Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kenda's House

A commissioned painting of a really cute brick house that has many interesting architectural details that aren't readily apparent in the photograph of the whole house. I had to use four other detail shots and raise the point of view a bit to get everything in that the client wanted to include. (Also deleted a lot of things she DIDN'T want like neighbor's houses, eaves troughs etc.)
9" x 12" oil on canvas 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Dog is Larger than Life...

The dog may be larger than life, but so is his personality, according to the woman who commissioned this house painting. She is giving the painting to people who LOVE the dog, so I guess that's all right. This is a small 11" x 14" piece and it was difficult to get enough detail into the dog to be recognizable but you can tell it's a French Bulldog.
House paintings are usually fun to do. The owners are thrilled to have something hanging on their wall that tells the world how much they love their home. And it's always a challenge to turn a bland photo into a colorful oil painting. It requires imagination and invention because the details are just not readily apparent in the photo. Thankfully, most houses are constructed the same way and I've painted a lot of them so I know where to fill in the blanks.

This Dog Owns The Lawn
11 x 14

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Not Hemingway

This is my two hour portrait of Neil Frankenhauser done at the Hyter Group yesterday. He thought he resembled Hemingway in my version. I agree. Someone else had him looking like Sean Connery. Anyway- he was a great model. Facial hair is always fun.

11" x 14"
oil on linen

Friday, August 23, 2013

Things I Learn from Teaching Workshops

I like to look at every experience as an opportunity to learn something new, even when I'm the teacher! It keeps my eyes open to new ways of seeing and my mind thinking about new ways to do things. Last week I taught another workshop on painting animals. Since it was a week-long class I decided to start with a drawing lesson first. I truly believe that you can't be a good painter until you've mastered drawing. Many people take one of my classes and come in with no drawing experience, and they're able to turn out some nice generic landscapes. However, to actually learn and understand how to model three dimensional objects drawing skills are a must.

We started with a cat and learned an easy way to get proportions right by using one standard unit of measure, in this instance the distance from the outside of the cat's left eye to the outside of it's right eye. Then we used that measurement to judge the proportions of everything else when we put our marks down. Even the 12 year olds (the youngest I allowed in the class) seemed to understand this.

We started our acrylic paintings the next day. Everyone tried to paint my little Gold Retriever puppy with the rose, and most of them were successful. A few students wanted to branch out on their own projects and that was OK with me too.

Two people in the class had been creating art for many, many years and to my great surprise these students were the slowest to grasp the concepts I was teaching. I do not think this was a case of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks. I've never believed that anyway. Dogs are smart and they can learn a new trick at any age. What I do believe is that these artists had been doing things in a different way for so many years that they actually BLINDED themselves to the possibility of doing it another way. At some point in their artistic journey their minds had become closed to the possibilities. I don't believe this was intentional. I think it happens whenever you become too focused on the process instead of the results. I have noticed that a lot of artists can tell me what they want to do: paint looser, forget the detail etc.. I'm not sure these artists have every tried to do this on their own though. They wait for someone to come along and SHOW them how, when they should be figuring out on their own how to achieve this, putting in some practice time and then ironing out the details at a workshop. Instead they expect to master the whole concept in one week. It can't be done.

On the other hand, the students who had no idea how to proceed were able to follow along more easily as they had no preconceptions about HOW to achieve the result they wanted. I've included a few pictures of the participants and some of the student's work here. It was an acrylic painting class but I admit to taking my dog home and doctoring him up with my oil paints. :)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Toledo Botanical Gardens

Saturday I painted at Toledo Botanical Gardens after I left Inside Angles. It was a great day to be out painting, with temps in the high seventies and a light breeze. This is a statue near the back of the park in the perennial garden.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Another Painting of Michelle

Inside Angles, 6831 Angola Rd, Toledo, Ohio, is hosting a portrait show featuring many works from local artists, including the Hyter Group, through August 17. Saturday our group painted at the store and the owner, Sue, was very gracious. It is an awesome show with over 60 portraits hanging. I have two in the show, including the last one I did of Michelle.

Michelle told us she is moving to Houston to be near her daughter in August so she will not be able to model for us anymore. I was sorry to hear this. She has personality, she can hold a pose and not move and she wears lovely costumes. Plus she's a really sweet and accommodating person. The two times she modeled for us she wore costumes given to her from her friend who frequently visits Nigeria. We will miss her, that's for sure.

The lighting was more natural than we can create in our normal space, an old school cafeteria that sits below ground level. There was a big open window to her left throwing in cool light. I like the pose here, where she is staring into the light.

11" x 14"
oil on linen

I asked Michelle to pose with the first portrait I painted.

A picture of the setup at Inside Angles

Saturday, August 03, 2013


Lakeside Gazebo
11" x 14"
I began this painting on Sunday morning before the art show but I wasn't able to finish it. I pulled it out this morning and decided to add the plants which I knew I hadn't gotten to and define the bushes more. I kept it pretty loose because I really have no idea what else was there. 

I then added some violet in the shadows just because I thought it would be pretty. The blue of the lake and the abstract qualities of the trees are nice and I wish I had the capacity to simplify things like this in a painting when I'm NOT in a hurry and painting very quickly. Maybe it is something I'll work on in the future. Set a timer and after an hour call it done. I've heard that sometimes less is more when you apply it to painting.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Calving Shed

This is a 9" x 12" plein air piece I did a few weeks ago when we stayed at a bed and breakfast in Central Ohio. A very rustic but cute little building that once served as a calving shed. I took some artistic license and adjusted the path a little.

The Calving Shed