This one's a sad painting for me because it's of my friend who's no longer here. It's been 2 years since his death, but I still have his number programmed into my cell phone. Sean was a very special friend, but fought many demons throughout his life and he was gone too early. I think of him often and miss the laughter we shared and the good times we spent hanging out together. The painting was from a photograph that appeared in his hometown newspaper right before he died and I knew immediately that I would paint it as a way to have him with me and to honor him. It was challenging to paint with the reflections of the wet sidewalks, the car in the background, the folds in his clothes and the dog. I wanted to get the painting right, but the most important part was his face. I had to see him in the painting for it to be successful and in the end I did. It took a long time to paint this and I felt a lot of pressure doing so, but I'm so glad because it makes me happy to see him in this setting with his treasured dog in a moment of peace and solitude. I hope he found his peace.
A quarter away from my challenge! 75 more to go! My largest painting to date, 36" x 36". I like the idea of painting one object up close and flowers are perfect for this treatment. I took this photo outside my condo. My neighbor loves to plant flowers and i get to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. I love Zinnias and the color of this flower was so vibrant. The amount of canvas to cover was very intimidating and I thought I would be buying tubes of magenta by the dozen, but in the process I discovered paint can go a long way—much to my surprise and relief to my wallet. The zinnia took a long while to render, but I feel the results were worthwhile. I think a few more darks in the right place would have punched it up a bit, but other than that I was very happy with it. I donated the painting to a Lifewalk fundraiser and I did not attend the event, but it was sold at a silent auction for I believe $300.00. I don't often toot my own horn, but somebody got a good bargain if you ask me. It was for a good cause and it did sell. Anyway, I shouldn't complain because if it sold for thousands then I'd be kicking myself in the butt for giving it away! I think was the first time I was required to name a painting. Butterfly Dreams.
Rustic Door, 22" x 28" The subject matter is not my own, but from a photo I purchased from istockphoto.com. I thought it was a beautiful photo and I wanted to capture the rustic details and textures with paint. So I broke my vow of only painting from my own source materials. The lesson I learned while painting this scene is about distortion of photos. My instructor had discussed this on occasion, and I've noted the issue with photos since I've started looking for this. Angles, proportion, shadows and color can all be distorted. Once I had completed the painting, I noticed the strangeness of seeing so much of the under arch at the top of the door and then so much of the top of the steps at the bottom. It just didn't seem natural to me. To me, we shouldn't see so much of the top step, but that was probably a trick of the camera lens, a little bit of a fish eyed effect, and something I wasn't aware of to correct until it was too late. Drawing correctly is so important to painting and you really must pay attention to what needs to be corrected in a photo before you begin the painting. Lesson learned, but still often ignored! : ) Besides that issue, I loved the weathered walls and brick and the rustic door, all these very successfully executed in my opinion. A nice color scheme and composition. As I finished this painting, I don't know if I decided I wanted to "make it my own" or if I thought the subject matter was too boring, but after discussing this with my class mates. I decided to add an additional element. I wanted to do a pot of flowers on the steps, but some thought that covering too much of the wall would be a shame. So we talked and I debated and finally came up with a pair of boots. Boots! What is that style, I don't know. Looks like pirate boots. Why boots, I keep asking. Why not a cat, a basket, a dead bird? Anything but those stupid boots. So in my previous posting about straying from the photo for laughable results, this is it. In the end, it was a painting that just didn't connect with me because I was just recreating a nice photo that was not my own. I can't really begin to sell it as my own work, even with the addition of the foot gear. Door are good subject matter though, and my boots off to those artist who make door paintings work!
I believe I reached a new level of understanding with this painting. I felt more in control and I've always have been pleased with the outcome, minus a few complaints. I forget to mention sizes with my post and I feel it is important information. This was a larger painting, perhaps 2 to 3 feet across. My mother gave me the canvas and I believe it was a linen canvas, which i have to say was not my most favorite surface to paint on. Especially for a painting with such fine details. A gessoed board would have been ideal. I continued my experimentation with using glazing techniques which were much more successful than the wine bottles. So in the darker areas of the green leaves, it's actually layers of reds and blues on top of the green, applied after the green had dried. It gives a richer, more complex color than just mixing the dark color on the pallette. I was less succesful with glazing the purple flower and I feel I could have used more brilliant coloring in the petals. My stlye of painting has moved away recently from this type of tight rendering, but I'm torn because I like some of the qualities that I achieved, but my looser style keeps my blood pressure from rising. I hate to mention more flaws as I'm prone to do because I actually sold this painting, and the buyer reads my blog. Karen purchased this painting on ebay and luckily for her there wasn't a bidding war. I accuse her of drunking bidding, but she totally denies this and professes her love for this piece. I want to believe this and if I keep pointing out whats wrong, she'll likely end up putting this in the closet. But, I must profess this painting screamed at me about composition, and how important it is to the overall success. My reference was a photo taken by my friend Amy and I was so inspired by it. I tried taking photos of lilies on my travels through Asia, but never came close to getting such a beautiful photo of one, and I had to capture it on canvas. I knew I was painting it too much like the photo with the flowers sitting on the lower half of the canvas. I've always thought I should have rearranged them so that the darkest area at the top wouldn't draw so much attention, or perhaps the addition of a dragon fly or something small in that upper area would have helped with balance. I think I read that a pleasing composition has 2 large items and one small. I don't know, but my ridged adherence to painting exactly what I see did not allow room for experimentation. I try this in a later painting and you'll see the laughable results. My many thanks to Karen for buying this and supporting me. I am forever grateful for this sweet gesture, and I hope she continues to view this painting through rose colored glasses, or through the bottom of a wine glass! : ) No refunds!
I get on a kick every now and then to make my Christmases a little more special, so I try to make handmade gifts. Don't do it that often, but I made an awesome clock once for my sister. This time I decided to paint her a painting of wine bottles since she's a wine lover. I wasn't very confident the painting would be well received, so I also purchased a case of wine for her and I knew she'd like that! The painting is done with layers of glazes. Mark, my classmate experimented with them to great success, so I thought I'd do the same. He painted some beautiful paintings of pears, and I thought the effect would lend itself to the glass bottles. I don't really paint this way much. The consistency of the glazes was too sticky for me. I like paint that feels like butter. I use water miscible oils and recently discovered that using water as a medium wasn't the best thing to do, and once I stopped using water as much and relied on other mediums, I found I enjoy the paint much more. The labels were very fun to recreate, but that's the graphic designer in me. I altered one of the labels to include her last name for a special touch. Speaking of wine labels, there are so many fun ones these days. That's mainly how I choose my wine. Overall, i think the painting got a little muddy and I could have been a little better with some of the bottle drawings, my usual downfall. Anyway, my sister visited my studio recently and she saw a painting and said it was the only painting that I've done that she's wanted. I am guessing now that she doesn't like this one, so I'm definitely glad I included the box of wine!
You may recognize this spot if you had the misfortune of listening to your traveling companions who insist walking across the bridge to the old town in Puerto Rico will be quick and easy because this is one of the views along the way. By the way, the walk is very long and very hot! There was a local man leaning against the tree and it would have made a great painting except he was too hidden by the tree, so I did what us painters do, I edited. I enjoyed playing with the colors of the sky and ocean and I especially like the trunk with the light and violet hued shadows. I had to make too much up with the leaves however, so I lost the play of light and they became too flat. It could have used a few people on the beach or something. Maybe lightened the sky at the horizon with an addition of pink. I don't know. I did try to sell this at a garage sale much to the horror of my fellow artist. I marked it 75 and someone actually snatched it up. I was thrilled until they handed me a dollar and waited for their change. I had to explain to the eager art collector that I wanted 75 dollars, not 75¢. He immediately returned the painting to the shelf, and my ego healed eventually. Everyone has their price and some people are really cheap!
I discovered these long canvases and wanted to explore the size again. This painting is from a photo from a trip long ago to Roaton, an island off the coast of Honduras. It was a magical place free of tourist and long on relaxation, empty beaches and cheap seafood. I have heard of tales that coconuts from these beautiful palms have actually killed people as they fall to the ground. I became as paranoid of that as I have been of driving with my window down for fear of something flying into the car and hitting my temple, causing instant death. I'm not sure if I was actually having this thought as I rested on this picture perfect beach when a coconut happen to fall from the tree I was lounging under and landed inches from my head. I'm not making this up. Those coconuts actually are deadly! I'm lucky to be alive. Honduras could have killed me for so many reasons, the coconut was just one. But I digress. The painting is nicely composed, but where is the light source, the shadow? What makes an interested painting. Variation of color, stroke, play of light. Play of light? What light? It's sunny cause we can see the sky, but we certainly can't tell where the sun is. I do think the main palm turned out nice. The painting is sentimental to me, and not horrible, but I question why I have it on the studio website cause I don't think it represents my best. Although it does look better on that site than it does here. But it will be coming done soon. By the way, now that I have 20 paintings, this brings me back to my instructor when she said, you get about 1 good painting for every 20. Which one is the good painting?
I tried to be creative with this painting and stop painting exactly what was in the photo. To be a little more decorative. In search of my own style, I have to experiment, right? The house was based on one I saw on a bike-ride through P-Town. It's was right on the beach and was so charming. My plan was to be really loose with the house, but it didn't turn out that way. As a beginning painter, being loose is very difficult! I like the color scheme and the balance of the fence and the house. It has a country charm and I though someone might respond to it. Recently, I donated it to my work for a charity fundraiser. I believe I had an opening bid of $5.00. NO ONE BOUGHT IT. Not even for $5.00. The canvas was worth that much. Gesso over it for God's sake. Put it in your dying Grandmothers room at the rest home. Geeze, is it that bad? I've seen a lot of ugly art being bought, you'd think I could get a break. Whatever! When thing's like this happen, I just remind myself how many people just sit on there butts watching TV not try anything new, and I start feeling a little superior to them and that makes me happy enough to pick up my brush, brush off my pride and begin again.
The painting I would rather cut my own hand of than post. Count me brave. It's a bad one and I know it. I shoud really let my roommate write about this painting because he has a great deal to say about it. This is my sister and was painted from an old family photo. I don't think she's seen this, basically because I'd like to maintain my relationship with her! So go ahead and make fun of it! The mismatched arms; the light in the shadows that look like amoebas on the attack. The total lack of painting talent. I believe this is when I realized my painter friends were all a bunch of liars for there encouraging comments. I can always count on my family for the honest response — they got a good chuckle out of it. If you'd like to buy it to destroy it, sorry, you're too late! It's chopped up and sits at the bottom of some rotting pile at some waste disposal site.
In doing this blog, I belabor over getting my paintings in the right sequence. Unfortunately, time has made my memory as fuzzy as a peach, so these may be getting somewhat out of order. It's really close so I have to let it go. As I have gone to painting my own subject matter, I found a photo from a trip to Mass. I've never been to pleased with this painting, perhaps not enough play with values, especially in the shadows of the dock. And I've just have never been satisfied with the boat. The water and sky seem to work for me. Maybe it's the composition. I can't put my finger on it, so feel free to critique it. If I remember it was a sunny day, yet where is the drama of light. I suppose that's what makes me the most dissatisfied.. The more I paint the more I realize just how important light is to an interesting painting. With that said, my dad liked it, so I gave it to him. I tackled water and reflections and it didn't kill me, so I suppose for that reason I should count it a success.
It's been a year since I've last posted, which doesn't mean I stopped painting. It only means I'm lazy with my blog. However, I took a painting workshop this weekend in Salado with Carol Marine, who is a awesome daily painter that blogs daily, so I wanted to get back on track with mine. I took this as a daunting task until I realized I have not painted as many paintings as I had imagined. I'm more of a painting a month kind of artist, so as the years fly, the paints stack up slowly. I believe Carol's class has changed that. I look forward to doing more quick paint studies because they teach me so much. My count will rise quicker, so I better slam these paintings into place, so I too can blog more often than once a year.
This painting was painted for my mother and father. This theater is where they had there first blind date and that was over 50 years ago. I spent more time getting my drawing down correctly, but still the State letters go a little off. Otherwise I was very pleased with this painting. The chrome was fun to paint and looks realistic to me. It hangs in there house and I study it every time I visit and after all these years since i've painted it. I still fine things to appreciate, but when I look at the painting now, the sky seems so dark and intense. It doesn't show on the photo, but perhaps I would have done that a bit differently today. Side note, the movie playing is Written on the Wind with Lauren Bacall and Rock Hudson.