Wednesday, May 21, 2014

life drawing

Joined a life drawing group last night: they meet once a month for four hours. I only made it through three before I was too exhausted to go on.
The models were a husband and wife, but in these 20-minute poses, I left him out.
It felt very awkward and difficult drawing a live model after having not done it for several years, but the challenge is one of the appealing things about it. After trying so hard, I can only get better (right?).


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

before and after

(10x14 sheet)
On the left: done before the Mel Stabin workshop; on the right: after.
Forgot to mention, and I'm sure it makes a difference--everyone always says it does, anyway--that at the workshop, and at home since, I've been painting standing up, rather than sitting, as I always had before.
More bouys. These first washes look a little to light to me; Mel says you should try to get the value right on the first go. Now I'll end up going back in and lose some of the freshness.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

mel stabin, days 3 & 4

 More starting and even less finishing on these two days.

I pulled this one off the block in frustration because I was unhappy with the reflection in the water. 

Here's Mel's demo showing reflections in water:

 For this one I went smaller, with not such dramatic reflections.
I got another, below, started, but then it was happy hour.

This is from a photo I took, and I was a little frustrated because I knew something was "wrong," but I didn't know what--until I photographed it and saw that the right eye is not in the right place!
Here's Mel's demo:

And my final attempt:
This is from one of Mel's great reference photos. I put in all the midtones wet in wet, as Mel does, making things that are the same value--like the man's legs and their shadow--one shape. Started to pick out some details ...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

mel stabin workshop: days 1 & 2

 May 5-8 I attended a Mel Stabin workshop in Cape May, third year in a row--and I've already signed up for next year. So I guess I don't need to say that if you have a chance to, you should take one of Mel's workshops: he's a wonderful teacher and a sweet person.
These are the paintings--all not quite finished--I did the first two days, trying to follow Mel's advice to connect shapes and pay attention to values. And also his oft-repeated admonishment, Don't screw it up.
This fisherman needs a face, and Mel thought I separated the hat from the head too much--he'd prefer to see one wash flowing into the next rather than a hard line since the values were so similar.

This one still need a lot of work: I have to finish the stairs and the large palm, then add shadows and darken the space behind the palm. I think some of the greens could use some darks too, but I should've added them when the paint was wet ...
Below is a close up of one of Mel's palm trees. he painted the fronds with four of five swipes of a flat brush, then dropped some color into the center and drew in just a couple of leaves.

The fence isn't done. 

I think this is done, though, because I'm not too happy with them, I'm tempted to try to "fix" the trees in the upper left.

As in previous years, we had a great group--excellent painters and a lot of fun to hang out with when we adjourned to the bar for happy hour after our daily critique.

Monday, May 05, 2014

now in bloom ...

Actually, the quince is pretty much over.

Carried a sprig of lilac up to my art room, but forgot my glasses and painted without them.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

more lilies

Another Easter lily painting, in progress, on my easel.
Over the last few days, several more flowers have opened up--I think there are five!--so I've got to get busy sketching those before they're kaput.

This is the painting from a week or so ago.  I thought to try lightly outlining the flower with a blue watercolor pencil and then pull the color out ... But, after applying the pencil, I realized I had not used the water-soluble ones! Had to wash in some watercolor ... and just stopped here.
After that, I thought, for my next one, I'd add a background first, to help me define the white flowers. Idea good, execution not so much: I should have used the background to establish a value pattern ... Right now it just looks a mess! Haven't decided whether to go on or not. It is light, so I guess I could add a darker background. I don't know: sometimes I just think something's not worth saving.

Friday, May 02, 2014


This is from a photo I took last summer when the white lilies in my yard bloomed. They are one of the best things I ever planted; every year when they open, I am dazzled.
Though, for painting purposes, perhaps I should have gone with pink or yellow, as I have a too heavy hand with color to convey "whiteness."

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

cherry blossom

Inspired by Van Gogh's Apple Blossom in a Glass (below), I plucked a sprig from my cherry tree.
I may add some kind of background ... I love Van Gogh's red stripe.

I think one thing I am learning about painting glass is to paint lighter and grayer.

Also working on tulips (again): these represent very nearly my whole harvest this year. (I think the squirrels eat them before they bloom.)
I decided to crop out the red tulip, which is too big and "heavy" ... I thought the (one) red would be balanced by the three (lighter) tulips, but, at least in this instance--because I still think the idea is sound!--it didn't work.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


(16x20 sheet)
To take a break from finishing the painting on the left, filled the other half of the page with the same subject, but without drawing it first.

Katherine asked me which I prefer, which is an interesting question.
I like the freshness and simplicity of the one on the right, but suspect I'd prefer the one on the left if it had a little more of those qualities. The best of both worlds is what I'm looking for!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

easter lily

I bought an Easter lily yesterday, as I do each year; I love their trumpet-shaped flowers and the way the leaves spiral out around the stem.
Painted this this morning on hot press paper, putting down the colors and then (for the most part; the flower's an exception) not going back in, as hot press seems to be very unforgiving.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


A quick one ...

And one I'm working on, a bit here and there.

Friday, April 18, 2014


My first attempt at trying Carol Carter's method since I got home. I think I got somewhat too messy; I think because, painting at home, I sometimes (often?) rush too much and am not careful. When I go somewhere else to paint, like the art center or to a friend's house, I seem to be able to take my time better. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Masked with tape and miskit
Graded wash

The "glow": painted around the shapes while background is still damp
Start painting shapes ...
Drew and began another one; this one only masking the stamens; I'm going to paint the background in sections.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


 Have to get in a few forsythia paintings while I have the chance ... And with last night's snow the window of opportunity may be closing.

And this is a homework assignment I did for class ... and then missed the class to turn it in, so I'm posting here to get my credit. As in HS, I rarely do my homework, but this was kind of interesting. Sometimes I'd like to get away from "naturalistic" or expected colors, but I don't know where to go ... For this assignment (which was supposed to be about values), I painted the same simplified scene using four different tetrads (basically two sets of complements; the colors used are noted in abbreviated form to the left of the sketches), just working my way around the color wheel. So to find "unexpected" colors, spin the wheel.

Coming soon: Today I also started a painting--emulating Rhonda's excellent example!--trying to use the things I learned in the Carol Carter workshop before I forget.

Monday, April 14, 2014

from the workshop

This painting of datura--from a drawing of Carol's--was my best one of the weekend; others in the workshop may have felt the same way as all of the paintings were lovely, bold and bright.
Carol had us mask the flowers with tape and misket to apply a background wash (it was supposed to be a graded wash, oops); then she demonstrated, working back to front, wetting one blossom, painting it and waiting for it to dry before going to the next one.
The main thing she did, that I have to get in the habit of doing, was checking her values with a red screen, which she did numerous times throughout the painting.

I try not to whine about my paper, but this sheet really drove me nuts: too absorbent ... so I kept adding water. Which didn't help. The idea here was to have each pear a predominant color--red, blue, or yellow--but then to add the other two primaries to achieve the greatest range of colors possible within each pear. Not so easy; or, not so easy to not overwork.

Also from a drawing of Carol's, this was fun to work on this, adding bits of color to the bicycle and watching them mix. The shadow was a chance to get away from the usual color choices.
In the background Carol used a Daniel Smith color, Shadow Violet, which when you put it on, is a kind of dull gray but which then separates and granulates into greens, blues, and pinks. Carol uses it beautifully; I need more practice! But it might be fun to experiment with.

Fully recovered now and back to running full tilt. I'm looking forward to getting around to your blogs and seeing what you've been doing.


Related Posts with Thumbnails