Looking forward to 2012

As this year winds down, I’m starting to think about painting adventures next year, which currently include a week-long workshop in San Miguel de Allende (Mexico) with Frank Gardner (Mike is coming, too!) and the first Plein Air Conversion in Las Vegas, where I’ll be speaking about marketing + art. I have arranged for my friends and colleagues to receive a special $100 discount on registration using the code PACET.

I think I will continue to mix watercolor and oil (not in the same painting!) as I continue to learn from both.   I hope your 2012 is filled with art and adventures to your liking.  Happy New Year, everyone!

San Miguel de Allende (Mexico)
San Miguel de Allende (Mexico)

Studying watercolor

Painting in watercolor is SO different from oil.  It’s a real challenge, but I’m enjoying it.  I decided to take a short break from oil painting to learn a new medium.  I’m sure I’ll return to oil soon, but enjoying the immediacy and delicacy required to paint watercolor.  Enjoy!

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San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2011

It has been an exhausting but inspiring and productive week preparing for the San Luis Obispo Plein Air show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. The show opened today and runs throughout Sunday. Here are some of my works in the show. It was a week of dramatic weather, so I focused on that, particularly the clouds.


Sunset, Oil/Linen, 12×9



San Simeon, Oil/Linen, 12×16



After the Rain, Oil/Linen, 11×14



Rough Seas, Oil/Linen, 16×20



Sunrise, Oil/Linen, 11×14


San Luis Obispo Plein Air show coming up

The San Luis Obispo Plein Air show is coming up! This is a great event. The artists have an wonderful variety of subjects to paint, from seascapes, cityscapes, vineyards and of course the town itself. I plan to paint all seascapes, but who knows, I’ve got to paint what inspires me! I’m staying most of the week at Ragged Point, at the very most northern boundary of San Luis Obispo county, just south to Big Sur. Here’s a list of events during the week:

O C T O B E R 0 3

  • All Day: Festival artists paint throughout sanluis obispo County.
  • 11 am – 5 pm: “50 x 50” exhibits the colorful, diverse painting styles of this year’s 50 festival artists.
  • 5 pm: twilight in the vineyards: enjoy private tasting tour of two edna valley boutique wineries, watch talented painters and relax over an elegant dinner. $75 ticketed event.

O C T O B E R 0 4

  • All Day: Festival artists paint throughout san luis obispo County.
  • 3 – 5 pm: Kids paint out, nearby Mission plaza lawn.
  • 7 pm: plein air painting demo, Museum of art.

O C T O B E R 0 5

  • All Day: Festival artists paint throughout san luis Obispo County.
  • 7 pm: Movie night, documentary films on plein air painting, Museum of art.

O C T O B E R 0 6

  • All Day: Festival artists paint throughout San Luis Obispo County.
  • 7 pm: painters and poets, poets read poems created while shadowing painters on location, Museum of art.
  • 6:30 – 8:30 pm: Farmers Market, one block from the Museum of art.

O C T O B E R 0 7

  • 1 – 3 pm: Collectors luncheon, the first opportunity to view and purchase exhibit paintings. enjoy anelegant Kevin Main Jewelry / novo sponsored affair followed by wine and dessert at the Museum of art. $100 ticket applies in full to artwork purchased at the Festival exhibit.
  • 6 – 9 pm: art after dark, the public opening of the exhibit and sale, promises brisk sales, but no bare walls here! as paintings sell, replacements take their place.
  • 7 pm: exhibit awards presentation by juror libby tolley.

O C T O B E R 0 8

  • 9 – 11:30 am: quick draw paint out, one block radiusof Museum includes Mission plaza and historic downtown.
  • 12 – 2:30 pm: quick draw exhibit and live auction, Mission plaza amphitheater.
  • 10am – 5 pm: Festival exhibit and sale continues to evolve throughout the weekend. stop by several times to see and purchase new artwork, Museum of art.

O C T O B E R 0 9

  • 10 am – 4 pm: exhibit and sale continues, free admission, Museum of art.

View complete San Luis Obispo Plein Air information flyer (PDF)

I haven’t decided what to bring as my “preview” piece for the museum, but here’s last years, which sold 🙂 BTW, if you like this painting, this painting of the same area is available here. I’m willing to negotiate an unframed price. Let me know if you’re interested.

Avila Beach Bluffs, Oil on Linen, 12x16


Big Sur foggy day, 2

One more Big Sur painting as I prepare to paint the central California coast for San Luis Obispo Plein Air next month. It was fun in this painting to abstract the distance obscured by fog. Let’s hope it’s not foggy when I’m there (although, hey, I’m getting lots of practice). I’m headed to The Sierras tomorrow, where the temperature is scheduled to range between 85-95! I plan to test out water color a bit more, to prepare for my trip to Sydney in November. Cheers!

Big Sur Foggy Day #2, Oil on Canvas, 8x10
Big Sur Foggy Day #2, Oil on Canvas, 8x10

Carmel and Sorolla

As I start to prepare for the San Luis Obispo Plein Air show in October, I’ve been referring back to photos from my recent plein air painting trip to paint studio work.  What struck me about this scene was the strong contrast between the sea and sun-lit land, much as represented in by Sorolla in his incredible works of the Spanish coast (like this one).  It’s a meeting of two worlds, which is what interests me so much about seascapes.

Carmel Coast 2, Oil on Linen, 11x14
Carmel Coast 2, Oil on Linen, 11x14

This was pretty difficult to photograph, by the way.  The water is deeper and more varied with subtle greens.  It’s seems it’s difficult for the camera to pick up both those details and the subtle land colors at the same time.

Desert Light

The colors of the desert are so distinctive.  Yes, there are spots of bright color here and there, but in general, I find the colors to be “mellow”, varied and yet quite harmonious.  This was painted from a reference photo I took outside Tucson, Arizona.  I started with transparent washes across the entire painting, from the dull green at the top to the blue-violet in the foreground.  You can still see much of this initial wash in the finished painting.

Desert Light, OIl on Linen, 9x12
Desert Light, OIl on Linen, 9x12

Painting Demonstration

After a great plein air painting trip, I’m back to the studio and focusing on the figure.  I took snapshots of my progress on this painting so you’ll be able to view as a demo on YouTube.

I know this is an unusual composition, but I like that.  This was a great study in warm colors (hence the title, “Warmth”).  One of the key objectives I had was to represent warm/cool warm colors, and find a way to have the figure stand out from the rocks behind.  It’s a figure, so of course it will always stand out visually, but I also wanted to use color to accomplish the same objective.  I typically do that through “color separation” (which I first wrote about on this blog in 2007). The basic idea is to use completely different colors from my palette to represent a color of the same hue family and value.  For example, to separate the color of grass in shade and light, each of those two mixtures will have different blue and yellow mixtures (eg, green in shade might be Ultramarine Blue + Yellow Ochre, while in light it might by Cerulean Blue + Cad Yellow).  Both make green, but the fact that different base colors are used to mix each helps further separate light from shadow.

In this painting, I kept his flesh in shadow based on Mars Violet, while the base for the rocks was Alizarin Crimson.  This was also a fun study to do in terms of brushwork. I was able to get the contrast I wanted by keeping the rocks loose and free-form, while the draftsmanship of the figure is tighter (too tight, actually, I’d love to be able to paint a figure as loose as Dan MacCaw.  Someday!  The other challenge in this painting was representing the direction of color of light.  There’s a cool reflection from the sky in his hair and chest for exmaple, and a very warm reflect light coming from the ground to his chest and parts of his face.  That’s always fun to paint!

You may see a larger studio version of this painting as it’s one of those studies that resonates with me.  What do you think?

"Warmth", Oil on Canvas, 9x12"
"Warmth", Oil on Canvas, 9x12"

Here’s the YouTube video demonstration:


Painting Day in Asilomar

I had a week off and spent the time painting from Carmel > Big Sur > Ragged Point > San Simeon.  It was a wonderful week focused on painting!

In these two studies (painting at Asilomar, just north of Carmel) I was focusing on the use of dark transparent colors to represent the ocean.  click on the paintings to see the detail.  Notice how the use of transparent Ultramarine Blue gives it a nice watercolor-like glow. Even though it’s a dark color, it reflects the white board underneath, so it gives it the feeling of both being dark and light at the same time.  To create the reflection of light on water, I wiped away more of the paint to show the white ground, rather than paint a second color on top.  BTW, pure Ultramarine is too intense to represent the Pacific, so I deaden the color, generally with a Cad Red, or sometimes with Gamblin’s Chromatic Black–a great transparent Black that will reduce the chroma of any color.

Asilomar Beach Study #2, Oil on Linen, 8x10
Asilomar Beach Study #2, Oil on Linen, 8x10

Asilomar Beach Study #2, Oil on Linen, 8x10
Asilomar Beach Study #2, Oil on Linen, 8x10

The painting adventures of Ed Terpening