Friday, December 3, 2010

Michaelis Ranch Breakfast

I did this painting on location at Michaelis Ranch SW of Austin. It's a lovely "century" ranch that has been in their family since the late 1800's. Many of the buildings are extremely old, and they raise some fantastic Charolais cattle. I love painting there. This particular plein air watercolor took two visits to finish. The cows were amazingly hungry and did stay to eat a long time, but they move around and the sun changes it's angle making the white cows loose their backlit blue shadows as the day progresses. Also, the drying on the watercolor had gone too far by the time I wanted to place the final shadows on the cows to make them look more 3D. I returned a second day to cows milling around, and the haystack well eaten, but with patience I was able to catch what I was looking for. This 15 x 20" watercolor is titled, "Breakfast!"

I have been asked how I know the shapes and relationships in a painting are right. I can only say that I had extensive training on composition from my professor Morton Grossman, who was trained at the Art Students League in NYC. Most of the principals I learned are in Edgar Paynes book, “Payne On Composition” which you can get a copy of through DeRues in Laguna Beach, CA. It’s not an easy read, but you learn a lot if you work through it. Once you have it in your blood, you will just know it when you see it.

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