Monday, January 23, 2017

Cloudy South Carolina

"Cloudy South Carolina"
Image Size 8" x 10"
We've been having some crazy storms this week.  Well, crazy by California standards anyway.  I always enjoy the rain, but we really need a week or more to dry out now before we get any more storms.  
The reference photo for this painting was taken several years ago when I was visiting friends in  Charleston, South Carolina.  We visited a plantation (I don't remember the name) and I took a lot of pictures of the beautiful grounds.  This was one of them.
I tried pastels again this week, but handled them in a different manner.  Last week's painting was almost completely blended and this week, I didn't blend the pastels at all - at least not with my fingers.  There is always a certain amount of blending done when you layer colors on top of each other.
The support I used for this was a rust colored sanded pastel paper.  I'm sorry I don't know which brand,  because I've had it a while in my stash of pastel papers.  I didn't blend with my fingers because I wanted the bits of rust color to come through in the finished painting.  I think that adds a bit of energy and cohesiveness to the painting.  It probably would have looked nice to have a fully blended sky with the clouds, but that will be for another painting.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Untamed Wave

"Untamed Wave"
Image size 6" x 8"
I'm back to waves.  They are so much fun to paint!  This one is done in pastel.  I haven't used pastels for almost 2 years.  I can't believe that!  I really do enjoy working with them and have so many pastels and supports to use for pastels that I should be using them for a painting every week for the next 10 years!
Of course, you know I'm not going to do THAT, but I think I will concentrate on using them more often.  I love the variety of texture that can be achieved with them. 

For this painting, I applied fine pumice gel on a mat board using crisscrossing brush strokes.  The texture doesn't show very much in the finished painting because I blended most of the color with my finger.  Some of the final additions of white and gray are not blended, which gives a bit of variety to the painting. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Vail Creek

"Vail Creek"
Image Size 6" x 8"

I tried working with the Ceracolors again.  This time, I didn't plan to heat them.  I worked on Bristol board with a plate finish, which is a very smooth surface.  I usually don't work on papers with a completely smooth finish, like bristol or hot press, but I do like the looser feeling that I am forced to get using this finish.  It's very hard (for me) to get smooth washes on this surface, which is good, because it forces me to work in a different manner.

It was fun working with the Ceracolors, but I was using them by painting thin veils of color,  which doesn't really show the waxy appearance for which they are intended.   Next time I won't thin them so much and will paint more layers to see what results I can get.  Also, I still need to try mixing them with my encaustic paints to see what happens.

So much to do......

Monday, January 2, 2017

Silver Linings

"Silver Linings"
Image size 6" x 6"

We've been having rain lately with lots of interesting clouds and skies so I was inspired to play with abstracted cloud shapes in encaustic for my painting this week.  As I was working on it, the title popped into my head.  That made me think of how blessed I am in my life.  I plan to keep that in mind as one of my New Year's Resolutions.  It's so easy to let day to day irritations intrude on our sense of thanksgiving.  Staying more focused on the present and appreciating everyone that is in my life is going to be a priority in 2017.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Jumbo Kumquats

"Jumbo Kumquats"
Image size 7" x 5"

I had been hearing about a new 'wax' paint called Ceracolors, so when I saw that there was going to be a demonstration at a local art store using these paints, I signed up.  They are described as wax and pigment emulsified in water and are supposed to be compatible with encaustic since both are wax.  I found that intriguing and bought a sample set of the three primaries plus white and a small bottle of medium.  I thought this would be the perfect way to get more detail in my encaustics. 

This painting is done on an Ampersand textured claybord panel.  The Ceracolors paint comes in a tube and has a smooth consistency that is similar to watercolor tube paints.  It was interesting to work with these colors.  I guess I would compare it to working with acrylic paints.  The paints can be thinned with water, but when I thinned them too much, there were bubbles and it was hard to get a nice wash.  I think that had more to do with the surface on which I was working than the paint.  On the lower background in this painting, I did a wash of very pale yellow over the blue.  I wasn't getting the smooth wash that I wanted so I created a random texture and I think that looks better than it would with a smooth wash.  I think that layering these paints to get more texture would be a fun way to work with them.

In the demo, we were told that the paints don't have to be fused like encaustics, but that they can be heated.  I was excited to see what results I would get when I used my heat gun, but nothing happened.  So then I took my palette with the leftover paint blobs to see if they would melt and they didn't.  I am going to do some more experimenting and try mixing these paints with my encaustics to see what happens.   Also, I'm going to do some research into the ingredients of this paint, but at this point, I don't think they are only wax, pigment and water. 

Monday, December 19, 2016


Image size 6" x 6"
This cute building is in Old Town Tustin, CA and was originally built in the 1800's.  I've always loved this building with it's interesting facade and was so sad when it burned down several years ago. Fortunately, the facade, which gives this building so much of it's charm, was mostly undamaged in the fire.  Many people in the community helped raise money to rebuild this historic landmark.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Painting Party

Image Size 12" x 12"

Last night my niece hosted a painting party and had a local artist come to lead the event.  The artist, Fabrice Spies, is an artist that paints hyperrealistic acrylic paintings that are amazing!  Check out his website.

For the project, he lightly sketched the image on a canvas for us ahead of time, and each of us had a picture of this painting (which is one of his original paintings) taped above the canvas.  He got us started and then helped each of us through the whole painting.  He is a very good teacher and I learned some good techniques.

It was a really fun way to spend the evening with family, new friends, art, food and wine.  Also, it reminded me how much fun it is to paint with acrylics.  I need to use this medium more often!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Misty Ridge

Misty Ridge
Image size 16.5" x 8.5"
The underpainting of this is a previous painting that I posted several weeks ago.  I decided I really didn't like because it didn't have any flow.  Actually, the painting depicted my mood at the time but it was a bit negative.  I'm much happier with this image.  

To start the change I took the heat gun and blasted the middle area where the drastic value change was so it would soften the transition.  Then I covered most of the surface with thin veils of soft color.  After that was fused, I added alcohol inks and a little bit of shellac burning. The shellac burn didn't really add much to the painting.

When I use alcohol inks or shellac, they leave the surface shiny, which I really like in some paintings and is distracting in others.  I didn't want any shine in this painting so I covered the areas with a layer of clear medium.  It dulls the colors a bit, but I think in this instance, it enhanced the finished look.

Below is the previous painting, "Divided" which is now forever underneath "Misty Ridge".

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vegetable Still Life

"Vegetable Still Life"
Image size 8" x 10"

I'm back to watercolor this week.  I really like the softness of this painting, which was achieved by painting on saturated paper.  I'm still trying to master this technique that I learned in Jeanne Hyland's workshop but it is a struggle.  She makes it look so effortless.  I am determined to get control of this technique, but I think it is going to take a long time.


Monday, November 21, 2016


Image size 36" x 96"
I just spent 15 minutes staring at my computer trying to think of a name for this painting.  I'm coming up with NOTHING!  I would love some of your ideas for a title.

I think I'm just so overwhelmed that this is finished that my brain isn't working.  This has been on my work table in my garage for over a year.  I used a combination of wax, ink, shellac and oil paint.  It wins for the largest encaustic to date.  I don't know how many pounds of wax I've applied to this, but is sure is a lot heavier than when I started.  Moving it by myself was a challenge.  Three feet by eight feet is HUGE and I'm excited to finally be able to have my worktable back.

I'm not totally sure that it is finished yet.  I need to live with it a while.  Today is the first time that I've seen it in a vertical position.  I've been working flat on a fairly tall table which is good for my back but not so good for really seeing the artwork.  

I intended this to be totally abstract, but I seem to have created another wave painting of sorts.  I'd love everyone's input on whether this is finished or need some additions or changes.  I've got a thick skin so don't be timid with your comments.  I appreciate all opinions.

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