Sunday, December 18, 2011

Light and Shade after Kevin MacPherson

Another painting in my series of painting my way through Kevin MacPherson's book.  I just loved the way the sunlight spilled across his painting, making bright highlights on the mountains and trees, and casting the deep shadows.  His painting is called, "Palm Desert".

I am learning not to try to duplicate his paintings exactly.  I can't actually,  but I'm no longer grief stricken about it.  I am just enjoying the process.  I think these are my best trees, so far.    I thoroughly enjoyed this painting.  Fun!

And deep gratitude and thank you's to everyone who stopped by, commented and inquired about me during my long dry spell.   You guys are great!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Study in grays and brights

12" X 16 " oil  on canvas panel

This is my second painting I have done in my project of painting my way through Kevin MacPherson's book "Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light and Color".  His painting is called "Flaming Maple".

His commentary says, "Grays complement brights.  If everyone is shouting, no one is heard.  If all your colors are bright and intense, nothing stands out."

Graying the colors was the most difficult part of this painting.  His painting looks like there is fog in the distance, so the far trees are just barely visible.  The sky is such a light gray, it is almost white.  I kept having to correct and correct the sky.  I would think it was light enough, then realize it was still too dark.

The meadow area in the background left is a very light gray-green.  I was surprised how light the color looked on my palette, but it was the right color.  Now that I took the photo, I think my tree-trunks on the middle trees look too dark, but they are dark in his painting.  So maybe my foliage there isn't dark enough, rather than the trunks being too dark.

I really want to thank every single person who has visited my blog over the past month.   Our house has been like a convalescence home for a good while.  First my daughter had surgery and I nursed her for two week.  Then I had sinus surgery and moped around for another two weeks.   So I was so cheered by the visits and good wishes!  Thanks again!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Think It's Done....

I've been working on this for three days, about two hours each on Tuesday and Wednesday in class.  Then I brought it home and sat it on my easel and studied it for a day.  Today I tweaked the trees.  I hadn't made the trunks light enough and they melted into the background.

This is my first finished painting from painting my way through Kevin MacPhearson's book.  MacPhearson's work is called "Full Moon Rising".  I had a great time working on this, and learned a lot about trying to paint trees.  I used a lot of different brushes to get different effects, which was a first for me.  I used every side of the brushes too, not just the flat side.  And I used the smallest brush ever for the tree limbs.  Just couldn't make those little brush strokes any other way.

I also practiced graying colors, and learned how to mix some colors that were new to me.  So now I'm ready for my next attempt at his book.  It will be another landscape.

12 inch X 16 inch oil on stretched canvas

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

W.I.P. Landscape - First color pass

Click on painting to view larger.
12 X 16 inch oil on stretched canvas

Not too good a photo...the colors aren't true.  I took lots of shots, but this is about the best one.

This is my first application of color to the underpainting I posted last week.  I want to let this layer dry before I go in and work on the trees on the right.  I think I may be doing a lot of wiping off!  Trees are a lot harder than apples and pots!  LOL.

Mexican Sage 


Also, for your viewing pleasure,  I'm posting picture of some plants that survived our drought thanks to my husband.   We moved into our house with new landscaping and within one week our neighborhood went to stage 4 water restrictions, meaning hand watering only, between 6 to 9 p.m.   My husband stood outside in 100 degree heat every day for two months, watering our new trees and shrubs.   We didn't loose any trees, but a few shrubs didn't make it.  The majority survived, though and I'm thrilled that after our recent rains they are blooming their little heads off!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I had the best weekend!

"Mountain Skies"  8 inch X 8 inch oil on canvas panel
I painted this from a photo of our trip to Wyoming.   I need to practice trees some more.

My husband and I drove to Fredericksburg on Sunday, which is about an hour from San Antonio, a nice Sunday drive.  When I was growing up, folks would take Sunday drives, but I don't think anyone does that much anymore.  The daily commute for my family members gives most of them all the driving they want to do every week.  But since I've retired, I don't have to commute any more, so I enjoy driving places with my husband.

Fredericksburg is an old German settlement, with lots of old buildings that have been restored and turned into cute shops and galleries.  I especially wanted to visit the Good Art Company gallery, because Ruth Andre had blogged that she had some paintings accepted there.  I've seen her work online, but was glad to have the chance to see some of them in person.  She paints beautiful horses!

Also in the gallery were paintings by Nancy Medina.   I was delighted to see her beautiful florals in person.   I've never met either artist, but follow both online, so I had this feeling of connection to the art and artists.

We also visited a gallery called Insight Gallery.  It was a thrill to see works by Scot Burdick.  He has written about and has a youtube video on "The Banishment of Beauty", the clash between representational art and abstract art.  I remember watching his video several years ago, so I was excited to see some of his paintings.

Works by Quang Ho and Scot Christensen are being featured by Insight Gallery for the month of October.  Quang's works are vivid and exciting.  However, the highlight of my day was an enormous landscape by Scot Christensen.  (Click on the link and then click on Gallery to see a slide show of some of his paintings.) He paints in wonderful muted colors with beautiful strong brushstrokes.   I could have looked at that painting all day.

I have only become aware of Christensen within the past month, and I wonder how could I not have known?  I feel sort of the same way as when I learn a new word, and then I find out everyone else has been using that word all along.  Girl, he's famous!  I plead ignorance.

The painting was offered at $52,000.  My husband asked me how he could charge so much for his paintings.  My answer was that his talent is that rare.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quick Flower Sketch

I painted this using a canvas toned with dark green.  It was actually one that I'd painted over about a month ago and today I thought I'd use it.   I've seen other paintings where the artist used a dark, or even black, toned canvas, and I liked the effect.   I like this much better than my original painting.

I used a number 8 bright brush and had fun.  The best part is that I overcame my tendency to be very tight and detailed and blend-y.

7 inch X 9 inch oil on canvas panel

Friday, October 7, 2011

Landscape Underpainting

This is the underpainting for a landscape that I started in my weekly class.  Our instructor has us use transparent oil color to sketch in our study and values.

I watched the movie "Julie and Julia" last week.  Its about a young woman who decides to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child's cook book in one year.  It gave me the notion that I want to paint my way through a book.    I have Kevin MacPherson's book, "Fill your Oil Paintings with Light & Color".  He gives steps for how he first blocks in his paintings and then discusses his finished paintings.

Julie Ford Oliver has been painting and posting a series that she calls Painting the Masters.  She stated that she has learned a lot from studying and copying the works of various artists.

That's what I hope to gain by copying some of MacPherson's works.  So this is my first attempt to paint from his book.  His painting is called "Full Moon Rising".

12 inch X 16 inch oil on stretched canvas

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two and a Half Plums

This has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen's former show.  I just like the cadence of the title.

I've been trying to figure out what about my own paintings make me unhappy, and I believe I've figured it out.  Some of them of course are just flat ugly, or as my daughters used to say, YOU-gly.   But apart from that.  I have been trying to change my style of painting to a looser one.

When I first started painting, I wanted my painting to look exactly like the set up.  If it looked smooth and realistic, I was happy.  Now I'd like to paint with a looser style and "see" more colors.  I'm not able to achieve that and so when I've finished a painting, it might not be ugly, but I'm not happy with it.  That's what I keep whining about.   Please just bear with me!

8 inch X 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vase and Oranges

This little study was an experiment.  I saw a challenge on the DPW website to paint a color painting of a black and white photo.  There was a black and white photo in one of my art books, so I thought I'd try to paint it in color.

The background color is a big mistake.  I premixed colors and I thought they looked good on the palette, but I don't like them in the painting.

Claudia Hammer had a funny post of a painting she wasn't happy with.   She said that people would point and laugh at it.   Claudia is a terrific artist, so her idea of a failure is at a lot higher level than mine.  So please, no pointing and laughing.  If you must snicker, please cover your mouth.

8 inch X 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Friday, September 30, 2011

I was blown away...

Today I went to the Hunt Gallery in San Antonio to see  Lorraine Shirkus'  work on display in the gallery. The show was a collection of works by 14 women artists.  Lorraine has three paintings on her own wall as you enter the gallery.  I recognized them immediately.

Words fail me.  I am in awe!    Lorraine's work is incredible.    The photos on her blog don't begin to show the richness, the depth, and the layers of color she applies to her canvas.   The woman can paint!

I told her I felt like I should come home and burn all my paintings.  LOL.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flowers and Vase

8 inch X 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Today was fun!  I wanted to try to something that for me was different .  One of my favorite artists, Jennifer Bellinger, has written that she always pre-mixes her paints before she starts a painting.  That amazes me, because I'm clueless about what colors I want before I start.  I mean she pre-mixes everything!  I love her work though, so I thought I'd try the best I could.  

I mixed a big batch of grays and darks, and big batches of oranges and reds and corals.  Lots of variations of the colors.  I found that it was really helpful to be able to reach over and choose the color I wanted without having to try to mix it and then finding that what I mixed wasn't quite right.  That's my usual method! 

I did realize that this type of floral, with lots of layers of color, would work better if I did an underpainting first.  After that dried, I could paint over the bottom layer.  Today I had more blending together of colors than I wanted, which got a little muddy.  

Still though, I was pretty happy with the result.  I'm not putting it in the do-over pile.  (At least not yet.)  

Friday, September 23, 2011

I blended today...

I didn't intend to.  I started with big blocks of color and big strokes.  But I just couldn't mix the correct colors on my palette.  When I'd put them on the canvas they'd be too dark, too light, too bright, too dull, too wrong!  So as I made corrections, I ended up blending paint on the painting.  So much for laying down a stroke and leaving it!  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I know this is an art blog....

I think I have painter's block.  I have been home a week and until yesterday I didn't pick up a brush.

Of course I do have an excuse.  I pulled a muscle in my back on the last day of our tour, and I could hardly get out of bed for a few days.  My husband had to help pull me to a sitting position so I get up.  A heating pad and lots of Advil helped me get lots better.  But I just don't have any enthusiasm yet for painting.

I started a still life yesterday of some pears, but I eventually wiped that off.  Today I am going to my painting class, which I just love.  Maybe I can get my spark back.  So I don't have any paintings to post.  I think I'll post a few pictures from our trip.

We went to Rapid City SD, where we boarded our tour bus.  We visited Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, Jackson WY, and into Yellowstone.  The trip was fabulous.  I'd never been to the Great Plains before.  I loved the beautiful hills and trees.

My favorite picture is the last one.  Our friend who took it called it "two geezers and a geyser".

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm packing for vacation!

I really thought I'd get to paint today, but I am doing running around trying to get packed.  My husband and I are leaving for two weeks vacation in the morning.  We'll be visiting Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone Park, among other places.  I won't be painting, but I'm taking a sketchbook.

Our temperature hit 110 degrees this week.  The weather in Yellowstone show highs around 60 and lows below freezing at night.  I'll be doing some serious layering!

I'm taking my I-Pad,  so I may get a little time to visit your blogs.  Keep painting!  See you in two weeks!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vase and Pears

8 inch X 8 inch oil on canvas panel

This little vase was given to me one year for Christmas by one of my daughters.  Somewhere along the way the lid got broken, but I've saved the vase for sentimental reasons.

I experimented today with my arrangement.   I moved my palette to the end of my desk so that I had to stand about six feet from the easel while mixing paint.  It really forced me to stand back and look at the painting from a distance as I was working on it.  I can't say it made the painting any better, but it was good for me to move away after every few strokes.  I really concentrated less on small details and more on the overall painting.

My husband and I went last weekend to an Art Fair in a small town nearby, and I had a really fun time talking to the artists who were exhibiting.  There were three whose works I really admired, and I later learned that all three of them at one time were students of my current instructor!   Is that cool, or what?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stacked Mugs II

8 inch X 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Sometime I have the hardest time getting started.  So I toned some new panels with burnt sienna.  Then I looked at some of my old painting efforts.  I decided that I would work on an anemic little painting that I did here.   I moved the horizon line and added a vertical panel.  I also added some color.  I think this is a better composition.

I read lots of other people's blogs.  Yesterday I read an art hint that really intrigued me.  I'd love to give an attribution, but I can't remember where I read it or on whose blog!  If I find it again, I'll let you know.

Anyway, she said that too many people don't stand back from the painting and look at it from a distance.  She said she puts her palette about six feet away from her easel, which forces her to step back constantly and look at the painting from a distance.  Tomorrow I'm going to try that.  I'll let you know what I think after I've tried it.

Today my husband and I are going to Helotes TX  to an Art Fair.  Thank goodness it's supposed to be indoors.  I hope it's air conditioned.   Our temperatures are going to over 100 again today.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sliced limes and cocktail

I am still on a quest to alter my painting style.  I'm trying to use more colors.  By that I don't mean more colors on my palette, but trying to see more colors in the objects I am painting.  I used a lot of alizarin crimson in this painting for the darks and shadows.  In the past I would have used ultramarine blue and burnt umber to make a dark.  I like the tint of red that the alizarin gives to the darks.

(This is a fake cocktail.  It's colored water.  But that doesn't sound as good in a title!)  Anyway, there's a chilled bottle of Riesling wine in the fridge, and my hubby just called that he's on his way home.  Have a good weekend!

8 inch by 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Feel Better Now

I gave up that big brush and went back to my favorite filbert.  I also tried to suggest rather than be so literal..  Some of the artists whose work I really admire paint in that style.

Kathryn Townsend paints beautiful paintings that I just love.   See an example of her lovely flowers on her blog here.   I would love to  be able to produce those gorgeous subtle colors.

Sally Rosenbaum is another artist whose work I can look at forever.  She paints the most gorgeous scenes of women reading or drinking wine usually in a garden scene.  She has published a small book of some of her works, which I bought and have just about worn the covers off.  See her beautiful work here.

8 inch X 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paint Like You're Rich!

Paint like you're rich!  That's what my painting instructor told our class this week.  She was urging us to use more paint.  So today I squeezed out double the usual amount I put on my palette,  grabbed that honking big brush and went to town.

I have to admit that I have been in a painting funk lately.  I hate everything I paint.  I told that to my husband, and he said, "you aren't going to cut off your ear, are you?"  No,  but I've wiped off lots of paintings that I never posted.   Luckily, I was born with the "happy gene", as my brother puts it.  I wake up happy every day.  But my painting lately doesn't make me happy.  I want to paint loose and lush.  My careful, tidy nature collides with that at every turn.

Jeff Mahoney has one of the best posts about the self-loathing I'm going through, called "what I've learned".   I had to go back over and re-read it today to kick myself into painting.  Basically he says that you have to learn to accept the negative thoughts and keep going.

So, I asked myself, is there anything I like about this painting?   Well, the background is nice.  And I like the water glass.  I guess it isn't a total loss.

The flower and leaves are a mess.  All the paint I was using turned into a kind of sludge that I was pushing around.   Argh!   Lucky for me, I'll wake up happy again in the morning!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The "My Seven Links Project"

There is a project spreading around the blog world that asks bloggers to list links to seven of their posts in different categories.  Then you are asked to tag five of your friends, who in turn list seven posts and tag five friends.  It's sort of like a chain letter, but you aren't threatened with dire luck if you don't pass it on! 

I was tagged for this project by Carrie Waller  from Carrie's Creations  You can click on her link to see the posts that she chose.  

Here are the categories: 

– Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

Here are the posts that I've selected:

Your most beautiful post:  Poppies in Vase 

Beauty is subjective, of course.  I really loved the colors in this one.  I liked the vase and the dappled shadows. 

Your most popular post:  "I'm saying this one is finished" 

This post received the most comments of anything I've posted.  This was my attempt to paint in the style
 of David Leffel.  I have learned a lot by attempting to copy another artist.  

I love that feeling of "oh look how he did that!"  

Your most controversial post.  "Wine Bottles"

I got nothing for this category!  I just want people to come by, maybe enjoy the painting or the post.  
No controversy!  So I'll just post a little painting that I like.  I liked the point of view on these wine bottles. 

Your most helpful post:   "I Got a New Book Today" 

I don't think I've been painting long enough to be very helpful to other painters.  I'm still learning myself!  
However, in one post I recommended a beautiful book called Painting the Still Life.  
Several people liked that recommendation.  I wish I could paint like this! 

A post whose success surprised you: "Pot of Geraniums"

Being such a beginning painter, I'm pretty surprised every time I receive positive comments on my paintings!  
This was one of my first attempts at painting flowers. 

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: "Lemon Trio"

This little painting was one that didn't get a lot of comments, but I liked the effects in the cloth. 

 The post that you are most proud of:  "My First Painting - 2007" 

My very first post of my very first painting! I started this blog in June 2010.  
It took a lot of courage for me to take that first step. 
I was so nervous about posting my very amateurish paintings and probably not very interesting comments.  
But I'm so glad I did.  I have found the most wonderful world of generous and helpful artists.  
It has been one of the most fun things I've ever done! 

Now I'm passing this challenge along to the following five people.
(And it's hard to choose just five.)

       1. Kathy Cousart
       2. Linda Popple
       3. Karen Werner
       4. Lorraine Shirkus
       5. Claire Christinel.

Have fun!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gather Around

8 inch by 8 inch oil on canvas panel
(Click on painting to view larger.)

I had about an hour to paint this yesterday afternoon.  I forced myself to use that big brush again.  I like the effect on the plum and the side of the pitcher.  I realized after posting this that the ellipse on the pitcher is wrong.  Oops.  Loved getting to paint again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Plate of Figs

When figs first appeared in the market last month, I thought $7.98 a pound was too much to pay.   Now they are more abundant and the price has been reduced, so I bought some to paint.   After I finished painting, I ate them with honey.  Yum.

I used a different brush today, a bright, very stiff.  My usual go-to brush is a filbert, very smooth, and the paint goes on like butter.  But I'm trying to paint more loosely, so I changed my brush.  I liked some of the effects I got, but I found it very difficult to mix paint with the brush.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pears morning light

This is pretty sad.  I think I've forgotten how to paint.  I don't seem to be able to make any grays in my colors.

I left the set up overnight and painted it again this morning.  The light was coming in from a big window.  I have great light here.  I need some more practice!

Pears and blue bowl

My first little painting in over a month!  I would have wiped it off, but I just wanted to get back to painting.  My daughter took the two little boys (my grandsons) to a movie and I had about an hour to get set up and to paint.

I forced myself to use a number 10 brush to try to keep it loose.  The left pear and the blue bowl sort of worked, but I couldn't get the front pear.  After working on it a while, I realized I had picked up a smaller brush and was blending and moving paint around, so I quit.

If you want to see a beautiful pear and blue bowl, look at Nancy Franke's painting,  Leanings.  Gosh that's beautiful.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hydrangeas and Wine Bucket

12" X 16" oil on stretched canvas

The only painting I have done for the past several weeks is in my weekly art class.  I worked on this painting over three class periods.

I painted the background of hydrangea shrubs first, and while I was painting I experienced that wonderful feeling of joy that is the reason we all paint.  I loved the colors and forms in the background and couldn't wait until the next class to continue on the painting.

Alas, I think my muse deserted me, because the next sessions were nothing but struggle, disappointment and a lot of wiping off.  I'm not pleased with the final result, but it's the best I could do at this point in my painting  journey!

I've really missed painting and visiting your blogs.  Only within the last few days have I begun to recover from the move and spend a little time on the computer.   I told my husband I haven't been this tired since I had a baby!  The garage is still full of boxes, but we can move around inside now.  For me, one of the hardest parts of moving is making the decisions of where to put stuff!

We have had so much company, also--with cookouts and overnight guests.  All our family and friends are excited about our new house and want to come for a visit.   My grandson from Houston has come to  visit for a month, so I've been busy with two little boys this week.  Next week they each will have a day camp, so maybe I can get in some painting!

Thanks to everyone who visited my blog and wished me well in the move.  I think the worst is over!    Now it's time to enjoy the house.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wildflower photos

Turk's Cap  -  Hummingbirds love this flower! 

The yellow flower is a Huisache daisy (pronounced wee-satch) 

The red and yellow flower is a gaillardia, called Indian blanket.  The purple is Horsemint. 

Since I haven't been painting, I thought I'd share a few wildflower photos.  These are on a vacant lot on our block.  I stopped my car one morning and took some pictures.  I was amazed to see anything blooming, as we are in a fierce drought.  

I'm so busy trying to move--we have to clear out the house we sold and move into our new house next weekend.  My only painting time has been my weekly class.  I'll make time for that no matter what!  I'm not ready to post that one yet. 

We are scheduled to move on Saturday, June 4.  Just a few more days!  

Friday, May 20, 2011

My first cat painting

And it may be the last!  I painted this in response to the Daily Paintworks challenge.  I started out wanting this to look like the cat in the reference photo, but I ended up just hoping it looked like a cat!

I have a new-found respect for those artists who paint animals.  I thought portrait painting was difficult, but I think this is just as difficult.

I had to smile at myself that Carol Marine wouldn't be pleased at the number of brushstrokes in this painting.   There are hundreds.  I had no idea how to paint fur.  I started out with a number eight filbert, but it makes such smooth strokes I couldn't get any indication of  "furry-ness".   At the end, I switched to a small bright brush.    Well, this was my adventure for today.   Now I'm going out to dinner with my husband.  Probably even enjoy a glass of white wine.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tomato Medley

I painted these tomatoes as a response to the "Paint Your Vegetables!" challenge on the Daily PaintWorks website.

I bought a small container of tomatoes at the market, and when I opened it I found that there was a variety of shapes and colors in the box.   My favorites were the small, brownish-red ones.  They were almost maroon.   It's a good thing I painted them quickly,  because I left the plate on the kitchen island and they were quickly eaten as snacks.  Every time someone walked by, they'd pop a tomato in their mouths.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pot of Geraniums

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm posting this again.  Blogger deleted it yesterday.  If they add the orginal  back, I'll just delete the duplicate.

I managed to make the time for myself to go to my painting class this week.  I had worked on this for several weeks in class.  The hardest part was the leaves.  I couldn't make them look like geranium leaves, and I kept wiping and painting again.  I'm mostly satisfied with these.

I did several small sketches before I painted this larger one, so I'm a little tired of geraniums.  I have started my next painting for class, which will be some hydrangeas.  They are cluster flowers like geraniums, but at least I'll get to use some different colors.

Click on the painting to view larger.  12 inch X 16 inch oil on stretched canvas.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm still here

I'm so busy!  We are building a new house and selling the one we are living in.  Both transactions are going to be completed this month.  I have had so much paperwork and meetings and inspections that I seem to meet myself coming in and going out the door.

I sometimes have to go to the new house several times a day to look at how the lights are being installed, or what the color of the grout looks like with the tile, etc.  So many decisions!  After the kitchen tile was about half done, we all agree we didn't like it and couldn't live with it.  So that came down, and we had other meetings to choose new tiles.

But we are getting close.  The flooring is going to be installed this week.  That will really make it look finished.  After that it should just be touch up work inside and the landscaping.

We will have to move out of my daughter's house, and all my stuff is in storage in Austin.  So we'll have the time consuming chore of unpacking and finding places to put things.

With all this, I haven't painted in days.  I did make my weekly class, but that painting is still unfinished. We are all so looking forward to living in the new house.  Particularly, I am looking forward to having a space of my own in which to paint!

Thanks to everyone who has come by and commented.  I really appreciate each and every one of you. I'm so looking forward to painting and posting regularly again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Geraniums, Too

Another practice painting for the larger painting I want to do next week.  I think I did much better on the blooms this time.  However, I still can't paint leaves!

I think I need to practice painting nothing but leaves for a few days.

8 inch by 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Geraniums and shadows

I mentioned that I want to learn to paint flowers, and I want to thank Janice Warriner for suggesting that I look at Helen Van Wyk's work and lessons.  I found a copy of Van Wyk's book "Color Recipes" online, and I'm loving it!  She gives actual mixtures to use for a painting.

This sketch is a practice for a larger painting I want to do in my weekly class.  It's from an illustration in the book.  She tells step by step what she mixed for the painting.

I don't have some of the colors she used.  Van Wyk says that Grumbacher Red is the closet tubed red to true spectrum red.  I don't have that color, I have cad red medium.  She used cadmium red light, but that's the only cadmium red she used.  She said cad red medium doesn't mix as well with white.

Something about this sketch isn't quite right, and I think it's values.   I was concentrating on trying to mix colors and make it look like a geranium, and I neglected values.  So much to think about!   Rather than try to tweak it,  I'm going to try another sketch.   I need to practice on leaves, too.   But I was pleased with the shadow on the wall.

8 inch by 8 inch oil on canvas panel.
Click on photo to view larger.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poppies in Vase

I finished this in my class this week.  I posted the start of this painting last week.  I'm happy with the way it turned out.  The colors are even more intense than they show in this photo.

I wanted to keep it loose (for me).  My fear was that I would work and work on it until I lost that feeling of spontaneity.   It is so hard for me not to get bogged down in details.  That's why I always make myself paint with a large brush, even in the small daily paintings.  I painted this primarily with a number 8 filbert.

This is a 12 " by 16 " oil on stretched canvas.
Click on the picture to view larger.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Pears on Red Stripes

These are red Bartlett pears that I bought yesterday at the market.  The color is amazing.  They are almost the color of cordovan leather.  Two of them have a touch of pale green on them.

I put them on a red striped tea towel that I picked up at Tuesday Morning to add to my hodge-podge collection of things to paint.   This was my first attempt to paint stripes.

I really enjoyed painting this.  None of that kicking myself around the room feeling.  I am slowing letting go of the feeling that every daily painting needs to be a finished painting.   Trying to relax and enjoy the journey.

8 inch by 8 inch oil on canvas panel.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tulips and apples

When I first started this blog, I mostly painted fruit.  That was a big enough challenge for me.  I avoided more complex subjects, because I didn't think I could paint them.  I kept telling myself that I can't paint flowers, but that when I become a better painter, I'd try.

So something shifted in my brain this week.   If I want to learn to paint flowers, I need to start trying to paint them!  Doh.

I realized a couple of things while I was painting this:

1.  It's really too large for a small canvas.  I should just try to paint a couple of flowers instead of a large vase full of them.   Next time I'll do that.

2.  I spent 90% of my time on this painting on the tulips, trying to make them have volume and "read" as tulips.   I painted the apples and fabric in less than five minutes.  That was an eye opener to me.  I knew how to paint them!   All that practice.  Maybe after another six months I'll know how to paint flowers!

8 inch by 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Summer breeze

My mother used to hang laundry outdoors on a clothesline in our back yard.  We lived on the Texas coastal  plains, so we had coastal breezes every day in the summer.  Sometimes a summer shower would come up, and we'd run outdoors to gather in the clothes before they got wet.  Nothing smells fresher than sheets that have been dried outdoors.

On the downside, every single stitch I owned had to be ironed.  The clothes smelled good, but I didn't enjoy ironing.  I had to sprinkle the clothes with water so that they'd be damp and then iron them dry.    It was the only way to get all the wrinkles out.   Nowadays I enjoy having a drier and not having to iron!

I painted this for the April challenge on Daily Painters International.  The theme is The Wind.  The artist can choose any subject that evokes wind.  I decided on this scene of clothes drying in the breeze.

8 inch by 8 inch oil on canvas panel

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Work in Progress -- Poppies in Vase

This is a work in progress from my painting class last week.   This is the underpainting.  I blocked in the colors and will work on adding detail this week.  I hope I don't overwork it.  I always start out  thinking big strokes, keep it loose.  But my own personality kicks in and I overwork the details.  

I am in love with cadmium orange light!   I haven't used it before.  I always use a limited palette, because that's what my instructors told me when I first started painting.  

And they wouldn't let me use black, either. I sometimes cheat a little by using black, though.  Not in this painting.  But a couple of paintings with lots of dark background just needed black. 

12 inch by 16 inch oil on stretched canvas 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pear study

I wanted to try something different with the background, here.  I wasn't able to achieve what was in my head, but I like this blue and yellow together.  

This is a picture of my latest purchase.  I'm always buying something that I "need" for painting--new brushes, new books, etc.  This is a tabletop lighting studio.  It's a white nylon box, and came with two spotlights that I shine on the sides of the box.  The fabric diffuses the light, so I don't have the problem with glare that I have with a flash.  There's enough light that the flash on the camera doesn't even go off.   It's 16 inches square, so it won't work for large canvases, but it's great for daily painting.  Now I don't have to wait for a sunny day.  It was $45 on Ebay. 

This wasn't even my own idea, but now I can't remember who recommended it to me!  My apologies that I can't give the credit where credit is due.