Feb 19, 2015

#13- Hamlet, the Pug (2nd in a Series of 5)

#13 - Hamlet, the Pug- 6x6", Oil on MDF Panel (SOLD)
This is my foray back into the small paintings after an unscheduled and unexpected break.  Life can be unscheduled and unexpected at times.  But, I'm back at it with this painting.  This little guy is Hamlet, one of 5 (!) pugs I'm painting.  He has soulful eyes.   I am going to paint the backgrounds simply and use bright color.   I really enjoy painting these guys.

Feb 8, 2015

#12- Hard Knocks, A Fast Portrait Study With Intense Color

#12- Hard Knocks, 6x6", MDF Board
With this, my 12th small painting, I decided to revisit the idea of intense color used for flesh tones, but also to modulate the tendency to just go with whatever happened to be on my palette at the time, which last time was a big old blob of French ultramarine.

This is from a mugshot I found online, and the likeness is changed.  I loved the chiseled planes of this man's face, and his world weary expression.  Portraits are my first love, so I am sure I will keep using this subject for many of these paintings.  This one took around two hours, start to finish, not counting the time needed to gesso or tint the panel.

This time, I tried balancing a warmer magenta with pretty intense Thalo green.  I also used a bit of cadmium red, medium when I needed further warmth.  So, this was a limited palette, but not my usual limited palette. 

In case anyone is interested, here is the palette for this one:

Thalo Green
Ivory Black
Titanium White
Cadmium Red, Medium (a touch)

I painted it on a panel that was lightly tinted with burnt sienna.

I like working with limited palettes, and have possibly relied too heavily on my normal one, which is a kind of modified Zorn palette.  What that does is give me a lot of control because I get how one color will mix with another, and how the mix will appear next to other mixes from the palette.  Maybe that's good, but maybe that's keeping me reliant on only a few colors.  Someone once told me I seemed allergic to blue. I might be.  Not sure.

I am totally okay with using black.  Some people like to mix it themselves, controlling the temperature and color within it.  Since I'm self taught, and also allow myself to do whatever seems to work for me, I am pretty good at disregarding theory and discarding any hope of becoming a purist.  That's my excuse, anyway.

My regular palette for working with portraits is:

Cad Red Medium
Ivory Black
Titanium White
Yellow Ochre
(+Naples Yellow because I'm lazy)

The mix of black and white gives a mostly convincing blue relative to the warmer tones, and the green you get with the yellow ochre and black is highly workable too. 

Possibly too much information. 

(Hard Knocks is priced at $60, including shipping.  For inquiries, please email me.)

Feb 6, 2015

#11 Pug! (The First of FIVE!)

#11- Pug Face 1 - 6x6", Oil on MDF Panel- SOLD
I'm on a dog painting kick, I guess.  I'll share them here, but they are commissioned portraits, so are all pre-sold.  This is the first of a series of five.  Yes, five pugs.   They are all pretty cute, and I like painting wrinkles.  This is Finney.  He is very sweet, but looks worried.  It's probably due to his sister threatening to beat him up.  She so likes to do that.

It still counts as small daily paintings! 

I have made a deal with myself with these pieces, and part of the deal is a public declaration. I will paint 4 per week, or give myself the penalty of cleaning the basement and/or the attic for four hours if I fall short.  I fell short last time, and our freezer is defrosted and the basement got some attention, as well.  Needless to say, it can use a bit more attention, but I'm hoping that will come much later.  I plan to get cranking and keep these coming.  Cleaning basements is not fun.

After these, and possibly scattered between these pugs, I'm going to do a couple of faces, and maybe some water reflection pieces.  I have a lot of ideas!  I can't wait to get back to the easel.

Feb 5, 2015

#10 - Dawg

#10 - Shaggy Dog 1, 8x8, oil on Wood Panel

I've been painting, but these small pieces are tending to a heavy impasto, and take a while to dry, so I'm going to need a little time before posting.  But this one was just dry enough to scan, and I'm sharing it.

This dog was lying out in front of a pub in England, and my husband, Paul took his picture.  He is a sweet old thing.  I enjoyed painting this.

(This piece is 8x8 inches square and is priced at $75, including shipping.  For purchase arrangements, please email me.  )

Jan 29, 2015

#9- Blue in the Face

#9 - Blue in the Face, 6x6", Oil on Gesso MDF Board

Well, I gave myself a task to paint a face in less than one hour.  I used a reference from a mug shot, but substantially changed the likeness.  I liked the face and the look of studied indifference.

Once I decided to run with it, I saw what paint I had left on my palette from my last painting, and impulsively decided to make the face blue.  I had a lot of blue left over.  One thing led to another and the guy ended up looking a little under the weather, like he had a bad fish taco or something.

One of these days, I'll settle down and get focus, but right now this feels like I'm a kid in a candy shop and I keep bouncing from one idea to the next.  I am enjoying to ability to risk, but not take a lot of risks because the paintings are small and don't take a long time to resolve.

This one did end up taking more than an hour, but not much more.  It was pretty fun to do, too.

More faces?  Maybe.  I might even try this one again in more traditional colors.

(For purchase information, please email me.)

Jan 27, 2015

#8 - Nocturne at Dawn

#8 - Nocturne at Dawn, 6x6", MDF Gesso Board

This is an experiment in working with contrasts between sky and trees.   It's a challenge not to get cliched about this, so I concentrated on awareness of surface, brushstrokes and pattern.  The lace formed by the trees and sky holes is an interesting subject.   My jumping off point was a photograph of a sky in these general colors.  I made the rest up, looking for excuses to use high contrasts and broken detail.

This is another in what may eventually turn out to be a series of nocturnes. 

But for now, I'm going to work next on some faces, exploring color and emotion.   I'm still jumping around a lot, trying to find my pace with these works!

(For purchase information, please email me.)

Jan 25, 2015

#7- Snow Shadows - Making It Up as I Go Along

#7- Snow Shadows, 8x8", Oil on Stretched Canvas

So, coming off the experience of trying to be more spontaneous and not sweat every single detail in my last painting, I decided to just paint something, working from my head - mostly memory.  (With me, this could be dangerous.  My friends will agree.)

I started with a random photo of some woods against the sky, but departed from there quickly, and threw in the snow in front to use as a big reflector of the sky color.  I just worked on the contrast between the cools of the blues (which are actually pretty warm, for blue) and the highlights, which became golden because white was just so...white.   I toned the panel with a bit of rubbed on burnt sienna first, but ended up painting over most of that.

It was fast, and enjoyable, but I think I'm ready to move to other ideas now.

 I'm turning my thoughts to more figurative subjects.

A few years back, I amused myself by painting mug shots I found online.  It was never meant as a disrespectful thing, and I took care not to go for strict likenesses.  But the faces were too irresistible not to try to paint, and the images were public, since the police made them so by publishing them.  I timed the paintings, and gave myself one hour from blank (toned) canvas to finish.  The practice didn't last long, but I think I might like to go back to experimenting with this again soon.

When I was in college, we had a drawing instructor for a life drawing class who made us draw 15 second poses.  For HOURS. And he also insisted we get it all - the whole body gesture.  At first, we thought he was nuts.   But, when we finally got around to doing 30 second poses, we thought that this was almost too much time!  So, there is something positive, I think, about making fast decisions about larger gestures and forms at the expense of more trivial details.

I'm talking myself into this.   I might give it a shot soon.

(For purchase information for this painting, please email me. )