Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hill Country Fence Line - Demo Process Shots

Hill Country Fence Line, 8 x 10, oil, L. Daniel
Workshop Demo - SOLD

What happens when it rains at a plein air workshop? Well, we take shelter inside and work from photographs. It often works out to be a valuable time to cover some concepts in more depth.

On the third day of my workshop in Wimberley we had torrential rain... I mean, this was serious Texas thunder and lightening, and a literal downpour! It was pretty dramatic and cozy to be inside, but we worried just a bit when the creek started to rise. Our sweet inn keepers moved our cars to higher ground, "just to be on the safe side". Thankfully, all was well in the end, and we just kept painting through it all. :)

Below are process shot of my demo from that day:

 Compose/Block-in large Shapes and Values

Mass-in Upright Planes – Shadow Family

 Mass-in Upright Planes – Light Family

 Mass in Ground Plane and Sky Plane

Break up Masses and Add Highlights

Some Final Notes to my intrepid Students:
Remember to work dark to light, and thin to thick (dryer, not runny).
Values get cooler/lighter and contrast weakens as elements recede in the distance.
Save small details (like the fence) and brightest highlights until the very end. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cypress Creek Reflections - Workshop Demo on Selection Process

Cypress Creek Reflections, 8x10, oil, L. Daniel © 2018
Workshop Demo - SOLD

On day two of my workshop, we painted the Cypress Creek next to Creekhaven Inn where we stayed. How great was it that we could walk out the door and down the hill to set up? The lessons that day were many... water, reflections, and mixing greens... but a big one had to do with the Selection Process

The scene was full of trunks and limbs and all kinds of tangled branches... what to choose? It's so important to have an "idea", and we can't have it all. (That never works!)

What caught my eye was that sunlit patch of grass next to the big cypress trunk (which widened nicely as the morning progressed), so I zoomed way in. My goal was to portray the feeling of the creek as simply as possible. 

Take what you need and leave the rest. 
Editing is EVERYTHING! 

More from the banks of Cypress Creek...

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Texas Landscape - Workshop Value Study Demo

Texas Landscape, 6 x 8, oil, L. Daniel © 2018
Value Study Demo for Wimberley Artist Workshops

Last week, I had the privilege of teaching a group of fabulous painters in Wimberley, Texas. This was a four-day workshop with the Wimberley Artists Workshops, and it was an all-inclusive, total immersion set up. It's a such great way to go... beautiful accommodations at the Creekhaven Inn, with  all meals taken care of... we were completely free to just paint and learn!

We started out the first day with a value study in the morning, and then painted the same thing in color after lunch. It was a great exercise, until the winds picked up in the afternoon... all but two of our easels blew over, and it was a bit of a battle. But no one gave up!! And that is the risk of plein air, right? You never know what is going happen! 

The value study was designed to help students learn about atmospheric perspective... to see how values diffuse in the distance, and to learn to incorporate that change to give depth to their paintings. We started out mixing a range of grays... 

5 mixed values plus white and black
(We mixed a rich black with ultramarine and burnt sienna.)

First came a sketch of the scene.
I looked for layers going into the distance.

Next came the grays... 

 Working dark to light...
The sky (where the lightest lights are) comes last.

In the finished value study...
Notice how each plane lightens and softens as it gets farther away.
The foreground has darkest darks and greatest contrast.
In the distance, values come together and contrast goes away.

Below are pictures of my students, hard at work! 
Many thanks to all, especially to Judy and Jocelyn for sharing your photos!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Marshland Morning

Marshland Morning, 24 x 30, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2018
Commission - SOLD

I painted this piece for a new, young friend, who wanted to honor her parents with a special gift. What fun that she and her fiancé chose to give the gift of a painting! It always warms my heart to see the next generation appreciating and surrounding themselves with original artwork created with love. My young patrons thoughtfully chose a cherished view; and in doing so, their love is mixed in to this creation as well! Thank you so much, L&T, it was fun collaborating with you!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Poppy Fields of Campagna - Plein Air Magazine editorial

Poppy Fields of Campagna, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2018

I am very pleased to share that "Poppy Fields of Campagna" is included in the March issue of Plein Air Magazine! The article is about artists who travel and paint, and this piece is from my visits to Italy where our daughter's family has been living for 3 years. Scenes like this one are all around their home in the countryside at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. My little grandson loves to take bike rides with his dad to feed carrots to the horses on neighboring farms. Such a life!!!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Craggy Shore and a winter group show in Austin!

Craggy Shore, 30 x 40, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2018
Available at the Davis Gallery

This painting is an enlargement from a small plein air study I did a year or so ago. It was the perfect subject for our current group show, "In Depth", at the Davis Gallery here in Austin. For this exhibit, each gallery artist was asked to consider the 5th element of art - space - as we created works to be included. I always get a sense of HUGE space when I stand at the edge of the ocean. In this scene, the rhythmic pattern of the rocks and water disappearing into the distance helped to tell the story of that vastness.

Below: this painting ended up in the gallery window for the show! YAY! Here is a shot taken from outside after the opening reception. The show is up through February 24th. If you are anywhere near Austin, please drop by!

Also in the Davis Gallery show: 
Beach Cove Overlook, 18 x 36, oil on canvas. 

Free to Roam, 18 x 18, oil on canvas.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Beach Cove Overlook - and reworking a painting

Beach Cove Overlook, 18 x 36 , oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2018
Available at Davis Gallery

"How do you know when you are finished?" This is an often asked question to which I usually answer, "when there is nothing left in a painting that bothers me." This is one that kept bothering me as it dried on the shelf in my studio. Apparently, I was not done with it.

I stared at it for weeks (sometimes these things are hard to figure out) and finally determined what the problems were: 1) the foreground needed a stronger lead-in, and 2) the cove in the background needed to settle into the distance a little better. Below are the "before and after" shots so you can see the changes.



Adding a path was the obvious solution for the lead-in problem, but the cove issue was trickier. Was it the shape? (Yes, too round.) Was it the size? (Yes, too dominant.) And most important - how to fix it? After much thought, I decided to add more grasses to overlap some of the water. It was a scary choice and a bit counter-intuitive to hide a beautiful, natural water feature. 

Well... That small change made the cove more of a sliver, and pushed it into it's proper space in the background. Instant relief! I'm glad I kept at it until it stopped bothering me. :)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Free To Roam and Happy New Year!

Free To Roam, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2018
Available at Davis Gallery

I know I have been missing in action for the last few months, and want to assure you that all is well with me. I have had a couple of kind souls check in on me, and I so appreciate that love and care. My only excuse is that life just got busy!! So here we are. Happy "New" Year, all! ;)

This painting was a fun one for me. I met these audacious little goats several years ago, and have wanted to paint them ever since. They quite owned the land on this ranch outside of Kerrville, Texas, and didn't let anyone get in their way. I loved that about them, and could kind of relate!

You can see from my block-in that I added one more goat to the front of the pack as the painting progressed. I really wanted to portray how very UNDETERRED they were by my presence as they ambled by (although I did get the stink-eye from Billy Goat Gruff in the middle). At the time I was doing a plein air painting from that spot, and I am pretty sure they would have walked right through me if they could have! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Desert Clusters - American Women Artists Exhibit at the Tucson Desert Art Museum

Desert Clusters, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Under a Vast Sky
American Women Artists Annual Juried Exhibit
Tucson Desert Art Museum
Tucson, Arizona
Reception November 3, 5-8pm

This year, American Women Artists launched 25 in 25, a goal to secure twenty-five museum exhibitions in as many years. We are doing this because work by women artists makes up only 5% of permanent holdings of museums in America. Can you believe it's that low? Our group is determined to do something about this, and now has museum shows booked through 2020. This is the first show from this initiative and it's pretty exciting! Unfortunately, I am unable to make the reception this year, but I know it will be a beautiful show! If you are in or near Tucson this weekend, please stop by!

Click HERE to see show online.
For purchase inquiries, contact the Tucson Desert Art Museum.  
Exhibit is on display through December 3. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Chapel Solitude

Chapel Solitude, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Painting at this little chapel on a quiet Sunday afternoon offered sweet solitude, yes... but also, the simple joy of putting brush to canvas. Every half hour, Carillon Bells rang out beloved church hymns, and a light salt breeze was in the air. Delicious sights, sounds and smells were all around! 

I did remember to take some process shots to use in my upcoming workshop which starts Friday (I always like to have fresh material for my handouts!) The images below show how I built the painting.

 Block in large shapes and values (ultramarine and burnt sienna)

 Mass-in Upright Planes (work dark to light)

Mass in Ground Plane and Sky Plane (cover canvas with simple shapes0

Break up Masses with subtle value and temperature shifts...
Add Highlights at the very end!

Monday, October 16, 2017


Seaworthy, 16 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Available (click for purchase info)

This past weekend I made a quick trip down to St. Simons Island, and that almost always means some good painting time outside! It's fun to just start driving and see what inspires. Boats always catch my eye and sailboats have a special romance. Even though I don't even know how to sail, I sure do love the look of them! This one was docked and ready for a run... fortunately, it stayed put for the duration of my painting. :)

For those of you who have kindly inquired, ours and our family's homes were all spared any damage in Hurricane Irma. There was quite a bit of flooding on the island, and many trees were stripped and burned by the salt winds. The island was closed for almost a week, but I am happy to report that all is now calm. These storms are scary. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Garden Cuttings - and a process demo

Garden Cuttings, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Click to purchase $120 + $16 s/h

In a recent still life workshop, I promised some of my students that I would post a process demo to reinforce our sessions. It is so easy to be intimidated by a blank canvas, and I find that it really helps me to take a systematic look at my subject matter. First I look at the overall silhouette, then I study the darks and lights, and compare, compare, compare. How does the cast shadow compare to the form shadow? How does white in the shadow compare to black in the light? 

Below are shots showing my basic process of taking those observations from my eyes and head and getting them onto the canvas...
Rough sketch for placement and composition.
Using a mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

 Block-in of large masses, indicating a range of 3-5 values.
Still using the dark neutral mix of ultramarine and burnt sienna.

Mass in the dark family (including cast shadows and form shadows).
Maintain simple shapes and avoid detail at this stage.

Mass in the light family, keeping simple shapes and avoiding detail.
Break up large masses with subtle shifts in value (within value families).
Last - Add pop with spectral highlights and reinforced darks.