen for helping out greatly on this painting. Traveler Dustin and his twin brother, another Owen are also published authors. There book " It Isn't Just a Game" is now on at the book stores, check it out sometime.

Well, my first year on this painting trip is over. I was able to make 35 paintings from different Travelers, and I want to thank them for their help and guidance. I have a few more blogs to write on some paintings for year one, but the painting for year two is underway. You can see them early at www.TheArtistAndTheTraveler.org and if you want to be a Traveler you can contact me here.

Until next time Bon Voyage!