Saturday, May 14, 2016

Four Square

             12 x 16  Oil on canvas panel

I am thrilled to have been one of 12 artists and 12 writers accepted into a local event called 'Word and Image'.  I submitted this piece, Mona Lisa Livestock, and Cloud Cover.

The event brings artists and writers together in a random pairing, who choose one of 3 submissions of each other's work and create one completely new piece from the work chosen.

At the close of the process, we gather to see the results.  Last year it provided the best evening of entertainment I've experienced in a long, long time.  The artwork is on a screen onstage, and the writers read their work.  Fantastic!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Copying an artist you admire.....

There is much to learn from these little exercises.  I discovered how hard it can be to see the minor variations in values and how pushing from cool to warm can make a huge difference in the perception of those values. I was captivated by the incandescant light in this still life by Cook. 


8 x 10 copy of John Cook's 'The Jug'

I hadn't fully appreciated what a delicious color Viridian can be until I copied this little painting from Lipking.  Prior to this I mostly used it for mixing, but it makes wonderful sea greens and grayed aquas.

I also figured out tilting the camera slightly downward when taking a photo of a finished painting helps to avoid catching the glare from every brushstroke.


8 x 10 copy of Jeremy Lipking's 'Hotel Room'

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Chinese Crested Dog - Powderpuff Variety

Doorknob 12x12 oil on wood panel

You've seen them on commercials, and they always win the ugliest dog contest because the breed is notorious for losing most of their teeth by the time they reach old age.  I'm talking about the most well known naked dog, bred to keep Chinese sailors feet warm - or so I read on the interweb.  Often a litter will produce a couple of puppies with a full coat and those are called Powderpuff Cresteds.  That's what this guy is.  I vote for giving back hair to all of them!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Lovely African Grey Parrot


12x12 Oil on stretched canvas

Mona Lisa Livestock

12 x 16 Oil on wood panel

I go back and forth with wood panels and stretched canvas.  I don't care for the boing of the canvas, but the smooth surface of the wood panels shows every hair and glob of paint on the surface. What I think I like best is cutting the panels and preparing them for paint.

Think I'll go ponder that for a bit.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Do you know the Kakapo?


The Kakapo is a large (think small penguin) flightless bird native to New Zealand.  They are endangered and there are only about 125 left in the wild. They are long lived and can live 60 to 90 years. Such a peaceful looking creature.  I'd love to meet one. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

White Balance settings on your camera

These photos illustrate how much difference the correct white balance can make.  Both these photos were taken at the same time....but I had the white balance wrong on the top photo.  It's important outside too because your camera will zero in on the lightest spot then try to capture all the detail around it.






This lower photo looks much closer to the painting but it's not quite as vibrant.   There's sooooo much stuff you have to pay attention to!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nehalem Bay in Oregon


Oil on stretched linen 16 x 30

This is a view from Wheeler, OR, and it's really spectacular.  I didn't do it justice, but it's so gorgeous and changeable - I'm sure I'll paint it again.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ice Tunnel - Final

12 x 36 oil on stretched cotton canvas - SOLD

Update 10/28/14: This painting and a 'very abstract' abstract (which I failed to photograph before I put it in the show), were such oddball sizes I put a bottom dollar price on them and they sold quickly.
I was surprised because they'll both have to be hung in a special spot, but hey, they're not taking up valuable real estate in my house anymore!  I discovered an inexpensive way to frame them with stained furring strips and that often makes all the difference between selling and not selling.

I painted the sides because this lends itself to being hung without a frame, and because this size frame might be hard to find.  I think a painting should be as enjoyable to look at up close as it is from a distance, so I really concentrated on brush strokes for this one.  Next one too....well heck, they all should be that way.

I also discovered sable for this painting.  I didn't use it much, but what an amazing brush for detail work! It was a used Grumbacher small sable round and it verified sable's elevated reputation, even though I'm sure it's not the best quality out there.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ice Tunnel - Stage 2

12x36 oil on canvas

Who needs a critic when a digital camera will be direct and to the point in 30 seconds? I've already run at this thing with a rag while it's still wet to soften areas needing attention and get back to the subtle tones  in the block in.  One more painting session and I'll have this thing finished.  I got to play with my Williamsburg French Ultramarine and Prussian blue, and learned a bit more about the versatility of Pthalo Blue.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cloud Cover

click on any image to enlarge
12 x 24 oil on linen canvas

This is the FINAL painting.  Trees R HARD!  Doing landscape right is HARD! You have to keep track of depth, form, where the light is falling, perspective, value and color - for each layer of recession. That's a bit easier to do in still life and when painting animals.  And I can tell more painting on location is needed. I got this photo at dusk, but the sky was very bright and of course totally washed out in the photo.  I'll keep plugging away until I get the hang of it because I'm hooked. I love visiting other blogs and seeing how much they've progressed over time.  It gives me hope.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Abstract in oil in progress

18 x 36 Oil on stretched cotton canvas

I'm increasingly seeing the beauty of abstracted landscapes, and I had two ridiculously long, oddball canvases, (of course they were a clearance buy! Why else would anyone want them?) so I decided to get them covered and out of here, and used the odd size to do abstracts. I don't much like most abstract work because it's just like everything else - there's really good and not so good - and a lot in between.  But it can't be beat for exploring color, and I learn something wonderful from everything I try.  

I'm learning to appreciate the tinting strength of thalo green.  It's an intense phony looking color on it's own, but makes some wonderful darks mixed with alizarin, (deep forest green) transparent oxide red (the green of pond and lake water), and dioxazine purple (deep shadows).


In Progress - Clouds over Neahkanie

12 x 24 Oil on stretched cotton canvas

I've currently got 3 paintings going and none are where I want them to be.  This one has some glaring issues with the trees and foreground, and I'm at war with myself about the way I handle applying paint to the surface.  I'll post the final version when I get it there, but I enjoy it when others post their paintings in stages, so I thought I'd do the same.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Henry at One

12 x 16 oil on panel

This fellow was one of a litter of 4 born at my house in September 2006.  I was fostering rescued breeder Cairns at the time and his momma was sent to me very very pregnant.  He subsequently picked his new dad and went to live close by, so I could continue to see him.  That's the best that fostering gets!  He has changed colors as Cairns are wont to do, so I'm planning two more portraits of him to record his new look.

I do not know why my other photos have disappeared, so while I investigate, cross your fingers that Google hasn't thrown them in the round file of cyberspace.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

South of Wheeler



11 x 14" Oil on stretched cotton canvas

I'm starting a series of landscapes from right around my home.  The natural beauty is mind boggling so that endeavor was inevitable.  This a view of Nehalem Bay at dusk just south of the town of Wheeler on the northern Oregon Coast.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Abstracts?? No way! Well......way.



6" x 10" on Strathmore 140 lb paper

I've felt a strong pull toward abstract work of late so small and watercolor seemed like a good place to start. I've tried Strathmore and Lana papers, and I'm currently working on Cotman 140 lb cold press and I like that paper the most. I'm using a pad instead of a block so it curls a bit when working, but it doesn't have to be taped down, and the curling is easily remedied with a light spray on the back and an overnight press under a tile with a heavy something or other on top.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

North Sixth and 101



11 x 14" Oil on stretched cotton canvas

I caught this scene in the fog a year or so ago.  There's a new house on the left where the plant life formerly lived.  The family who lived in this duplex style house built the new house and has moved in.  It was fun to watch, but I'm glad I had a photo of the 'before'.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Those roads!



6x8 Acrylic on Canvas panel

I see a lot of paintings of roads.  I look at them all.  Is it the mystery? Possibility of escape or adventure?
 I can't resist painting them either.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cheap and effective brush cleaner

Not one to spend money on an item I may have around the house, I decided to try a spring in a jar for a brush cleaner (based on that coil cleaner thingy sold by Blick).  It works great!  Any hardware store carries springs and you'll want one with thick coils about 1/8" apart. Measure the inside diameter of your jar, so you can pick one that doesn't move around much so you don't stir up the bottom sludge any more than necessary. Fit that into a jar with a nice wide mouth, and you have an easy to clean and effective brush cleaner.  I top it off to about 1/2 inch above the spring once a week.

When  the sludge builds up in the bottom, pour off the clean OMS on the top, into another wide mouth jar, use a pair of needle nose pliers to squeeze the middle of the spring (if it's snug) and slip it out onto a paper towel.  A quick wipe of the spring,  use the piece of paper towel to scrub out the sludge at the bottom, pop the spring back in, pour your OMS back in and you're good until the next cleaning is needed.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Parrot and Apple



10 x 8 Oil on Linen Panel

This is my personal birdie, Sambuca.  She's quite photogenic, and although I'm sure these birds are as common as our pigeons, in the Congo, I think she's exceptional.  And beautiful, so of course it's been my intention to paint her.  I adopted her when she was 6, and she's been with me for 8 years, so she's a teenager going on two. Bird people will know what I mean.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What I learned...


11 x 14 oil on canvas panel

I was fortunate to receive a very constructive critique, and I had no trouble seeing everything that was pointed out.  Perspective?  What a novel idea!  More than one center of interest?  Why sure! Too similar spaces between objects? But, but  - that's the way it looked in real life!  I could also see I had typical sky values reversed (lighter at the horizon is how nature generally does it), and several pointless blobs.

Why would I post this you ask? Because if there's just one person out there who is going through the same learning process and a light bulb goes off, then showing the warty ones (which I haven't been shy about doing before either) has a purpose.  Also, I hope to look back a year from now and shake my head in wonderment at how far I've come.

Most people would just start over, but at this beginning and experimental stage of landscape painting, I wanted to see what changes would do with the existing painting underneath, so I grabbed my paints and started painting over this and that, and adding what I thought would improve the composition.  Of course I made a mess of it.  Some areas got positively muddy, some disappeared, some that were there for 'who-knows-what-reason' held their place or got painted away, but the composition was improved!  A tidge, even though there are still two centers of interest - or maybe 3.  Onto the trash heap this goes and on to the next one.  And I'll do my thumbnails before I start painting next time.

I purchased 36 horrid sloppy rough canvas panels, and decided to use them for a learning project.  (Don't buy the Everlast Wood Panels on Closeout at Jerry's Artarama, but do check out that store, because it's a good one).


Friday, December 14, 2012

Is this a 'C' design? Or an 'H'?



 11 x 14 oil on canvas panel

I 'd like to think I have a natural eye for good composition, in that I can recognize it when I see it, but trying to create it?  That's another story altogether.  This was painted down the road from where I live and the big round tree was the initial attraction.  But I quickly realized the road and telephone poles had a lot to do with the appeal too.  First try, I painted what I saw.  I could see there were design problems, so I made some changes, and re-read my favorite book on composition by Ian Roberts.   

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alder Stand



 8 x 10" Oil on canvas panel

Plein Aire #1 - sort of...  I did my first painting outdoors about a month ago when I hauled my French easel out the back door and painted my gate.  This one is with the pochade box I made. The lot next door to me is heavily populated with alders, and the light coming through in late afternoon was what I was after. I stayed close to home again because there's no shortage of gorgeousness right outside my door, and I wanted to be able to dash back into the house if I needed something.  All went quite well until I tried to pick up the tripod and carry it back to the house and the panel fell forward into the paint.  See the blobs on the bottom?  I smeared them around, but I was done - and wanted this first genuine plein aire painting to reflect what really happened in 2 hours, and give me info on what needs to change.   

A way to hold the panel in place would be helpful, but that gets way outside the cheap and easy department, so I'll simply wipe the sides of my finished panel with my rag (Tip #1: painting outdoors is far messier.  Wear an apron and have extra rags), and place it somewhere safe. Like a box in the back seat of the car. I will NOT be making a panel carrier, because more than one painting per outing is so outside the realm of possibility....well you know.  

Know something else? People who do this well, and in all sorts of weather deserve our admiration.  Lots of it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Homemade Pochade Box

I wanted to put this together with items I already had around the house because I didn't know if I really wanted to spend a lot of time painting outdoors.  There are a lot of homemade pochade box videos and instructions around the web, but I wanted something super easy and inexpensive, that anyone could put together.  I already had a $20 photo tripod, so I'd been looking for an appropriate box. I spotted the unfinished wood cradled painting panels at Michael's.  They're surprisingly sturdy, so I bought two 9 x 12 x 7/8" with a 50% off coupon in hand.  $4.00 each.  I'd purchased the clip-on solvent cups earlier (again at Michael's with a 40 or 50% off coupon) and it fits inside just perfectly.  

Then I researched how to attach the box to the tripod, and found a nifty little item called a tee-nut at the hardware store for .45 cents. You'll need the 1/4-20 x 5/16 size, and a 1/4" drill bit for the hole in the bottom to hold the tee nut.  I also picked up two pretty little hinges for the back that would allow the box to open completely flat. Center them directly over the opening, so the box will lay completely flat should you decide to use it on a shelf.

I had the stain and the polyurethane for the exterior, but craft paint would work fine too.  Finding a hinge that would support the lid and attach to the outside without creating bulk and getting in the way, was almost impossible.  So I used a bit of chain to keep the lid at the right angle, cut a metal coat hanger for the brace, and used some screw eyes for hanging framed pictures, and started tinkering.  For a place to rest the painting panel, I used two tiny L screws, but the screw eyes I used to hold the chain would work fine too.  Here's the result.  I cut a piece of sturdy cardboard to fit in the bottom, and wrapped a disposable palette paper around it and taped it on the back.  I put my paints on before I leave the house. It slips right under the screw eyes.

The coat hanger lays flat diagonally across the palette area, or if I've got paints on the palette, I'll slip it under the ribbon with velcro I'll use to keep this puppy closed.  Funky? Sure, but the total cost was $10.99.  I've used it once indoors for a trial run and it feels plenty sturdy enough to take outdoors.

Postscript  4/27/144: This was fun to make and I like the way mine balances,  but I spied a dandy little $20 item on eBay that might make a good little box with the addition of a well placed T nut on the bottom. 

Type in 'Art Alternatives Marquis Desk Easel with drawer', or go to Amazon and type in the same: $25.00!

I've used up to a 12 x 16 panel on my little box with no problems, and with a suggestion by the wonderful Julie Ford Oliver, hold it in place with mounting putty. If you haven't already discovered her blog, click on the link above. She's a wonderful artist and generous teacher.








Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seventh Street at Dusk


11 x 14 acrylic on canvas panel

I long for landscapes! So I'll shove my fear in a box and dive in. Living at the coast provides amazing opportunities for light and form. I caught this at dusk just a block from the ocean.

 I've also been painting outdoors and making a simple inexpensive little pochade box.  I'll post photos and directions if it's everything I hope it to be.