Photo to Painting: Blue November Edition

Lately I’ve been painting a lot more from my own photos, especially flawed or odd photos. Winter Sun What I I love about the original photo: that super bright blue and yellow in the distant sky! The contrast between vivid and dull. What I don’t like about original photo: The bright sky is much too … Read more

Monthly Retrospective: November 2023

I started November with a trip to Vancouver and a bunch of small travel sketches. Upon returning home, I hustled to finish my U.S. National Parks project. On another quick trip over the border to Toronto, I added a few more travel sketches. I also started #magrish_challenge_sky for my second year. I rounded out the … Read more

What I Learned from Painting All 63 U.S. National Parks in a Year

In 2023, I challenged myself to paint at least one scene from each of the 63 US National Parks. I started in February, with a mini gouache of Big Bend as a sort of proof of concept, then began working my way down an alphabetical list. I finally finished with Zion in late November. You can find them all on my National Park Collection page (I’ve also included several in this post!)

This was a great opportunity to learn – not only about technique and about the parks themselves, but about my own preferences as an artist. Here’s what I discovered.

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Photo to Painting: Autumn Foliage

I spent much of October painting autumn foliage. Much of it was outdoors/plein air/in person, but sometimes I saw a great tree and took a snap to paint later at home, and I actually did. This is the first month where I did a lot of painting from my own, very recent photos. Let’s see how it went!

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More #skieswithjt

The #skieswithjt challenge continued through August and September! The notes from the later paintings are more detailed because I did them in realtime, where the others I filled in later. (It’s worth noting that I like paintings better after time has passed!)

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Monthly Retrospective: September 2023

In September, I continued painting National Parks; continued the #skieswithjt challenge; and I also participated in Kolbie Blume’s fourth challenge, Painting the Wilderness: Light! While I continued to focus on skies in September, my usual Summer of Skies is drawing to a close as I begin to focus on fall foliage. I slowed down toward … Read more

Sunset Photos Part 2: More Mauve!

Last month, I began painting some of my old photos, and realized all the ones I wanted to paint were sunsets! I was a little disappointed with my results, largely because I kept insisting on using Ultramarine Blue in the more violet clouds, which kept them very electric-bright when they should have been mauve. So, I decided to paint some more, different sunset photos, with a special effort to keep the mauve clouds muted.

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Monthly Retrospective: August 2023

In August, I painted 15 paintings – well short of the nearly a-painting-a-day I had done in July and in the past few months. I’d been furiously painting to get ready for a community art sale where I sold a few paintings – for the first time ever! – but after that, I was feeling lazy. Also, I backed off from the National Parks Project at 75% done, feeling a bit depressed at the idea of painting Redwood while it’s on fire.

But! I have still been goofing around with paint. I tooled around with swatches and palettes, and I thought a lot about skies! I kept up with #skieswithjt on Instagram; and I made a real effort to improve my skies through observation and self-critique, in What to do with those old sunset photos? Paint ’em! The skies I painted after that post have turned out better!

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