Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Warm Autumn Day on the Cache la Poudre

Warm Autumn Day on the Cache la Poudre
by Scott Ruthven
12"x9" Oil on panel

The fall colors were spectacular this year in Colorado.  I painted this painting on site over a couple of sessions along the river here in Fort Collins.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Maynard Dixon

Quantum Sufficet
by Maynard Dixon 1921
American b. 1875 - d. 1946

O, I am Maynard Dixon,
And I live out here, alone
With pencil and pen and paint brush
And campstool for my throne
King of the desert country
Holding a magic key
To the world's magnificent treasure
None can unlock but me!
At times come terrible moments
When desire fill full my soul,
And women and wine and cities
Seem a compelling goal; - 
But I wake with a start to my desert
And it's lovely vistas unfurled, -
I'd rather be Maynard Dixon,
Than anyone else in the world!

Dixon was a great Painter and pretty good Poet.  I especially like his paintings from his early and mid career.  The painting shown above is in the Denver Art Museum.  I recently spent some time studying it in person...a real pleasure and the photo does no justice to the painting.  Here are some of my notes from my time with it:

Change in value and temp on shapes as they have both sun and shadow.
Varigated colors within one brushstroke - Door frames are a great example.
Big, flat color shapes.  
Complementary colors.
Expertly but simply defined forms like the horses, modeled with a few unblended strokes of color or the door frames painted with one stroke each in thick, variegated paint.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Two New Videos

I've been painting on loose linen for a month now and really like it.  So, for you painters out there, I've put together two videos talking about the linen I've been using and why I like it for plein air painting.

As always, your comments and "likes" are much appreciated.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blowing Snow - Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain from Sprague Lake

Here is my effort from Saturday.  I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park specifically to paint at Sprague Lake.  Up at Sprague, which is probably about 10,000 ft elevation, the temp was in the 20's and the wind blew at a steady 20-30MPH.  It's often windy in RMNP in the winter so no problem and as for the cold, once I begin to paint I become so engrossed in capturing my subject that I don't notice it.  To combat the wind I sat on a log so I could keep my tripod low to the ground (I usually stand while painting).  I also hung my weighted backpack from the tripod.  That still wasn't enough so I did the entire painting while holding my tripod down with my left hand.  The wind gusts were so forceful that I had to keep the lid on my mineral spirits can to ensure it didn't spill if the wind took it.

Painting in these tough conditions challenges me to see just what I can do.  The reward is potentially twofold: 1. I just might convey some of the feeling and imagery from the amazing show nature is putting on, and 2. I become more conditioned to focus on the key stuff and eliminate the unnecessary...both in my painting of the concept and subject matter and in the materials I bring and use.  If the painting is a disaster, I note what I learned so I can apply it next time and I take a deep breath and acknowledge the blessing of spending a few hours truly immersed in nature, seeing and experiencing what many never do.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Last Light

Last Light by Scott Ruthven
24"x18" Oil on canvas

I painted this in the studio from an 12"x9" painting I did on site while hiking and camping in the Rainbow Lakes area West of Boulder Colorado.  While painting the plein air study, the setting sun was baking my face which was fine until it hit an angle that also reflected off of the lake.  At that point I couldn't see anything so I stopped painting and enjoyed the setting sun.

This painting is about the lifecycle of nature...acknowledging the strength and vibrancy of one living tree and the weathered remnant of another.  I've also painted in a cutthroat trout...can you find it?

Here is a picture of my son with one of these trout.  He fly fished while I painted.  Jake (my son) is purely a catch and release guy.  So fun to watch these trout come up from the depths to take a dry fly.

If you like fly fishing, check out Jake's blog at:

Thanks for your comments and "likes"

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