Friday, December 18, 2015

Your Daily Painting: Paying attention to the Surface

3 daily painting studies.

White Onion & Garlic 6"x8" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Red Onion 6"x 8" Oil on linen mounted to panel

 Onions and Garlic 12"x 6.5" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Here I have three examples of some root crop I painted from the local farmers market. I really enjoy painting the different textures and subtle earth tone colors of onions etc. The colors and textures are quite opposite to most fruit, which typically have shinny surfaces along with more intense colors.

In Onions and Garlic above, I particularly found the green onions to be a challenge. Primarily because the bulb has a translucent skin. But going up the stalk in turns  more opaque. And the little roots are simply a challenge all to themselves, don't let them overtake your painting - simplify them.

So if you are painting still-lifes you might want to try alternating painting fruits and vegetables to help yourself better understand how to handle different surfaces. In regards to the surface quality, here are a few questions to ask yourself. Is the surface smooth or rough? How reflective is the surface? And also, is the surface opaque or translucent, or perhaps I should say, how translucent is the surface? 

It's very hard to answer these question here because there are so many variables. But in asking these questions as you paint it will simply help you be more aware and responsive to the subject and hopefully see what is "actually there". Paint what you really see. I will be going over these concepts more thoroughly in later posts.

~Don't forget to squint~

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Daily Painting: Improving your daily painting skills

Balsamic Vinegar 9" x 5" Oil on linen mounted to panel.

Just under 2 hrs.  
Limited palette consisting of white and black, cad yellow lt, perylene red,, transparent oxide red and phthalo green to get that pure transparent green of the bottle.

 What a fun bottle to paint, can you tell the brand? Probably not, unless you use it regularly. I really didn't want the details of the label to over power the overall painting. Squinting and the time limit was key to keeping the details out of focus. Also, I used no soft hair brushes,  just some good old worn out hog bristles.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Painting of the Day: Focusing on Mood

Lemon on Blue 5"x7" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Boutique Onions  5"x7" Oil on linen mounted to panel

Simple and straight forward.
Here are two little 5 x 7 painting I did on consecutive days. Both took just under 1 hr. to complete.  With the  Lemon I was after contrast and color intensity. I really wanted the lemon to "pop". So it didn't seem pasted on the background, I pushed the yellow into the background and vs versa. I had fun with the glow around the lemon. With the onions,  I was after a much more subdued look. I kept the contrasts down and stuck with general earth tones.

 Both paintings have a nice balance of thick and thin paint.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Still Life Painting of the Day: Radishes

 Radishes 8" x 12", Oil on linen mounted to panel

The title of this post is "A Painting a Day" However, I actually didn't paint this one today, I painted it several weeks ago. I think it turned out quite well. I spent about 2-1/2 hrs. It's hard to go wrong when your subject contains such a color complement. Also, it has a great juxtaposition between the abstract shapes of the green leaves and the geometric shapes of the actual radishes.


I've been thinking about the idea of "A painting a day" for quite some time now. But it's only been the last month or so that I've been able to practice it. My plan has been and will be to paint a small study every morning (well nearly every-I'm not a robot). With a set time limit and from life only. Focusing on still life and the occasional landscape.
So far, I'm really enjoying the freedom, spontaneity and challenges. But most of all I'm enjoying the fact that I can simply call it done in less than 3 hours. That has been very liberating to say the least.

No mater what else I paint for shows and galleries I will continue to paint these little studies in the morning and sell them online for a very reasonable price. With each post I will cover more about my process and thoughts that go into them. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Artist get away plein air painting

Last August I was invited, along with several other artist friends, to a very nice cabin retreat in Star Valley, Wyoming. We were excited to get away for a few days and paint. 

All of us being artists, we spent most of the daylight hours painting somewhere in Star Valley. Most of the paintings I did while I was there were so-so to me and I kept them to myself and eventually fed them to the garbage can. But these three little studies turned out great! The cabin was surrounded by quaking aspens so on the second day, instead of heading back out with the others, I decided to stay closer to home and paint in the shade.

 I find quaking aspen have a lot of personality. I think of them as I would a figure. They easily become the focus and subject of a painting. Also, the color of the bark of the aspen is similar to flesh tone. When in the shadows, it reflects all the colors around it so it's always a challenge to find that subtle color.

 Summer Quakies Study #1
Prepared paper mounted to panel  9.5" x 5.25"

  Summer Quakies Study #2
Prepared paper mounted to panel 5" x 8"

  Summer Quakies Study #3
Prepared paper mounted to panel  13.25" x 7.25"