Practice, Practice, Practice

Yard of Tulips

“Field of Tulips”, 8×10″ oil, available at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/560288

After I took that e-Course in the winter I wanted to make sure I embedded the lessons in my memory, and since the subject matter we painted was basically florals, I painted several more flower still lifes. I’m quite happy with the results.

Then the weather got nice and plein air painting started (painting outdoors) and I was back out in the landscape. I’m always rusty at first and this year was no different. But going out each week helps and I’m getting better.

In the meantime, back in the studio I remembered some photos I took of a house nearby that has it’s whole front yard filled with tulips! Maybe this would be my happy medium. This could be a nice transition between flowers and the landscape. It was very fun to paint.

What do you think?

Florals:

And One For Good Measure

pots on ledge

We got a bonus lesson in week 6, one last photo to paint and to learn the methods of our instructor. I was feeling pretty confident with most of it, applying the techniques I’ve been learning throughout the course.

Then I got to this mass of greenery from the overhanging tree.

First my strokes were too blocky. Wiped that out. Then they were too spikey. Wiped that out. Third time’s the charm? I am happy with the result now. Hey, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Here is my “pots on a ledge” bonus painting. #DreamLovePaint

The course is over. Now I have to find something new to paint—out there on my own again.

The Magic of Photoshop®

blue shutters

While I’d love to be painting in the south of France in the springtime that’s not always possible (if ever). And while a fresh, white blanket of snow can be pretty, I’m not going out there to paint.

Hence the photographic reference comes into play.

This week’s eCourse Dreama tells us her photo had white shutters but she made them blue in Photoshop®. I also notice some of the flowers have been squiggled in with some color as well.

I do my best to compose in the camera, trying to get a paintable shot. Photoshop allows me to crop out and add elements to those not so perfect shots and work it out before I even get to the canvas. Every little bit helps.

The photo, after all, is not something to be copied, but a jumping off point for so much more.

Here is my “blue shutters” painting from week 6. #DreamLovePaint

It Can Make You Happy

blue jar

A huge winter snowstorm is a great reason to be inside painting. The 10″ of snow makes it quite bright outside in a basically black and white world.

My painting from week 5 of my eCourse is also bright, but very colorful and much more cheery than the blowing snow outside. It makes me happy to be reminded that Spring will come again and flowers will bloom. It makes me smile.

I was about to wipe out one area I didn’t like to repaint it, when I took a few steps back to have a look and saw it looked really good. Sometimes we are too close to something and we need some distance to see it clearly.

When I was just about finished I took a photo and was amazed at how a few problems stood out like a flashing lights. So a few more tweaks to take care of those and I’m happy.

A good reason to paint and a good reason to have art around me—it makes me happy.

Here is my flower painting from week 5. #DreamLovePaint

Wipe Out

blue chair

Week 4 of my eCourse and I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. Start out with thin paint, bold and bright, massing in the shapes. Then redefine the drawing with this handy tool, the Kemper wipe out tool. It has a pointy rubber tip on one end and a chiseled rubber tip on the other; it removes the paint from the surface.

Moving on to thicker more opaque paint with lively brushtrokes and a variety of colors allowing some of the layer below to show through.

If I fuss too much in one area, instead of blending it starts getting mushy, losing that lively quality, paint builds up, and it gets muddy.

The Kemper tool comes in handy here. I can wipe out a whole area back to the surface and start over. Oil paint stays wet for a long time allowing me to do that. Put back in the brights and be more attentive to the opaques. Way better than wiping out on a surf board.

Here is my blue chair painting from week 4. #DreamLovePaint

chair brights

 

Breaking Out Is Hard To Do

sunflower

Painting realistically is not hard for me. Pushing it to photo-realism is challenging but not impossible. (I used to think I could’ve been a forger.) But I find it tedious, and with cameras what they are today, why paint that way?

I want to make my art look like paint, show my brushstrokes and marks, and show my interpretation of the subject.

But breaking habits is not easy. This week’s painting of a sunflower proved that. When watching my eCourse DreamLovePaint video and Dreama said to “mass in the shapes of the petals”, boy I wanted to paint each and every petal!

This is going to take some practice.

Here is my sunflower painting from week 3. #DreamLovePaint

When Artists Socialize

acrylic painting River Twilight
River Twilight

Making art usually takes place in solitude, not always, but usually. So many artists like to have a social outlet to keep them sane and the company of other artists allows them to discuss some of the challenges they encounter.

Every Saturday morning I get together with a group of artists for breakfast at a local diner. We catch up on the week’s activities and discuss the “Art question of the week.” Non-artists are welcome, spouses and friends as well.

An older gentleman has become a regular. I believe he has done some sketching. He is Swiss, looks like Santa with a shock of white hair, bushy white eyebrows, and white beard. I don’t always understand him. He is soft spoken, chuckling while he speaks, and telling jokes I don’t get.

I was showing around some paintings I had done the past week that I have photos of on my iPhone. This gentleman didn’t know how to swipe through the photos and kept bringing up the calculator somehow. He liked the last one I had done and asked what size it was and how much I charged. It was an 8×10″ and I told him it was $100. He said a 16×20″ would be twice as much cuz it’s twice as big as he chuckled. We said, no, that was 4 times as big, and I told him what I have charged for 16x20s. He held out the phone and said 16×20. I said that was an 8×10. He said 16×20. I said 8×10. He laughed and said 16×20. I asked the man next to me, “Does he want me to paint him a 16×20?”

He then asked if I was going to enlarge it with a machine? I asked him if he wanted a print and he looked at me and laughed. “You want me to paint you a 16×20? “Oh that will be lively,” he said. (Not lovely, lively). He took out his wallet and handed me two large bills and said he’d pay me the rest the next time he saw me. “Don’t worry, take your time” he chuckled.

So I’m painting a 16×20″ painting of the 8×10. And I’m chuckling.

“Morning Exploring”

6x8
Morning Exploring

Plein air painting in a beautiful garden is already sweet, and having a little company makes it all the better. He doesn’t interrupt but he’s there for a pet if you need one.

“Morning Exploring”, acrylic on Gessobord panel 6×8″ unframed, is available by auction via www.DailyPaintworks.com starting at $60. SOLD

Workin’ It—Continued 2

acrylic painting in progress
painting 4

More work on the bottles. More work on the background. Back and forth. Keeping it balanced. Darken the darks. Lighten the lights. Add the reflections. Ooh that pops!

The more I look, the more I see. I can put in too much. Wipe it out and keep it simple in one area. Add some detail in another. I don’t want to get tight. I don’t want to get photographic. I’m finding more and more value in scraping out areas and repainting. I usually say right after I scrape it out, “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that.” But as I’m painting again it always looks better.

shelf where I look at my art
Wall of contemplation

Now it goes on my wall of contemplation, so in the evening while I’m reading or watching TV I can keep looking up and see it and in those glances I see things that make me happy or that are just not right.

acrylic painting in progress
Painting 5

I thought I was done with this but I see that white beam in the back is bothering me. So more painting is to be done.

To be continued…

Sweet Violets

In Michigan any break from winter weather is cause for shifting to spring jackets, washing the car, and general celebrating. My African Violet wanted to be the first flowers to burst into bloom and did so with great gusto.

I won this little beauty at my niece’s bridal shower 5 years ago. It was a lovely affair where a normally beautiful living room was transformed into an enchanting event for ladies to chat and laugh and tease the bride-to-be, with wonderful food and presents and these flowers on each table. The flowers became door prizes and I won one!

I didn’t think it would live 3 months. Never thought it would bloom again. When it finally did bloom again I had a feeling. I wondered if my niece, now married for a while, was pregnant. Yes she was! Wow. Those are some violets.

painting of African violets
Violets and Then Some

“Violets and Then Some” are like little ladies in big, fancy dresses and they are fluffing up their skirts. Can you just see them bending and shaking those dresses?

“Violets and Then Some” is available, 6×6″ acrylic on hardboard panel unframed. If you would like to purchase this painting, please send your bid by email. Starting at $50.00. SOLD

acrylic painting of African violets
Sweet Violets

“Sweet Violets” is just all about the purples.

“Sweet Violets” is available, 6×6″ acrylic on hardboard panel unframed. If you would like to purchase this painting, please send your bid by email. Starting at $50.00. SOLD.