Monday, December 24, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Santa on vacation

This is the closest I am going to get to sending a Christmas card. (Charley Parker at Lines and Colors) has a piece on Haddon Sundblom who illustrated Santa for Coca Cola. I painted him in a little different setting.
I painted my Santa while he was on vacation. He takes off on New Year's eve and heads for the tropics or the Florida Keys.
click on the image to enlarge the painting

Santa on Vacation
oil on canvas board

Have a Merry Christmas everybody!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Daily Painting Practice -White Onions

This is a a soupy painting in more than one way. Usually I like to paint with a thicker paint, one that is not so slippery or creamy. But I also like to have fun with these daily practice paintings so I loaded the brush with Liquin and let her drip.
I liked how the reflections dance in the dark brown of the crock.
click on the image to enlarge the painting

White Onions
oil on masonite

I was thinking of doing a Christmas theme painting but then decided that these onions and crock warmed my insides more. I kept thinking of a nice hot bowl of French Onion Soup. You know the kind with really dripping melted Swiss cheese. Now I'm hungry. I may not post again before Christmas so to all of you... Have a Very Merry!!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Tis the time to reflect

click on image to enlarge the painting
Thinking About It
work in progress
oil on canvas

I have not been posting my daily practice paintings as often as usual because this is the time of year I slow down and do a lot of thinking and planning. Reflection is a much needed exercise for me. I need to set goals for next year or I get lost in doing what comes easy and not doing what I need to do.

To start me off in the right direction for the new year, my art studio designer/wife and I cleaned and rearranged the studio. (It was a disaster) But now I have room to think. I hardly ever meet these new year goals but I like to set them anyway. Sort of a tune-up exercise before setting off on a new adventure. One of my first thoughts is to look back and review some old habits. (this can get very ugly) Sometimes it can be hard to limit the areas that I need work on. One habit I know I have had forever is starting paintings and not completing them. Here are a few I gave up on and put in the closet.
Cats are fun to paint but for some reason I lost my interest in this guy.
click on the image to enlarge the painting
Done for the Day
work in progress
oil on canvas

Here's another that got shoved in the "Never to be seen again" pile.
I know it would only take a little attention and I could finish these. So that is one decision for '08.... Finish these two and make a vow to the art gods to finish what I start.
Here is my new model encouraging me and giving me her best Outdoor Life pose.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Patience- work in progress day 4

I thought it might be fun if I reviewed the steps in the development of the face with some close up photos. Seeing it in stages on one blog post makes it easier to view the progress than jumping back and forth on previous posts. Don't you think?
When I blocked her in I only had the basic light and dark. Very crude at this point.
Now the likeness is in there and the coloring is mapped in. I started to figure out where the cool places for color and the warms go. One of the most important areas I think is the nose. It has to stand out but not be outlined. Tones and temperature are all you get to work with.
This is where I stopped when I though I was over working the paint. Coming back after a few days helps me go back in and build up the form with fresh eyes and fresh color.
click on the image to enlarge the painting

Patience -
work in progress
oil on canvas

I now am at a point where I start asking, do I have everything going in the right direction? Here's my mental list. Do I have the light working right? Do I have the structure built? Is there a likeness (if it is a portrait). How is my color? Are the cools and warms working correctly? How is the mood? Does it convey the feeling I want it to?

I am happy with it so far. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - First snow in Benson

Here is the latest work in progress photo for the larger piece I am working on. As you can see I have started on the flowers. It is at the half way mark. I would say the under painting is complete enough to really begin the fun part. Only...I need some space from it before the fun begins. So I started a daily practice piece.
The first real snow fell this past week. I walked around town (it was 15 degrees so I did not paint outside). However, I did stand there and make mental notes as to lighting and color. I tried to start on a canvas washed with that weird purplish sky color of that overcast winter day.
The colors are all muted to give it a cool feeling.
I think the pencil marks I used for the wires are too harsh here so I needed one more step.
click on the image to enlarge the painting

First Snow in Benson
oil on canvas board

Now I'm cold again. Time for some hot chocolate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Patience- work in progress day 3

Stacey Peterson asked if I would post some detail progress photos of the lace curtain. That is just what I am working on today, so you are in luck Stacey. I started with mapping out the patterns, light against dark.
click on the image to enlarge the painting detail
I try to keep my approach very loose. The patterns in the design are blocked in almost in a geometric manner. I am working on the folds at the same time. The colors in the curtains are rather challenging but an awful lot of fun to paint. They catch the the light with a wonderful mix of cool blues, creamy whites and cool purples.
click on the image to enlarge the painting detail
The folds need to feel right. You should feel the fold's soft rolling motion. I don't have it just right yet so I will continue the struggle. I will work and rework and rework the lace. Eventually I may glaze some of this to tie it together better and add some atmosphere. This isn't much progress but I wanted to post something before the sun went down. Back to the studio for some late night work.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Sweetheart

click on the image to enlarge the painting

oil on canvas board

I love the accessories. The lime green hair clips, tiger skin print bag and the red hearts on the shirt, makes you wonder what the shoes look like. I was going to call this " Waiting in line for (Jeffrey Hein)". Jeffrey Hein is a contemporary artist I admire a lot. He does a lot of portraits where the models wear sunglasses. I thought this little girl may be a future candidate for one of his paintings.

You may have been expecting another post on the progress of the painting I started last week. Well, I took a break from painting it and today is Grandpa babysits day. Hopefully I will make enough progress to post again tomorrow.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Patience- work in progress day 2

Day 2 - I am continuing the work of modeling the face. This is mostly base color and structure at this stage. Modeling is a good word... for me it means keep going over the face until it looks right. value/color/ form...value/color/form... this is what I keep repeating to myself. I also started to darken the background so I can judge my light and color better. This helps me judge if the mood of the painting is developing like I want it to.
click on the image to enlarge the painting

Patience -
work in progress day 2
oil on canvas

I am starting to over work the face so I need to jump to another area. I start drawing in some detail (really just smaller shapes and tones). This helps me map the background. I don't want the background to get too tight this soon, but I do need the drawing of the design on the lace curtain to be finished enough because I want to paint the flowers over top the background not in between the background. I map in some of the flowers.
Not as much progress as I wanted but still moving forward.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Patience- work in progress

This is a color study I did a while ago for a larger work I am calling "Patience". My kids and my wife/art career advisor have been urging... no encouraging me (in a loving way) to finish some larger paintings. (I must once again admit that she is rrrrrrrr...) I have been shying away from finishing larger works. But now I have another confession. I am being motivated by shame.
The artist who tagged me last week (Stacey Peterson) has posted some wonderful progress shots on her blog and is shaming me with the methodical method she uses to...complete...her brilliant work in a few days time. So I am challenging myself to do the same. Here is the first block- in of the larger 24"x30" painting.
click on the image to enlarge the painting

- work in progress-
oil on canvas

I am not a methodical painter. I feel my way through each piece. I never know how or where I may begin in a painting. Usually I begin with the darks but not always. Here I started with the underpainting of the face. SO this is where I am today. Tomorrow I will post my progress. Thanks for the motivation!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Fruit Bowl

click on the image to enlarge the painting

Fruit Bowl
oil on canvas board

I love the work of (Vermeer), in particular I enjoy the small delicate detail and the sense of quiet he creates, and his compositions are so well thought out. But there is one thing that has always bothered me about his historical record. The the lack of sketches or preliminary work or even unfinished pieces. Didn't this guy practice?...The answer is, of course he did, but I have never seen any sketches or unfinished work or preliminary paintings that shows how hard he worked at it. It drives me nuts! Because it gives the impression he just sat down and whipped out masterpiece after masterpiece.

Of course that is not what happened. I believe I have an answer to the mystery of his missing work.... Didn't he have something like 10 children? Any artist with young kids around knows that keeping a child busy, especially when we are painting, takes imagination and quick thinking. I think I know what Vermeer did with all those practice pieces.... He let his children color on them.

That's another reason to love Rembrandt's trail, because with Rembrandt you see the struggle, the practice, even the poor work you wouldn't want to show.

This fruit bowl sits on our dining room table. I have painted this (chair) and the (fruit bowl) before separately. The sunlight coming in the south window often stops me in my tracks when it lights up the room and in this case lit up the fruit. The large piece of fruit on the right is a grapefruit. I believe that is the first grapefruit I ever painted. (just a little historical reference).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Wild Flowers

I thought today I would show what brushes I used at the different stages. I am not very disciplined in my brush selection. Most often I use only one or two. This is the beginning, add some darks, dry brushed ( very little dry paint brushed into the canvas) on top of my charcoal drawing.
Next I go wet like watercolor my paint thinned with turps or Liquin. Note my old out of shape round brush. It no longer holds a point so it is delegated to doing the wash.
Now to thicker paint and back to my stiff little flat.
Same brush different color. I 'm breaking brush rule number 1... use a new brush when changing color.
click on the image to enlarge the painting

Wild Flowers
oil on canvas board

I finished some of the stems and petals and details with a 0 round. That's the smallest brush I think I have. My favorite contemporary still life painter and the best painters of flowers in the world today is (Paul Raymond Seaton) over in England. He has a great website which has taught me so much. He gives instructions on painting flowers. I think he even suggests using artificial flowers to start. I have mixed artificial flowers and live flowers in this composition. Can you tell which is which?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Green Wagon

click on the image to enlarge the painting

Green Wagon
oil on canvas board

I was going to name this jump on the band wagon because I thought it would go with my news.
Announcing:( Daily PaintWorks )

I am proud to announce and I am so happy to be a part of a new group of artists and daily painters. 12 painters have got together as a collective to show and market our work. Be sure to look for our advertisement monthly in American Art Collector magazine. To learn more about these special people and see some great art work, stop by and visit our new website.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Daily Painting Practice - Christopher's First Sitting

My new model was ready for his first portrait. He seemed to think it was a good idea.
My art consultant /wife reminded me that not every portrait has to be a big formal deal. Art should be accessible and enjoyable and it should celebrate life.
Baby skin is like nothing else you will ever paint.
I love the pastel texture I have going on with the paint. It adds to the playful character of Mr. Christopher.
Almost there. A few details and I will call it finished.
click on the image to enlarge the picture.

Christopher's First Sitting
oil on canvas board

You gotta love that hair!

Tag I'm it.
If you are like me, you read a lot of other artist's blogs. So no doubt you have probably seen posts about Tagging before. I have been tagged before and blew it off as nothing but an Internet chain letter. But I have recently changed my thinking. Going back through the links in Tagged posts can bring some surprises.

One of the most enjoyable things for me is discovering new artist's that blog. I like being surprised, finding a new good blog with work that I admire is a thrill, especially when I discover I have something in common with the artist. Take (Stacey Peterson) an artist I have admired since reading her first posts. We have several things in common: we both are trying hard to figure out this "painting full time thing" after we both crossed over (nice way to say we quit) managing projects in the engineering field into art. Stacey has a new member of her family and I babysit a new grandchild. This post on tagging is Stacy's fault you see, because she has recently tagged me after being tagged by (Mike Bailey). Without Mike having tagged Stacey I would not have found a wonderful new artist (Sandra Flood). Following the Tags backwards can be interesting. I have discovered Mike used to live in Flemington New Jersey, small world - so did I. And Sandra lives in Frenchtown, N.J. about a block away from where I did (I lived there 20 years ago.)

If you have been tagged you are asked to please follow these rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, 5 random things about me.

1. I once had a life reading done (30 years ago). The kind that tell you about your past lives and what you should be doing in this one. It never mentioned art for this life.... was that a sign or a critique? But it did mention something about writing and sharing a message. I hope this blog counts.

2. The first picture I can remember drawing was in first grade. It was a landscape with a fox jumping over a log with a bush and a tree. I still remember the composition. I was the only one in the class that didn't draw lollipop trees. Mine had branches leaves and roots at the base and the sky was two tones. I still draw the same tree when I sketch a tree from memory. Either I never got better or I was pretty good at trees.

3. My dream is to have an art retreat in Nova Scotia. Where artists can come and rent a room with a studio by the day or week. I even have the name picked out. Peaceful Palette. Would you come?

4. I am a compulsive brush buyer. I buy a brush every time I go to the art store. But I never use more than 3 or 4 brushes when I paint. ( and like Stacey, I don't wash them like I should... Once a week maybe)

5. I have never been west of Omaha. ( Except for a business trip to Las Vegas for 2 days which doesn't count).

Here are my five chosen taggees.

(Sheila Vaughn) Sheila has a wonderful feel to her work. An artist in England who paints with a fine style. She varies her subjects which I like in a daily painter.

(Darren Maurer) I know Darren will hate the idea of being Tagged.. that's why I am doing it. Darren is the guy who started me in this daily painting and blogging thing so I owe him.

(Tracy Helgeson) I know Tray has been tagged before but she is feeling a little under the weather and could use some emails wishing her to get better soon. I thought this is might be a good way to cheer her up. She is one of my favorites to read.

(Sarah Trefny) Sarah is the person who gave me the instructions on installing the small thumbnail gallery on my blog. Her work is beautiful. I am jealous of her white pitcher painting. Actually any of her paintings.

(Anthony Zierhut) My favorite sketch artist in any blog. Anthony's blog is so worth visiting. He wins my Norman Rockwell Award for the way he captures his family in the stuff we all do and always wish we would have sketched .