Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Do You Make Your Greens?

Homeward, 11 x 14, oil

I'm often asked about my palette, and in particular what greens do I use to paint my trees?

I don't actually use tube greens on my palette. I mix all my greens from the primaries. Typically, I have two or three kinds of each of the primaries, plus white, and I can mix all the colors I need from them.

My blues are Ultramarine, Cerulean, and Ivory Black.  That's essentially a reddish blue, a greenish blue, and a low chroma blue.

Sometimes I use Cobalt instead of Ultramarine. Cobalt isn't really reddish blue, true, but it's still closer to violet than Cerulean.

Sometimes I use Prussian Blue instead of Cerulean. Prussian, like Phthalo is a very strong color and just a teeny bit will go a long, long way. If you're not careful it'll blow up in your face. So to speak. Cerulean is a much gentler, yet rich color and user friendly. I do recommend my students to use Cerulean until they've become very comfortable mixing colors.

My yellows - I have a cool yellow, a warm yellow and low chroma yellow; Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Yellow Deep, and Yellow Ochre.

Sometimes I just mix a warm yellow with Cadmium Lemon and TOR (Transparent Oxide Red), which gives me a nice rich warm yellow, and one less tube to carry.

Yellow Ochre is really handy, since mixing a darker value yellow can be a bit of work.

With these blues and yellows, you can mix them in different combinations to get all kinds of greens very quickly. Ivory Black and Cad Yellow makes a beautiful rich dark olive green. So does Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre. Cerulean + Cad Lemon makes a brilliant light green.

Just lay a couple of yellows and blues out on your palette and play around with it. You may be surprised at what you can mix when you're not trying to mix any specific color.

Add to these greens the reds, and of course the white, and you have further expanded the scope and the complexity of possible greens.

Tube greens are convenient, to be sure, but if you find that all the greens in your landscape paintings starting to look too similar, may be it's time to ditch those tube greens and start mixing them from your primaries.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sketches Along the American River

Thanks so much for all the thoughtful comments on my last post! I'm glad to know that it resonated with many of you.  I can never tell if anyone's reading my blog posts so your feedback really does keep me motivated. So thanks again!

I live near the American River, just outside of Sacramento. The river is a short walk from my house and my studio, and thanks to the conservation efforts of various organizations, there are stretches along the river which are left undeveloped.  Much of these areas are accessible through parks and miles of trails, and great painting spots are found all along the river.  

Last year I taught a weekly landscape class and for most of the sessions I took the class out to the river and we painted en plein air. These are some of the paintings from those sessions, plus some sketches which were just solo expeditions.

All of these began as plein air sketches. Some were painted on the spot in its entirety. Others were worked on in the studio afterwards, may be one or two hours. I think a few of them are done in the studio as variations of plein air sketches. 

I've shown this one before. And some of the others too, you may remember from before I messed up my blog and lost all the images. (So here they are again!)  

Typically, I don't start with the sky as some artists do. When I do a demo, someone always asks why I don't paint the sky first. It seems logical to paint from back to front rather than painting around complex small shapes, doesn't it?  My answer is that it doesn't matter which you paint first, the sky or the tree. Unless you have such control over shapes and edges that you can put down the tree on top of the skye perfectly on the first pass. I've yet to meet anyone who can do this consistently. Oh sure, anyone can put a tree on top of a sky in one pass, but I'm talking about a tree with GOOD, DESIGNED shapes.

Here's the thing. whether you start with the sky or the tree, chances are, you'll have to go back and forth between the two to refine edges and the shapes. Sometimes it comes together quickly, but other times, I spend hours shaping one tree.  

If you're going back and forth to get that tree just so, why does it matter with which you start? It's just  a matter of preference and comfort zones. I like to start with the tree because throughout the process, I like to maintain the value relationships of the various elements in my picture. My tree is almost always darker than the sky, so at every stage I want the tree to be darker than the sky. If I started blocking in the sky first, on white canvas, the sky would be darker at that point. A transparent block-in (grisaille) would solve this problem,  to be sure, but I don't do a very dark grisaille if I know the painting is going to be high keyed.

Also, in terms of color, I prefer to key the sky color to those of the trees because typically, the trees (or another visual element on the ground) would be the focal point(s) of the painting, and the sky plays the supporting role to the tree(s).  I think it makes sense to dress the star of my picture first, then decide on what the supporting cast would wear so that together, they bring out the best in my star.

When I do paint the sky first–and on occasion I do– my intention is to set a tight harmony by keying everything to the color of the ambient light.  In these cases, the color of the light / atmosphere is the main star, not the trees (or the barn, or the cars).

Here's a case where the tree is lighter than its background. The background is not the sky, obviously, but would it make sense to get the background going first, in this case? Yes, because at the block in stage, the background would be already darker than the lighter green foliage on the tree. 

Again, it's just a preference. I really don't think it matters all that much which you paint first. One thing that I do tell my students is don't paint around teeny shapes like that tree branch in this picture. Get the big shapes down, get the big relationships established, then paint the small things on top of it, then manipulate the edges so that the small things look integrated into the big things, not pasted on top.

This is a very tonal painting. A near-monochromatic painting like this has a simple structure, and I like to keep it that way for very atmospheric paintings like this. This was the focus of my workshop back in January.  I think this is easier than using a full spectrum,  but apparently some find it easier to use more color than less. That boggles my mind, but hey, it's a good thing that we have different ways of seeing and understanding color. Makes for a fascinating diversity in our expressions.

This one was done in the studio, but I did two earlier versions on location, both of which I used as references to paint this one. The important thing I noted about this particular painting is not the trickiness of painting submerged rocks (which is kinda nifty, I agree, but it's not as difficult as you might think) The important thing was to decide which was going to be the dominant color; the green of the water, or the red of the rocks.

My earlier versions had much redder rocks because they actually were pretty red. But as a painting, I needed one or the other to be dominant. Not both, competing with each other. When I figured that out the painting came together much more satisfactorily. But it took hours of work (two sketches on location, and a few hours staring at them) to figure what was wrong with my earlier efforts.

The stroke direction on these ball-shaped bushes follow the growth pattern. I look at how the branches (leaves, sprigs) radiate out from the epicenter, and mimic their growth. This shows the characteristics of these plants. 

I don't always follow growth patterns when I'm painting, even if I were painting these bushes, I might emphasize form instead, as if they were beach balls. Or I might put down my strokes in a parallel manner, in the direction of the falling sun light. It all depends on what you want to emphasize in your painting, which means you have to know what you want to say with your painting before you start. 

Submerged rocks again. What makes them look submerged? They're the color of the water. What makes them look like rocks? Darker, shadow areas that reveal the rock shapes. The rest is context. See? there's no trick to painting these. Just use your eyes without presumptions. 

Painting with my back to the river. This painting's color structure is more imposed than observed. I took cues from what I saw, but tightened the harmony to the point it was almost monochromatic. That's key to painting tonal atmosphere. You can't have both a tonal structure AND a lot of impressionist color, even though many try. That's like mishmashing two different languages. You may know what you're trying to say, but you'll confuse everyone else.

Our stretch of the American River isn't like the Sacramento Delta further down south. This view actually had a lot of trees along the far bank which I didn't paint. I wanted to paint the delta, but I couldn't make the trip down at the time, so I just used my local view as a jumping off point and reimagined the environment. Creative license. To be sure, I've painted the delta on location many times so I have a pretty good visual vocabulary in my noggin. 

Even if you never paint from imagination, building your visual vocabulary is very important for a landscape painter. It helps to make your painting better than nature because you are able to tweak this and refine that. In my experience, Mother Nature rarely gives us perfect compositions. Designing a painting is always a matter of imposing our vision onto a view. If we're only copying nature, that'll never happen.

The blue of the water is what attracted me to this view. I used it in the foreground grass, and also in the cast shadows on the trunks of the white birch (?) tree. I needed to sprinkle the blue around like this to make sure that the water didn't look isolated. Because it's just a big shape with no identifiable feature (shape itself doesn't tell us what it is) it needed to be in context for it to make sense. The tree and the grass provide that context, but still it was lacking something. Since I couldn't change the shape of it, I expanded the role of the color. It makes for a better color harmony and thus unity, too.

This one and the next one is a few years old, but I included them in this post just because I painted them along the river. In both cases, the cloud shapes mimic the trees. Not exactly, of course - that would look too obvious and silly. But the idea is to repeat the rhythmic shapes of the main element. 

When painting sky with clouds, I determine whether the clouds or the blue (in the above painting, green) part of the sky is dominant. If it's mostly clouds and only a small part of the blue is showing, which is the case in the two pieces above, I block in the whole thing with cloud color, and poke holes with the blue.  I then come back and work back and forth to refine edges and shapes, so by the time I'm done, it doesn't necessarily look like I painted the blue on top of the clouds. 

If the blue sky is bigger and the clouds play a smaller role, like in the painting below, 

I may paint the whole thing with blue (with variations) and float clouds on top of it.  But again, I typically go back and forth till I'm satisfied with the shapes and edges. 

The tree on the bluffs is iconic around these parts. The view from up there is spectacular. I have painted from there before, but have never taken a class there because I'm afraid someone would fall off. And people do fall off from time to time. I cringe every time I go up there and see young people sitting on the edge, dangling their feet and drinking beer or smoking pot (or whatever).

More color in this painting. Juxtaposing very loose, expressive and abstract strokes against tighter, representational form (trunk, branches) was what I was after in this one.  I don't actually remember what made me paint it so high key. May be it was a high key demo?

And then there's this gray painting. A gray day means there's no strong directional light. I can't use the light and shadow pattern to drive the design, so the value structure has to come from light and dark local values.  Light & shadow vs. light & dark. There's a big difference there, and it's important not to confuse the two. The darks in this case doesn't come from sunlight casting shadows, but they are dark because the objects themselves are dark. 

Also, what's missing in gray day conditions is the presence of distinct cast shadows.  To rephrase it, if you want a painting to look sunny, include cast shadows with sharp edges.  It's not light values or bright colors that makes a painting look sunny, it's the presence of distinct cast shadows. 

Thanks for putting up with this long post! I just started rambling on about each of the paintings and it just kind of got out of hand. 

Anyway, if you enjoyed these views and found comments informative, you may be interested to know that I'll be conducting a workshop next month at some of these locations. It'll be a plein air painting workshop and we'll be talking about these and many other issues about landscape painting and painting en plein air. The American River offers some great views (as you can see) along the Sacramento area, and we'll have a great time slinging painting on its shores.  If you'd like to join us, please contact Debbie at the School of Light and Color. As of this posting we still have spaces in this workshop!

The American River en Plein Air 
March 8 - 9, 2014

Please see my workshop page for more info on the workshop.

The School of Light and Color
phone: (916) 966-7517
email: sarback@lightandcolor.com

Paint on!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Making of a Cityscape

Last fall, I did this cityscape commission for a private collector. At 34 x 46, it was a fairly good sized painting, and I had great fun working on this. I don't do commissions unless it's the kind of painting that I would do anyway– that is, with or without a client. 

One of the main reasons why I no longer take illustration commissions (I was an illustrator for 17 years) is that I got tired of fulfilling someone else's vision, so if I went back to being art-directed by a client, it kind of defeats the purpose of my being a fine artist. Fortunately, there are collectors out there who understands that to get the best possible work out of an artist, the artist needs the freedom to create. My client was one such collector, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to create this painting with complete freedom. It was smooth sailing all the way!

I recorded a few process shots along the way and I noticed I had some studies as well, so I thought I'd share them here, and talk a little bit about my working methods.

First thing I did was to work up a pencil sketch.  The sketch pad is 11 x 14 so you can get a sense of the size of this sketch. I used three different reference photos. One for the environment, another for the trolley, and another for the car on the right.  Because all three photos were taken from a similar position, the perspective was more or less consistent. I tweaked them a little to fit, but that wasn't a big deal.

The pencil wasn't very dark, and it being a linear tool, it would have taken forever to achieve the kind of tonalities I was looking for. So I scanned the sketch into my computer, and using Photoshop, took it further.  Most of my illustrations were done with Photoshop and Wacom tablet, so painting digitally is well within my comfort zone.  

This is what I presented to my client, before moving on to paint. 

We discussed how the finished piece might be displayed in the client's home,  and we had decided that it wasn't going to be framed. Instead, I would use a thick 2 1/4 inch stretcher bars and wrap the linen around its sides, and paint the edges black for a more contemporary presentation. 

While waiting for my stretcher bars to arrive, I worked on some value studies on 6 x 8 panels just so I can become familiar with the tonal structure and the overall feel of the composition.

I did several such studies, and I can't remember in what order I did them, but I was trying to answer the question, just how much or how little color is needed for a monochromatic painting to start feeling not monochromatic. 

You see, a purely monochromatic painting doesn't have any color, so color temperature shifts from light to shadow (warm to cool) is irrelevant. But as soon as you add just a little bit of temperature shift, it becomes a color painting in which the color of the light source becomes extremely important, whether it's obvious or subtle.

And I was looking for that tipping point, or if there was such a thing.  So I started with just black and white, then tried a few different blacks, then added a little warmth in the white, and pushed the coolness in the shadow a little bit, as you see in the image below.

The black in this case was Paynes Gray, which is a lot bluer than Ivory or another black.

Then I decided to do some in brown, or sepia. Since I knew I wanted a very warm tonal painting, it was necessary for me to do some studies to get a feel for it.

This one is brown, black and white. (except for the tail lights and the yellows) Basically a monochromatic structure, with just a little hint of temperature shift that you can see in the big cast shadow on the building on the right. I wasn't looking for precision obviously. But this is still monochromatic and I don't feel a sense of natural light. 

I added more warmth in the lights, which separates the light and shadow colors a bit more. 

The color scheme of this one and the previous one is the same, except in the previous one, the sky is lighter than the buildings. In this last one, the buildings are lighter. Flipping those values makes a big difference in the climate conditions, and thus the mood. I ended up with the lighter sky in the end. 

I also made a bunch of value scales just to see how the dark color and light color combinations looked.  On the dark side are some combinations of Transparent Oxide Red and various blacks,
and on the light side is Titanium white and Yellow Ochre in varying amounts.  Again, I was looking for at what point does warm / cool become an issue?

I didn't arrive at an answer, but doing these value charts gave me a pretty good idea of which direction to take the painting.

After assembling the stretchers and securing the canvas (Claessen's 66) on it, I proceeded to transfer the drawing onto it by gridding. I made a grid on the sketch in Photoshop, and a corresponding one on the canvas and proceeded to draw the more critical lines. 

I don't draw every little detail at this point. Just the landmarks and lines that are likely to be difficult to to find by freehand later on. Perspective lines need to be accurate, so I made sure I got those in.  I also indicated some windows on the buildings. 

Using thin paint (black+transparent oxide red), I started in with some darker values. To thin the paint, I'm using Gamsol and Liquin. 

I went ahead and pushed the darkest darks. I knew that much of the bottom part of the painting would end up very dark and shadowy, so it would be easier to get that established early. As you can see, I tried not to lose the lines on the street's surface.  That didn't last long. I ended up losing all of it, and had to bring it all back later. Which turned out to be not as big a chore as I'd thought, since the vanishing point was clear. Would have been much more tedious if it were a two point perspective. 

This is the finished painting. Sorry, I completely forgot to take photos after the grisaille.  But I just went in with  opaque colors, and pushed and pulled with brush, rag, scrapers, palette knives, and my thumbs. As is typical of my cityscapes, I painted it in several layers of unplanned attacks. Not a neat, sequential technique, but just going in and dealing with what seems most obvious. All the time trying to balance the representational and the abstract.

Here are some detail shots:

Sometimes I let the layers dry completely between sessions. Other times, I work right into semi-dry painting. If I want to do a clean glaze or a stain, I let it dry first. If I'm going in with more opaque, I don't necessarily wait for it to dry completely.

Some thick paint action with palette knife. It looks like I glazed afterwards too.

The big car. This could be another painting just like this, huh? I like this composition. I tried very hard to not literally describe things. Most of the shapes are abstract suggestions, and not depictions. The dark shadow helps to simplify  much of the boring stuff. 

Same with the trolley side of the street. The photo reference showed a lot more detail in the shadows. I could clearly see the tires and the hubcaps on the parked cars. I no longer have the photo reference, but suffice to say that having done all the studies really helped me to see just how little information was needed in this area and still make it convincing. 

So if you suffer from putting-too-much-detail-in-your-painting syndrome, do a bunch of studies where you vary the amount of detail. You'll see that less really is more.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recent Abstraction Efforts

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm posting some recent abstracted figures. All were started with a live model during weekly figure painting sessions or as class demos.  And all except the very last one got 2 to 6 more hours afterwards, without the model, in what I call deconstruction sessions.

The one above is the oldest of this bunch. Last year I painted many nudes with this sort of blue violet color scheme.  The orange in the skin tone and the violet background share the red hue in their mixes, which ties them together. To the left side of the figure, you can see some of the skin tone worked into the back ground, and in various places you can see the violet in the skin tone as well. Some times on top of the surface, some times mix into the color of the flesh. 

That, and the fact that the edges are integrated, creates unity. Without some way of integrating figure and ground–or simply two adjacent shapes–you end up with a cut out, stiff looking figure which looks like you tried very hard to stay within the lines. A coloring-book effect.

This started out as a class demo. I teach a weekly figure class, where I switch back and forth between drawing and painting every three months. At the start the painting rotation, I have everyone paint in black and white only. This is a great way to transition from where we left off in the drawing rotation, which is red and white chalk on toned paper. The introduction of white chalk separates the light and shadow with one tool assigned to the light, and another to the shadow. This understanding of separation is critical because when painting, we can never confuse the values of light and shadow. 

The lightest shadow is darker than the darkest light. You've heard that a thousand times, right? When color is introduced, sometimes students forget all about organizing values. So before we start messing around with color, we want to make sure we understand value.

This one is more abstract than others. I like the direction this is taking me. One of the key things about abstraction is context. When you start with a representational figure and work towards abstraction, it's very difficult because you've already established a representational context. In this context, an abstract note more often than not looks wrong.  So you pull back and make it less abstract, until it's back to representation, or the note looks haphazard and overworked. 

It takes a lot of mileage (it did for me, anyway) to be able to ignore the context and have faith that abstract notes I'm putting down will eventually look good when there are enough of them to alter the context. 

One thing I found helpful is to start slinging paint in areas that are low risk, just to break up the representational context. Typically, that's the background and peripheral  areas. Do enough of it so that at least in these areas, you have a context that's abstract, not a believable representational environment.  Then abstracting the figure itself becomes a little easier.

I like this one a lot. It has sharp edges in unexpected places, which breaks the rules of representational painting. Manipulating edges is as important as color and value, but it's not quantifiable. In traditional painting, there are rules that guides us where and what type of edge to use in what situation. Not so in abstract painting. It's totally subjective, and yet there seems to be something that tells us whether an edge works or not. Only we... that is, I... don't know it until I do it and see it. 

What that means is a lot of experimentation, a lot searching, and a lot of trial and error, and a lot of reliance on accidents. To make matters more difficult, these accidents aren't totally random. If I could explain it, I'd have a lot easier time creating paintings. 

But I guess the uncertainty and the mystery is what keeps me coming back and trying.  It never gets old.

This last one was done without additional hours of deconstruction session. All from one afternoon session of figure painting, with a model. There are some things I'd like to try with this one and I'll get to it after I'm through with my current projects. (Deadlines!)

Oh I used the Zorn palette for this one. I wanted to get back to using limited palettes after seeing the Zorn exhibit at Legion of Honor last month. Boy, that was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No Progress, But...

So it's been a few weeks since I showed the last incarnation of this painting. I haven't touched it since, except to oil in (to bring the darks back) and take a decent photo.  I updated my photo process and lighting so now I can show you a better representation of this painting.  The photos in the previous posts weren't even close, I'm embarrassed to admit.

Anyway, I've been staring at this thing sitting in my studio for a while now,  and I've been torn between leaving it alone and going in and working it over with more abstraction.  There's something about this stage right now that compels me. It's more representational than my other recent efforts, but it's not quite traditional either.

I am trying to push abstraction in my work, so leaving it alone here seems like I'm not pushing myself, my boundaries. It's too safe. It looks good to me, but it's safe, and that nags at me a little bit.

I wondered if I'm afraid to take risks because I like what I have already. Pushing abstraction, at least in the way I do it, means risking complete destruction.  I typically attack the painting with big sloppy brush, scrapers, rags, and palette knives, obliterating most of it. I can't do it unless I'm willing to part with it.

On the other hand, I've grown pretty used to throwing away perfectly good studies, and have learned much along the way because  I allowed myself to take it beyond the point of no return. Sure, those many ruined pieces could have been sold at an early stage so that's a loss of a lot of money, but what I gained in knowledge and wisdom is incalculable.

I have the earlier studies in charcoal and red chalk, so I'll still have the original information, should I need to re-define the anatomical and gestural information. That's not that big a deal.

I concluded that no, my reluctance to go further is not because of fear. It's just that I really like the painting right now, and I suspect I'm seeing something that speaks to me but I don't know what that is.

So here's what I've decided. I'm going to leave it alone, at least for now, and start a new version based on this, but take that one further down the road of abstraction. I want to do it bigger, too. This one was 12 x 9, and I'm finding it a little too confining.

Next post, I'll share some other recent studies, some of which takes the abstraction thing a bit further than this.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Small Gems Exhibition

 Serving Drinks, 8 x 8 inches, oil on linen

I just sent off these three paintings down South to be framed, and then shipped to Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara for their upcoming exhibition, Small Gems. All the paintings in this show are 8 x 8 inches.

Group shows are a lot less pressure on the artist than solo shows for obvious reasons. And these being very small pieces, they were perfect for coming out of a rut. They actually took several weeks (working off and on) which is a whole lot longer than they should have taken. I trashed another three because they sucked.

But I'm pretty happy with these guys. One of the effective ways of getting out of a rut is to go back to your comfort zone, and for me, that means limited, earth tone palette.  Here I'm using Titanium White, Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, Transparent Red Oxide, and a little bit of Prussian Blue.

Keeping things simple, is my goal so I can focus on values, edges, and design. Color complicates things exponentially, and while beautiful paintings can be created with a lot of color, so too, can happen with minimum amount. I mean look at Velazquez. Rembrandt. Duveneck. Da Vinci.

When I don't have color to rely on for impact, I try to make sure I have enough oomph in value contrasts. By using a full value range from black to white, and placing sharp edges and high contrasts strategically, one can create a design that is both impactful and understated.

And speaking of edges, I try to lose them in a lot places. The visible edges are manipulated so the softer edges and lower contrasts allow shapes to exist, but not compete with more obvious areas of interest. Even sharper edges have degrees of sharpness coupled with calculated value contrasts so that there is a hierarchy of importance, all of which lead up to the maximum impact at the server's right shoulder.  Edge + contrast = impact. Vary them to create a hierarchy of importance. Every edge should be considered, none are accidental or arbitrary.  It's like choosing words for poetry. You can't just spit them out; you have to give them some thought.

6, 8 x 8 inches, oil on linen

For this one, I didn't use any Prussian blue, but added a bright red (Permanent Red) to my palette. Cityscapes are hard to do, what with all the perspective drawing issues and clutter management. The simplest kind of cityscape painting, I think, is like this; an elevation view.  No perspective to deal with, and everything is pretty much a flat shape. The challenge is to make it interesting. Because it's so easy to make this type of painting boring. 

I'm employing diagonals and lateral movement (the figure is walking) to break up the monotony of flatness. And also, I made sure that the flat shapes are painted not flat and solid, but with plenty of surface interest, like paint strokes, visible textures, and gradations. 

All the vertical flat surfaces technically had the same amount of light shining on them, meaning uniform and consistent value within a shape. So the gradations and variations that you see are entirely subjective. They're imposed on the design, not observed.

Palms, 8 x 8 inches, oil on linen

This one obviously has some perspective. One point, plus heavy atmospheric perspective dominate the structure. I wanted that warm Southern California light and this was my solution. The light source is overhead and to the right, but for all intents and purposes, I treated it like backlighting. Backlighting simplifies the shapes (hardly any detail anywhere) while amplifying the mood, so it's a great device. The mechanics of this type of atmosphere was the focus of my workshop a few weeks ago.

No red in this one, (other than trans. red. oxide) but I did use ultramarine to mix the greens in the foremost trees. 

Small Gems exhibition opens February 15th at the Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara. there will be some great pieces in this show by fabulous painters, so if you're looking to begin or add to your collection, this is a good show to find some true gems!