Sunset Oil Painting eBay auction

My latest Byron work is a sunset oil painting eBay auction piece titled: “A Few Minutes Left.”

The auction ends Sunday June 3, 2018 at 6pm Pacific Time.

So hurry there’s just a few minutes left before the sun goes down on this auction. Bidding started at only a penny! Click here to go straight to the auction. Happy bidding and hope you win!

sunset oil painting eBay auction by William Byron Hagerman

A Few Minutes Left 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2018

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How to Improve Your Paintings

Learning how to improve your paintings, often boils down to experience in learning to self critique your work as you work.

Improve your paintings with the right mind-set

To have the right mind-set, think of your painting as a journey in which you want to lead your viewer through your painting without tripping along the path. In other words remove obstacles that could lead in the wrong direction or cause them to stop and stumble.

oil painting demo with a self critique

The following painting demonstration will show you some of my thought processes on how changes were made along the way to remove obstacles.  This was a commissioned oil painting for a 24×36 bluebonnet with Indian Paintbrush flowers.

First up is the completed scene of “Interwoven Harmonies,” for reference.

William Hagerman oil painting Texas bluebonnet and Indian Paintbrush

The Journey

The painting’s journey begins as usual with a composition sketch using thinned ultramarine blue paint and a brush. Color is then applied starting with the darker cedar tree for comparison of adjacent areas. My goal before too many details is to cover the canvas as seen in the next photo.

oil painting demo first steps

Now that the canvas was covered I began adding details to the distant hills. First adjustment was to remove the dark cedar next to the oak tree as my eye went straight to it and it wasn’t a very important element.

Next more interest was added to the sky. Further analysis: Space division in the distant hills were too similar and uninteresting, so here the hills were modified.

The green grass (paint) has dried and now the pattern of bluebonnets and red Indian Paintbrush can begin.

bluebonnet oil painting demo

More flowers are added along with a relocation of the rock patch.

More details and more flowers.

oil painting bluebonnet demo

Our cat Hachi, the day before this photo jumped onto my palette and got ultramarine blue and umber on his paws. I told him if he wanted to paint to make himself useful and add in some more bluebonnets for me. I think he’s got some talent. He removed the patchy dirt and took out the yucca type plants on the right. Then he added a patch of dirt around the other cluster of yucca on the left. That was a good idea. However, at this point he told me he no longer wanted to be an artist. Painting bluebonnets was just too much work.

talented cat tired of oil painting

Despite Hachi’s talent he still didn’t address other weak areas. So here I’ve highlighted those stumbling blocks to a viewers journey in the painting.

oil painting demo analysis

Here you will see how some of the issues above were handled. Then I encountered another strange visual of an unintended tangent line that was noticeable from a distance in the bluebonnet patch.

bluebonnet painting demo

Once again here’s the final painting for comparison. You’ll notice that another cloud was added to break the visual line of clouds as well as fixing the tangent line in the bluebonnet patch. Other tweaks were added here and there.

William Hagerman oil painting Texas bluebonnet and Indian Paintbrush

In Conclusion

Painting is about making choices. The end result is you want your viewer to go on the journey through your painting as you intend without tripping them up. Remember, that even if something is there in a reference, you don’t have to put it in. You can add and subtract elements, redesign them to enhance the visual impact of your work. I hope my “self critique” has illustrated that little improvements can make for a bigger visual impact and pleasant journey for your viewers.

 

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What makes artwork original?

Making Artwork Original

A question was recently posed on the use of photo references in artwork and to further describe what makes artwork original? The questions were…

  • If I painted from other people’s reference photos, is my work considered original?
  • If I’m working with my own reference photos, do you care if they were taken in a photo workshop?

artist at workSo what makes artwork original? My reply, although not intended to be legal advice on copyright issues, perhaps will give food for thought.

Most artists use reference material, even having files of clippings from magazines and other sources. These include, electronic images, paper as well as their own photos, sketches etc. Artists use these as tools for inspiration and designing their art. Part of the issue is the extent to which a reference is used (originality) when it comes from someone else (copyright issues) and whether you have the right to use the images.

The first issue is when painting from other peoples reference photos. A photo like art is protected by copyright. If you’ve been given the OK to use them without restriction, then of course you can use them. If you’ve copied the photo verbatim, in a painting, the originality would be questioned. After all it was still another persons vision. But, if you’ve only used it as a reference to incorporate into your own composition then you’re using your artistic talents to compose a scene and not someone else. Thus, it’s an original.

Using your own photos

If you take your own reference photos even in a workshop setting, YOU still took those photos, so you have the right to use them unless there was some restrictions as part of the workshop on their use outside of the workshop, but other than that they’re still original.

However, there can be exceptions, but not in regards to originality. If you’re painting from a human model and you paint them in such a way that they would be recognizable. There could be the question of having a model release giving you the right to use that persons image. I was in a workshop that had a cowboy model and I took my own photos. If I painted him in the future in such a way as to make him identifiable, I might wonder whether or not another model release was needed. There was an art show in connection with this workshop and the painting of him that I did sold. So there may have already been a general model release as part of the workshop.

In my opinion if you have the right to use a reference photo taken by someone else, but have copied it as is, then I would question originality even if you had the legal right to use the photo. It was another persons vision.

If you’ve taken the photos then that’s you’re vision. Just as along as you’re not infringing upon another persons rights or trademarked images.

I hope this gives some clarity.

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Somerset House Publishing

Hagerman Signs with Somerset House Publishing

Busy, is a word that comes to mind when thinking about how much time has passed since the last blog post and how quickly time flies as the saying goes. But, I have a couple of things to share.

First is some exciting news. A while back I was contacted by the President of Somerset House Publishing who was looking for an artist to fill their need for Texas landscape images. Apparently my work fit the bill, so a contract with Somerset House Publishing was recently signed for the reproduction of several of my best Texas artwork images in open edition. Somerset has been the publishers of works by artists such as: Larry Dyke, G. Harvey, Martin Grelle and many other fine artists. So it’s nice to be included with such a line up.

Four images of previous work are currently available for purchase with more to come.

Please check out my page on their website.

American Plains Artists: Another Big Project

american plains artists website

The American Plains Artists or APA is a Non Profit artists organization that highlights the American Plains region as a source of artistic inspiration and has an annual national juried show. About 16 years ago, I built their first website and in comparing it to todays standards the website looked like it was built 16 years ago! So starting in late October 2017 the first phase of rebuilding the website from the ground up began. I was pleased they wished to keep the backdrop image (although cropped) on the home page which in their eyes depicted the plains nicely. It was a painting of mine titled Red Erosions and was an actual view here in West Texas.

The project certainly was challenging, but it offerend a different aspect to creativity including developing an instructional video and one that highlighted the Plains region and the activities of the APA.

Please take a look at their new website and my “other” creative endeavor including the video found on their education page.

Now it’s time to get back to my own artwork. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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Is it Two Cool or Two Warm?

Will it be two cool or two warm? You get to decide in my latest eBay auction oil paintings. The auction ends Sunday evening October 29th.

Four Paintings up for Auction

To try your hand at bidding one of these works, you can access the auction through my profile page  or click the Title links for each painting below. Starting bid will be $49 for all, except for one which will only be a penny to keep it interesting! Hope you’ll join in on the auction. 🙂 Each are painted on linen panel.

You can click the images for a larger view.

sunset bluebonnet oil painting by William Byron Hagerman

Another Day 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2017

rain clouds landscape oil painting by Byron

Lifting Clouds 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2017

landscape oil painting sunset clouds by William "Byron" Hagerman

End of Day Colors 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2017

sunset oil painting landscape by William Byron Hagerman

Last Rays 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2017

So what are warm and cool paintings?

Some may wonder about the terminology of warm and cool, whether it be specific colors or an entire painting described in either term.

When it comes to colors, we tend to associate blue and green tones as being cool in comparison to warmer colors such as yellow, orange or red. Sort of like comparing fire and ice. A paintings overall color temperature can be classified as either warm or cool depending on what colors predominate the scene.

Color harmony can be lost if a painting has an equal distirubtion of warm and cool tones that compete with one another instead of lending support. The paintings above illustrate the idea behind a paintings overall color temperature.

So, will it be two cool or two warm? Happy bidding!

 

 

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Landscape Oil Paintings with Old Barns

In this series of three 8×10 landscape oil paintings with old barns is currently offered via eBay auction. You can click the image to go straight to the auction. Bids begin at only $49 for these gems. Each are painted on a linen panel!

This New Mexico inspired scene is also showcased in my short oil painting video lesson.

landscape oil painting old tin barn in New Mexico by Byron

Next is an old red barn found near Winnsboro, TX.

landscape oil painting old red barn by Byron

And finally in this series a landscape that was originally inspired from a trip to Montana.

oil painting landscape old red barn next to road

Hurry the auction ends Sunday, October 1st, at 8pm central time. Ending times are staggered by 7 minutes for each.

Thanks so much and happy bidding!

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Oil Painting Video Demo: Old Barns

In this post I wanted to share with you a short two-minute Oil Painting Video Demo: Old Barns.

Alla Prima or the Direct Method of Painting

In this tutorial, the subject of old tin barns, which were found in New Mexico made a nice subject for this painting demonstration. The direct method or alla prima approach was used in which the entire painting was completed in one session.

Oil Painting Tutorial; Old New Mexico Barns

Thanks for watching!

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Oil Painting Composition Critiquing a Critique

In this blog post I decided to talk about oil painting composition, critiquing a critique.

While researching the subject, I came across a respected artist and author who was using works by other artists as examples where composition mistakes had been made. The artist/author then suggested solutions for improvement and did so by modifying the image.

Respectfully, the author did not include the artist’s name to which he was critiquing. However, one example caught my attention.The painting being critiqued was done by an all time favorite master artist named Clark Hulings! I recognized it from a 1999 show catalog that I have.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE PAINTING? (Nothing as you will see)

This is the Hulings painting cited as an example whereby a painting composition “rule” was broken.

Clark Hulings Goat Milk Vendor

The so called “rule” was avoiding strong geometric shapes, even if naturally occurring as they can be too distracting.

A strong triangular shape produced by the apparent shadow of a building at the bottom of Hulings painting was the culprit. I agree with the rule to an extent, but everything in a composition is relative to the artist’s vision and even if some supposed rule is broken, yet it serves a legitimate purpose, so be it.

A Composition Improvement? Maybe not

Here’s the modified version suggested by the artist/author which was recreated. The suggested improvement was variegating the shadow, thus breaking up the geometric triangular form.

Is this really an improvement? Here’s my analysis.

Critiquing the Critique

Let’s take a look at the shadow without the chicken along the left side of the triangular shape and the scattered darks near the back edge.

Obviously the shadow overwhelms the painting and your eye drops to it. However, Hulings did two things. First, he added the chicken and broke the line. Secondly, by adding the scattered darks near the edge of the canvas he softened the line and kept your eye from exiting at that point. Obviously, Hulings was aware of the geometric shape.

The goat milk vendor is the obvious focal area. In the so called improvement, the eye now drops and travels in sort of a merry-go-round fashion.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, in Hulings original painting the eye stays at the focal area, held in place by the arrow formed by the shadow which lines up and points to the center of action.

It’s true that no artist is free from making mistakes, however, my conclusion is that Hulings was too much of a master painter and in this instance, he deliberately kept the painting as it was to fix your attention on the primary subject.

In Conclusion

The story of the painting is clearly about the goat milk vendor who takes his goat and instead of delivering the milk in bottles, the householder comes and offers a pan and the vendor milks the goat on the spot. How’s that for fresh?

Everything else in the composition is subordinate to the story and the focal area of action. Hulings didn’t make a mistake. He kept that strong shape for a legitimate reason. He used it to make you look where he wanted you to look. So to repeat: Everything in a oil painting composition is relative to the artist’s vision and even if some supposed rule is broken, yet it serves a legitimate purpose, so be it.

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Reworking an Oil Painting: Before and After

Reworking an oil painting: Before and after photos. Which do you like better?

In composing a painting, sometimes there’s a hard to define problem in which the solution doesn’t come to mind until later. Sometimes, much later. Such was the case with Lapis Hues of Spring a 2013 bluebonnet painting that was shown in a gallery, but never sold. Looking at it once again with a critical eye there was now clarity as to why it would never sell.

Perhaps I was experiencing a dark mood when I painted it, and subsequently cast its ugly shadow onto my painting. It was supposed to be a beautiful sunny spring day in Texas. The painting did not give off that impression.

bluebonnet oil painting

bluebonnet oil painting

Finding a Solution: Sunshine and Openness

The problem wasn’t in paint application or detail or for that matter the basic composition. What was wrong is that the mood of the painting was off. It lacked the feel of sunshine and openness.

Here’s a little exercise for you. Look at the two paintings and notice the differences which are fairly apparent. Click the images for a larger view. But ask yourself, how do the changes you see support the idea of sunshine and openness? You’ll see more openings in the trees. Openings that give glimpses of the landscape further away. There’s more contrast and intensity of colors and a little more variety in flowers and a reduction of the cactus which seemed too imposing in the original image.

A Special Offer

Reworking a painting this long after it was first done is something I rarely do. So with that in mind I’m also doing something I rarely do is offering this William Hagerman signature painting at nearly half for what one this size retails for. Currently this revised painting is offered on eBay as a fixed price item of $1600.00. Normal price for a16x20 varies from $2700- $3000.

Update: This painting is now sold.

My best,

William

 

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Paris France Oil Painting Demo

With this final segment of my Paris France oil painting demo, work is brought to completion. In the previous stage, refinements were made to the focal area.

The next step was to work on the building in the upper right which was still unfinished. Since this building is situated at a different angle to the light, it is kept cooler. Brush work is also minimized with sharper detail towards my clients wife in the window. The sharpness of contrast leads your eye to that area.

paris france oil painting demo detail by Byron

Moving On

Now that the primary buildings are mostly done, it’s time to move on to the building on the left. The goal for this section is to keep it more painterly and less detailed. This building brings balance to the heaviness of the composition on the right side, however it should not compete. Therefore, detail was minimized for the same reason as the upper section of the building on the right. Also, the building is in shadow, so all colors are kept to the cool side and kept to a darker value.

After this the next major element to be painted was the Eifel Tower. Enough detail was added to mimic the “texture” of the tower without rendering tight detail which kept it in the distance. Colors are kept subdued and within the overall color scheme. Keeping in mind, the tower although an important element is not the primary subject, but my client’s wife in the window.

Paris France oil painting demo

Painting the Sky

After letting the painting dry, it’s time to go and finish the sky. More intensity of color is added and is applied with thicker paint and bolder brush work. More details and brush work are now added into the distance trees. The lone figure in the distance is painted in as well as the two gentlemen on the left engaged in conversation. A perspective bobble on a vertical line is corrected on the left building. I have so much valued the T-square in this painting!

The street is now repainted to represent the darker brick pavement. To make the street recede colors are kept cooler in the distance and warmer in the front. The basic mix was ultramarine blue and cadmium red medium towards the front with more cooler and lighter violet tones in the distance.

oil painting demo of Paris

THE LAST STAGE of the Paris France Oil Painting Demo

Finally the last of the main elements being the Citroen car and the male figure on the sidewalk are painted in. More detail (subtle highlights) to mimic the texture of the brick street is also added.

A final refinement is bringing a veil of color onto the lower half of the middle building and some added highlights in a few spots. The darkening veil represents a long shadow from the trees in relation to the angle of light. And the few subtle highlights sets up an implied diagonal line from the light source pointing in a downward angle towards the primary subject of my client’s wife the star of the painting!

Oil Painting of a Paris Street scene with Eifell Tower by Byron

Here are a few details. Click the image for a larger view.

oil painting demo of paris france detail

oil painting demo Eifell Tower, paris street scene detail

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with this Paris France Oil Painting Demo and commissioned painting. If you would like to learn more about commissioned work, please see the following page. COMMISSIONS

A happy customer!

customer of commissioned oil painting by William Byron Hagerman

 

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