Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sky - Paint Matters

In my last post I mentioned I use canvas boards for practice. It's an inexpensive way to experiment. I also mentioned that, in my opinion, expensive brushes are not necessarily better.

As far as paint is concerned I have been using student quality aka Liquitex Basics and Michael's Artist's Loft Level 1. I consider my skill  Level -5 with no intention of persuing painting for anything other than a most enjoyable hobby. Economizing has been a focus.

I even went so far as using Exterior Latex paint I bot at Home Depot. That's really economical. I bot the primary colors red, blue, yellow plus white and mixed my own colors from there. House paint has UV protection built in. Funny thing is I painted my all time favorite this winter using house paint. I liked it so much I framed it!

My Montana

The main drawback to house paint is that the colors are muted but they were perfect for the feeling I was going for with "My Montana", rustic and warm. I was also quite proud of myself for being able to mix the colors from the primaries.

Had to use the flash to take this and got the flashback off the glass. If you're interested you can see what the colors really look like by clicking here.

This past week Michael's had a 60% off coupon. I have a pretty good inventory of canvases and I wasn't about to buy another expensive brush so I decided to treat myself to some Winsor & Newton Series 1 which Michael's calls a Level 2.

I bot the Cerulean Blue Hue and took it out for a test drive on a canvas board. OMG! What an amazing color and it goes on so smooth! I was so enraptured by the color I just kept painting away until I had covered the entire 11 x 14 board. Now I can't bare the thought of sullying it by painting anything else on the field so I'm just calling it "The Sky". It is now an abstract celestial painting. 😎

The Sky

At this point I have to recommend one buy the best quality paint they can afford. It makes a world of difference.

©Walker Barnard

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Canvas Boards for Practice

I like to use canvas boards to practice with brushes and brush strokes. In particular I have been looking for ways to paint trees, especially evergreens. I live in a evergreen forest so they are a subject that comes up frequently. 

I learned a technique from a video Frank Clarke's How to Paint a Landscape I liked the video but had hard time finding the brush he recommended, a 1.5" flat. I got a 60% Michael's discount coupon and decided try one of the upscale, professional brushes. Didn't like it at all. I was looking for a stiff brush. I finally found a brush that worked pretty darned good. It was in a $7.00 brush set I found at Wal-Mart. Proving once again spending more isn't always the answer. At least not in my experience.

Practice Board

It seems I also got a couple of leaning apple trees which look a lot like the 100 year old apple trees in my meadow. Also, some nice lavender grass.

I actually like this. It's funny, I have several practice boards lying around and people, not knowing they are practice boards, often are drawn to them as paintings they really like. It always makes me smile but I never tell. :😃

©Walker Barnard

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


With this painting I really went off the reservation, if you'll pardon the pun. It all started with me admiring some stones that I have that look like they have tiny landscapes painted on them. Mea culpa, I can't remember what they are called but they a very pretty.

I like to try different color combinations and these stones are an ideal mixture of browns with tiny black natural sketches on them. I chose my paints and away I went. After setting the tonal color, sandy beige, I put in the larger mountain, then the red mountain. Then for no reason I know of I was compelled to put in the white things in the sky. Next came the squiggle that reached up to the white dashes and leads down to the teepee. Last came the buffalo herd.

What does it all mean?  It is clearly a Montana landscape but other than that I have no earthly clue. And maybe that is the clue, not earthly. I don't know but I can say I just love this painting! I'd buy it if I didn't already own it!

At the risk of repeating myself, if you have never given painting a try you really should. It's turning out to be one of the coolest adventures of my life and I've had a lot of adventures.

Following My Art (Heart)

©Walker Barnard

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sweet Bitterroots - Montana

Continuing my love affair with the Bitterroot Mountains I painted this flight of fancy. I just love color and this painting lights my color candle. The color and shape of the mountains is pure imagination as is the color of the Bitterroot River. This is the beauty of painting. There is no limitation as to how you can apply your imagination.

I recommend everyone take up painting. It's absolutely liberating and I am after all the original Liberated Photographer and now I am the Liberated Painter. If it feels good do it! And this feels mighty fine to me!

Sweet Bitterroots

©Walker Barnard

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tin Cup Trail - Bitterrot Valley Montana

This past fall Molly and I headed down to Hamilton at the south end of the Bitterroot Valley. The prior spring I had fallen in love with the place but the valley is too long to be conveniently located to all the fabulous trails from one end to the other. So, I had to go back.

Unfortunately, some of the trails were closed due to the summer fires. Fires are a real problem in this valley and they leave the trails too dangerous to walk for fear of getting beaned by  falling trees.

Of the trails I was able to hike, the Tin Cup Trail was by far my favorite. The varied fall colors of the ground cover plus the larch trees really lit my candle. I have been fascinated by larch bark ever since I came to Montana, 15 years ago. The red and black designs knock my socks off. I tried to photograph it but nothing came close to capturing what I was seeing. I was determined to try and paint that bark and so I did!

Tin Cup Trail
Photography no longer holds my interest. Painting is so much more creative. Your subject matter is only limited by your imagination. It's so liberating!

©Walker Barnard

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Impassioned Sky

It's been awhile since I posted. Not because I haven't been painting but because I went off on a tangent writing a blog about rocks and crystals. Actually, I have been painting quite a bit and loving every minute of it.

As it turned out there was to be one more in my "Sky Series" and here it is.

Impassioned Sky
It's been a brutal winter here in NW Montana but I have barely noticed. The time has just flown by what with painting, rock collecting and guitar lessons. But, starting to get twitchy for spring now. Once spring gets started everything but the rock collecting will be taking a back seat to hiking. I'm hoping to go rock hounding at Garnet this spring. If we make it Molly will tell about it on her blog...... Maybe.

©Walker Barnard