My new home page | Where the painting party is at.
October 4, 2009, 9:50 am
Filed under: Painting | Tags: , , , ,

I finally launched the new online home for me, Minnesota painter, Jeffrey Smith! So what does the mean for you?  It means that there is a whole slue of new posts to read over at the Jeffrey Smith Art.    I promise lots of posts focusing on the artistic process and what I paint.

Jeffrey Smith's pochade box set-up

Jeffrey Smith's pochade box set-up. Don't you just love photos where you can see the painting and the actual environment?

I have spent the entire summer plein air painting, and working on my farmer tan.  I have lots and lots that I’d love to share about the process of painting, and the practice of setting artist goals.   Check it out.  If you like what you find, consider joining my mailing list.

Sunday morning plein air with my Mom

Sunday morning plein air. In the garden with my Mom


Sunflowers Plein Air | backyard outdoor painting
July 19, 2009, 8:46 pm
Filed under: Plein Air | Tags: , , ,
Sunflowers Plein Air, 8x10", oil on gessoed panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Sunflowers Plein Air, 8x10", oil on gessoed panel, by Jeffrey Smith

I remember how much I loved sunflowers when I was a kid. We had a patch of them growing along side the house, next to the kitchen window. As I recall, the height of those sunflowers was pretty incredible. When it came to arranging these sunflowers, I had to cut off about 12 to 18 inches off the stems.

I painted these sunflowers from life in my backyard. Of course I’d love to say that I grew these sunflowers in my own backyard, but I have to admit I bought this fabulous bunch at Whole Foods.

This painting is available. Click here for purchase information.

Plein Air Plan | 5 tips for better outdoor painting
June 27, 2009, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Plein Air | Tags: , ,

I just finished a fantastic plein air painting workshop sponsored by The Atelierhere in Minneapolis. The workshop was taught by plein air artist, Brian Stewart. Go ahead. Click on over to his site and take a look at his work, I can wait. Welcome back.

I made a conscious effort that I was going to use this as an opportunity to learn as much as I could about  another painter’s process for plein air painting.

Here are my top 5 take-aways from Brian’s workshop

  1. Location, location, location. Choosing what to paint is just as, if not more important than how you paint it.
  2. Compose it well. How you place that well chosen subject on the canvas is critical to the emotion that a viewer feels or doesn’t feel when they look at your painting.
  3. Draw it out. Take the time to draw out you painting. This should be done simply, but as accurately as possible. Use a few lines, no more than 7 or 8 if possible. Starting with nothing or even worse, starting with something sloppy on the canvas just means that you will be spending your time later fixing what you just put down.
  4. Values rule. Once the drawing has been established, and you are starting out on a painting, there is nothing more important than getting your values right. “How light is the shadow side of this shape next to the light side of this other shape?” Move from shape to shape and ask yourself the question.
  5. Explain yourself. There reaches a point in a plein air painting where you need to stop simply putting down paint, and start describing the feeling of what you see in front of you. This is done through edges, brush strokes, color/temperature variations, and value shifts. “How can I manipulate the paint to give the view a better idea of what I experienced?”

What struck me as I was painting, is how these ideas could be applied to almost any representation painting done from life. There is nothing radical. No secret colors recipes for mixing up the prefect colors to use for painting the shadow side of oak trees. Just slow down, compare the parts to the whole, and paint what you see.

Birch Clump | Backyard plein air painting of birch trees
May 23, 2009, 10:22 am
Filed under: landscape, Plein Air, tree | Tags: , ,
Birch Clump, 6x6, oil on panel by Jeffrey Smith

Birch Clump, 6x6, oil on panel by Jeffrey Smith

What a beautiful day for plein air painting in Minnesota!   At 74 degrees a nice gentle breeze I don’t think you could ask for anything more.  Armed with this sunny disposition, I grabbed my pochade box and headed out side to paint.  I got in about 6 hours of painting time, and walked away with 3 little paintings.

The image above the clump of birch trees from the neighbors front lawn.  I painting the same group of trees a few weeks ago.  What I love about revisiting a subject, especially at this time of year, is taking the time to see how things have changed.  In what seems like no time at all, a ring of hostas has circled the birch trees.  The leaves on the trees themselves have come out, adding a wonderfully intense green note against the blues of the spruce tree behind  them.

Last light

Last Light, 8x6", oil on lin en panel
Last Light, 8×6

Please click here for purchase information on this painting.

Time for a little vacation from my regular life.  I’m up at Lake Superior, staying at BlueFin Bay in Tofte, MN.

This little painting was done in the last few minutes before the daylight was gone for the evening.  I really liked the colors on the clouds.  We had been fighting the clouds all day, and they finally broke, giving us a wonderful sunset.

Me over looking Lake Superior as seen from the Oberg Mountain

There was amazing sun on Lake Superior as we hiked Oberg Mountain.

A Touch of Color
Birch Trees, Fall Color

Birch Trees, Fall Colors, 8x6", oil on canvas panel

Please click here for purchase information on this painting.

The above is  a small oil sketch painted on the edge of a clearing.  I wanted to play a bit more with color on this one.  Some times I fell like my paintings can loose some of the color intensity and variety as I work.  Things tend to get more and more neutral.  I think this painting has definitely keeps some of it’s original freshness.

Interstate State Park
October 5, 2008, 5:19 pm
Filed under: landscape, Painting, Plein Air | Tags: , , , , ,
Interstate State Park, 6x8", oil on canvas panel

Interstate State Park, 6x8

This painting is from a spot high up top of the cliffs over looking the St.Croix River.  The river forms the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.  This particular spot is on the Minnesota side of the river just south of the town of Taylors Falls.  It was a wonderful autumn day with a bright, yet overcast sky.