This is the first blog I’ve done in a while. My son needed major surgery this past summer, and this fall my mother has had serious medical issues.
I just completed this pastel drawing called “Mermaid Riding Fish”. I did this in Nupastels. The surface I used was a black toned professional artist quality pastel paper with a very rough surface – like sandpaper.
This is a scene at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This is in front of the climatron, which is a very large greenhouse filled with tropical plants and trees. There is a formal series of reflecting pools with lily pads, bronze sculptures, and glass art by Dale Chihuly, such as the yellow onion bulb here.
I took a photo of the scene, and used my ipad Mini as a reference point. I started with a detailed drawing in white “charcoal”. Then, I put in the background. I used a lot of blue green for the background, because the coolness adds depth to the scene. I decided to use a pretty strong blue green for the banana trees in the background. The statue in real life is bronze, and is done by a Swedish sculptor by the name of Carl Milles in the 1950’s. For the colors of the sculpture, I used yellow ochre and blue green together for the mid range values. For the hilights, I used a warm off white, then surrounded it with yellow and orange. I also used this orange in other areas of the painting such as the lily pads, the background landscaping, and the glass onion bulb base. The orange at the base of the glass onion gave it more richness and depth. The blue sky reflecting in the water contrasts very nicely with all of the yellow and orange. The bright yellow glass onion shows up well with the dark water surrounding it. The reds of the blooms in the background landscaping are a foil color, and break up the yellow/green/blue theme.
Overall, this piece has a warm, sunny, lush feeling to it. It shows summer at it’s best – lush green foliage, blue skies, splashing fountains, and bright sun. Here is the listing in my online store.
I just LOVE spring! Woohoo!! I’m so excited that winter is over, and spring is here! I’ve recently been trying out acrylic paints. They feel a lot different that oils. I love the fact that they dry quickly, so I can put another layer on in just 5-10 minutes, instead of waiting a day or two, as with oils. I’m also reading a book about how to paint in acrylics. This new acrylic adventure is really inspiring me! This book has lots and lots of new ideas, techniques, and so on. I realize that I’ve been a very traditional painter up till now, relying only on the most basic of tools and techniques. That’s fine, because it forces me to learn to draw and paint really well. However, it was starting to get a tad boring, too.
Here is a painting I did of a crabapple tree in full bloom. This tree is just a block from my house. I took a photo of it close up. My palette is titanium white, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium orange, quinacridone red, quinacridone magenta, perylene violet,
ultramarine blue, and olive green deep. I started on a bright yellow toned canvas. This gives the painting a bright, warm feeling. I painted a bit looser than my general tendency. I made a point to allow the yellow underpainting to show through. I drew the shapes in detail on the dry underpainting, then painted it all in.
The two challenges of acrylics for me, is the fast drying time can make it hard to get a good even blend or gradation, and the color shift. I spent a lot of time researching how to deal with the color shift. They tend to dry darker than when you apply them. I bought some tubes of Winsor Newton the other day because they claim to have no color shift, but there is still a slight color shift. It’s not a big deal. I’m learning to make the paint a bit lighter than I want to be before I apply it, and to repaint areas that dry too dark.
I spent a good amount of time, many hours in fact, mixing all of my basic colors of oil paints. I got some very beautiful, complex reds from mixing yellows with red violets. I decided to try one of these mixtures for these stunning and colorful daylilies. The color of the flowers is based on a mix of cadmium yellow medium and quinacridone rose. I also used Permalba white, yellow ochre, ultramarine deep, sap green, and Van Dyke brown. I painted the background smoothly with a brush. Then, I painted in the dark shadows with a muted blue green. I painted the leaves in with a brush, from dark, to middle, to light values. I put in the flower petals and the flower throats with palette knives. I made a point to blend the back edges of the flower petals into the background somewhat to add depth. Lost and found edges are very good to have. It adds depth, and helps the positive and negative space to flow together into a unified whole.
I let this dry for a few days, then I painted in the flower buds with palette knives, then the stems. After this dried to the touch, I added some hilights, and a few minor details. In my opinion, this is one of my best floral paintings. I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed painting it. Here is a link to the online listing.
… because of a veritable storm of family issues. There have been 3 significant injuries over the past 2 weeks – 2 dislocated shoulders, and a dislocated toe. My older son Jonathan got his car totaled on a 3 week road trip all over the western USA, then got stranded in Colorado (we live in Missouri) because a freak hailstorm with tennis ball sized hail ruined all the rental cars. My husband and I were spending the week dealing with the various health issues and auto insurance claim stuff. Many other things have gone on too, which I don’t want to bore people with. I’m extremely thankful that he and his girlfriend came out of this unharmed. Thank you Jesus! I had been praying for him every day, and the Lord was with him.
Fortunately, I have been able to still squeeze in some time for painting.
I like to walk every day if I can. I go around my neighborhood. I’m fortunate to live in south St Louis, where there is quite a lot of old and beautiful architecture, and tree lined boulevards with shady parkways in the middle. One day, I walked past an alleyway, and saw a charming wooden fence. Someone must have planted some meadow mix along the base of it. There were some colorful wildflowers growing along the base of it.
There is a subtle complementary color scheme going on here. It is yellow and violet. The fence is based on yellow orange, and the alley and some of the flowers are blue violet. I went impressionist on this by using broken color on the fence and pavement. I also have an interesting contrast between the urban elements of street, power line shadows, dumpsters, and fence, with the organic plants, tree, and flowers. The rather austere appearance of background dumpsters and garages emphasizes the beauty and grace of the blooming things. Here is the listing in my online store.
Here is another abstract I did today. I did this in colored pencil (mostly Prismacolor) and Prismacolor Art Stix on Strathmore gray scale paper. I started by drawing wavy lines and boxes within with charcoal. Then I did the rest with the art sticks and colored pencils. The nice thing about Prismacolor, is they have a nice system of grays. There is cool gray, warm gray, and french gray in various values. I decided to make most of the squares in various shades of gray, black, and white. Only a few of the boxes have color in them. In my experience, life is mostly mundane, punctuated with occasional times of joy and excitement. However, the mundane grays make the good times all the more happy by comparison. Here, the grays really show off the bright colors.
I think flowers are my favorite part of nature. In spring, I can’t help but be so enchanted by their color, their beauty, their sweetness, their fragrance. Here is a closeup of a tulip done in oil. I used Permalba white, naples yellow, permanent rose, sap green, indigo blue, and burnt umber.
I love to paint the subtle changes in value in the petals, and also the internal structures of the flower.
For some reason this tulip reminded me of my mother. This painting has a soft quality to it, and is painted mainly in cool tones.
You can’t beat pastels for color that just knocks you into the next county, as my artist mentor Jerry Thomas would say. I’m very happy with this piece that I just now finished. Believe it or not, the brilliant magenta is from a Nupastel. I’m almost out of it, and need to order some more right away. I also need to order some deep dark shadow blues and violets. I mostly used them up on this. This is a complementary color scheme of red-violet and yellow-green. I used a photo I had taken in the Missouri Botanical Garden 2 or 3 years ago as a jumping off point.
I like the warm glow in the lower right corner. The effect of bright sunshine is in this piece. I lightly stumbled orange and yellow orange over the light areas in the leaves, and in the main flower. It doesn’t shout “orange”, but it adds a warmth and vitality to this piece. It looks so much better in real life than in a photo like here. I like how the dark blues tie everything together.
Today is a very cold January day. As you can tell, I love warm, sunny, colorful days, so I’m trying to stay “up” during this winter weather. I will go to the gym now and work out.