Thursday, January 29, 2015

Psychedelic Servers


Stars, a desert landscape, a hand, and an easel. I'm beginning to feel like I'm finding figures in the clouds. ha!

The weekend sneaked up on me. So glad that tomorrow I get to paint with my friends here in Big Canoe. Hopefully, I'll have a weekend painting to post. Hope your weekend is great!

Monday, January 26, 2015



A couple of people asked me to post more images of a silverware painting in progress.... at least the way I try to do it. It forced to look at my process or method. Actually, I didn't think I had one. haha  But I took extra pictures this time and tried to lay it out. Maybe I had a process and I didn't even realize it? Images and explanations are below. (On blog only)

Hope everyone's getting a great start to the week! 

Step #1:  (After getting composition set up)
I sketched it in with a Raw Umber wash.
This one came out more detailed than
usual. I try to capture shapes, values, and the
flow (or movement) of the reflections.

Step #2:  I blocked in the lightest lights
and the darkest darks.  It's important not
to lose them! This step takes about a minute,
and defines the movement... to me. It's my
favorite minute!  :)

Step #3A:   I started blocking in medium
tones. This is also the step to make sure
to pay attention to color.... move around the
canvas getting it in, color by color.

Steps #3B:  I kept blocking in medium values.
Here I moved from blues/purples to
greens and yellows...there's actually a touch
of red too, but it's hard to see.
Step #4: I continued filling in color,
focusing now on more detail, and
trying not to lose highlights or my
darkest darks.

Step #5:  From here I started cleaning up the
edges -- making sure not to lose my shapes --
and filling in places I've left unpainted.
 Next I focus on accentuating highlights,
and laying in shadows.  (see final painting) 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Ordinary Olives


Can you tell that this is a small cocktail fork? These are also very small salad olives. I like the larger olives - especially the ones stuffed with blue cheese or jalapenos, or better yet, the Calamata type from the olive bar at the grocery store. I didn't have any of those... I guess I ate them, or they ended up in a Bloody Mary somewhere along the line. The good ones are always the first to go.

I actually tried painting this from a photo today, leaving my props set-up for an occasional referral. I'm glad I did because the olives dried up quickly and weren't as shiny. So besides being ordinary, they were also dull! ha!

Steps I took, below...

Step 1:  Sketched it in, paying
attention to value, and
double checking
Step 2:  Grabbed my greens
and tried to catch the
swirling motion in the
Step 3:  Filled in my color, making sure
not to lose my drawing. Saved shadows
and highlights until the end.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015



Decided to try to squeeze in a painting today.... and ended up spending most of the day on this. It took quite a while to feel okay with a composition, almost 3 hours to paint, and about the same just to get a decent picture of it. Part of the trouble I had was that I wanted to paint in the dining room room today. 

To make a short story a little longer.... It was such a beautifully sunny day that I wanted to keep an eye on our koi pond in the front yard -- just in case the water warmed up enough for Bubba to surface for food. He, nor his 6 gold fish buddies, ever came into view. But the movement of the sun through the panels of the bay window kept the reflections, shadows, and highlights dancing around my silver props. It was a little more frustrating than normal. It's already tricky with shiny objects because a simple tilt of your head will move all the shapes and colors around.

All in all, I think I like this painting! I'll drop in some pictures below on steps I took to paint it. NOTE: One thing I noticed after I posted this is the way the reflections on the knife made it look "tilted" too much in the final painting. Yicks! So I tried to fix it, and reposted the next day. (first one is below)  :)

 Step 1: (After getting a still life composition and lighting that I liked) I sketched it in with a wash of raw umber, starting to define the range of values, but also finding the movement in the reflections.

Step 2: I loosely blocked in color, trying not to overly mute color or blend edges together. (This step really could've been broken down into two-three photos.)

3. I refined the painting by focusing on dark first, then on to highlights. This is when I really focus on the reflected light, and how it "plays" off the darker colors. Shadows are worked in towards the end (probably because I have a harder time with them).

After I finished and posted this, I realized that the reflection on the knife made it "bend", so repainted that portion and reposted it. (see above)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weird Slice


Today was another one of those days when I didn't really have time to paint, so I hurried through this one just so I didn't miss the day. I tried to slice the apple a little differently, but instead of adding interest, it just looks cumbersome. I decided to go ahead and share anyway because it may be the only one I get to this week.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sizes In Silver


What size spoon do you use when you eat soup? How about cereal? And pudding or ice cream? I always go for the largest one. Not the serving spoon, but the largest soup-type spoon. What does that have to do with anything? Well, actually, nothing at all. I was just thinking about that while painting these. I noticed that most of my teaspoons look pretty shiny and new. The larger soup spoons...not so much. Anyway, it was fun to try to paint the difference. Hope you enjoy it.  

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that your weekend was great, and that your week ahead is fun and fulfilling!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Claudia's Teapot


Painting with friends is so fun! We set  up this still life today (all four of us using different mediums), and painted this peach colored teapot that Claudia brought. (I didn't like the color with the lemons, so I changed it.... artist parlay ... I mean prerogative).  It's so fun painting with friends because, if you're painting with the right people, you learn and get inspired from each other.  Today was no different.  I was actually challenged by one friend to put my crutch down (raw umber) and use compliments for all shadows. Viola! Not perfect, but very colorful for me!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

10 Minute Habaneros

#031 - $10

I really didn't have time to paint today.  After lots of chores and errands -- including a new hair cut -- I got home pretty late. But you know, when you get a new hair cut it just makes you feel excited and energized (unless it's a BAD hair cut... then the feelings are closer to depression and self-loathing). Anyway, I did a very quick painting of these habaneros... just because.  I didn't realize they were so curvy and irregularly shaped!  Not really a quality piece, but at least I got my hands on a brush today.

Tomorrow, I'll be getting together with friends to paint.... supposedly we're going to set up still life vignettes and/or model for each other.... I'll keep you posted.  Hopefully, I'll have something new to post! 

Hope you have something fun planned for your weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lower Falls In Winter

#030 - $100

I can't believe I'm posting #30 already! Daily painting has been great for me, and I'm excited to continue with it into 2015.  Today I'm posting a painting from one of my favorite hiking trails here in Big Canoe, where I live.  This fall is simply called the "Lower Falls"... I suppose it's named that because it's down hill from the "Upper Falls"... go figure. haha

It really is a wonderful place to be and enjoy, whether hiking or just sitting .... in any season.  I've painted it in every season, and have to admit during the winter months it holds something special to me. 

This painting is on a 6"x6" wrapped canvas, 2" deep. See photos below. I like that it doesn't need to be framed. It seems more infinite that way. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NOT Macaroni & Cheese

#029 - $20

I do not have the TV on today! No Food Network for me. Instead, I'm behaving myself with this cool & crispy English Cucumber and these wonderful little sweet Grape Tomatoes. 

I'm not so sure about this composition. There seems to be a lot of "dead" space in the center that almost makes a triangle. I tried keeping that space somewhat interesting by paying special attention to the odd shadows on the plate, but I think it helped very little.  The tomatoes did cast a red shadow, but I'm afraid not as saturated as I made them. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fork n Spoon


Yesterday's trip to the grocery store was all about buying "good, healthy" food and getting back on the bandwagon of healthy eating after the holidays (ok, ok, the holiday eating should've ended over a week ago, but I'm a little behind).  Anyway, I bought lots of vegetables and fruits; good lean meats; stuff for soups, salads, and smoothies; ezekiel bread, and almond milk.

Then today (for some reason) I painted with the TV on (which I never do).  And of all things, I had it on the food network. I didn't realize you could make so many wonderfully fattening varieties of macaroni and cheese! Now, I'm starving! And not for ANY of the things I bought! 

Just a coincidence that I painted this empty fork and spoon today! :)   ...guess I'll go make myself a salad now.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Someone's Gotta Do It!


I don't know about you, but in my house I'm the one responsible for eating every last morsel of Christmas candy and every last crumb of Christmas cookies.  It's hard to move into the New Year unencumbered until that task is out of the way!  

And alas, this is the last one for me! Does that mean I have to go to the gym tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015



This is the first time I've actually posted 2 paintings in one day.... I'm just having so much fun with these mandarin bits that I can't help myself!  This time, I chopped them into wedges, tried to paint quickly, and then had fun with my small rubber chisel brush (removing thin squiggly lines of paint back down to the white gessoed surface).

On to different subject matter.... I've started eating these, and am putting some in my tea right now! 

Hope your day is fun and fulfilling!

One Last Mandarin


Yesterday I just couldn't figure out what I felt like painting.... so I ended up not painting anything! UGH.

This morning, however, I was ready to go! I painted this first thing, and am ready to paint another! Thank goodness I found this one last mandarin orange hiding in the lower drawer of the crisper! :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Just Cream, Please


Actually, I drink my coffee black.  I just liked the way this chrome cream pitcher looked. :)

This painting was actually frustrating for me, and I'm still not happy with certain sections of it. I had trouble getting the "turquoise" color that I wanted. Then, I muddied it up; then, I scraped some paint off; then, I over-worked it, and finally, I repeated the steps above. I've been trying to get my daily paintings finished in 1-1 1/2 hours.  This one took almost 4!  (Including the time pacing around, looking at it across the room with one eye closed, texting with my niece, and just generally keeping distracted from the corner I was painting myself into!)

For my next trick, I'm going to do some quick 10 minute paintings of something easy!  :)

P.S. You can see from below that I didn't have the drawing right before I started painting! Lesson learned: Don't get too excited to jump into painting, and ignore your drawing. Bad drawing = bad painting!

^ The reference shot through my view finder. So far, so good.

< The bad sketch, I should've stayed at this step.

>The uncorrected drawing stayed true as I began the painting.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Papa Graham's Salted Apples


Growing up, my Great-Uncle Alton was the only "grandfather" my sister and I had, so he became our "Papa Graham."  He was a wonderful man, and to this day, I recall him looking just like Jimmy Stewart. A tall lanky man with white hair, and a long, somewhat crooked nose. Thank God that we had him in our lives. Although he's no longer with us, memories of him could translate to hundreds of paintings.

This painting was inspired by his memory. He would often come in from working outside and sit down at the table with an apple he just picked from the farm's orchard.  He'd slice it up with his pocket knife, then sprinkle salt on each piece before popping them in his mouth.  Even though I didn't have a pocket knife to paint, I still enjoyed painting this piece.... because of him.  It did get me wondering though... what ever became of that knife? Wouldn't that be a treasure to have!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ruby Red Oranges


Our friends spent the Holidays in Florida and came back with the most deliciously sweet and juicy "oranges" I've ever had! Apparently, they were a cross between an orange and a Ruby Red grapefruit.  I say "were", because I cut the last one up today for this painting.

This painting was going great the first 20 minutes while I painted the orange chunks.  Then something happened and it began to unfold at a dismally slow pace as I pretty much destroyed the banana. I wish I had more of these oranges left so I could do this again. But alas, I finished this one off as soon as I gave up on the painting. Yum!  Thanks Eric and Merrily!  

Friday, January 2, 2015

Five O'Clock Somewhere II

I was so excited about the results of bowl games yesterday that I couldn't sleep last night! Well, it's true... but it's also an excuse for posting a painting I actually did a couple of years ago.  The other excuse is that I spent all day packing away Christmas decorations, dismantling mantles, and sweeping up pine needles. I hurried with these chores, but somehow the day got away from me and there was no time left for painting.

This painting was painted (roughly) from a friend's photograph taken in a hotel lounge somewhere in Toronto, Canada.  I completed a series of paintings from her "bar top" photos, and from time to time, still paint from these awesome references.  This one is on a wrapped canvas so the painting actually continues around the side for 2".  It measures 18" x 18", and is still one of my favorites.

All these days off for the holidays, and now it's the weekend! Hope yours is great!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Apple Snack


Happy 2015!!  I think I've finally gotten a decent photo of my daily painting! Took it with my new Nikon Coolpix. Very happy to be starting the year out on the right foot.

Speaking of getting started on the right foot.....  I'm ready to watch some bowl games today.  MSU up first! Go Green! (I had to say that!)