Personal Art Blog

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Experimenting With Plums



Experimenting With Plums

6x8in oil on canvas board   Not for sale

Continuing with pushing myself into trying techniques I am not
familiar with.
There is something I really like about this so I am going to keep
it for a while to see if I can repeat it.




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Friday, March 30, 2012

Cherry Blossom Study





Cherry Blossom Study

6x8in  oil on canvas board   100.

One of the members of the Guild, Sue Nichols, brought in these
beautiful cherry blossoms. They are from her fruit orchard at the
Nichols Ranch. Cherry season is just around the corner!

She included apple blossoms too, but they are still in tight buds.
She assures me they are even more beautiful than these with pink flowers.
Maybe in a couple of days I can paint them.

Artist Note.

This is the way I paint clustered small flowers to prevent "cookie cutter" edges.
Grapes are painted the same way.


First.
Basic wash of color
 Second step.

Lift out the shapes of flowers
with cloth wrapped around finger
or use a damp brush..
 Third step.

Paint the flowers in two values.
As these are white flowers
place the middle value
(which is as dark as you want to go)
for areas in shade first and then
add the light touches

Fourth step.

Refine and add the small darks.

Your own personal direction comes
in to play here.
If you enjoy fine detail you will find
the basics are already done to work into .
If you are more impressionistic
then the idea is to create the
impression of a cluster by only detailing a few.

I work the background into the outside edges of the cluster creating petal shapes..

Asking a personal favor.

If you enjoy my Artist Notes, but do not like to comment on the blog,  I would appreciate
you emailing me at

juliefordoliver@gmail.com

and let me know if you think they are worthwhile...or NOT!
They take added time, which I do enjoy, in the hope they help someone, somewhere, who does not have access to instruction.
Also, if you can offer suggestions to improve what I do, it would be appreciated .

Thank you.

Julie


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Approaching Storm



Approaching Storm

6x8in  oil on canvas board   100.

The distant mesa turns really dark when the storms pass over.
A gloomy, tonal day makes for a real change in the sunny southwest.

 Mesa means table in Spanish and it is easy to see why the flat top
of the land formations would be called that.
 What is the difference between butte, mesa or plateau? They can all have flat tops.
 check it out   I love them all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Memories of Afternoon Tea




Memories Of Afternoon Tea

6x6in oil on canvas  Not for sale.

At the memorial service for my friend, Lorraine, her daughters had beautiful
flower arrangements placed in her collection of teacups.
It was a wonderful idea and the florist did a spectacular job.
I was one of the lucky guests given one to take home.
I say lucky because it brings back special memories of our
many afternoon teas together.

Sentimental me managed to keep my corsage from the event
and brought it home.
It seemed just right to place it as a companion to the cup.

Artist Note.

The two white items were competing for the focal point
so I made them different shades of white and picked a red
background to go with the roses on the cup - making the
cup stand out more...hopefully!
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Brilliant Sunset




Brilliant Sunset.

6x8in oil on canvas board   100.

You may think nothing could appear this brilliant, but, trust me...
I even toned it down.
View of the Organ Mountains from my home in Las Cruces, N.M.  .
Painted plein air and wouldn't you know it, the wind came up
so that is real sand you can see in the sky.
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Fracturing the Vessels




Fracturing the Vessels

8x6in oil on canvas   100.

Try to keep an open mind here...if you like realism done smoothly
then I understand that this is a bit of a jolt. I did a different technique
from the same still life as yesterday's painting...minus the feather!

This one was much harder for me to do as I have not got the
technique down yet. I do think that is why I am fascinated exploring
how far I can fracture the pieces to where they still look like how
they are, but in a definitely different manner.
I played with more color in the background too. Fun!

Here is yesterday's painting so you can compare the differences.




Earlier this month I did the freesias the same way and liked those a great deal.
Flowers are easier for sure.



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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Feather



The Feather

8x6in oil on canvas board  100.

Some new little vessels to add to my collection.
Always fun to explore them in paint but I notice
how carefully I paint them until I have done them
a few times. It will be fun to see how loose I can
get and still achieve a likeness.

Artist Note.

I did not have the feather in at first  - see below -
and I felt something was missing so I went hunting
for the perfect item. Tried quite a few things.
The feather is just a simple curved shape but I think it improved it.
Do you agree?




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Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Are You Having, Fred?




What Are You Having, Fred?

8x6in oil on canvas board  100.

This was painted on the same patio as yesterday's blog image.
I had painted the empty table and then along came Fred and his
lady so I had to make major changes.
I know his name was Fred because I heard her call him that.
They are definitely visitors to the area because they sat on the sunny side
of the umbrella. We were all grabbing tables in the shade.

Artist Note.

I used a #6 bright, Silver Bristlon brush for most of this.
Carol Marine recommended this brush when I took her
(fabulous) workshop a few years ago. It produces a
square stroke. I used opposing strokes
to get the loose look. I did use a rigger to do the chairs.
Don't look too close at the chairs...they were little beggars to do.
The nameless lady had her purse on the chair so I painted
the back of the chair after I had done the purse.


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Friday, March 23, 2012

Josefina's Back Door



Josefina's Back Door.

6x8in  oil on canvas panel.  100.

In the historic town of Mesilla, New Mexico, there is an old adobe
of great interest  - especially for local artists.
The original owner was named Josefina
and the name has stuck.
The front gate is called Josefina's Gate and it is an icon.
Painted and photographed hundreds of times by many artists as well as tourists.
In recent years it has opened up as a restaurant with a lovely
patio full of character and typical New Mexican details.
The fence shown is very typical. It is called a Coyote Fence.
It is made from tree branches and I am sure as the name suggests,
it was to keep the coyote's out! Not the rattlesnakes though, they get past anything!

Below is the famous front gate




The plein air groups from Las Cruces and El Paso met at
Josefina's this morning to paint and the truck owner kindly
moved it out of the way.
By that time I had already set up at the back.

Artist Note.

I painted the house, windows and door first and then painted
the fence over them. I used a shader on its tip/edge.
Starting at the bottom I would lift the brush upwards and stop...
then lift up again, stop, repeat, to create the uneven shapes of the branches.
If I had done one swift stroke they would have looked too even.
I changed colors slightly, cooler in the shade and warmer/lighter in the sun,
but some of the branches were very grey and I painted them as such..


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Across the Field



Across The Field

8x6in oil on canvas board  100.

This is a plein air painting.
A lovely valley view across the field to a cluster of houses.

In the Mesilla Valley there is a web of irrigation ditches
which come in different sizes.
This one was not a large one but looked like the farmer had personally
extended it from his main ditch.

Artist Note.

I wanted a "high key"  painting (meaning no large darker areas)
because the light was so bright and
the only shadows were from the bushes.
I established simple shapes with color... like a jigsaw puzzle,
and then refined some places in the front.

Click on the image to enlarge and you will see interlocking shapes of color 
to suggest the houses back there, but no details such as windows or doors.
The only places I allowed myself some detail were on the front bushes.





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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mesilla Barn, New Mexico.



Mesilla Barn, New Mexico

6x8in oil on canvas panel     100.

This was obviously painted during the summer. Leaves on the trees being the first clue!

This was painted plein air with brush and the palette knife was used for the texture of the plowed soil.

I still remember very clearly how amazing the reflected blue from the sky was
as it hit the metal roof in the shadow areas.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Crumpled Paper Challenge



The Crumpled Paper Challenge

8x6in  oil on canvas board   100.

Back home again.
I  feel little bit tired today so I decided to do the Challenge. That way I would have to think of what to do.
Kim Remple came up with the new Challenge on Daily Paintworks.

Take a piece of paper, crunch it up, put it in a well-lit setting and paint! It's a great exercise to study shapes and relative values. I would suggest a plain paper in order to see value shifts more clearly, but it's up to you! I look forward to seeing all that beautiful crinkled, balled-up paper! 

For some reason I found I wanted to put some color in and the tomatoes were easy to get from the kitchen.
I try to stay true to the challenge when I do it so I did stay with the recommended plain paper.

Artist Note:

My first attempt was very photographic with no juicy paint strokes
so I scraped it off and started again.  (always good)
Most likely this was because I had been drawing, not painting, for several days in a row.
My first few attempts were pretty pathetic because I had not touched any paint for 5 days and it always takes me a few runs to get into the feel of the paint. I mixed some linseed oil in to make the paint flow better and it helped.


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Monday, March 19, 2012

1887 Steinway B



1887 Steinway B

sketch - not for sale

The house where am staying has a beautiful music area overlooking the water and this
magnificent 1887 Steinway B, is the star occupant.
My friends are both accomplished musicians so this room gets a lot of use.
They played Ava Maria for the memorial....David on the flute, Kate on the piano.
It was a magical and very moving moment.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunset Over the Inlet.



Sunset

oil on canvas   SOLD


I am having to pick up an older piece as my cameras is not working. I did draw today and will post it later.

Sun going down over the bank of clouds which seem to
hover over the bay. I painted this from a photo I took two years ago...the last time I was here.

I leave New Hampshire tomorrow. We had beautiful weather today so we sat out in the garden, laughing and talking...a little bit of teary eyes, but all is well in the world.
I am so glad I came.
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Commission for a Friend.



Commission for a Friend.

Egg tempera 10x8in  SOLD

I was asked to do this painting by the sister of my friend, whose memorial
celebration I am out here to attend.
She asked for a rose to symbolize her sister, Lorraine, so I painted a beautiful one
in full bloom but partly in shadow because she lived with the shadow of cancer
over her for the last 20 years. She never gave up and she made the most of ever
year she had...taking a trip to Russia a few months before she passed.
She was a fighter for sure.
The shawl was asked for too because it is the one I paint a lot and Lorraine loved it.

Artist Note:

Egg tempera is a wonderful medium.  The oldest one after encaustic.
For those who do not know it, the same dry pigments
are used for oils, watercolor and acrylics.
It is the binder which is different.
The yolk of an egg replaces the
 gum of Arabic for watercolor, oil for the oil paint
and the polymer for acrylics.
The colors are uniquely beautiful and egg tempera paintings have stood the
test of time... from Ancient times.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Meet Master Hershey Murray!



Meet Master Hershey Murray!

pencil sketch   NFS

Still in New Hampshire.

I arrived at my friend's house to find the most adorable puppy
I have ever seen. He is a Havanese and is 10 weeks old.
The colors in his coat are gorgeous. He is subtle shades of white, taupe
and browns. His ears are amazing - they go out sideways.
Amazing to me because I have a Blue Heeler with ears which stay standing
straight up and they make her look like she is always listening...which she does!
These are my first attempts at sketching Hershey.
Easier to do when he actually fell asleep and stopped moving,
see the one on bottom right... that is the one most like him.

I am using my phone camera to take the images while I am here so the quality
is not great. Sorry!
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

View from my Window in New Hampshire



View From My Window

sketch on craft paper  NFS

I am a guest in a beautiful home in New Castle, N.H.
This is the view from my bedroom window...looking over
the water to Portsmouth, N.H. It is really beautiful.
The tide comes in and out so the view is constantly changing.
I find I am completely absorbed with the different lighting conditions
and could sit by this window all day.

I am here for the memorial celebration of my dear friend,
Lorraine Gaire who died just before Christmas.
(I wrote a tribute to her on December 23rd on my blog.)
It will be an emotional but healing time with my American family.

Artist Note:

I knew it would be a busy time so I brought some paper and pencils
to do drawings instead of paintings. I did this one this morning.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Experimental Fracturing.





Experimental Fracturing.

6x8in  oil on canvas board   100.

The third painting of these amazing freesias.

Artist Note:

Same flowers, same arrangement but trying for an abstract.
I painted them first in my normal, direct method and then took my
palette knife to break up the structure. It came and went several times,
but I enjoyed seeing what happened with each attempt.
I found I was making a focal area with a couple of the white freesia
by adding a little more definition...but I liked it and kept it in.

The three of these freesia paintings were all demos for the class.
Each painting had its own group of supporters but this one
received the most interest.


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Different Way



A Different Way

8x6in   oil on canvas panel  100.

Continuing to paint the gorgeous freesias.


Artist Note:

This is from the same set up as yesterday, but painted
on white, oil primed linen. I chose a more contemporary
viewpoint and expressive painting technique to take advantage
of the qualities that oil primed linen offers.
If you click on the image to enlarge it you can see how freely
the strokes and paint are applied.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Linking the White





Linking the White

8x6in  oil on canvas panel  100.

We really enjoyed our friends visiting from Albuquerque this
past weekend...especially as I was given a few bunches of
freesia's from Trader Joes.
They are stunning with both purple and white flowers.
Thank you Pam and Adrienne!

Artist Note:

This was a demo for this morning's class.
Whenever flowers are the extreme opposite in value
you have to give some thought to how they are arranged.
It is easy to end up with a dark, light, dark, light polka dot pattern.
After deciding that I wanted to have the white flowers link together
I placed them in an arc and then carefully made sure that
different values were behind them for a more impressionistic
painting.
This was painted on a peach color base and the color is
peeking through.






Here are the Freesias.

Tomorrow I will be showing a different painting approach of the same subject
and then on Wednesday I will be going a lot more abstract with it.
Fun... for me anyway!




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