Saturday, August 28, 2010

More from the Northwoods

"An Inviting Place"
© Nancy Laliberte
10" x 8" acrylic on canvas panel
plein air study

This is another painting from my recent plein air workshop with artist Ken DeWaard. One of the things Ken talked about in the workshop was, "What's your story? What do you want to say (with your painting)?" With this piece, I thought the sandy shore in the midground looked like an inviting place. I used the foreground grass and pine trees as a way to lead the eye in by keeping the values a bit darker (which they were); and exaggerated the grayness of the background to create a greater sense of distance (which it wasn't so much). With plein air painting you learn to push and pull values and color to help "tell your story." Painting exactly what you see, may not be the best way to tell your story. I may add some people and a canoe to the beach. They weren't there at the time, but that is the beauty of artistic license.

In a nutshell...
More tips and techniques learned from Ken's workshop.
• Have several panels prepared with a couple of different color washes. Lots of green? Try a warmer, reddish panel. (I like transparent red oxide.) Lots of sky or winter? Try a ochre or transparent yellow oxide wash. Experiment! (shown above)
• Starting: Draw a line around the panel about 1/2 inch in or so as a visual reminder for composition and framing. (shown above)
• Look for verticals, horizontals and diagonals in your scene. Make thumbnail sketches of the basic SHAPES (not objects!). (shown above)
• Step back.
• Color and value notes: Lay in your lightest light, darkest dark, and brightest color.
• Step back.
• Squint for value, look at the edges of shapes for color.
• Step back.
• Mass in local color.
• Step back.
• Go back and define the color shapes with cools and warms. Keep values close to original, then go into temperature changes. Build up the subtleties.
• Step back.
• Add details to the focal point. That area should have the most contrast and detail.
• Step back. I think you get the idea on this one : )
• Keep in mind, your darkest darks are not shadows, they are underneath objects. With sunlit objects, the dark color under them will be warmer because the ground is warmer, or sunlit around the object.
• Be saturated in your color, it is easier to gray down color than it is to jack it up.
• If you paint a warm color note, follow it with a cool color note, vice versa. For some great examples of this, see Ken's work, Dan Gerhartz's and Scott Burdick's to name few.

This is the second time I have studied with Ken. Not only is he an incredible artist, he is also a great teacher and person. I highly recommend his workshops.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Old and New

"Just Like Grandpa's"
© Nancy Laliberte
6" x 8" Acrylic on panel

It's been a busy several days since my last post. Last week I was at a plein air workshop with artist Ken DeWaard. The workshop took place "up north" in the Manitowish Waters, WI, area. The weather was a little challenging at times, but isn't that a part of the plein air experience?!! I studied with Ken last year and came away with a lot of information and this year was no different. I'll share more of that with my next post. This old Ford tractor was one of the subjects I painted during the workshop. It was in the middle of a grassy area at Voss' Birchwood Lodge. I don't know when it was last used or even if it works, but it reminded me of the old Ford tractor my Grandpa O'Gara had on his farm. Instantly, memories of childhood summer vacation stays with my grandparents on their farm outside of Wilton, Wisconsin, came flooding back. Here's to you, Grandpa!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From the South Shore of Lake Superior

"Water Play"
© Nancy Laliberte
8" x 6" Acrylic on panel

I love the sound of moving water from the ocean, a brook or even a garden fountain. It is so peaceful and relaxing. While visiting and painting with my good friend, Val Berkely, I was captivated by the waves coming in and dancing on the rocks along the shore. My challenge was to capture the color changes in the water as it ebbed and flowed over the iron-rich rocks indigenous to Lake Superior.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cupcake in Paradise

"Tropical Delight"
© Nancy Laliberte
8" x 8" Acrylic on panel

I felt like I should have been listening to Jimmy Buffet singing Margaritaville or Barry Manilow belting out Copacabana while painting this culinary delight. Not only was it piled high with creamy frosting and coconut, but it also had a pineapple surprise inside as well as the one on top. Sweet Lola's doesn't miss a beat. It reminded me of a pineapple upside down cake. I have to admit, these cupcakes have been a blast to paint and eat! Oops, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to type with my mouth full ;-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Whole Lotta Chocolate Going On!

"Chocolate Heaven On Earth"
© Nancy Laliberte
8" x 8" Acrylic on panel

Chocolate and peanut butter--count me in! Another cupcake from the Sweet Lola's Cupcakery and Bake Shop stash. This one was loaded top to bottom, inside and outside with chocolate and pieces of peanut butter cup. Yes, I did eat it. No, not alone (I always share with my family). And yes, it was delicious! Bon appetit!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Calorie-free Treat!

"Almond Joy"
© Nancy Laliberte
8" x 8" Acrylic on panel

It is interesting what a trip to the farmer's market can do for an artist! If you recall from my July 22nd post, I was inspired to paint cupcakes after a trip to the downtown Wausau farmer's market on the city square. My family has been cheering me on to paint these as quickly as possible. Why the rush? So they could eat my still life props!

On another note, I was one of five lucky artists to have my blog selected by Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry to be featured on this morning's blog talk radio show, Artists Helping Artists. They shared some great tips on enhancing your blog helping it work harder for you while you are in the studio or out in the field doing what you do best--painting! I'll be making a few tweaks to mine over the next few days. Click here to listen!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer in Wisconsin

"Midwest Quilt: A View From Above"
© Nancy Laliberte
20" x 24" Oil on canvas
Private Collection

Still working on show pieces, but I wanted to post a personal favorite that, for me, symbolizes the summer Wisconsin landscape. This is where I grew up. It is one of those paintings that was in my head and heart for many years. I just had to wait for the rest of me to catch up to paint it.

Enjoy your summer, and every day for that matter.