Thursday, December 31, 2015

Prickly Pear Fruit

"Prickly Pear Fruit"
10" x 10" oil on panel

When I saw this fruit in the produce department of the 
grocery store I wondered what they were. They 
displayed so many beautiful colors 
and felt plump like a full water balloon.

I cut through the leather skin to see what it looked like. 
Brilliant pink inside! Their juicy fleshy tasted mildly sweet. 
No wonder that they are called succulents. The seeds are 
hard like kernels of popping corn. Fascinating!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Odd Couple

"The Odd Couple"
18" x 18" oil on panel

Since I share my studio with another artist, 
I can't control the lighting on my still life set up while 
the overhead lights are on for my studio mate. 

So, I placed a backdrop around the still life table 
and hung two black shower curtains to block 
the light from the fluorescent overhead lights. 
It works pretty well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gray Pot and Bird Nest

Gray Pot and Bird Nest
14" x 11" oil on panel

I found this little bird nest and couldn't resist painting it!
I edited it by placing two oranges in the background.
It feels like the pot is nestled in a little more.


8" x 8" oil on panel

Mrs. Backer's Flowers

"Baker's Flowers"
12" x 24" oil on panel

I bought these cupcakes at Mrs. Backer's Bakery 
here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Not only are they 
beautiful to look at, they are delicious!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Let's look at layers...

Think of painting on your canvas as a series of "layers." 
An artist makes corrections and adjustments on each 
layer until their painting looks the way they want.

Below is the first layer of my pond painting. This is when 
I adjust the shapes and simplify the color masses. I want
the rain clouds to be dark so that I can scumblelighter 
paint over them in the next layer to add texture to my sky.

*Scumbling is a technique of applying paint across 
the surface of your painting without pressing the paint 
completely down into the texture of your canvas. A 
scumbled stroke looks "sketchy" and "see-though" 
allowing the color over which you are painting to still 
be partly visible.

Notice how the second layer over the storm clouds is 
softer and lighter in value. When viewing this painting up 
close you can see how layering introduced color and 
texture into my painting.

Now I am ready to drop in some detail.

I can put algae on the water, highlights on the willow, 
and paint the flora along the bank of the pond.

So, back to Layers...

When first blocking in a painting, I like to think of my first 
layer as the "idea" stage. It's easy to look at that underpainting 
and say, "This looks pretty bad." 

Try to speak positively about each layer - knowing that as you 
make incremental adjustments and corrections - a beautiful 
creation will emerge! Be nice to you.

After all, it's just a layer... 

Here's the Process...

After sketching in my subject with a colored pastel 
pencil, I start blocking in the big masses of color.

Next I begin to define my subject (the two girls
and the kayak).

Now it's finally time to put in the details such as
the ripples on the water, the planks on the dock
and the paddle. The foreground is the last thing
to paint.

"Strolling the Snake River," 36" x 36" oil on panel.
J'ai finis!

Pumpkin Patch

"Pumpkin Patch"
16" x 20" oil on panel

When I visited this pumpkin patch I noticed that the orange 
pumpkins were sitting all together on the bare ground away 
from the greenery where they grew.

I snapped some pictures of the vines and leaves and took
the large pumpkin (on the right) back to my studio where I 
painted an image of it into the greenery.

Sometimes combining photography with painting from real
life creates a more interesting painting. Even artists can
enhance their work by editing.