Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Great Opening Night!

My painting "The Three Kings of Grant Humphreys" won 2nd place and the People's Choice awards in the emerging artists category at the 2012 Denver Plein Air Arts Fest competition.

The show can be seen through December 31st at the Vida Ellison Gallery on the 7th floor of the Denver Central Public Library (next door to the Denver Art Museum).

Scott Ruthven
Scott Ruthven

Monday, November 12, 2012

Colorado State Capitol

Gold Is In Your Future by Scott Ruthven
7"x5" Oil on panel

I painted this on location during the 2012 Denver Plein Air Arts festival.  The painting is 7"x5" and is mounted to a 8"x6" black panel so it "floats" in this 8"x6" elegant gold leaf frame.

Click here to see some in-process photos I took while painting this.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Avery's Pumpkins by Scott Ruthven
24"x12" Oil on Canvas
In this piece, I wanted to capture the vibrant colors and well defined shadows created by the intense late afternoon sun.  I like how the cast shadows made another set of pumpkin shapes too and there are some lovely reflected lights.  The corn and the ground plane were painted using layers of warm and cool transparent washes.

I'm working on a video to show the progression of this work.

Have a fun and safe halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumn Harvest Plein Air Sketch

Autumn Harvest by Scott Ruthven
4"x5" Oil on hardboard
Fall is a beautiful time of year in Colorado when the sky is clear, the trees change colors and farmers harvest their crops.  This small study of Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak that I painted en plein air yesterday captures it all.  Artist Worthington Whittredge (of Hudson River School fame) painted some scenes close to this location in the late 1800's.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Afternoon In The Garden

Afternoon In The Garden by Scott Ruthven
10"x8" Oil on canvas panel

This is another piece I painted at the Grant Humphreys mansion during the Denver Plein Air Arts Festival in 2012.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Three Kings

The Three Kings of Grant Humphreys By Scott Ruthven
The Three Kings of Grant Humphreys By Scott Ruthven
10"x20" Oil on canvas panel

There is a famous mansion in Denver built in 1902 for James Grant, who had been the third Governor of Colorado.  Grant died in 1911 and his widow sold the neoclassical mansion to an oil baron, Albert Humphreys, in 1917.  The mansion now belongs to the Colorado Historic Society and it is also on the National Register of Historic Places.  Here's a link to the Wikipedia article.

The 2012 Denver Plein Air Festival held a paint-out at the mansion which I attended and painted another piece (I'll post about it another time).  On my way back to my truck I happened to turn and look up to the second story finding these three identical windows with their majestic lions.  I knew I had to paint them.  So, with the sun almost gone I started sketching one of the windows to get a feel for the complex ornamentation.  Needless to say, I had to make two more trips to the mansion to complete the painting.

 And, adding some water stains on the wall:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Colorado State Capitol - Plein Air

There's Gold In Your Future by Scott Ruthven
Colorado State Capitol 7"x5" Oil on Panel
I painted this picture of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver as the sun went down.  The sunlight reflecting off of the gold dome was so beautiful and warm which contrasted with the cool shadow areas beneath the trees and the constant stream of brake lights on Colfax Avenue.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Denver Plein Air Arts Fest

I've been painting in the 2012 Denver Plein Air Arts Fest over the past couple of weeks.  This is my first year and it has been pretty fun.  Artists are allowed to paint at select locations between August 10th and September 16th.   Works that are juried in to the show in November will be eligible for awards and will hang in the Vida Ellison Gallery at the Denver Central Library.  Here are a few pics from the various sites.

One paint-out was held at the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison Colorado.  I've been there at night for concerts but watching the sunrise over Denver is a spiritual experience.

Red Rocks Amphitheater at dawn
Ready to paint the sunrise at Red Rocks

Scott Ruthven
One of my paintings of Red Rocks

I also decided to paint the State Capitol.  It wasn't my first choice since it is an obvious choice but I found a unique vantage point and captured the sunset glistening off the gold-covered dome.  I ended up painting by the lights from the Voorhies Memorial for an hour + after the sun set.  As it got dark, more and more homeless people started showing up.   One of them, named Bryon, said he loved my painting and though it looked photo-realistic.  Later, when discussing something else, he told me he had vision problems and could only see fuzzy shapes ;-)  That was a let down.  When I asked him if I should be worried about some of the troublesome looking folks starting to congregate he said not to worry as long as he was around he would protect me.  It was a nice gesture but he clearly didn't take into account I was armed with multiple paint brushes and cadmium pigments.

Scott Ruthven
Painting the Denver State Capitol
Bryon - a friendly homeless guy who I chatted
with as I painted past dark. 

On another day we painted at the Grant-Humphreys mansion.  It's a beautiful old home and we had free reign of the grounds.  

I used the sight-size method for my drawing of the planter below.  The afternoon sun made the railings and planter glow against the dark foliage in the background.

Scott Ruthven
Sight-sizing initial drawing / values
Grant-Humphreys Mansion

Scott Ruthven
Planter at Grant-Humphreys Mansion

Scott Ruthven
Painting at Grant-Humphreys Mansion in Denver

The mansion also has wonderful architectural details which I decided to paint a few days later.  The piece I'm working on below required some detailed drawing.  I need to go down one more time to finish the painting.  So far it looks good; I'll post pics of it later.

Scott Ruthven
Drawing architectural details at Grant-Humphreys Mansion in Denver

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Bee Keeper

The Bee Keeper by Scott Ruthven
The Bee Keeper by Scott Ruthven
5"x7" Oil on Canvas Panel
Here's another piece in my small, plein air barns series.  The setting sun moved quickly tonight but I was able to mass in the darks and place a few warm lights in quickly so as to capture the effect.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Cactus by Scott Ruthven
Cactus by Scott Ruthven
11"x14" Oil on Canvas Board
What a fun painting this was to paint!  The shadows intermingle with the form to create an interesting composition.  Varied edges and color temp changes lead the eye, create depth and define the center of interest.  The ground is full of texture created with palette knife and dry-brush techniques.  Touches of pure color on some of the spines and edges help create the sense of light.  I hope you like it!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mini Backpacking Pochade Kit

Well summer is in full swing and it is beautiful hiking weather in Colorado.  My two sons and I have been on several hiking and backpacking trips into Rocky Mountain National Park this year already.  We combine our love of fly fishing, camping and of course painting!

Last weekend we hiked in 7 miles to camp at Thunder Lake.  This area of RMNP is very picturesque and our hike took us from dense forest to windswept tundra with rivers, streams, and lakes along the way.

With packs already full of gear, food and water, I had to scale down my painting kit.  So, I left my tripod, pochade box and panel support behind and assembled this mini kit from stuff I had laying around.

For the box, I used an inexpensive plastic bin with clasp locks for the lid.  It is just large enough to fit the four 37ml tubes of paint, a small cup for OMS, a pair of gloves, two small spring clips, plastic bag for hauling out trash, a couple of 5"x7" panels, a pencil, and small Moleskine pad for sketching.  I packed my brushes and paper towels separately.

As for paints, I limited my palette to Quick Dry White, Cad Red Light, Ultramarine Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium...all from Gamblin.  I also incorporated Gamblin's Galkyd medium to speed drying.

Once I found a spot to paint I simply removed the contents from the box, secured the panel to the box with the spring clips and squirted out some paint.  The clips worked surprisingly well to hold the panel and mixing the paint in the bottom of the box kept everything tidy.  When I was done, I simply wiped box clean with paper towels and put all the supplies back in.

As a side note, I sprung for the "Mighty Mite Jr. Brush Washer" small turps jar made by Guerrilla Painter.  It's a 1.25" high, plastic wide mouth jar with a welded metal insert for brush cleaning.  It doesn't look like much for 15 bucks but it was exactly what I needed for my mini kit and it worked great with no leaks...even at 11,000 feet above sea level.


Here's the link to the video showing my original Pochade box:

Here's the link to another post on building your own Pochade box:

Hope you are having a great summer!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Road To Bobcat Ridge

Road To Bobcat Ridge by Scott Ruthven
5"x7" Oil on panel

I was painting this about five miles South of the large High Park Wildfire currently burning here in Northern Colorado.  The area was later evacuated but has been untouched by the flames so far.  The smokey haze made for a unique atmosphere.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Journey Upstream

Journey Upstream by Scott Ruthven
5"x7" Oil on linen panel

I set up at a nice spot along the Cache La Poudre river on Saturday and painted this scene.  I hadn't planned on painting the geese into the picture but groups of them kept making their way upstream while I worked.  When painting outside, after 30 minutes or so, the wildlife forget you are there and start coming out and doing their thing.  I have had heron, which are generally very shy, sail in and perch in the water right next to me, oblivious that I was even there.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Smell Rain

Summer Thunder by Scott Ruthven
Summer Thunder by Scott Ruthven
12"x24" Oil on Canvas Panel

Thunderstorms roll in frequently this time of year and I enjoy how the setting sun lights up the tops of the clouds making them burst with color.  After the sun sets, we relax on the patio and watch the lightning show and enjoy the cool evening breeze. 

Detail - This is the true color of the sky in the painting

Summer Thunder Detail by Scott Ruthven

Saturday, April 28, 2012

High Country Solitude

"High Country Solitude" by Scott Ruthven
11"x14" Oil on Canvas

This quiet, contemplative scene looks wonderful in its gold leaf frame.  It reminds me of wonderful times hiking in the Rocky Mountain backcountry.

Here are some close up shots to show some of the detail:

Oh, and one more thing: please share on Facebook by clicking the "Share to Facebook" icon below the post and "introduce" me to your friends.  This really helps me connect with other art lovers.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Beginning

"New Beginning" by Scott Ruthven
9"x12" Oil on Linen Panel

Spring is here!  This painting celebrates the miracle of life with the new vibrant green grasses peeking up through the soil to supplant the old, and the arrival of baby lambs.

"New Beginning" - Detail

"New Beginning" - Detail

"New Beginning" - Detail

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