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Studio Experiments and More Plein Air

May 24, 2012

Back Side of the Shed, 8×10, Gouache

I’ve been doing a lot of painting, both outdoors and in the Outdoor Studio.  Some of it works for me, some of it doesn’t.  But the important thing is that I’ve been painting.  The painting above is from a reference photo I shot somewhere between Mount Vernon and Spencerville, Ohio a couple of weeks ago.  It started out to be a very detailed study of old, worn wood and peeling paint.  But once I got the basics laid in, I decided I was getting tired of doing the same old thing, so I started experimenting and playing with color.  I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.

Old Window at Winkelmann.jpg

For some reason, I woke up early the other morning, thinking about painting old windows.  i’m not sure what caused that, but when I got up, I dug out some photos I had taken at Winkelmann, Texas, a collection of old houses and buildings that had been put together years ago near Brenham.  This is gouache used in a mostly wet, somewhat transparent manner, although some areas have more solid paint on them, especially the white spots.  Ever since I started painting, I’ve been fascinated by trying to portray old wood, peeling paint, and rust.  That’s probbly what has always attracted me to old barns and houses.  But I’m trying to find ways of painting those in a loose manner, rather than in exacting detail.

The New Garden, 8×10, Gouache, Plein Air

Continuing to spend considerable time  outdoors each week, trying to get color selections to happen a little quicker.  It does continue to be a sruggle, though.  I’ve really gotten used to mixing colors on the painting as I go when working in the studio, so this is probably good for me.  This one was done the morning after my sister-in-law got her garden prepped for the growing season.

Greenhouse at Malabar, 9×12, Gouache

I’ve also pulled a few pieces out of the bin that were either not finished, or that I wasn’t completely thrilled with.  I’ve done a bit more work on this one, still keeping it as a fairly traditional landscape.  This is the greenhouse attached to one of the barns at Malabar Farm in Pleasant Valley, Ohio.  Malabar was the country home and farm built in 1939 by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Louis Bromfield.  He developed the place as an experiment in innovative farming, and many of the techniques he incorporated have become the norm today.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 11:15 am

    Ralph, it’s a pleasure to follow your work and the new directions you and your wife are taking. Congratulations! As a “shape painter” and a “colorist”, I like the directions these paintings represent and urge you to continue to explore shapes and color as one approach to making paintings. They can open a lot of new doors–at least they have for me.


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