Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Transparents in the Landscape

New Mexico Light
8x6" oil on Linen Panel $140. SOLD

Artist Note.
I belong to a group of
painters who issue a
Challenge to paint from
a photo of New Mexico

This is Challenge #10 for 2016
So beautiful and typical of NM.

At the Guild this month
we are learning the joys of using
a transparent color foundation
so I thought I would demo this
image to one of the classes.

Transparent colors used:
Indian Yellow
Alizarin Perm.
Ultramarine Blue.

Starting with very thin
coat of  IY
all over and
lifting off cleanly with rag and Gamsol
where I will place the
blue of the mountain
(don't want it green!)
Add a touch of Aliz
to the IY for the
warm ground, etc.
Aliz and UB for the purple
Adding UB and IY with hint
the purple for the Green.
Simple shapes of value and color
at this stage.

I moved the peak of the mountain
slightly to the side to avoid
having it directly
over the featured bush. 
All transparent colors for block in.

Starting to add opaques on sky, 
mountain and top area of ground

It could be considered finished
at this point but
 nearly all the
transparent areas 
have been covered and 
it is looking too heavy.
for my taste.

Not sure I liked seeing so much of the 
warmer colors behind the featured bush
so below you can see changes 
I made to that area area

 Choice to be made
I decide on this one.

Now to tackle the other
 I have some major issues 
with the front bushes 
competing with the focal area. 
Also all the transparent glow 
has been lost,
I decided to test what it 
would look like if I removed 
 the front bushes. 
I placed a piece of glass 
over and painted on it first.
Yep - I can see it opened it up.

Then I restored all the 
golden transparent color with 
IY and Aliz. making the foreground
rich and glowing...once again.
Not shown on the one above.

Next - 
I lowered the big bush at its base
and add another bush to balance 
it over on the left. I added a strip 
of light behind the 
large bush area to 
set back the mountain even more
and bring the bush forward.
I placed a strip of fence in 
front of the left bush
to add to the feeling of distance.

Finally getting to where I feel
I have made the painting my own.

I admire the way each artist 
in Lets Paint New Mexico
has a different viewpoint 
from the same image.
Scroll though the link 
and look at all the great paintings. 
Some fun challenges are on there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Impression of Roses

Impression of Roses
6x8in oil on canvas panel $140. SOLD

Artist Note
This is another painting 
following the Transparent
underpainting demo I 
showed on my previous post.

This demo was to see how 
far opaques could be used 
and still keep the glow.

Only the dark areas
are truly transparent with 
tiny areas of a thin layer
 of Indian Yellow 
peeking here and there
though everywhere else.

This one is more decorative
in style. More of an illusion.
The flowers are interesting
because only one has the 
actual shape of a flower, 
the rest are simple shapes 
of color with no detail.

In class today 
we started on the 
landscape -  using the 
transparent colors.
I will show the steps for
that demo in my next post.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Important Transparents - demo steps

Mixed Bouquet.
6"x 6" oil on canvas  $110.  SOLD

This was a demo to show the importance
of having a transparent underpainting.

Artist Note.

I am a big believer in leaving
some of the darker areas in
 a painting, transparent. 
There is a certain glow which 
doesn't happen with opaque
dark areas  - in fact I find
they can look, pretty "chalky."

My transparent colors 
used for the demo were:
 Transparent Oxide Yellow TYO
Alizarin (permanent)
Ultramarine Blue.

 After a wash of TOY 
I did a mass shape using  Viridian.
Next I lifted out the lighter areas
using a rag.

I followed this with more lifting
with a small amount of Gamsol
on my rag and a scrubby brush.
This was to hit my lightest areas. 

I added Viridian and Ultra 
with touch of Aliz to make darker
greens in jar and leaves.

I added more TOY to back and front.
and shadowed the area 
behind the jar
 linking into the dark leaves

Bringing in color but making
sure to keep it all transparent.

Then the fun part - I fractured it!
(See FREE tutorial on tools and what
I use for fracturing  HERE )

I enjoyed bringing it back 
into form by
 taking advantage 
of the broken areas to add 

Now into the opaque colors.
I added 
Permanent Yellow and 
Permanent Red light to my palette

I started using a knife and a brush
at this point. 
I left the flowers 
very abstract on purpose. 
That was the easiest part -
 because they were all imaginary.

There are transparent areas
peeking through the opaque 
marks, and to me it makes 
for an exciting surface.
Thick - thin,
transparent - opaque,
warm - cool.

If you are not already using the
transparent colors - or have not 
used them for a while then
please let me know if you are 
inspired to try them.

Happy Painting
Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Watercolor Fun!

Pears And van Gogh's Irises
6"x8"watercolor on Yupo  $100.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
This one was pure fun.
Anything on Yupo is fun.
Don't like something?
 Easy - off it goes 
with a quick
If you don't like the 
whole painting...
no problem
just hold it under the tap!

This is my third painting
using the tablecloth
which has
 Vincent van Gogh's Irises 
printed on it. 
I made it more abstract
and let the watercolor 
have the little runs
and unpredictable 
 patterns which make 
working on Yupo so
appealing to me.

Loving this tablecloth!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Other Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses #2
8x6" oil on canvas  $140 SOLD

Artist Note.
This is the second painting 
I did from the gift of
yellow roses
I received last month.
The first one was a
square close-up
and on this one
I made  an angle
to divide the
flowers and leaves.
The bud breaks it up
so it isn't too abrupt.

Hope all mothers
 enjoyed their special day.
I enjoyed calls
from my kids and as
my own beloved mother
has been gone for
quite a while,
 I wore a blouse
and a locket of  hers
that I treasure,
and remembered
happy times.
It was lovely!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Vincent's Irises And Fruit

Vincent's Irises And Fruit
8x8in oil on canvas  SOLD

Artist Note.
The camera is unable to show all
beautiful shifts of colors I
copied from the tablecloth with
van Gogh's Irises painting
printed on it.
I kept it very impressionist in
Definitely all about the colors.
And - yes, I am
mesmerized by these colors!

Here is the portion of his original
painting they cropped to fit
the square format of the tablecloth .
You can see along the lower
edge of my painting
is the middle area down
in front of the
leaves against the
brown of the earth.

The jug is one my mother made
in her seventies.
Hand coiled and beautifully
glazed. One of my treasures.

this is the second painting I have
painted inspired by the cloth
(red teapot, three posts ago)
and I have another in mind.
Thank YOU again, Anne,
for the truly inspirational gift.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

English Wild Roses

Wild English Roses.
6x8 in oil on canvas $130. SOLD

Artist Note.

The wild rose has been painted 
by some famous artists.
Renoir  (1841 - 1914)
placed them on a hat.


Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
painted the one below.
He was as taken with the pattern
of the leaves as much as the flowers.

John La Farge  (1835 - 1910)
painted the next one.

It is a Study Of Sunlight
The waterlily is pretty fabulous too!

Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)
painted many 
florals that I love.
Pretend there is a wild rose in 
the still life above.

The next artist died three years
before Matisse was born.

The English painter
William Henry Hunt (1790 - 1864)
Wild Roses and Birds Nest
I had a print of this one in my
bedroom when I was young.
Maybe that is why I love birds nests?

John William Waterhouse
(1849 - 1917)
included wild roses in the
and they are a beautiful
secondary interest.

No roses, but
the painting Waterhouse
did inspired by
Tennyson's poem
The Lady of Shalott
is mind blowing.
I have stood in front of this
huge painting
in speechless awe.
(treat yourself and click on link)

All of these artists painted the
wild rose in a totally different way.
I embrace them all.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yellow Roses And 1,000 Posts

Yellow Rose #1
6"x 6" oil on canvas panel $110  SOLD

It is rose season.
I managed to get two paintings
completed before the petals fell.
Thank you for sharing your
beautiful roses, Joan.

Artist Note.
I am giving myself a
pat on the back today.
This is my 1,000 post.
I had a shock when I saw
it on the sidebar.
That's a big number!

Quite a while ago I went back
 and deleted some of the
images/posts I thought were
ones I wished I had not shown.
I had gone 488 days without
missing a post, and the
quality... or lack of it
was definitely noticeable,
 and that is
the double edged sword
of "daily painting" and
posting it.

Yes - it is a marvelous way
to improve the actual craft
of painting, but the
creative side does not always
shine through under
those circumstances.
Not for me anyway.

I started to understand
that I needed
to paint every day with
an explority curiosity.
"Good" paintings did not come
out of this, but being aware
of what I liked
 and didn't like 
sure did  - and that
helped me develop
my own style

 I maintain the habit
of painting or sketching daily
Some paintings are
 definitely better than others
..just like some days
are better than others!

The enjoyment for me
is always
with the immersion
into paint and process.

Please share with me what
makes you happy about painting.
The process or the results?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Red Teapot and Van Gogh

Tea With Van Gogh
6x8" oil on canvas panel  $140.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
Good to be back painting after
being hit with a nasty virus.
I am still coughing and living
in a whirl of
tissues and nose blowing.
From now on it is fist bumps
for greetings
instead of handshakes.

A good friend came back from a
trip to Europe with a gift of two
tablecloths  - both with images of
Vincent van Gogh's work.
This one had his gorgeous"Irises" painting.
see detail below.
I have set up a couple of 
still life displays using 
the tablecloths as the background.
They are rich and exciting.

I decided to use the red teapot
to see if I could balance out
the power of the colors 
in the cloth.
The next one has fruit
in a clay bowl.
You can just see a tiny bit of it
at the right side

I started this before
Mr.blanky blankVirus
decided to form an
intimate relationship
with me and
managed to complete it today.
Yea - on the recovery road!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Market Day - and handy hints.

Market Day

6x6in oil on canvas panel  $100. SOLD

A family enjoying our award winning Farmers and Craft
Market here in sunny Las Cruces, NM

Artist Note.
This is another re-post.
This one is from three years ago.
I am recovering from a bug but thought i could pick
up some old posts with good information in them.

The monthly focus is the Figure in Landscape at the
Artist Guild this month. We are a mixed group so
to help the ones without much access to live models
I find it easy to use the tried and true "Stick Figure "
It is easy to find figures in magazines or newspapers to

use a magic marker and do the following
exercise. You can use photos you care
about by placing a piece of glass over
them and draw on it. ( I use a photo
frame piece of glass and tape the edges)
When you do a couple a day you get
used to the basic proportions of the
body - the spine, where the elbows
and knees have a joint,
and the important line of action.
(The movement angle)

I have an exercise where I draw
the stick figure in different positions and
then show how easy it is to use a simple stroke of 
the brush to make the clothes.    

First the drawings.
I spray fixative
over the charcoal
so it can be used
many times and
washed off

Add the paint
using single
strokes for arms
and pants. I paint
a stroke to a joint,
say elbow, stop,
and then start again
I press harder so
the brush gets wider
for the torso

Add all the clothes,
and background
and you have a decent
painted figure to go
into a landscape

The artists all
take turns to
paint over the
figures on this
same canvas.
They choose the
the clothes and

This is not about perfection, but it is about finding
a way to grow an understanding of the basics of placing
a figure in the painting.

The top painting was a demo starting with stick figures.

Sorry about not being able to remove the old comments.