“Indecision,” 8×8″ oil on panel

I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with this one. I loved the drama (drama, drama, drama! 😀 ) of the expression and the pose. I tried to keep the brushstrokes loose, but sometimes that doesn’t always work out.

The panel was primed with an oil-based primer, which makes it so nice for wipeaway and texture, like you see in the background. I first covered the whole panel with a thin wash of a brown, which I then wiped away, keeping some of the color to stain the background and also to show the texture of the priming brushstrokes.

The expression is a bit ambiguous. Is she afraid, scared? I think she is indecisive, ready to make a decision and not sure which way she’ll go. But interpreting her expression is up to the viewer to decide.

Read More

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!

Read More

Profiles: Overworked, underworked, will I ever get it right?

I’ve been a busy, busy bee, painting and painting and painting!

This post is the story of two profile paintings, and learning when to stop, or in other words, am I quitting too soon? Or going too far? I am still learning and don’t always get it right.

The other day I started a painting, got it sort of “done,” and posted it on Facebook. I got some compliments. But I didn’t think I was done! So I did some more to it. And then even more. And I do NOT think it’s improved. I should have quit while I was ahead.

So tonight, I did a little oil sketch and “quit while I was ahead.” Maybe I’ll have to find a few dabs here and there to touch up, but I very much hope that there won’t be much more to add to it.

Blue Shadows, 6×8″ oil on panel

Thanks to hermitmessiah on DeviantArt for the use of the stock photo. I found the reference photo so fascinating because of the strong color shifts, and wanted to try to capture warm/cool temperatures in the blues and greens in the shadows and reflected light, as well as the muted flesh tones. Also loved the overall pose and expression.

Here’s the painting from the other day that I should have also quit while I was ahead, but didn’t.

Eavesdropping, 6×8″ oil on linen panel.

There’s a little more I need to do; it’s probably not “ruined” (at least I hope not) but I should have just stopped earlier.

The problem was, it didn’t look enough like the reference photo, and while it doesn’t have to be an exact likeness (I was going for a feel, and expression, not the likeness per se), I wanted the likeness a little better! I mourn the loss of the original version, which was fresher and simpler, but didn’t look like the guy in the photo at all.

This painting is part of my “novela” series, which I find great fun, so many wonderful expressions and emotions to explore!

Read More

Meh…lissa – oil on panel

Mehlissa, oil on Gessobord, 8×8 inches

Many thanks to Mehlissa who made her stock photo available for artists to use as reference.

I found this photo a few years ago, and finally got around to using it! I enjoyed trying to analyze the shadows and cool muted tones in her skin and attempting to capture them with paint. In a way this painting was a major breakthrough for me, as I’ve been trying to push my understanding of color and brushwork.

I painted on Gessobord, by Ampersand, a wonderful type of artists’ panel that is primed with an acrylic-based “gesso” that has the texture of eggshell. It’s an absolutely sublime surface to paint on, for either oils or acrylics! With this painting, I used oils.

Read More

Another portrait from life

I’m loving this new portrait drawing group! We meet weekly (won’t meet next week due to the holiday, alas). Each week we get a volunteer model to pose for us—three 20-minute poses. We are a diverse group, and use a variety of mediums—oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, charcoal, and good old pencil. I’m doing pencil so far, but hope to drag my oils in soon! I rarely get a chance to do a “long” (one hour being relatively so) pose.

Here’s this week’s offering:

“Karen” on 9×12″ sketch paper.

Karen was a wonderful model, very patient with us! She said it was hard to keep a smile on her face (we all understand how that is!) and so her expression ended up being more somber. She wore a lovely and colorful print dress, which I didn’t bother to capture since I was just drawing in pencil.

Read More

Recent sketches from life (NSFW, obviously)

Time again to post some latest Life Drawing efforts.

I had two evenings of figure drawing (each night at a different place) this week. Both nights, I sucked. Oh well, it’s been a while since I was able to attend figure drawing. And next week I hopefully will be able to attend a portrait drawing group, where artists meet to do portraits only from life! I am looking forward to that.

Drawing from life is an ongoing thing. For many artists it is. We keep coming back to do it again, and again, and again. We don’t outgrow it, and we shouldn’t! Without that regular drawing practice, we get rusty (like I’ve been getting lately) and that’s bad. Don’t ever believe that you’ve had “enough” life drawing because you took a semester or two of it in college.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got to show this time.

Small portrait, drawn from life

The one above was done a few months ago. I never got around to posting it, until now. And the one below, same thing. Done a few months ago, didn’t get around to scanning it or posting it.

Figure drawn from life. On 8-1/2″x11″ sketch pad.

Below is the only sketch produced this week. I cropped the drawing to just show her head. The rest of the sketch didn’t turn out so great.

“Amy” (but it doesn’t look ANYTHING like her!). Sketch from life.

Read More

More figure drawings! (Some nudity, may be NSFW)

Time for more figure drawings! For a very long time, ever since I took my first figure drawing class at age 18, I’ve kept returning to life drawing classes and sessions. This kind of drawing discipline helps keep skills sharp. You have to draw the model in front of you—no time for lots of erasing and fussing, as the model won’t stay still forever!

Portrait of Young Woman, from life. 8-1/2″x11″ graphite on sketch paper

And here are a few more sketches from a nude model. These sketches are usually done from 15-30-minute poses. Never longer than 30 minutes.

Approximately a 20-30 minute pose.

The above sketch is available for sale on DailyPaintworks.

Seated Nude, quick sketch, in pencil

And yet another!


Read More

Eyeliner – an oil sketch

This time, I’ve got a little 4×4 inch oil sketch. Not much to say about this, other than it was fun to paint and has a little looser style for me. I studied some fashion illustration in art school, so I sometimes enjoy painting glamour or fashion faces. I hope I can paint more with this loose style in the future.

“Eyeliner” 4×4 inches, oil on panel. 

The fun thing about this painting is that I used a little wood panel that I’d primed with a lead-based oil foundation. For those of you who are not painters, this means absolutely nothing, so you can stop reading now. 😉

I sealed the panel with this acrylic glue-like stuff (Golden Brand “GAC 100” acrylic medium). Then I covered the panel with a few coats of M. Harding’s “Foundation White,” a lead-based white paint that can be used for priming canvases and panels. I liked the surface for painting and will be using more of this stuff. And don’t worry, I was careful with the evil lead paint. I didn’t eat any of it or anything!

Read More

Flowing Hair

A shout-out to Gifsandstock at DeviantArt for letting me use their fab stock photo as reference!

flowing hair

“Flowing Hair,” oil on cradled wood panel, 6×6 inches. This image is cropped. Click to see it uncropped.

I was struck by the stock photo (by Gifsandstock!) and wanted to do a painting inspired by the moody photo. I hope it turned out okay. I’m always learning something about how to mix colors, apply paint, and so forth. So much more to learn! So much more practice to do! But then every artist (if they’re being honest with themselves) will tell you the same thing!

Read More

Looking Outward – acrylic WIP (with a long story attached to it)

First off, let me thank photographer Cathleen Tarawhiti for allowing artists to use her work as stock photography! Thanks beyond words. Cathleen is one of my favorite stock photographers and I already have acquired a stack of her photos, which I plan on using as reference in the future.

Acrylic on Gessobord, 5×5 inches. WORK IN PROGRESS

There’s a long story behind this painting. Well, maybe not that long, but I’ll make it feel long! 😉

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not participating in Daily Paintworks. The key thing for many artists is “daily.” I haven’t been very good about producing something “daily,” but lately I’ve been really trying.

Today (well, last night) I had a busy day and couldn’t get to painting until later in the evening. I had several oil paintings in the works, almost done—but decided that they weren’t quite ready for prime time. (Later I discovered that one probably was. Oh, what a fool am I!) So I decided to pull out the old set of acrylics. Well, the new set of acrylics (I bought a few new tubes and had some samples to try out) but you get the idea.

I haven’t done a lot of acrylic painting lately. I never really have painted as much in acrylics as I have oils. The last time I painted in acrylics it wasn’t that tough and kind of fun (finished a portrait sketch in about an hour) so I thought, “How hard can it be?” I thought I’d bang out my “daily painting” in an hour and that would be it!

Oh, what a fool am I!

I chose a lovely stock photo to paint from and got started. And had trouble. I don’t think the painting is beyond hope—not at all—but I had a very limited palette and I didn’t like my brushes (that’s it, blame the materials!). Ugh. Anyway, I got stressed out. The “quick one hour sketch” took several hours. Very frustrating. But not beyond hope.

So that is this painting’s story. I’ll update this post when I do whatever else it is I’ll be doing to this painting. Probably not too much more. (I hope it’s close to being done! I’ve suffered enough! 😉 )

UPDATE: I may not complete this painting for a while. I may actually just start a new painting using the same stock, but with a larger size. (And I may do that one in oils.) Am still not quite sure.

Read More

Sad Tears (oil study)

Another painting! I fuss over this one, but I do like it. It’s called “Sad Tears” and it’s part of my “novela” series, inspired by those fabulous, campy Spanish-language soap operas. So many tears, so many emotions!

Click on image to see larger, uncropped picture. Original is 6×6″ on oil panel.

The panel I painted on uses a “dovetail slot” (which you can read more about here). The panel is about 3/8″ thick and has a slot in the back where you can slide the panel onto a nail and it’ll hang flat on the wall. Pretty cool; no worries about framing or attaching wires or hooks to the back!

I’ve been enjoying working with my oil paints. I do love oils! They are so expressive and forgiving. So many rich colors to choose from! I’ll be writing about that more in the future.

Read More