This was my third oil painting. I was still uncomfortable with the idea of creating my composition, so I continued to study the works of other artists and test my ability to duplicate their paintings with a reasonable amount of accuracy. This painting was copied from a painting by Eduard Boehm, a 19th-century Austrian artist. I do not know Eduard’s title or the date he painted it. Please enjoy my tutorial “Lakeside Path“ by John O’Keefe Jr.
Composition and Materials – “Lakeside Path”
Support: Pre-Stretched & Mounted Medium Textured Cotton Canvas (Acrylic Primed)
Size: 11 x 14 inch
Medium: Winsor & Newton Winton Student Grade Oil Paints
Finish: Winsor & Newton Dammar varnish
Step-By-Step – “Lakeside Path”
The clouds came first, followed by a rough outline of the distant mountains.
More refinements to the clouds. Added details to the distant mountains. I blocked the land mass to the right, along with the waterway.
Using my computer, I blocked in the left foreground. I did this to visualize how my next steps would look.
First, I added detail to the right-side landmass and reflections to the waterway. For the under-painting, visible on the left, I used raw umber and blocked in the general landmass features.
Starting with the distant tree line on the left side, I added darker colors to become my shadows. I then added more detail to the landmass on the right.
Again, using the darker colors that would be the basis for my shadows, I began to add more detail to the left-side land areas. The path has also been blocked-in.
I started adding highlights to the distant tree line and land areas, followed by the row of tree trunks.
I started adding light green tones and the grass along the shoreline. Then I blocked in a dead tree trunk and rock to the front left. Also, I highlighted the path.
Lastly, I added all the fine details. I finished the foreground shrubs, path, and rocks.
This is my first oil painting. I used a small 6 X 4 Canvas Board with inexpensive oil paints. I did not want to spend much money on my first attempt. This painting is not an original composition of mine; I referenced a portion of a painting by Thomas Doughty. Thomas Doughty was one of the first Hudson River School painters, and the painting is titled “Autumn on the Hudson.” Please enjoy my tutorial “Autumn on the Hudson Revisited” by John O’Keefe Jr.
Composition and Materials – “Autumn on the Hudson Revisited”
I painted in layers, as you can see in the attached images. First, I painted the background – sky, water, mountains, and field as shown.
I let the painting dry for several days before adding the distant trees, shrubs, and large tree trunk.
The leaves on the big tree, the house, and some additional details in the landscape came last. I was not happy with the big tree, but I was too nervous that I would ruin the whole painting if I tried to change it, so I left it alone.
Finished Painting – “Autumn on the Hudson Revisited”
Personal songwriting has always been on my mind. After my earlier experiences with tape recorders, 4-tracks, VHS audio, and all those projects for friends and friends of friends, I wanted to record my recording project. So I shifted my focus, and in the late 1990s, the journey began.
Personal Songwriting and Recording Project – My Time to Play in the Studio
I work full-time, have a wife, and have two children, one of whom lives with a disability. Therefore, if I was to work on my recording project, I had to stop accepting outside recording gigs. After clearing my studio workload, I could think about the CD without any other distractions hanging over my head.
Songwriting and Jamming with the Band
Me and my longtime good friend and drummer, Keith Ribera, set out to make our CD of original songs. Even though we had many songs already written from earlier years together, we decided to start from scratch. We had several songwriting sessions with another longtime good friend, bassist Jeff Curtis. However, we had a good time jamming, improvising, laughing, and coming up with catchy-sounding material, and we did all of this in our spare time.
I spent considerable time on my own, setting up the equipment with good mic placement, adjusting mixer settings and computer settings, etc., so that when the guys showed up, it was just a matter of tuning our instruments and playing. Below is a random multi-track recording of Keith and me, and I added the bass track later. Our motto was, “the stranger it sounded, the better it sounded.” Most of the time, it was a total creative free-for-all. We would make recordings like the one below and later pick out the good parts.
Personal Songwriting and Recording Project – Editing and Mixing the Songs
After a few months of playing, hanging out, and recording, I started selecting our best parts, arranged them into songs, and re-recorded all the guitar and bass parts from scratch. Jeff could not record the bass tracks because, at the time, his work had him on the road almost constantly. Therefore, I recorded all the guitar and bass parts with a click-track. Afterward, Keith recorded his drum parts. He made about 5 or 6 takes for each song, and then came the editing and mixing, which was my second favorite part of this process. Here are some early rough edits of our songs going into 2000. I’m not sure what genre you would fit these songs into, but we received a better response from other musicians than non-musicians.
Personal Songwriting and Recording Project – The Finished Recordings, Where Are They?
Around 2000, life got more complicated for Keith, Jeff, and me. Our families and other responsibilities took up more and more of our free time, and the recording project slowed down and eventually stopped. However, these life changes didn’t end the project because the songs were unfinished. To be continued.
In early 2000, with my recording studio project slowing down and after a somewhat scary flight while on a business trip, I became interested in airplanes which led me to purchase Microsoft Flight Simulator. I learned that Microsoft had designed the Flight Simulator so programmers and airplane enthusiasts could create and add their aircraft to the game. I saw an opportunity to develop my Microsoft Flight Simulator add-on package and thus started Project OY-KGR.
My project is based on the Scandinavian Airline Service DC-9-41 airplane OY-KGR. It has evolved from a general flight simulator to a much more sophisticated and graphically intense experience. Additionally, the project included the assistance of many flight simulator developers, pilots, and enthusiasts from around the globe.
Add-on Package – Scandinavian Airlines 2D Cockpit
My project has two main components: a 2D cockpit and a 3D cockpit with an external airplane model. The 2D cockpit comprises hundreds of computer-generated renderings and image files I had to create. The images range from the cockpit panel backgrounds to the flying instruments’ tiny needles. Using XML programming code, I merge all of the image files in real-time so that when the game runs, it gives the person playing the experience of sitting in a real DC-9 cockpit.
Add-on Package – Scandinavian Airlines 3D Cockpit and External Plane Model
The 3D cockpit is much more complicated to design than the 2D version. Therefore, using 3D modeling and animation software, I had to construct the entire cockpit. Additionally, the development process is time-consuming, and my only reference materials are photographs on the Internet. Most of those photographs could be of better quality, so careful analysis and planning are required when building certain features in the game environment. Below are screenshots of the 3D cockpit environment taken during game testing.
Microsoft Flight Simulator Add-on Package Project Comes to an End
My Microsoft Flight Simulator Add-on Package came to an unexpected and abrupt end one day. It all started after Boeing’s legal department contacted me. Subsequently, the person I spoke with had many questions about my flight simulator add-on package. They expressed “concern” that I could purchase official Boeing flight operation manuals and other technical documents online.
Ultimately, they did not wholly object to my developing the project. But they wanted me to register it with their “toy” and “legal” departments and pay a “licensing fee.” As a result, it was going to cost money, and more time, to continue with the project. It was their intellectual property that I had. Also, 9/11 had just happened, and everyone was hyper-cautious about security, and projects like mine were coming under increased scrutiny. I heard reports that the terrorists involved in 9/11 used Microsoft Flight Simulator to practice their attack plans.
The Boeing representative explained that the airplane I was modeling was still in use worldwide. In the end, my hobby had become too complex. These developments with Boeing were also going to make it more financially costly. If 9/11 had never happened, I doubt anyone would have cared about my project. Many ultra-realistic add-on plane packages already existed because what I was doing was part of the design of the Microsoft Flight Simulator. The entire project got more extensive than I cared to deal with, so I shelved project OY-KGR.
My music interests and first home recording studio are as crucial to me as painting and art. Truthfully, the two are in constant competition within me because sometimes I love making music more than I love making art, and visa-versa. However, I make some money with my art, whereas I have yet to make a penny with my music. Therefore, making music has become a love I pursue solely for personal enjoyment.
Music Interests, Early Band Years, and Recording
It was during my mid-teen years that music became a big part of my life. When I was about 15 years old, my father purchased an Ibanez Roadstar II guitar (black) for me, and everything changed.
My earliest recordings were made on my father’s cheap multi-track recorder. They were horrible recordings because I didn’t know how to play the instrument, and during the “playback” of the tapes, I learned how bad I sounded. That was when I realized the way to grow as a musician was to hear myself playing after the fact, analyze what I was hearing, and LEARN what not to do!
In my later teens, when I started playing in bands with my brother Dan, I continued developing my guitar playing and recording skills. My guitar, amp, and recorder were there, and they always traveled with me. As a result, the recording became an obsession, and it was common for me to interrupt band practice to set up, reposition mics, or check cassette recorders. Eventually, around 1990, I purchased my first multi-track recorder, a Fostex X-26. Around this time, my musical tastes expanded beyond heavy metal and into everything that was instrumentally technical and complicated and sounded good to my ears.
First Home Recording Studio
As time progressed, I bought a computer, and in 1998 I became the proud owner of my first Digital Audio Workstation (D.A.W.), Samplitude Studio version 4.04a. Therefore, I made the switch from analog recording to digital recording. Over the next several years, I faithfully upgraded the Samplitude Studio software while keeping current with other digital recording technology, such as a Dman-2044 PCI, 4-channel, 16-bit DAC/ADC audio interface card.
Recording Studio Projects for Local Bands
Starting in late 1998, I began recording, mixing, and mastering small projects for friends and their bands. Also, I did this studio work after my day job as an electro-mechanical designer. Sometimes I would be up until 2 or 3 in the morning, editing and mixing tracks. The work initially consisted of taking cassette recordings, converting them from analog to digital medium, loading them into Samplitude Studio, cleaning up the audio quality, and finally burning the improved audio to CD.
After those early cleanup projects, I had an opportunity to do my first multi-track recording session for a friend’s band. However, things didn’t come out as planned, but I still felt good about taking on larger multi-track recording projects. In addition to further improving my recording skills, working with different musicians was a lot of fun. Also, some songwriting collaborations resulted from these connections.
As word spread about what I was doing in my studio, requests for more significant projects started. I re-mastered projects for several local bands. And, even though my gear was considered “entry-level” quality, my work was good enough to receive positive feedback on a local radio station that featured one of the groups.
First Full CD Recording Project for the Band “Room One”
My first big multi-track project was for a local band named “Room One,” In early 1999, I started recording their 12-song CD. Subsequently, every instrument had its track, and I put all my years of recording experience into the project. As a result, I always received positive feedback from the band. Also, the band was open-minded to making instrumental arrangement changes on a few songs at my suggestion. Additionally, they included a guitar solo I performed in one of their songs. The solo part I recorded during a sound check I conducted before the band showed up for one of their sessions.
The singer moved to another state in the middle of the recording sessions, and the CD never recorded the final vocals. However, an instrumental version of the CD was released.
My music interests and first home recording studio are a considerable part of my life. Because I love it, I will continuously pursue these interests to improve my playing, songwriting, and recording skills.