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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Webcams: A Tool for Artists?


Last week, while planning to go to El Matador in an attempt to catch the winter storm I encountered the obstacle of not knowing what the conditions would be over there, while I was over here. I had weather forecasts, but I wanted more specific knowledge and only afterward did I think that I should have checked a Malibu webcam to find out live conditions in advance of the drive. A search turned up several beach cams for various coastal areas in Southern California.

In looking around there seem to be webcams all over, making it easier to see weather conditions, visibility, and even the progression of fall foliage, or volcanic eruptions. This page is a National Park and Recreation Area webcam locator: It has links to recreation areas, volcanoes, monuments, seashores and parks.

Try this webcam in the fall for views of changing foliage from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire .

There are webcams in places that a regular Google Street View will not take you to and it seems to me that this may be an excellent way for landscape artists to check out new places to paint.

I found webcams in Alaska, New Zealand, and South Africa (always live and wild) . Not so many in China, but I'm still looking.

This seems like a useful tool not only for painters, but also for photographers, hikers, birders, and other wildlife enthusiasts, to name just a few. Have you ever used a webcam to check out a destination before a trip?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sea and Rocks

Maine Tides Study ©2011 Katherine Kean
oil on linen 8 x 10"

Here is the final, more or less, of the Maine tide and rock study.The overall color of the rocks hasn't really changed much from the initial lay in- for those who were concerned about that. 

Earler this week I spent the end of an afternoon with a friend at El Matador Beach. We've had a series of storms in Southern California after a spell of almost summery weather. The plan was to catch the end of a storm breaking up, or the beginning of another gathering strength just at sunset. El Matador has wonderful rock formations scattered about and the low angle of the sun with clouds would have added to the drama. However, even though it was dark and ominous up here in the foothills, by the time we got to the coast, though windy and cold, it was bright and sunny. It was beautiful that way too of course and at that time of day the colors of the rocks, the sand, and the water kept changing. Well worth the visit. There will be other opportunities to catch stormy conditions coming up, or so I hear.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Underpainting Again

Raindrops 2 Underpainting work in progress
©2011 Katherine Kean


Raindrops 3 Undeprpainting work in progress
©2011 Katherine Kean

I'm following up last weeks server problems with online backup challenges this week. I use an online backup service so that there's one less thing to worry about in the event of a fire or other disaster. This week I've been deleting unnecessary files, such as the multiple copies I seem to collect of artwork images that end up in various folders on my hard drive. I thought that with all the deleting that my backup storage would increase. There was one more step I had to follow to make more room, but I didn't know what it was. I got in touch with Norton and they fixed it remotely, which was fun to watch as well as informative. Now it all seems to be working well again, yay!

Above are a couple of vivid underpaintings. I've been experimenting with Gamblin's new fast drying alkyds for underpainting. These alkyd oil colors dry within 18 - 24 hours. I like the idea of cutting drying time while retaining a good bond with the subsequent paint layers. I've already painted over the two underpaintings above and while they dry I'll be working on other things.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Small Scale Sun, Sea, and Skies

Maine-Tides Study in progress 8 x 10" oil on linen
©2011 Katherine Kean

Clouds-Sun 6 x 6" graphite on paper
©2011 Katherine Kean

Clouds-Sun Pastel Study in progress 7 x 7"
©2011 Katherine Kean

At the top is the first color layer on a small study of the tides against rocks on the coast of Maine. As much as I like the color of the rocks I can see that I'll be toning it down.

I'm thinking of a small painting from the next two studies. I haven't worked with pastel in a long time, but heard about pan pastels and had to try them out. I like how painterly the pastels are - compared to graphite, although I miss the detail. I think in paint all those discrepancies will work themselves out.

I'm determined to finish several paintings that I've picked out by the end of the month, barring any technical difficulties. Today I've had quite the delay with email. My account was shut down and then reactivated. For some mysterious reason this involves sending things all over the world to various servers and takes many, many hours. Nobody has been able to explain to me the reason and I'd love to know!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Marine Oil Paintings Blog

Katherine Kean, Gathering Point, original, contemporary landscape painting, Kaimu, Hawaii, black sand beach, stormy, waves, atmospheric
Gathering Point ©2011 Katherine Kean
24 x 30" oil on linen


I am pleased and honored to be included in the Marine Oil Painting Blog this week. The Marine Oil Painting Blog is a frequently updated collection of seascapes, coastal scenes and marine artwork from both the contemporary and historical domains. Including, but not limited to Homer, Waugh, Aivazovsky, Friedrich and many artists who are new to me; I find it a wonderful growing reference resource for artists and for art lovers.