Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bob Bateman demo

A 'photo journey' of Bob Bateman's painting demonstration...

Using Masonite that has been sealed with gesso, he started with acrylic paints to block in a wolf from his reference photograph (at left). Here he thought about the composition and where the wolf should land on the board.

Then he thought about the horizon line and the background. Blocking the background in as one large dark with a slight gradation and planning to break it up later with the foreground grasses.
Adding the grasses next, he has his reference photo to the left. Earlier, we actually went looking for a "good clump of grass" (nice form with good shadow and light patterns) to use for the painting.
Using very thin acrylic, he blocked in the general values and shapes - not concerning himself with the color yet. Paying particular attention to the overall composition and how the shapes interrelate. You'll notice he moved the horizon line behind the wolf, not liking his first choice.
Switching to alkyd oils, he started adding more details and color. Also, you'll notice more grasses have been blocked in. He often changed the grass pattern slightly, placing them 'strategically' around the wolf.
Still using very thin washes, he continued adjusting and modifying. (Notice the legs of the wolf, he changed the position slightly DEFINITELY not being a slave to his reference photograph.)
Satisfied with the overall composition, he then added the lighter grasses in front. Here he felt the major elements of the painting were complete. However, he said he would continue to work on the painting for quite some time, making further and further slight adjustments to the piece.

  To visit Robert Bateman's web site and see more of his work, click here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bob Bateman musings

I've just returned from Cortes Island, British Columbia where I was soaking up wildlife art ideas with Bob Bateman - an 83 year old wildlife art master. He has an incredible number of paintings under his belt, a load of books out and now the Bateman Center and Museum is opened in Victoria, BC. (We stopped there on the way.) With an art experience like that, there is a lot to blog about.

Where to start?...The Robert Bateman Centre seems appropriate - and it will give you an overview of his work. These are photos I took of some of my favorite pieces at the Centre....

For more info on Robert Bateman, click here.

Cortes Island is pretty remote and it takes a few ferry rides to get there....

 Our British Columbia Ferry coming in to take us to Cotes Island.

A quintessential Northwest Island paradise - with huge cedar trees, mist and lots of ferns. It was a lovely spot and an honor to spend some time with Bob Bateman and his wife Birgit.
A photo I took of Robert Bateman on Cortes Island
More posts from the trip to come.... including his painting demonstration!

Our Yellowstone Zoo
- photos from our windows -
When we travel, we always come back to Gardiner Montana with a renewed appreciation for "home" - our fabulous place on this Earth. And to welcome us, elk were bugling across the Yellowstone River....
Since there were cow elk in our driveway, this bull decided it was worth a swim across the River....

And up the riverbank to our driveway.....
He even ignored our 'one way' sign in the driveway!
But they really are cute - well worth the swim :)
It's good to be back where the deer and the antelope...and the elk roam!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Work between the wildlife watching

REALLY, we ARE getting some work done. We designed the big windows in our studio to look directly out into Yellowstone National Park over the Yellowstone River for a reason! We can wildlife watch AND work - it's perfect!
A new piece John has been working on (in clay) -
A bison bust....
Bison bust side view
bison bust front view
And one of his current works in progress (in clay) -
wolves running through down trees

Our Yellowstone Zoo
- photos from our windows -
We HAVE been working, but the wildlife watching has been great too...
Elk herd with mule deer herd in the background
"Teenagers" rough housing
A few female elk with young had enough
and swam to the other side of the Yellowstone River
A particularly young elk following his mother
Getting caught for a bit in the 'waves'
Making it to "our side"
All were safe and sound after their evening swim.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A lot of action at the Zoo

Our Yellowstone Zoo
- photos from our windows -
It was a big day yesterday at the Zoo!
We started out the morning with sheep interested in art.
Here, a female big horn sheep is looking in the display window of our Gallery...
Then a few of them decided to check out our lodging accommodations.
You can REALLY count sheep in bed here!
Later in the day, a bull elk and his 'harem' put on a big show....
with LOTS of bugling!

Then they all took a break in the Yellowstone River....
There were about 40 more females in the group,
but I couldn't get them all in one photo!...
The late afternoon light on the elk was gorgeous. Ideas abound!
So many painting and sculpting subjects - literally - right outside our doors.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Painting with a Water Ouzel

We hiked into the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. I planned to paint in there somewhere.

It was a fabulous hike and we found a gorgeous sandy beach where we could have lunch. While we were eating a Dipper (or Water Ouzel) came by. Really interesting birds and lots of fun to watch.

They swim underwater (without the webbed feet of a duck) and fly too. I've read that they can actually walk underwater as well!

When they come to the surface, they will swim to a dry place to climb out.

YEAR ROUND - that's the even more amazing part to me. They stay here year round. We watch them in the middle of winter doing the same thing - seemingly unaffected by the well below freezing temps.

And they're just a 'little grey bird' - I love that. At first glance, you might not even give them a second thought. So small and plain, but truly amazing. Here comes my love of metaphors from the natural world....
He who truly knows has no occasion to shout.
Leonardo Da Vinci

So of course, painting ideas start to churn. I sat right there and did a quick plein air study of the Dipper's landscape.

11"x14" plein air study
I have a studio painting in mind... I love the grey on grey colors. Monotone but powerful. There's definitely a painting in there 'swirling around' - I hope I can find it!

Our Yellowstone Zoo
-photos from our windows-
So our hike was a couple days ago - then it snowed! Early, but you never know around here. We've been watching flocks of bluebirds feeding on the berries in our yard. Another painting idea percolating! Beautiful colors, far from monotone...