Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Monet's Butterfly - First Background

I added the first background in my painting Monet's Butterfly. Of course, it is a long way from finished but I wanted to share the progress with you.

I continue to learn the technique of rendering flesh in the Old Masters style, which requires patience, a gentle touch and careful blending; and a lot of careful explanations from my teacher!

The title Monet's Butterfly may not make sense, but to me the hands remind me of a fluttering butterfly, and the white shape in the background will eventually morph into a scarf shape that has been inspired by one of my favorite floaty scarfs with a pattern of Monet's water lilies on it. I bought it at the Carnegie Art Institute after seeing the actual painting by Claude Monet. I also saw Plains at Auvres, the last painting Vincent Van Gogh did before he shot himself.

Sometimes the inspiration for a painting will come to me in what seems like a disconnected fashion, but when I stop to examine why I'm painting what I'm painting, it tells a story about my own experiences. I just hope that when other people see my art they can find enough in it to make their own connection.

Although this painting is far from finished, part of my inspiration is--you guessed it--my own hands. Although they usually are covered with a bunch of gooey paint messes!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Reassurance - Original

This obviously isn't a painting done in one day, but I wanted to post it because it's my first painting done in the old master's style. I will probably add some more layers to the flesh, but it's almost finished.

This painting started out as a study in rendering realistic flesh, because I figured if I could paint hands then I could probably paint any part of a figure, and what I really want to do is some figure work. Thus, it was an exercise in technique that I hope to use in future paintings.

I worked the background a lot and finally added some blues to cool it down. You can see the previous version here. At that point I wasn't sure it would make it, but sometimes you have to let things rest for a while.

I read somewhere that as an artist if you are satisfied with one or two square inches in your painting, no matter what its size, then you have been successful. Well, there are two small areas in this painting that I think are good. In the process I learned a lot, mostly what not to do. I guess there's no other way to learn that, except to have done it. Like a mistake, if you're smart enough, you learn from it. I hope I am.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

White Iris - Finished

I worked all weekend on finishing this painting, and I can finally say - it's done! If you look at the previous version, you can see that the background morphed into leaf shapes. I didn't exactly plan it that way, but that's the wonderful thing about painting. You just never know what's going to happen.

I didn't get much else done this weekend. All I did was paint. I wish I could do that every day. I'd be so happy.

Now I need to move on to another painting. I have the canvas all ready to go, just need the inspiration. In the meantime I'm also focusing on the small daily paintings that I'll start posting on Oct. 1. They are a joy to work on, and I'm learning a lot about colors and blending.

Next week I am going to post my progress on the hands studies. They're moving along - slowly but steadily. They take about five days dry time between each phase.

I've been experimenting with a lot of different painting techniques this summer (old masters, layers, direct) and I like using a little of each technique in every painting. Except the daily paintings--they have to be direct painted. But there is a totally different effect you get from layering paint on top of paint. It has a lot of depth. That's what I like. But there is less immediate gratification. You have to wait a couple of layers before you start to feel the painting come alive. Takes patience, which I often don't have enough of. Speaking of which, I need to go clean up my studio, because messes make me impatient. Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thoughtful Girl (detail)

Detail from a 12" a 16" oil painting of my daughter sitting in the sun.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Water Reflections #6

Another paintng in the water reflections series. This one is almost like an optical illusion. Can you tell which is the reflection and which is the boat?

18" x 24" pastel.

Many blue tones were used.

I could paint water forever. I love it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Water Reflections #3

This is another pastel painting I did recently, of the water reflections from a pleasure boat in the San Diego marina. The day was bright and clear and the water was totally still, creating a myriad of reflections in the water.

As I've been sharing my artwork with you it's occurred to me that my blog is a diary of my oil paintings, and here I am sharing my pastel paintings. But I have some logic behind this decision.

Several weeks ago, after I read an article in The Artist's Magazine, I made the decision to start creating small oil paintings every day. Since then I've learned so much about other artists who are growing and painting the same way. And I've been preparing painting surfaces and creating small paintings like crazy, plus blogging away and building up a mailing list to share my paintings with. At the same time some of my friends have started doing the same and they are as amazed as I am at what they are learning. That as artists, we have the power to market our unique expressions to the world! This is extraordinary. I have people on my mailing list from as far away as Australia.

In the process I've asked myself, what would the Impressionists or Vincent Van Gogh have done if they'd had the Internet? Can you imagine--the revered Mr. Monet sending me an email!

So while I've been pondering these ideas I've been painting and painting. People always say that artists are scattered and non-linear. Artsy fartsy they say, and then ask me why I'm so organized, I don't seem anything like an artist. Truth is, artists are as varied in personality type as any typical group of people in a workplace. Me, I have to do things in a concrete linear fashion, one step at a time, in a way that makes sense. That's my personality and I'm stickin' to it!

Thus, I'll begin posting my daily paintings on October 1, the day I've decided I'll be ready. In the meantime, in a linear fashion I'm sharing my other works with you. I hope you enjoy them, because they are a part of my journey.

Oh, I better go do some painting now! And yes, my studio is very neat!


Star Gazer Lily, pastel, 18" x 24".

Email me if you are interested in this painting.

It is one of my favorite pastel pieces.


PS: I met another artist today through flickr. She is Shanti-Marie. She shares my first name! Visit her blog. I think you'll like it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

After the Run

Salmon swim up the Kalama River every year. This one didn't make it.

Pastel painting on paper - 18" x 24".

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Totem Poles

This is a detail from a small watercolor I did several years ago of the totem poles in Kalama. The painting actually shows more sky and foreground, but I couldn't fit the whole thing on the scanner.

Since I didn't have a new painting today, I thought I'd just dust this one off and share it. To me that's better than letting it sit in the closet collecting dust!

It's a watercolor on paper, around 11" x 14", unframed, and for sale. If you are interested email me with the name of the painting in the subject line. In time it will be auctioned on ebay.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Water Lily

My impressionist interpretation of a water lily at Lake Sacajawea. Done over the summer on 12" x 16" gallery wrap canvas.

This painting is for sale. If you are interested email me with the name of the painting in the subject line. In time it will go up for auction on ebay.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Yellow Iris

Yellow Iris - 12" x 24" - oil on canvas - available

I finished the final details on my Yellow Iris painting this weekend. It was inspired by the wild yellow irises that grow profusely around Lake Sacajawea in the spring. The paint is quite thick and the effect is almost impressionistic.

You can see me working on this painting in an article written by the Longview Daily News on June 29 about Longview's first artwalk.

This painting is a 12" x 24" oil on gallery-wrap canvas suitable for hanging without a frame. The edges are black. Hanging hardware is included.

This painting is available for sale. It is also available from VIDA on wearable items, including a modal scarf, cashmere scarf, sleeveless knit top and rectangular pendant. Visit this painting on my website for more information.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Monet's Butterfly Verdaccio

The verdaccio on these hands is complete. I tried to use a much lighter touch this time, and lighter paint mixtures so I wouldn't get everything too dark too soon.

I used quite a bit more white in the mixtures, and they looked really light on my palette, but then when I stroked them on the canvas they were much darker. It's hard for me to judge the tone I need.

You can see the outline of this painting in my August 27 post. Since then I learned that the outline isn't really necessary, just the pencil drawing. But since I had the outline done already, I decided to go ahead with the verdaccio.

My painting-a-day project is coming along, and I hope to start posting them next week. In the meantime I'm still working on my other paintings.

Many thanks to all the new painting-a-day artists I've met in the blog world. I've included links to their sites on my blog, and many of them have done the same for me. It's amazing how many wonderful artists there are out there, and I feel privileged to be associated with them.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Release Background

This is another hands study I am working on to practice the Old Master's technique of rendering realistic flesh. You can see a little bit of the first flesh tones on the thumb in the lower right. Also, a first layer of background color has been applied. The finished background won't be yellow, it will be a deep green/blue/brown tone. I am four or five layers away from this effect.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reassurance Background

Work on this painting continues. The first layer of background color has been blended in, and a small portion of the first flesh tones have been layered on top of the underpainting in the upper right corner only.

Subsequent layers of background colors will produce a rich blue/green/brown effect that will set off the warm tones in the flesh.

I am painting this figure study of hands so that I can learn the Old Master's technique of rendering flesh by building a Verdaccio (green underpainting) and then applying thin layers of flesh tones over it. Each layer builds on what is underneath. The process has been long and frustrating, but I think I'm making good progress now. I have a fantastic teacher!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Riverwatch Study #3

Small oil study done in preparation for a larger painting. This is the view from my living room.

See the larger painting here (Riverwatch Mural).