Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rosedale Memorial Arch

Last winter, we had an unusually warm day for a midwestern January. Kimberly and I decided to head out to the Rosedale Memorial Arch. We'd never visited the arch before, although we had seen it far atop a Kansas City hillside for many years as we passed on I-35. I brought my paints, and Kimberly her camera. If you live in the midwest, you know how important it is to get outside on a mild winter day. 
"Rosedale Memorial Arch" (oil on canvas, 24"x20") by Patrick Saunders

When I say mild, it was still cold, but I unfortunately underestimated just how cold it really was. Within an hour, after struggling with stiff paints, I was ready to go. While extremely rough, I was happy with the results. I knew that I would eventually revisit in the studio.

"Rosedale Memorial Arch Sketch" (oil on canvas, 16"x12") by Patrick Saunders

For the studio version, I pushed the temperature contrasts and gave the arch a bit more breathing room. The shadow of the fence in the foreground adds a lot to the image. It's also obvious that with more time, I was able to do a much better job with the perspective.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Barney in Autumn

Here's an iPhone shot of my demonstration from September's painting class. This was a fun one, completed in under 2 hours. "Barney in Autumn" (oil on canvas, 14"x18") by Patrick Saunders.

"Barney in Autumn" (oil on canvas, 14"x18") by Patrick Saunders.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Portrait Sketch of Emmy

"Emmy" (oil on canvas, 14"x18") by Patrick Saunders. Emmy was a student in one of my first painting classes at Eva Reynolds Fine Arts. 

Thanks to Kimberly Saunders Fine Arts for the photo.
"Emmy" (oil on canvas, 14"x18") by Patrick Saunders

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

River Market Windows

"River Market Windows" (oil on canvas, 30"x24").
Most mornings, the dogs and I drive past the Veolia Energy building in Kansas City's Rivermarket on our way to the Richard L Berkely Riverfront Park. I've always been fascinated by the multiple colors in the windows from the early morning light.

For the painting, I decided to forego the smokestacks and focus only on the windows.
"River Market Windows" (oil on canvas, 30"x24") by Patrick Saunders

Thanks to Kimberly Saunders Fine Arts for the photo.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ross Alley

My latest. "Ross Alley" (oil on canvas, 24"x36"). This one is a great memory of living in San Francisco. Ross Alley is now home to Golden Gate Fortune Cookies, but was once the center of the Barbary Coast, the city's red-light district.

This one was a lot of work. The perspective of the buildings, street, signs and balconies proved to be particularly challenging.

Thank you Kimberly Saunders Fine Arts for both the memory and the photos of the painting.

"Ross Alley" (oil on canvas, 24"x36") by Patrick Saunders

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Oil Painters of America paint out - Marceline, MO

Saturday, I participated in the Oil Painters of America paint out in Marceline, MO. Marceline is best known for being the boyhood hometown of Walt Disney, and the inspiration for Main Street, USA at Disney parks around the world. It was a beautiful day, and thanks to Darrell and Darlene Gardner's efforts, a wonderful event. Darrell is a fantastic painter, working hard to promote the arts. Check out his work here.

I started the day with a small painting at the corner of Kansas Avenue and Lake Street. It was a good warmup, and I had an audience of around 6 cats constantly circling.

What I liked most about the scene was the way the tree in the front yard shadowed half of the house, so I quickly blocked this in first, knowing that the moving sun would change the scene rapidly.

Photo by Darrell Gardner.
Once I had the major shadows established, I could focus on the remainder of the house where the light remained more consistent. You can see in the photo below that the shadow of the tree has already moved off of most of the house.

Here's the final after two hours of painting.

After lunch at Ma Vic's Corner Cafe, I set off for my next challenge. Ripley Park sits in the heart of downtown Marceline, and there's a train engine commemorating Marceline's history as a Santa Fe Railroad stop. Never having painted a train, I decided on this as my subject and looked for a good angle. I didn't care for the fence, and from most viewpoints it was prominent.

The sun was directly overhead at this time, and much of the wheels was in shadow which made for a stronger composition. From the side view, even the fence was mostly lost in shadows.

Similar to the previous painting, I quickly established the shadows. Within a short period of time, the sun had moved west and revealed an overwhelming amount of detail on the wheels and the fence. There was company picnic happening in the park directly behind me, so I had a large audience throughout the process. The comments went from "That looks like a blob" to "Hey that's the train" in about 15 minutes.

Here's the final after two hours - "Santa Fe 2546" (oil on canvas, 14"x18") by Patrick Saunders. I was happy with the result. This painting went on to win a purchase award that evening from the City of Marceline, and will hang in the Marceline City Hall.
Late in the afternoon, Main St was shut down to traffic for a wine stroll, so we had the opportunity to set up anywhere in the street and paint. I chose the Main Street Emporium as my subject. Not only did I like the look of the building, but the shadow cast by the tree in front made it interesting.
I set up across the street, along with my previous paintings.

I have to admit that by this time I was terribly sunburned. Darrell had even started referring to me as "Crispy," and everyone who stopped by to chat started the conversation with "Ooh, that's gotta hurt." The looks on their faces were enough to let me know I was in trouble. For the final painting, I just relaxed in the shade and took it easy with a lot of breaks.

Here's the final, another 9"x12" on canvas.

At the end of the day, everyone gathered and hung their work for the public viewing and judging. Darrell and Darlene held a nice reception in Darrell studio - great space! Darlene even helped me out with some cream to sooth my sunburn. Overall, it was a great day with a fun group of painters. I'm sure I'll be heading back to Marceline for more.
Notice the bright red face in the back row.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Poet's Daffodils

After painting some daffodils back in February of this year, there's been a lot of interest for more.
Here are a couple in progress pics of a third painting I completed in June.

And here's the final painting. "Poet's Daffodils" (oil on canvas, 12"x16") by Patrick Saunders.
"Poet's Daffodils" by Patrick Saunders.
Thanks to Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts for the photography.

Portrait sketch of Katherina

Portrait sketch of Katherina (oil on canvas, 14"x18") by Patrick Saunders.

Thanks to Kimberly Saunders Fine Arts for all the photography.

Portrait sketch of Katherina by Patrick Saunders

Portrait sketch of Sawyer

Portrait sketch of Sawyer (oil on canvas, 14"x18") by Patrick Saunders. This was fun one to paint.
Portrait sketch of Sawyer by Patrick Saunders.

Thanks to Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts for the photography.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stems Plein Air 2014 - part 3

To close out the Stems Plein Air painting competition, a morning quick paint was held on Saturday at the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. If you've never been to the farmstead, it's a great place for kids featuring animals, gardens, classic buildings, rides, fishing and nature trails.

The quick paint was scheduled to start at 7:30, and I had to find the perfect subject to represent the farmstead. I chose these classic kids tractors abandoned on the sidewalk from the previous day.
I was drawn to their color, the shadows they cast and the fact that they represented the farmstead theme and the fact that it is for children.

The horn blew at 7:30 and we began. Knowing that the light would rapidly change, I quickly blocked-in the major shapes and the shadows, establishing the light source.
25 minutes into the painting.
Once I had these major shapes defined, I spend the remainder of the time refining.
Here's the painting at about an hour and twenty minutes.

I finished with only a few minutes to spare, and headed in for the judging. As always, there were a number of wonderful paintings submitted. While I didn't win the quick paint, "Toy Tractors" (oil on canvas, 12"x16") did win 2nd place in the overall Stems competition.

Stems Plein Air 2014 - part 2

I had to take a break from the competition for a few days while I finished up a couple of commissioned portraits. On Tuesday the 20th, Kimberly and I headed out late in the day for another round of painting. 

I came across this group of irises that I found interesting, but once again, I would need to sit on the ground to get the point of view that I wanted.
Irises at the Overland Park Kansas Arboretum

The initial block in started strong. I treated the paint as if it was watercolor to keep it fresh and spontaneous.
A view of the painting block-in and the subject.

The foreground flower developed very quickly. Happy with the result, I continued to work outwards from the focal point.

The leaves around the flower added to it's impact and gave it a nice sense of place.

At this point, the sun came out in full force for the first time since I had begun painting. This changed the scene entirely, but I decided to keep moving forward.

Unfortunately, this change in the color and contrast of the scene affected the painting in a negative way. I felt the top half of the painting had become overpainted and heavy compared to the foreground flower. The red leaves of the tree in the background were especially distracting.

I made the decision to scrape away the top half of the painting. Never be afraid to do this when you're not happy with the way things are progressing.

This fresh start gave me a chance to loosen up without fighting the underlying paint.

Almost complete.

And here's the final. "Pink Irises" (oil on canvas, 12"x16") went on to win first place in the competition. I'm still happiest with the Iris in the foreground.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stems Plein Air 2014 - part 1

In May, I participated in Stems Plein Air at the Overland Park Kansas Arboretum. The event started off with an evening quick paint. It was a wild weather day, with early storms and an overcast sky. I debated whether I should even make the trip out to the arboretum, assuming that the event would be rained out. Luckily, the rain held back, although the clouds remained.

To compensate for the lack of a clear light source, I chose to paint a group of peonies using the lighter sky and the pond as a contrasting background to their intense color.

In order to get the view that I wanted, I had to set up my easel without the legs extended to get down low enough. Sitting can be a challenge, as I prefer to stand and frequently walk away from the painting to get a more holistic view.

The starting horn blew at 6pm, and we were off and running. I had the composition blocked in by 6:15.

By 7pm, the sun began to emerge from the clouds for a bit.

Here's the final painting. Completed about 7:30. At that point, I took a walk around to see all of the other great works by the artists.

I was lucky enough to win one of the 2 purchase awards that evening. A good start to a great event. 2 more weeks to go!