Personal Art Blog

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

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 had a request
to repost this one from last year . 

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.


  1. Wow... thanks for this, I shall print it out :) ...and what a painting, a real stunner, you clever thing you!

    I must do something with my backgrounds, they're a waste of canvas at the moment

    1. At art school they emphasized that backgrounds are as important as the subject, but, not as noticeable. Corners were something we had to watch out for too. Thanks, sound like my hubby.
      He calls me, O'Clever One!

  2. Thank you so much for this. I love your work and seeing how you achieve that beautiful loose look is so interesting.

    1. good to know you like this, Sharon. Huge complement coming from a teacher.
      I enjoyed your post on Mary Cassett very much.

  3. This is absolutely luscious, and it was fabulous to see the steps in it's evolution. What a great instructor you are! You gave me a great lesson on the value of transparency when it comes to achieving depth and variations -- not to mention its importance in avoiding chalkiness and "dead zones" in a painting. This is something your posts frequently do, Julie. You remind me to be more conscious of my technique.

    1. What a wonderful comment, Helene, thank you.
      I am going to print it out and tape it on my easel to read when I am struggling!!

  4. Thank you for this lesson. I do enjoy your work so much!

    1. Thanks, And I REALLY enjoyed your new blog and post.

  5. This is beautiful! It is so interesting to see the underpainting and see the "bones" behind the painting. Since I don't work in oils it wouldn't be something I would do, but since I have played around with gouache a little lately it might be something I could apply to that. I know a lot of gouache painters do an underpainting too.

    1. Thank you Joan, Yes, you draw your bones and I paint mine!
      gouache is fun because you can layer so easily for added depth. You should do really well with it.

  6. I love this painting, the flowers look so fresh , a gorgeous bouquet !

  7. Dear Julie - your painting is beautiful...such a delight to see the colors you use and how you work. Oils are so different it seems from watercolors. Once one goes to dark they seem to lose their freshness even if they are not staining. Someday I must give oils a chance. Your work is always just stunning sweet friend. Have a great week. Hugs!


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