Sunday, January 22, 2023

Painting Progression - Architectural Conundrums

Drawing in basic shapes. Always fun, rarely get it just right

Stage 2 - Block in

Stage 3 - Adjusting colors and noticing what's not quite right with the original drawing. That roof peak is out of whack (among other things.)

Stage 4 - Trying to fix what should have been handled in the first stage. Roof peak is better but still not quite right. House colors were too bright in Stage 3, and too light in Stage 4

Stage 5 - Just wanting it DONE! Adjusted shadows. Messed with bush in front (should have been smaller or not at all), something off with door and window but decided it didn't matter. Called it quits.

I  learn something valuable with each painting, no matter if it goes well or badly, but my Achilles heel is not thinking the problems with the original drawing are serious enough to become a headache.  

They always do. 

I love painting these houses, and will likely continue until I get it figured out ... or give it up.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Burgundy St, New Orleans

12 x 16 Oil on panel

This was done for the Daily Paintworks Monthly Challenge: Virtual Paint Out-New Orleans.  All. Those. Straight. Lines!!! I need to learn how to properly use a mahl stick.  Still, it was a great learning experience in not trusting what you think you see as far as values are concerned.  Loved doing this painting!


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Yard Debris

9x12 oil on panel

Some of the plants that get pulled out of the ground to maintain a path are just too pretty to toss on the compost heap.  So you grab a glass of water and let them have a second (albeit temporary) life as greenery to gaze upon inside the house.  If they really capture your paint them!


Monday, March 21, 2022

Ukraine Fundraiser on DailyPaintworks - 'West to Safety'


14x18 oil on masonite panel - Final

I oiled out this painting and thought I'd ruined it, so I got all the sticky oil off that I could and decided the sky and road weren't right, so I changed them.  This really is the final. I think.

Finished....or so I thought.



I seldom do a progression so thought I'd post one with this painting even though it didn't occur to me until I was half done.  This is for a fundraiser for Ukraine on Dailypaintworks.  Of course I'd be gratified if it sold but I actually like this painting, which doesn't always happen.  So if it doesn't sell, I may just frame it and hang it right here at home.  

The differences in color all have to do with lighting and time of day.  I didn't change the colors as dramatically as it appears at each stage.  It will change again when I varnish and the colors pop.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Somewhere in Japan

11x14 Oil on masonite panel

I visited 'The Virtual Paintout' in the hopes it was functioning again, but it isn't.
I followed one of the links though, and found this shot which appealed to me for any number of reasons, so I painted it.  Figuring out textures is enjoyable. More so than working to get a value just right.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

DailyPaintWorks Challenge


6x6 Oil on Ampersand Gessobord

This month the challenge was to paint something shiny and metallic and the photo offered by the contributing artist - Ans Debije really captivated me because of the deep warm tones of the subject, so I didn't look for anything around the house to paint.  It was hard to figure out the correct colors and I still didn't get the values quite right, but it was a terrific challenge and I enjoyed it!  

Friday, January 7, 2022

Cutie Tangerines

 Oil on Ampersand Board 6 x 6

I've always wanted to paint some form of citrus but never have until now.  I was surprised at how difficult it was to get the values correct, and I see I didn't quite manage that here and there, but this was a fabulous learning exercise.  I know to use my photo editing program to make a black and white copy of most things to get the composition right but didn't think this would be necessary.  I ended up doing that midway because of the struggle with the values.  Red and orange are lighter than one would think, so surrounding values have to be adjusted. 

I'll be doing another I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

When all else fails.....copy an artist you admire.

  8x10 oil on canvas

   8x10 oil on canvas panel

I discovered a new to me artist named Jan Mankes, a Dutch painter who died of tuberculosis at only 30 years of age.  I'm always saddened when I discover someone I admire who died young.  How many artists are this accomplished at thirty?  His appealing soft edged style would have been wonderful to watch as it matured.

Friday, August 20, 2021


 11x14 Acrylic on Canvas Panel

I planted a riot of petunias in my front window flower box this year and they eventually worked their magic to make me do my first flower painting.  I find flowers intimidating what with all that petal action, but this was fun!

I also learned a lesson in paint colors for this one.  I couldn't get the pink I was after and looked at the pigment content of my Liquitex Alizarin Crimson. It's 2 pigments, one of which is a brownish red which turns the pink muddy when mixed with blue or another purple. I have an older tube with a different formulation, but the newer Alizarins have 2 colors so a cool bright pink is virtually impossible. I ended up buying a tube of Quin Magenta so I can have a cool bright pink.  I'm used to Alizarin in oils which makes an exquisite cool light pink.  I've come around to believing a limited palette is the best way to learn color mixing, and learned to check each color is a single pigment before I buy.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

A dawg named Larry

8x10 oil on linen panel

If you like animals, paint, and see one this cute...that's all she wrote.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Morning on Timberlake Dr

9x12 oil on hardboard

A study for a larger painting.  I knew it would be tough with all that contrast.......and it was.  Landscape and portraiture are the most difficult subjects. I'm not going near a portrait!

This is what I see when I'm headed home after I make myself go for a walk in the morning.  If the sun is out.  And if I've been successful at nagging myself to do what's good for me.   

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Local color

8x10 oil on linen panel

I've noticed this tree on my semi-daily walks and finally decided to immortalize it before it falls over, because they do on a regular basis once the wind starts up.  It's not anything special...just another hemlock, but if you like trees you know they all have their own personality.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Warm or cool color as the day moves through its cycle

Something I've been struggling with is how to use color temperature to convey the mood I want.  This was helpful.

Time of day color bias:

Monet's Haystacks:

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Copy other artists to learn how to paint the tricky bits....

8x10 oil on panel

Doing copies is invaluable, but frustrating because I don't want to use my 'good' panels or canvases because these studies are destined for the garbage.  So I use gessoed cardboard, and scraps of chipboard and masonite panels I've picked up here and there.   Funky - but it works.

Above, I did a copy of a portion of a landscape by Mark Boedges, a fine landscape painter who has better control of value than any contemporary artist aside from Jeremy Lipking.  I've spent a substantial amount of time looking at his work trying to figure out the basics: warm or cool, color mixes, etc, and gone over his supply list to get any clues because we all think a particular brush or brand of paint will make a huge difference in our work.  They don't.  The only thing that leads to improvement is practice and studying other, better artists.

I'm not posting the original I painted from because of copyright issues. But if you're curious you can go here to see his work: Mark Boedges

The photo below is a study of another piece by the same artist, to practice mixing realistic greens.  His mixes are more subdued than I thought from first impression.  Gray paint pre-mixed, and a good understanding of using complementary colors to mute colors are necessities.

8 x 12.75 oil on masonite panel

Landscape and portraiture are both difficult subject matter.  I have little interest in painting people, but I'm incredibly fascinated by landscape work.  Water isn't as difficult to paint as I thought, but trees and foliage are a bearcat.  

Monday, December 14, 2020

Figuring out clouds


More chipboard scraps used to do cloud studies.  The bottom piece was the first study, but the colors were outside my ability to capture. There was a lot of repainting and at some point you have to quit or you won't be able to look back at a study and remember the lesson. I've done studies of various cloud formations in watercolor because it seems like it would be easier, but it's not. 

The third, top study was a bit easier, but I had a hideous time getting the right gold at the base of the golden sky areas.  It looked to have both orange and green in the mix, which seemed impossible, but I did end up mixing it that way, and got closer.  No banana, but closer to the correct color.  Clouds, trees and rocks in the landscape are all very, very tricky.

  These are all done from photos I've taken around my house.  The sky is always remarkable and always different.  No shortage of inspiration on the Oregon coast!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Daily Paintworks Monthly Challenge

10x10 acrylic on wood panel

This month's challenge was 'Under the Sea',  Daily Paintworks Challenge  and I've had a hankering to paint a fish, so I went looking for just the right fish.  Instead I found this adorable looking stingray.  Who knew!  I think his/her eyes are on the other side and these are just markings to warn off predators, but the look works for me.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Miss Marley

11x14 Oil on stretched canvas - NFS

An adorable (and tiny!) Yorkie some friends adopted from a shelter a couple of years ago when she was 12. She is the center of their household, so I wanted to do something a bit regal.  Princesses deserve that!

It never ceases to amaze me that someone would give up a dog when they get old, abandon them, or turn them into a shelter, but I've worked rescue long enough to know it happens all the time.  

Up the road a ways...

8x10 oil on panel

sits this house at the rear of the beautiful lot where the tree below lives. It was built about 3 years ago, and I couldn't figure out why it looked out of perspective until I realized the house doesn't sit square on the lot. but I know why they placed the house the way they did - to take advantage of the view of their lot.  Because it's just a plein air sketch, I won't try to correct it.  It's the light and shadows that made me want to stand there and puzzle it out.  Tip: Put out more paint than you think you'll need.  At least 3 times as much!


Idea: Go outside. Paint a tree. So I did.

9 x 12 Oil on panel 
After months of ignoring everything but the news and training myself for our new 'normal', I packed up my homemade pochade box and walked around the corner from my house.  This tree has captured my fancy at other times of the day, but I noticed the shadow pattern and decided to have a go.  Even on a gravel road, people stop to see what you're doing, so I'll have to find a sneaky way to paint outdoors in the future.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

No Cashews for Yous

Sold-8 x 10 acrylic on linen panel

My personal birdie modeled for me!  I have a thin post attached to the top screw down on my easel for leaning a mahl stick and she's adopted it as her personal place to oversee what's going on down below.  So I get a feather in the paint now and what.  It's good to have adult supervision.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Waiting for the Train

8 x 10 acrylic on wood panel

This is from a photo I got a couple of years ago of two crow friends sitting on the track in the fog.  Very tricky to paint and I had to move the birds.  I'm enjoying acrylics in a way I never thought I would.  It's far more forgiving if you need to 'make repairs' and once dry I doubt anyone but an expert could tell the difference between oil and acrylic.

I see I left a shadow of one of the prior birds.  That's what you get for varnishing in the evening!  I'm curious to see if that can be 'repaired' with a coat of varnish on. 

Or should I leave it as a spooky reminder that we're all only here for a brief time?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sulfur Crested Cockatoo

Oil on linen panel 8 x 10

This is one of the parrot species that has wise old eyes.  Maybe because they're distantly related to dinosaurs and you can't get much older than that! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Summer Door

8x10 acrylic on stretched canvas

This was a perfect example of why painting from life is different, and better than from a photo if you have the luxury.  I snapped a photo to see how the camera saw what I was painting.  I was startled at the photo because the window in the door was so much lighter, and that's not what I was seeing as I painted.    Here's the photo:

Monday, July 29, 2019

Cedar Creek

8 x 10 oil on linen panel

A gurgling creek runs through the area where I walk and live and it's captivated me for some time, so I decided to tackle it.  Not happy with what I got, but it's always worth doing because you figure out some baffling little detail or other.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What to do With All Those Art Supplies!

I'm a self-confessed Pinterest junkie and I've seen many, many storage ideas. Some are more trouble than they're worth, but some are gems.  Here's lots of ideas with several keepers:  45-organization-hacks-to-transform-your-craft-room

Thanks to Belinda Del Pesco's wonderful blog for this and tons of other generous helpful tips.  She's a wonderfully accomplished printmaker and watercolorist with her own warm, distinct style. If you're not already familiar with her work, you can find her here: Belinda Del Pesco