Thursday, November 01, 2018
November 1, 2018
UPDATE: Here is the next layer of this painting on the top - basically I just added thick light areas to the petals, so there is more definition. Still thinking about what else, if anything, needs to be done....
I am realizing that I really enjoy starting projects more than finishing them. At the beginning of a painting, it is all loose and splashy and fun - then things start to get more serious and the decisions become harder and I lose interest. How about you? Are you a starter or a finisher?
With this painting of water lilies, I used too much medium and it got really difficult to get the values I needed at the end, especially the highlights. So, I smoothed out the texture (you can see it is a little blurry) and let it dry. Now, I need to go back in and add those highlights and thick paint. I like to leave things a big abstract and painterly so the painting is not just about the subject but about the texture and paint quality.
If you are wondering how this one turned out, please see the top image.
I lightened the sky, greyed out the distant shrubberies and lightened the shadows a bit to be more airy. I also moved the top of the tree further from the edge and made the silhouette more random. I also added brilliant light green over the yellow of the ground in light.
I tried to think of the principles of landscape painting which are that the sky is always the lightest mass (unless it is a sunny beach), the ground is next in value and the trees and upright masses (such as mountains) are darker in value. Things get more bluish and greyer as they go back in space. Although I liked the bright colour in Version #1, I think it has a more realistic feel now, what do you think?
Friday, September 28, 2018
Here is yet another start that awaits my final decisions. I know already that the sky needs to be lighter...I will add some white, perhaps clouds, especially in the lower half of the sky.
The bright yellow ground is actually a limey green, but I struggled with it being bright enough so ended up wiping it out and leaving the transparent Indian Yellow underpainting.
Nature has such a wider array of values than we have in paint that it is always a challenge to compress those values into a narrower range.
I am not sure the texture in the front works either - any opinions?
I could add some detail in the shrubberies in the back, but not sure I should - the star of this is the big tree, so best not to confuse things.
Friday, September 21, 2018
I utilized a lot of tools and textures in this painting - bubble wrap, drips, spatulas, spray bottles and more!
My reference was actually a stock photo with a white background so I have in mind to layer white over all the blue as I am not sure about the blue background. I think a lighter value would be more effective. What do you think? Please let me know if you have an opinion as I am frozen with indecision on this one.
It is a large painting of roses and tulips on a gallery wrap canvas - 42" x 42"
|A closer look|
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
This was another demo in acrylic in my "Large and Loose Florals" class. This one is not quite as big as some we did, it is 24 x 24 inches on a gallery wrap canvas. I struggle a bit with acrylics since the colours are not as subtle as oils and softening edges is trickier. You need to be paint very quickly and loosely to not have the hard edges typical of acrylic paintings unless you to a lot of layers of paint.
I think what attracted me to this subject is, well, first of all I love hydrangeas! They are so fluffy and gorgeous in pinks and blues with pretty leaves too. I also liked the aqua blue of the lake behind, I take every opportunity possible to use that colour. And, I also love painting glass and water, so the jar was fun too.
The trees and shrubberies in the background had to be softened and muted and glazed with a milky blue to push them back. There was a lot of painting in and out of those trees as well, so they didn't look cut out and pasted on.
I am not sure I am done with this one. I need to even out the table, for instance, but you get to see the work in progress.
Monday, September 03, 2018
|Pink Tulips - 16 x 16 Acrylic on Canvas|
I plan to change the foreground as my plan was always to have this underpainting peeking through a creamy white colour. So, by the time I complete the painting it will have taken at least 5 layers of paint.
What do you think? Would you paint the foreground white? I would love to hear your thoughts!
|Locating the main shapes|
|Adding some detail and refining the drawing|
|Painting almost done....just need to add white to foreground!|
Sunday, September 02, 2018
|Pink Roses - 42 x 42 inches Acrylic on Canvas|
This is one of the paintings I started in class as a demo. I find acrylics challenging due to their propensity to create hard edges, so you really have to work fast and splashy, in an abstract fashion. I ended up doing at least 3 or 4 layers of paint on this one, having fun with various textures, using a spray bottle, bubble wrap, cardboard and a spatula, letting the paint fly and drip.
|Fun to see the scale in a room!|
Saturday, September 01, 2018
|No. 1: Calendula Bouquet - 9 x 12 Oil on Belgian Linen|
It is now September 1st and time to get back to work. Every fall, Leslie Saeta hosts a 30 day painting challenge. She says it isn't cheating to paint ahead, so since I haven't done that recently, I am going to take the opportunity to post a number of pieces that have not made their way onto this blog yet, while I also get back in the studio. I will be working on some large paintings, so may post their progress as well.
Way back in March, I attended a workshop by Canadian painter Robert Strickland. I like to attend at least one or two workshops every year with painters that I think can teach me something new. I almost always come away with new insights or ideas to pursue and a refreshed urgency to get into the studio and create.
I love how he simplifies complex flowers into their essentials. The flower on the left was painted and re-painted several times by me. I was thinking it was looking pretty good, but every time, he came by, he wiped out all my detail! It is all about the form and capturing that first, then adding select touches to give the particular flower character.
Friday evening, we had a lecture, entitled "The Language of Paint" that talked about fundamentals of drawing, value and color) and then on Saturday and Sunday we painted from life with several people gathered around each vase of flowers.
For those who would like to know, Robert uses very expensive panels as his support (Raymar oil primed belgian linen) and his palette consists of:
Cremnitz (lead) White
Cadmium Orange (optional)
Permanent Rose (optional)
Viridian – Rembrandt
Cremnitz (lead) White
Cadmium Orange (optional)
Permanent Rose (optional)
Viridian – Rembrandt
Transparent Oxide Red – Rembrandt
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
I have a preference for white flowers and love peonies (which last a very short time in real life), roses and hydrangeas, but this company has every colour and type of flower you can think of, plus shrubberies and other green plants as well.
|Isn't this gorgeous? I think it would be great in a still life arrangement!|
|Such a pretty bouquet, love the purple hydrangea mixed with the white roses and peony|
Silk Plants Direct sells bulk amounts of silk flowers and faux green plants at discounted prices. If you need decorative flowers for an event, such as a wedding, this is a very cost effective way to make things pretty! They have single flowers, bushes, bouquets and arrangements in containers.
|Another gorgeous bouquet - great for a wedding or table arrangement|
Fresh flowers are gorgeous, but they don't last very long and so are expensive to have around at all times.
For artists, the other benefit of silk over real is that they don't move so make great, everlasting still life setups. You could position some of these arrangements in many different environments to create paintings without worrying about the design and shapes changing hour by hour as happens with real flowers.
|More pretty peonies|
* I was offered product in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.
Thursday, March 01, 2018
Every morning when I head to the gym at Hippocrates Health Institute (where I am taking a course) I admire this lush floral vine over the doorway.
I did some of the vine with a palette knife, which adds some texture.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
|7x7 inches, oil on canvas panel|
I am currently doing a class in Florida, related to my other profession in the area of nutrition and health.
It has been heavenly to escape winter this year since it was a particularly brutal one in my area of the world.
I have managed to fit in a few painting sessions despite the busy schedule here.
If I could eat cherries every day, I would, but sadly we have to wait all year to enjoy them around early July. Something to look forward to after this long winter!
Thursday, September 14, 2017
|Don't let anything get in the way of your daily art practice!|
Malcolm Gladwell talked about the need for 10,000 hours of practice to master anything. Some disagree with that number and I would say that it is important to have a lot of focused practice, not just putting in the hours. That may involve taking classes, reading books, watching demos and working on specific tasks to improve where you are weak. Plein air outdoor painting, for instance is a great challenge to take on that will help you quickly nail values and colour in your work. Working from life in the studio is a valuable practice as well, for many of the same reasons, but a little easier since you can control your lighting.
If you want a scientific study to prove the conjecture that producing more work is better than trying to just complete one masterpiece, this quote from the book, Art and Fear, is enlightening:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A".The more paintings you have done, the more experience you have gained and as you progress you will find that quality springs from quantity. The more often you create, the better you become at your chosen vocation. Fortunately, over time I have managed to put in a lot of hours and a lot of study, despite myself and can now see the value in having a consistent, regular art practice with focused attention to areas that need work.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Creating art on a daily basis can be a real life challenge for many of us, whether it is kids, a necessary job that pays the bills, health problems that cause endless appointments or family responsibilities that get in the way. Many of these are an ongoing struggle for me, so I empathize with others who may have even more challenging circumstances. So, how can we possibly have a daily art practice?
One of the best ways to improve quickly and feel more comfortable is to work small - in this way you can incorporate all the elements of a bigger painting - composition, colour, value, texture, big shapes and, most importantly, confidence! Then you can go on to apply the lessons learned to larger pieces.
All this is not to say that there is no value in "book learning" or studying the work of master painters, but there is no substitute for the daily grind of going to your room (as the late Robert Genn recommended) and doing your work.
* photo obviously not mine - can't find the origin to credit, so if anyone knows, please let me know!
Saturday, September 02, 2017
If you want to loosen up your drawing, I would highly recommend vine charcoal and a reckless disregard for detail when you begin - as you proceed you can tighten up some areas (which is kind of necessary for portraiture) so the person is recognizable but try to see in masses of light and shadow, look for shapes, not features.
Friday, September 01, 2017
This time, knowing myself, I am just going to post when I can, as I have a very busy couple of months ahead with teaching and a solo show coming up. I will be working on various projects, some of which will be impossible to complete in a day. So, I may be sharing some works in progress.
We all have our own inherent style, similar to our handwriting, but for many of us, that tends to evolve into a looser version once we become more comfortable with how to paint. I know from working with dozens of master artists that there is no "one way" to do things. I also know that the fastest route to artistic growth is a daily practice that includes drawing and painting.
I finally finished this painting of a cute puppy named Sport, who lives with Leslie Saeta, the founder of the above-mentioned challenge as well as the online radio show, "Artists Helping Artists". Don't you just love those big puppy paws?
I have made sure to incorporate value massing in this painting so the dog stands out. If you squint at the painting you will see that everything in the background is a darker value. I blurred out that background as well so that the eye won't focus too much on those details.
If you are interested in joining me in a daily art practice, at any point this month, click on the link above and sign up!
Friday, July 14, 2017
I managed to get a photo of two of my subjects. These are quick sketches done in 20-30 minutes and the most important thing is to make people recognizable. I love doing these, it is fun to capture people and make them happy while offering something anyone can afford.
One of these was done after the fact from a photo due to the subject being to little to hold a pose. For this sort of event, that is always an alternative! I may have spent a little more time on it.....
|Working in Academy of Realist Art Booth during Junction Street Fair|
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
I am astonished that artists consistently do these 30-day challenges every six months (usually led by Leslie Saeta) and keep up! It is just not in my DNA to pronounce anything finished until I am happy with it and that often takes some time. I am okay with that.
That doesn't mean I will stop doing these small paintings and sketches. I strongly believe that creating on a daily basis is great for artistic growth, so my plan is to be in the studio on a daily basis, whether that is to create a small sketch or painting or working on larger pieces.
This drawing was a challenge due to most of the face being in shadow.
You always have to subdue everything in the shadows no matter how bright it seems when you look at that area, so I darkened the white of his eye in shadow more than I initially thought it should be. Black in light is lighter than white in shadow. There is a definite distinction between light and shadow and values do are not shared on either side!
When I was doing this, I thought of Sargent's charcoal portrait drawings that I have had the pleasure of viewing. A lot of them have a dark mass behind the light side of the face. I think it lends some drama.
In retrospect, I think I should have done this on toned paper with white chalk highlights - hey, maybe I will still do that!
Thursday, May 18, 2017
|Austin with Shouldice|
Over the past few months, life has gotten in the way of art a bit. I have been dealing with a few ongoing health challenges that have prevented me from doing as much as I would have liked. I might write more about that at another time, or maybe not - we are all dealing with one thing or another and I don't want to be a bore.
For now, here is my latest work of art, a charcoal sketch. Charcoal is a rather messy medium and not for those who want a lot of control but it is also fun and easy to manipulate for a painterly, massed in type of drawing.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
|Some of my January 2017 Paintings - Doggie still WIP!|
Leslie Saeta always concludes her 30 in 30 Challenge with a collage of all of her paintings. It is pretty impresive to go look at all the artists who actually did complete 30 paintings in 30 days. I have included some of my favourites from this month in my own little collage pictured above.
I still have a few more paintings to finish in order complete my own personal 21-Day Painting Challenge. I am not going to feel guilty about doing it in a lot more than 21 days though!
Monday, January 30, 2017
This cute puppy, like all babies, was a bit of a challenge. It is very easy to age the young of any species. I am going to let this dry and hit it again soon, especially with regard to brightening up some highlights, warming up the background just a touch and some other small details, but the bones are there.
Friday, January 27, 2017
|6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas - Sunflowers on Lake|
Thursday, January 26, 2017
|Transparent Block-In of Shapes|
It seems I am not cut out for this "painting a day" gig. Today, I spent most of my painting time fixing a whole bunch of minor things that bugged me on the painting I did yesterday (which basically still looks exactly the same to anyone but me).
As a result, I just barely got started on this one of some sunflowers. This is the first stage with basic drawing and transparent block-in. And, because I am ADD, I also started a watercolour that I have been procrastinating on for about a year.
The completed Sunflower painting will be posted tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
|6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas - Pink Peonies|
I prefer a brushy, painterly style, so I think this is finished. Peonies are so beautiful and lush.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
|WIP - Transparent Underpainting|
|WIP - Starting to add more colour and correct shapes|
What attracted me to this subject was actually more the reflections in the glass jar, although peonies are my favourite flower!
Hopefully, tomorrow I will have time to finish this one.
Monday, January 23, 2017
|6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas|
I was really attracted to the bright colours in this landscape. I used a palette knife in the creation of this painting, which adds texture.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
|5 x 7 inches - Oil on Panel - Paint Tubes with Brush|
This painting would look nice in a wide moulding. It is a piece I started awhile back, to which I just added some finishing touches.
Friday, January 20, 2017
|6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas|
When it comes to my art, I am once again joining Leslie Saeta's painting challenge and committing to finishing the 21-day daily painting project I set for myself (but didn't complete) in September 2016. Most of my work consists of large paintings that take a long time to create, so this is a fun break and a chance to try some new subjects and techniques.
As per usual, I am getting a late start, but I have just enough time left in the challenge to complete the "ten paintings in ten days" I need to do to finish my personal goal, a 21-day Daily Painting Challenge.
Painting every day, especially completing a small work all at once, is a great way to experiment with new subject matter, colour palettes and techniques. A lot of accelerated growth and learning is to be expected.
Here is my first small, daily painting of 2017 which is on the theme of my other obsession, which is food and nutritional healing, some BEETS!