Personal Art Blog

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

Violet Time

Violet Time
9"x12" oil on  raymar panel
(Not sure it is finished)

Artist Note.

I was at the garden center
and walked into a room which had a table
full of all colors of African Violets.
Gorgeous... I knew I wanted to paint
them so I bought a few pots.

You are all sharing my journey
into fracturing in new ways.
I have to be open about it because
It takes a long time to develop
something so it becomes 
completely natural. 
 and you would forget me.

It takes a lot questioning,
 asking if ..."I like that" 
or "I don't like that"
 most importantly...
understanding the " why " of the answers.
In the violet painting, for example,
there are two areas I am not sure about.
Be good to mull it over.

I have found TIME is the only way
to discover if it is
possible to incorporate
something new
into what is already a natural technique.


I am not sure that trying to paint
small flowers at this stage of
experimenting was smart because
it was very frustrating.
Put them in - take 'em off
repeat... until feeling quite inept.

I have signed it but am not sure
until I have
lived with it for a while
if it is going to
survive.
Or ...come to think of it...if I will either!
only kiddin'





Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Crape Myrtle Bouquet


Crape Myrtle Bouquet
8"x 8" Raymar canvas panel $200.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
The Crape Myrtle trees are blooming like crazy
just a few steps outside my studio.  
Loaded with blooms they are so beautiful.

How fortunate to be in a downtown which
has flowering trees. 

You can see my experiments with
fracturing the paint and mark making 
are still continuing. 
It is an interesting process.
Bit by bit I am taking note of what 
I respond to and in what way...
positive or negative. 
I have no idea how it will all end up
but I am enjoying the freedom
and interest.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Clouds & Sunshine

Clouds & Sunshine
6"x 6"oil on Ray-mar panel  $110.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note

A small plein air painting.

We are focusing on color and values
in class this month so I wanted to 
jog my memory a bit on the difference
between painting from a photo
and getting out and seeing it.

Shadows are MUCH lighter
and transparent outdoors 
but look darker on a photo.

Verticals are always darker than horizontals
(The same color will be darker as a vertical
when light source is above)
...and the distant, horizontal ground
is the lightest area after the light on the clouds.

We all see color differently and I like to
punch up the actual colors I see
so below is the plein air painting
and you can see how it started
with a strong light dark pattern
of neutral colors...


I know some of you will prefer it
one way over the other
and that is why it is important to paint
what YOU like best for yourself.
Personally...
I love a bit of color

Enjoy your weekend
and thanks for visiting.




Thursday, August 8, 2019

Cloudcroft, Aspens, NM.

 Cloudcroft Aspens
8"x 6" canvas
 Mounted on 10"x 8" painted board  $160.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
When I was in gorgeous, Cloudcroft N.M.
earlier this summer, I had chance to really
absorb the details of aspen trees.
(I almost called this painting Crooked Aspen
but thought twice about it!!!)
I was fascinated how some grew tall and straight
but others would take a foot or two one way
and then a foot or two a different way.
I wonder why...and if anyone knows
please let me know.

Anyway, I knew I wanted to paint the trees
but with more of my exploration
into the different fracturing and mark making.
How busy could I get without losing the
forest for the trees?

This one is quite contemporary
with a different color palette for me.
Loved doing it and I have a small series going.

...and while I am experimenting...

I had a lady complain that my regular
6x8 paintings were hard to frame 
because it was not a regular size.
Here I have glued the canvas onto
a painted Masonite panel, the
same as I usually do but this time
it is a larger board so I took the paint out
over the edges and rather like
how it looks 
It will slip easily into any frame of your choice

I have a frame I like it in Sorry not quite straight.





Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Raven’s Nest

The Raven’s Nest 
8”x10” cradled panel  $225.  
Purchase HERE
A floater frame is available for this piece. 


Artist Note
This one is an experiment in
mark making. I enjoyed the freedom
of just feeling the paint, 
moving it around and not 
trying for anything other 
than the pleasure of discovery

The summer is almost over 
and classes 
begin next week. 
I am looking forward to seeing 
all the artists back in their 
happy place of doing something 
just for themselves. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

White Raven

White Raven
8"x8" Raymar square panel $200.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note. 
As we are not allowed to copy any image
 off the internet, I took a photo of the 
White Ravens
from a video when it was playing.
I am sure you understand that 
it was not crystal sharp so 
this painting was difficult to do.
I abstracted the background and that was fun.
Pleased I managed to get 
something I like.

Still experimenting with the 
different fracturing techniques 
and that keeps me from
stabbing myself with my knife when I 
want to pack it all in!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Grace’s Warbler


Grace's Warbler
6"x6" oil on raymar panel $125.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
Such a pretty little bird 
and the first time
I saw one, my heart skipped a beat.

They live high up in pine trees 
so you have to be on a cliff
or something high to usually see them.
But guess what...
I saw this little family down 
by the ground at a lake we have
just an hour away, enjoying a bath.

If not for the bright yellow, 
you would never see them 
as their blue gray feathers 
match the color of the sky 
peeking between the pine needles.

I tried to get that feeling of camouflage
in this little square..

Monday, July 22, 2019

Roosting Dove

Roosting Dove
6"x 6" oil on raymar panel $125.SOLD. 

Artist Note
I will be doing birds, nests and related
things until I can get this 
new extension of the 
fracturing technique down.
Experimenting is much easier with
subject matter you know and love.

The white dove is a positive symbol
of kindness, peace and forgiveness
Cannot go wrong with painting 
them so another 
one is bound to end up in the mix.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Western Tanager

Western Tanager
8"x8" oil on Raymar panel $200. SOLD

Artist Note
Isn't nature a marvel? 
The different colors in the avian world
always surprise and delight me...
and I do not live in a tropical place.
This is from a trip to beautiful
Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
Less than a two hour drive from Las Cruces 
and up to an elevation of 9,000ft.
MUCH COOLER temps!

My technique causes a quandary
when  I paint something with 
important details like a bird. 
In my former life as an illustrator
it would be easy to paint every feather,
but I do not want to paint like that anymore
(- in fact it is now impossible.)
So getting the impression 
of a bird in its natural habitat 
requires "suggested" imagery.
Something which I find harder 
but more engrossing to capture.

This from a photo my hostess took.
The nest was not in it...
just a personal love I have for the nests.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bluebird Of Happiness


Bluebird Of Happiness
6"x 6" oil on gallery wrapped canvas  $135.SOLD


Artist Note
I am so happy, happy to be painting birds,
nests, feathers and eggs.
What could be more appropriate than the 
Bluebird of Happiness!

Painted on a wrapped canvas 
which I do not usually use. 
The sides are painted a dark blue


If interested in the origins of the 
"Happiness" part
 here is a link to a safe site



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay
8”x6” oil on Raymar board
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
A visit to Cloudcroft, NM, (9,000ft)
 for a few days last month,
provided the pleasure of seeing
many wonderful Jays.
They flitted between the trees showing off
flashes of their beautiful, blue colors.

Jays love peanuts in the shell
and our host would place them on the deck rail.
They would actually pick and choose,
putting back down ones they didn't want.
It was fun watching them .

I have decided to do a  short "bird series"
and it is helping me get back in the flow and my block.

Due to my painting technique, exact detail
is pretty impossible.  I try for the essence or impression .

I am explaining this because
I have a serious birder who follows my blog.
He posts the most incredible images
taken by Miriam Bauman
I am hooked on his blog and through it  have traveled
and seen the most interesting
and awesome places/things/birds.

Check out his amazing blog link below
if you are a nature lover.

David M. Gascoigne





Monday, July 15, 2019

Anemones

 Anemones. 
11x 14. Oil on ray-mar panel Sold 

Artist Note
A friend heard me 
struggle through my block 
and came to the studio as 
this one was developing. 
She said she liked it. 
When it hit the gallery walls 
she bought it. 

 Happy dance!!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Two Blues

Two Blues
6x6 inch oil on Raymar panel $125 SOLD

Artist Note
I was invited to go to an
artist friend's house to plein air
paint his beautifully blooming plants
and guess what I found I wanted to paint.
Surprise, surprise...a turquoise chair!
(Anyone who knows my work 
will understand.)


He had mixed varying colors
of blue plant containers ranging from
cobalt, teal and turquoise
and it made a stunning display
of surprising harmony.
Very exciting to the eye and heart.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Water Jug

The Water Jug
8"x10" oil on linen mounted on panel $225.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
A cause for celebration....
I finished a painting without
scraping it off!

It has been a bummer of a summer 
as far as my painting block goes.
I tried all suggested solutions.
I have enjoyed a couple of trips and not 
having to be in my studio quite as early.
I guess it just takes time.

The 4 week online tutorial I paid so much for 
has not been staying on my computer. 
Cannot find the darned thing.
I have only done two segments 
and cannot get the other two.

The second segment is on automatic
writing/mark making.
That influenced some of the marks here.
I kept doing the spiral of  life
with the charcoal.

It is the first online I have ever done so 
maybe I am doing something wrong.
I am going to persist because I think it is well 
thought out and has been excellent in the 
first two segments.
Will let you know when I know.

I continue to post new and older works
on Instagram where my following
far exceeds Facebook.
Weird when it is the same paintings.
It is also far easier to be able
to reply to their comments
and that adds up - time wise.
My instagram is
juliefordoliverart.

I still post here first though.
Enjoy your week and thank you
for following my blog.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Twin Waterfalls

Twin Waterfalls
8"x 6" oil on Raymar board $150. SOLD


Artist Note
Inspired by sketches from a trip to 
Yellowstone National Park.

Personal Note
I have been going through a severe 
artist block.
I turned for help to Carol Marine's wonderful book
Daily Painting
where she has a whole section on it.
 Although I related 
and was inspired by those who shared
their own experiences, I find I am still in it.
It is a horrible place to be.
I do not have any hobbies
so I cannot turn to anything
else with the same focus 

I am still turning up daily at the studio.
I am faithful doing a journal.
I am experimenting with different media
-which is supposed to be fun.
and
I have paid a considerable amount
for an online course which
helps one evaluate their
individual purpose
in life and with their art-path

It was developed by an artist /psychiatrist
(which gives me some confidence.)
I will share if I find it is really helpful.

Hopefully I will be successful
and get back to doing what I love most.

Stay tuned...

Monday, May 13, 2019

Farmers Market Series - Yellow Hat.




Yellow Hat
6"x8" oil on canvas board $150.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
The yellow hat caught my eye.
AND...
yes...we allow dogs
 at our Farmers Market.

The market is getting full
of all kinds of goodies.
This week I bought
 lush red and yellow peppers
and other
wonderful veggies.

Passing on some info I was told
when I got the peppers.

Did you know that the female
pepper is sweeter than the male?
And... did you know that the female
pepper has three or four
distinct bumps
on its bottom where the male
 has two and is flatter?
You can see the top peppers
(which are upside down)
have clearly defined bumps
on their bottoms.

Okay friends, I had already published the
above about the male/female peppers
but
A nagging fact-finding vibe
kept coming into my mind
so I Googled it...
Sheesh...it is
NOT TRUE!

 Yes, there are four bumps
and three flatter bump types
but it has nothing to do with gender.
Apparently there are no gender
differences and the
sweetness depends on the soil!!


Thursday, May 9, 2019

White Flowers And Porcelain


White Flowers And Porcelain
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel $120.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
This was a demo for one of the 
Artist Guild classes.

It is the last month 
of the Guild sessions until August
and we are doing a refresher 
of everything which has 
been  reviewed this semester.

I started this painting with a 
 dark transparent paint
 covering 
the board 
and then I lifted off
the lighter design with a rag.
This exposes the white 
of the canvas. 
To make the main flower shape
 whiter I used a brush 
dipped in Gamsol to totally
lift off the underpainting.

I find it pretty easy to gradually 
build up  the shapes with
layers of color making sure 
only one or two flowers 
are a tad realistic and the rest 
just abstract suggestions of color.

Maybe this is the easiest way of all
for floral still life paintings.
I bet most of you have tried it. 
What do you think?


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sunning!


Sunning.
8"x 6" oil on Raymar panel $150. SOLD

This is part of an small adobe
house in the Upper valley area
of El Paso, Texas.
It is very old and once housed the
seasonal farm workers
for the large farm it is on.
It looks abandoned...
I guess machines
now do all the work .

Cats were everywhere!
They were very peaceful
and there was not a skinny one
to be seen.
There must be a treasure trove of
field mice around!



Sunday, April 28, 2019

Light and Shade

Light and Shade
8"x6" oil on Raymar board  $150.
Purchase Sold

Artist Note.
Yes...
another New Mexico Gate.
They somehow reach right into my heart 
and grab it. 
I truly get an emotional response 
of pleasure when I see one.

I like to paint beautiful things.
No room for angst in my painting world.
How about you - do you feel the same?
I am pretty sure the answer is yes
 from what I see you all do. 



Thursday, April 25, 2019

Lilacs At The Nichols Ranch, New Mexico.

Lilacs At The Nichols Ranch, NM
8"x 6" oil on Raymar panel $150.
Purchase Sold

Artist Note.
I went painting...
An artist who belongs to the guild,
Sue Nichols,
lives on a beautiful ranch 
which has been in her husbands family
for well over a hundred years. 
It is one of the places 
where you can go 
and pick your own fruit if 
you want to.

I was invited to go and paint 
the fruit orchards in bloom.
 I wish you could
have been there to see the glorious
Cherry
Apple
Peach,
Apricot
 orchards finishing or starting to bloom

At the end of a fun painting day 
I saw the late sun
catching the lilac bush.
All I can say it was magical
and totally 
impossible to capture its 
true beauty.
Loved doing this piece though.

Take a look at some of the 
many gorgeous views 
They have a big Cherry festival
coming up in June. Fun for the whole family.
I cannot wait!

Sue paints her environment
A coupled of painting she has done.
Of all the cow paintings out there'
this is from direct observation - the real deal!
Coming To Water.  oil. Sue Nichols.
Windmill And Sunset. oil Sue Nichols
and if that is not enough
Sue does beautiful Stained glass work.
Stained Glass Screen.  Sue Nichols

And here is this busy woman digging
holes for new cherry trees...
the old fashioned way.
She also bakes and makes the BEST pies ever!

Thanks for the great painting day, Sue.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Roses Are In Bloom

Roses In Bloom
8"x6" Oil on Raymar board  $150.
Purchase Sold

It is wonderful when the roses bloom
for the first time in a new year.
My home has an abundance 
of these beautiful roses growing
along a fence.

I have so many containers to choose from
so I decided on a color harmony first,
where the roses would be the secondary color
and pop out a bit more.


Here you can see I used a warm light bulb
but I changed it to a cool light
and liked it better. 
Maybe due to all the blues 
and greens I had. The blues 
in the warm light can take over.
It made the warm color of the roses way too hot
competing with the aqua glaze of the pot.
I had to remember 
the roses had the starring role.


Although I gave up teaching workshops
I still teach regular weekly art classes 
at the Artist Guild, here in Las Cruces.
This is a group hard at work.
I couldn't show all of them
from this angle but you can get the drift.
They love painting so much
that some drive
for over an hour, one way, to come
 Not only that, this group brings 
amazing munchies!

Every group has a different energy
I love teaching.
I am blessed.

After saying that...
I know they
they will look at this with
a critical eye regarding this month's focus.
So this is for them.
Every quarter is different
as are the outer edges.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Snow in Spring


Snow in Spring
8"x 6" oil on canvas panel $150. SOLD. 

Artist Note
This actually is a place in 
Northern New Mexico.
The trees were popping out in that 
lovely fresh green and about 7pm,
winter came back.
This is from a photo I took in the car.
No plein air painting for this 
smart lady!


Friday, March 29, 2019

white tulips

White Tulips
8x6 inches oil on Raymar board $150.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.
I have been painting all the spring flowers
and loving every moment of it.
Anyone else doing it?

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Poets Daffodil


The Poets Daffodil-  Narcissus 

6x6 inches oil on canvas panel $120.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note.

A friend gave me these from her garden.
I was really captivated by the red rim
around the yellow center.
I started off by placing the vase
outside in a bunch of weeds -
just to see the color the white petals
turned with the blue sky 
casting its color down on them. 
I made a few color notes 
then I came back inside
and finished it off with a warm spotlight
imitating the sun.

Have you ever placed a piece of white paper
in the shadow area outside?
It has to be where the sky is directly overhead.
It is AMAZING how blue the paper becomes.
Better still, try placing it half in shadow 
and half in the sunshine...wowzer!

The name The Poets Daffodil - Narcissus
is very appealing. The legend and history
I found interesting. If you have time
see link below
more on Poets flower.



Saturday, March 16, 2019

Santa fe Adobe

Santa Fe Adobe
8x6" oil on canvas panel $150.  SOLD


Artist Note
I started this plein air last year 
and finished it off in the
studio recently
when I discovered it at the bottom
of my plein air carrying box!

What more could I want...
an adobe home with a blue gate
- the subjects I love.

These people must get a lot of mail. 
This has a sturdy post and big box.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Tulip Pleasure

Tulip Pleasure
8x6in oil on canvas panel $150.SOLD


Artist Note.
I love to paint the flowers that are in season
and at the moment that
means Daffodils and Tulips.
I bought these tulips into the
studio for a fellow guild member
who loves tulips.
She has taught me
a lot of neat things about them
like...
they move all the time...
and they can grow extra petals!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Market Day.

Market Day
6x6in oil on gallery wrap canvas  Gifted

Artist Note

I never seem to tire of doing the market paintings.

I am fortunate that the 
Las Cruces Farmers Market
happens twice a week...
 and it is right outside the building 
my studio is in.

In the cold weather - yes, we do get cold weather,
especially early in the mornings - I use a camera 
and then pick the elements I like to 
sketch a few compositions in my sketch book.
By the time I do that the painting is well and truly
in my head.


This is a gift for a friend.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Blue Gate

 Blue Gate
8x6in oil on panel SOLD

Artist Note
This certainly is a tried and true painting.
I wonder how many blue gates 
I have painted?

It is a genuine love affair...
They always sell but that is not 
why I paint them. I see them
 and there is a tug in my art-heart.

I have never been attracted to a 
brand new, 
smooth as can be, perfect blue gate.
I feel the pull of the slightly askew,
weathered ones with texture galore.

The sun out here is brutal on any
wood and  paint 
so lots of my type are around.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Watering The Glads, Vermeer and a series of changes

Watering The Glads
8"x6" oil on canvas panel


Artist Note
This is the second in the 
month-long focus of 
painting the figure
inspired by, but not copying,
 a famous painting

This one is inspired by
The Milkmaid
by
Johannes Vermeer.
The position is what I am after.
I saw this painting a long time ago
and the milk coming out of the jug
blew me away.

This was the start -
a demo for the class.
First, a sketchy start
 from an image in my mind
of my daughter watering her Gladiolus.
Next 
some interesting changes...
Someone asked what she would be like
if she had a fuller figure... like
Vermeer's woman.
I scraped it down leaving a ghost
and started to paint.
adding some weight on her,
I altered the hat, added
more paint everywhere
and developed the watering can.
Remember this is a demo.
Group opinions!
And then the next remark was
what would happen if I
had a white dress and darker background
Unfortunately, I did not photograph
that one so please pretend the one below
had a white dress first.
Verdict...much to stark
 even though I loved the
colors of her dress in shadow
I went back to the warm
 color harmony but the dark
background changed the light.
Sheesh - all under the scrutiny of
The guild members.
By this time I could have
thrown it out of the window...
except for no window in the studio!

So I scraped it off again and did a sketch
Me in my apron!
and that is what led to this painting
All inspired by Vermeer's Milkmaid.
Guess what...
I scraped this off!

Sorry I did it now, but for some reason
the receding hairline on the woman in
Vermeer's painting fascinated me 
and after class
 when everyone had left
I scraped it off and 
painted this on the same board.

 What did I learn from all these changes?
Lots. 
I did better when I posed myself
in front of the mirror and drew
a value sketch.
(More contemporary.)
Knowing the color harmony
ahead and sticking with it
would have helped and although
coping the idea of a pose from a
master painting
is a great learning experience,
it is not as easy as it sounds.
One thing remained constant
during all these changes...
and that was what blew me away
after seeing the original.
Did you notice it?




Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Knitter

The Knitter
8”x6”   Oil on canvas panel. $150.
SOLD

Artist Note

The figure is the focus
this month at the Artist Guild.
We started off building
from the stick figure
for the first week, moving into
incorporating the figure
in a painting inspired
by another artist’s work.

The one below on the left
is by Norman Rockwell.
I know it is
totally different from how I paint
but that is one of the goals -
to look
for inspiration
and not an exact copy.

I liked the position of the woman
at her task and the chest behind.

I have memories of my
mother knitting most evenings
and that influenced
a lot of my version. 
Without showing them 
side by side
would you have ever have guessed
the source of
my inspiration?