Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rainstorm on the Open Plains

A huge rainstorm sweeps across the open plains, leaving wind and puddles in its wake. Far away, the distant mountains await the storm even as the sun highlights the prairie between the clouds above.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Upstate New York snowy river

This painting is based upon a photo from this month's Landscape Challenge on the Wet Canvas forum. The scene is of a snowy river somewhere in Upstate New York, a beautiful part of the country.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Istanbul Sunset with storm clouds

This painting is a variation of one painted over a year ago. The original was based upon a sunset my family and I saw over the Bosphorus in Istanbul while looking westwards towards the Hagia Sofia. Some interest was expressed in a copy of this painting in portrait format, so I created this version of the original. Enjoy!

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Early Autumn Prairie

Here's my latest: autumn comes to the prairie, turning the cottonwoods yellow amid the dying grass of summer. Enjoy!

Acrylic Painting: 14" x 17"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn Oaks on a Hillside

Yep, it's autumn, and that is a good reason to paint trees clad in copper, red, and gold. This image of a hill covered mostly by large oak trees on a sunny fall day. A cool breeze blows through the rustling leaves, offset by the low angle sun.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Friday, October 1, 2010

Patapsco Park: Autumn Shadows

Well, this photo is technically from late last October, but autumn is on its way, so it seems natural to paint a fall scene. This one was based on a photo taken near the railroad tracks - the incline on the left leads to the railroad bed, though you can't really see anything of the tracks themselves from this area.

Acrylic Painting: 17" x 14"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grand Canyon Storm

This one was inspired by one of the photos in the monthly Landscape Challenge on the WetCanvas web forums. The original photo was of the Grand Canyon on a gloomy day, so I decided to zoom out a bit and add some drama with a storm explaining the gloomy appearance.

Acrylic Painting: 17" x 14"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rainy Hillside Evening

Here we see evening come to a hilltop clearing somewhere in the mountains; the rain still beats down on the ridge of hills in the distance, and puddles cover the foreground. Night is swiftly coming to this quiet corner of the world, and more rain may be on the way - but, for now, enjoy the colors of sunset.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Stepping Stones to the Stars

One of my other hobbies is creating digital space art; while I've focused more on acrylic paintings in the past few years, this other form of art I also enjoy. Most of my space art was up on another website, but I felt I should bring some of it over here to present a consolidated collection of my artwork.

The road to the stars is represented in this image: life starts on the Earth-like world and eventually realizes the nature of the heavens above. Then, life moves on to the planet's moon, and eventually to other worlds in the star system. Someday, the bright star cluster beyond will be within reach...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Brief Review of the Winsor and Newton Artist's Acrylic Series

About one year ago, Winsor and Newton replaced their venerable, top of the line Finity series of acrylic paint with the new Artist's Acrylic paint series. I've used exclusively Finity acrylic paints ever since I started painting since they performed well and were commonly available, so the discontinuation of my favorite paint brought some concern. As supplies of the old Finity paint dwindled in American hobby and craft stores, I bought up what I could and started to use the Liquitex line of acrylic paints for some colors. While the Liquitex paint performs well, I was eager to see how the new Artist's Acrylic paint would compare to the Finity series.

For whatever reason, it took close to a year since the release of the new paint series for it to show up in local hobby and craft stores - yet another advantage of online ordering is that one can get new products much quicker! Now, I finally have tubes of both the Artist's and Finity paint series to compare to each other. I've seen very few reviews of this new series online, so I figured I'd use this opportunity to test the new product myself and share my results.

Packaging and appearance: Both the Finity Series and the Artist's series paints come in 60 mL (2 Oz) squeeze tubes that are similar to toothpaste tubes. Unfortunately, the new series kept the small cap used on the Finity series; these small caps tend to gum up with paint easily, so keep them clean or they'll require a strong twist to open.

The Artist's series now displays a stripe of the actual paint on the tube's label so you know exactly what you are getting. IMHO, all paint should packaged in such a way since it gets past limitations of trying to represent the color through a picture on the label. This method also makes it obvious how transparent or opaque the color is; I have yet to see any series of artist's paint in which the colors have their opacity all accurately listed. This case is no exception to that rule. Cerulean Blue is typically listed as "opaque" even though from what I've seen it is "semi-opaque" in that it does not fully cover whatever is below it. For examples of truly "opaque" paint, look at Titanium White, any of the various opaque "Mars" colors (all forms of iron oxide), or any of the Cadmium based paints.

While not all of the paint colors translated directly over from the Finity series to the Artist's series, most did, and the pigments are all still accurately labeled and reflected on the label. Both the Finity and Artist's paints in this case have Cobalt Stannate (PB35) as the pigment. Neither one is a "hue" - a mix of other, often less expensive colors used for convenience. Hues of most expensive colors are still available in the new series, though each artist will have to see if those mixes meet their needs.

One odd note: the new Cerulean Blue is listed as Series 5 paint (the most expensive), while the older Cerulean Blue is listed as Series 4 paint. I've usually seen the Series 4 and 5 sold at the same price, but be careful of this; any of the Cobalt or Cadmium based paints are expensive, so keep your eye open for sales.

Performance: I performed two simple tests to compare the Finity series with the Artist's series. The first was to take a bead of paint from each tube and draw it out across a white piece of paper to check the color of the paint both in thick and thin layers and to see how quickly it dried. Both colors appeared basically identical, and both handled on the brush in the same fashion. The Artist's paint did take a bit longer to dry (maybe a minute or so), but not long enough to significantly change it's properties. In short, the new series still behaves in the traditional, quick-drying acrylic fashion, though you do have a bit longer to work with it. For artist's seeking truly "open" paints - ones that dry much slower and thus allow wet-on-wet techniques, you'll want to consider other series.

The second test was to mix the Cerulean Blue with Titanium White (Finity series) in a ratio that would approximate a sky blue color - painting skies is perhaps the biggest use of Cerulean Blue, at least in landscape art, so this seemed a good test. I was checking to see how well the new paint series would mix with the old one and if it would produce a good sky blue.

The Artist's paint worked fine with the older Finity line, producing a nice sky blue color that was about the same as the results of mixing the Finity series Cerulean Blue with Finity series Titanium White. The two colors displayed are not exactly the same, but since the mix ratios were approximated, this is not surprising. Note that the Artist's series is advertised as darkening less upon drying than other acrylic paints; this may be the case, but I haven't seen much darkening from my other acrylic paints, so it's difficult for me to see this improvement.

Summary: Based upon these straightforward tests, the new Artist's line of acrylic paints is a fine replacement for the Finity series and, of equal importance, should work fine with the older Finity paints.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Field in Tennessee

This painting is based on one of the photos for the monthly Landscape Challenge over on the Wet Canvas web forums. It's of a sunny, summer field in the rolling hills of eastern Tennessee, probably not far from the Smoky Mountains. It's a beautiful part of the country and an area of great inspiration for painting.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Storm on the Chesapeake Bay

This one was inspired by the storms that sweep over the land in late spring and early summer. Here, we see a cloud-tossed sky late in the afternoon on a sunny, warm day down by the Chesapeake Bay. The landscape was based upon Down's Memorial Park; the two small pillars in the water are navigation beacons, which are quite common sights on the Chesapeake Bay.

Acrylic Painting: 14" x 17"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bacon Ridge Natural Area: Forest Edge

In Crownsville, Maryland, there's a wilderness conservation area that is destined to become over 1,000 acres of parkland. Most of the park is still wild forest, and though it is usually closed to the public (until it officially becomes a park with proper trails, facilities, etc.), it is open a couple of times to anyone who enjoys hiking. Saturday was one of these "walks in the woods" and the weather was perfect. This is view is based on a photo taken at the edge of the forest looking towards an old meadow. It was a chaotic scene of spring greens, leaning trees, vines, and bushes - beautiful, but complex to paint. I hope the painting captures this jumble of life under the glow of a spring sun with a gentle breeze in the field beyond.

The organization that hosts these events and who has pushed for the conservation of this large tract of wilderness is the Scenic River Land Trust. They've done a good job, and I look forward to the day when this park is open to the public.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cherry Tree and Pines

This one continues the spring theme of flowering trees - can you tell I'm sick of winter? Here's an old cherry tree growing near the edge of a scrubby border near two big pine trees. The mix of light and shadow makes the composition in this painting, while the cherry tree holds the viewer's attention. The cherry blossoms are echoed in the distant cherries and the petals on the ground.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cherry Tree on a Windy Day

Well, it is FINALLY spring!

So, I figured I'll paint spring-time scene, and flowering trees are the perfect choice. Here, we see an old cherry tree in flower on a breezy, spring day. You can see the shed petals blowing in the wind and scattered along the ground. In the background on the left are some smaller, young cherry trees. The trees were tricky in this one since I wanted to give the impression that they had almost finished leafing out, which is not easy to do, but I think it turned out pretty well.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunlit Hillside and Storm Clouds

I've decided to paint something that is about as "opposite" as one can get from the unending blizzards and snow that have hammered the region this winter. This scene, taken from a reference image in this month's Landscape Challenge on the Wetcanvas forums, is of a bunch of small trees on a sunlit hillside moments before a late afternoon thunderstorm unleashes a torrent of rain over the lands. The cloudscape was inspired by one of Bierstadt's works, though his scene was of a similar storm over a small farm. Either way, I think most of us would welcome rain vs. snow and ice at this point!

Acrylic painting 14" x 17"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poconos Hillside in Winter

This painting was inspired by a photo in the monthly Landscape Challenge on the Wetcanvas art forum. The original photo was taken somewhere in Canada, but it reminds me a lot of the snow-covered forests in the rocky hills of the Poconos mountains of northern PA. It was an interesting challenge to produce realistic snow while not also making the painting feel cold or uninviting.

Acrylic painting: 14" x 17"