Sunday, April 28, 2013


This is what it looked like this morning out of my kitchen window.   I'm really getting tired of winter.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


 pencil drawing 9 x 11 inches

For the last week, I've been drawing trees everyday for the Drawing and Painting Trees class that I'm taking on line, and I'm loving it.  The class is taught by Deborah Paris who is a tonalist painter.  Deborah's way of painting with oil is different than the a la prima approach that I've been working on.  We will start working with painting towards the end of the one month class.

All my drawings, so far, have been with pencil, a media I haven't used for a finished drawing in ages and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.    

Spring still isn't here.  Though it was sunny for a few days and warm enough to sit outside and draw on Saturday, we've had snow and rain for the last few days, so I'm drawing trees that I see from my windows, and, despite the rain,  I've been walking in the woods everyday, seeing trees in a new way.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The challenge that I made for myself to paint 30 oil paintings in 30 days ended yesterday. I ended up with 25 paintings that I didn't wipe out or burn.  I can't seem to find them all on this computer (they must be on my other one), so this collage only has 16 of them.   

So, looking back on the last 30 days.  Compared to the 30 days in January when I painting watercolor, this hasn't been as enjoyable.  I was in my comfort zone then and was for the most part happy with what I was producing.  With this challenge,  not so pleased with what I did, but know that I have made improvement. 

I am getting more use to painting at an easel.  I've always drawn and painted (my watercolors and gouache) on a table.  I am left handed and write overhanded and usually paint that way too..... at least the small areas and detail.   I rarely use a flat brush with watercolor, almost always rounds.  However with the oils, I'm using flats for most of the paint.   I probably need some new brushes.  I've accumulated a few brushes, mostly bristles which leaves too much brush stroke showing on the gessoed mat board that I was using most of the time.  They did work better on the canvas.   My favorite brush is a softer brush that I got at a garage sale and the label is worn off..... not as soft as the old kolinsky watercolor flats and rounds that I've also used.  I will order some new ones.  It would be good to be able to see some in a store.  I've been studying them in catalogs and on line and trying to narrow my order down to just a few.... hope they are the right ones.

I probably should do some larger pieces.  I found myself getting out the small brushes and overworking with details too much.

As for color mixing.... it got a lot easier once I switched from the water mixable to the regular oil paints.  Maybe with a better brand of paint, the mixing would be easier.

So, where do I go from here?  I do want to keep on with the oils.  I am tired of painting apples and  painting from photos. I want to get outside and paint nature from life.   I have signed up for an online class with Deborah Paris called Drawing and Painting Trees.   She is a tonalist painter and paints in an indirect way that I'm interested in pursuing.  The class starts on Friday and will last a month.  I am already starting on reading assignments.   Here's hoping that spring will get here soon so I can get out side and draw.  I will continue painting inside though and probably a few more apples.

I want to thank the bloggers who have commented and given encouragement this past month.  I couldn't have done it without you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

DAY 28

 oil painting 6 x 6 inches

I was surprised and delighted to see tulips for sale in the grocery store yesterday.  I've been wishing for  fresh flowers to paint for months.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

DAY 27

 oil painting 6 x 6 inches

This was painted from a photo I took while out walking last month.  We call the mountain Rink's Knob.  Up there on top in summer is spectacular.   Its quite a hike and beyond my ability to climb now, so I just enjoy its beauty from below.

The color is really off on this photo.... the foregound is too pink.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I got a late start today and decided to do Carol Marine's challenge (not the first time) to paint several  apples, each. in 10 minutes.  I spent a bit longer on each of these, but not by much.   I am wonderfully surprised at how differently the oils are handling compared to the wmo's.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


oil painting 6 x 6 inches

I am so glad I switched to regular oil paints.  The things I noticed yesterday are so true.  I am so easily mixing the colors I want.  They are the same pigments I use with watercolor, but the wmo paints never gave me the color I expected.  The oil paints do.  

 This is from a photo I took last week.  Its on a path, a short cut through our woods where I walk quite often.... I walked there today between snow showers and there was a lot more snow, though since I took the picture, the snow had almost disappeared.  Anyway,  I painted it on a piece of watercolor paper with black gesso.  I liked the way some of the black shows through on the bottom where the snow meets the moss.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


oil painting 8 x 8 inches

Yes, I skipped a day.  I spent two days on this.   It was the first time I've used Gessobord and I wiped out a few times.    The painting is of the road to our beach, from a photo taken one evening in summer as the sun was setting.

Yesterday, I ran out of water mixable oil (WMO) white paint so decided that it was time to switch to real oils.  I was planning to do so when the weather got better and I could open a window or go out side to paint.  I'm using odorless turpentine and there is no odor, but  I'm sure I'm breathing something that's bad for me.  But I think I'll continue with them inside anyway because I'm finding I like them better.  It's considerably easier to mix the colors I'm looking for.... maybe that's partly because I've been mixing paint for three weeks; maybe I'm just getting the hang of it.  It definitely takes less paint with the oils to mix with white, so the WMOs must have some filler in them.  And the real oils are of a better consistency..... buttery and just easier to mix.   Some of the WMOs are really stiff and very hard to mix.  The brand I've been using is Winsor and Newton which I read are not the best.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

DAY 20 and 21

 water mixable oil 5 x 7 inches

 This one took two days.  Yesterday I felt like I was coming down with a cold and didn't feel like doing much of anything.  I did get this started and today felt fine and finished it.  I probably could have fiddled around with it for another hour.   It is a spruce growing on the bank of a creek.  I took the photo sometime in the 90's at the same time I painted the watercolor below.

 watercolor about 7 x 10 inches

It was one of my favorite paintings  around that time.  I can still remember sitting there painting in late summer listening to sandhill cranes. 

 water mixable oil 6 x 6 inches

This one I started over a week ago from my car at my neighbor's.  I'd been hoping to finish it on site with my easel, but its still too cold.  I went over today and took a photo.


Friday, April 5, 2013

DAY 18 AND 19

 water mixable oil 8 x 8 inches

Only one painting in these two days.  It almost got to 50 degrees yesterday and I packed up my new easel to go out for my first plein aire painting with it.   I walked around for over 30 minutes looking for a spot with a view out of the wind and finally found this tree with the light behind it looking like it might make a good painting. I was in the sun when I started , but it didn't take long before my fingers were too cold to continue.  As it was colder today, I worked on the painting inside from a photo  which was quite different from what I saw outside.   I pretty much finished it with what the photo showed, but I  got that light area too light.... and the photo of the painting makes it look even lighter.  It almost looks like snow which is isn't.

I really enjoyed painting this today painting all those dead branches.  It would have taken forever to do with watercolor with a lot of negative painting or using a resist.  I think I'm falling in love with the oils. 

And I, for sure, love my new Coulter art box and easel.  I can get everything I need into a backpack and its not very heavy.  And it sets up really fast.  Now if it will just get warm enough to get out and use.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


copy of EDGAR PAYNE painting
 water mixable oil 4.5 x 5.25 inches

 I copied this off of the cover of Payne's book, and am continuing reading the book....much I've heard or read before, but I need reminding.  I was able to paint both of these copies faster than any of the other pieces so far  and would have done two yesterday, but I realized I'd been ignoring a few things like paying bills and cleaning my house.  It looks like today is going to be sunny for a change.  I'm going to go outside and paint with my new easel for the first time.

I left the horses and riders out of my copy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


copy of EDGAR PAYNE painting
water mixable oil 5.8 x 7 inches

I bought the Edgar Payne book, COMPOSITION OF OUTDOOR PAINTING, last year but  I found it rather difficult to read and it probably wasn't the right time to really absorb what he says and shows. It's been sitting on my shelf for most of the time since I got it. I was looking at the blog of one of my favorite painters, Nathan Fowkes, and saw that he paints small studies of Payne's paintings and says he has "become a much better artist because of it."  I pulled the book off the shelf and decided to do the same.  There is a wealth of information in the book and I'm starting to read it again from the beginning.

I think I dd a pretty good job getting the value and color right.  This was done on a  Frederick canvas pad.  Everything else so far in the last weeks have been on gessoed paper or hardboard.  I think I prefer this surface over the smoother ones and  I'll work with it some more.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


water mixable oil 7 x 5 inches

I fell asleep last night before posting my painting for yesterday.  I do most of my computer stuff in the morning, so will continue posting a day late. I'm still trying to get these apples right.  This time I took a photo first and painted from my computer monitor.  I also put a burnt sienna under-painting on first.
I'm relatively happywith this one, though I'll work some more on the yellow in the apple in the front.

After a nice Easter day including a brunch where most of us ate outside, yesterday. we woke up to a morning of snow.  I guess we were fools to think spring was here.