Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 2 of working on my new painting (with a nod to J.M.W. Turner)

I managed to put in a couple of hours at the easel after work yesterday and started to lay in the rest of the sky area beneath the clouds and the dark mass of the tree line at the bottom. This canvas measures around 3' by 4' so I'm taking my time. Slow and steady wins the race.

I've always loved paintings of clouds and storms, but I often think people resort too much to shades of grey when picturing rain. I find the light during a summer afternoon thunderstorm to be vibrant and have an erie luminescent glow. I think J.M.W. Turner was perhaps the best at depicting storms. His often seemed almost completely abstract, made up of radiant swirls of color. Somehow he still managed to capture the threat and foreboding atmosphere at the same time. I'm hoping to capture a bit of those qualities in this painting.

New oil painting on my easel (Rain Storm Day 1)

I've been under the weather the last couple of days, but I've had this painting of a rainstorm in my head for awhile now so I just had to get started. It doesn't look like much right now but I'm oddly pleased with it so far, particularly the hint of blue sky poking through at the top.

I'm planning to post my progress on this painting over the next week or so and maybe give a few ideas about my techniques and process for those of you interested in that sort of thing. This will be mainly clouds with just the barest hint of a tree line at the bottom edge of the canvas. Right now it borders on the abstract. I toned the canvas with a bit of burnt sienna and drew in the basic shapes in pencil.

I don't always start on a toned canvas, and I don't always start with a drawing. I don't exactly have a specific formula for my work. I will sometimes leave the white gesso instead, especially on my smaller paintings, but I do prefer to lay down a colored ground first and i usually like to have some kind of drawing to start, either in pencil or charcoal or occasionally thinned paint. Toning a canvas is an old tradition in oil painting, but for me it actually goes back to my years of painting in soft pastels on colored paper. The bit of color underneath kind of unifies the painting and adds a shimmering depth to colors when allowed to show through a little.

Tomorrow iI'll probably lay in a bit of the trees at the bottom and the darker masses of the clouds. Stay tuned...

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm giving away a painting!


First off, a very heartfelt thanks to all of you who havebeen so supportive of my artwork.  Manyof you have become followers and “liked” my Fan Page (www.facebook.com/marknesmithstudio),and so many of you have always been gracious with your comments andappreciation of my paintings.  It’s beenabout a year since I was really promoting my work online, and those of you who know mepersonally know what I’ve been dealing with during that time, but I’ve decided it’sabout time I get back to the serious business of making a career out of thisart stuff ;-)  In the interest of givingmy online presence a shot of adrenaline I’m resorting to the oldest andgreatest marketing strategy in the book…bribery LOL! 

As a thank you to thosewho support and appreciate my artwork, I’ve decided to give away apainting.  I’ll be entering everyone’sname that subscribes to follow my blog Paint Daily Texas (http://paintdailytexas.blogspot.com) or click like and follow my fan page (www.facebook.com/marknesmithstudio) in a drawing for one of my oil paintings.  If you do both I’ll enter your name twice. Thiswill be an old school style drawing, just names in a hat.    Theprize will be your choice of the 8”x 10” oil paintings pictured here.  I’ll ship the painting in the continental USA for free,or can arrange local pickup if you’re in the area.  (If you’re outside of the country we can worksomething out.)   I’ll pick a winner March 8, 2013 (beginning of mySpring Break) and post the result on my blog. This is in no way affiliated with Facebook or anybody else, just a “thankyou” from me to you.  Please share thiswith anyone and everyone you think would enjoy my art.

"The Rocky Shore"
"The Last Sliver of Light"


"Sunset at Malloy Bridge Road"
"Frosted Fields"

"Hot Day at the Lake"
"Sunrise, Trinity River East Fork Wetlands"





Why I Paint Landscapes

Lately I've had a few people ask me about my work, specifically why I choose to paint so many landscapes. I've found myself trying to put my finger on exactly what it is I want to do with my artwork.  Sometimes landscape artists are kind of dismissed as being merely decorative, but to me a good landscape has the power to make us pause and maybe regain a little of the sense of wonder we lose as we get older and go about our busy days. 

Throughout my life as an artist I have often pursued figurative work and even spent a few years focused on abstraction, but at the end of the day I always seem to be drawn back to the landscape.  The landscape is the vehicle for my emotions.  From the rebirth and hope of a sunrise to the fear of a distant storm on the horizon, the calm contented peace of a lazy afternoon or the sweet sadness and awe I feel as the sun slips below the horizon at the end of the day.  The feeling of being alone and at one with creation lies beneath all of my work.  The lack of people in my landscapes lends a sense of timelessness and isolation, yet I often include subtle aspects that imply a figurative narrative.  Trees and other elements often act as stunt doubles giving a human like presence, sometimes withering and twisted, other times standing tall and graceful against the elements. In many of my paintings this narrative takes the form of the remnants of mans effort being reclaimed by the land:  a fence line long since abandoned and now overgrown, pylons of a washed out pier disappearing into the ocean, small almost imperceptible buildings dwarfed by the sheer vastness and immeasurable power of the world.  They all serve as a reminder that despite all our technology and “progress” all things end up returning to the earth.  We are but a part of the cycle of life.






Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunset

So it's been awhile since I've posted to my blog...divorce will do that to you. But I've finally gotten all of my accounts switched over and setup with my new address and email and all so it's time to get back to work! This painting has been on my easel for a few weeks. I've had more days go by in between painting sessions than I usually like which has led to more scumbling over dry layers than is my usual style, but all in all I'm pretty pleased with it. It's 24" x 30" and is oil on a gallery wrapped canvas. I hope the new owner enjoys it as much as I've enjoyed painting it!