On this cloudy day, we painted the wetlands in back of the Sheraton Hotel in Petaluma.

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On a gray day, the sky is usually the lightest area unless there is white object in the scene. The shadow notes on a gray day tend to be warmer than the light planes. The sun was coming from the upper left so notice how much cooler the light planes are on the trees compared to the mass of shadow notes.

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Start of my demo done on location during my Monday class.

 

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Final painting finished in the studio.

 


We didn’t meet this Monday so I am going to do a step study from my Friday morning Figure class.

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In the first lay in, I organized light and shadows. Because I was teaching, I didn’t finished my first pass during the 20 minute pose.

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Second 20 minutes, I finished laying in the first color notes.

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Next, I refined the color notes adding secondary color changes.

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Final portrait finished and refined in the studio. This included highlights and reflected light.

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It was raining outside so we did still life study inside under artificial light. Sorry, the photo of the start isn’t very good as I forgot to take one. This photo of the start was taken by one of my students. In my first lay in, I broke down the study into big shapes. The glass bottle was first seen and stated as a solid color.

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I then developed it with the second color notes, making sure that I kept what I had initially established.

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In the studio, I finished the painting.

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This Monday, I focused on big shapes. My demonstration was of reeds at Shollenberger Park in Petaluma, CA.  I didn’t start by painting the individual stalks but saw them as big masses that needed to stay in the foreground. The trees in the back were very blue because of the atmosphere in the air that day. The water on the right was darker than the sky but still needed to be warm as it was in light. You will often here me saying to students, “No dabby-cabby-doing”, which means don’t start with little pieces but start to see the big puzzle of related shapes.

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Here is a development of the start and a detail of the reeds in the middleground. I did not just copy what was in front of me but designed them.

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Finished painting. Note I have included figures scale and interest.

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Here is a picture of the scene in Petaluma at Shollenberger Park. It was a beautiful, sunny day. We are all anticipating the coming Spring.

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On Monday, our class focused on composition. I did three possible small sketches of the scene. The first drawing below is the first composition, followed by a color study.

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Here is the second compositional drawing and color sketch.

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And finally, the third compositional sketch. No sky, just the pathway and the surrounding foliage.

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These were done fast and started to give me an idea of what my final painting will look like. I also suggested that my students divide their canvases into thirds (horizontally and vertically) so they would avoid having their compositions be too symmetrical; or at least, be aware of that if they were.


We went to Shollenberger Park and the day started out gray, with a sky filled with wonderful clouds.  As I was painting the gray day, the sun came out. As I suggest to all my students in these changing situations, be prepared with two panels so you can go from gray to sunny. The top painting is the finished gray day and the bottom painting is the finished sunny day study.

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As you can see, the sky was filled with great cloud formations in the beginning!

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The following two pictures are of the scene and the start of the gray day painting.

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Second step and then the final painting, which was cleaned up and finished in my studio.

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Now my sunny start and finished painting.

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I never tire of painting this Petaluma, CA location. These are three paintings of the same view. Each painted in very different light keys.

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Light Key:  Late Afternoon The colors are oranger than the morning light.

 

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Light Key:  Gray Day  Colors are subtler.

 

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Light Key:  Early Morning Sun  Colors are softer than the late afternoon light.