“Stare” oil on Gessobord

“Stare,” 8×8″ oil on Gessobord. (Buy original from DailyPaintworks.) Thanks to djwar93 of DeviantArt for the stock pic I used as inspiration!

I forgot to post this painting earlier. It was completed in August. I loved the intense look on the model’s face, but when I compare my finished piece with the stock photo used as reference, I realize that it ended up being more “inspiration” than a literal reference. I changed the expression, the intensity, the contrast, a lot of things. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still obviously painted from that particular photo, but the jawline, the shape of the head, and the tilt of the head, among other things, were all changed. I don’t consider it a good likeness of the model anymore. But I have no intention of changing it.

What attracted me to this particular stock photo was the expression of the model, as well as all the variety of colors in his face—the pinks, neutral greens, and even some pale lavenders. It was a challenge trying to capture all of that in the painting. Not sure I succeeded completely, but I tried!

I used Ampersand Gessobord this time, which has a luscious, smooth, eggshell-like surface. I love it. I don’t always want to paint on that type of surface, but it is one of my favorites. It works especially well with smaller works.

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Hooded Man

I don’t quite know how to explain why I chose this subject. I liked the expression and thought it was dramatic and evocative, I guess.

“Hooded Man,” oil on panel, 8×10 inches. Credit goes to djwar93 on DeviantArt for the stock photo I used as reference.

There was a lot of time spent on the values, shadows, and some on the colors (which areas were cooler, what areas were warmer?). The expression of the man came together on its own; he seems at times to me to be merely intense, thoughtful—other times he seems angry and sinister. I’ll let the viewer decide!

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Hidden Heart

“Hidden Heart” 9×12″ oil on linen panel. Many thanks to Jason Aaron Baca (model) and Portia Shao (photographer) for the reference photo!

This is a “put a fork in it, it is done” painting. I do like it, but I also think there comes a point where if you pick at something too much, you ruin it. I think I’ve reached that point.

I actually started this painting a few months ago, for a Valentine’s Day painting challenge (we had to do a painting with a “hidden heart” in it somewhere). I returned to tweak a few more things on it just a few days ago. And now I think it’s time to call it done, even though, as always, I see things that I would like to tweak some more. But there’s a limit, right? And it’s time to move on. Right? 😉

It does seem like I do a lot of paintings of Jason Aaron Baca. And I do! He is awesome. He’s a highly popular figure on DeviantArt.com, where he has a plethora of reference (“stock”) photos available for artists to use. I have been collecting these photos for a long time now and am on a roll, doing a series of paintings from some of them. I love the drama of some of the shots!

The painting is on 9×12″ linen panel, by Fredrix. It’s classified as “archival” (meaning it is durable and won’t fall apart before its time). Fredrix has archival boards available in linen as well as cotton, and the linen ones have the option of being primed with either acrylic or oil-based primer. This painting was primed with acrylic, if memory serves.

There’s something quite sublime about the texture of linen, I can’t describe it exactly, but I like it very much. I’ve stockpiled quite a few of these boards for future use.

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“Roman Youth”

“Roman Youth” oil on panel, 6×8″

I did some final tweaking to this painting and I think it’s done!

For some reason I had trouble with this; perhaps it’s still “not right,” but I believe in letting go eventually and moving on to the NEXT! So that’s what I will do with this.

Again I used a reference photo from Jason Aaron Baca (model) with photographer Portia Shao. I love his photos because there’s so much drama there. I love the drama! He’s so generous to make his stock photos available to artists.

With this pose there was a slight “searching” or “beseeching” expression on his face, which I enhanced. I did a few slight adjustments to his features (just to mix it up a little). I hope this will make for a somewhat arresting portrait.

Painted with oils on another Sourcetek (I think—or was it Raymar? I think it was Sourcetek) panel. I love the texture of these panels. I covered the entire panel with a thinned-down layer of Transparent Oxide Red, which I wiped away in some spots (to paint in the face and flesh tones) but I left much of the Oxide Red still there. I think it worked as the background.


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Demure & other painting updates

Another painting done, and a couple others that haven’t been blogged about yet.

“Demure” oil on Sourcetek canvas panel, 8×8″.

And yet again, I used one of my favorite photographer’s work for reference. Thank you Cathleen Tarawhiti for the use of this stock photo!

I always feel I’m in the process of learning, and many times there is this feeling of uncertainty—did I get this right? Am I off the track. . . again?  I guess all artists go through this to some extent.

It was fun to explore the cools and warms in this subject. I purposely left parts of it unfinished—that’s the fun of it! Let a bit of the canvas texture to show through!

Now onto another recent effort, still not done as I feel I must fuss with it some more.

“Roman Youth” 6×8″ oil on Sourcetek panel.

Many thanks to Jason Aaron Baca and Portia Shao for the stock photo I used as reference! Mr. Baca (the model) is another favorite of mine; I have quite a few of his photos on my iPad, ready to paint!

In this photo I am struggling with a few things, so it’s not quite done yet. I hope to finalize this little oil sketch in the next day or two.

The reference photo shows a fuller-length pose of Mr. Baca in some sort of Roman-style period costume, and him looking up, searchingly . . . I enhanced that expression (plus changed his features just a tiny bit—like to mix it up!) and came up with this. I want to tweak a few things a bit more and then I hope it’s done! And onto the next painting.

And both of these above paintings were painted on Sourcetek panels. I love, love, my Sourcetek! I’ve been doing some spring cleaning and have been finding hidden pockets of Sourcetek. Here, there, everywhere they are stashed! Those 5-packs of boards in various sizes and types (oil primed linen, acrylic-primed canvas, hardboard, birch, all types!). I had no idea that I’d bought so many! Well, it’s time to use them up!

And I forgot, one last painting from a few days ago:

“Piercing Gaze” 6×8″ oil on Sourcetek panel.

Yep, another Sourcetek panel, I believe! This time I used a stock photo by Stockingbird on DeviantArt. The original photo was a nude (crouched pose) but I couldn’t get past the face—the sublime warms and cools, the neutrals, they cried for attention. For this painting I used a Zorn Palette (which I’ve used before) which is an excellent way to get back on track with color. You only have black, white, vermillion (orangey-red) and black to work with. You mix all your colors with that. Adding black to colors can cool them down and you can create some good subdued blue-greys and greens with the addition of black. Another interesting experiment. It won’t be the last time I use the Zorn Palette!

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“Eavesdropping,” 6×8″ oil on linen panel (Gatorboard).

I finally had enough, it’s done, it’s done!

This is another painting from my “novela” series (which I explain better at the bottom of this post), where I explore emotions in more depth. I always enjoy doing these paintings—so many expressions to capture! Totally love it.

I fussed with this painting for a while (you can read more of my struggles here) and decided it’s time to let it go. Time to move on to another painting! Even with the frustrating moments, I still enjoyed painting this one very much.

This painting was also my first attempt at painting on a New Traditions Art Panel, which is a bit ooh la-la and high end (too good for me! Ha!) but I had to try them out. (I’m such an art materials junkie!) I liked the lightness and sturdiness of the Gatorboard (which is like a super stable foam board with an unbendable quality) and the linen was very smooth, but somehow it seemed to suck in the paint. A bit weird to paint with. I think there are probably other linens from New Traditions that I’ll like better. (And if I don’t, oh well, I still have RayMar and Sourcetek!)



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Ginger Cowboy

Ginger Cowboy, 8×10, oil on canvas panel

This is a little different from some of my other recent paintings. But it’s a “guilty pleasure.”

“Ginger Cowboy” is from a series of art I’ve done for years. Somewhat campy, romanticized, corny (if you will) portraits of cowboys inspired by my childhood love for TV westerns. (I loved—and still love—those old reruns like “Wagon Train,” “Maverick,” “The Big Valley” and on and on!).

This was painted with no reference, no model, no photo, just from my imagination, which explains why he looks a little different from some of my other work. When I paint these cowboys, they are a compilation of every handsome TV cowboy that I loved since childhood!

Cowboy Plate, earthenware with commercial underglazes, on wheel-thrown plate.

Here’s a plate I made years ago, during my ceramics phase (which I hope to return to very soon!). I’m very fond of “my” cowboys. They’ve been my fond companions for a very long time.

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Fleeting Glance

“Fleeting Glance” 6×8″ oil on linen panel

Another day, another painting! 🙂

Again I use a “favorite” model, Jason Aaron Baca. (Photo reference credit: Photographer Portia Shao positivevista.com – Model: Jason Aaron Baca jasonaaronbaca.deviantart.com) Mr. Baca has a plethora of stock photos on DeviantArt, available for artists to use as reference. So often his photos are fraught with drama and imagination, so I have used his stock several times and plan to use more!

With this photo, it was a photo of his figure (I think waist-up) but I found the expression on his face so arresting, as well as the dramatic lighting, that I thought I could make something of it. Really enjoyed working on this one.

Painted on an oil-primed panel by RayMar. (Love my Raymar panels!)

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Blue Dreads – oil on panel

Yep, another study from a stock photo I found on DeviantArt! This time it’s a fellow named This-is-RArt. I loved his blue dreadlocks.

Blue Dreads, 5×7″ oil on panel

I’m studying warm and cool tones, and how they relate to the portrait especially. After attending a workshop taught by Adam Clague, I have felt like something has “clicked” and I’m seeing things differently! It’s strange, because it’s not like I didn’t “see” before—I’ve been drawing and painting for a long time.

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Work in Progress, Cowboy

This is an exciting experiment. I am posting this from my email account! Squee!

I found a photo of this painting in my computer’s scans folder. Now I need to finish it! I added a few fiddles in Photoshop to see where I could go with it.

Oil on 6×6″ Gessoboard.

P.S. I went in later and a little editing to this post on my regular computer. Like adding tags and category.

Work In Progress, Cowboy in Greens. 6×6″ Oil on Gessobord

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“Intense” oil sketch 6×8″

“Intense” 6×8 inches, oil on panel

This is a small painting I did on a Raymar panel several months ago. From my “novela” series, I continue to explore different expressions and emotions in these portrait sketches. I love Raymar panels, by the way. This is the simple acrylic-primed panel with a semi-smooth texture (for portraiture).

Another aim of this portrait sketch was to try to be less “fussy” (obsessed with picky details) in my painting technique. This attempt was partially successful.

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Zorn Study with Soho Oil Paints

Zorn Palette Study w/ Soho Oil Paints

One of the things I like to do sometimes is to see how “low can I go”? I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean in price and affordability, not necessarily quality.

Soho Oil Colors, sold exclusively in the USA by Jerry’s Artarama and ASW (sister companies) is touted as an affordable student paint with a buttery consistency. I have tried several tubes because the prices can be soooo tempting. If you wait for a sale, you can get a large 170 mL tube for about $4-5 dollars!

But it’s a budget paint. They don’t promise artist-grade quality for that price. However, if you choose your colors carefully and mix with higher grade paints (Lukas Studio will do, as well as the ever-popular Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colors, Old Holland, Blockx, and so forth) you can do pretty well.

For this little oil study, I thought I’d use several stronger colors from Soho and add a higher quality white. The colors I chose were:

  • Michael Harding Titanium White
  • Soho Light Red (an iron earth red/brown)
  • Soho Yellow Ochre
  • Soho Ivory Black

This is sometimes called the “Zorn Palette” because it uses a very limited palette consisting of an earth red/brown, an earth yellow, black, and white. A cool black (like Ivory) can almost create the illusion of a blue, if mixed right.

What I like about using this palette is that you can save a lot of money, use only a few colors, yet get a “full color” painting. This palette can work very well for portraits.


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