Monday, January 14, 2019

Brokeoff Mountain

"Brokeoff Mountain" by Andrew Daniel

16" x 20" oil on canvas $900

Last time I visited John Crater's studio to paint with him, we selected this photo of Brokeoff Mountain near Mount Lassen. I liked it because of the picture within a picture effect. The far mountain is framed by the foreground trees.

 My initial approach had been to try and paint everything with one main layer, only allowing a second layer for accents. However, once I got it home the piece felt too simple. There just wasn't enough there to hold my interest. My initial thought was that I needed to enhance color relationships to get more there into my there. 

But ultimately, I realized that what I needed to do was slow down, and move through the painting, making each section come alive with detail and a stronger sense of intentionality.  This was a long process, of putting down refining layers, but I was determined to paint smart, so instead of killing my painting by overworking it, I endeavored to keep my brushwork spontaneous, looking for solutions to problems that were surprising to me. In the end, I'm happy with the way the image turned out. However, I can't escape the impression when I look at it, that it was a painting that was built by an architect instead of an expressionist painter. Still, the quality of light that plays through it... in a kinda cool way. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Paintings From Mendocino-Journal

These were painting I did at the Mendocino Open Paint Out in Sept. of '2018:
We had a week to wander the local streets and beaches, looking for subject matter. There were artists talks, receptions and prizes; with over 60 artists attending! My focus for the week was to work on brushstroke immediacy. I wanted each painting to have the energy of a sketch, laying the paint in a spontaneous open and unrestrained way. So that the viewer could get a sense of the day and the artist's hand involved in the creative process. After a summer of slow and labored work, it was exciting to have a full week to focus only on painting and a box full of small stretched canvases to fill with whatever the whim of the moment guided me to paint. This isn't my typical way of approaching things, but I was ready for a change, to take some risks and see if I couldn't paint my way out of a creative rut!

In Fact, by the time I had gotten my paintings on the wall before the deadline, I was about ready to take a nap on the spot!

"Incoming Coastal Fog on the Mendocino Headlands"
9" x 12" oil on canvas by Andrew Daniel $300
When I initially arrived at the Headlands, I had a short amount of time to get set up and start painting before the sun set. I found this spot where the rocks in the foreground led the eye into the painting. The foreground rocks were sunlit while the further away ones were becoming obscured in mist. My goal was to paint it all quickly and loosely, using brush work to create motion and move the eye. by the time I was finishing up, I practically needed a headlamp the sun had gone down so far!
One of things I kept doing during this trip was putting too much white into my mixtures, when I was out looking at the seaside air, I tended to want to interpret the haziness as varying amounts of white mixed into the paint. Unfortunately, this sapped the color intensity or saturation out of my paintings. By the end of the week, I started trying to really push the amount of pigment I used in my mixes, which you can see in the bottom sunset and sunrise paintings. All in all, I'm still not sure if the white was the right call tho. The piece that I used the most white in was singled out by one of the judges, Wendy Brayton, for Judges Choice Award. Then later it sold to a fellow painter from Britain who said the piece had subtleties that she typically doesn't see in American painting. I guess I was shooting for a subdued almost introspective mood. It was nice to have these two people recognize my efforts! Guess I was just born in the wrong country!

"Heeser Street and Mendocino Bay"
12" x 16" oil on canvas by Andrew Daniel Sold
This painting was from the first morning. My notion was to play the solid geometry of the road, the house and the strong horizontal lines of the headlands against the organic brushwork of the foreground.

"Kasten Street"
12" x 12" by Andrew Daniel $400
One of the iconic characteristics of Mendocino was the old wood water towers. The Peninsula has water trucked in, so you see these structures standing tall among the cities buildings, a reminder of another time. I liked them for their structural lines and "chunky" (as the Brits say) character. In this piece I used lines to create a compositional network, pulling the eye from side to side and front to back.

"Mendocino Presbyterian"
12" x 9" oil on Canvas by Andrew Daniel $300
For this painting I had been wandering the town at daybreak, looking for something that could show off the beauty of the morning light. This spire with the warm sun reflecting off of intent to the cool sky was the scene that finally grabbed me. I also enjoyed the repeated handicap parking spaces, thought it combined some contemporary elements with the older architectural ones.

"Behind Mendocino Presbyterian"
11" x 14" oil on canvas by Andrew Daniel $450
For this piece, I also wanted to play the loose strokes of the grasses and bushes, (it was fun to try and make the brushwork dance), against the geometry of the background buildings. I was really trying to exploit focal points with this piece, making extra color and value contrast on the blue door.

"Cypress Grove on the Mendocino Headlands"
12" x 16" oil on canvas by Andrew Daniel $575
This was the first in a series of three paintings I did, in which I framed the distant cliffs with the Coastal Cypress trees, creating a focal point painting within a painting effect. I wanted the rhythms of the trunks to play off of each other to create a more dynamic/whimsical dance.

"Couple Admiring the View"
12" x 16" oil on canvas by Andrew Daniel - SOLD
This piece was a bit of an experiment. I had decided that week to try new things with focal points, after the previous painting I thought that a figure might be just the ticket. Then along came a couple that were traveling through on a trip to the coast to escape the heat, I asked if they might sit there a while and let me put them into my painting. I only had enough time to put in their silhouettes but that was enough due to the backlit nature of the light.

"Driftwood Sculpture Garden"
12" x 12" oil on canvas by Andrew Daniel $400
By the time I got to this painting, I had already done two that day and I felt ready for an unusual challenge. The thought of painting this garden made me chuckle, what with all of the peculiar grey and brown shapes, the driftwood horses head and pagoda, the narrow but very tall out house and the stacked up shapes of the buildings in the back... I knew the piece would be more about draftsmanship than colors, so I decided to play up the lines and the whimsicle shapes. The Whole time I felt as if I was in uncharted waters, but the sensation was starting to become addictive! It's really fun now to start paintings that I have no idea how I'm going to pull off. Probably, if I'm feeling that way, than I will get a result that is unlike what I have seen before and that has it's own rush to it!

"Sunset Blues and Yellows"
12" x 12" oil o canvas by Andrew Daniel $400
This painting was really done as fast as possible, chasing the the sunset as it ran for the horizon, I wonder if it was simultaneously sunrising in Japan... probably takes a bit longer than that. I hadn't done many sunset or sunrise paintings before this trip. The colors really grabbed me, making me wonder why I don't do more of them at home? Usually have stuff to do at that time of the day I guess... Anyway, nothing like having the light condition change faster than you can paint it to make you learn to be more econiomical!

"Sunrise Mendocino Headlands"
12' x 12" oil on canvas by Andrew Daniel $400
I found that painting sunrises was a little bit easier, because the light over my canvas didn't disappear on me. Still painting light that changes so quickly makes one have to be very strategic. Decide the look and get down whatever color notes you need, then fill in the rest without getting too distracted by the now changed light in front of yah. That's the best advice I could give at least...

"Evan Paints the Big River Mists" by Andrew Daniel
9" x 12" oil on canvas $300
This painting was from our farewell session, the last morning of the event, about 10 of us met at the Big River parking lot at Sunrise. There was a glowing cream colored mist coming up the river valley, silhouetting the trees and obscuring the distant hillside. Evan Garber set up in the middle of my scene, conveniently providing me with a more interesting focal point then the logs that had been washed up on the shore. For the last couple days I had been trying to gauge whether it is better to use white in my mixtures to create subtle value shifts to capture the seaside atmosphere, or "punch the color saturation to make more exciting paintings. One of the comments that the Judges had passed onto me was that I needed to pay closer to attention to how I dealt with values as they receded off into the distance. So in this piece, I tried to really take special care with that aspect, embracing white, but making sure to be strategic in how I depicted the space with value.

Also, I had been looking at John Hewitt's Watercolor paintings from the show. He often simplified his subject matter down to an essence of color and shape. I thought I might do that too.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

“John’s View of Mount Shasta”

This is one of four of my paintings on display at the Westhaven Center For the Arts in the Representational Art League annual “New Works” show on display Sat./Sun. Afternoons until Oct. 28th. Several weeks ago, I met with John Crater at his studio on a foggy day and we pawed through his collection of photos taken from his many hikes. This subject caught my eye, because it had the warm hued boulders in the mid ground. I’ve been trying to train myself to pick out a section of the painting to focus the eye more than others, so that the viewer has a sense of where to go, and so the painting has a center of gravity. I did this by making the colors and contrasts slightly more crisp, and the edges slightly more sharp in the focal point region. Now that I’m gaining more comfort with this concept, it makes me want to repaint all my old paintings!

“John’s View of Shasta” 

oil on canvas 



Available at Westhaven Center For the Arts

Monday, September 10, 2018

Girl Playing in the Tide

This was the painting that I created and sold at the auction with a little help from Matt Stanton Beard for the Trinidad Coastal Land trust 40th anniversary celebration! It was a fun celebration with great food, lots of good peeps and the perfect party music by “The Sand Fleas”. 

Several of us took turns on another painting that was set up next to the band, tapping each other out when we thought we had an idea for what it needed next. Pretty fun! It evolved into a sunset scene with rocks and stylistic waves.

This piece in the photo was another of my attempts at putting figures into the landscape. Initially I had her father standing to the right, waiting, but he looked kinda creepy, so I scraped him off and let her swim unsupervised instead. Another thing that was interesting, was after the encouragement from Matt, I scraped off the two foreground rocks and repainted them darker to make them pop forward in space. I just painted them quickly and unselfconsciously and it seemed to work a lot better than before. I think Matt also lightened my Trinidad head mass in the far background when I wasn’t looking, which helped the depth as well.

The effect is termed “atmospheric perspective” for those of you who haven’t been indoctrinated in the science behind creating landscape paintings. As items are further away from the eye, they tend to get lighter and cooler, due to having to look through layers of atmosphere. 

Thanks to Jim for being the top bidder of the night!

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Surf at the Mouth of the Klamath

Opening today(Sunday Sept. 2nd) at the Westhaven Center for the Arts from 1pm to 4pm. The Representational Art League will be doing a group show there until Oct. 27th. This is our big show for the year; each member was invited to bring 5 pieces, so it ought to be an interesting display. 

This piece was a break through for me. I decided to go back to working smaller(11” x 14”), so that I could really work on getting my technique to flow. Often, I meet with John Craater to paint, if the weather is poor, then we paint from his big screen monitor in his studio. The source photo was one of his, taken at the mouth of the Klamath. I really liked being able to go after the vivid warm earth tones on the rocks, and set them off against the crashing surf! Sometimes if a source is challenging enough, I have to turn of my analytical brain and just trust in the process in order to get through it!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Samoa Neighborhoods

One week left for the big show at the “Garden Gate” in Arcata. This piece “Samoa Neighborhood” is up with another one Samoa piece at the Redwood Artist’s Association for September. It features the house of Debbie Krug, so if you know her, she might be tickled to see it! I really liked how the house shapes were stacked up on each other, then cordoned off with a picket fence, later on a lower point cordoned off with a bit of razor wire, can’t be too careful! The washed out, dogged out tones on these old pastel houses said both “beach town” and “mill town” to me.  There’s a bit of working class dignity to the scene! Painting so many straight lines is usually something I avoid, but lately I’m trying to face my demons, because they seem to be powerful teachers!

This painting is part of a series of paintings I’m working on as I try and confront my fear of painting architecture. The pastel hued houses are from the Mill town of Samoa. My notion with this painting was to be more aware of using a focal point in the composition. In the past, people have told me that I needed to do things like “put my lightest color next to my darkest color in the focal point.” Well it recently really struck home that I need to make the focal point more tightly focused, and then make the rest less interesting and less tightly focused. I needed to really slow down and enjoy making subtle relationships happen in the focal area, so that the viewer would in turn enjoy looking at it. This feels like a big deal to me, but I’m sure it all sounds obvious to you all.

The other thing I’m finding is that as my standards for paintings rise, my productivity falls! I end up working and reworking small paintings for several days, figuring that one good painting will do much more for my career than 10 mediocre paintings... oh well, it’s a good thing I have two day jobs!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pierson Horse Barn

My show at the Garden Gate in Arcata is still up until Sept. 4th. In this piece I set out to break a long streak of overworked paintings. My goal was to work through this piece from start to finish in one morning. So, I ended up painting this in two coats, a thin coat, and then a thick one. It felt good. It felt right. I think I’m going to continue on in the same vane for a while. Small works. Done economically.

Today I was excited to paint the horse barn on the Cathy Ray Pierson and Hank Pierson Property, (thank you Cathy for inviting us!) It was so fun getting together with the Sunday Paintout Group today. Painting alongside Burleigh Wilson and Richard R Stockwell and getting to know them better! “Pierson Horse Barn” oil on canvas

Available from the artist


Thursday, June 07, 2018

Whacky Goats Northcoast Open Studios

This collection of whacky goat portraits will be on display this weekend at Northcoast Open Studios June 9,10 (info below). Sometimes I just get a wild hair in my brush and want to make silly paintings. When I got into this series I had been painting a bunch of portraits and had two in a row with bad proportions to the point where I scraped off two day’s work and abandoned the paintings. Still in the mood for painting portraits I landed on goats. No goat is going to come bleating and naaaging you for getting their eyeball placed an inch away from its rightful position. There just gonna eye you up and down, in hopes that you might look away long enough to get a bite of your shirt. Anyway, I started having so much fun, that one portrait begat another until I had myself a herd of whacky goat paintings. I’m not proud, it was just something that needed exorcising. 

This piece along with 300 paintings (many older pieces marked down) as well as cards and prints will be on display for Northcoast Open Studios. Over a hundred other artists will also be showing their work. Find catalogs around town or follow the link below for the online directory. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

View from Luffenholtz Point

Rick Tolley convinced me to go out Painting this morning with Paul Rickard when I should have been preparing for Northcoast Open Studios this weekend (info below). I’ve attempted this view a few times, but this is the first time that I have put bushes in the foreground. That would have been something I avoided in the past, but now those kinds of elements are really appealing to me. Humboldt is just overflowing with life, bushes growing on top of bushes, with trees reaching through. 

In this piece I tried a new technique, by making a thinned down monochromatic painting in violet, then painting the scene on top. It turned out to be really helpful because I had a strong feeling for the shapes, compositions and values before even starting to plug in the observed colors of the scene. It actually really felt easier.

Northcoast Open Studios is this June 1,2,3,9,10. Pick up a catalog around town or follow this link to the online directory. A ton of artists all over the Northcoast will be opening their studios. My Arcata home will be opened up to the public with around 300 artworks on display,(many older works steeply discounted) as well as prints and cards. I hope you come by!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Northcoast Open Studios June 1,2,3,9,10

Made another morning marshscape for Northcoast Open Studios June 1,2,3,9,10. (see below) The sun was just coming up over Fickle Hill as I worked on this one. I decided to focus on color, atmosphere, and light, instead of detail. It made it possible to get through all of the information I wanted in the painting before the light quality changed too much. Starting to really see the possibilities that wet into wet painting provide. It’s a very interesting, and fun way to paint!

If you are interested in seeing more of my art and the work of many other artists pick up a Northcoast Open Studios catalog around town or follow this link to the online directory. I’ll have about 300 artworks on display along with cards and prints. Hope to see yah there!