Tuesday, April 28, 2015

:: Local Spring Color ::

Grabbing, once again, from my pile of canvas boards to be recycled, I decided to see if I couldn't capture the beauty & colors of a neighbors Flowering Cherry.  I couldn't ... this year the blossoms were spectacular.
Spring Color © Nancy Van Blaricom
Spring  8" x 6", oil on canvas board,  2015, ©Nancy Van Blaricom

Attempting to take a decent photo of this work, one of the places I took it was outside on the deck rail. I think I like it in the outdoor setting.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

:: Tree Study ::

Do you love evergreen trees as much as I do?

One thing I love about living in the Pacific Northwest is our abundance of trees.  I think I always took them for granted until I traveled to where there were very few.  Now I realize how fortunate I am to be surrounded by all this green.

I grabbed a canvas board from my stack of previously used and ready to be recycled canvases and decided to look more closely to these wonderful fir trees. Below a small study of the tippy top (not a technical term) of a local fir tree.

Fir Study © Nancy Van Blaricom
Fir Study, 8" x 6" oil on canvas panel, © Nancy Van Blaricom 
A few facts:
  • With Washington's temperate climate, abundant precipitation, and fertile soils, Washington has some of the most productive forests in the world.
  • Douglas fir is the worlds best timber producers and yields more timber than any other tree in North America.
  • Forestry is a long term business, taking as much as 40 to 60 years to complete a harves and replanting, or forest management cycle.
  • Douglas fir is the most important lumber tree in the U.S., also used for plywood, Christmas trees, paper and paper products.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

:: What should I have done? ::

I often look at one of my older paintings and ask myself 'what was I thinking', or better yet, 'why didn't I think more about how to achieve what my expectations' were for this painting.

A few days ago I was looking through some old photos of past paintings and came upon this little oil painting of a bunny.   For such a small painting, it is 6" x 6", there is so many things wrong with it that I can learn from.

NVB - Bunny Study

Looking at it now with fresh eyes I can see there is no sense of depth.

The foreground even though its in shadow, should be warmer than the background ... remember, warm advances, cool recedes.  As the path recedes it should get cooler in color temperature as well as the yellows in the grasses. A cool layer of blue glazed across them would help them to recede more. The color temperature is wrong. Also, there needs to be some color snuck into the path even though its in the shade.

The foreground grasses even though they are in shadow I could have added more value variation so that the tall grasses visually come forward, and maybe exaggerate the texture of the grass in the foreground, reduce the texture in the middle ground and really obscure it in the background.

In the tall grasses forward I could possibly have added some darker values ... almost as dark as the bunny, that way, the bunny would be more anchored to the foreground and the viewer.

As I continue to paint, I'm happy to say, the more I learn.
I enjoy revisiting these older works and thinking about how I could change them, or how I could paint a similar piece to make it a better painting.

Do you ever go back to see how you could improve a past work and ask yourself 'what should I have done?'

H A P P Y  E A S T E R

Monday, March 23, 2015

:: Tumwater Fall Park ::

Nancy Van Blaricom - Tumwater Falls Park
Tumwater Falls Park, 8" x 6" oil on canvas, ©Nancy Van Blaricom

Sorry about the glare...
I've had such fun with this painting .... attempting to paint the rapidly moving water and capture the different colors I was seeing.  They all should be this fun.

I'm finding I also enjoy doing some value studies and sketches in my 
sketchbook before I get down to the fun of the oil painting.  
 Value study in oils ...

Sketch in my sketchbook.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Around the Corner

I had posted this last week but decided even though I knew the tree was leaning toward the sun, in real life, it looks better in the painting to have it growing straight. I worked on it a bit more and was able to photograph it to re-post.

Around the Corner, Nancy Van Blaricom
Around the Corner,  oil on canvas,  8" X 6",  ©2015, Nancy Van Blaricom

Studies for Around the Corner - NVB

I thought it might be interesting to see how I came about painting this little scene.

I took the reference photo while we were coming home from shopping one day last fall.  Just as we were about to turn a corner I saw this setting.  I liked seeing the sun on the distant trees and the dark of the shade in the nearby trees.

In the bottom photos you see my studies from January .

I did thumbnail pencil sketch and immediately decided that I had centered the tree.  Then the oil study. I didn't do much better with the tree but I did like the varying heights that made the composition better.

From here I remembered what I liked about the scene in the first place, which was the sun in the distance and the shade in the foreground.

Maybe it was the journey I took to get to the end results, but,  I'm happy with this one.