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Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Little Blue Tea Light" original oil 6x6"

I've had this little Ikea candle holder for about 10 years, and every time I light it, I think, "I would love to paint this." Finally I did! I love the warm flame playing against the cool blue glass, and all those groovy little hits of light bouncing around the rim. As always, I was trying to think about edges, edges, edges, and how to keep them soft, which seems to work best by painting the object out into the background, and then the background back in to the object. Losing the drawing and getting it back again and again is such an exercise in continually letting go.

I am constantly amazed by how precious a painting becomes once it's working, but before it's finished - suddenly I lose all my willingness to explore and instead begin wanting to hang on to what I have and not wreck it. Never a good place to paint from as it is so confining and takes all spontaneity and improvisation out of the process. How to let go of rigid control and still be guiding the outcome is an ongoing balancing act and one of the many reasons painting is such a complex and worthy challenge.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Peruvian Flower Ladies" original oil 6x6"

This painting was done from a photograph I took in Peru a couple of years ago. Call me crazy for trying to fit all this info on a 6x6" panel. Really. Crazy. I painted the woman on the left's face about 10 times, it was so hard to get it to read in such a tiny little space. What was fun were all the little background abstract shapes, it was easy to make stuff up that worked in this small format. Pulling that off on a bigger canvas would be more difficult, there seems to be a need for more information once I hit about 16x20. Unless of course you're Kevin MacPherson, check out how he handles this challenge, pretty amazing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

FineArtViews Painting Competition "Fav 15%"

"Perched" (6x6" oil on linen) was selected as one of the "Favorite 15%" of entries in January's FineArtViews Painting Competition.

I really enjoyed painting this little guy, there were so many interesting things to work with - the translucent lemon, the glow kicking up from the metal lid onto the underside of it, that little bit of light kissing the top edge of it - all were great little clues to help tell the story. The glass jar was really intriguing, the more I paint glass the more I see that you simply need to study it for a little bit and then pick what fun little squiggles and shapes will most effectively suggest it.  I also really loved the left edge of the jar lid where it matches the value of the background, such a great way to lose an edge - I'm always on the lookout for this.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Solo Performance" original oil 6x6"

Ellipses are really, really tough. It is amazing how easy it is to get them wrong. I find I rarely paint them without having to make several minor adjustments in my drawing until things read properly. Painting them from life is even harder than from photos, because if you change your angle of view even slightly, the curves change. It's such valuable drawing practice, I find it's great to try lots of them from lots of different perspectives to build on these skills.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Greenhouse Gallery's Salon International 2010

"Peruvian Pony" (oil - 12x16")

Two of my paintings -"Peruvian Pony" and "City Lunch"- have been juried in to Greenhouse Gallery's Salon International 2010. This is a highly respected show held each year in San Antonio, Texas. There are lots of really great artists in this show, so I'm thrilled to have my work selected for it.

"City Lunch" (oil - 9x12")

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Stone Gathering" original oil 6x6"

The exercise that worked me the most with this piece was arranging the stones in an interesting way. I started with them in a glass dish, but I really loved the light reflecting up from the cloth into their shadow sides which you couldn't see in the dish. It is interesting to take a square format and a bunch of little shapes and figure out how to fill the space effectively. It took about 7 or 8 attempts to find something I liked, this is an exercise one could do again and again to develop their design skills.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Kiwi Stack" original oil 6x6"

This painting was REALLY fun! Biggest challenge...getting the piece of kiwi fruit to stay standing. It kept flopping over and I kept squishing the bottom of it and standing it back up. I set the whole thing up on a piece of glass on top of black cloth, which gives an almost mirror like reflection.

When I paint translucent produce, I try and set the light up so it is slightly backlit, which really brings out a glow that's great to try and capture. It really is about paying careful attention to the value and  color intensity shifts and trying to nail them down.

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