"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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Double Feature

"Winter Hay Stack"
By James Swanson/
Traveler Helmut
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas

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

Two for the price of One! Buy one get one Free! Double your pleasure!

These are a few advertising slogans that are meant to entice you to buy and get more.

Helmut with his dog Sheila and Ann Hiley
( photo from the
Hiley website )

This next painting project is also meant to entice you, it's really two projects, thanks to our new Traveler Helmut.

Photos are from some of Helmut's many walks

Helmut is a walker in Austria I found through a link from another Traveler. The link said something about “Helmut’s photographic record of his trips around his home in Winzendorf Austria”.

Helmut know his botany.

But when I looked at his site, it was way more than just a record. Helmut takes some wonderful pictures that captures his home and other journeys of his. Take a look when you get a chance.

From one of Helmut's many walks

Helmut’s Story: I share my landscape impressions as seen through the lenses of my digital camera with all who are interested.

Helmut's home Winzendorf

I am reporting about short walks and bicycle tours to the surroundings of my home Winzendorf as changing during the seasons, as well as about other areas visited on day tours, journeys and vacation.

Helmut's walking companion Sheila

2 Traveler’s Paintings - “Winter Hay Stack” and “ Winzendorf”

The photo of Winzendorf I used to work from.

These next two paintings are a Double Feature for you. The “Winter Hay Stack” painting was started as a painting demonstration for my painting class and “Winzendorf” was a paint along the class and I did together. I don’t have many photos of either of these as they were painted, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and show both.

The photo of Helmut's I used to paint from.

“Winter Hay Stack” Out of all of Helmut’s beautiful photos I picked this one because when I saw it, I saw it as a painting. That’s how I pick out a lot of photos for this journey. I see it and it just says paint me. And that is what I did with this one.

The Sketch: Yes, I did this little sketch in front of the class. It’s funny no one laughed at me for the dumb little drawing. But this little drawing has all the info for the painting. Helmut already had a nice design in the photo all I had to do make it work in a painting.

This where the painting was after the first class.

It was a good start and I thought I'd be able to knock it out the rest of the way pretty easily. Wrong!

This where the painting was a few days later. I didn't get to do much with the hay its self in class, so I started the work there.

A few weeks later- After staring at this painting for a couple of weeks I finally came up with what was bothering me. The snow was just too strong and needed to be knocked back, and the hay stack its self was too wide.

Now the painting is getting somewhere. A lot of small fixes are adding up. I lighten the snow- again, and worked on the background. I'm trying to get Helmut's village back there to read but not be seen or over powering.

My photoshop fixes to be done to the painting. There is nothing worse as an artist than reworking a piece and screwing it up, because you weren't sure what to do. That is why when a painting gets to this point I photograph it and play with it on the computer.With this fresh look I could see right a way what needed to be changed. First clean up the trees and things in the back. The big thing thought, was to add a fence and it's shadows.

Done! Only a few months have gone by since I began this painting. But know I can finally say it's done, complete, finished!!!
Here are some details from the painting.

Done and Framed

"Winter Hay Stack"
By James Swanson / Traveler Helmut
16" x 20" Oil on Canvas

Painting #2

Helmut's photo that we worked from.

This painting was done as a “paint along” with my painting class. The whole class and I worked from the same photo of Helmut’s. I’d paint and the class would follow. As I was painting and walking around making painting comments to the students, I forgot to take photos of the paintings progress, but I did take a few shots of some of the student’s paintings for you to enjoy.
The Sketch: as a group we dissected the photo for our paintings. One of the things the students wanted to take out of the picture was the telephone pole. But I over ruled saying that was one of the photos strongest elements to me. And with the strong diagonal coming in from the corner it would be a stop in the painting.

Student Teri working near the end of class. She had a real nice start for one class.

Student Karen's painting at the end of class. Heck of a start too.

The teachers(mine) painting- It was a good start for me. I wanted everyone to paint the depth that was in Helmut's photo. After painting in my darkest darks we worked from the back mountains forward, trying to capture the depth.

End of class. Lots of things need to be done yet, but over all a real good start.

I finish the painting the next day. I like to leave the important little things until the end - like the trees and the houses. And finally the pole went in. I painted it with the edge of a palette knife.

Framed and ready to go.

By James Swanson / Traveler Helmut
14" x 18" Oil on Canvas

That was double the fun wasn't it. I want to thank Helmut for the use of both of his photos, and I hope to paint a few more of his wonderful walks soon. Take a look at his site www.landschaftsfotos.at/ he really gets around and knows his flowers.

And if you get around and would like to join in on this painting adventure send me a note here or at www.TheArtistAndTheTraveler.org.

Until next time “ So long, far well, I really have to go.”

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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.