Annual Holiday Sale

I’ve just launched my annual holiday clearance sale, with my lowest prices ever! Prices start at just $50. Visit my store at http://store.edterpening.com
This latest painting is included.

It was painted from a reference photo I took at Telluride, Colorado.  The funicular in the valley floor takes skiers in Winter to the top of a local mountain. In summer, it’s a great place to visit.  I was there last year as part of Telluride Plein Air.  The photo was taken in late, late afternoon. I love the light during this time!

 

Above Telluride – Oil on Linen – 8×10

Our Wedding Day!

No art, today: after almost 20 years together, Mike and I decided to make it official.  Surrounded by friends and family (and CBS News, yikes!) we were married in a civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, where the same-sex marriage in California began.

Ed & Mike, Wedding Day, San Francisco City Hall

I hope you’ll join us in opposing Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that would deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.  We were interviewed by CBS News after (and they filmed the ceremony), so who knows, we could become the “Joe the Plumber” of same-sex married couples!
You’ll find our online wedding album here.  Enjoy!

Update: our wedding kiss is part of this CBS Evening News segment on Proposition 8.

Sketches from NYC

While I was in NYC last week on business, I brought a simple pen and ink set.  I draw using a fountain pen with Roting-Brown ink, and a watercolor brush with water to create the wash.  I like to sketch people (for some reason, landscape less so). Parks are a good spot.  People tend to sit a while, or even sleep, as one of my sketches show.  There was also a parade that Monday (Columbus Day), so I was able to capture the crowd.

This woman was reading outside a restaurant, waiting for a table:

This guy fell asleep on a bench in Central Park:

Columbus Day Parade crowd:

Central Park trees:


Lastly, on the plane home, I drew small compositional studies based on reference photos on my iPhone:

Sea Cliff & Monterey Cypress

The Fall is the best time to paint the coast here as there’s usually not as much fog.  I expected to paint an ocean view, but came across this view of a field and cliff (click for Google Map of the location, just north of Half Moon Bay).  I liked the arrangement of shapes and colors, and the division of space. I kept it both realistic and a bit abstract so I get get the viewer to focus on this overall impression, and not focus on detail.

What do you think?

 

Sea Cliff & Monterey Cypress, Oil on Linen, 12×9

Morning at Crissy Field

Crissy Field is San Francisco’s newest major park, dedicated in 2001.  Originally an airfield in 1919, the field was the site of one of the earliest army airfields on the west coast.

The western portion of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition was held here, including The Grand Prix.  According the NPS website, “The winning auto reached the dizzying speed of 56 miles per hour.”  In 1924, the first Dawn-to-Dusk transcontinental flight ended at Crissy Field, and the first flight from California to Hawaii started there.

This morning, the area was shrowded in fog (and high, cold winds–brrrr), so I kept color saturation low, and went for harmonious grays throughout.  The building shown here is Crissy Field Center.

Crissy Field (Foggy Morning) – Oil on Linen – 10×8

The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is no longer an art museum–as you might think–but a park and very fun hands-on science museum called the “Exploritorium” . The complex of buildings was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, just a few short years after the devastating 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire.The Exposition played an important role in art history. According to AskArt:

One of the many lasting effects of the 1915 Exposition was the recognition, both international and national, it brought to artists and their work, and specifically to art activities in California. For the first time, visitors could see a representative exhibition of modern art from all the art centers of the world. In particular, they were exposed to the Impressionists and their use of color, spontanaety, and disregard for rigid scholastics. The stage was set, and seeds were sown for the development of American-style Impressionism, fauvism, expressionism, and all that was to follow.

Christian Brinton, author of the book ‘Modern Artists’ and a visitor to the Exposition, wrote:
The West has a great future in art. Indeed, I go so far as to say the future of art belongs to the West. It is inevitable. The freshness and vitality of your life, the stimulation of the environmental influences—these things must result in big things.
This view is not the usual painted. I’ve painted the domed building before, so decided to try another view.

Palace of Fine Arts (San Francisco) – Oil on Linen – 8×10″

Use of Roads in Compositional Design

Roads and pathwayss are often used as compositional devices by artists (click here for a Google images search result to see some samples).  After all, artist’s use principles of design to lead the eye within a painting, in order to maintain interest.  A road is an easy way to lead the eye, because we’re trained to follow them.  Generally, when I compose a painting, I think first about an eye pathway and leverage (or invent) directional elements that create interest.  Lines that appear in nature like the shape of a tree, or the curve of a roof may be used to direct the eye, as well as roads.
To demonstrate, take a look at this sketch made to prepare for a painting of the French village Simiane.  The arrows I drew to the right of the sketch indicate the kind of eye pathway I think the design will create for the viewer.

The painting below uses both literal and figurative roads to lead the eye.  I believe the viewer will start in the lower right, where the road begins and invites them into the painting.  Where the road ends, the viewer will likely head up, and follow the path of light hitting the distant hills, then head right to follow the mountain tops, then down again to the foreground hill. This is my theory.  I remember years ago while at CNET we commissioned a study that actually showed where the eye first landed on a web page, and its subsequent movement on the screen.  Our test subjects wrote a set of special eyeglasses that tracked the eye’s movements. Obviously, very useful information to websites that make their money on advertising.  Hmmm…but you know, I guess I’m still in the same business.  Is a painting an advertisement?  I guess it is. It’s a product selling a sense of place and distraction from the everyday (like a movie).

Enjoy this 8×10 distraction 🙂

 

Road to San Luis Obispo – Oil on Linen – 8×10″

Painting China Cove

I think my shadows have been overly dark lately, so I’ve been seeking opportunities to “lighten up”.  An old reference photo of “China Cove” in Point Lobos did the trick. The photograph was over exposed, so everything was lighter than it would have been otherwise.

As I was painting this, the colors in the photo where washed out, so I also thought about pushing them further.  I had a good time with this painting, and very happy with it. It has the sense of light I was looking for.  I also reminds me of somewhat of Camille Przewodek’s colors. I tend to drift between schools of color, from Camille’s light key paintings to the more dramatic value changes of the Russian impressionists school.  I think I’ll stay in this key for a while, and see how things go.

Also, I took photos of the painting in progress, so created a little video (see below).

 

China Cove – Oil on Linen – 12×9

Here’s a short video of the painting in process.

 

Click to visit YouTube.  Be sure to click “Watch in High Quality” link, lower right.

View from Buena Vista Park

We’re having incredible weather this week in San Francisco!  I crossed the street yesterday to Buena Visa Park the oldest park in San Francisco on a great hill in the center of the city.  I hiked up near the top, where this great view of the bay and neighborhoods below made for a nice light backdrop for the shapes of the Monterey Cypress trees.  I think this will make a nice larger work.

A couple of things to note in his painting: 1) The city below is abstract, just dots of mostly warm colors, with an occasional blue green to represent distant parks/trees. The city was fun to paint, as I could place dots of color in a way that’s both pleasing, and reads well from a distance. 2) When painting the sky, I not only need to represent the value change from bottom (lighter, warmer) to top zenith (darker), but also from right to left.  In this painting, the sun was on the right, so the sky is also lighter there. 3) One very difficult transition was from the distant hills to the bay.  The values needed to be very close, so I needed to show the difference between water and land with a slight color shift.

I’m very happy with this, although if i paint larger, I think I will alter the trees in the lower right, and make a more dramatic slope, to better give the feel of height of the park.

 

View from Buena Vista Park – Oil on Linen – 8×10

AVAILABLE IN MY STORE 

Lands End, Golden Hour #2

Here’s another study of “Lands End” (Golden Hour) I started in my previous post.  I created a video of the process, by stringing together still photographs of various stages of the painting.  I like this composition.  The large tree reflects the strength and gracefulness of the Monterey Cypress, but I’m not sure about my darks…they may be too dark.  I may try another study today where I play with that a bit.  Painting dark darks provides nice contrast with light (which I clearly needed here), but it can also make the painting too “heavy”.

 

Lands End (Golden Hour) #2 – Oil on Linen – 12×10

AVAILABLE IN MY STORE 

Click this screen shot to get the demo (be sure and click “watch in high quality” in the lower right corner of the video, a new YouTube feature.

Lands End, Golden Hour

Last Sunday was a beautiful day for walking, and the far western edge of San Francisco (known as “Lands End“) was striking the last hour of the day (“Golden Hour“). A couple of things attracted me to this scene: the light, subject (Monterey Cypress trees, my favorite!) and the shapes made for an interested composition.

 

Lands End (Golden Hour) – Oil on Linen – 8×10

AVAILABLE IN MY STORE 

Below, you’ll see the reference photo.  Notice I edited out a few things. An artist’s ability to edit his own ideas is an incredibly key skill. A work that tries to communicate too many ideas, ends up communicating nothing.  Any Project Runway fans out there?   You hear the judges warning contestant designers about editing their own ideas all the time. It’s evident when a model comes down the runway whether or not the designer is able to focus on a single, powerful idea, or whether they’re show-boating, and throwing in every technique they’re capable of.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one obvious omission.  I tried putting it in, but, it didn’t work. As a man-made object, it drew a lot of attention, and it’s too small and not a good shape or position to be the center-of-interest, so why lead the eye there?  Second, if the scale of the painting where larger (this is an 8×10 study), I may have been able to get it to work, but at this size, it’s difficult to paint a structure like that and maintain the loose brushwork.  I would have had to use a small brush, and the texture alone would have detracted from the texture in the rest of the painting.

I really like the photos I took that day, so I’ll definitely paint more, larger works in this vein.

The painting adventures of Ed Terpening