Friday, March 30, 2007

Daily painting practice - Bad News

I found this bottle in our pantry. It will probably be there for the next twenty years. I can't remember why we bought it in the first place. Maybe it was for medicinal purposes.
Time to tone down some of the colors. The background is too bright.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Bad News
oil on hardboard

The name says it all. It has always interested me how people react to bad news. Some get upset, or angry, or quiet. Some seek the comfort of friends and others seek the comfort of being alone.
In this painting the unopened bottle and upside down glass next to the newspaper tell a story set in time. What happens next is created in the viewers imagination.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

daily painting practice - Girl Talk

click on the image to enlarge the picture

Girl Talk
oil on masonite

Three women spend their lunch hour on a park bench on a bright sunny afternoon. One is completely in her own world reading. The other two sharing girl talk...I love the drama of conversation... the first woman seems to enjoy telling her news and the second listens politely...but really wants to finish her drink.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

daily painting practice- Cowboy Dave

Back in October, I posted the (work in progress photos) of Cowboy Dave.

I finally got around to finishing it. I will trim it back to 14"x14". Here are a few details and the final.

My favorite part is my reflection in the gold watch. How vain is that?
Click on the photo to enlarge the image

Cowboy Dave
oil on masonite
This is a studio piece that will be for sale at my show at the (So-Oh Gallery) in September.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

daily painting practice - tangerines on a blue silk scarf

I started painting this still life on an orange colored pre-toned board. After transferring my drawing, I painted over the lines with burnt umber and let it dry for a few days. I did not want to loose the detail of the drawing.
I washed in the darks with warm Burnt Sienna. Thinned with Liquin and turps.
Next I began to lay in some color. The tangerines were given form with halftones and lights.
Almost there. Keep making the paint thicker and the color bolder.
click on picture to enlarge the image

Rhapsody in Blue
oil on gessoed hardboard
I could not think of a better name. The color of this silk scarf is amazing. Those blues together with the brilliant orange of two tangerines... I was in a painter's heaven. I had to paint this still life. Sometimes a composition just shouts out to be painted or in the case of Rhapsody in Blue even put to music.

Monday, March 26, 2007

daily painting practice - garlic and chives

The contrast of the white garlic with the dark shadowy tomato sauce jar is what attracted me to this arrangement.
A lot of glare. I think that happens when the paint is dry and has less oil or medium mixed in. The warm red sauce was a lot of fun to paint. I'm hungry for some pasta now.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Garlic and Chives
oil on masonite

If you are going to paint the ingredients for a good spaghetti sauce you have got to have Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin music playing in the background. It adds to the flavor of the painting.
It must be spring, even the garlic that was sitting in the refrigerator has started sending up green shoots. The chives were cut from my wife's herb garden. The first harvest of the season.

Friday, March 23, 2007

daily painting practice- still life work in progress

I need to start painting a lot more larger studio pieces to have enough for my show in September. My production of these larger pieces is a very slow and sometimes painful process. My first attempt ended in (tragedy) the demise of a painting before its time. This painting was started on top of the over painted corpse of its predecessor.
I have not used any white yet. This should help me keep the colors from getting chalky or pasty looking. The lightest color is a mix of Naples Yellow and a touch of burnt umber.
Here, I have started adding white. The thickest paint is on the tangerine and pear and the highlights on the vase. The rest is thin and scrumbled or lightly brushed on.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

12" x 16"
oil on canvas

Sorry about the glare folks. To me this has a little hint of Van Gogh again. Vincent's spirit must be hanging around the studio.

The vase has a pretty design on it which I still need to paint and the background needs a little softening and atmosphere. The cloth, maybe a few strokes to add detail to the fabric. That's not a bad experiment to see how long it takes to do a larger piece. This took about 4 hours to get it this far. 12"x16" may not seem that large but I have been very comfortable painting my 6"x6" panels. Time to break out of the comfort zone!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

daily painting practice - apples, grapes & copper still life study

I didn't have my toned board ready so I had to start on white. You can see 2 tonedboards drying on top of my shadow box. Luckily most of this painting is very dark so I could start with rich darks in the background and shadows.
The red apple is the star of the show here. Though my vote for best supporting prop isthe grapes.( They add the sparkle)
click on image to enlarge the picture

Apples, Grapes & Copper Study
oil on wood

I am trying to get bolder with the color and deeper with the shadows. The copper is always fun but challenging to paint. So many reflections! The apple takes the stage like a celebrity, posing on the white carpet, asking to be noticed, while the supporting cast of characters stay in the background.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

daily painting practice - still life study coffee break

painting on the pre-toned board allows me to jump right into darks and lights. The mid-tone is already there.
This is a very mono-tone painting. The key I think is leaving plenty of warm transparent shadows.
click on image to enlarge the picture

Coffee Break
oil on masonite

Every time I go to the thrift store they have hundreds of coffee cups. I finally broke down and paid $1.28 for these three. I have wanted to do a coffee cup still life for a long time. Of course being a tea drinker I know I am committing blasphemy with the title.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - back to work

I am sorry for not posting yesterday and also last Friday but things have been crazy here lately. My head has been in the toilet.....literally. It all started with replacing the bathroom floor....then sink and cabinet... then of course the toilet had to be repaired... and did I mentioned the pipes in the wall cracked.. and we replaced two walls....

Today is a new day, I gave up and called the plumber to finish the job I need to get back to daily painting. I mentioned last week my first one-man show will be in September so I need to hustle my butt and paint 20 show pieces. All larger than my daily paintings. However I still will keep up the daily practice as a way to experiment with design and also to just have fun!

This is more Thrift Store treasure. The apple is the only real color in the picture.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Still Life Study
oil on masonite

I like the texture and earth tone color of this vase. It is a great contrast to the smooth bright green apple.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

daily painting practice - Van Gogh's take out

I admit I didn't start out thinking this way, but the more I painted this box the more I thought of Van Gogh.

The heat from the lamp I used to light up the still life also warmed up the inside of the box. My studio smelled like a Chinese restaurant at 8 AM.

click on image to enlarge the picture

Van Gogh's Chinese Take Out
oil on masonite


I was imagining what if they had Chinese take-out when old Vincent was alive. He probably would have painted the box. At one point I know Vincent Van Gogh copied oriental prints and designs and incorporated the design elements into his paintings so this is a proper tribute.

This is the second painting in my Peter's Day sale. You are only 52 once.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Two Lemons

Sometimes you just want to do something small. I held the canvas in my hand while I painted this. I just put 2 lemons down on top of my computer and went to work.
Two Lemons
oil on canvas board

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Daily Painting Practice- Playing with Toys

I had a remarkable day yesterday. Renee Johnson, who owns the (SO-OH Fine Art) gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, came by with Brian Reetz, Editor in Chief of( Life Style Lincoln Magazine). They are going to do an article on my work coming out later this spring. Is that exciting or what? That's not all, Renee would like me to do a One-Man-Show at the gallery in September. Now I am walking air!
I started this one with a charcoal drawing and then brushed the paint right on top.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Mental Vacation
oil on masonite

This was just all out fun, I spent an hour or two just pushing paint around. Sometimes I get so mentally driven (no pun intended) I forget about the most important ingredient ...that there is joy in painting. The really cool part about being an artist is that this joy can be delivered to others when they view the work. Painting ends up being more about giving it right than getting it right. So enjoy the ride!

Monday, March 12, 2007

daily painting practice - lemons and ginger jar

A simple design is the best way to practice on a specific idea in painting. I wanted to practice painting yellow in shadow. Yellow is a very hard color for me to make luminous. Reading David Leffel's book helps but practicing and experimentation is the real key to understanding how it works.
This little ginger jar has an interesting design on it. I am not choosing to focus on the design this time. So I'll suggest it with very loose strokes.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

Lemons and Ginger Jar
oil on masonite

This was a fun exercise in painting lemons mostly in shadow. Though I find it very hard to paint the correct yellow, the painting still manages to hold my attention. I'll need do more with these lemons to see if I can get that color. Perhaps doing a series of 100 lemon paintings would help.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - A Walk in the Park - completed

click on picture to enlarge the image

Walk in the Park
Bemis Hill Park, Omaha

oil on canvas

Finally finished! ...celebrate, celebrate dance to the music...
The lesson here is to keep plugging away and listen to those who keep telling you "be bolder... more detail.... be bolder!"

For those of you who are new to this blog. I have posted the progress of this particular painting several times since I first sketched the idea in October or early November. The last time was (Feb 8th).

Ok, so my February painting wasn't completed until March. It still feels good to check it off the list. Time to develop an idea and composition for the next large painting. I may need a trip to the thrift store.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

daily painting practice- last peony

Ok, since I did the painting that showed you my peony garden you might have thought that was the end of them. Not quite, but I think this is the last peony painting until this year's blooms come in. Peonies make a great painting in almost anything you stick them in. Here I put them in an antique milk bottle.
click on the picture to enlarge the image

White Peonies
oil on masonite

I am finding I like to use a mixture of linseed oil and Liquin as a medium when I paint flowers. It helps with the loose brush work and the transparency of the darks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

daily painting practice - Omaha Farmer's Market

I have summer on my mind. (winter does that to me) So, I decided to paint something that says... short sleeve shirts and..." find some shade." This is what summer is like on Saturday mornings in downtown Omaha.
I started by drawing /painting over my charcoal sketch with Ivory black.
Leave it to me to try another method in beginning the painting. This time I put the lights in first and the light colors. I want your eye to start on the cabbages in the basket then lazily move back through the scene.
Abstract blotches of colors in the background keeps the detail and muddy colors away.
click on the picture to enlarge the image
Omaha Farmer's Market - Saturday's Cabbage
oil on masonite
The outlined images give the painting a little different feel from my other work. I think the basket of cabbages really holds the bottom of the composition together like a good solid foundation stone. My favorite two points of interest are the scale and the bit of table cloth peeking through the baskets.

Monday, March 05, 2007

daily painting practice - Peonies in my Garden

If I ever go back to painting on a white panel please kick me. The pre-toned panels make the first stages of laying in the darks and lights so much easier with the half tone already painted and dry.
Look at those deep rich transparent darks. I dream about those at night. There will be no need to go back later and muddy up the painting if you get the darks right in the beginning.
That one peony blossom looking at you in the center of the painting is the key to the composition. I am still learning that if there is not strong contrast and a strong center of interest, the painting will fail. Seems like an easy concept to remember but with everything that we artists think about during the painting process , it is usually one of the first things I forget.
click on picture to enlarge the image

The Artist's Garden
oil on masonite

I have have done several still life paintings of peonies so I thought it would be a good idea to paint the place I go to pick them . This is the garden outside our kitchen. It is filled with gorgeous pink peonies. I have only two plants that produce white blossoms. The bush in the background is the (flowering Quince I cut the branches from for the still life I posted last week).

This painting was so much fun. It was almost as much fun as being in the garden itself. My wife actually started some seeds indoors this weekend so it is official... Spring is just around the corner!