Thursday, September 14, 2017

Daily Painting: Frequent Practice is Essential for Mastery

Don't let anything get in the way of your daily art practice!
As a born perfectionist and over thinker, I am not really a huge "doer" when compared to some people. Despite being a quick start, I tend to avoid finishing projects in favour of a shiny new project or idea. Also, my preferred method is to mull things over until I feel like I have everything figured out in order to to avoid nasty mistakes. 

Malcolm Gladwell talked about the need for 10,000 hours of practice to master anything. Some disagree with that number and I would say that it is important to have a lot of focused practice, not just putting in the hours. That may involve taking classes, reading books, watching demos and working on specific tasks to improve where you are weak. Plein air outdoor painting, for instance is a great challenge to take on that will help you quickly nail values and colour in your work. Working from life in the studio is a valuable practice as well, for many of the same reasons, but a little easier since you can control your lighting.

If you want a scientific study to prove the conjecture that producing more work is better than trying to just complete one masterpiece, this quote from the book, Art and Fear, is enlightening:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A".

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
The more paintings you have done, the more experience you have gained and as you progress you will find that quality springs from quantity. The more often you create, the better you become at your chosen vocation. Fortunately, over time I have managed to put in a lot of hours and a lot of study, despite myself and can now see the value in having a consistent, regular art practice with focused attention to areas that need work. 

Creating art on a daily basis can be a real life challenge for many of us, whether it is kids, a necessary job that pays the bills, health problems that cause endless appointments or family responsibilities that get in the way. Many of these are an ongoing struggle for me, so I empathize with others who may have even more challenging circumstances. So, how can we possibly have a daily art practice?

One of the best ways to improve quickly and feel more comfortable is to work small - in this way you can incorporate all the elements of a bigger painting - composition, colour, value, texture, big shapes and, most importantly, confidence! Then you can go on to apply the lessons learned to larger pieces.

All this is not to say that there is no value in "book learning" or studying the work of master painters, but there is no substitute for the daily grind of going to your room (as the late Robert Genn recommended) and doing your work.

* photo obviously not mine - can't find the origin to credit, so if anyone knows, please let me know!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Charcoal Portrait Drawing Young Girl - How to Loosen Up Your Drawing!


If you want to loosen up your drawing, I would highly recommend vine charcoal and a reckless disregard for detail when you begin - as you proceed you can tighten up some areas (which is kind of necessary for portraiture) so the person is recognizable but try to see in masses of light and shadow, look for shapes, not features.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Sport - Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 Challenge September 2017




It is once again September, and that means the 30 in 30 Challenge for Artists Helping Artists has begun.

This time, knowing myself, I am just going to post when I can, as I have a very busy couple of months ahead with teaching and a solo show coming up. I will be working on various projects, some of which will be impossible to complete in a day. So, I may be sharing some works in progress.

We all have our own inherent style, similar to our handwriting, but for many of us, that tends to evolve into a looser version once we become more comfortable with how to paint. I know from working with dozens of master artists that there is no "one way" to do things. I also know that the fastest route to artistic growth is a daily practice that includes drawing and painting.

I finally finished this painting of a cute puppy named Sport, who lives with Leslie Saeta, the founder of the above-mentioned challenge as well as the online radio show, "Artists Helping Artists".  Don't you just love those big puppy paws?

I have made sure to incorporate value massing in this painting so the dog stands out. If you squint at the painting you will see that everything in the background is a darker value. I blurred out that background as well so that the eye won't focus too much on those details.

If you are interested in joining me in a daily art practice, at any point this month, click on the link above and sign up!





Friday, July 14, 2017

Charcoal Sketches from Life with Academy of Realist Art

 I recently had a fun experience doing charcoal sketches from life in the booth for The Academy of Realist Art during a street festival in the Junction, Toronto, Ontario.

I managed to get a photo of two of my subjects. These are quick sketches done in 20-30 minutes and the most important thing is to make people recognizable. I love doing these, it is fun to capture people and make them happy while offering something anyone can afford.


Being the perfectionist that I am, I always feel a little frustrated I do not have more time to refine the work but I am happy to get the chance to work from life.

One of these was done after the fact from a photo due to the subject being to little to hold a pose. For this sort of event, that is always an alternative! I may have spent a little more time on it.....


Working in Academy of Realist Art Booth during Junction Street Fair

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Daily Painting Habit: Day 21 of 21 - Charcoal Portrait Sketch #2

Connor
This will be charcoal portrait sketch #2 for 2017 and officially the end of my 21-day challenge (mostly painting and some drawing) that took WAY longer.

I am astonished that artists consistently do these 30-day challenges every six months (usually led by Leslie Saeta) and keep up! It is just not in my DNA to pronounce anything finished until I am happy with it and that often takes some time. I am okay with that.

That doesn't mean I will stop doing these small paintings and sketches. I strongly believe that creating on a daily basis is great for artistic growth, so my plan is to be in the studio on a daily basis, whether that is to create a small sketch or painting or working on larger pieces.

This drawing was a challenge due to most of the face being in shadow.

You always have to subdue everything in the shadows no matter how bright it seems when you look at that area, so I darkened the white of his eye in shadow more than I initially thought it should be. Black in light is lighter than white in shadow. There is a definite distinction between light and shadow and values do are not shared on either side!

When I was doing this, I thought of Sargent's charcoal portrait drawings that I have had the pleasure of viewing. A lot of them have a dark mass behind the light side of the face. I think it lends some drama.

In retrospect, I think I should have done this on toned paper with white chalk highlights - hey, maybe I will still do that!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Daily Painting Habit: Day 20 of 21 - Charcoal Portrait Sketch


Austin with Shouldice
So, I am back, finally. Despite my lack of posting, I have been producing some work, including a lot of preparatory stuff for some large pieces I am planning.

Over the past few months, life has gotten in the way of art a bit. I have been dealing with a few ongoing health challenges that have prevented me from doing as much as I would have liked. I might write more about that at another time, or maybe not - we are all dealing with one thing or another and I don't want to be a bore.

For now, here is my latest work of art, a charcoal sketch. Charcoal is a rather messy medium and not for those who want a lot of control but it is also fun and easy to manipulate for a painterly, massed in type of drawing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Collage of Some January Oil Paintings - 30 in 30 is over!

Some of my January 2017 Paintings - Doggie still WIP!

Leslie Saeta always concludes her 30 in 30 Challenge with a collage of all of her paintings. It is pretty impresive to go look at all the artists who actually did complete 30 paintings in 30 days. I have included some of my favourites from this month in my own little collage pictured above.

I still have a few more paintings to finish in order complete my own personal 21-Day Painting Challenge. I am not going to feel guilty about doing it in a lot more than 21 days though!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Daily Painting Habit - Day 19 of 21 - Sport: Work In Progress!


10 x 8 inches - Oil on Archival Panel - "SPORT"
So, nearing the end of this challenge, I am realizing that I am constitutionally not cut out for completing a painting, even a small one, in a day. I need time to ponder and figure out if I am 100% happy. That is how I feel about this one, which is finished, yet I am not sure I won't revisit some tiny details once it is dry.

This cute puppy, like all babies, was a bit of a challenge. It is very easy to age the young of any species. I am going to let this dry and hit it again soon, especially with regard to brightening up some highlights, warming up the background just a touch and some other small details, but the bones are there.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Daily Painting Habit - Day 18 of 21 - Sunflowers on Lake

6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas - Sunflowers on Lake


More work on this little painting of sunflowers. I have been feeling kind of pressured to get a painting done every day, but my intention was really just to do some art every day. When I rush, I tend to make mistakes that end up taking me 3 times as long to correct. So, it is better to just relax and enjoy the process.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Daily Painting Habit - Day 17 of 21 - Transparent Block-In of Sunflowers

Transparent Block-In of Shapes

It seems I am not cut out for this "painting a day" gig. Today, I spent most of my painting time fixing a whole bunch of minor things that bugged me on the painting I did yesterday (which basically still looks exactly the same to anyone but me).

 As a result, I just barely got started on this one of some sunflowers. This is the first stage with basic drawing and transparent block-in. And, because I am ADD, I also started a watercolour that I have been procrastinating on for about a year.

The completed Sunflower painting will be posted tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Daily Painting Habit - Day 16 of 21 - Pink Peonies

6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas - Pink Peonies

I prefer a brushy, painterly style, so I think this is finished. Peonies are so beautiful and lush.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Daily Painting Habit - Day 15 of 21 - Work in Progress - Pink Peonies

WIP - Transparent Underpainting

WIP - Starting to add more colour and correct shapes
So, today was pretty busy in my non-art life, so I just got started on this little painting of some pink peonies. I am always interested in seeing how a painting is made, so I hope you are too!

What attracted me to this subject was actually more the reflections in the glass jar, although peonies are my favourite flower!

Hopefully, tomorrow I will have time to finish this one.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 14 of 21 - Landscape

6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas


I was really attracted to the bright colours in this landscape. I used a palette knife in the creation of this painting, which adds texture.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 13 of 21 - Paint Tubes with Brush

5 x 7 inches - Oil on Panel - Paint Tubes with Brush


Here is a little studio oil which was fun to create. Artists may recognize the Classico oil tubes, Gamblin Cold-Pressed Linseed Oil and Robert Simmons Signet brush.

This painting would look nice in a wide moulding. It is a piece I started awhile back, to which I just added some finishing touches.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 12 of 21 - Beets

6 x 6 inches - Oil on Canvas



It is January once again, the start of a new year and many of us are assessing our priorities and goals to figure out what we want to accomplish in 2017. I have quite a list of things I want to get done.

When it comes to my art,  I am once again joining Leslie Saeta's painting challenge and committing to finishing the 21-day daily painting project I set for myself (but didn't complete) in September 2016. Most of my work consists of large paintings that take a long time to create, so this is a fun break and a chance to try some new subjects and techniques.

As per usual, I am getting a late start, but I have just enough time left in the challenge to complete the "ten paintings in ten days" I need to do to finish my personal goal, a 21-day Daily Painting Challenge.

Painting every day, especially completing a small work all at once, is a great way to experiment with new subject matter, colour palettes and techniques. A lot of accelerated growth and learning is to be expected.

Here is my first small, daily painting of 2017 which is on the theme of my other obsession, which is food and nutritional healing, some BEETS!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Painting Without Solvents - More Tips for Oil Painters!


I recently received an email from a reader, asking a question about solvent-free oil painting:

* I have re-published the article referred to below, along with some of the previous comments that provide further information.
Hi Laurel,
I came across your article on oil painting without solvents which I need to start doing as I have developed a real allergic reaction to OMS type thinners. You mentioned that you use walnut oil as a medium for cleaning your brushes. Have you tried Safflower oil? or will that cause problems with my oil paintings. The reason I ask is the Walnut oil, which I use to thin my oils has become very expensive. Anyway, if you have had experience with that I would really appreciate any feed back about that as I don't want to give up painting with oils.
Thank you, LP
Here is my reply:
Thanks so much for your letter, LP. Hang in there, you definitely do not have to retire your oils! 
I am sorry to hear that you have developed an allergy to odorless mineral spirits (OMS). I do use it sometimes, usually outdoors, but tend to avoid it in favour of straight paint (often initially applied with a palette knife) or sometimes a medium that with only a little OMS.
You might want to give some thought to your method of painting. For instance, alla-prima painting is conducive to working without solvents. Once you have some paint on the support, there is no need for thinners. I often use a palette knife to put on the first layer; then, as long as it remains wet (usually a few days if using the right pigments - avoiding earth shades like umbers and ochres, for instance, that dry quickly) you can easily blend and work the paint without any solvents until it starts to tack up. I use a small container of walnut oil, dipping in without touching the sides of the container to avoid a mess and wiping off the brush between colors. If you like to let the work dry between layers, oiling out, as discussed in my article below is another option. Particularly when painting in layers, a solid support will age better (less cracking due to movement) than stretched canvas. 
Walnut oil is an excellent substitute for OMS and is much more archival, creating a stronger paint film. For cleaning brushes, I have used safflower oil, so your instincts are correct. In fact, as long as you wash the brushes thoroughly with soap and water afterward, you can use any vegetable oil. Since safflower is also a drying oil (along with walnut and linseed), if it does end up in your paint film, it will not prevent the painting from drying properly, so it is a safer choice than generic vegetable oil, yet still more affordable than walnut oil.   
Interestingly, I recently came upon some information that slightly contradicts some of my previous practices. Apparently, to preserve your brushes, some painters recommend soaking new brushes in mineral oil (baby oil) before using, as this will deposit non-drying oil in the ferrule and prevent paint from permanently stiffening and ruining brushes. We should be using only the ends of our brushes for painting, perhaps halfway up the bristles, but I know I often lose control and end up with a brush soaked in paint right up into the ferrule. Because of my messy habits, I am now thinking about using this method to preserve my brushes. I could then use any oil to remove most of the paint and wash with soap and water. I guess the only risk here is some of the non-drying oil preventing your painting drying! I think the risk is low if you clean the brushes thoroughly after rinsing in safflower oil. 
Another idea to save yourself a lot of time washing brushes every time you paint (in addition to suggestions in the article below) is to suspend them in oil. There are brush washers that have a wire coil to hang them from - just fill the bottom with walnut oil (after wiping them off thoroughly to get rid of most of the paint) and suspend them with just the bristles in the oil. When you are ready to paint again, wipe them off and get to work. With this method, you would not be using as much walnut oil, so could save some dollars that way. I hope that helps! Any further questions, please post a comment and I will get back to you here. 
Happy painting, LP - let me know how it goes!
An additional comment I have, is to use a 3-bucket, environmentally friendly method of brush cleaning if you are worried about your plumbing (and care about the environment) - that way, only microscopic amounts of oil (and toxic pigment) will go down the sink - you have more worries from your cooking pots!

*stock photo



Here is the original article with some of the comments:


PAINTING WITHOUT SOLVENTS

(As published in Curry's Artwise Newsletter, March 2007)


I spent many years painting with watercolors and acrylics because I was scared of solvents.I didn’t want to deal with something so toxic on a regular basis. This was a real shame, because I now paint almost exclusively with oils and I love the buttery texture, lack of color shift (the color, when dry, is exactly the same value as when you put it down, rather than darker as in the case of acrylics, or lighter when using watercolor) and ease of revising my work. Of course, you can always use water soluble oils, but as a professional portrait artist, I prefer traditional oils. It came as a revelation to learn that solvents were not necessary when painting with traditional oil paints, in fact, for archival reasons, it is actually preferable to not to use them at all in painting mediums. Another benefit from painting without the use of solvents is that there is no need for complicated ventilation systems and no worries about the fumes affecting the health of yourself and family members.

I use paint straight from the tube and do not usually use a painting medium, other than a very small amount of cold pressed linseed oil or walnut oil if the paint is too stiff.Sometimes, when adding a second or third layer of paint, I will “oil out” the surface by adding a microscopically thin layer of oil before beginning to paint again. After sprinkling the oil over the area with a palette knife and rubbing it in with a rag, it is a good idea to use a small makeup sponge to remove any excess oil. Using the “oiling out” technique accomplishes the same thing as retouch varnish, without the solvents, by bringing back the original appearance of the piece, refreshing any dry or sunken areas and facilitates matching colors. It also helps the paint flow on more smoothly due to the wet surface.

While I am painting, I try to use a lot of brushes, keeping at least one brush for each value so I don’t have to rinse clean the brush in solvent as I paint. I have a brush holder, which is fairly easy to make, that holds 3 rows of 11 brushes (yes, you read that correctly, 33 brushes) but I don’t always use that many, sometimes making do with just one row of 11 brushes, for 9 values plus black and white. The system, inspired by one of my past instructors, Marvin Mattelson (who teaches at The School of Visual Arts in New York City), involves using small, medium and large brushes in three rows. Being somewhat organizationally challenged, I usually get them mixed up, but it is fairly easy to just dip the brush in some walnut oil and wipe it off on a paper towel or rag if necessary. Although Marvin’s version of the brush holder is somewhat sophisticated, with several sizes of holes being drilled inside each other to fit various sizes of brush handles, a simpler version can easily be made by drilling holes large enough to fit your biggest brush handle in a foot long chunk of 2x4. Yes, you do have a lot of washing up at the end of the day, but because walnut oil is slow drying, it is possible to avoid the task for a day or two by dipping the brushes in oil and wrapping them in plastic. Before using them the next day, wipe the brushes clean, rinsing with walnut oil if necessary. Solvents are very drying to your brushes, so an added benefit to cleaning brushes with oil instead is that they will be kept in better condition. By the way, this method of delaying brush washing is best used when painting without lead based whites, which tend to dry quickly.

For final cleaning of the brushes, walnut oil can very successfully be substituted for mineral spirits, as the texture of this type of oil is thinner than other vegetable oils, which are usually too viscous to allow the pigment to fall to the bottom of your brush cleaner in a timely manner. M. Graham, a company that also makes very nice paints, supplies walnut oil specifically geared for artistic use, as opposed to putting it on your salad! Beware that using vegetable oils from the supermarket may compromise the integrity of your paintings, as most oils are non-drying and traces may remain in the brush after washing with soap and water.

To begin cleaning my brushes, I first dip them in the oil and then wipe them on a page from an old phone book (which is a great way to reuse and recycle, as it cuts down on the amount of paper towels used and ultimately trees as well) until most of the pigment comes out. Simply tear off the page when it becomes too full of paint. The next step is to rinse the brush in the oil in the same way you would use solvent. I have a fancy stainless brush cleaner, but I also use coffee tins with a tuna size tin, punched full of holes and turned upside down in the bottom (hammer holes in it using a big nail) on which I rub my brush to get out the last remnants of paint before washing with soap and water. When I feel that my bar of soap isn’t getting all the paint out (sometimes I neglect to clean the brushes promptly, making it more difficult to get them thoroughly clean) I use “The Master’s” soap instead of my usual bar, letting it stay in the bristles overnight if they are really gummed up, and that does the trick!

Finally, I am going to share with you a tip for cleaning brushes that was passed on to me by William Whitaker, a wonderful artist with decades of experience. This tip alone was worth the price of admission to his workshop at the Scottsdale Artist's School. After getting soap into the brush, grab the end of the bristles with your left hand and, while holding the brush handle with your right hand, wiggle the brush handle back and forth several times - doing this helps remove the stubborn paint that is close to the ferrule and will extend the life of your brushes.

Painting with the method I have outlined is better for your health and the environment. If you have always wanted to use traditional oils, but hesitated because of concerns about solvents, this is your chance to experience all the joy of painting with oils with none of the drawbacks!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Eco-Friendly Brush Washing for Oil Painters




Save the Environment Brush Washing Method

This is a re-post of an article, from my previous blog, "Thinking about Painting" containing valuable information on the best way to clean brushes without ruining our earth!


In a letter to (the late Canadian painter and writer) Robert Genn, Mark Gottsegen, a member of the subcommittee on artist's materials of ASTM International (originally the American Society for Testing and Materials) since 1978, wrote:

In the recent clickback regarding cleaning brushes, no one asked what to do with the left-overs from washing brushes. Down the drain? No, that's environmentally irresponsible - putting solvents and pigments into the waste stream is never a good idea. If you have a septic system, you will pollute it; if you have a municipal sewer, you will pollute it. If you are in a class or a school, then in the US doing this violates federal law; if you are an individual artist, doing this is just bad practice. 
Collect the veggie oil, waste water (or sludge), waste solvents, dirty rags and paper towels (dried) and take all the collected waste to your community's hazardous waste collection station, where it is consolidated, incinerated and burned to ash. Then it is cast into concrete billets and encapsulated. Only then can it be taken to a protected, certified landfill. The cleaning part is the easiest. Being environmentally responsible is more difficult.
Mark Gottsegen sets out an environmentally friendly way to deal with brush washing in his book, The Painter's Handbook. I will try to describe the system in my own words, with a few of my own tweaks, as follows:

1. Get 3 large plastic buckets with lids (about 5 gallon size, which can be obtained from stores like Home Depot, Lowes or Rona) and one that is even bigger that you will use without a lid to allow liquid to evaporate (I use a smallish, inexpensive garbage can lined with a plastic bag for easy cleanup). I have also recycled those gigantic protein powder containers to use for A, B and C and that has worked well in that when you swish the smaller opening keeps the splashing in the container instead of all over your clothing.

2. Label the first three buckets A, B and C. Container D is the larger plastic container which will hold at least 10 gallons. You will also need a container with vegetable oil. I use a coffee can with a tuna can (which has holes punched in it with a nail) inverted on the bottom. You could use a glass jar or any other container. If you use a fancy brush washer, line it first with a plastic freezer bag to save yourself some messy cleanup later on.

2. Fill A, B and C halfway with water. Add 1 cup of liquid dishwashing soap to bucket A. Make sure to use a highly concentrated, good quality liquid soap for this as the cheaper brands are diluted and you have to use more for it to be effective.

3. Now for the brush cleaning method I use: First of all, dip your brush in the vegetable oil and wipe it on an old phone book until much of the color is released. Second, rinse the brush in the can to get more of the pigment out - this will eventually fall to the bottom of the container.

You can use any kind of vegetable oil for this, so I use whatever is cheapest. You can also mix some water with the oil if you keep the mixture in a jar and shake it up just before use and that will make it less thick. Walnut oil is nice to use as it is less viscous, but it is much more expensive. The only downside to using regular old vegetable oil is that you have to be sure to wash the brushes more thoroughly to get all that non-drying oil out.

Squeeze the bristles and wipe on a paper towel to get as much oil and pigment out of the brush as you can. Then, vigorously swish the brush in container A, then container B and finally container C. Wipe the brush on a paper towel or rag to see if any color remains. If it doesn't seem to be completely clean, repeat this process until clean.

When container A becomes too dirty, transfer the contents to container D and allow the liquid to evaporate, eventually leaving a dry cake of pigment which can be safely disposed of by taking it to your local hazardous waste disposal centre. When your cleaning oil becomes unusable, it can be recycled in the same manner. Pour container B into A and pour the contents of C into B. Add another cup of liquid dishwashing soap to what is now in container A.

There you have it, an environmentally friendly method of cleaning your oil painting brushes that does not involve any pigments escaping into our septic systems or drinking water!

*stock photo

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Painting Challenge Continues in January 2017

Just in case anyone has wondered what happened to my painting challenge, I will be finishing my painting challenge in January.

In the meantime I am working on a larger project that I look forward to sharing with you later on.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 11 of 21

7 x 5 inches - Oil on Panel - Doggie


I love animals and capturing them for posterity in a portrait is such a treat. What a great gift for someone who is obsessed with their pet!

Because this painting was not commissioned, it is available at a special low price.

My small (8x10 inches or less) commissioned pet portraits are currently on sale (for a limited time) so click here for more information about how to commission a unique and meaningful gift for a loved one who treasures their dog or cat!

If you want something bigger, contact me to discuss your project!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Collage of Daily Painting Challenge for September!


This was kind of fun! I used picmonkey (a free, online image editing software), to make a collage of some of the paintings I completed in September.

The 30 in 30 challenge by Leslie Saeta, which I kind of failed at, once again, due to starting way late and then getting sick, is over, but my challenge is not! Click on the link for her site to see other collages of people who actually did paint 30 pieces, which is very impressive.

I have set a goal to complete 21 paintings and I haven't met that quota yet so the work continues....

Friday, September 30, 2016

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 10 of 21 - Paris Floral #2

16 x 12 inches - Oil on Canvas - Paris Floral #2
NFS
Life is continuing to get in the way of creating new work, but I still want to remain focused on art as much as I can. I am progressing in getting my studio organized, work completed, signed and varnished so I can tackle my latest large portrait painting next month.

Here is yet another painting (from June 2006) that needed a signature. This is a favourite of mine, since the resource photo I used was from a memorable trip to Paris with my two small children. Somehow, flower shops in Paris there seem to have "a certain something" in the way they group and display their wares.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 9 of 21 - Spring Fountain

9 x 6 inches - Oil on Panel - Spring Fountain
NFS

Here is another previous painting (from June 2007), now finally signed and ready for framing! I love the bleeding heart and forget-me-not floating in the fountain.  It was such a beautiful day, I remember well the serenity of the moment.

Since tomorrow is the last day of Leslie Saeta's "30 in 30" painting challenge, in November I will be continuing my daily painting habit on my own. My goal is to be focused on either finishing some paintings that have been in storage, waiting for completion or to do a new, small painting.

I have found it very challenging to get started and keep up with this modified version of the challenge, but no regrets - I have done more painting and finished more loose ends than I would otherwise have done this month despite all the roadblocks that have unexpectedly arisen.

As Leslie Saeta would say, it doesn't matter how many you complete but just to get in the studio and paint more!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 8 of 21 - Echinacea

14 x 10 inches - Oil on Canvas - Echinacea


Here is another piece from my pile of previous starts that is now almost done. I still need to varnish, which will unify and bring out the colours, adding depth and a slight sheen to the surface. It is much easier to photograph an unvarnished piece, especially one like this that is mostly low key.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 7 of 21 - Palette Knife Beach Scene

8 x 10 inches - Oil on Canvas Panel - Palette Knife Beach


After being knocked out by a nasty virus, I have resumed my daily painting habit but have changed focus a bit, completing paintings that have piled up waiting for a few finishing touches. It feels good to finally tie up a lot of loose ends.

This painting was done with a palette knife. Every time I work with a palette knife I ask myself why I do not do it more often. The colours stay clean, mix in beautiful, unexpected ways and the bonus is no brush washing at the end of the day!

I learned to use a knife when studying colourist theory at the Cape Cod School of Art (now known as The Cape School of Art). I traveled to Provincetown to paint on the beach with Cedric and Joanette Egeli (with whom I later studied for a whole month at their Maryland studio). Outdoor study of colour is a tradition in Provincetown that continues since the beginning of the 20th century, beginning with Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 6 of 21 - Pink & White Peonies

14 x 18 inches - Oil on Canvas - Peonies #2



This is a larger painting of my favourite flowers that I started some time ago. I made some new decisions, darkening the background and adding contrast for drama.

I also took the opportunity to sign it in a subtle manner with my favourite new tool - a rubber tipped scraper. This method is so much easier than trying to sign with a tiny brush later on.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Daily Painting Habit Challenge - Day 5 of 21 - Goldfish

5 x 7 inches - Oil on Panel - Goldfish


Don't you find watching fish swimming around kind of soothing? I love the vibrant oranges, greens and purple in this painting.