Friday, October 31, 2014

Two People in a Portrait is Twice the amount of work

I don't charge double for a portrait with two people in it although maybe I should. I usually charge an additional 60-70%. Couples are just as hard to paint together as they are individually. I used a photo of the couple here taken outside in different positions and turned it into a studio type portrait. Yes, I even changed the style of sweater the woman is wearing from a heavy cowl neck to a round neck. I'm not sure that is something a photographer could do.

This was a lengthy and time consuming portrait to get "right". Changing clothing, position and background required some thought. In the end I think (hope) they were happy with it. The painting is a gift commissioned by an aunt for someone so I may never hear what the actual couple think of it.

Here is the original reference.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Kosmo is a lovable German Shepherd who lives in Canada on a farm with numerous cats, chickens and other critters. His owners wanted a painting of him because he is getting older and his health is failing. Luckily they took some pictures when he was younger and in his prime.

Clear well lit photographs are definitely the key to a successful painting.

9" x 12" oil on canvas

Monday, October 27, 2014

Row Boats

Last week my adult painting class met for the third week and they painted row boats. The catch here was that they were allowed to change the color of the rowboat if the wished. Or they could stick to the relatively neutral sepia colored boat I gave them for a reference.

It was jun to watch their creativity come into play. As always, no two paintings are the same. They're not even close! Tomorrow is our final class in the session and I think they have all learned a little bit about color mixing and brush strokes.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Leaves are Going Fast

This was painted at a friend's house yesterday morning. A blustery kind of day but she has buildings to block the wind.

When I got home I decided to add one of the horses I had taken pictures of to the scene. Karen used to breed Arabians, now she just keeps them and boards other people's horses. It's amazing how an animal (or human) can immediately add a focal point to an otherwise ho-hum scene.

9" x 12" oil on panel


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pastel Painting

This guy posed for our Saturday portrait group last week. He attends Renaissance Festivals on a regular basis and he dressed in his pirate costume.

This was a two hour session from life.

17" x 22" pastel on Canson paper

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Class Update

A few of the students taking my painting class tell me they are checking my blog for updates and are wondering if they are going to see their paintings posted here. To those folks I say-- yes! Unfortunately, we had five people in class last week and I only got pictures of four of the paintings. Someone had to rush away a bit early.

It's worth noting that they struggled with the same issues for the most part.
1) tree limbs are segments and they vary in width and length, becoming narrower as they grow away from the trunk.
2) a little green beside the orange will go a long way toward making the orange look brighter- without having to resort to using so much bright color.

Overall they had some good work to show and I know they learned a few things about color and had the experience of using a preprimed gray canvas board.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Golds

This lovely golden tree was the subject of my next painting for the class. We started with a toned gray ground and painted in the darks in an ultramarine blue. Then we attempted to match the values of a black and white photo of the scene. Finally, we placed the lightest lights and darkest darks. All in less than two hours. I am teaching them to paint fast and fix mistakes later. It's one method. Another would be to paint slowly and get the drawing correct the first try. I am still trying to figure out that method myself.

11" x 14" oil on canvas

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two Hour Painting Classes

I am teaching a two hour class at the Senior Center near my home on Tuesday afternoons. The students must sign up for four weeks and we all paint the same thing from a photo I borrow at 

Last week everyone did pretty good. It's a challenge for people who don't paint very often to start and finish a painting in this amount of time. I'm sharing their efforts here. It's amazing how different they all turn out. Each has their own personality. My version is below the collage.

 11' x 14" oil on canvas
Indiana Barn

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Little Ballerina

I was inspired by a painting I saw last week at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The painting was by Robert Henri, one of the great oil painters who dominated the field of realism at the beginning of the 20th century. He was one of the eight painters of a group informally known as "The Ashcan Painters", They focused on realism and real life subject matter, some of it not always pretty.

The painting I saw was of a little girl and the colors that dominated it were reddish orange and teal. I used the color scheme to make this painting of a little ballerina. My style of painting is different of course, but I used colors I thought he might have used: Venetian red, yellow ocher and viridian. These are colors I typically don't use too often so it was a fun experiment.

Here is Henri's painting and mine is below.

9" x 12" oil on panel
Little Ballerina

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Monday, October 06, 2014

Barn on Finzel Road

This is a barn on Finzel Road in Whitehouse, Ohio. 11" x 14" oil on canvas. I started it on site and finished it recently.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

6" x 12" oil on canvas

Another still life with fruit! The limes will become key lime pie shortly. The avocados are guacamole already.

Saturday, October 04, 2014