Saturday, October 5, 2013

Painting Progress: Finished?

I may have a few tweaks (and a signature) to make to this painting when it has dried a bit, but I think it’s done. I managed to get both birds in the image without it looking goofy. The immature little blue heron is under the willow, looking like he's wondering if the great egret is willing to share the pond. If you look closely you can see that he sports a little patch of dark feathers.
I left out a couple rocks (among other things) that were in my reference photos. There were just too many bright objects on the shore and I needed to give the egret some space. Now, I like the way the line of rocks says, "Rock, rock, rock, bird! See, an artist can improve on reality!
Note: as you might imagine, the painting looks 10 times better than this photo can show. I’m rather proud of the shade area to the left of the path. In the original it's alive with muted flowers. There’s a lot to explore in this canvas. I hope you like it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

North Shore Arts Association

After several tries I have been juried into the North Shore Arts Association in Gloucester. It’s an honor for me, being a north shore boy, born and bred. My parents grew up in Essex and my grandparents lived there until their deaths, so the artists of the association were all around us. My mother’s parents had a large painting by Howard Curtis (a long-time NSAA member) hanging on their wall as far back as I can remember. Howard taught art at Gloucester High School and was a good friend of my grandfather's, who also taught there. The seascape above was a house-warming gift to them back in the 40s. I have to think that subliminally the painting inspired a young Stevie Simpson to be interested in art. I'm sure I pondered the wonderful grays of the foggy scene while eating Thanksgiving dinner in their living room or resting in the cool of their (1) giant air conditioner after helping them pick blueberries in August.

I went to college at Salem State University and the kind of art that was produced and encouraged by the NSAA was sneered at (a little) by the academics who taught me there. Modern art was the driving force in the 70s and realist landscape paintings weren't the coolest thing to be making as the time. Fortunately, most of the professors themselves were making realist art (with a twist) in their own studios so I received a great foundation in drawing and painting.

In a way I feel like I'm coming home again. I did my art experimentation (among other things, ha, ha!) in college and came back to the realist landscape anyway. It feels good to be home. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Painting Progress

I'm working on a painting of a farm on Cape Ann this summer. I photographed the view I like and frankenteined the design I want in Photoshop. I plan to give lots of play to the reflections on the surface of the pond — there are just so many wonderful mauves in there.

 Above is my initial lay-in painted on location. I'm just getting a feel for big areas of value and color and firming up the overall design here.

My second pass, this time in my studio. Firming up the major players.

My third session with the canvas is again in-studio. Normally I move all around the canvas, but this time I am bringing the house and the background line of trees along first because they will all be reflected by the pond. I hope my next session is on location again. I think it's time. Later. —SAS