Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Work in Progress Image 7---last section of the Wall Shelf

WHEW! I finally finished this section of the wall shelf. That red and gold espresso cup and saucer proved to be easily the most difficult still life subject I've ever tackled. There were several moments when I thought about removing it from the setup, and replacing it with something else. What a challenge! Not only was the color and glimmer of the gold tough, but getting the geometry right was extremely difficult. However, now I'm glad I climbed the mountain, and I can just enjoy the view!

Below is the painting as it stands thus far. I still need to paint the whole frame of the shelf, which is actually a beat-up old window frame. I'm sorry it's not a great photo; I'll get a better one when the painting is finished.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Struggling Through

Why is it that there's often the largest hurdle near the finish line? I'm struggling, struggling with this last section, then still need to complete painting the shelf itself. The progress image of the section isn't all that exciting, so I'll spare y'all the sight of it and will hopefully have something to show for my efforts by later tomorrow. I knew this painting was moving along too smoothly to be for real!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Work in Progress Image 6--- Wall Shelf section completed

It's time to get back to this big painting and finish it up. I completed the remainder of the section I started on Friday, and will be starting the last section later today.

Click to enlarge:

Here's a sneak peek at the whole painting so far, minus the exterior shelf edge. The center vertical and lower right section are still unpainted. I'm hoping to finish up by the end of the week.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Open Studio Life Drawing---25 minute pose 36x24"

36x24", 25 minute pose:

36x24", 25 minute pose:

I love drawing on this crinkly brown craft paper, but taking photos of the results is always an insurmountable challenge. I'm finally arriving at the inevitable conclusion that if I like working on this color, I'm going to have to find a source for it that is in a form that stays flatter.

I finally got back to open studio life drawing today. It's such a great break from my usual art routine. I'll have 8 weeks of it on Sundays. That should almost get me back to plein air season! The poses were mostly one minute and ten minutes. We only got two, twenty-five minute poses out of the three hour session.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I deserve a day off!

So, I'm taking one. I went shopping this morning for office furniture for hubby. Once back home, I brought Mango down to my studio to keep me company, but I just ended up playing with him as he chirped and climbed all over the outside of his cage, while I talked on the phone and looked at travel brushes online. This must mean that I need a day off. I'll be heading down to New York City later for my daughter's gymnastics competition. Maybe I'll do some sketches down there. Maybe not!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Work in Progress Image 6a--- a section of a section of the Wall Shelf

I've got just a section of a section to show for today. So much to paint, so little time!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Work in Progress Image 5---another section of the Wall Shelf

Click any image to enlarge

I've really been looking forward to painting this section with the figures, amber glass, and wooden clock. The little figures came with pianos and piano stools and were given to me by my dad, but they've temporarily suspended their duo to model for my painting. I got the beautiful hand-blown amber glass at a flea market. I saw it and just swooned! The wooden clock was a gift from a friend, and was made by her parents.

I still have a few little tweaks to do, but I'll do them as I move on with the other sections, or at the end. I'm sure I'll see more to do by then!

I thought it was time to let y'all take a peek at how the whole thing is coming along, so I've got two additional images for you. Below is the section I did today with yesterday's section.

Below is a picture of my studio with the setup and the painting. The painting isn't as wide as it appears here; that's the photo distortion at work, and one of the reasons why I prefer to work from life. There is an excitement inherent in working directly from the source. I'd be very bored painting this from a photo, but the character of the objects, the way the light hits them and the warmth of the colors, is something I can really feel when painting from life. It transforms the experience.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Work in Progress Image 4---another section of the Wall Shelf

Click to enlarge:

Here's another section of the 30x24" painting of the wall shelf. This may still need a little more work on the leaves, but I'll go back and do it at the end when the other sections are finished and I can better judge how it works as a whole. The image above was photographed with a very yellow light overhead. The color is actually closer to the image below:

Many have asked me to take progress images on the sections, which I keep forgetting to do! I remembered to stop for one today. It usually takes me three "passes" to complete a section. The first pass is a basic color stage, where I block in the main colors, lights and darks. Here's an image taken at the end of that first pass. I usually stop then and take a short break, let the paint set up a little, and then work over all the elements a second time, pushing the lights and darks and starting to add more detail. On the third pass, I make sure the highlights and dark accents are strong enough, and tweak anything that doesn't look quite right.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Work in Progress Image 3---another section of the Wall Shelf

Click to enlarge:

I tackled another section of the wall shelf today. Painting that racoon was so very much fun! Below you can see what it looks like with the section from yesterday.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Work in Progress Image 2---a part of the Wall Shelf

This is about a 10x9" section of the full 30x24" painting. The unpainted thing at the top is part of the racoon's tail hanging down from the upper shelf. Maybe I'll paint that section tomorrow. Sorry about the glare in the upper right. It's wet wet wet and the darks are so shiny until it dries.

I ended up having to add a bit of cadmium yellow pale to my palette. I'm using a Masterson palette with a sheet of glass in it that I cut to size. I cover it and stick it in the freezer when I'm done painting.

I'll have another installment tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Work in Progress---Wall Shelf monochrome stage 30x24"

Wall Shelf #3, 30x24", oils on stretched canvas, monochrome stage
Click to enlarge:
I didn't get quite as far today as I'd hoped, but I finished the compositional stage and as much as I'm going to do of a monochrome underpainting. It's far enough along to start putting in color tomorrow and working section by section. You can see that I repositioned several items since yesterday. Because the canvas is a slightly different proportion than the actual shelf, and also to emphasize certain elements, I adjusted object shapes to better fill the space. I pull out the old Artistic License when I need to make changes. *grin*

Above is a picture of the still life area in my studio. I love having a U-shaped work area, because I can step far back from my easel to view the painting without tripping over anything, and everything is within reach. The chair is for the computer on the right. I prefer to stand when I paint, unless I'm painting very small. You might think the tarp is there to protect the carpet, but it's actually to provide additional cushioning for my feet!

I'll be doing this painting with just four colors and two whites, unless I make an addition along the way. I chose these particular colors based upon what I need to be able to mix for the colors in the setup, and also because I want to steer the painting a little to the warm side. I'll be using:
Winsor Newton Artist Cadmium Yellow
Williamsburg Cadmium Red Medium
Rembrandt Transparent Oxide Red
My own homemade Ultramarine Deep
Classic Artist Oils Titanium White
Winsor Newton Griffin Titanium White
I'll be mixing the two whites together in order to get a titanium white that will dry a bit faster. I'm not crazy about the consistency of the Griffin alkyd white, but mixed with the dreamy, creamy Classic Artist Oils version, it works quite well.

My little Peach-faced Lovebird, Mango, lives upstairs, but I have an extra cage down in my studio so that we can keep each other company. He likes to climb around the playset on top of the cage while listening to music and supervising my progress.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Work in Progress---Wall Shelf--photograph of setup

I spent the afternoon lugging this heavy, old wall shelf into my studio and filling it with objects from the current scavenger hunt. (See post below.) With my daughter's help, I was able to hoist it onto the still life table in my studio, where it fit perfectly. I'll probably still switch out a few items and move things around a bit. Then I'll be getting down to work on this for the next week or so on a 24x30 canvas.

I'll be posting daily to show a section at a time. Usually I work on a whole painting at once, moving around here and there over the canvas. My plan for this one is different though. I'll do a block-in the first day, and after that I'll likely be going object to object, a few at a time. This is going to be a lot of fun! I'll be working on it only from life, not from a photo, but from the spectator's perspective, it's always interesting to get an idea of what the artist started out with.

This shelf was a flea market find. It's made from old, heavy 2x4s and weighs a ton! I think after it's done its duty for this painting, I'll keep it in my studio to hold supplies.

The Beginnings of a Scavenger Hunt

Every 9 days, a new Scavenger Hunt begins in the Artwork from Life forum on the Wetcavas website. Members sign up to host, and from January 20-28, it's my turn to play host and select the list items for the hunt. For those of you who would like to play along, the basic rules are:
  • All items on the list must be sketched from life--not imagination nor photo references
  • Each object you draw can count for only one item on the list, no matter how many shapes/parts/colors that object contains. This was agreed to by unanimous vote among the participants
  • You may place multiple objects together in a painting, and may count those objects as separate list items, but no single object can count for more than one list item.
  • All items posted must be numbered. Count them as you go. The first item you sketch and post will be #1 regardless of its place on the list. Do them in whatever order you wish, but count them in the order in which you sketch them, from 1 to 26.

You can do as many or as few items as you like; you don't have to finish the entire list to participate!

The List:
  • shelves or cabinet
  • vase
  • bottle
  • pitcher
  • fruit
  • stuffed animal
  • something yellow
  • figure (doll or sculpture)
  • clock, hourglass or timer
  • brass or gold object
  • seashell
  • favorite gemstone or rock
  • books
  • box (can be small/decorative)
  • a tin (Altoids, cookie tin, etc.)
  • bowl
  • copper object
  • silver object
  • flowerpot
  • flower
  • leaves/greenery
  • plate
  • cup
  • musical instrument (real, decorative, or mini)
  • wooden object
  • drinking glass

If there are any items you do not have, feel free to substitute with whatever you wish. Try to come as close as you can to a requested object.

I have a special challege for this week. (The challenge is totally optional.) All of the items have been selected so that they can fit into a single painting or drawing. Yep, that's right! Get out that HUGE sheet of paper you've been saving. Even a large piece of newsprint or a cut up paper bag should do just fine. A full sheet of watercolor or fine drawing paper would be awesome. Use a canvas and oils if you'd like. You can do either all or just part of the list this way and still count it as completion of the challenge.
  • 1. Position the items on the shelves or cabinet. Take a pic to show us if you'd like. Select your surface to work on.
  • 2. Sketch/paint the items one at a time, or in small groups, just as you would for any other scavenger hunt. Take pics of your work as you go, so you can number them and show us the items as you do them. We will be seeing cropped versions of the entire piece as you continue to work on it.
  • 3. When you've finished, take a photo so that we can see the completed work with all the items you've included in the challenge.

If you'd like to post your images on Wetcanvas with the rest of the gang, here's the thread we're all posting to:

This should be great fun.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Five More Sketches from the Scavenger Hunt

The Wetcanvas Scavenger Hunt #25 ends tomorrow, so I slipped in in a few more sketches from the list of 26 items. These are 7x11 pages from the sketchbook I made last week. The sketches are Uniball Vision ink pen and watercolor. No time for an oil painting today.

Tomorrow starts a new scavenger hunt, and I'm the host this time! It will run from January 20-January 28 (nine days). I'll post a link here for anybody who's interested in joining in. I'll put the list up early in the morning, and will post it here on my blog as well. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Clementine in a Bowl on a Box

One Clementine in a Bowl on a Box
6 x 6", Oils on sealed, primed hardboard
$100 unframed via PayPal, free shipping within US (email me for international rates)
This proved to be a much more challenging subject than I anticipated! I had a wonderful time today working through the issues presented by the interesting shapes, angles, and reflected light and color. I got this fascinating little bowl at the flea market last weekend. I have no idea what its original purpose was. It's hard for me to envision a use for it, but it sure did work well for the painting! The mahogany boxes have also proved to be wonderful props. I love the rich, warm color and the flexibility they offer in positioning subjects .

My palette for this painting was:
Williamsburg Cadmium Yellow Medium
Williamsburg Cadmium Red Medium
Winsor Newton Artist Cadmium Orange
Winsor Newton Artist Burnt Sienna
Homemade Ultramarine Blue Deep
WN Griffin and Classic Artist Oils Titanium Whites mixed together

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Brass Pitcher in a Mahogany Box framed oil painting

Brass Pitcher in a Mahogany Box
5 x 5", Oils on sealed, primed hardboard
$110 framed as shown, via PayPal, free shipping within US (email me for international rates)

When I was away in Pennsylvania last weekend, I went to a flea market. I found all kinds of old copper and brass objects, glass items, little bowls and pitchers, and a wonderful set of old mahogany nesting boxes. The woman at the flea market remembered me from last year. She pulled out boxes and boxes of "stuff" for me to sift through. The result of all this is: I have lots of new things to paint! This is one of the mahogany boxes lying on its side with a little brass pitcher peeking out.

I painted it on a 5x5" panel because I have this wonderful frame that size which is a perfect match for the brass of the pitcher. I love it to bits! The price is for the painting framed with shipping within the US, but if you'd prefer to purchase it unframed, please email me and I will lower the price accordingly. This frame can sit on a table or be hung on a wall.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More Vacation Sketches from the Weekend

Here's another watercolor sketch set across two pages of the new journal from this past weekend. You can click the image to enlarge it.

I did an oil painting today, but it has lots of darks in it which are causing a lot of glare. I'll get a much better photograph of it if I wait a day for it to dry a bit, so you'll see that one tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying the sketches from my trip. I love working in this new journal. Can't wait to try some other mediums in it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Vacation Sketches and Review of Hand Book Journal

Click for larger image:

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful weekend away. I had some time to do some watercolor sketches in the hotel suite and simultaneously test-drive the new Hand Book Journal that I got from Dick Blick. The one I got is 8.25x5.5", portrait format. I used it as an 8x10 sheet, painting across the two page spreads. This book by far exceeded my expectations! The surface takes watercolor quite well with minimal wrinkling and it has a wonderful texture for drawing too--not too slick and not too rough. The paper is thick; I'd say it's not quite the weight of Stonehenge with a similar surface texture. Highly recommended! I'm looking forward to trying it out with colored pencils, acrylics and gouache too. It's also available in a very cool square format, and in a pocket size version.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sailing at Sunset

Sailing at Sunset

6 x 6", Oils on sealed, primed hardboard

When we were in Maine last summer, we went for a sunset sail on the four-masted schooner Margaret Todd. We lucked out with a spectacular sunset. I took oodles of photos, including the one of this boat sailing nearby. Every time he tacked, the light would catch the sails from a different direction. I was so glad to have my camera along!

I got up extra early to finish the painting this morning. I'm going to be offline for a few days after this post, but I'll see y'all back here on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Stroll Through the Gallery 7x22"---click on blog image for larger view

Click image to enlarge:

This is the inside, 2-page centerfold spread of the Art Journal "Gallery-in-a-book" that I'm working on. It measures a little larger than 7x22". The painting on the left, plus all of the gold frames, are painted directly on the paper. The other three abstract paintings are original "Art Card" paintings, 2.5x3.5" each, affixed with removable tape to the paper. I liked the idea of presenting my original miniature paintings in a gallery format without destroying them as individual works. It's fun to see what they'd look like if they were actually enormous paintings hanging on a gallery wall instead of just a couple of inches top to bottom! The titles of the paintings, from left to right are:
Struck by Lightning
Evening Music
Dueling Boxes

The work on the two pages is done with black ink, gold ink, acrylic, and watercolor. The writing just above the floor describes the paintings.

You can see my January 6 post below for more information about this 8 page journal. Five more pages to go! The journal will be posted here for sale when it is completed. You can also see larger versions of the individual paintings in my posts from the past couple of weeks by scrolling down the blog page.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

7am Lake Sunrise 3x5" beautifully framed

7am Lake Sunrise
3 x 5", Casein on illustration board
This 3x5" plein air casein painting is beautifully framed and ready to hang on your wall. Casein is an archival, non-soluble (when dry) milk-based medium with brilliant color and a matt finish. It looks similar to oils but without the slight gloss, and like oils, the paint does not lift. It is a wonderful and underused medium that is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, and with good reason!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Life Drawing 45 minute pose 36x24"

The image above is a cropped version of the 36x24" sketch of Amy. I never feel I come away from a life drawing session with a "finished" piece since the poses are so short, but it's great practice to keep going after that elusive goal. This sketch was done on my favorite brown crinkly craft paper, which makes it hard to get a good photo. I tear off 24x36" sheets from a huge roll and clip them to a big piece of foamcore. I like working on the midtone surface, since I can just add my lights and darks. Amy is a fabulous model and also an artist, so she always thinks about how a pose will fill the page. The medium is charcoal and pastels. The full image is below.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Kids on the Beach in oils

Kids on the Beach
6 x 6", Oils on sealed, primed hardboard

I painted this today in oils from a photo I took while visiting my parents in Florida. My kids hate to have their pictures taken, but they were having too much fun to notice.

Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Red
Ultramarine Blue Deep
Transparent Red Oxide
Phthalo Green
Titanium White

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Windmill on the Hill oil painting---plus Sketchbook Making instructions

Windmill on the Hill
6 x 6", Oils on sealed, primed hardboard
$100 unframed via PayPal, free shipping within US (email me for international rates)
Tilly Foster Farm is an old horse farm that was purchased a few years ago by Putnam County to retain as open space. It has beautiful rolling fields, old buildings and barns, and a fantastic overview of miles and miles from the top of the pastures. This painting was done from a photo I took there in the fall.

Making a Multi-Media Sketchbook
I've made a number of sketchbooks over the years and have recently been asked to share some of them. This is perhaps the easiest, most useful, and most versatile of them all. The biggest advantages to this design are that many different kinds of paper can be used for various media and effects, plus the paper can be removed easily for framing.

Use any kind of cardboard, foamcore, illustration board, or matboard for your covers. I used scrap pieces of matboard that I had around the house and cut two pieces to the same size. Purchase some ringbinder rings in an office supply store. I got mine at Staples (very inexpensive). Holes were punched in the matboard for the rings:

Next, cut various types of paper that you like to use for painting, drawing, and sketching. Be sure to cut the paper about 1/2 inch smaller than the matboard. When in use, you'll be doubling over the matboard to serve as a firm drawing board. The matboard edges also serve to protect the edges and corners of the paper. Punch holes in the paper, making sure they line up with the holes you've punched in the covers. You can paint your cover to decorate your sketchbook, but I just left mine blank.

If you use a lot of wet media, consider a piece of foamcore for one or both covers, coated with a couple of coats of acrylic medium, to use as a painting board. You can even tape paper down to it that way after removing a sheet from the book, or use metal office clips to hold it. Oil pastel and soft pastel artists can include sheets of glassine with holes punched, to place between finished drawings.

Glue a pocket to the inside of the front cover. (See image below.) I used this to hold templates for standard sizes. If you have, for instance, a 5x7" template in the pocket, you can pull it out to draw a quick 5x7 rectangle on a piece of the paper. Then you'll have a drawing or painting that will fit perfectly into a ready-made mat and frame. The little pocket also comes in handy for photo references, drawings, a ruler, etc. I put a sticker on the inside of the cover saying "If found please return to" with my name, address and phone number.

You can click on the image below to enlarge it:

On the right side, the shiny plastic is a sheet of clear acetate. When working in colored pencil or graphite, I'd keep this under my hand to stop the pencil from smudging. I kept another sheet of it in the little pocket inside the cover. You can also keep glassine in the book, or whatever else you use to protect your finished work.

I hope this helps some of you who want a sketchbook that can do it all!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Art and Sketch Journal Beginnings

I've decided to begin making a series of art journals, which will each contain a collection of sketches, paintings in various mediums, art cards mounted inside, collage work, and some experimental pieces. I'll post pages as they are completed, and possibly put the journal up for sale when it is completed. I'll continue to do oil paintings too of course. I need a lot of variety in my life. *big grin*

This Journal Number 1 is eight, 7.25x11.25" pages of Arches hot press, 100% 140 lb. rag watercolor paper. The image above is a cropped photograph of the first page/cover. I really like that square format. Perhaps I'll make the next journal a square.

The full page is below. On the right side is the item list of the current "Scavenger Hunt" from the Artwork from Life forum on Every 8 days, a new list is posted and participants draw or paint those objects from life (no photo references) that they find around their homes. I've been enjoying participating when I can, and figured I might include many of those objects in the current journal. Today I sketched and painted the mechanical pencil, journal, and ruler from among the list elements.

If you click this image, you can see it closer to actual size:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Salmon Sunset oil painting

Salmon Sunset
5 x 7", Oils on canvas covered hardboard
$100 unframed via PayPal, free shipping within US (email me for international rates)

I was planning to go out painting by the lake yesterday morning, but when I stepped outside, it was only 28 degrees! I turned around and painted this from a photo in my studio instead.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Evening Music---Watercolor and inks on watercolor paper

Evening Music
2.5 x 3.5", watercolor and inks on watercolor paper
$10 unframed via PayPal, free shipping within US (email me for international rates)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Winter Serenade---Watercolor, black and metallic inks on watercolor paper

Winter Serenade
2.5 x 3.5", Watercolor and inks on watercolor paper
$8 unframed via PayPal, free shipping within US (email me for international rates)
I'm having way too much fun with these little abstracts.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stroll in the Park

Stroll in the Park
8 x 6", Oils on Canvas covered hardboard
$125 unframed via PayPal, free shipping within US (email me for international rates)

A couple of times a year, I go on photo expeditions with my painting buddy Sue to collect painting references. I painted this from one of the photos I took at Muscoot Farm. I love painting there en plein air, but since they don't open until 10, it's hard to catch the light and shadow on location before the sun is directly overhead. This beautiful path winds around behind the fields, with old trees and huge rock outcroppings.

This was painted today with a limited palette of cadmium yellow lemon, venetian red, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue, plus white. This is my favorite landscape palette when I don't need a bright red or strong violet. It yields nice greens and earth tones, and a lovely soft violet.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Warm Geometrics With Gold and two more ACEO mixed media paintings

Yep, I'm still playing with some abstract ideas, but plan to return to some more traditional artwork tomorrow.

Warm Geometrics With Gold, 2.5x3.5" (ACEO)
This painting is watercolor and ink with a gold metallic border and detailing, on watercolor paper:

Vacation Time, 2.5x3.5" ACEO
Ink and red acrylic, with silver metallic border and detailing, on watercolor paper

New Year's Eve, 2.5x3.5" ACEO
Neocolor II and ink on watercolor paper

$8 each via Paypal to, including postage within the US. Specify date (1/1/07) and title of painting with your payment and I'll get it right off to you. One of the advantages of acrylic, ink and watercolor is that they don't need weeks of drying time!