Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Reaching"


Reaching
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

When I first passed by these two massive Oak trees on a hazy, softly lit morning, I was struck by their resemblance to giant hands reaching out of the ground.  I tried to hint at that idea, particularly in the forward tree, by emphasizing the knobby, knuckle like joins and finger like branches. 

I started this painting with a pencil sketch, then went to work on the Oaks. After I was satisfied with the trees I painted the negative spaces of sky between the branches.  There's a push and pull about painting branches this way, and often smaller branches are repainted or even scratched out.  The end effect is a complex weaving of positive and negative space.  I kept the grasses in the foreground and distant tree line loosely painted, but tried to play up the contrast between the brightly lit fields in the background and the cooler, shaded greens up front.

This is another view from Oak Knoll Farms on Hwy 124 just outside of Beaumont, Texas.  After spending a couple of hours on this painting yesterday I intended to come in this morning and do a little bit more to it, but when I came in and gave it a once over I decided to leave it be.  I often think a painting needs a touch more work, and sometimes this gets the better of me.  There's often a freshness to a spontaneous work that can't be duplicated and is easy to lose.



Friday, February 21, 2014

New Daily Painting "Kaleidoscope"

Kaleidoscope
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 12"
2014


Click here to purchase this painting.

I've had this image in my head for a while. Back in October I made a quick 8" x 10" oil painting on canvas mounted on board. It was very rough and expressionistic and didn't quite hit the mark.  Yesterday I pulled out that old painting and a few reference photos and started again, this time on a 12" x 12" canvas. 


I started with a pretty loose pencil sketch on a lightly toned canvas.  I knew the sky would make or break this painting so I focused on conveying the movement of the clouds while retaining enough definition to keep the canvas from dissolving into a multi-colored mush. I only managed an hour and a half or so yesterday, but managed to get the sky mostly put together. 


Today I came in a bit early and worked on the tree line and grass in the foreground.  After I had the whole canvas covered with paint, I began layering a bit thicker paint on top, finally finishing with a few more brush flourishes in the sky and the bright highlighted clouds at the center of the composition.


What keeps this image in my mind is the way the clouds seem to explode from the hotspot of the sun behind the trees. I always feel such energy watching the world as it seems to die at sunset, yet at the same time I'm filled with peace. I've tried to let the paint handling convey a bit of the vibrant, charged atmosphere while the calm blue sky and soft greens and reddish hues of the foreground lend a bit of tranquility.


I'm calling this one "Kaleidoscope" because the swirling multi-colored clouds reminded me of the circular patterns of my old child's toy.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Oak Knoll Farm"

Oak Knoll Farm
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.




Yesterday I posted some pictures of this little painting in progress (http://paintdailytexas.blogspot.com/2014/02/new-daily-oil-painting-of-hay-bales-in.html.)  It was a hectic day and hard to get in painting time and at the end of the day I wasn't really satisfied with this canvas.  The drawing and composition seemed strong, but overall the painting was kind of dull.  I was very happy with the initial lay in of the tree, but the background seemed kind of flat and the foreground and hay bales just weren't focused enough. After letting it sit over night I came back to it in the morning and re-worked the whole painting.


I started by punching up the color in the hay bales, adding brighter oranges and even some very light yellow green tints along with some soft greenish blue highlights.  I added some violet and light blues to the distant tree line in the background and brightened the field as well.  The tree gained some red and green highlights and the foreground gained some needed definition, particularly the patch of dirt in front of the hay bale.  I also punched up the sky with a light yellow and broke up the dark shadows of the hay and foreground grass with some ultramarine blue.


Overall I'm pretty pleased with this painting now.  I enjoy the layered depth the color takes on with the added, thicker impasto paint on top. Oak Knolls Farm is a beautiful little stretch of land.  I've been thinking of doing some more of the area but focused more on the beautiful and graceful oaks.  This is only my second time to ever paint hay.  It always seemed a little too much like walking in Monet's shadow, but I'm learning to let go of any hangups I still have left over about that and just paint what I enjoy. I hope you enjoy it too!   

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New daily oil painting of hay bales in progress


Today was pretty hectic. It was hard to eek out time between classes and at lunch to paint, but I managed to get a good start on this 8"x10" canvas of some hay bales in a field near Oak Knolls Farm on Hwy 124 near Beaumont, Tx.

I drew this a while back and pretty much forgot about it. I pass this spot all the time and love the look of the trees against the more geometric shapes of the hay bales.

i decided to hold off calling this one finished. I want to do a little more to it in the morning, maybe push the colors a bit.  In the meantime, here's a few shots of the painting in progress. 


I haven't decided a title for this painting yet. Any ideas?

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Sunset at Cypress Lake"


Sunset at Cypress Lake
Mark Nesmith
Oil on oil primed linen panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.




I've been doing a few painting of Cypress Lake, the horse shoe shaped pond at my Apartments (still have no clue where they got the name from...)  Here's a quick study of the pine tree lined shore and reflection at sunset. The sun has dipped below the horizon and the trees are little more than silhouettes.


I played quite a bit with this one.  It's thicker than most of my small paintings. I kind of like the impasto in the reflections and the texture of the tree tops.


I'm planning to do quite a few small paintings of Cypress Lake to help me plan out a series of larger paintings.  I think sometimes it takes a while to really get a feel for a new place.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Twilight"


Twilight
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
7" x 5"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

On the back side of the apartments I live in there's a large field where I often walk the dogs. The right of the field is bordered by pine woods, and the back runs alongside a small drainage canal with another expanse of trees along the other bank. There's a small dirt access road that cuts through the field bordered by grasses. All this makes for an interesting combination of geography, especially in the morning and evening hours when the low angle of the sun interacts with trees and canal.

This lonely tree stands near the canal where the mowed stretch of right away, the ditch, and a few plowed or planted areas intersect and create some unusual zigzag diagonals. These built in landmarks create a sense of instant depth that's fun to play against with the background.

I've always loved trees in winter. Their leafless limbs take on the appearance of a skinny old man and the intricate web of small branches and negative space creates a beautiful, flickering rhythm.

Here the sun has slipped below the horizon off to me right leaving a soft afterglow to permeate the sky and grasses. It can be hard not to overdue the subtle color shifts at twilight, but I find it's a sublime and magical time of day to paint.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Daily Oil Paiting "Red Flyer"



Red Flyer
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.


One of the nice things about doing so many small paintings is the freedom it allows for exploring subjects and techniques that I might not otherwise do in my larger studio work.

This old red wagon sits out front of a friends' home.  She has a beautiful place on a nice stretch of land.  I've been out there a few times and have always been so interested in the great little pond with a small pier and a lovely arched bridge that I never even noticed the old wagon.  That's what I like about artists, we're all so observant, right?  Ha!

Anyway, her home is the meeting place for the Santa's Children charity toy drive.  I've been privileged to help out the past couple of years.  I've donated paintings for their auction to raise money, helped wrap presents, and this year I was able to go on the toy run and help deliver the presents.  A dozen or more vehicles meet up at her place for a caravan of toys.  It's really an incredible and worthwhile event. 

When I was out there this past Christmas, I took lots of pictures including plenty of the pond as always, but also several of this old carriage.  When I was going through some of my files yesterday looking for some inspiration this red flyer leaped out at me.

This is a small 5" x 7" oil painting and presented quite a few challenges along the way, particularly all the small, intricate areas of negative space between the spokes, seat, and the fence in the background.  I loved playing the various red inflected hues of the wagon against the green grass, and was surprised to find so many shifts and blue tints in parts of the wagon.  The field was full of fallen leaves sporting the deep red tones of fall, and scattering a few reds, maroons and pinks throughout the  foreground and some lighter tints in the background really helped tie the whole painting together. 





Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Sky Falls"


Sky Falls
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.




I spend a lot of time in my car. My daily commute is about 50 miles. Depending on the season and daylight savings time, I'm almost always driving down the interstate at either sunrise or sunset. It's the one saving graces of driving so far for my job.

As far as I'm concerned, if you see the sunset and aren't filled with a sense of awe there must be something wrong with your eyes or your soul. On this afternoon I was struck by the last rays of sun shooting out over the tops of the pine woods to illuminate the scattered bursts of clouds overhead.  

There's a big part of me that wants to keep working on this one, but I don't want to overwork it and get too fussy. Part of the magic a beautiful sunset is that it's a fleeting moment. I tried to keep the loose, spontaneous feel and sense of movement that sparked my imagination while still conveying a sense of the grandeur and sublime beauty only nature can provide.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Afternoon at Cypress Lake"

Afternoon at Cypress Lake
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.





The apartments I live in aren't fancy. They're an older complex and don't have the modern amenities and upscale look of newer complexes in the area, but I love my place because it's situated outside of the city and has acres of land to explore.


One of my favorite spots is Cypress Lake. They call it a lake but it's really just a decent sized horse shoe shaped pond. Despite its' name, there aren't any cypress trees to be found, but the bank is lined with tall pines.


I often visit the pond at sunrise or sunset to catch the brilliant sky filtered through the pines and the rhythmic rippled reflections on the water, but this particular painting is from a quiet, sunny afternoon. I painted this rather quickly and used a single stiff bristle brush, keeping the details to a minimum and focusing on the silhouetted mass of pine trees against the sky.


I've started a few larger paintings of Cypress Lake and have a series in mind.  It's quite a luxury to have such a scenic and inspiring location just a few hundred yards from my door.  I think I'll manage to do a little plein air painting here soon.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

First Blush - New Daily Oil Painting




First Blush
Mark Nesmith
Oil on canvas on panel
8" x 10"
2014
Click here to purchase this painting.

This past year I started cycling. There are lots of lightly traveled roads near my brothers' house in Hamshire. One of my favorite routes starts on Hwy 124 then turns and loops around a couple of back roads  near Elgin. I love riding this way because of the gorgeous scenery, particularly this little stream the road passed over.

It's framed by tall grasses with a beautiful tree line in the distance, and the water is always blanketed with lily pads. Of course this time of year there aren't any blooms, but the pads themselves offer an array of hues from lush greens to cool bluish tints to the reds and browns of the lilies that are past their prime. 

On this early morning ride the sun flooded the whole scene with golden yellows and soft oranges. The play of the warm sky and its' reflection in the water against the cool green and blue banks of grass was irresistible. I had to stop and get off my bike to take lots of reference photos with my phone. This is my first attempt at capturing the magical light of that golden hour. I'm pretty happy with this little painting, and already itching to flesh it out on a bigger canvas.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Siblings - New Daily Oil Painting


Siblings
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas on Panel
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to buy this painting.



Trees often take on figurative qualities in my eyes. Earlier this week I was out walking the dogs and came upon these two trees. Sunset was starting, the sky was still a vibrant blue but the clouds were starting to take on golden hues, and these trees instantly reminded me of a little brother tagging along with his older sibling.

I'm also always enthralled with the little staccato rhythms of the light shining through the branches.  These sky holes of negative space seem like a little drum solo.  Must be the musician in me.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Clouds at Dawn - New Daily Oil Painting


Clouds at Dawn
Mark Nesmith
Oil on canvas on panel
8" x 10"
2014
Click here to buy this painting.

Here are a few shots of this painting in progress.  I started with a loose sketch outlining the major areas of the composition and the strong shadows and contrasts. From there I started laying in the darker parts of the clouds and sky. 




Once I had the sky well underway I started on the dark masses of the woods on the right hand side, then gradually worked my way through the line of trees
in the distance.





With the shadows in the woods established, I focused on the splash of fall reds in the foliage.


Finally I quickly brush in the yellow and orange field before adding a few brighter highlights to the clouds.