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Showing posts from January, 2016

Pretty as a Penny WIP

Well here is today's update on my portrait in progress.  I pretty much have most of her face based in and will probably need to work some more on the background adding some glazes as I would like that to be smoother.  Overall, I am surprised at how fast she is coming together, guess this is going to be one of those who wants to come out of the paper.

Funny how it always happens, when you look in the mirror or put the photo onto the computer screen all the issues jump right out - I see I have a nostril size problem.

I am debating whether or not I am going to glaze the face to smooth out the complexion variations or let it stand as it might add more realistic skin tones to this portrait.  I thought about trying the old masters way again, with underpainting, dead layer painting and glazing, but didn't continue in that direction although I want to do another painting in that method.   The more I learn about how they worked the more I realize I don't know anything and that th…

Penny WIP

I haven't done a WIP in quite a while.  This is the first oil portrait I have tried since the early 90s, so I thought I would document this one.  This is a friend I used to work with and she just posted this photo and well, she is just beautiful.  I knew I would have to see if I could paint her and capture her lively personality and her beautiful reddish hair.   If I can pull it off I think it will be one of the best things I have ever painted.
I am a little concerned as she was in deep shade with back lighting so I really pumped up the light in the photo and also have a B&W reference I am working with as well.
As you can see I have the right eye, teeth and mouth pretty well in hand - note to myself - leave them alone!!!  So today will try to get the left eye shape correct and put in the background as that may change the flesh tones that I see.
Thanks for taking this journey with me and stopping by.

Gracie Day 26 30 Day Challenge

Gracie 9"x12" Pastel
Today's inspiration, this dog belongs to a friend of mine who graciously let me try to see if I could capture her, meet Gracie.   I believe she is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  She really came together, I usually don't do a dog in a couple of hours, but felt I was in the zone and just kept going.  Then stopped before I could start to fiddle.
I thought at first she looked mad, but upon researching I found other pictures of this breed who have this look as well.  First time I have done this breed and she was lots of fun with her curly hair.  I might give her a try in oil too just to see how she turns out.   This pastel is done on black paper, and it really is easy to cover and the black peeking through I think adds some interest to the fur texture.
Thanks for stopping by and have a super week.

Tropical Skies Day 25 30 Day Challenge

Tropical Skies
A friend, Meredith, who is also doing the 30 Day challenge, is doing the most beautiful skies and landscapes.  Nice big and loose strokes, check her out at    

So I decided to try one after the style of Leslie B. DeMille, a wonderful Canadian pastelist .  Having lived so 
many years in Florida I know that there are tons of beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  Best part is when the sun
shoots up that spout of steam when it hits the ocean as it goes down at night!!   Think I best keep practicing.

Thanks much for stopping by and hope you are having a good week.

The Call Day 23 30 Day Challengeg

The Call
Well woke up this morning to no electricity, cold and snowing - I thought we were going to luck out but we are getting a dusting and high winds.  Winds got the tree which got the lines and so it was darn cold, but luckily they got it fixed after a couple of hours and I am hoping it stays that way.  Feel for those guys who have to be out functioning in this weather and wind.

Finally I got this one pretty much done.  This has been on and off the easel since October.  This has ended up being a combination of several reference photos which always is a challenge for positioning and lights and shadows coming together for a unified source.  Main reason was I was working in oil again, and for me I have to let the layers dry or all I get …

Dancing in the Sunlight Day 20 30 Day Challenge

Dancing in the Sunlight
I'm back!!!  Good news is I finally got rid of that HP Vista piece of garbage but now am having to learn a new system.  However my language has cleaned up quite a bit since the old computer went to the boneyard - well not actually, it will get stripped and go to the kitchen to do pantry/shopping lists and receipts.  That's good as I am always thinking with my stomach.
Anyway, back to painting, this is a picture of my friend's horse that she asked me to give it a try.  I tried a non-traditional background as I love all the colors in this combination and then also integrated them into parts of the horse as well to give it some continuity.  I am pretty happy with the result.
Thanks so much for stopping by and hope wherever you are…

Snowy Creek Day 17 30 Day Challenge

Snowy Creek
Welcome to my hot mess.  Yep, you get to see the good, bad and UGLY.  I am not even sure I can say there was a learning experience in this one.  Everything in the background got really globby quickly - I tried to work wet in wet using the palette knife and well....   All I can say is that I hung in there and tried to finish it to some extent and am glad that my painting adventures for the day are done.
Thanks for stopping by and hope I can show you better next time!!

Worried Day 15

Day 15, somewhere I lost a day.
I actually painted this prior to the start of the challenge and am reposting as I am working on several larger paintings and in a cleaning mode.  Started with some cleaning and reorg in the art room and has now spread to the whole house.  You know it is bad when you are excited about buying a new mop!!
Anyway, this little guy had such an expression and gave me an opportunity to whip out my pastels and a sheet of velour and go at it.  Always takes me a while to remember how to work on the velour, but I sure do like the results.
Thanks for stopping by and have a super weekend.

Alter Ego Day 14 30 Day Challenge

Since I needed a day off Alter Ego is a picture that I have done before.  For me it is outside the usual box, but it makes me smile.  For me it shows all the years that I had to be left brained and follow someone else's direction - or the work years.  Now I get to break out in color and march to my own drummer.  A reward well worth waiting for.
Thanks for stopping by and have a super day.

Fall in Nova Scotia Day 13 30

Fall in Nova Scotia
Still working on landscapes and palette knife paintings and trying to loosen up and not go so overly detailed.  Felt my grasses, reeds and stones were a success.  Have to admit that the red flowers were done with a fan brush.  That's another brush everyone loves and I guess I have never really learned how to manipulate it.  Knifes and rocks were meant to go together I realize.  I realize too that I am stingy with the paint and that you really do use a lot more paint with a knife.  Even using a brush I am on the not much side - guess that comes from not really liking to see the brush strokes.  But am working on that and developing a new eye.
But good thing is once it is down then you can smear (yes, that's a technical term) i…

BFFs Day 12 30 Day Challenge

I saw this picture on PMP so many thanks to Kathy Patterson and knew I had to do it.  What a special "animal" moment and how unlikely that they could enjoy each other.  I wasn't quite sure it was all sweet at first when I looked at the tail, but I will take the photographer's lead and agree they are buds.  Trying to capture the donkey's shaggy coat was a bit of a problem on this very dimpled matboard.  Ok for rust background to show through on donkey, but didn't want it on the cat.  Beside the fact that I don't like backgrounds and never have good ideas for them, I just put in the faintest hit of shadow and ground and kept it really simple so the main focus in on the two subjects.
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking …

Hard Times Day 11 30 Day Challenge

Hard Times
Not long ago I had seen a documentary on buffaloes/bison of Yellowstone National Park and how hard it is for all the animals and especially them to survive the rigors of the hard winters of the area.  Of course they eat the grasses which when dried out lose much of their nutritional values.  So eventually the herd go into the hot springs areas and feeds on the green grass which contains high quantities of arsenic.
I have had this one started for quite some time and decided to give it  finish.  Funny how you continue to grow and adjust so I intensified the darks and added the foreground trees.  Pretty much an easy finish, and not sure why it took me so long.  For me the hardest part of this picture was the snow and the background trees (did I ment…

Tree Study Day 10 30 Day Challenge

Today is a tree study as I work on the other larger paintings.  I don't know why but I seems fixed on winter scenes.  Since I am trying to improve my landscapes it seemed right that I should study the anatomy of trees.  Right now I am getting them without the leaves, and that will be the next step to do believable leaves without doing individual leaves.
Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Natural Odd Man Out Day 9 30 Day Challenge

Odd Man Out is just a quickie today of things I found along my walks.   We have lot of pine trees here of different varieties and as you can see different sized pine cones, as well as the acorns the squirrels love to eat.  Got to admit I love to draw those little acorns, different textures and I just like the shape.  Pine cones like pineapples are a real challenge as they have a definite mathematical pattern.  Since I didn't get it absolutely correct, just the impression, guess I will have to keep drawing them until I get proficient.  This makes me think of Fall though and not of the absolute COLD we are going to have starting tonight - finally winter is definitely here.
I have several larger pictures going that I have been working on and they are just much slower going.  One is working back in oil so I have to let it dry somewhat between layers and the other is another palette knife painting.

Hope you are having a super weekend and thanks much for stopping by.

Legs Day 8 30 Day Challenge

Well I just couldn't do it, they were calling to me!  Who you might ask, well the pastels of course.  They just couldn't stay in their drawers while I plied that knife around the canvas.  While looking for other horse pictures I saw this little guy and pastel just seemed light like he is.  Do you think that horses, like puppies grow into their feet, grow into their legs?  They seem so spindle-like, fragile, but actually are strong enough to carry them long distances and great speeds.  Doesn't he look happy?  Sure hope he brings a smile to your face today.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Miners Tool Day 7 Challenge

Miner's Tool
                                                                        Color Pencil
Well here it is already one week down on the challenge.  Mixed feelings as in some ways it seems long and others seems relatively painless, so ...

As promised here is the miner's tool from the infamous Oatman (did I say narrow road??) now colorized.  It is funny how when you don't work in a media for a while you have to get reacquainted.  First off I am happy it is from one of my photos, I like the face it has the repetitive geometry and different textures.  I do need to try to do some research on what this was called and how it was used.

But I do realize after looking at my shots versus many of my friends at PMP that my shots aren't framed artfully they are information seeking and straightforward shots.  Guess …

Pond Reflections Day 6 30 Day Challenge

Pond Reflections

Well here is another try at a landscape painting with the knife.  This shot is from PMP, courtesy of Lisa Fry Harris who has several others that I might want to try.  If you haven't checked out that site yet, do yourself a favor and look not only at all the photos available but the wonderful artist international community you can interact with.
I used mat board as the support this time instead of the coated Canvasette, mistake!!! why? well the moisture soaks into the board dries the paint  so it doesn't really slide as well.  You end up and use almost too much paint on the knife (can you say blobs) to make it move.  These knives are tricky little devils, either it's too much or not enough paint.  Like all studies there are thi…

Running Free - Day 5 30 Day Challenge

Running Free
Here is another palette/painting knife adventure.  Actually got most of this done in one day, but needed to do the legs and go in and tweak the body musculature on the second day.  Yes there are places where I went back over the knife texture with a brush as I am not skilled enough to do it all with the knife.  I really wanted the alternative colors to be bolder, but it is hard to push myself to go there and since I am working pretty much wet in wet it tends to blend in.   Finally realized that if you get enough acrylic down then it tends to act much more like oil in drying time.
However, I am definitely going to try more horse paintings to see if I can really let loose.  Loose that is the key word for the knife paintings, you just can't …

Elephants Eye Day 4 30 DayChallenge

Elephant's Eye
I know this is an unusual subject, but again I am working textures during this challenge.  This is on matboard as it has some weight, but still since modeling paste and putting acrylic on it gets pretty wet it does want to warp a bit.  Anyway again this is a two-step process where I put the modeling paint all over, except for the actual eyeball area.  Tried to make all those wrinkles and then came backin and accented them again with darker paint.  Again, you can't see all the texture on this piece, it definitely is a "touch me" painting. 
Thanks for taking a look and have a super day, even though it is Monday after the holiday  (makes me cringe to think of it!!)

Miners Tool Day 3 30 Day Challenge

This is my preliminary sketch for colorizing this picture.  You will see it in another day or so, hopefully with color. 
When we were in Arizona we stopped in Kingman, at the visitors center (across from the worlds famous root beer dinner) the man told us about Oatman, AZ where they have gunfights and wild donkeys that the miners left behind.  So off we go up Route 66 -- had to be the scariest drive of my life.  The landscape gets moon-like and the road is narrow, sharp curvnes, did I say narrow, steep drops, did I say narrow, RVs bigger than Canada, did I say narrow???    Saw many who didn't make it down in the gully - so bad Paulie wouldn't let me drive either direction.  Anyway got to Oatman, saw the donkeys (and their remanents), gunfighters and this old miners tractor.  Not sure exactly how it worked but looked kind of lethal on the wheels.  I just can't get away from portraits, so decided to make this a two day event, drawing phase and then color it up and look at t…

Sky Hole - Day 2 in 30 Day Challenge

Sky Hole
                                                                Acrylic on Canvas

A few years ago we went to the Grand Canyon and southern Utah, and this Eastern girl fell in love.  It is such a different landscape and the rock formations are just awesome.  This shot is from the Valley of Fire and is of a natural arch.  The colors blew me away in person and even now when I go back to a photo I am taken back by the vivid tones, shapes and colors.
This is one of my experiments and am doing a couple more during this challenge.  It is done in two steps:  1)  paint with modeling paste and 2) add paint for color.  I used the trusty palette knife to get the modeling paste down and try to score it and give some direction.  Then putting on the acrylic was interesting because I had to get the paint into the cracks and crevices…

Quiet Reflection - Day 1 30 Day Challenge

Quiet Reflection
                                                                 Acrylic on Canvas

                                                        HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2016
Hope you had a super New Year's Eve and now it is time to dig into 2016 - already.  Boy how the time flies, wasn't it just 2000.
I have committed (or should be, not sure which) to doing the 30 paintings in 30 day challenge again.  This will be the fourth time for this adventure.  The last time I figured out how to make it enjoyable and took the pressure off myself.  Each time I have participated I learned so much and came out on the other end feeling like I learned and advanced.
So, I have my strategy in place, my tools out, my creative button turned on - please join me on this challenge's journey.
I want to try to improve on my landscape paintin…