Saturday, February 6, 2016

Painting Grays in Color

16 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

I use these white geometric objects in some of my workshop exercises, and lately they've infiltrated my home studio as well. Though I'm usually painting them in black and white while teaching, I also love exploring the spectrum of grays that occur when white objects are surrounded by colorful light. 

When approaching a gray - or the modeling of an object whose local color is white - I ask myself a series of questions. What's the value of the gray? What's its temperature? What colors in the environment are influencing its color? Often, to arrive at the gray I need, I'll start with one of these surrounding colors (like the purple in this painting), and neutralize it until it works on the white object.

Another way to "see" color in ambiguous areas, like grays, is to use a color isolator. Sometimes I'll just squint through a half-closed fist. 

 And here is the preparatory sketch for this painting, on canvas instead of the oil paper this time:

 "Flame (Black and White)"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Self-Portrait Time Machine, and Subconscious Artistic Influences

 "Self-Portrait at 36"
24 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

Suddenly, it's been two years since my last large self-portrait.
Although I'd really like to avoid as many cliches as possible here, I'll allow myself one: it feels like only yesterday....


In looking at these side-by-side, I notice a strangely similar thing happening around the neckline of both shirts. They aren't the same shirt (though I do still wear the sweater from the first portrait), but my undershirt is peeking out in both. 

After wondering about it for a while, I noticed this print on my wall....which I've been looking at, on one wall and another, since about the age of twelve.

Thank you, Modigliani, for invading my subconscious.

And here are my works-in-progress. First the head gets bigger, then the body grows to match it!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Parts of the Process

 "Lemon on a Painted Dish"
9 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

There was some collateral artwork created while I was working on my last painting. :)

"White Object, Lemons (sketch)"

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"White Object, Lemons" Still Life, Work-In-Progress, and Black-and-White Sketch!

 "White Object, Lemons"
12 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

It's been a while since I painted this little plate, let's see - can I find any examples from the past to show you? Yes!
It's hand-painted, which makes reproducing the design with my own hands so much more enjoyable. At one point I actually forgot I was painting on canvas. I felt like I was painting a plate myself! This twisting floral style is common to decorative pottery made in Jerusalem, where my mother bought it in 1979 - when she was pregnant with me! Can't say I remember much about the trip.

Here's a progression. I didn't tone the canvas for this one, instead letting the underpainting create its own tone. The color is a neutral orange I had left over on my palette - probably a mix of alizarin, cad yellow, cad red, ultramarine know, all the primaries. As long as there's no white in the mix, it works.

...And my black and white sketch. I love love love making these. If you're going to use Arches oil paper, I recommend brushing a thin layer of Gamsol (or your OMS of choice) onto the surface before beginning. Although this does tend to make the finished product dry at a snail's pace, it helps with the absorbent/chalky feel of the surface I've heard myself some artists complain about.

"White Object, Lemons (sketch)"
8 x 11.5" oil on Arches oil paper

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A New Still Life: From Sketch to Finish

 "Burnt Out (Lemons)"
18 x 14" oil on canvas

I've been working on some larger still lives for a big show this spring, here in Eugene. Before diving into a painting that will take me several days to complete, I like to do an oil sketch....just to make sure I really want to commit.
And to warm up.
And to work out any compositional issues.
And because I love painting small, black and white studies. 

 "Burnt Out (oil sketch)"
approx. 11 x 8 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

Can you spot the compositional issue I worked out from sketch to final painting? It's subtle, but I shifted everything over to the left a bit.

Here's a progression, click to see it bigger:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Orange Light...And a video!

 "Orange Light"
9 x 8 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

I've been enjoying taking these little time-lapse videos of myself while painting. I just prop my phone up, hit record, and forget about it. I'm not sure how long I painted in real time to get this 30 second video...and apparently, this will remain a mystery.

According to MacWorld: "We found that recording for a long time doesn't make for a significantly longer video. You will find that most time-lapse video recordings play back in 20 to 40 seconds, regardless of how long you recorded for."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dark Pomegranate

 "Dark Pomegranate"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

I think this may be my last pomegranate painting of the winter....but we'll see. I've got some lemons on the studio table right now.

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Blue Light"

 "Blue Light"
12 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

A new painting, large-scale for me. Painted from life, before the flowers got too wilty! Hint: always paint the flowers first.

Also, when you're painting anything painted on anything else - the design on this vase, the lettering on this bowl, and yes, even tattoos on human skin - paint the form first. Below, you can see I painted the vase, rounded in space (minus the highlights from the spotlight), before adding the blue design. I didn't wait for the paint to dry before adding the blue, though that's sometimes helpful.

You can see a 30 second time-lapse video of the underpainting for this piece on Facebook.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Introduction to Oil Painting

 "Demo at OAS, January 2016"
9 x 12 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

I just wrapped up the first-ever session of my new workshop, Intro to Oil Painting. It's funny that I've been teaching for three years now, and this was my first beginner-level class. The most challenging part was keeping it simple - especially when it comes to talking color!

Luckily, the first day was all black-and-white. First, we mixed up a value scale, then we painted with it: all-white geometric objects, then red and green apples.

The second day, we mixed up a full-spectrum palette from the primaries. I like seeing my demo painting in sequence with the palette and color wheel: 

I've got plenty of workshops coming up - you can check them all out in the right-hand sidebar. Don't hesitate to sign up if you're interested - all levels of experience are welcome in all of my workshops!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Sarah Bowl

 "The Sarah Bowl"
9.5 x 9 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

I don't actually eat out of this bowl anymore, but as you can see, it's gotten its share of use over the years. It's as old as I am, after all! It was a baby present to my parents....36 years ago. Every time I paint it, I think about the artist who painted the letters on the bowl - and wonder which is more nerve-wracking - painting letters on pottery or painting letters onto wet paint. At least I have the advantage of being able to scrape off and redo - or leave the letters out altogether.

I have a new workshop coming up this weekend, in Eugene, at Oregon Art Supply. Intro to Oil Painting - a great way to start off your artistic year. All levels are welcome - whether you're totally new to oils or returning after a break. Ages 15 and up. It's going to be fun! Details here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Passed

 "Merry and Bright"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I'm just a little bit late for Christmas with this one, but hey - your tree is still up, right? I figured I had until New Years before this would be really inappropriate.  And I didn't want to miss my annual opportunity to pull out the fun paint tubes - Pthalo Turquoise, Quinacridone Rose....

I say it a LOT: you can create the illusion of almost any color using a limited palette. Case in point: the golden egg yolks seen here, painted using only Yellow Ocher - a very dull, earthy yellow. But to really nail the intense colors of these ornaments, special pigments are required.

Here's a work-in-progress, at the halfway point:

And! Also too late for Christmas (I could give you my list of excuses, but Nah...) I made my Calendar for 2016! One of the best things about making these is that throughout the year, I'll randomly get a message like, "Hi! July's painting is just lovely!" And I'll have five long seconds of having NO idea what you're talking about.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Looking Inward

 "Looking Inward"
12x16 inches, oil on canvas

My newest nude, painted from a live model. Here's a progression:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fruits of the Season

"Fruits of the Season"
9 x 12 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

 A dark pomegranate painting for a dark time of year. I used the same black-as-blue palette as my previous post, which I'm sure is contributing to the dense, velvety feeling here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Black is the New Blue

 "Pink, Purple, and Red"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Here is my demo from last weekend's "Mindful Mixing" workshop. I painted it with - you guessed it - Yet another limited palette! This time I picked Azo yellow (a lemon-type yellow), Alizarin crimson, and Ivory black. For those of you not familiar with my limited palette technique - that's a color to stand in for each of the three primaries: yellow, red, and blue. In this case, black is the blue.

Here's another demo, using the same palette. My "Stroke Economy" exercise: 25 brushstrokes to paint a pomegranate, this time. Always fun, and kind of scary! Did I say scary? I meant - um, challenging.

And here is some student work. Another amazing group - I was really impressed!

Want to get back into painting in 2016, or make the switch from water media to oils? My next workshop is for you! Intro to Oil Painting, January 9-10, here in Eugene. Info and registration here.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Persimmon Season, Once Again.

"Candle in Glass (Persimmons)"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

So grateful to have been gifted some beautiful persimmons to paint this month. And I always love painting candles. It's been too long - for both subjects!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One Last Egg

 "Farm Fresh"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

The last egg painting for a while! I'll have 5 of them on display at the Small Pleasures show, which opens December 4th, in Eugene. 

Here's a shot of my underpainting. With this limited palette, I use a simple mix of Alizarin and Yellow Ocher for the underpainting. Makes a nice Burnt Siena-ish tone to work into.

 And here's the card for the show. Look at that list of artists! (click on the pic to see it larger...)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Painting Eggs at the Duck Store

"Morning Eggs"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas, framed

I was invited to demo at the University of Oregon Duck Store (what might be called a "campus book store" at a less football-crazy institution) during their art supply trade show last week. Two full days of painting and talking about painting. It was a blast! 

I decided to keep working on my series of limited palette egg paintings. Here's my palette, all mixed up. The "parent" primaries are yellow ocher, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue. From those three, I mixed a color wheel, and then an "inner ring" of tints:


 I'll be showing this whole series of egg paintings next month at the Jacobs Gallery's Small Pleasures Invitational, in Eugene. If you've never attended this yearly show, it's truly a showcase of the area's best - at seriously affordable prices. Opening reception is Friday December 4th!

"Quiche To Be"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Limited Palette Portrait Painting in Oils

11 x 14" oil on canvas

It's always a treat when I can rope a friend into sitting for me. It's not that they're unwilling, my friends, but busy lives being what they are, it's rare to actually nail someone down for an entire afternoon. Hmm.... rope, nails...sounds painful! 

Daniel was still smiling at the end, though:

I've got a two-day portrait painting workshop coming up next weekend - November 21-22nd, in Eugene. Limited palette, live models, lots of fun. There are a few spaces left - join me!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Simply Cracked

"Simply Cracked"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas, framed

Another in my new series of limited palette egg paintings. I'm aiming for six of these. Three down, three to go!

I'm ready to paint up a storm this month, after hitting up Oregon Art Supply's semi-annual canvas sale this morning. Here's my haul, hanging out with some friends that have already been painted and framed. Before and after!