These are some value studies I demonstrated for a student as a starting point to oil painting. I used a piece of Utrect canvas from a canvas pad 12x9 inches. (Nice stuff.) I taped it to a piece of MDF board (Home Depot) and divided it into quarters. I mixed just four values using Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and T-White. (One of the values was pure white.) The set up has a clear division of light and shadow from a spotlight and having limited ambient light. If you're a beginner, I highly recommend doing a lot of these with simple objects. Avoid shiny objects, glass and flowers. When you look at your subject squint down A LOT while painting. It helps you see the large value shapes simplified. The bottom right quadrant shows how to draw an ellipse by picturing it inside a rectangle. It's not perfect, but close. (I wiped out the rectangle later.) Also pictured, different kind of stroke shapes made with a flat brush. I hope this is helpful to someone out there just starting out. The importance of getting your values right cannot be understated. I have read of art schools that require working in black and white for an entire year before painting with color.
Here is a little 4x6 I painted later just because I thought the set-up was so simple and pretty. It gave me a challenge! I have gotten used to larger sizes. It is for sale at $40. magnify/purchase
oil 12x9 inches not for salemagnify This is an interior I've wanted to paint for a long time. We are not fancy enough to call it a foyer. In the morning, light streams in through a long narrow window beside our front door. So it's about the light, but... That's my grandmother's table from Arkansas. I remember it covered with homemade pies. The angel figurine was my mother's. And on the far right is Paula. Yes, the plant is named Paula. I adopted her from a couple moving to Connecticut years ago. They didn't want to move her, but at least they gave her a name. My, how she has grown. And oh, look! Who's that in the mirror???
oil 12x16 inches magnify/purchase Here's a larger painting I finished recently. Lately I enjoy a set up that includes a variety of objects. A lot of what happens when setting up still life for me is intuitive, but I think what usually results in a good one is the right combination of color, shapes and texture. This is one of those paintings that is better in person. The camera doesn't get the subtle color shifts, and there is some glare in the background darks.
Look what I found on my iphone! I thought you might like to see "Cold Pond" at the cold pond. I was surprised to see how dark the photo is. It had really clouded up by the time I finished.
Below is my palette after finishing, partially cleaned off. Maybe some of you fellow painters would be interested in my current palette of colors. Counterclockwise from center bottom: Transparent Red Oxide, Thalo green I think, mixed green of Payne's gray and Lemon yellow, more Thalo green I don't know why, Cobalt, Thalo blue, Ultramarine blue, Alizarin, Permanent Rose, Cad red light, Cad orange, Cad yellow medium, Cad yellow light, Titanium White (2 blobs), warm white, cool white, palette sludge. That mixed green I learned from Kim English as well as the warm white (TW plus CYM), and cool white (TW plus cobalt).
And last but not least, my little malte-poo, Sandy whom I mentioned in my last post. Who could not love this sweet face?
oil 8x10 inches magnify/purchase
One afternoon it looked like rain again, so I stayed close to the RV and did this little tree study. I loved the shapes of the branches and cascading foliage. The backlighting became pinker as I painted which was even more fun. This day I learned the hard way not to put my backpack under my open turp can. Lost in painting, I was unaware that a family was approaching me from behind. Suddenly my whole set up came forward as if into my lap. My turp can fell and drenched my backpack. Paintbrush in hand scraped right through the painting as it fell toward me. What happened? My little Malte-poo lying on a blanket next to me had gone out and around me to greet the approaching children, her tie-out cord pulling my tripod over. Other than that, I had a peaceful painting session! I fixed the painting, then soaked the backpack in soapy water when I got home. Still smells like turp, though.
oil 9x12 inches magnify/purchase Our camping weekend was cold and rainy, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway. Can you see the cold in my painting? It tried to rain on me, but the clouds didn't really let loose until that night. I was interested in the branches of this tree/bush/thing and also the light on the water. There were big storks out there, so I included a few. Have a great weekend, everyone!
oil 5x7 inches not for sale magnify Here's a little micro-view of my previous set up. Painted on one of those inexpensive canvas cardboards. Once dry, I'm going to glue paper to the backside and make it into a postcard. A friend in Arizona made me the cutest tote bag for Christmas. I owe her a special thank you note, and this will be it! We went camping over the weekend. In between rainstorms I got a little plein air practice in. Will post those next. Have a great week, everyone!
oil 9x12 magnify/purchase Last day of 2014 I put soup in the crockpot and went out for some afternoon painting. The day was cold and brisk with migratory birds out and a few fishermen. Quiet and peaceful. The sun was strong and I had forgotten my hat. I ended up painting while holding a rain umbrella in my left hand to shade my eyes. I usually clean my brush with paper towels held in my left. So I wiped my brush on a folded up pad of paper towels laid next to my brushwasher instead. It wasn't a problem at all. I remember Carol Marine doing this, and Kim English doing the same, but with a terry cloth rag. In fact, it was kinda relaxing. Might try that again! It's been a while since the plein air workshop with Kim English, but I used a lot of what I learned: pre-mixing all the colors I see, no initial drawing, but rather laying in the large shapes with thinned paint. Once he said "Cover the numbers as quick as you can." I love that!
oil 8x8 inches magnify/purchase Today is about as wintery as it gets in Southern California...cold and gray and a "winter storm warning". I don't even know what that means! Anyway, here's a warm and cheerful assortment of stuff. Hope you like it. Special thanks to our friends, Audrey and Ken for sharing their lemons and tangerines.
oil 12x12 inches magnify/purchase
Here's a bold arrangement of color. Usually I know whether I'm satisfied with a painting or not. This one has me baffled. I'm going to tuck it back my studio for a long while and take a fresh look at it in a few weeks. If you have any constructive comments about it, I welcome them! Here's a black and white. I do like the values!
Our Christmas celebration was wonderful, and now I'm anxious to get back to my easel. Happy New Year!
oil 12x12 inches magnify/purchase
I approached this piece with some specific considerations: reduce the number of objects compared to my last few paintings, and allow more breathing room within the picture space. And as far as my progress in painting roses, the lower rose is my favorite so far. It has the freshness I'm after. Below are a few progress shots. The bottom shot is closer to the actual colors in the painting.
oil 16x12 inches magnify/purchase Quotes and expressions stick in my head. "A Little Romance" was a piece of music for piano that I played a long time ago. It seemed to suit this painting. Another quote that stuck: "Never knowingly leave something wrong in your painting." I avoid going back into a painting, but the cast shadow on the pitcher was the wrong value and temperature. Funny how you see these kinds of things the next morning. I tried to ignore it, but it just kept gnawing at me along with the quote. So below see a few progress shots and how it looked before I fixed it. Still learning how to paint roses, but these are acceptable. They have some nice impasto you can see if you click on "magnify" and roll your mouse over the image.
oil 6x6 inches magnify/purchase The perfect degree of ripeness, yummy and paintable. I have craved bananas lately. I painted this on a re-used canvas panel to which I had applied a coat of oil ground. The underlying brush marks give the painting a nice texture.
oil 12x12 inches magnify/purchase Maybe I'm weird. I like my silver tarnished and my wine with pretty labels. And I love it when red, pink and orange come together.
ADDITIONALLY, I'm really happy to be part of this show!!! (But that's not weird at all!) Opening soon!
oil 12x12 inches magnify/purchase My friend Audrey gave me these very paintable and delicious lemons from her tree. I had a great time with this painting. Like 99% of my work, this was painted alla prima (all at once, or at least while the paint is still wet.) I'll share a couple of tricks I've learned from other painters for keeping your paint wet a bit longer. Before you begin, apply a VERY thin coat of linseed oil to your canvas. Just enough to make it a tiny bit slick. You can do this with a brush, then spread with paper towel. Facilitates the application of paint too. To keep the paint blobs on your pallette wet a bit longer, add a drop of pure clove oil and mix with palette knife. Waste less paint this way, and your painting dries slower. Caution! Bees will love you if you use clove oil in your paint outdoors! HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
IN OTHER NEWS: I'm pleased to announce that Flower Happy (above,8x8 inches) will be included in HOLIDAY TREASURES at the Debra Huse Gallery on Balboa Island. This "Small Gems" Salon includes 100 works from artists across the country. The show runs from Dec. 4- Jan 4. For more info, click here.