Sunday, November 14, 2010

Video Demo by Linda Lee: English Country Cottage

Oil on Canvas

This is from a demo video I bought from It is by Linda Lee. Linda Lee used to teach at a Michael's near my house and 20 years ago I took some lessons there. I remember she was a a good teacher and I enjoyed her lessons.

I know this painting is really not art, but I learned new things. She had me use sable brights, which I never did before. They made smooth, blended brush strokes. She also had me make three piles of gray (with plain old black and white): pale gray, medium gray and dark gray, and we used those to take the bright chroma off the colors without altering them.

I am going to try to do a couple more paintings similar to this, using the her techniques, just to get them down. I think the more different things I learn, the more I have in my arsenal of oil painting strategies.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Huntington Garden Roses

Oil on Canvas

This is from a photo I took on a trip to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. If you have not been there, they have two art galleries, which hold Sargents, Constables, Turners, and lots of Gainsboroughs. They have the Blue Boy and Pinky. They also have 200 acres of beautiful gardens.

My goal with this painting was to make it bright, cheery and "pretty", the sort of painting that someone would buy to cheer up a room and go with their couch. I have never done roses before, and the roses in the photo were washed out, so I basically had to make them up. I don't think this will win any prizes, but I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do.

Why I think Susan Sarback is a Terrific Workshop Teacher

I have been to a handful of art workshops. They are very expensive, both in the cost of the workshop, the cost in the lost money from my job, and the cost in spending a week out of town. It is very important to me that I really learn something significant in exchange for all this money.

So far, Susan Sarback is one of my favorite teachers as far as her teaching style goes, and these are the reasons why:

Some other teachers don’t have clear steps about how they approach a painting. Their steps tend to be: “First you start, then you flesh it in, and then you “restate” until it is finished”. Susan has four very clear steps. Each step has a goal that must be competed before moving on to the next step. Susan comes around and tells you if are ready to proceed, or what you need to do to finish the step you are on.

Some other teachers don’t really like you to take photos during the demo because it disrupts the demo. People try to crowd around during the demo to take pictures and the other artists can’t see the demo, which is understandable. Susan stops at the end of each of her steps and allows everyone to take as many photos as they like before she proceeds.

Some other teachers set up one or two still lifes and everyone has to crowd around to paint them. Only a couple of students get the best spot with a really good angle and good lighting. Susan has all the easels lined up on one side of the room and as many still lifes opposite each artist. Every still life is well thought out for the appropriate level of the class, and is individually lit. This way, every student has an excellent still life to paint from.

Some other teachers' still life objects are chosen by chance, therefore not all the vases and pots are adequate subjects. Susan has a storage area full of carefully selected still life objects with suitable colors and textures. She also has a bin of fake flowers and fake fruit, so things are not going rot or wilt under the hot lamps while the workshop goes on for a week.

Some other teachers, after the demos, tend have a big, sweeping statement like, “Now do just as I showed you in the demo”, and off we go to muddle our way through tying to replicate what we just saw. After Susan's demo, she has the class do specific exercises to get each step down. First she had us do a value study of a block to make sure we all understood Step 1. After that, we did all four steps on an orange. Everyone had their own perfectly lit orange to work from. Then we did all four steps on one vase and a piece of fruit, again every student had their own vase and fruit in front of them to paint from. By mastering each step slowly, no one fell behind.

Some teachers, after the demo, sort of wander off and do their own thing while the students struggle alone. I know that at a few workshops, the teacher would never come around, and I would have to go find the teacher and drag her over to my easel. Sometimes the teacher gets very involved with one student, and winds up leaving everyone else alone for long stretches while she focuses on the one student for long stretches of time. That student gets a private lesson while the rest of the class is "every man for himself". Susan has all the students lined up in front of all the still lifes and she goes down the line, over and over, stopping to help, encourage, and correct each painting. She spends a minute or two with each student. When Susan gets to the end of the line, she goes right back to the beginning and starts all over again. This way, everyone stays on track.

Some other teachers say, “You’re doing fine”, when you know you are lost. Susan makes sure that no one goes on to the next step until they have mastered the current step that they are working on.

Many teachers, when the workshop is over, the students do not paint like the teacher. The student’s work falls woefully short of the teacher’s work. I suppose that can be expected since the teacher usually has many more years of painting expereince. But when Susan’s students are done, they can ALL paint like the teacher. They may not be able to paint as quickly or draw as well, but all the students leave with the ability to get the glowing paint and color, just like Susan. I can take Susan’s technique home with me, and put it to work on the subjects that I like, which in my eyes, is the whole reason that I take a workshop.

Monday, October 4, 2010

An Essay on Art, by Oscar Wilde

I randomly decided to read "The Picture of Dorian Gray", by Oscar Wilde. I discovered that the prologue was an interesting essay on "art". I wanted to share this with you:

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.

The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Green Hills

Oil on Stretched Canvas

This was from a photo from the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library. Thank you to whomever posted it. I loved how the hills were interesting shapes and all different colors of vivid greens, and I wanted to capture that. The photo had an abstract, surreal quality to it as well.

I did this with a knife, using the method I learned from Susan Sarback. I am very happy with out this one came out.

I love green and this one is my favorite painting so far, so I think I will keep it. For me, this is like looking into an emerald and seeing all the pretty colors. I think for other people, it seems to be too bright.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ventura Moonrise

Oil on Stretched Canvas

I did a painting from this photo about two years ago. I took the photo myself when Alan and I were photographing a fabulous sunset on the beach. I was happy with the earlier painting, but I wanted to do it again. This has pros and cons over the other painting. With this version, I was trying to paint brighter colors, more of a Monet technique, and a more accurate reproduction of the photo.

Here Comes the Sun

Acrylic House paint on the side of a metal storage shed.

I have an artist friend, Scott, who likes to have art events at his house. He had a metal storage shed, and he thought it would be great to have "everyone" over to paint his storage shed. He provided all the leftover house paint and brushes, and everyone painted. Everyone had to draw a card and paint what the card said. The theme was "60's" and my card said, "Here Comes the Sun". That was lots of fun. I made the sun about three feet tall, and I put the famous Ventura Two Trees on the hill. The best part was: all kinds of people were painting. There were artists, non-artists, adults, teens, and children. There was NO pressure to make anything "perfect", just to have a good time. All the brushes Scott provides have a star on the end of them, so I feel like I am working with a magic brush, and my painting will automatically turn out better.

Portrait Workshop

Oil on Stretched Canvas

I painted this at a workshop that I took locally. The teacher gave a demo, and her style is loose. She is very good, but I am not.

The teacher was very adamant that we learn the five kinds of light to make the shape turn:

Three in light:
1. Highlight
2. Light plane
3. Half tone.

Two in shadow:
1. Shadow.
2. Reflected light.

For flesh tone: Raw sienna + Alizarin Crimson. Shadow: Alizarin + Chromium Green. I did my best, but I am not happy with it. However, as bad as it is, honestly, it looked more like the model than any of the other students'. In fact, it looked more like a person than any of the other students'. We painted from a live model. Hopefully, I will do better portraits in the future.

Green Cove

Oil on Stretched Canvas

Another painting created in the hopes of getting into the gallery with photo from the Wet Canvas Image Library.

I really liked how the water went from a deep blue in the back to almost a chartreuse in the front. I tried to capture that spectrum. I tried to make the water look sparkly, wet and transparent. I am very happy with how this one came out.

I did enter this in the Ventura County Fair, and it won third place.

Seascape at Sunset

Oil on Stretched Canvas
This was another painting I did in hopes of getting into the gallery. Again, the image was from the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library, and I am so thankful for the photographers who generously make these photos available for artists to utilize.
I am still enjoying painting bright colors, so I made this one pretty bright too. Sunsets do have a lot of glowing colors in them, and I was trying to capture the glow.

Point Lobos Wave

Oil on Stretched Canvas
I was thinking about trying to get into a gallery. I spoke with the lady there, and she said that since summer was coming up, they were interested in beach and ocean scenes. I did not have any, so I set about to create some.
I looked on the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library and I found this. The foreground in the photo was all white, foamy water. I re-worked it three times before I was happy with it. I was trying to put lots of different colors in the water, not just blue.
I like looking at paintings up close and seeing all kinds of colors and interesting brush strokes, so that's what I was trying to do here. My goal was to keep the values of the colors the same while I changed the hue.

Window with Flower Box

Oil on Canvas Board
This was from a photo on the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library. I liked how the wall was soft and muted and contrasted with the flowers in the flower box. I used the brush on most of the painting, but the flowers were painted with the knife, using the technique I learned from Susan Sarback. I like the knife because I can layer and dab paint as much as I like, at it does not make mud, but just keeps piling the paint up, creating a bright, sparkly effect.

Olivas Arch - Small

Oil on Canvas Board
6" x 8"

I painted this same scene before, plein air, about a year ago. I really liked it, and I wanted another one, so I copied my plien air. I punched up the saturation a bit, and I am happy with how this came out.

Bongart Demo

Oil on Stretched Canvas

Many years ago, my grandpa took a workshop with Sergei Bongart. He also bought one of Bongart's paintings, and it hung over the mantel at his house. I loved looking at it and I was enthralled by the looseness.

Now that I am painting, I wish I could also attend one of Bongart's workshops, but he is gone. I found a website run by his widow and I ordered a book by Mary Balcomb and a demo DVD by Mrs. Bongart. When it comes to painting, she is no slouch. I highly recommend the book and the DVD.

This painting was in the book, on page 115, with step-by-step instructions. I will summarize them for you.

1. Lightly tone the canvas with a very watery wash. He tends to use a black-thaylo blue mixure, basically a dark, cool gray. Then sketch in loosly the subject matter. For me, I could not get it right, so I charcoled it in and went over it with the brush.

2. Using a BIG brush, block in basic colors and planes, keeping everything in an approximate middle value. No details. Pay attention to keeping shadow areas and lit areas distinct and separte. Let it dry.

3. With a big brush again, put in dark-darks, light-lights, intense colors, and "calligraphy".

Joyce Pike is also a student of Bongart's, and even though she paints mostly flowers, her steps are similar.

Lavender Field

Lavender Field
Oil on Canvas Board
6"x 8"

This just did not come out as nicely as I hoped. I am trying to make a true record of every painting, including the boring ones, so I am posting this too. I thought, looking at the photo, that it was stunning, but it just didn't look all that hot when I was done.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lone Tree Small

Oil on Canvas Board


I was going through my old paintings to see what I had, and I found this. I thought the composition and colors were nice, but overall, it was dark and dull. I looked at my reference photo and it was dark and dull too. I decided to perk it up. I mixed lighter, brighter colors, and put them on top in a painterly way, allowing some of the dark and dull to poke through for interest. I think this is much better and happier.

Sycamores Retouched

Oil on Canvas Board

I was going through my old paintings to see what I had, and I found this. I thought the composition and colors were nice, but overall, it was dark and dull. I looked at my reference photo and it was dark and dull too. I decided to perk it up. I mixed lighter, brighter colors, and put them on top in a painterly way, allowing some of the dark and dull to poke through for interest. I think this is much better and happier.

Pink Rose in a Bottle

Oil on Canvas board

This is a “daily painting”, just for practice. I liked the lavender bottle, and the light in the window, so I put a rose it in it from the garden. Overall, I am not really happy with it. The edges are too soft and I don’t know if it looks like a rose. But that’s how this one came out. Some come out good, and some come out bad. I think I like the bottle the best.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lone Tree

Oil on Canvas Board

I wanted to just try doing a loose painting, so I got this photo form the WC RIL. Thank you to whomever posted it. After painting those seascapes, I felt a lot more confident. I just splashed the paint on and didn’t worry so much about it. I remembered at the seascape demo, I did not have a big enough brush to cover the canvas quickly so I used a 1”, raggedy house brush. It made everything look like grass, which was not what I needed in a seascape. So I dragged it out for this painting. I blocked in the grass with it, and then used the very tip to make grass growing. At the very end, I put the lighter touch ups on the tree. I like it a lot, but I used an old, painted over canvas board (since I was not expecting to do anything great on it) and there was a brush hair stuck in the underpainting, so as nice as the painting itself came out, I don’t think I should ever sell it.

Lavendar Beach

Oil on Stretched Canvas

I made this the day after the other beach painting. I just don’t have the patience to post all the work-in-progress photos. Basically, I went down to the Bill Blackman workshop again, and with the same steps of procedure, he walked us through it.

We sketched in the basic shapes, massed in the color, and then put the details on top. No fancy layering or anything. Again, we used water soluble oils, and only four colors: the same as before: Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, and White. You can get his demo tapes on line: three paintings for about $25.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bill Blackman Workshop: Glowing Seascape

Water Soluble Oils on Stretched Canvas

My friend, Ron Souza, from, told me that Bill Blackman, a top seascape artist was doing a workshop in Newbury Park. I am not into seascapes, but I am interested in learning, so I signed up. I was glad to go to a workshop that I didn’t have to take time off of work and drive six miles to.

The materials list said to bring a 16x20 canvas, toned medium gray. Bill was going to provide the paints, which would be water-soluble oils. I was concerned because I had never painted such a large canvas in one day. I looked at Bill’s website, and it was full of typical, rather kitschy paintings of curling waves crashing on rocky shores, with a glowing sunset lighting the wave. That does not go with my d├ęcor, but I sure had no idea how to paint a picture like that, especially so big and in one day.

I got there and Bill was a very sweet, older guy. He even brought donuts for everyone. The workshop was in the gallery full of works from the West Valley Art Association. Bill’s paintings were there, too, right up in the window. They were VERY good. He had an easel set up in the window with a WIP seascape all in pastels, but he only had three colors, two earth tones and white on the pallet. Wow.

We all set up, and Bill passed out an 8x10 photo of the sunset seascape painting to everyone for reference. It was going to be a paint-along. We all loaded up our pallets with Ultramarine Blue (UB), Cad Yellow Light (CYL), Alizarin Crimson (AC), Yellow Ochre (YO) and Titanium White (TW), all on water soluble oils. Then we added a few drops of WSO Linseed Oil. That was weird. Instead of turps, we just used water. That was great, because there were no fume, easy clean up, and you could use ALL that you wanted.

This is how we did it:

Draw a line (UB) across the canvas for the bottom of the wave. Put in the three rocks. Then draw the curve and the splash of the wave, then the horizon. Bill came around and checked everyone’s drawing. Even though everyone did it a little differently, everyone’s was okay. (Bill came around and checked everyone after every step to make sure no one was lost.)

Massing in the shapes:
Mix YO with CYL and paint the glow in the sky and the glow in the curl of the wave. Mix UB with YO until it makes a khaki color and paint the whole sky flat. Mix More UB with YO (heavy on the UB) and paint in the water. Rocks: UB, AC and a little CYL to make black for the rocks. The shadow of the foam was a dull gray lavender of UB, AC, a touch of YO, and lots of TW.

The paint tacked up nicely. I really liked that. Once everything was in flat, we went back over things.

Take straight YO and pounce it all over the sky randomly to get cloud effects.
Model the rocks with YO.
Take the shadow foam color and put all the waves and foam on the water surface.
For the bright foam, Mix TW with a touch of YO (to get a warm white) and paint it on the top edge of the foam. Then take the corner of a fan brush and stipple the edge, and then stipple the foam all over the top of the shadow.
Put a little light foam color on top of the curl of the wave and drag it down with the fan brush. Stipple the top of that with the corner of the fan brush.
Take more of that warm light color for highlights in the water.

And VIOLA! We’re done!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bottles on the Windowsill

Oil on Canvas Board

I did this little study one night after work from a reference photo posted on the WC RIL. Thank you very much to the poster. I thought the clear bottle would be more difficult, but it turned out that the blue bottle was. Overall, I am happy with it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Two Pears Study

Oil on Canvas Board

This was my first study at home. I did it from a photo, which I know is not ideal, but I don’t have a place to set up a still life. This photo was from the WC RIL. Thank you to whomever posted it. Even though it was from a photo, it was still challenging and I still learned things. I think it came out okay.

Gray Teapot Study

Oil on Canvas Board

This was the last day, so I really wanted it to count. Gay spent the morning lecturing on how to set up a still life. She fussed around with vases, roses, fruit, scarves, bowls, etc. while explaining things. Basically, it struck me as getting dressed to go somewhere special: you just keep trying things out until it looks right. Gay said it sometimes takes her a couple of hours to set up a still life. I decided that if I was going to paint more still life studies when I got home, it would be good to set them up during the day while I was doing my housework, so that when it was time to paint at night, I would be ready.

After her lecture was finished, and the still life was perfect, everyone crowded their easels around to paint it. It looked too complicated to me: A big vase, full of roses, a glass vase behind it, a silver creamer in the foreground, a scarf threaded through everything, and some peaches here and there. How can I get that all done in one afternoon?

I went to my little spot and thought, “What am I having the most trouble with?” The answer was GRAY. So I put a gray cloth down, and picked up a dark gray teapot. I asked Gay to help me make something simple and muted since I have so much trouble with dull colors. She put down the purple onion, the white onion, and the beige cloth.

Another lady came over and decided to paint with me. She also wanted a less crowded spot and a simpler still life.

I had two toned canvases. One was chartreuse-ish, and one was magenta-ish. They both were too bright. But I realized that with the purple onion, I could let some of the magenta tone peek through, and that might look nice.

I slowed down to get the drawing right: a lopsided teapot won’t look good no matter how well I paint it. I also realized I did not know how to make gray. I had to ask the lady next to me how to do it. She said blue and orange. That worked. I plugged away for a couple of hours until it was done. I kept remembering what Alan always says, “Just keep fussing with it until it looks right”, and that’s what I did. I am very happy with how this one came out.

I decided that every night that I am home from work, I am going to try to do a small study. I am going to tone the canvas the night before from the mud from whatever I am painting, and I am going to set up the still life during the day. Then if I don’t have to work at night, I can just sit down and start. I won’t have to worry about what I am going to paint or if I have a canvas ready. After all, when people learn an instrument, they practice for an hour or so every night to develop their skills. Artists need to do that too.

Blue Pitcher Study

Oil on Canvas Board

This was another dud in my estimation, but it was still better than the peony painting. All the props at this studio were high gloss, solid color ceramics. I did not like any of them for a study. The fruit and vegetables were beginning to spoil under the hot lamps and the flowers were all wilted.

Since everything looked bad to me, I asked Gay to set something up for me. There were two other still lifes all ready set up with nice flowers on them, and all the “better” props, but everyone else’s easels were crowded around them, and I did not want to bother to move everything only to take on a study too complicated for me.

I just went at this and did my best. I was getting the hang of keeping my paint thicker. Gay taught me something on this one. She came by and said, "Stand back and look at it". I did, but I didn't see anything significant. Gay said, "When you stand back, your light and shadow values blend. You need to strengthen them." Oh! That was helpful! I never knew what I was supposed to be checking for when I stand back and look at my painting. Now I have something: make sure the values are distinct even from a distance.

Overall, I think this painting is boring, and the back ground needs to be broken up more with something. But it is just a study, not a final masterpiece, so no reason to get upset.

Two Studies with Fruits and Vegetables

Oil on Canvas Board

This was the next day’s efforts at Gay’s workshop. Gay told us to paint simple still lifes on 6x8. I only had 8x10, so she told me to divide it in half. She set these to up went at it.

Gay’s “steps of procedure” were somewhat vague to me. The best I could understand was this:

1. Start with a toned dry canvas. Any color that you think works with the still life will do.
2. Sketch in the drawing. First place tick-marks where the objects will start and stop, so you don’t get drawing too big or something and your composition gets thrown off. Then finish sketching it in.
3. Mass in the forms with flat blocks of color.
4. “Define the shapes”. I think that means make it look more 3D.
5. Finishing touches of lightest lights and darkest darks.

Since I needed a toned, dry canvas for each painting, I would tone a canvas or two with the mud on my pallet when I had finished with a painting. That way, it would be dry for tomorrow.

Remembering the peony catastrophy, I tried to remain calm, and get the drawing as accurate as I possible. I foused on:

1. Keeping the light and shadow areas separate.
2. Mixing dull colors for the shadows and bright colors for the light.
3. Confident brush strokes; not a lot of wishy-washy picky nonsense.

Although I did used mixed colors for the muted colors, I used colors straight from the tube plus white for the more intense colors where the light hits.

I am happier with these two studies. I do wish I had painted them on 6x8s. I felt encouraged after doing these. I realized I need to do more still life studies to develop my skills, and stop fretting so much about making every painting a pefect, saleable painting.

Study with Peonies

Oil on Canvas Board

I am posting every single one of my pictures, good or bad, to make an accurate blog of my progress. I think this one is terrible.

I went to a workshop with Gay Faulkenberry. Gay had taken two 6-week workshops with Sergei Bongart, whose work I love. Gay’s work is similar to Bongart’s, with big, loose, vibrant brushstrokes.

I felt that it was time for me to take another workshop, so I googled “Oil Workshop California”. I wanted somewhere that I could drive to, so that I could pile all my painting equipment in the car and haul it there myself. Anything East of California is desert, so I wanted to stay within California. I discovered the Knowlton Gallery five hours north of me in Lodi, which has many artists doing workshops. I scrolled through their calendar, and I liked Gay’s work, so I signed up for that one.

Gay did a demo, (which was amazing), then lunch, then time to work. I had a nice still life of a pretty vase and fake peonies, but I could not do it. I was so confident with the knife, and using pure colors plus white, that mixing colors and using the brush was completely foreign. Plus, they were playing opera, which was very stressful to paint by. The singers were having screaming fits in German, you could tell they were upset, so it was very stressful. I was having a terrible time.

I called Gay over and told her I was completely overwhelmed, that I was having trouble mixing the paints and using the brush. She took my brush and swirled the paint around on my pallet. She said my brush was too floppy and my paint was too soupy. She found a better brush from my collection and stirred up some thicker paint, and dabbed some of it on the canvas for me. I was encouraged and gave it another try. As bad as this turned out, it’s better than it was before Gay set me on the right track. I am just glad that I finished it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

View from Meditation Mount

Oil on Canvas Board

I went here with my husband Alan. He wanted a day of peace and quiet, and I wanted to paint, so we thought this was a good idea. It is high up on a hill, (which you can drive to), and it overlooks a beautiful valley. The view is amazing and I knew I would not be able to capture it on this small canvas, but this is where Alan wanted to sit, so that was fine with me.

I don’t usually plein air paint, so this was harder than normal. But Alan was there, and he kept giving me helpful suggestions, which I appreciated. Even so, this does not even covey a fraction of how beautiful it was. In fact, I don't think this is a very good painting at all. I learned from this painting that I am not ready for plein air yet.

This view is at the end of a landscaped little nature walk. It is called “Meditation Mount”, and is an Eastern Religious site. But people come up laughing and talking loudly and really disturbing the peace. They walk to the end, (shouting and talking the whole way), look at the view, and go back to leave, acting loud and boistrous like they are at a soccer game the whole time. All the landscaping is situated with many quaint little seating areas looking a beautiful plants. It really is designed for being peaceful. I think people should bring their library voices up there. When we go up there, we are quiet and respectful, but when we bring friends to show them how lovely it is, they are loud and scream things like, “Oh-my-god, LOOK at the IRIS! I LOVE irises! Where’s the CAMERA?!!” Alan and I are so embarrassed, that we quit bringing people up there.

Anyway, while we were painting, someone came to the end where we were, and when they turned around to leave, there was a rattlesnake warming himself in the sun. He must have been there the whole time, but we never noticed him. He was about 10 feet away, at the edge of the viewing site. We were quite and he was quiet, so everyone was happy. The other people were getting excited, pointing, shouting and taking pictures, so the snake left.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bristlecone Pine

Oil on Stretched Canvas

This was also from a photo from the Wet Canvas Image Reference Library. Thank you to whomever posted it.

I thought it looked really challenging, and I liked the intense colors. I underpainted the whole thing, Sarback style, and then I did the sky first. The tree had too many details for me to do them with a knife, so I did all the shadow areas, and when it dried, I did the areas in light. When it was all dry again, then I did the brightest highlights.

When the tree was done, Then I did the foreground, using the knife again.

Bottle on the Beach

Oil on Stretched Canvas

I did this from a photo from the Wet Canvas Reference Image Library. Thank you to whomever posted it. I was really trying to capture the glowing sunlight, and the shimmery light inside the wet bottle.

I posted my work-in-progress photos, but I inadvertently put them in reverse order. I did this using the technique from the Susan Sarback workshop, with the pure colors plus white, and only using a knife. I had Alan take my smallest knife and trim it down even more for more specific detail.

When I show this to women, they say, “Oh I LOVE the colors”. When I show it to guys they say, “Hey, you should have put a ship inside the bottle”. One person thought it was a GIANT bottle on the beach.

Double Delight Rose

Oil on Canvas Board

I did this Susan Sarback Style. I did it in stages, letting each stage dry before moving on, so that I would not contaminate the colors. First I did the background, then the red of the petals, which was mostly Cad Red Light and Alizarin Crimson. Lastly I did the yellow and creamy center, then when it was ALL dry, I put on the whitest highlights with a brush.

It took weeks, and each session took hours. When I showed it to my friends, they were amazed and said, “Wow! People might even actually pay money for this – like – 20 dollars!”

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pale Pink Rose

Oil on Canvas Board

I thought this rose would be easier, since it was mostly one color, but I found it to be harder. With more colors in the picture, there are more colors I can put into the shadows and the reflected light. Since this was mostly pink, it was hard finding other (non-pink) colors.

I also thought it would take less time because it had just a few simple shapes, but I think it still took me around 9 hours.

I am glad I transferred the photo to the canvas, because as I was painting the drawing looked wrong. But I stuck with it, and it came out just fine.

The photo does not do it justice. The shadows have darker reds, and the lights have more subtle yellows and blues in them.

The two colors I used the most were Permanent Rose and Cadmium Red light.