Monday, December 24, 2012

Painting stone buildings and fences in watercolor

In my December workshop on painting English Cottages I demonstrated an easy method to paint stones in buildings and walls. I am using some reference photos I shot on one of my trips to England. As always I start with a rough pencil value study or "thumbnail sketch" to help me decide what to put in and what to leave out.

The first step in depicting stone is to lay in a loose wash of a variety of colors, allowing the pigment to mingle freely on the paper. This helps to establish the lighter values of the stone and create some variety. After that wash is dry I like to use the side of a loaded brush to "scumble" across the rough surface of the paper. This adds to the texture and provides a few marks which we can turn into edges of the stone and shadows on the surface. Lastly I will identify a few stone shapes in random locations, usually along the edges and once again using a variety of color.

The object is to create a feeling of textured stone without outlining each and every stone or brick.

Notice in the finished painting I have changed many things from the original photograph. The painting becomes "my creation" rather than a copy of a photograph.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gallery Open House Tonight - Free Art Cards

If you are in the area, stop by my Art Studio and Gallery tonight during the "Art on Main" gallery stroll. You'll see my latest paintings, plus some plein air paintings from the Zion Thomas Moran Show.'ll get a FREE box of my Christmas Art Cards just for stopping by. The Studio is located just a half block south of the St. George Art Museum in the First East Plaza at 165 North 100 East #2. Yep, you have to come by in person. See you tonight!
Get a free box of Christmas Cards just for stopping by during my open house tonight. This is in conjunction with the downtown "Art on Main" gallery stroll between 6 -9pm.

My studio is in the First East Plaza office building located just a half block south of the St. George Art Museum at 165 North 100 East #2, St. George UT 84770

Many new paintings and limited edition prints are on display in my new gallery rooms.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Painting English Cottages in Watercolor

The photo reference of a stone house in the Yorkshire Dales 
A thumbnail sketch helps us plan the value relationships and decide what to leave in and what to take out.

It is difficult to see, but I use a very light 4H pencil to sketch out my design on 140lb Arches watercolor paper.

As the painting begins I use loose wet-into-wet washes to form the basic shapes. It is important to let pigments mingle on the paper rather than do all the mixing on the palette.

The finished painting completed in class
The focus of our recent workshop was a popular one: Painting English Cottages and Gardens in watercolor. We used reference photos and sketches that I made on several trips to Great Britain along with photos from recent trips from the other artists as well. Starting with a lesson on what to put in and what to leave out, we discussed ways to work from a photo without being tied to it. Most photos don't provide the information we need, so as artists we should be free to change whatever is necessary to add drama and clarity to our compositions. I was able to complete two demonstration paintings during the class, both of which were purchased by Connie Madsen. Future workshops for Spring 2013 are listed on my website.
Both demonstration paintings were purchased by Connie Madsen

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Plein Air (Outdoor) Painting in Zion

I remembered to stop and shoot a photo or two of some of the paintings in progress, but neglected to shoot most of the finished pieces before they were framed and whisked off to the sale.
Storm Above the Beehives painting in progress
A few photos of some of Roland Lee's on-location paintings in progress during the "In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran" Invitational at Zion National Park.

Small falls along Sand Bench Trail
White cliffs in East Zion
Mt. Majestic in the early morning
Sketchbook drawing of jagged peaks
Painting river reflections at Big Bend

Monday, November 12, 2012

Painting and Sketching Outdoors in Zion National Park

For me, nothing is more fun than spending the day painting outdoors. The Thomas Moran plein air event gave me that opportunity for one solid week. I used my Anderson Easel for the most part, but also just sat down and painted without an easel when I felt like it. Either way I brought along a comfortable folding chair which helped me stay comfortable. I completed about 15 paintings during the week, although several were quite small.
Sketching outdoors on a cold Zion morning
A comfortable set-up for painting outdoors. All the comforts of home!
Another gorgeous day painting along the Virgin River. Notice my chair on the far right bank. It doesn't get any better than this. 

Painting the autumn trees on the opposite bank of the river. 

Plein Air Painting at "Footsteps of Thomas Moran" Invitational in Zion National Park

Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Uhlinger from Monterey California returned to Zion this year and purchased my "Quick Draw" painting at the Auction.They also purchased a second painting from the Fixed-price show.
We just concluded a week-long painting event in Zion National Park. I was one of 25 artists invited from throughout America to participate in this plein air invitational. We painted every day as well as presented demonstrations and interacted with the crowds of visitors who came to watch the excitement. I was pleased to produce and sell 10 paintings on-location during the week and also won the "People's Choice Award" with a $200 cash prize. The weather was both wonderful and frightful, starting out with temperatures in the 70's and ending up with a snow storm and temperatures in the 30's. The autumn leaves were perfect with brilliant yellows and reds  to contrast with the dark cliffs. It was all perfectly wonderful. Painting outdoors is great no matter the weather!

Roland Lee wins "people's Choice Award" at Thomas Moran Quick Draw in Zion National Park

My chosen subject before the storm. But things changed in a hurry.

We had to keep laughing just to stay warm. My faithful gallery of watchers cheered me on. Photos by John Mangels.
The painting continues, along with the snowstorm and bitter cold

The Uhlingers purchased my finished Quick Draw painting
25 artists braved a blustery and bitterly cold day to compete in the Thomas Moran "Quick Draw" painting competition at Zion National Park. Waking up to temperatures in the 30's I was wishing I had brought along a pair of gloves in addition to long-johns for this day. As plein air painters we were semi-prepared to paint outdoors in any weather conditions, but some were more prepared than others. The sun ducked in and out of the clouds promising some fantastic views, but as luck would have it, turned into pelting sleet as soon as the competition began. I pulled my hoody over my head to keep the ice pellets from going down my shirt, but my poor fingers had to endure the storm un-covered. Of course as soon as the quick draw was over the sun came out. Each artist had a half hour to frame their painting and submit for the live auction. Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Uhlinger purchase my painting which they had watched me produce. And I was fortunate to receive the "Peoples Choice" award for the event.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Pein Air Painting with the Dixie Watercolor Society

Russell Black, our local master of the Rex Brandt watercolor style, is comfortable outdoors painting on location. 

Lola Krumenacher uses her Sienna paint box to whip up another wonderful painting.

Myron Laub cleans his palette as he prepares to finish his excellent painting.
The old geezer at work with his trusty Anderson Easel (they don't make them anymore) and his all-purpose folding signature plein air chair. Photo by John Mangels.
John Mangels, our fearless critique group leader, and keeper of the website can paint with the best of them.

Mary Manning invents a new easel set-up on the back of her rental car. She has won several national awards lately.

My plein air painting of the red cliffs and Pine Valley Mtn.

Dick Rose served many years as President of our painting group, but now enjoys painting without pressure. He was the best dressed painter with his fancy hat and sweater. Note his sweet painting set-up too.
The Dixie Watercolor Society enjoyed a morning plein air paint out yesterday. Coordinator Myron Laub put together another great trip for about 10 eager painters who painted the Red Cliffs near  Ivins, Utah. The weather was fantastic and the scenery just right. I was able to grab a few photos.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Watercolor Painting Demonstration at Workshop

I enjoyed presenting a two-day watercolor workshop for the Utah Watercolor Society last weekend. 22 great artists joined me at the Sons of Utah Pioneers facility where I presented several of my favorite art concepts and watercolor landscape techniques. Janet Brohm and Colleen Reynolds organized the workshop. Check the workshop page on my website for upcoming workshops.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Art Visit for Miss Bowler's Third Grade Class

An excited third grade class busily works on their art
My niece Lizzy Bowler invited me to visit her third grade class at Valley Charter School this morning and share a little about being an artist. Afterwards I was totally exhausted and very appreciative of all the wonderful teachers who have the energy to teach our children. The kids were all enthusiastic, interested, and asked tons of great questions -- even though we had to resort to occasional rounds of "One, two three...look at me" to quiet their excited chatter. But like most young people, they were eager to get their hands on pencils and crayons and show me their creations. After telling them about my trip to the town of Giethoorn Holland (where there are no cars or roads, only canals and boats) I asked them to draw what they thought it would be like to live there. Their imaginations ran wild as they concocted paintings of canal boats with them and their friends at the helm. Each wanted to show me what they had made, get my autograph, and give me a hug before reluctantly heading out to recess. It just reminded me that all children love to draw. They don't need instruction, just tools and paper to keep them happily busy for hours. Hmmm, sounds just like me! Maybe I never did grow up after all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plein Air Watercolor - Workshop Goes Outdoors to Study the Red Rocks

It was hard to keep up with the artists in my watercolor painting workshop "Painting the Red Rocks of Southern Utah." I had a group of very competent artists join me for a couple of days as we explored the way nature presents light and shadow to create drama in the landscape. Artists from Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah converged as we combined classroom Powerpoint demonstrations with live outdoor painting in colorful Snow Canyon State Park. Dozens of wonderful paintings resulted from our efforts. My next watercolor workshop in St. George is already full, but there is a waiting list. I will be presenting a two day watercolor painting workshop in Salt Lake City for the Utah Watercolor Society on October 26-27. See my website for workshop information.
Classroom demonstrations on how to paint light and shadow