Friday, May 31, 2013

the meddlesome neighbor

My next-door neighbor takes it upon himself to mow the strip of grass in front of my fence whenever he thinks it needs it ... mowing down, in the process, whatever flowers happen to be growing there.
Found these casualties this morning.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 30, 2013

a nos pinceaux may challenge

This isn't quite done ... I feel it could use a few little darks here and there, but c'est la vie!
Evhe at A Nos Pinceaux posts lovely reference photos each month, which I always intend to paint: I wanted to post this before the deadline, which is tomorrow.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 27, 2013


I was going to title this post "More Tales of Woe," but I'm getting tired of my own complaining. And, as sometimes happens, this doesn't look so bad on my computer screen; in person, the far left daffodil (which was supposed to be white; not that that really matters ...) is a mess, painted over too many times. A little cropping might help.

Then there's this one. (Sigh.)
I think I'll finish the cyclamen before I give up. I feel I should've just finished it all in one go: pecking away at it leaves too much time for thinking, or doubting.
Watercolor always seemed to me to require a balance between control and letting go; also required, I'm finding, is a balance between thinking and  intuiting.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 25, 2013


The magnolia blooms didn't last very long this spring ... This was the only painting I did--and it's unfinished--from life. I have the usual dozens of photos I take of the blooms every year. I feel I'm always trying to perfect my magnolia painting.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 24, 2013

spring blooms (of 2012)

These are from last year ... I got the daffodil one out to see how I managed to paint white daffodils in the past, since I've been struggling with them lately.

"Struggle" has a recurring theme the last couple of weeks: I think I've just had too much work to do, and while I can find time to sit down to paint for an hour or so, I can't find the concentration or mental energy to do it well, or perhaps I should say to achieve what I want to achieve.
 I may change tack until my work schedule opens up a bit and spend that hour either drawing or painting things, like skies, that can't turn out "wrong."
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 23, 2013

first tries

I chose both of these photos because the inside of the jars, in both cases, looked relatively simple with shapes I could see ... But I messed them both up right away, and then compounded the error by trying to "fix" them and losing any freshness they had.
I'm going to try them both again though: I would really like to be able to paint transparent glass.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

more drawings ...

... these from reference photos at Paint My Photo.

... and my cat; I can't resist her.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

wip: hammock time

 A friend's granddaughter ... I've been wanting to paint this photo for some time: the light, the mood. So summer afternoon. So tween.
Finally started and messed it up right off by painting the legs too dark and too blue. I guess I could try to lift or glaze ... But I think instead I'll think of this as practice and begin again.
Maybe with some cropping I can salvage a bit ...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

what to do ...

when you don't feel up to or can't paint: make drawings for paintings--

and take pictures to paint later: 
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 18, 2013


From the workshop I took with Mel Stabin in 2012 ...
This is a type of subject that appeals to me: people sitting on benches.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 17, 2013

the hangover

A couple of started, and stopped, post-workshop paintings.
After a workshop I always vow to myself to keep it up, but I never do.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 16, 2013

good intentions ...

 (4x6) 2nd try
My veterinarian's birthday was last week, so I wanted to paint a little birthday card for him ... I thought it would be easy, but it ended in frustration. No good deed goes unpunished!
I did finally do one that I figured would have to do and sent it off before I could second-guess myself ... or photograph it.
 (4x6) 1st try

Speaking of unrewarded good deeds: I have to apologize for not getting around to  respond to comments left on the blog this past week; after the workshop, I have been spending nearly all my time trying to catch up on all the (paying) work I should have been doing while I was out painting.
Next: catch up on blog-hopping.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mel Stabin workshop: last day

From one of Mel's fabulous reference photos. I just loved this woman's face. I have to lift some from the eye that's in shadow (it's too dark) and work on her left shoulder/clavicle area a bit (and I should've softened the v of her shawl) ... There are problems, but I like face, especially the lips.
Mel's demonstration--he painted one of the workshoppers--was a revelation. He did a big, loose, wet wash ... then somehow pulled, with the minimum of strokes possible, details from it. In the case of the painting above, after his demo, I realized what I had to concentrate on not losing was the light on the cheek and nose... and I think those highlights really make it. 
Below: based on a reference from Paint My Photo. The face is not like the girl's in the photo's, but I like my girl's expression: she looks determined.

I don't usually paint people, but every time I do, I want to do more; faces are just endlessly fascinating.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mel Stabin workshop: midweek

One thing Mel emphasizes is  connecting shapes--surprisingly difficult to do; for me, it involves totally changing the way I see things: not easy--turning three shapes into two shapes, two shapes into one shape, with one wash, as  much as possible, and altering the color as you go. Mel also advocates making the most of the midtones; he prefers, I think, a sensitive rendering of the full range of midtones to contrasty light/dark compositions. That's what I was trying for here; and achieved to some degree ... though it's a bit too hard-edged everywhere for me (and probably for Mel).
The lighthouse painting, I think, has a nice combination of hard and soft edges, but the color is too intense throughout ... it would probably benefit from some more subtle neutrals.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mel Stabin workshop: first days (and my palette colors)

(Congress Hall, 5x7)
(The Carroll Villa, 5x7)
One morning after his demo, Mel sent us out to make sketches that we would then paint from. So these are the two I managed before walking to the bakery for some pre-lunch danishes.
The painting below is from the first day. The reference photo always appealed to me, but I'll have to get a lot faster and more confident with my washes to pull it off.
This was my second Mel Stabin workshop in two years. Mel's a great teacher and critiquer and about the sweetest guy imaginable.
He said there are three important things in a painting, in order of importance:
1. Shape
2. Value
3. Color, which is very subjective

Jane asked me yesterday what colors are on my palette. These are the colors that are always on my palette:
aureolin, Indian yellow or new gamboge, cadmium yellow; cadmium red, carmine; cerulean, cobalt, and ultramarine blue; green-gold, sap green and Hooker's green; raw sienna (I think Winsor & Newton is the brightest and most transparent), quinacridone burnt orange, burnt sienna.
I like to have a couple of oranges and the ones I seem to have settled on are Winsor orange and Schmincke's transparent orange.
In the pink-purple range, I have: permanent rose (or quinacridone rose, always!), cobalt violet (which differs a lot from one manufacturer to another, and is sometimes additionally labeled "light" or "dark"--I prefer the light; my current favorite is Winsor & Newton (PV 14) or Sennelier (PV122) in the tube, but I wouldn't recommend buying this color in the pan; in my experience it's usually too hard and oily and doesn't soften up), Holbein bright violet (BV 7.15), quinacridone magenta, quinacridone pink, and a dark blue-violet (dioxazine, usually, but Maimeri Blu's blue violet is beautiful). Opera pink too, which is quite bright for a nice punch but also mixes well.
I'll also add more blues, like manganese--I like it's brightness and transparency--and, a current favorite, indanthrone, or Antwerp for a dark blue. I usually have cobalt teal and thalo turquoise, though I don't seem to use them much.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 10, 2013

apple blossom

Yesterday was the last day of the Mel Stabin workshop, which really fun and enlightening. I hope I can apply some of Mel's ideas ... but for today, it's back to work; I have a lot to catch up on.
Over the weekend I'll post paintings form the workshop and some of the things Mel said.


This wouldn't have been so bad if I had stopped trying to "fix" it!Too bad i painted it before the workshop: Mel advocates working on an area once, maybe twice, then getting out!
Posted by Picasa