Sunday, January 31, 2016

773 Best Friends

Who do you think won?

"773 Best Friends"
acrylic - 8x8 in

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

772 Winter's Web

If every day of winter had sunshine and beautiful shadows, perhaps I would like it more.  Our winter here in Milwaukee has been fairly mild this year, but there have been many grey days.  I love the way the shadows of the trees stretch on the snow and the colors of the shadows.

772 Winter's Web"
oil - 12x24 in

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

771 Twisted

This is another scene from Tanzania of an acacia tree, photo taken by my friends, Ann and Steve.  I am very drawn to these beautiful trees in photos and paintings, but am not sure I have ever seen one in person, although I learned through research that some varieties grow in the United States in South Carolina, Arizona and Hawaii. I particularly like the Umbrella Acacia shown in this painting because of its graceful trunk and the shape of its foliage, sometimes called the thorn tree acacia.

As I was reading about the Acacia, I learned that gum arabic is derived from this tree, and I have used it as an adhesive and an additive to ink for calligraphy purposes.  It is also a common ingredient in some beverages (Fresca, RC Cola, Root Beer) and in Altoid mints,  gum and M&M pretzels, as well as in perfume.  The wood is used for hardwood floors and furniture.

As you can probably see, I enjoy learning from painting different subjects.   I learn something new from each new painting, in this case, not only about the Acacia tree, but another lesson in painting with oil paints. 

"771 Twisted"
oil - 18x24 in

Sunday, January 24, 2016

770 A Bird's Eye View

The beautiful photo reference for this painting was taken in Tanzania by my world traveler friends, who have been to so many exciting places, often biking their way through the countrysides.  I live vicariously through them as I am somewhat impaired when it comes to travel, although I have been to Lebanon three times, which most people find daunting.  It is hard for me to imagine being so close to a zebra and other wild animals.  They have graciously shared their photos with me and have given me permission to paint them.  Thank you Ann and Steve.

I've been feeling a little restless with the start of the new year.  I have been tirelessly working on portraits with determination to master them, but I really needed a little break because I've also pretty much run out of interesting photo references after scouring thousands of photos in my iPhoto folders.  The conversations go like this:  "Would you please send me photos of people in interesting poses with high contrast and no teeth showing? "  .......somewhat limiting.

In the months ahead, I have scheduled two weekend workshops from two of my favorite artists, both of whom teach and paint in oil.  Although I love the many benefits of acrylics, I would like to experiment with oil paints.  I have dabbled in the past, painting seascapes, but nothing like this subject matter.  For this painting, I used water soluble oil paints, which behave like oil paints (I think) but there are no smelly chemicals involved, and best of all, they clean up with soap and water.   I really enjoyed the experience and plan to continue pursuing this medium.

"770 A Bird's Eye View"
oil - 16x20 in

Thursday, January 21, 2016

769 When I Grow Up...

"769  When I Grow Up..."
acrylic - 8x8 in

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

768 Nick the Horse

"768 Nick the Horse"
acrylic - 8x10 in

Monday, January 18, 2016

767 Confidence Comes With the Hat

Dress up boxes are great gifts for kids.  They have so much fun being whoever they want to be with no expectations.  I guess I shouldn't generalize--adults can ham it up when given the chance to let their guard down. 

"767 Confidence Comes With the Hat"
acrylic - 5x5 in

Saturday, January 16, 2016

766 More, Please

This little guy has a big fan base.  He is a good natured baby with a loving family, including a sweet big brother who adores him.  In the reference photo, the child has dinner all over his face, but I wasn't up for painting that!  Even though he is too young to talk (don't be fooled by all that hair!), I imagined him saying "More, please."

"To all children, in all places, may you live in peace and with fullness of heart." (and tummy)
author unknown

"766 More, Please"
acrylic - 9x7 in

Friday, January 15, 2016

765 Cottage Charm

I remember hollyhocks from my childhood growing up in Detroit.  Tall stocks of hollyhocks lined the alley behind our house, and I remember being afraid of all the bees that swarmed the beautiful flowers.  Now I think of them mostly as an old fashioned cottage flower, as many Door County gardens feature them in their gardens.  I wish I had a sunny spot for them in my yard, but I can always visit my neighbor's hollyhock garden just down the street.

"765 Cottage Charm"
oil - 24x12 in

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

764 Lingering

Hard to believe these flowers have lasted almost two weeks since my daughter gave them to me on New Year's Day.  I bought this vase in New Mexico this Fall and love how it compliments the colors of the flowers.  

"764 Lingering"
acrylic - 10x8 in

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

763 Are You Sure (my wings are straight?

This little girl has such an expressive little face!  I don't know why she looks so uncertain or worried, but I suspect it has something to do with her fairy/angel/butterfly wings.

"763 Are You Sure (my wings are straight)?
acrylic - 6x7 in

Monday, January 11, 2016

762 Sunset Cartwheel

In addition to portraits, I have been struggling with a large painting, a still life.  I've tried many different background (wall) colors,  but nothing felt right until today, not even the artistically logical ones.  I hope to post it this week.    This painting (above) provided a little levity for me.  This little girl could win a cartwheel contest!

"762 Sunset Cartwheel"
acrylic - 8x10 in

Saturday, January 9, 2016

761 All About the Eyes

Learning to paint portraits is an ongoing challenge.  Undoubtedly, the eyes are the favorite part of the painting for me, but often the placement is difficult.  It is so easy to mess things up by not having one eye positioned the same as the other.  The direction of the "look" is so easily changed by the position and the level of the lids, as well as the little glint.

The nose.  That's another story.  Noses are all so different and I find them the most challenging.  This little girl has a perfect nose with a perfect little triangle at the tip.  My version of her nose is not perfect. 

Since I have been painting portraits, when I meet someone, I find myself studying the face and the placement of the features.  I never paid much attention to those details before. But now they are important.  Nevertheless, I keep plugging away.  I am running out of photos of people showing no teeth, which look  like chicklets in a painting. 
"761 All About the Eyes"
acrylic - 4x4 in

Friday, January 8, 2016

760 Angelic

This is Isaac.  He is my friend's son and the subject of "756 Thinking It Over."  Her children are beautiful, engaging, well behaved and smart. 

"760 Angelic"
acrylic - 8x6 in

Thursday, January 7, 2016

759 I Did It!!

This little girl just got her ears pierced!  Doesn't she look proud?

"759 I Did It!!"
acrylic - 6x6 in!!/438430

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

758 Fresh Start

Here is another view of my New Year bouquet from my daughter.  It's still hanging in there, but not for long.  Painting flowers is a nice break from portraits, although I'm doing those too.

Please note, yesterday's post should have been 757 not 957.  Must have been subliminally wishful thinking. 

"758 Fresh Start"
acrylic - 6x6 in

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

757 New Beginnings

My daughter brought me this lovely little bouquet on New Year's Day, when we baked Nana's Chocolate Italian Cookies together.  Like any other living, breathing artist, I knew it would be the subject of a painting.  During these cold, winter days, it has been a bright spot, as flowers make me happy.  It was also rewarding and joyful for me to use the new Italian palette knife my son gave me for Christmas.  I was much happier with the painting after a little scraping and smearing.

"957 New Beginnings"
acrylic - 8x6 in

Sunday, January 3, 2016

756 Thinking Things Over

"756 Thinking Things Over"
acrylic - 4x6 in

Saturday, January 2, 2016

755 Wonderment

"755 Wonderment"
acrylic - 8x10 in

Friday, January 1, 2016

754 Imposter

yep, there is a story here.

"754 Imposter"
acrylic - 10x8 in