Thursday, August 15, 2019

Reach by Frank Lyne

This week's blog post is by guest blogger Frank Lyne. He's going to tell a bit about his most recent sculpture, Reach. Here's Frank - 

On June 9 of this year, Alison and I delivered some art work she had done for a Nashville pathologist who has bought many things from each of us over the years. He had, some years ago, bought a cherry figurative study from me named Reining In.

It depicts a female holding onto a cloth covered form that seems to be trying to pull away from her by some unknown force. On our visit, my original buyer's wife asked me to explain what was going on in my carving. Her appreciation for it had increased over time because it depicts a female physically controlling a situation and she wanted to know if that was my intent. It was. She also wanted to know what the hidden object was that was being reined in. I told her its definition was up to the viewer and could be anything from a little flight capable sprite to some aspect of her own character. The lingering good feelings from that visit made me want to make something new depicting a female in control of a situation. Reach became almost fully developed in my head within a day of that visit and before I even selected a billet for making it. 

By June 26, I had the main elements of my concept roughed into a cherry billet – a female barely succeeding in reaching for a difficult to attain ring shaped object. I knew I was on track with my concept when my disinterested nephew recognized it. He had seen TV shows that involved retrieving some object as a part of an athletic competition.

In my haste to begin my principle concept, I ignored the fact that the billet was too narrow to have room for the figure's right arm.

It took a little doings, but one can add to wood as well as take away. The figure now has 2 arms.

A little later on, I uncovered a knot right in the pit of my figure's stomach. By then, her torso was still thick enough to shape a strap looped over her shoulder.

That strap ostensibly supports a satchel she needs for carrying her retrieved object. The satchel hides the hole in her lungs and liver.

In addition to problems with the wood, there was one other consideration to address. An upcoming juried show I want to enter has a 40 pound weight limitation. My nearly shaped carving weighed 66 pounds on July 4. With a rigorous diet plus a hollowing out of the snag she's climbing on, I got her down to 39 pounds upon completion on August 8.

My gut says the completed carving is a success. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Clarksville Customs House Museum Exhibit Roundup

Last winter, November 28, 2018 thru February 27, 2019, to be precise, Frank and I had a joint art exhibit at the Clarksville Customs House Museum in Clarksville, Tennessee. 
The kind folks at the Museum set us up in the Kimbrough Gallery of the Museum, and we so appreciated their hard work when we first walked in and saw the show. They had titled the show: The Nature of Things.

I did a walk around taking pics of the various sections of the show: 

Many of Frank's small to mid size pieces were grouped together in a glass case:

Both of us had been working on works celebrating the centennial of the passage of the19thAmendment , so we had one wall with a themed grouping.

and showcased Frank's major sculpture: Prelude to the Affirmation of a Right

Thanks again to the Museum for having our art on display in such a lovely show!

All of these artworks are shown individually on our website

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Blue On Blue......Did I Mention It's Blue?

Blue on Blue
12 x 12 inch gallery wrapped canvas
Acrylic paints
From my own photo

This is a bitty blog about a bitty blue painting called “Blue On Blue”. 
It might be I have a certain fondness....uhmmm..... maybe a teensy obsession....... with “midnight blue” or cobalt blue or Phthalo blue. The other day I found an old photo of some bluebells I'd photographed in a mini photo shoot, dramatically lit with cloth drapery. I pulled out a small 12 x 12 inch canvas and began to paint

I decided on a analogous (colors close together on the color wheel) color scheme, with ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, and a deep magenta violet with a compliment of a warm deep brown. A few light grace notes were included for the pastels of the budding pink bluebells.

I saw immediately saw I would have to drastically simplify the background in order to focus on the delicate flowers. As you can see from my photo reference I cut out all the extraneous background items and kept it a deep dark value. You can see my little post it reminder to check: Light vs Dark, Sharp edges vs Soft ones, Linear lines of the glass vase vs the masses of the cloth and bright intensity of colors like the green backlit leaf vs the greyed drapery behind.

The painting quickly came together, and I got my “blue” fix for a little while.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Creek Time

Creek Tyme
36” x 36” gallery wrapped canvas
Acrylic paints
My photo references

This week's painting is an homage to the “good 'ole summer tyme”, here in the waining days of summer. Frank has taken so many lovely photos of our local creek, I really wanted to incorporate one in a painting. I picked one beautiful photo showing a bend in the creek with overhanging trees and a shaft of sunlight streaming in the breaks in the leafy canopy. I paired that with heavily changed bits and pieces of photos of folks from different events we've attended in the past. I wanted to give the feel of families going for a late summer day picnic at a local watering hole....of the scenic and swimming type.

I composed my painting to fit the somewhat unusual square shape canvas I had on hand. I began the painting with a flat colour lay in of basic shapes.

The painting went pretty quickly as I had already done my prep work. Here you can see I have taped on the canvas for quick reference, a bitty color thumbnail sketch showing the figures' changes in light and shadows, my original pencil sketch of the figures and small pencil sketch on tracing paper taped onto the photograph of the creek to find just the right placement.

I had intentionally made the composition fit into the square space by using the pointing finger of the left hand mom as a starting point for a swirl of sunlit points that led up to the far bend in the creek and swept up into the leafy sky.

I enjoyed picking out the details of the two busy mom's “mom buns” and cell phones in back pockets, along with the second mom's backpac with extra diapers and sippy cups. I luved that the two moms just took time to pull on plain white t shirts and jeans and pulled their hair back in scrunches and buns. But you can tell one mom took the time to dress her toddler in a fancy new jean jumper and a bow for curly hair. And the other mom gave in and let her little girl wear the frothy dance skirt she's been living in, while doing her hair up in a ballerina bun to match her mom's. Painting in these kind of details plus capturing gestures of closeness was extra fun to paint in contrast to the magnificent nature view.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Beaches or a Dip Back in Time

16 x 20 inches
Acrylic paints on gallery wrapped canvas

This painting is a hat tip to the “good ole' summer time”......with the emphasis on the “old”. I found a lovely old sepia coloured family photo showing this neat seashore scene. The figures were blurred but did show turn of the last century swimsuits......for the men what looks like a long t-shirt and knee shorts. The women......a knee length pair of “bloomers” over stockings covered over with a knee length dress and perched on their heads a “shower cap” swimming cap. And a lot of this is made of a wool (?) blend of the the water.

I started out by roller brushing on the blue sky and bluer still water. I'd masked off the figures to reserve the white and their outlines. I added in the water line in the sand.

You can see the sepia toned photo I was working from in the upper left of the pic. The outline drawings directly above the painting is pen on clear acetate. I often use this to check where I have located my figures, when the paint is still wet.

I established the main two figures to get a “read” on how they should look. You can see the reserved white outlines of the other figures. I just begun to model the sand and waves breaking on the shore.

I carried on with fleshing out the other figures, and had a great time doing the waves coming in, the splashing of the children, and the wave-lets coming to shore on the sandy beach.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Street Festival or a Study in Light and Shadow

Street Festival
24 x 35 inches gallery wrapped canvas
Acrylic paints
My own primary source photo

This is a bitty blog post about a really BIG (for me anyway) painting. I decided I wanted to do a city scape painting with dramatic shadows and this old photo I had,fit the bill. I did some judicious rearranging of a few of the elements to get the “look” I wanted and began painting.

I first laid in big blocks of flat colour using a lotta really dark red for the shadowed side of the building. I used a T square to reddi-up the white window frames and doors.

After laying in the shadowed windows, I went over with a roller brush, the really dark shadows of the building with a muted brick red. I wanted the brick texture without details. This was going to be glazed over in the final steps of the painting.

To establish the lightest lights of the painting I turned to the background buildings which were in direct sunlight. I painted in just enough of the buildings details to establish the 3D-ness of the buildings....but not much else.

Towards the end of the painting I experimented with a lighter tone for the foreground pavement. It looked “OK”......but I'd lost the drama! So as I finished up the crowd under the blue awning and the foreground people.....I quickly switched back to a really dark foreground pavement colour, and got back my “POP”!

I finished things off with multiple dark glazes in the deeply shadowed areas with a few bright and light colour highlights, like the red tent and the toddler's balloon as he rides on his daddy's shoulders.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Winter Wheat Sunlight or Portrait of a Blade of Grass

Winter Wheat Sunlight
24 x 30 inches acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
photo reference my own

This painting I decided to stay a bit closer to fact right outside our house. This barn is at the top of the hill in the front field. The deep green grass by the fence row in the foreground is actually planted in winter wheat. This is done, in the early fall, mostly to keep the bare ground from washing away with winter rains. One really neat thing about winter wheat is that is sprouts in the fall, just when all the summer greens have faded, and even the trees are starting to loose their fall colours. Often in the dead of winter, when everything is a shade of'll see a field of winter wheat, all bright and spring green......and it'll remind you that spring isn't too far away.

I took my source photo, that we'd taken one afternoon on our walk, and I laid it out on a vertical canvas, using sponge brushes. I was interested in using the late afternoon shadows to compose a “Z” type pattern. 

I had left the barn covered while I painted in the sky and line of trees, so's I didn't have to be too persnickety about staying in the lines of the barn.

By now I had basically done the top half of the painting. For the bottom half I needed to establish the winter wheat and the afternoon shadow......but without too much detailing.....after all I was going to paint grass all over it!

Here I am using a loooooong brush to paint in the many, many, many blades of grass. I know it looks like I'm painting too many grass blades......but it's really kinda relaxing. After you get the flow of how you need to swish up then down with the's fun!

After I finished the painting, and had it hung up on the was a treat to have the afternoon sunlight flow across that winter wheat green.....and really light it up! Nature and art co-existing!