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Update: This painting has been juried into the "Less Is More" exhibition with the opening reception on April 26, 2014 at 4-8pm. The show runs through May 10th. It can be purchased through this exhibition during the time stated at the gallery. Location of exhibition & sale:
Studio 2817/Anthony Salvo Fine Art – Gallery
2817 Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Painted 100% on location at Balboa Island, Newport Bay. A group of artists from LPAPA, Laguna Plein Air Painter`s Association met to paint for a afternoon to paint the area of Newport Back Bay and Balboa Island. It was a marine overcast kind of day with gentle light, so I picked some red dinghy boats as subjects to liven up the plein air painting. Each boat had trim of a brilliant blue on them, it made them pop even more on the silvery water. Warm green shadows sat beneath the boats giving a nice compliment to the red. I could not read the name on the foreground boat, so I invented Cherie and placed that on it. There are thick impressionist strokes in the whole piece.
Below is an image how the painting is framed.
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I am currently using this piece to paint a larger 48x36 studio painting with horses.
Here is what the day looked like when I arrived late morning, the sky was mostly cloudy but it was beautiful. I had to do this little workstudy to gather more information because a few months ago, I spotted a herd of horses running across this field and later I decided to paint a 48x36 of the scene from images I took. I wanted to come back to paint some of the color notes I observed from nature, bring it home and relay those colors to the large studio work, plus add some feeling of the place into the big piece from my impression. I spent only 45 minutes painting this little jewel to the sound of a brook flowing right in front of me. It was very peaceful and worth every second I spent recording what I felt and saw. I even recorded a 16 minute video of myself in this scene painting, so I will upload that to my Youtube Channel and place the link here tomorrow. The sound of the alpine water brook running is very audible in the video.
Here is the piece when I was done and the sun was coming out, that was good because it was in the low 40`s under the clouds. The mountains all around me had fresh snow on them. Everywhere I turned was a new painting I could do, 360 degrees!
I had to discipline myself though and paint this so I knew I was grabbing down believable colors that will be ever so important to my large pastural painting with these Cottonwood and Elm trees. As you can see I was being pretty accurate with the same colors on location as in the painting. A woman and her husband rode by on bikes and she really felt attracted to this piece, I could not let her buy it yet until I finish my big painting. The last thing I expected down a long country road was a new collector, I took her information. It made me feel really good.
One more image below is of the back end of the Prius we drove up to the Sierras in. My husband was fishing in a gorge down the road. I always bring my Chihuahua, Dolce and she is well trained to sit while I paint. She chose the back end to hang out on my coat to keep warm.
I could live here part time, but for now I keep making trips back to paint more and more.
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Currently not available until notification of acceptance or rejection from an exhibition.
I painted this one en plein air, 100% on location in Round Valley in front of Mt Tom on a sunny April day. The grazed ranchland below was lined with Cottonwood trees in a neat row in front of the mountain base. Sunlight was kissing the tops of the trees. It appeared all arranged for me to paint it, a lovely separation of low lands, spring Cottonwood trees, a 12,000 ft. rapidly rising snow peak, freezing up top, warm on the low land. The trees and grazed cattleland were warm while the mountain was very cold with its snowy cap. It had the perfect atmosphere. The jutting out areas formed triangles down to the flat land. It was a tough scene to paint in the short time I had that afternoon, the bugs were attacking me and all of the sudden strong gusts of wind would whoosh down the peak. But I persevered even though several times I was just about to quit. Sometimes the painting process can be maniacal; I go through many moods, doubts and technical decisions. The sunlight angles are moving faster than I can muster it all up. My determination is stronger than it all. So, I think, simplify, think large masses in value angles first, shadow designs next, points of light, focal area and color values. I have painted this peak several times now, each time I understand it better, I see new designs and experiment with color gradations. Mostly I paint it`s truth to give a sense of place and the immense power of the peak in relation to the trees and pastures beneath its base. Here is my first step when I began to draw in the composition on the linen panel.
In reading Edgar Payne`s book on The Composition of Outdoor Painting, I wanted it to have a balanced scales composition, although off center a bit. My focal area was on the lower right third of the painting. The row of trees were scattered irregularly with some openings between them so you could enter the mountain. From there the diagonals or triangles took you to the top of the peak. I kept the trees in a small proportion to the peak so you get a feel of its massiveness.
Hanson Puthuff painted in Round Valley, I saw one of his large paintings of Mt Tom at the Irvine Art Museum about a decade ago, and it hypnotized me. Here is his piece, although it is not snow covered.
I could tell once I discovered Round Valley that he painted the peak in the late afternoon, probably in the fall when the whole mountainside is in shadow. Rays of light cast beams down the sides. It was beautiful. I have seen it do that exact rays of light in person since I visit this valley a lot. I have been going to this area for 25 years, long before I learned about the early California impressionists. I painted it in fact about eight years ago after seeing Hanson Puthuff`s painting and it resides in my private collection. I will do it again; I am spiritually drawn to this area and now I know I have been in good company.
When I was done on this most recent springtime piece, I immediately wanted to paint it in the late afternoon light. But my husband was nudging me to head home; we had a 6 hour drive. I hate it when that happens. I took a parting image that I can paint from when the shadows on the snow where becoming light cobalt blue and violet. It looked so divine.
Here is the finished piece on location:
Here is the way my set-up appeared on the ranch roadside. I actually had several people stop their trucks and get out looking. I met some friendly folks there. I look forward to going back soon, but it gets extremely hot in the late spring to early fall, it is a high desert, volcanic tableland. It gets over 100 degrees on many days down in the valley. Early morning is the only time to paint there then. I always bring a cooler full of cold water and snacks. My Chihuahua, Dolce, lays on a towel besides me, she is a loyal mini watchdog. She went off to sniff something out when this image was taken.
Life is good when a painting is completed and I feel blessed by the land before me.
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I have to place a temporary hold on this until I hear from LPAPA if it was accepted into the upcoming Less Is More exhibition. The price is for a framed painting. It was recently painted en plein air at the Owens Valley in the High Sierras near Bishop, CA. I arrived there in the early morning light one hour after sunrise.
Below is an image of the finished piece on location, though the light had changed on the mountains from the previous deep blue shadows.
When I got it home, I felt the background needed to be lighter in value and the trees foliage needed more color saturation, then I detailed the focal point more. The focal point is the curving blonde reeds draping into the river and the reflection on the water. I had to move the largest Cottonwood tree over to the right of the center of the canvas. It was too dead center from my observations on scene. To show you how I began and what my stem or grid looks like when I begin my composition, see the image below:
At first I was thinking that the focal point could be that tree, but when I squinted my eyes, I saw that the draping light blonde reeds coming into the dark reflection on the water had the center of interest. Especially when a local color of glowing orange was in those reeds. You can see here that I also started painting the mountains right away before the sun rose higher. Those beautiful blue shadows would disappear soon, so the background was worked on first instead of the normal process of painting the background last. That design of cool blue behind the warm budding Cottonwood trees really grabbed me. See the image below for the completed mountains and the blocking in of the shadows surrounding and reflecting on the river. My last hour of painting was spent on filling in the midtones to highlights which were the reeds and foliage. I added more tree branches at the end and highlights on the river.
There were some fisherman and women coming to cast lines in the river later in the morning, it gave me an idea for next time I paint this scene. I will add fisherman. This is a great meditative location, I will come back to paint it again.
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Completed from a visit to Crystal Cove State Beach. An early morning start to plein air paint along the shoreline, then it was brought home to refine in the studio. The editor from Plein Air Magazine saw this image of the rock I was painting on, he asked if he could write an article on me, so here is the link to my first article on OutdoorPainter.com, Home of the Plein Air Magazine. This was exciting to have been recognized.
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"Pretty Girl Reading" 9x12, oil on linen. I began this painting at an open studio with several other Calif. Art Club members last Friday at the Randy Higbee Gallery. I needed to add her dress pattern and other refinements at my home studio. I asked the model what she was reading, she kept having this little smile come across her face in a sweet crooked fashion. She was reading "Girl Interrupted", the novel from which a favorite movie I liked was made. I felt the title should have girl in there somewhere, plus she was very pretty. Just not crazy like Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder were in the film.
Here is an image of the painting while at the open studio:
I didn`t have much time to paint, I sketched at a different angle at first, didn`t like it at all and had maybe less than two hours to create her form in oils. I liked this frontal position because it showed her eyes glancing down at the book in her lap. The top edge of the open book made a nice contrast upon the shadows in her lap. From head to toe was a nice flow through. I squinted and blocked in major shapes along with proportions using color notes I observed. The painting pulled itself together quickly by doing just that. The light was low and that red dress popped against the black curtains and stage. I particularly liked the Japanese pattern of abstract flowers and what appeared to be litchi nuts? Here is an image of the last work before I brought it home to finish it in my studio.
As you can see I had the major shapes placed down and her facial features lightly indicated. The face was not detailed any more than what was created at the studio. I wanted it to remain fresh and not overworked. Just an impressionistic capture. Besides the face is small in this painting, trying to do any more details would ruin it. Believe me, I`ve done that before and it never ended well. When I brought the painting to my easel at home, I prepared new batches of different values and hues of red using Cad Red Med and Light, a dab of Cad Yellow, plus Alizarin Crimson. All were mixed either with Gamblin Chromatic Black, left full hue or mixed with a tiny bit of white to have 4 values, maybe 5 using black or crimson again as an accent in the folds and trim. This way the dress was formed from the darkest to lightest colors, no value of red was over a 5. After I built the dress I made different values of the colors you see in the pattern design and applied them wet into wet for an integrated appearance. Otherwise the patterns would pop out like they were floating on top of the fabric, not part of the fabric weave. All ended well for this piece.
The price is without a frame, I can have it framed for another $50.00. S&H is extra, CA residents need to add 8% sales tax.
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I received a bouquet of Oriental Stargazer Lilies for Valentine’s Day from my husband, he knew I loved these flowers from long ago and surprised me with them. He is very sweet that way. Their fragrance is intoxicating and they filled half the house with their scent for over a week. I set them on my kitchen table which is an oriental fish pot with a heavy beveled glass top. The Irish lace curtains in the window allowed much filtered light to cascade in. I had to paint them, so I looked for a few more items that I felt related to their color. After I played with arranging the Fenton Glass candy dish and the Caribbean Queen Conch shell, I felt it needed more, so I added the Chintz plate under the vase. They all appeared so old world like a kitchen from the past in Europe. Combining all these on a glass tabletop with sheer lace curtains was an eyeful to enjoy. Only I had to do more than that being an artist, it had to be painted. I wanted to paint a large 24x30 canvas, but I changed my mind knowing the flowers would not last more than a week. I felt stressed to capture the flowers by painting them from life, the impulse was so strong, I just dived in one afternoon when the light was just right. I could only work in a 2-1/2 hour time span each day because that`s when the sun hit this composition perfectly. After that the sun would sink down below the rooftop of the next door neighbor`s house. My kitchen dinette served as an art studio for one week while I enjoyed painting the Stargazers and the other lovely objects. Below is an image of the painting in it`s beginning stages in my kitchen dinette. You can see how much light pours in on a sunny day, the camera overexposed the light a bit on the table.
I kept thinking about relationships of everything the whole time I painted it. I was painting structurally at first. Design relationships of shapes, of color notes, of unity, of reflections, of values, of linear direction and so on. Then I thought about how I relate to each object, these were things I loved and probably things my grandmothers and their mothers would have loved. So, there was a spiritual connection going on both inside and outside; how the objects stood alone as design elements. I refused to paint them pretty and all neat like because I am an impressionist artist and I have the preference to make an artistic statement not a realistic one. Plus, I like to paint with a loaded paint brush, thick and gestural strokes. This whole painting experience was like an exploration of visual textures, shapes of color, figure to ground relationships, movement, rhythm, depth reflections and color harmony. In the end I felt I was crazy to take on lace curtains behind all this matrix of flowers, a glass vase and tabletop, let alone the other objects. The painting really possessed me for a week, I was constantly mesmerized by the compositional arrangement and how complex it was. I had to simplify in an artful-beautiful way that would make these flowers last forever in my mind. The lace curtains had to be an impression, not painted like a thing. I wanted them to interweave with the flowers in a lower contrast, which was a challenge. They were painted last after all the grid-like floral arrangement was painted in. It turned out quite French in appearance, who knows maybe I had one of the French Impressionists invade my soul, like Camille Pissarro. The link will take you to a painting of his from 1875 which is a vase of pink peonies. I loved his simple, direct statement when painting still lifes. I loved his organic choice of colors. I have admired his works greatly, besides all the other famous French artists like Monet, Renoir, Degas, etc… Or maybe it`s all the influence from visiting their works in museums and reading about each for decades. Whatever the case is, artists place their influences from their life, family, experiences and studies into their art. I never know how a work of art is going to turn out because I paint intuitively as the process evolves.
I like how this turned out and am feeling it needs to be kept as a family piece. The next time I get a bouquet of flowers and paint it from this position, I will sell it. Or if you have some highly regarded objects that you would like to commission me to paint, let me know.
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This oil painting is a studio piece that was created from a recent workstudy. It was eleven days ago that I got up very early to see the morning light at Crystal Cove Beach. Only, it wasn`t very light at all, there was a prediction for a mild storm front moving in. What I saw when I arrived on the coastline, the sky didn`t look mild, instead it was mysteriously dramatic to say the least. The sun tried it`s hardest to peep through the breaking clouds as it rose above the Crystal Cove Cliffs at Reef Point as I was standing on a long reef just south of Crystal Cove Cottages. I saw it for a moment and there was a splash of white and yellow orange behind stratus clouds. The nimbus (rain) clouds were the dark blue-violet and moving east in a rather solid mass; bits of the clouds broke off near the sun and seemed to spray in a feather fashion upwards to the eastern sky. But there was ambient light sifting through, a cold light. It made all the shadows colors on the shore deeply warm. I took this image as I was setting up my easel on the reef rocks.
The problem with scenes like this and taking an image with a good camera even is that the sky is usually overexposed and the land is usually underexposed. Hence, this is the reason why we crazy plein air artists insist on painting from life, to capture the truth.
The tide was way out and low, so I knew I had a few hours to paint there. When the tide comes in, the reef rocks become covered in the surge and I have to stand on the sand closer to the bluffs. I liked this feeling of being way out in off-shore position, like a sea captain arriving in his ship. The temperature was around 45 degrees, not bad except the strong on-shore winds were icy and went right through me. I was wearing a cotton turtleneck, 2 cashmere turtleneck sweaters and a heavy cotton hooded sweatshirt. It think the chill went into the painting as what the artist feels, thinks and experiences goes into a work of art through expression. I was alone, since it was early morning you only see joggers along the damp sand. It gave me such peace and quiet to have this place alone to my soul and the spirit of the sea; even if the serenity was only for a while. It was long enough to feel assailed by the dramatic beauty in the sky and how it affected the rest of the seascape. I was one with the sea. Within an hour I was visited by a tiny handful of curious tidepool walkers and that was okay.
I became absorbed into the scene, the rocks were all types of neutrals; brown, taupe, gray, green and red. The low light on the sea created its own array of unique colors. In my head I knew I better block in this first imprint of what I observed in the sky, cliffs and sea quickly. Those clouds would never look like that again for the rest of the day I thought. It was low key and very moody, just fabulous to my heart. I was color-matching what I observed, this was my discovery time. I did not want to paint what I thought the rocks should be like, but what I saw in the values and colors of that first impression. I paid attention to a harmonic composition design also. The workstudy was completed in the two hour period and I packed it up to head out. The sky had clearly lightened up by the time I was done, what a difference in the change I noticed. Later that day the clouds opened up to shed it`s rain on me when I painted another small workstudy titled Incoming Storm. The earlier imprint of the morning had not erased from my inner vision, from my memory banks and it was brushed into the canvas. I took the workstudy home, it sold immediately to a great patron of my art and I began to start this studio piece from the workstudy.
Using the workstudy and digital images as references, I prepared color/tone blends on a big glass palette that matched the workstudy. That was difficult, getting just the right color that you used on location. When I paint plein air, I am grabbing dabs of Ultramarine Blue, Chromatic Black, Viridian Green, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Cobalt Violet, Cad Red Medium and Light, Chinese Orange, Pale Yellow, Cad Yellow Medium and Yellow Ochre in a multitude of combinations and portions to create colors. Oh, let`s not forget White also. It`s nearly impossible to re-create an exact color. So, I go with the best match and discover new ones along the way. Once I prepared the colors of rocks and sand I began the placement of the shoreline rocks. Then I built the bluffs and sandy shoreline in relation to the sea and sky which was painted last. I painted it for several days in the ‘fat over lean method.’ Which the phrase needs to be turned around to lean oil first washed in and then fat application with gestural strokes. Also I used a larger brush like a size 10 flat hogs bristle brush that I love for painting layered skies. Everything changes when a second piece is developed in the studio; it is a metamorphosis in a way. It stuck with me how those low hanging clouds were so deep in color tones. Here are both pieces together, I was not quite done with the studio at this stage, the clouds, sea and shoreline needed more development.
I guess I dramatized them up a bit, but that is the emotional reaction I received and wanted to convey in the studio work. I wanted to paint a deep foreboding sky imposing upon a rising sun over a just awakening sea. The clouds, sand, rocks and sea needed to become unified in its moment of time and have the atmosphere believable in its quality of light. I read something very interesting in a Charles Hawthorne book, “If one tilts their head sideways, they can see the color better.” I tried it and it really works, so I have become a punk-rocker head tilter now. In the end, I did away with the workstudy and images to finish it from memory and the color impressions I received from my perception of the scene. In essence I abstracted certain areas to make it a better work of art, not a copy.
Here is the piece, "Dawn Before the Storm" 12x16.
It does not photograph as exactly as it looks in real life either, it may appear darker than it really is. The blues are not as color saturated as they appear on my monitor. I may hang it on exhibition soon and allow it to be seen in person for awhile.
I am being asked by my family to keep this work, I am feeling the pressure not to sell. So, I may re-create an even larger piece from this and it will change also.
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Here is a lovely workstudy from a visit to Crystal Cove Beach. I stayed there to be alone to paint for 24 hours, like an overnight artist`s retreat in one of the cottages. It pushes me to discover, observe, meditate and apply myself wholeheartedly to the sea life as an artist. My new perceptions resulted in new paintings like I`ve never done before. For this painting I woke up at 6am and got down to the beach by 7am. It took me a while to set up my easel, I was exploring different locations. When I saw this scene I knew it was the one. I began with a oil sketch on the linen. I then began color matching what I observed on a very chilly morning with a pending storm arriving later that day. Below is an image of how cold it looked.
Here I show my painting easel on location with finished painting. You can surely see how the sun being higher and filtering through the clouds lightened the scene up.
I built the painting one color note at a time (thanks to Charles Hawthorne for your teachings in your book) like placing the shadowy rocks in first and gradating them as they went into the horizon. I placed an immediate color note of the sun rising up over the bluffs when it happened. Everything else in the painting related to this framework of color and value placement. The darkening skies were a unique tone of violet and blue-violet which are the compliments of the warm yellow-orange sun spot. So on and so forth the marine colors I saw went into filling the canvas space. I melted into the atmosphere and transpired what I felt into this piece also. The waves were repeatedly surging ashore, not very big, while the wind was blowing cold. What a beautiful experience it was as there was hardly anyone out on the beach, I was wearing 3 layers of clothing on my torso. I was one with the sea, standing on a long reef rock platform while the tide was out. Since I didn`t have much time, I literally dived into putting down those color notes before it changed. It painted itself almost. I wasn`t trying to be all neat and perfect, I was being truthful instead so there are natural lost and found edges when you see and feel that moisture in the air. The sun only gave me a glimpse and then it was only showing through filtered clouds. Just enough light to spread subdued and saturated colors around me. It was more like abstracting these colors and shapes I found so out of the ordinary as opposed to a sunny high key colored day. I thought I would tidy it up later since I had to go back to my cottage, pack my things and check out by 11am. Only I didn`t refine the painting in time, there was another scene to capture that afternoon, so this went home. The next day I was so physically wiped out from this self-inflicted plein air marathon, I was too exhausted to paint in my home studio. The freshness of the oil paint had set and with it the energy, mood and emotion I felt was merged into the linen. I decided that day not to fix it, not to fill in the little spaces were you see the staining, red-brown toning color underneath. This piece says I am telling a story of a specific time, atmosphere and emotion that was special. It was a one in a million day. So, I am working on recreating this into a larger piece eventually.
Here is a closer look from the day I worked on location:
This is my virgin, pure capture and she shall not be disturbed by studio refinement.
The price of this reflects it is a workstudy and does not include a frame.
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I was on an overnight artist retreat at Crystal Cove and had a heads up about inclement weather approaching the next day. The afternoon before was sunny and I painted by the Tide pools. I was only hoping for a few hours to paint in the early morning and midafternoon before the storm arrived. I received what I wished for, in the wee hours I woke up and painted number one plein air piece, and then I checked out of my cottage room late morning. After repacking my personal gear from staying overnight, taking it to my Jeep, then packing my Radio Flyer wagon with art supplies, I was to park my Jeep across the Pacific Coast Highway and walk back to take my 'art wagon' back down to the Crystal Cove Beach shoreline. This is the grueling art of painting here; there is a lot of physical exertion, sometimes overkill. I suffer for it later, but no pain, no gain they say. Before I painted the number two plein air painting, I was hungry from all that exercise and decided to sit at a picnic bench to have a late breakfast in front of the Beachcomber Restaurant. It was getting even chillier and I had to throw on the cashmere sweaters and hoody sweatshirt. The sea was kicking up a storm far out west and I was feeling it coming, the wind was icy. The sun came out for a little while, it felt good. As I sat there eating my apple, a hungry seagull decided to get friendly and landed on my table. They were not getting any picnic treats from the beach folk sitting out on the sand; no one was out on the beach except people taking a brisk walk. I thought they were cute trying to steal my food right out from under me, but I was hungry and they were not getting any. I do feed them at times, but not there in front of the Beachcomber where they would cause a big gathering. Birds really like me; I could be one of those old women in the park with tons of pigeons around her and feel happy.
Okay, back to the painting, as I was sitting there, the sun began to disappear behind the upper clouds approaching; only what I saw at sea was incredible. The atmosphere changing from light to shadow caused the sea to luminesce in the waves and flat surfaces. Beyond the sea the sky turned blue-violet intensely as upper warm clouds caused a battle. There was a storm cell swirling and looking very threatening. The seas way out became rough and whatever boats were out there began to rock over choppy waters. I became immersed in this sight as the sky was ever changing, there was incredible power in the storm cell coming in, and I felt it through my heart. Next thing I knew I ran out there on the water`s edge to experience this energy and take images. I ran back to my art wagon, shooed off more seagulls and dragged it out to the shore`s edge, backed up enough so water would not run over my feet. Here`s a look at what was approaching:
I set up my rolling art studio and got to work. But there was an Osprey flying close by, diving for fish, I love those sea eagles. I had to capture some of it`s skimming dives.
It had begun to rain and I set up my Shade Buddy umbrella to finish the 6x8. Which was a good choice because it took me about an hour or more to complete. Anything larger would not work. And so I painted this scene, experiencing the storm as it approached. Enjoying the whole process as I put down the colors I saw which I knew where totally unique to this scene. I knew I had to block this one in quickly before the sky changed again. Then big droplets came down and I was still painting under my Shade Buddy umbrella while rain got on my palette. It felt great to be part of the weather and placing it on canvas. I had enough time to add more detail, but not too much. I knew it was going to come down hard soon.
I packed up, very thrilled to have had such an experience. Yes, I got pretty wet and wondered if those people sitting in the Beachcomber liked the artist painting on the shore performance show. I felt they missed something by staying all warm and dry, protected from Mother Nature. Me...I love every part of her and the high I get from being one with her.
As I was about to haul my art wagon away I saw a group of Royal Terns perched along the shoreline. I am very fond of these too, so I walked over to them and made friends. They will raise their head plumes like a punk rocker if you send enough time chatting with them.
A large image of the artwork.
Price of this artwork includes a plein air frame from Randy Higbee Gallery. Unless you want to purchase it without a frame, it is $200.
CA residents need to pay sales tax of 8%. S&H is extra if you need it shipped. Thank-you!