Thursday, January 30, 2014


8x8, oil on canvas.

This is the last 8x8 canvas in my studio.  I'm expecting an order to arrive next week but then I'll have to re-ground and let them dry another week before I can proceed.  I'm already in portrait withdrawals. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Few Years Prior

8x8, oil on canvas.

So this is mom only a few (maybe 10?) years prior to the reference used for last painting. 
Aahh well, if I do more paintings of her at this stage maybe I can erase the images in my mind of her last moments.  But enough about that. 

I am hooked on portraits!  Having said that, I have a landscape on my easel now that I'm having fun with but I secretly want to get back to portraits.  I have a few ideas burning in the back of what's left of my mind that I really cant wait to try.  While I'm happy with the progression of these paintings I think they lack the seriousness and drama of, say, Rembrandts portraits.  Might as well aim high, right?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dazed & Confused

8x8, oil on canvas

Some paintings are harder than others for different reasons.  This one pulled my grief chain a little.  I lost mom to Alzheimer's in 2012 but fortunately I had taken a short video clip of her just before she died.  A video can give several frames of different expressions for reference.  Sadly, she didn't give me very many expressions by that time.  I highly recommend taking videos and pictures of your loved ones before it's too late.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


8x8, oil on canvas

Painted, re-painted, photo'd, re-photo'd.  Sometimes a photo tells you as much as looking in a mirror but the mirror is much less of a hassle.  Still, this photo makes the whole painting look funky and, well, you'll just have to take my word for it that it just didn't photo well and I'm just not wanting to learn all the ins and outs of photography and Photoshop.  I like the painting a lot more than this image of it.  Ahh well, someday maybe I'll take the time to learn the idiosyncrasies of my camera.

I DID say I liked this painting but the truth is that in the reference picture it appears his head is tilted even more so upward.  I'm clearly a beginner at this but I'm hopeful I will see progress later on this year.  Onward and forward.  There are a lot of heads out there that need to be painted.

Friday, January 17, 2014


8x8, oil on canvas.

This is my 4th portrait.  My third one is going back on the easel today. This one, like the others, was cut from a photo with a lot of other information in it.  By the time it was cropped and enlarged it became somewhat fuzzy so I photoshopped it with the palette knife filter which helped to turn the subtle into definite plane changes.  With all that it was still challenging for me!

I am having so much fun that I'm going to start carrying my camera around so I can start collecting candid shots for painting!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's All Good

Dustin, 8x8, oil on Canvas.

Two down.  I'm not sure I got the expression as I saw it but I was happy that his four year old son recognized him in the painting. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Brush With Portraits

Blake, 8x8, oil on canvas.
Thanksgiving, 2013.   This is Blake as I know him.  Lighthearted, compassionate and at times a little goofy. 

I have a curious need to paint portraits now.  I'm not sure where that is coming from but it's not going away so I'm going for it.  Bear with me while I get my bearings on this difficult new genre. 

I guess it's similar to painting still life in that you paint what you see but I'm finding it does help to know a little bit about anatomy - which I don't - but I'm discovering as I go along.  For instance, why doesn't the mouth look right??  Because of subtle plane changes around the muzzle that I didn't consider.  Kind of makes a difference.  Especially if the plane is going in the wrong direction.  Yikes. 

And of course I didn't start with a standard, out of the box, straight forward pose.  This pose defies some of the standard proportions I've read about so I did a little eyeballing.  Speaking of which, (the eyeballs) are a little larger than life but kind of helps the overall expression, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Breakthrough, 12x12, oil on canvas.

New year,  new challenges.  Every year my husband and I put together a list goals for the upcoming year.  Resolutions?  Not really.  Just putting something in the cross hairs so we don't fly aimlessly through the year.  A path but certainly not a concrete path.   A little direction I suppose. 

 My challenges for this year strangely resemble last years challenges to the effect of: time in the studio, blog posts..  blah, blah, blah. This year I added a few cheat notes that I read on the  Oil Painters of America Blog .  Here is a list from that post (Technically, this is a subcategory of "The First of Three Elements of One Artist Goal Plan".  Also, I hope I'm not infringing any copyrights by listing them here)  Please see the link above for expanded info and full blog post.  It's quite interesting.
  1. Get better
  2. Painting from life and on location
  3. Seeing better as an artist
  4. Continue developing a critical eye
  5. Expanding my boundaries.
As far listing these as goals, "get better" and "Seeing better as an artist" is a little vague for me.  How do I put a check mark by that?  Also #4 is a little weak in my opinion.   I think I need something less abstract.  Something I can measure without question.  Something like, "enter a show".  That's something I can do - or not do.  And by Dec 31st of 2014 I can either put a check mark by it or not.

Vague or not it provided me with some sound, encouraging direction for my 2014 painting year.  And he (Roger Dale Brown, OPA) provides us with a little insight as to what each subcategory looks like.

I particularly like the quote he added with which coincides nicely with my yearly goal of time management.  I pasted it below:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
- Calvin Coolidge

So, persistence will be a subcategory for my 2014 goal plan under "time in the studio".  In fact, I may just print off a copy of this quote and put it next to my easel.