Sunday, February 28, 2010

Painting from memory

Today I painted this from memory of the PPASP photo... the more I worked on it, the more I liked the fact that I wasn't looking at the reference! It turned out looking a like a factory town in Europe. Painting from memory was a cool way to get a unusual result.

oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the Park

I have a few "Speedball Mona Lisa Gessoed Artboards" that I have never opened and I thought I would try one today. I was surprised by the smooth surface... it is crazy smooth! I just made up my mind (after yestereday's debacle) that my strokes would all be deliberate today--no indecision!

Oil on 8 x10 gessoed hardboard

Friday, February 26, 2010


Tonight I attempted to paint the reference photo for the PPASP challenge, "Subject to Interpretations." It was going pretty well when BLAM! I really lost it. You can see that I had the right idea. I wanted to employ a strong shadow design and I succeeded there, but other values went seriously awry! C'est la vie! Tomorrow is another day. Oh, I wanted to also say THANK YOU to all of you who keep up with my blog! I always look forward to your comments. It is motivating to "discuss" things with you...even when I fail. (I don't like posting terrible is hard for me to do!) Well..In keeping with my policy of posting sidetrack photos when I do a crappy painting..I submit for your viewing pleasure......

Top photo: Failed cable car painting, 2. "Hippo Rock" taken during neighborhood walk 3. The contents of my purse dumped out. (yeah. I know). 4. THANK YOU, peeps. You're the best! 5. Daisy the cat takes a siesta

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My week in review

It's been a solid artful week! No painting for me today ..but I managed some sketches. Did you have a good week?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rain & Rebellion

Just a couple of days ago it was sunny here in we are back to "normal"--rain, rain, rain. For this sketch I threw all caution to the wind and used shhhhhhhh. don't tell anyone*.

oil on 11 x 14 paper/foam core

(*Many artists do not use black paint at all, or only in rare situations. Since black is a mixture of all colors, it can be mixed from existing colors. The mixed black will always look more interesting and more lively than a stock black paint. Additionally, adding black to darken other colors makes them look muddy. We're taught not to do it!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Street Urchin with Sketching oil

I got a great suggestion from Eric Bowman's blog. He recommends sketching from life (of course!) but also from photos in magazines (when real people aren't available). Now here's MY suggestion..Get some Gamblin art sketching oil (or just use your whatever burnt sienna-ish paint you have) along with some white and sketch directly onto a wood panel. (No doubt "not archival" --it's just practice). The wood serves as mid tone/flesh. I painted this from an Oliver Twist-type image.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Male wolf Study

Your teacher's words will sometimes echo in your head as you are scratching out something in paint onto a surface. "Painting is simply spots of colors placed in the correct places". I believe every one of my instructors have said that in one way or another.

Oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sketching in watercolor and gouache

Took a drive today and brought just a small set of water media supplies along with my sketchbook. Traveling light! ...and what a beautiful day! Several of my tubes of gouache have hardened into rocks...that can happen when you don't use them. The nice thing about working in "unfamiliar" media is realizing that the principles still apply. I wished I had a full complement of paints...but then again I was happy to be out in the sunshine.. sketching Mt. Hood.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Painting .............small!

I have this little sample support that was given to me...and tonight I decided to use it. I think the sample is just over the size of a business card! The smallest support that I generally use is 5 x 7. Painting small was fun, but I won't say that it took me much less time. I doubt that I am going to fall in love with painting small... I won't be becoming a miniature painter or anything! Here's how this wee painting looks on my desktop wood box easel:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just black & white

My perpetually laid-out oil paints are running low and although I have plenty of paint to re-charge my palette, I decided instead to do a value exercise with just black and white.

When values are close together a value study is more challenging than you might think. We have to do everything right to get a painting to go our way (even a painting exercise!) I give myself points for good values, but I take away a few points for some indecisive brushwork. My most successful efforts are those where I am "fully present" for the entire painting. Well, even when the outcome isn't 100% ideal, the things I learn during my self imposed exercises always help me on my next painting!

oil on 10x10 paper/foam core

Five of my snow paintings are showcased on "Illustration Pages"

The Illustration Pages blog highlights Facebook pages of artists. They just featured my snow paintings in an article about winter inspiration.. (many thanks to them!) Also, YOU can be featured as well if you’re a visual artist on Facebook. Click here for submission guidelines.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Urban blight and non-blight

I did some sketching today of urban scenes. One of the buildings I sketched was very dilapidated (it is located right behind the art store "I've Been Framed". What an interesting subject! "Gritty" landscape has been more appreciated over the last few years. Painters like William Wray have shown us that beauty is often where you least expect it. When I got around to painting tonight I painted over an old painting and opted to work from a photo of a street that is filled with water. It looked like the "wrong side of town"...and my mind was still on urban blight. I might tackle a plein air painting of that building behind the art supply store one day ...and if perchance I'd run low on titanium white, permanent rose and lemon yellow (colors I'd need for that building).. it would be a very short walk to get some at "I've been Framed".

Oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just blue & white

My time to paint today was limited, so I dashed out this painting done in only blue and white from a photo reference.

Oil sketch on paper/foam core 9 x 12

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Year of the Tiger 2010

I wondered what to paint today and then I remembered my friend Carrie Holst's post on her blog about it being the year of the Tiger, according to Chinese Astrology. 2010 is "our" year..Carrie's and mine, because we were both born during the year of the Tiger and here it is again (it comes around every 12 years).
I meant to just do a very quick sketch, but Tigers are in no way simple subjects...and before I knew it I was adding lots more detail than I had anticipated. I'm thinking I will just let it dry and make another pass at it to add better detail and correct some things. He looks a bit too Lion-like color-wise.

I like being a Tiger in Chinese Astrology.
What's not to like?

What are you? Find out your Chinese Zodiac sign here.

Oil on 9 x 12 Canvas panel

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

It is a day for flowers..and I painted some in honor of Valentine's Day. I hope your day was everything that you like for the holiday. For myself, it was just right..I got to talk with some special friends and Dave gave me a picture of me and my Mom from yesteryear (he made it bigger and better than it was). A very special Valentine for sure! I love Valentine's day...don't you?

Oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A face cast 4 values

Someone in our art discussion group told us that she had to take art classes in order to make art...because her house was completely taken over by her family. There was no dedicated place in her home for her work. She would work on occasion at the dining room table...but she would have to pick it all up when it was time for dinner.
Everyone who has a deep interest in making visual art should have a place to do it and, even better, a "portable" drawing or painting gear for use wherever they want. Today I set up my pochade box next to the planar face cast that I've got hung up in the front room. I had to work quickly to paint him..because the light changed fast at the end of the day. My aim was to try to get him down in 4 values (it didn't matter to me what colors). I know this may look like a boring exercise to some..but I found the challenge quite engaging. I recommend painting from a cast! I hope to get a few more in the future..possibly some hands.
I like to work in both my basement studio and also wherever in the house I want (with my "mobile" painting set up). Where do you work? Do you ever give yourself challenges...just like you may have if you were in an academic setting?

Gala Reception, Congratulations to my artist friends & Amato Gallery

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Painted with some friends today. We set up some still life and enjoyed the afternoon. My still life included a world globe and some books. Very National Geographic. Alas! My red drape became purple and my globe....WELL. Luckily I have some other images to share.
(P.S.) 9 out of 10 painting bloggers use the word "Alas" in at least one of their front page posts. Unofficial survey.

Photos from top to bottom: Portland traffic, My cat when he was a kitten, unflattering photo of me in my bunker studio, very cool weird dress in the window across from Bread and Ink, A favorite friend, Irene Mason on her 80th birthday

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sun setting over wetlands (Brent Cotton study)

This is a complex scene that I did battle* with today. The difficulty was in staving off weird shapes happening here and there. The strong shape in the water looked like the state of Texas for awhile...and after a day or so I will probably go back and try to break up a couple other "oddities" shape-wise. *I always remember Eric Jacobsen saying during a plein air workshop: "You are at war". To the uninitiated that may sound overly dramatic...but painting can feel like the enemy at times! This is a practice painting from a Cotton reference, but still.. I felt like I had to "fight" all the way for correct relationships, values, shapes and temperatures. I'm not sure I won...but I fought..

Oil on 6x6 gessoed hardboard

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


"Western" art magazines seem to have super predictable subjects. They are (in no particular order) Native Americans, wolves, horses, cowboys and bears. I found a photo reference so I could try my hand at this "popular" subject.

Oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'll tell you about my was yours??

One of the things I did today was sit in a Doctor's waiting room for a while (not about me--thank goodness!) I took my sketchbook and was happily sketching away when I heard a murmured "she's drawing you, Ernie." I was afraid to look up in case Ernie was non-plussed by my predilection for life drawing. While in the waiting room I saw a copy of AARP. Opie on the front cover!....Opie! That made me feel ancient. (I am a little ancient..but Opie on the AARP magazine! Come on!)
I went for a walk today also..I met up with a neighbor fellow and his dog (I don't know the guy's name..but his dog's name is Molly)..Here he is asking Molly if she wants a piece of steak when they get home. She told him YES! At the very end of the day I painted a study from a photo reference. I struggled to get the value relationships correct and a lot of her skin looks too red to me. It's pretty much a scraper, which explains why I opted to feature it at the bottom, instead of the top. Well, back to the drawing board! There's always tomorrow!