Personal Art Blog

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

Thursday, May 7, 2020

abstracted waterfall


Abstracted Waterfall
6"x8" oil on canvas panel $150.
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
This was inspired by the same photo 
as shown on previous post, 
but approached 
in an entirely different way.
First...
I zoomed in on a smaller area of the photo
and let my imagination create the shapes
plus a different color harmony.

Play and Discovery

This was a lot of fun.

It became all about the process
because I was not worried about 
making it exactly like the photo.. 

I made notes of what I liked,
 technique wise,
and equally important...
did not like. 
I will repeat in another painting 
the parts of what I liked and maybe
it will be as enjoyable as this 
one was to paint..

Stay Safe everyone

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Rushing Water


Rushing Water
6"x8" oil on panel $150
Purchase HERE

Artist Note
When the guild classes were stopped 
in  March due to c-virus,
 I still owed the painters a lesson
so I gave some thought to what 
would be the most useful and guess what...
Absolutely...
Hands down...
THE Number one problem...
is watching artists
 trying to paint from a photo 
EXACTLY what  they see 
without doing a few 

The typical problems are 

VALUE
&
COMPOSITION

This is the original photo which I used for the painting.
As an Impressionist I had to add 
the colors I clearly remember seeing 
Water is full of colors
 in the sunshine and 
also reflects the sky. 



The dark values appear way too dark  
as we know shadows are transparent...
but notice how the tops of the rocks 
are not only competing with the value of the water
but tend to lead the eye out of the pic.


Below is how I check if the composition works.
I like to use 
"every quarter should be different" 
a very useful way to prevent matchy-matchy areas.
At the same time I mark off the center to help me 
remember to have a circle of the interest 
right in the middle. 


When I first became aware of art workshops 
in the 90's, I went to a 
few of the really good painters.
Ovanis Berbarian, for florals.
Dan Gerhart for figure.
Michael Lynch for landscapes.
plus
Richard Schmid, Burt Silverman - demos at ASL

They ALL said "paint what you SEE."
Trouble is... I didn't SEE what they did.
I had to learn.

But, hey, they too had to learn to "see."
I went back and found their early work 
and it was heartwarming to find
when they first started they made 
the same mistakes as all of us.

Time and learning are what make the difference.
Remember, shadows are transparent. 
If you are painting plein air 
you can see into the shadows very clearly
but a photo can make them way too dark.

Look above at original photo. 
I took this in Yellowstone
and I could see into those dark areas
and clearly "see' everything, 
all the bushes, stones and trees
surrounding this gushing stream. 
You cannot make any of those 
out in the photo

Sunsets are the worst offenders.
The ground is never as dark at sunset
as the photo makes them. 
I now take two pics - one of the sun setting 
and one of the ground. 
But logically, when you look how 
light the sky still is overhead, you know
it cannot be really dark on the ground.

The sky can look waaaay too dark 
in a poor photo. Usually it produces a
strong cyan blue - especially at the top, 
whereas it is actually
 more of a cobalt or ultramarine.
Take the photo to a window 
and look halfway up in the sky
to compare,
 and then down at the pic.
You will see it. 
The blue sky overhead is not what
you paint. 

Shadows are not the same gray 
over everything they travel.

A LIGHT COLOR IN SHADOW
BECOMES MORE OF A MIDDLE VALUE

A middle color value goes 
deeper in shadow BUT not as dark as

A DARK COLORS IN SHADOW 

The reverse is true in the light. 
BLACK MOVES TO A  MIDDLE VALUE
IN THE LIGHT and even lighter in some cases.

Remember the ABSENCE of light is the darkest
area. Underneath bushes, rocks or in still life 
it is the line you see under the object.

Strong sun bleaches out color.

If you cannot paint plein air
then the next best way is to paint from 
a monitor of some kind. 
Even then you sometimes have to lighten
the darks to see into them.

But if you have a stash of old pics
(like I do)
which inspire you to paint them 
then I hope these hints help.

If you are a decorative or abstract painter 
none of the above applies.
In my next post I will demo a abstract version.
Cheers everyone. Thank you for staying until the end.
Stay safe.




Saturday, April 25, 2020

Pink Waterlilies


Pink Water Lilies
6"x8"oil on paper  Gifted

Artist Note
I have noticed that during 
unsettled periods of time
I turn to a group of favorite subjects.
It helps me to feel grounded.

These are strange times for all of us.

Before the C-Virus was even around
I began to realise that my husband 
would be needing me at home more
and started a plan to stop teaching. 

It was not an easy decision 
because I really enjoyed being with
a fabulous group of painters
who were invigorating 
and fun to be around.

Anyway my teaching career 
ended abruptly with no party,
no relaxed farewells...
just fast packing-up against a 
Governor's timeline
to get enough art stuff together
to create a studio at home.
Made it!

For those who have followed my blog
for a while, may remember 
that two years ago we moved
into  a retirement community

It has been a great move but our apartment is 
rather small. Fortunately my hubby was
willing to move our king bed 
into the small office
and now his desk and my easel are 
perfectly at ease next to each other
7 x 12 feet each.
But I get the window!

I have also discovered a way to stop people 
falling out of bed... only have a foot clearance.
You wedge before you hit the ground!!

I am not back into the painting flow yet.
I do have work up on the easel
and I go and piddle on it
but with no verve.
The waterlily painting had already
been started
and I finished it here at home
...so it is a start.
I do have a couple in the works though,
a clematis and an iris painting,
both started in the garden. 
Flowers - more comfort!

Times are strange - I have never been idle
in my life. 
I feel I should be helping somewhere,
 maybe at the hospital
but hubby has a severe health problem
and that is impossible to do.

There must be many people like me 
who all of a sudden are at home
and feeling really weird.

My heart goes out to all the families 
who have lost their loved ones,
and a very grateful "thank you" to
the many, many HEROES.

Their steadfast commitment to 
help others in need
no matter what danger to themselves.
Then there are the ones we don't 
readily think about.
Like the janitors who clean the hospitals,
the kitchen staff who produce 
and deliver the meals, etc. 
They are heros too.

I am grateful to live in a country
with so many wonderful people.
Blessings to you all.
Stay Safe... 










Saturday, February 29, 2020

Sunrise Over The Rio Grande



Sunrise Over The Rio Grande
9"x12" oil on Raymar panel   $250. SOLD

Artist Note
Finally, getting a painting done 
and it took a breathtaking sunrise
to remind me that I could still grab
my paints while the memory was still fresh.

Not getting as much personal studio time
since my hubby's surgery.
He is doing fine...its me who worries!

Hope you are all well and happy 
and I want you all to keep that way.
Sending Blessings and thank you for 
following my blog.


Friday, January 31, 2020

The Pincushion


 The Pincushion
6'"x 8" oil on canvas panel $150.  SOLD


Artist Note
This was a fun guild project.
The pincushion lesson wrapped up 
a busy month of reviewing
Shapes, Values and the Principles of Light.

We started with SEEING the simple 
base shapes in everything  
For a mushroom it would be 
the shape of
half a ball, ellipse, and cylinder stem.

Everything painted from life.

Drawing first on gray paper 
with white and black charcoal pencils.

Finding how the light gives it the 
volume and values.

Next we did the white tulip.
A rectangle or cylinder -
both worked.

The emphasis was also on
the principle of how...

White in the Shadow 
moves into a middle value
AND
Black in the Light 
moves to a middle value.

This was a black container
set on middle value gray paper.
The light hitting the top
was a similar value to the 
middle gray behind it.
(I deliberately made the area between
the bottom handle lighter to show
how light white would go.)

I find this is the hardest principle for
most artists I teach to grasp.
It is very hard for ME
 to get it exactly correct.
I have to " intellectually" do it because 
as 
I am looking... 
my mind says 
black is black!
White is white
LOL. they sure ain't!
Like an apple is not always RED!

Anyway, after having 3 weeks of  that 
it was fun to going into bright color. 
Same simple shapes...ball 
(a bit squished) and cylinder.
plus single light source.

Everyone did a great job and I have 
several of these demos to enjoy finishing.

Enjoy a peaceful time in your studio...
or happy place!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Stacked Lemons


Stacked Lemons
8"x 8" oil on canvas board  SOLD

Artist Note
These lemons were fresh when I started 
and rather shriveled by the time I finished.
Doesn't matter...I still enjoyed time
with the paint!

I remember doing a whole series
with lemons
a few years ago
and some of them were very difficult.
Guess what...they are still not easy.
Interesting how painting is like that.

Enjoy a wonderful week.



Friday, January 10, 2020

The Original Feather Comforter!



Original Down Comforter
24'x24" oil on Gallery Wrap canvas. Sold

Artist Note
This is a painting full of 
painting love, frustration, then
back to love.
It is one of the hardest nests 
I have ever painted
and I have done hundreds.

Did you know that is is the early egg laying
birds who use feathers to
keep the eggs from getting cold?
Mother Nature thought of everything!

Obviously, it was the influence for the title.
An friend's husband came up with it.
(Thank you Carlos.)

My first efforts were fast and painterly.
I liked it.
But it did not describe the nest and 
all the careful work the birds 
had put into it. 


Out of all of that work I had to make some sense of order.

24"x 24" is large for me
 and it has taken a long time to paint.
I did take my time and tried to capture
the different textures and subtle colors.
Not easy for an impressionist
who loves color so there are delightful 
spots of color here and there.

The person who found the nest 
after a huge wind storm gave it to me
but did not know what type of bird made it.
Neither do I, plus it is the first one 
I have seen of its kind.

 The young lady who bought it
had seen it in progress on a visit 
to my studio and it "spoke to her heart."
When I emailed her a pic of the 
finished painting... 
she wanted it.
And that made me very happy....
going to a home where it will be loved.