Archive for the ‘ Location series ’ Category

This Leads to That

Target Practice was inspired by LightGrid, a painting of the view from The Walking Dead‘s crew parking lot, down in Senoia. The dirt road and the pasture remind me of my daddy’s farm, where he and his brothers went hunting, and I flew kites with my cousins.

FB lightgrid

Early morning, Walking Dead

Finished today. Varnishing Sunday. Everything is done for the November 9th show opening. Big whew.
LightGrid 18×36″ oil on canvas


Worked from a photo taken last year on the Senoia, Ga location for the The Walking Dead show. My favorite part – besides the contrast between the violent, apocalyptic story and the calm, pastoral landscape – is the shadow of the ropes behind the grid cloth.  I can feel the heat and hear the cicadas.

Going to paint one more of this series – BarnSet. This looks like a straight up Wyeth, a bucolic interior of a barn with hay bales and light coming through the cracks between the boards, yet it is totally fabricated – a set built to be torched. It’ll just have to wait for the next show to take a bow.

Dragged two tubs – one round tin and one oblong and brass – around the front yard this morning and took hipsta photos. I want to do another one of those square Elements paintings of water reflecting sky. It might be my new tomato, i.e my go-to image for multiple variations. (Think Degas – dancers or Monet – haystacks).

Tried another set-up for Earth. I started with the dead bird, now 90% skeleton, on a mossy bit of lawn. Scavenged the yard for appropriate props. Threw in a toadstool, a pine cone, a few acorns, a dogwood branch and some maple leaves. We’ll see.

Impromptu photography studio, part deux

Did photography of the newly varnished paintings so I could send them along to the gallery and get them up on my website. Asked Robert to help me set up a c-stand with a flag so I could redirect/block light that bounced off the varnish – always an issue for me. He took over, and I let him. It’s good to be married to the Key Rigging Grip.

I was heading out to the carport, bright but indirect light, and he decided the kitchen was a better idea.
Here he is in action:

Once again:
The toughest one was BlueScreen, which had a diffused glare right in the center. He lowered the flag, tilted the canvas and I held up a black bounce card, which absorbs rather than ricochets light.

My otherwise respectable refrigerator is a fluttering hodge podge of postcards, family photos, poems, receipts and a half-eaten dollar bill (bad dog). Also an inexcusable number of magnets purchased in art museum gift shops.

Varnishing Day

Spent the morning varnishing five finished paintings for the November 9th show at Mason Murer. One more to go.
Lined them up on a sawhorse and wood boards, and went down the line with a big brush, drizzling Soluvar out of the tin and spreading it evenly.
I’m still finding sticky patches in random places on my skin. Cleaned the brush with mineral spirits, then, an hour or two later, wiped the edges of the paintings down. The soluvar and mineral spirits fumes made me dizzy. Mosquitoes and gnats were lurching through the air, but it was perfect drying conditions – low humidity and warm with a cool breeze.

Four hours later, brought in the paintings and placed them in my studio long enough to take a photo for my Facebook page.
I love how the three square elements paintings in the center – Air, Fire, Water –  pop. Wish I had time to paint a new Earth before the show, but it will be all I can do to get the third location painting done.
A very satisfying day.

Leaves of LightGrid

Working on LightGrid, the last of the location paintings.
Added leaves to the left side of the tree, and more leaf shapes and color on the right. side. Worked in multiple layers over the pasture in the background and along the roadside. The trick is to keep the background tree line and the pasture unfocused, then indicate the linear wisps of weeds and grass along the roadside without making them actually distinct.

The dirt road got another layer of base colors. It’s ready for the detail of ruts and gravel. The only untouched part is the dark shadow cast by the tree. It will take a couple of layers to achieve the right depth of shade, yet build in subtle variation to show the ground beneath. Next round, probably

Here’s a detail of the tree to show those leaves I was adding for the last two hours. There are more to come, especially darkest leaves.
I think when I work on the road, I’m going to turn the canvas upside down, so I can focus on making the marks of shape and the volume and not be thinking ‘oh golly, all that gravel.’

End of Boomlift, start of the Commission

Added the lettering and signed it on the door of the Boomlift.  Because I could,  I changed the three initials on the crane to Robert’s initials. Kept finding little places to improve or clean up. Added texture to the trees, deepening the blues on the crane, cleaning up the tire treads, going over the grip’s clothes again, crisping or blurring edges as called for. I doubt that it’s even visible on a photograph. Felt like a dog with fleas.
It’s on the wall of the drying room until further notice.



I’ll work on the tree of LightGrid tomorrow and the pages of the books in Fire.

The initial drawing of the Commission is complete. Here’s a shot of the whole canvas, with a Tarot card for scale. The drawing is really hard to see in this photograph, but trust me, it’s there.

I pushed the contrast on this closeup photograph  so it will be visible. Here’s a detail – the princess in a little antique gold frame overlapping The Knight of swords tarot card.

The drawing went much faster than I anticipated. I’m waiting a few days before I start painting so I can critically review the drawing for any draftsman problems.
What’s that saying of Confucius? “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Stepping out today.

Lunch!…One half hour.

Tidying up the location series. Here’s Boomlift, 90% done, with all the naked figures deleted and one clothed figure added:
Here’s a detail with the figure. My Key Grip spouse says I should title it “Lunch!…One half hour.”

I spent the rest of the day griding the source photographs and the 30×40″ canvas. It’s a beast. I can hardly wait to start.

Rocking right along

Busy days in the studio.
1. Packing up paintings to send to the delightful Gail Pierson Gallery in Cape May, NJ. Eight small works, none larger than 10×10″. If you are in the area, stop in and say hey.
2. Painting back-lit leaves on LightGrid. Wonder if that’s where the inspiration for stained glass began.
3. Galloping along on the four elements. Know I am bound to hit a fence too high to jump at some point, but holding on tight for the ride right now.

After a couple of false starts (a kiln and a forge), my Muse showed up with the idea and image tied up together with a ribbon of fiery inspiration. DId photogrpahy this morning and it worked out. Check back for the start of the Fire painting next week.

On a side note I went out for a loaf of bread yesterday and came home with a wheeled, rocking wooden office chair that fits me like it was carved for me, and a oriental rug. Easily distracted.

Dirt roads, light grids, raku firing

Today I blocked in leaves on the upper left, and did another layer of paint on the sky and the shadows. Placed most of the fence posts, added texture to the dirt road. In such a good mood, I was dancing around the easel (to the soundtrack of Guys & Dolls, if you must know) and painting away. I have been schooled by my son, the rigging grip, that the equipment in front of the tree is a Light Grid.


Tomorrow there’s a Raku pottery firing at the art center at 3pm. I’m nipping over to see what I can get on my iPhone camera app. Hoping for a intense red glow. The kiln is made of dry stack brick, so there plenty of texture.

Light Grid / White SIlk

Starting a new painting for the Location series. It’s a light grid, stretched on a frame and attached to c-stands, used to keep the light even on the actors’ faces. Here it’s tied to the tree in the crew parking lot until needed. It’s from a photo taken on The Walking Dead show last year, on location in Senoia, Ga.

Having bought, toned and gridded the canvas, and done the under-drawing yesterday, I spent an hour this morning mixing color and then jumped in. I blocked in the sky, the pasture and the grid cloth, and began the country road. Worked until lunch on the line of trees in the far background and the dappled shadows cast by the tree.

After lunch until 3pm I kept going on the patterns of light and shadow cast by the tree and the dirt road. 

Haven’t blocked in the tree canopy or placed the fence posts which run between the road and the pasture, but feel a lovely sense of momentum. The darks in the deepest part of the shadows wll need multiple layers, as will the sky, but the pasture and trees look very close even on this first pass. Feels so good, like flying.
Why did this particular image grab me by the collar and holler ‘paint me’?  It has to do with the visual anomaly of this isolated bit of movie equipment in a rural scene.  The shadow of the tree trunk reminds me of Indonesian shadow puppets. The peaceful, pastoral stillness of the background contrasts with the twisty reach of the shadows spreading out toward the viewer. It fits its zombie series origin.