Sunday, August 31, 2014

Put My Sister in Disneyworld

This was a little different commission than I normally do. She wanted a painting of her sister at Disneyworld. Apparently her sister adores all things Disney so I used a few different photos to create a montage of her sister happily entering Main Street in Disneyworld.

A really unique gift idea!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Commissioned House Painting

This is Rebecca's house, painted from a series of photos she sent me. It is 12" x 16", oil on linen.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Maybe It is Finished

I worked on this large figurative piece and I think it's time to quit. It's really not my usual thing but it was fun as well as challenging. I could add more strange things like skulls and rats but would that make it too morbid? I don't know. It's done for today but there is no guarantee I won't work on it again in a few months.

The Human Condition
24" x 36"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More Fresh Produce!

The last vegetable stand I stopped at was a self-serve place. I had the crazy dog with me so he watched unhappily as I looked everything over and purchased peaches, tomatoes, an eggplant, some cucumbers and a yellow squash. Now that I've painted this stuff I will have to figure out what to make with it.

I have the All Recipes app on my phone and that's a blessing. Put in the ingredients/items you want to use and search for a dish that contains them. It doesn't get much easier. All my cookbooks have become a bit obsolete these past few years.

This is the second eggplant I have painted and I'm not sure if I've ever painted a yellow squash or cucumbers. Like anything else they are shapes forms that are defined by the light and shadow. The really cool thing about this setup was the bright red tomato reflecting off the old medicine bottle; almost looks like there is a fire in the bottle. The shiny texture of the eggplant was especially fun to paint too.

Harvest Time 11" x 14" oil on canvas

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lamont from our Portrait Group

11" x 14"
oil on canvas

Lamont posed at our portrait group last Saturday. Thankfully, whoever set up the model turned out a bank of lights in the front of the room, allowing the spotlight to do its job properly. Many times they forget to do this and the fluorescent light from the overhead creates cool and arbitrary shadows that reflect back into the model's skin.

Lamont has great eyes. They are very very deep set and he held his pose very well.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Art is Science

Photos burn out a lot of the color you can see in the shadows. I like to paint fruit because it's good practice for painting people. Pears, especially, even though they are green, and not the color we are used to seeing in human skin, are very individual in shape and color. On the surface this appears to be a fairly straightforward painting of two pears. BUT there is more to it than that. When I decide to paint objects I must make several decisions before I even begin.

1. What size canvas? Square doesn't work with everything but I like to use it for simple subjects.
2. Arrange the objects in an interesting manner. I was limited here by the number of object. The pears have stems and I moved them around until I liked the way they looked together. Almost like antennae. Relate the objects to each other so they seem natural.
3. How much of the background will show? Will the subjects be cut off on the edges of the canvas or contained inside it? Will I use a backdrop? In this instance I was lazy. The pears are sitting in front of my monitor. But the light colors really pop out against the dark values so that's OK with me.
4. Lighting. Warm or cool? Do I use a spotlight to create dramatic light and shadow patterns or natural room light?
5. Full palette or limited colors? Signed or unsigned? Where to sign?

As you can see, there are many decisions that have to be made before the first brushstroke hits the canvas. That's what makes every painting so individual. I can do the same painting tomorrow and it could look completely different, based on the pears rate of decay, the room lighting and my palette. Another artist can paint the same pears in the same light with the same colors and it will appear totally different than mine. I have seen that happen hundreds of time in classes I teach.

Then there is the title. When you paint as many pears as I do how can you come up with an original title for each one? Isn't it easier to call it Green Pears no. 17? Maybe, but I like to try anyway.

Inquisitive Pears
(sounds better than Pears with Antennae)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In Progress, a Painting with a Message

Here is a painting with a message but I'm not entirely sure what that message is. I found an old black and white newspaper picture of these diners. I was intrigued by it so I saved it. That was ten years ago and I recently came across a scan of it on my computer.

When I have to make up color I think it is simpler to stick with a limited palette so I used black, cadmium red light, white, yellow ocher and cadmium lemon to create this painting. No blue at all because I wanted it to be a very warm -yet not fuzzy- piece.

I changed the faces on the people. I changed a few of the positions. I added the waitress. I added some birds and I might still add some MORE things. It feels very much like a work in progress. I think I'll know when it is finished. But maybe I won't. It's been a fun project because I don't usually paint this large. Soon the basement studio will be complete and I will have places to store all this artwork until it sells. I am hopeful.

The Human Condition
Oil on linen

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Vegetables

Looking at the date of my last entry, I can see that it has been almost two weeks since I posted anything to the blog. A pretty long time to go without painting... for me. Well, I have been painting, just not posting. Weddings, reunions and other stuff just gets in the way. Life, I suppose. My daughter is back in school now and my house guests have returned to Texas so it's time to catch up.

Last night I painted some produce that was gifted to me by my mother when I stopped at her house earlier in the week. I used a blue film over my spotlight as an experiment to simulate north light. I'm not sure it worked but it did make my carrots look awfully pale. So pale that I touched them up with some orange this morning when I took another look at it.

The reflective copper kettle is one of my favorite props and I'm getting pretty good at painting it. The very first time i painted it I spent over two hours on the kettle itself. This time I spent about two hours on the entire painting and called it done.

I started with a blue underpainting because I thought it would give the warm tomatoes and carrots a little kick. My favorite part of the painting is the onion because I spent two minutes on it and I was happy with it.

Summer Vegetables 11" x 14"
Oil on canvas

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tano's Bacon and Pepperoni Pizza

Sometimes I will look at food and think, "Gosh- I've never painted that before!" Pizza usually doesn't last long enough around our house to paint. I had an hour before my husband got home from work. I was finishing up just as he walked in and asked if there was any more pizza.

8" x 10" oil on canvas

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Lakeside Lifeguards 6x6

This is a small 6" x 6" plein air painting I did during my recent visit to Lakeside. It took much longer than it should have due to the constantly changing weather conditions and light. It wold rain, then it would clear up, then it would cloud up again. Those are challenging circumstances to paint under. 

6" x 6: oil on Gessobord™

Friday, August 08, 2014

Sharon and Larry Frey's Farm

My friend and I visited her cousin's farm a few days ago and we painted their old chicken coop. Sharon use it as a potting shed more recently and their yard is full of perennials. We stood in their shady yard under some large maples and painted looking west into the sun. It was a very pleasant summer evening.

9" x 12" oil on canvas

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Old Standby---one of my Copper Kettles

I pull this prop out - well actually I own three copper kettles- whenever I want a quick and challenging addition to a still life composition. The pears are naturally beautiful but I like to add reflective items.

8" x 10" oil on canvas