"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, August 25, 2010

Got Milk

"Sour Milk Gill"
By James Swanson / Traveler Ian
12" x 36" Oil on Canvas

No reason to cry over this spilled milk, it's sour.
Our next painting adventure takes place at Sour Milk Gill in the Lake District of the UK.

Watch how this milk was painted.

Sour Milk Gill, derives its curious name from its white, swirling waters, flowing out of the tarn and descends through a series of impressive waterfalls.

And this is where we meet up with our new Traveler Ian.

Ian is a special Traveler for this project. Because he's the first photographer who tracked down this artist to see about being part of this paint the world art concept.

Traveler Ian's Story: This walk was the start of a journey retracing the steps of Alfred Wainwright,

We are lucky in that we live about an hour drive from the South Lake District , my website shows walks completed to date based around the Wainwright Fells. We generally walk once per month (the last Saturday).

The beauty of the English Lake District is the variety of landscape and the fact you never see the same place in the same light despite visiting many times – you can see all seasons in one day on many occasions.

One of Ian's photos that I will be working with.

The Traveler Painting "Sour Milk Gill" When Ian contacted me about being apart of this project I was honored to take a look at his portfolio. Ian shoots a lot of beautiful scenes of the UK, but when I saw Sour Milk Gill as a name for one of his photos, that was it. I had to paint it. Besides being a great spot, with that name it would be extra fun to paint. What a great name, and here is how Sour Milk Gill was painted-

The Sketch, since Ian is a photographer I didn't feel right about painting from his photo exactly. I wanted to use the photo as inspiration and not a poster to paint from. So I decided to try and squeeze everything into a tight horizontal painting.

The Sketch on Canvas. I'm using a fairly smooth 12' x 36' canvas that I've had good luck with in the past. I've treated the canvas with a paint mixture of Venetian Red and Raw Umber. I rubbed it in enough to get rid of the stark white of the canvas and then drew in the sketch.

Here the palette of colors for this painting. I like to work out must of the colors before I paint so when I'm painting I'm painting and not mixing colors too much. Seeing all the colors together also helps with the color harmony of the piece.

How the painting was started. As in most of my paintings the dark colors are painted first. This gives me a good structure to work from, and creates depth by right away in the painting.

In this painting I was going for big depth, and to make that work I started painting my colors background to foreground. All the colors painted after this area would be tied to it.

Painting in the patchwork valley was next. This area of the painting I want to be a focal point. Which will be a little hard to do because of the farm structures that will be on the right side of the painting.

Now to start on the mountains. The mountains on the sides are going to funnel the viewer back to the focal point. They need to be painted in simply and cleanly.

Painting is total blocked-in. The canvas is covered in paint. Now it's time to start carving out and defining some places. The farm area needs some work and the left corner section is too much stuff for this painting.

It's getting there. The painting is starting to work now. Just a few pushes and pulls and it should be there. The farm spot is where I will pull back and the patchwork valley is where the pushing is needed.

Done. I was finally able to make the farm area work with the rest of the painting. It's a little hard not making human structures focal points in paintings. The viewers eye naturally goes there, so it took a little patients to get it right.

Details from the painting.

Done and Framed.

"Sour Milk Gill"
By James Swanson / Traveler Ian
12" x 36" Oil on Canvas

This painting turned out real well, I'm happy. I would have felt sad if I let Ian down after he offered up his work. A big thanks and congrats goes out to Ian and his new son Oliver. It was a lot of fun painting this one and I hope it shows.

The Artist and the Traveler is always looking for folks to join in. Just go to www.theartistandthetraveler.org and let me know you want in.

Until next time Arrivederci! I'm off to Italy to meet up with another Traveler.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Air and Skye

"A Walk in the Skye"
By James Swanson / Traveler Gary
14"x 18" Oil on panel

Watch the Journey if this painting

If you ever felt like you were walking on air, you should try walking in the Skye?

Traveler Gary

The Isle of Skye in Scotland is where we meet up our new Traveler Gary. Gary is a UK walker that I met through another Travelers web link to his web site.

Photos are from Gary's web site.

Gary has a fine site called "My Wainwrights" where he talks about his walks in the mountains of the UK Lake District.

Photos are from Gary's trip to the Ilse of Skye.

The Wainwrights are a group of mountains walks named after Alfred Wainwright who pioneered the peek to peek walking. Our Traveler Gary has made all the climbs, but when I saw he walked in the Skye I had to get painting.

Traveler Gary's Story: This was our first visit to Skye, we were really lucky with the weather, six days of blue skies and warm sunshine.

We didn't do as much walking as we would have normally done, but we decided that the island was so lovely we needed to explore it as much as possible.

Gary's walking companion Tim.

This would allow us to be better prepared for future visits, which I hope there will be many more.

The photo of Gary's that I will work from.

The Traveler Painting "A Walk in the Skye" I wanted to paint something of the Isle of Skye ever since a friend told me about the place. He said it was a magical place where the folks believe in Fairies. And when I came across Traveler Gary's trip there he sure made it look magical.

The start of the painting. I rubbed mixture of Burnt Sienna, Venetian Red, and oil into the canvas and then used a paper towel to pull out the lighter areas. This gives the painting and atmosphere right off the bat.

I start with the darkest dark colors first. The darks are different shades and temperatures of Cobalt Blue and Venetian Red and Burnt Seana.

The painting Blocked In. Laying in the paint went really well from the start on this painting. It must be this magical place.

The sky of Skye. With the painting blocked in it time to start the refining process The sky in this painting has to hold its own against the landscape without competing for your attention.

Refining the painting its in the details. With my paintings I like having the brush do most of the work. I don't like forcing the brush make perfect shapes. I like dragging the brush flat across the canvas an letting the paint and brush do their job.

And then make judgement calls about what I like and what I want to change and what should be left alone.

The finished painting. I made quite a few little changes to this piece even after I thought I was there with it.

Details for the Painting

The Framed Painting

"A Walk in the Skye"
By James Swanson / Traveler Gary
14"x 18" Oil on panel

Going through Gary's web site is like going to Disneyland, a magical place. Gary has also open a second site Mountain and Skies of the UK of just his photos. Take a look I'm sure you will enjoy it. Thanks Gary, I hope to travel with you again when I get to the Himalayas.

If you have a trip that you'd like me to tag along, send me a note at www.TheArtistandtheTraveler.org.

Until next time keep an eye out for them fairies.

The Name Game.

By James Swanson / Traveler Spudmonkey
14" X 18" Oil on Linen Panel

The journey of this painting.

What do you get when you cross a monkey with a potato? A Spudmonkey!

New Traveler Spudmonkey - a photo of his.

Not a very funny joke, but it does bring us to our new friend and next Traveler of the same name, Spudmonkey. It seems a lot of people like to make up monikers for themselves when they are online. And our Traveler Spudmonkey has one of my favorite ones.

A photo taken during his walk.

That's pretty much how I came across Spud, I liked the name in the photo group that I'm in and thought I'd take a look at his photo albums.

And I'm glad I did. Take a look- Spudmonkey.

Another photo taken during his walk near Skipool.

Traveler Spudmonkey's Story: Seems a while ago since I took the photo! What made me go down there was the old boats in different states of repair or disrepair. It looked like a graveyard for boats. It would have been around 2pm in the afternoon and we had the dog with us. Who finished the walk wet and muddy.

Spudmonkey's dog Hollie.

It just seemed everything had been left untended for years. The boathouses were pretty rundown and the piers leading to them looked very unsturdy and unsafe! even the grasses growing around them could have done with a good chopping down. I think I stopped at this boat in particular because I enjoyed the light and color on the scene at that particular moment! hope this has been some help my friend!

The photo that I will be using for the painting.

The Traveler Painting: "Skipool" Spudmonkey who's real name is Rob- but I like the SM better- has been a UK walker for a long while and ever since finding him I've wanted to paint something of his. Not just because he takes some lovely shots, but also to say that I've worked with monkeys. Thanks Rob.

The Sketch: As always a rough sketch helps me get my barrings. I really liked everything about the photo of SM. But I thought the bottom of the one boat in front was too much. It wasn't needed, and getting it to read would be a problem.

The Canvas Sketch. I'm working on a oil primed linen panel that I've rubbed with a paint mixture of Burnt Seana and oil. I have roughly sketched in the composition of the painting and am ready to go to work.

Dark colors are then painted in next. This helps me find my way around the painting quickly, so adding the other colors to the painting is easier. Painting can be hard enough, so anything that helps make it a little simpler is welcomed.

Next comes the sky. I put the sky in to help balance off the painting at this point. The sky plays such a big part of this painting - color and design wise- that I also felt I shouldn't be left until the end.

Painting in the boats. I wanted to capture the boats a simple and as fast as I could trying to stay with the feeling of the photo. To do this I used very simple long and to the point brush strokes. Leaving the paint thick and thin in the right spots.

After that putting in the grasses and dock were easy. The real fun part of this painting was painting the shack on the dock. It was fun because I left a lot of the under painting show through and the paint just seemed to find it's own way on to the canvas.

Details from the Painting

Done and Framed

By James Swanson / Traveler Spudmonkey
14" X 18" Oil on Linen Panel

Thanks goes out to Traveler Rod, alias The Spudmonkey for the use of his photo in the project. I do hope to paint something else of the Spudmonkey sometime. Oh, and why Spudmonkey you ask? Rob just likes potatoes that's all, and of coarse it sounds funny. It tells us a lot about Rob.

And "Skipool" for the name? It is where Rob took the photo, and I liked the funny name.

Now I'm off to another painting adventure, if you would like to join in the fun send me a line at www.theArtistandTheTraveler.org
So long until next time.