John Fisher was our guest today at Muse Art and Design. He painted a landscape in oils. A transplant from the Midwest, John enjoys painting wide-open vistas with uncluttered horizons and dramatic skies. Some of his favorite local spots to find such scenes are Sauvie Island and the wine country to the south of Portland. He likes to capture light and mood in his paintings, especially in the contrasts and colors of the clouds. As he painted today, he commented several times on the changing light outside and the interesting clouds we’ve had lately. His work shows his attention to and awareness of these aspects of nature.
John had prepared his canvas yesterday by mapping out some dark and light values and some beginning hints of warm and cool accents. He continued today with layering color onto this background, creating trees, foreground, clouds, and sky. He worked with a limited palette of colors, and for the most part mixed his paints directly on his canvas as he worked. To give shape and lighting effects to features on the ground, he worked mostly with small brushes, and often with thicker paint. In the sky, he used larger brushes for blending and thinner applications of paint. He also wiped paint off the canvas at times to create highlights by revealing colors from earlier layers.
For his painting today, John referred to photos that he had taken at Sauvie Island last fall. He also does plein air paintings (onsite outdoors). Often, his plein air paintings will be in watercolors. Some of these watercolor paintings result in finished works, and some become studies for larger, more detailed oil paintings. For oil paintings that he does in his studio, John usually waits a number of months and adds a final layer of transparent glazes that add mood and more effect of light in his work. Today, he skillfully included those features within one afternoon!