Tag Archives: downtown

Workshop: Schroeder Gallery, Orange CA

Last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a two-day plein air only workshop at the Schroeder Gallery in Orange, California. Thank you, Judy, for hosting my workshop and taking great care of me!

We had fantastic weather, not too hot and not too windy, more or less perfect conditions. The group was 10 painters altogether, so no problem finding enough space for everyone to paint. Downtown Orange is a wonderful place for plein air work. There are countless subjects, all within a five minute’s walk from the gallery and we could’ve easily added another day.

Maybe next time.

Thanks to all my students for taking my class, see you all next time! Happy painting!

Plein air in Austin, Texas

I was teaching a workshop last week at the wonderful Waterloo Watercolor group in Austin, TX. After the workshop was done at the end of the week, I was lucky enough to have had the chance to paint in this great city.
I was joined by a few artist colleges and we headed out to paint scenes by the lake and downtown. Naturally, after the weather was sunny all week the day we went outside turned out to be a bit dull and drab. Earlier in the morning the light was much better and  my scene with a rower and downtown Austin in the background turned out pretty nice.

Austin is a great city and everyone at the WWC group did their best to make me feel welcome. I’d like to especially thank Michele  and Marshal Missner, Eileen Pestorius, Kim and Gerry Hoerster, Anne and Barbara and Chuck Wallace for taking care of me in the best possible way. You all rock!

Austin lake, plein air by frankeber 2013

Austin lake, plein air by frankeber 2013

Austin plein air, Victorian by frankeber 2013

Austin plein air, Victorian by frankeber 2013

Windy workshop Palm Desert!

Palm_Springs_winds, by frankeber 2012

The powers of nature are unpredictable! Palm Springs, Palm Desert or Indian Wells sound like the perfect destinations for this time of the year! Warm, balmy temperatures, plenty of sun…. Unless there’s a 60-mile an hour windstorm blowing through!! Just my luck!

The workshop went well (it was indoors), but needless to say any attempts at plein air painting were literally blown away! I made my way to Palm Springs to take pictures instead and ended up painting this piece in my hotel room!

Maybe it was sort of divine intervention that it turned out really nice! I particularly like the cars and buildings on the right, a sort of melting affair of shapes! After applying the wash, I just dropped water and strong pigment here and there, hoping for the best..

Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t!

It definitely says “windy”, and that was the goal. I was planning on putting a figure on the left side, but didn’t leave room for it 😦 Overall it’s ok, I think. It doesn’t necessarily need it. I wanted to put someone crossing the street, leaning into the wind, but I was told the painting works as it is… That’s ok with me! The less you mess with it after it’s done, the better it is anyway!

Thank you Deb, Venus Art Supply, for a wonderful workshop and taking good care of me! It was very cool to learn that there are more than 200 watercolor painters in their local art association. I just have to make my way back there again soon!

Five and nine

Five and nine, 2012 by frankeber

I know this is a strange title, but it’s easy to figure out why I named it that. I am exploring my new idea with urban skate boarders some more. I have had some great comments for some of these works and even sold one in a gallery setting at this year’s Higbee 6 x 6 exhibition.

I also like the long format, I think it’s always good to try and do new things. The format isn’t really all that new, but I think it works really well with an off-beat subject matter like this. I also like that I have found a way to combine my beloved taxis and the skaters!  They do live in the same environment after all, and I am wondering now why didn’t think about this before!

As for the painting process, I started with a grey wash in  the sky, just to take away the white of the paper. After that I painted an “underwash” for all the buildings and into the foreground fairly strong. The goal is to finish the foreground in the first wash, which usually never works out. It is easy to be too light, since it is one of the first things we’re painting and we only have the white of the paper to compare it to…

Colors I used were cobalt blue, cobalt violet, yellow ochre, ultraviolet and cobalt turquoise and, believe it or not, some cad yellow and cad red. I made sure I used the most toxic colors available… Ok, bad joke…. On a serious note, I made sure most of the pigment is mixing itself on the paper and took great care not to create too many hard edges. That’s one of the more challenging  things to do as a watercolorist, in my humble opinion.

Thank you for looking, I sure will do more of these…here’s a detail shot, the guy in the middle is connecting both sides of the street with his pose, I think that works quite well!

fiveandnine_detail, by frankeber

New York City streetscene

silver city, by frankeber 2011

I call this piece ‘silver city’ because of the strange light quality that you sometimes get in NY. It is that late fall or early winter ‘feel’ that only occurs when it is cold out.

I am very attracted to scenes like this, because they tell such a great story; a story of life in a big city. You ponder it’s ups and downs, how tentative everything is…

You look at the people and you know you’ll never see this person again in your life. But you don’t get hung up on it, you just move on…

Is it good, is it bad? I can’t say…it is what it is!

In my work, I am always shooting for an impression. I try to make it look ‘as if’. The buildings, the cars, and the people… are they really there? They are because we think they are. They are because we know they are. A little bit like in real life walking down the sidewalk..do we really see the people? Or is it just a blur of things…

silver city detail, by frankeber 2011
Tonal value makes this painting. Good questions to ask yourself are: where is the lightest light? Where is the darkest dark? Observe carefully and keep an eye on your entire painting while you work. Thanks for looking!