The Temperance River
The Temperance River, 12x12", oil on panel
The Temperance River, 12×12

This is the first time I have ever painted a waterfall.  It was such a great early fall day when we were on the rocks over looking the upper falls on the Temperance River, near Lake Superior.  One of the most fascinating things about paint this piece, was attempting to capture the feeling of light streaming in between the tree and rocks.  With so much of the river and rocks covered in cool blue shadows, the warm sun light really stood out on the foaming water as it flowed  over the rocks, heading down stream.


My Father the Model.
September 26, 2008, 9:54 am
Filed under: Painting, portrait painting, The Atelier | Tags: , , , , ,
Oil sketch of my Dad, 12x12", oil on panel

Oil sketch of my Dad, 12x12

For anyone that has seen my work before, the man in the above oil sketch may look familiar… it’s my Dad.  The new session of my Thursday night portrait class is up and running.  The only problem that we ran into, was a previous commitment from our usual model for Thursday, September 25th.  That left me with a class of eager portrait painters, and no one to paint. 

As I have done many times in the past, I turned to my dad for help. And as he has done many times in the past, he was happy to lend a hand, or in this case, a head.  I suppose it is possible that I am a bit biased, but he one of the best models that I have worked with!

portrait class, painters in action.

portrait class, painters in action.portrait clss, painters in action

My set up

My set up

Here’s a look at my set up next the model himself.  I am working on a 12×12″ panel.  I started by toning the panel with transparent red oxide.  I then went in with a neutral gray, and drew out the big shapes of the head. 

The next step way laying in the shadow, and building up the half tones.  Because of the orange tone left on the panel, I was able to leave some areas blank, and just let the tone show through.  I finally ended with the pinks and oranges that made up the lights of his face.

Birch Forest
Birch Forest, 4x12". oil on panel

Birch Forest, 4x12

Please click here for purchase information on this painting.

Welcome to the Birch Forest! Today’s post is a oil painting sketch that I’m planning on enlarging into a bigger painting. 

I just finished making a batch of new panels, and have been anxious to try this long, narrow shape.  I think the birch trees in mass lend themselves quite nicely to this format. 

The inspiration for this painting came from another one of my plein air paint studies.  That one was a square format, painted at mid-day.  For this new painting, I cropped way, way in, and changed the lighting to the low angel, orange glow of late evening.

I tried something different in the paint process here too.  I executed the initial drawing and layout of this landscape in shade of gray.  I painted the first layer thin, and then went back into this wet bed of paint with full color.  I’ve always loved the feeling of painting one color into another, so I’m thinking this is going to be something that will be great fun to explore and see where it takes me.

The Italy Painting
Italian Landscape, oil on linen, 30x42"

Italian Landscape, oil on linen, 36x42"

It has recently been brought to my attention that I never posted the final image of my commisioned landscape.  So today’s post is that final image of a commisioned landscape that I had been working on for quite a few weeks.  This painting was done with a humble array of 6 colors, ultramarine blue, cad. yellow deep, cad yellow light, alizarine crimson, transparent red oxide, and sap green.  It’s been amazing the variety of colors that I could get from such a small grouping. 

When you are doing a landscape, or anything for that matter, out of your head, you really have to rely on anything that you know…what does that mean?  Things that have been observed in  the real world that could help your imagined place look more realistic.  For me, the limited pallet has helped me keep things related to one another.  The lights all have a similar feeling because there were only a few light pigments to choose from.  The same can be said for the shadows.

Back to School
Drawing class at The Atelier

Drawing class at The Atelier

After a great summer break, my weekly portrait class has begun again at The Atelier in Minneapolis.  After our first night, last night, I think this is going to be a really great group to work with. I’m lucky as a teacher to have several returning student.  It’s always nice to think that people take a class from you, learned something, and had a good enough time along the way to want to do it again.

My portrait class runs for 15 weeks in the main figure room at The Atelier.  For anyone interested, I do have a couple of spots left.

Cast drawing

Cast drawing

The images above were discovered in The Atelier archives.  They feature a much younger Jeffrey Smith as a first year student at The Atelier way back in 1999.

Como Park Pines
Como Park Pines
Como Park Pines, 8×10″, oil on panel, Jeffrey Smith

Please click here for purchase information on this painting.

This painting was done en plein air.  That is the fancy way of saying that it was painted on location outside, in plain air.  Painting on location can be quite difficult; the light changes, there’s bugs, you have to hike around with your gear…. Then there are times like this!  I had such a great time standing amongst the pine trees in the St.Paul Minnesota park!!  It was a beautiful day in august when I painted the above scene.  If you look close at the bottom of the painting, you can see the under-painting.  For this one, I used English Red, brushed on with a lot of Gamsol, and then rubbed off with a Viva paper towel.

Rock Wall
September 14, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: landscape, Painting, Plein Air | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Rock Wall, 6x12", oil on panel

Rock Wall, 6x12

Today’s post, also started life as a plein air sketch.  It was done on a square panel.  I questioned when I looked at it, “Do I really need all of this going on?” The top portion featured a pine and birch forest with perhaps too much detail…

Back in Minneapolis, and back in the studio, I decided I was really just interested in the rocks. I selected a new panel, and began repainting. 

The above image is the result.  Much like The Rocks from last week, there is something so wonderful about being able to make paint look solid and heavy.