Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Towards the Beach: Final Painting

Towards the Beach" is an original 11" x 14" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting has been securely varnished and is presented as unframed.

The concept of the painting was to emphasize different ways of approaching the beach. In this concept, we have the mountains directly accessing the beach from above, the water accessing the beach from the sides, and the abstract shapes accessing the beach from the bottom. All approach it from different angles, but all approach it at the same time.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Towards the Beach: Basic Color Pattern

This weekend, I started to work on the color layout of Towards the Beach. For this painting, I wanted to match the colors of the mountains, water and beach as closely as possible to a photograph reference that I'm working from. As usual, I first laid down the basic color pattern and, from there, started working out some of the abstract shape colors.

The abstract shape colors help define the direction and feel of the painting. In this case, I wanted the user to immediately focus on the red band and, by having it move into the distance towards the beach, the eyes will go towards the beach. From there, the hope is that the user will follow along the mountain path, then to the waves on the water and then back to the red path.

So far, so good. I'm about halfway done with this painting. The next steps are to define the trees that are on the beach and connect them to the mountain. I also need to define some of the basic shapes on the mountain better and build up the white foam of the water.

Friday, October 23, 2009


During tonight's still life, I decided that I wanted to add some reflective objects to my paintings. So, to work on that, I set up several materials with different reflection ratings. The setup contains a standard copper bowl, a brushed nickel chain and a shiny pewter pouring pot.

This was extremely hard. After discussing the technique with one of my instructors (Jack Winslow), I realized that the texturing is solely defined by the number of highlights and the sharpness of the shadow/reflections on the objects.

Overall, I'm pretty happy about the painting. The bowl and pot were done passably well, but the chains were giving me some trouble. Jack showed me how to get the basic shape of the chains using three different color values with blues mixed in, but was not able to create them to my satisfaction (the ones in front were done by him).

However, the reason to paint is to keep improving.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Connection between the trees and the mountain

While playing with more mountainous scenes, I came across this weird concept of the arching bridge. The bridge provides a method of connecting the hard rocky terrain with the more subtle foliage. Below the mountain, we see a smaller scene of a forest with the mountain above it. On the left, we see a more detailed view of the trees from the forest.

Reflections of the sea

"Reflections of the sea" will be an interesting experiment of capturing the reflections of the sky/water on the spheres that move towards the land. The spheres will be shiny metallic objects and reflect, on one side, the water and sky and, on the other side, the land that it is sitting on.

Shedding light on the land

This is a traditional landscape where the right abstract shape will act like a modern curtain against the scene.

To create this curtain "hole" as a focal point, I may do the entire painting as a night scene and create a daytime scene in the curtain... or vice-versa. Will not know until I start the painting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dougie and the Ducky

Last night's still life study was to paint a bright yellow toy duck. I'm extremely happy with way that he turned out. Using the techniques that I learned a couple of weeks ago from my instructor, Karen Winslow, about thinking of the entire painting as a mosaic and then blending the edges, really really helps.

As usual, I toned the canvas board with a mixture of greys, burnt umber, yellow ochre, and a small amount of Liquin. Then I drew the toy using Terra Rosa.

Once I had the general shape of the duck laid out, I removed all of the background paint in the area of the duck. This saves me from fighting with the background paint so that my duck is bright and luminous. After that, it was a matter of laying down the base color shapes and mixing various levels of grey to create the shadows.

The hardest part of this was to ensure that the drawing was correct. If the perspective was done incorrectly, the toy would not look near as well. No matter how well you paint, if you can't get the perspective correct, the painting will be wrong (if you are going for a realistic approach).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Towards the Beach: Drawing Layout

Once the basic concept sketch is laid out, the next phase is to prime the canvas and "draw" out the basic shapes. In this case, you are not worrying about colors, value, etc. You are making sure that, showing the basic shapes, the scene is still recognizable.

Since I wanted this to be a little darker than my normal paintings, I've primed the canvas with a bluish-grey mix of white, Cerulean Blue, and Indigo Black. Mixing a light amount of Liquin into the painting helped cover the canvas and produced a thin paint layer (Remember... thick over thin to prevent cracking in the future).

The other benefit of priming the canvas is so that you don't get white speckled dots on the final painting. With the color laid over later, the white of the canvas should not be seen.

Now that the canvas has been primed, I refer to my reference sketch and "draw" on the canvas using a brush and Terra Rosa. I can adjust the shapes/drawing because I know that the final drawing will be overlaid by the painting, itself. It just gives me a guide to know how to layout my colors.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Towards the Beach: Concept Drawing

The next painting will be one of the smaller paintings (11 x 14) and more along the lines of an impressionistic landscape. In this scene, we have the water coming up to a beach and some trees/mountains in the background. The foreground contains grassy fields and rocks.

As usual, the first part of the painting is to layout various concept sketches to decide how the abstract shapes interact with the landscape. When doing this, there are two approaches: 1) Draw the land and then incorporate the shapes or 2) draw the shapes and incorporate the land. The last painting (Reaching Upward) dealt with the shapes being drawn first and then the mountain added to it. In this situation, the land is more important than the unique shapes, so I'll work based on incorporating the shapes into the land.

In the first drawing, we see that it is a pretty standard landscape scene with various rounded shapes at different points. since I want the beach to be the primary focus area, that shape will be the brightest/strongest. Most likely, it will be a nice yellow, which contrasts strongly with the bluish-grey water.

The second drawing uses various dark and solid colors blocks to "frame" out the landscape. The blocks will not be much different in value from the land, with the exception of the one near the beach.

The final drawing incorporates the shapes directly into the landscape and makes them a part of the landscape. This is definitely the most interesting use of the shapes. I think that this will be the primary painting.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Finished: Reaching Upward

"Reaching Upward" is an original 22" x 28" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting has been securely varnished and is presented as unframed.

The concept of the painting was to emphasize the broad strength of a mountain and show how it is constantly reaching for the sky above it. The abstract shapes represent the solid foundation that is always present for the mountain and allows it to reach higher and higher.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

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Reaching: Working on the Mountain Color

Now that I'm feeling a lot better, I was able to get more work done on my latest painting: Reaching. My first attempt at the painting of the mountain, after deciding the colors, was just horrible. The issue was that the mountain was too fuzzy and muddy.

In oil painting, mud happens when you are laying down one color and then overmixing/blending too many colors into that wet area. As a solution, you try to smooth out the area and, if you are lucky, you eventually pull up the underneath paint or layer enough thick paint on the top to cover the mud. Most times, you just make more mud and the painting is weak... too fuzzy.

Rather, a better approach is to treat the painted shapes as a mosaic (learned technique from Karen Winslow). With a mosaic look, you still retain the definite colors of the shapes and avoid the mud. When you step away from the painting (about 5 feet), you should still be able to "read" the painting and tell what you are painting. Once you have laid down the basic shapes, you can then go in and smooth out the EDGES of the shapes to blend the shapes together.

For the blending, there are two ways to do this. Take your brush and lightly blend the two areas or laid down an intermediate color. At this time, I tend to blend the areas, but am experimenting with the laying down of the immediate color.

So, the painting is coming along. The parts that I'm not happy with are:
1) bright cloud around the tip of the mountain. This area should be darker to ensure that the contrast of the top of the mountain and sky are more prominent. With the top of the mountain being the focal point, I want to make sure that your eyes are drawn to it.
2) The gray at the base of the mountain is too weak. There is a discontinuity between the shapes and the mountain. They don't integrate well together. It looks like two separate painting sections.
3) The color of the shapes are a little duller than I prefer. This is more along the lines of my personal taste.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Reaching: Color Layout

Due to this week's illness, I was unable to actually work on my next large painting for a while. However, last night, I completed the basic color layout/scheme for my mountain scene.

As with my other paintings, I normally include a lot of bright colors for the abstract shapes. In this situation, since there were no abstract shapes near my focal point (the top of the mountain), I had to stay away from the strong colors. So, I went with some basic darker colors to represent the base of the mountain.

Now, that I have the basic color palette down, I'll need to actually start laying in some detail. For this piece, since I want to make sure that the user focuses on the mountain top and not any of the shapes, I will put the most detail at the pinnacle and make it less distinct as it moves away. In addition, I'll need to blend the right sphere with the mountain edge and make the color similar. That way, the eye will focus on the tip of the mountain, work your way down to the sphere and then to the base/shapes and back up the mountain.