Monday, January 30, 2012


Cypress trees and rolling hills make me immediately think of Tuscany.  And......when I think of Tuscany, I think of relaxing, and wine, and lots of pasta.  No wonder I keep coming back to this as a subject for painting.  I used very little color in this one and kept it simple with very little detail.   That's quite a departure from the norm for me but I'm pretty happy with the result.

This is another pastel on Wallis pastel paper.  I really love that surface.  It can hold many layers without the tooth filling up.  It sure eats up the pastels though.

Image size 8" x 10"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Morning in the Vineyard

There is something very soothing about vineyards.  I like the repetitious rows so neatly arranged.  Here, the morning sun is peaking over the hills lighting up the vines.  Okay, that's a little too flowery for me.  Let's just say that the sun is shining and it's morning.

This is a pastel on Wallis paper.

Morning in the Vineyard
8" x 10"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Another Bird

This is a painting I started while we were in Mexico awhile ago when the only reference photos I had with me were birds of paradise.  I hadn't done much more that draw it and put an initial layer of paint in the sky and it looked like it was going to be way too tight so I attached rice paper to it and continued painting.

I love the effect with the rice paper.  I don't know why I don't do paintings with rice paper more often. It gives a softness and a nice textural quality that I can't get without it.  There are also goobers where the rice paper isn't attached completely so the paint spreads which for some reason, doesn't bother me.  It seems to go with the overall look.

The weather here has been so beautiful since before Christmas with temps in the 70s and 80s and almost balmy so working on a tropical painting seemed fitting.

Another Bird
Image Size 12" x 16"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Big Fish, Small Pond

I've painted koi fish so many times because they are really pretty and fun to paint.  I had this incredible piece of textured mulberry paper that I purchased well over a year ago but I'd never used it because it seemed almost too special.  I thought a watery subject would be perfect for it.  Of course, when I think water, I think koi.  I used acrylics thinned down like watercolor for this.  I knew I wanted some intense darks and didn't think I could achieve them with watercolor because this paper needed to be sealed before painting on it and in the past, when I've used watercolors on sealed paper, my darks are pretty weak.

This paper had no sizing in it at all and it acted like a blotter so I used acrylic matte medium to seal it first.  I guess I didn't seal it enough though because the paint creeped and seeped all over the place.  As I added more layers of paint, that became less of a problem because each layer of acrylic sealed the paper more.

Having so much texture in the paper was fun and frustrating at the same time.  Once I relaxed and let the paint do what it wanted, I enjoyed the process.  Below is a close-up of the paper to show the texture.  I shot this photo in the sun because I thought the texture would show better but because of the shadows, it looks like there are deep grooves in the paper when actually the areas next to the shadows are raised.

Using acrylics very thin like watercolor is really fun.  It's nice that I don't have to worry about disturbing previous layers (because once they dry, they are permanent) and I can still get the interesting effects of glazing.  Watercolors are still prettier and more interesting in my opinion because of the sedimentary qualities of many of the watercolor paints.  Acrylics tend to look a little more flat.

Big Fish, Small Pond
Image Size 22" x 30"

Monday, January 2, 2012

Purple Figs

These don't look so purple because my photo didn't capture the color so well - probably because it's so dark.  This is a an oil that I started awhile ago.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to finish unfinished paintings in my studio.  I'm tired of it always looking so messy even when I clean it up.  There's just too much stuff out there.  I have a lot of oil paintings that I've started and haven't felt like finishing.  I enjoyed finishing this but really, oil isn't my best medium.

I have no patience with any medium but watercolor.  I can spend weeks working on one watercolor painting and enjoy the process, which is usually tedious because of my style of painting but give me oil paints (or pastels, colored pencils etc.) and I feel the need to work quickly so I don't lose interest.  Maybe another resolution should be to become more patient.  Or...maybe I should stick to painting in watercolors.

Purple Figs
Image Size 6" x 12"
Unframed, gallery wrapped canvas painted on sides, no frame needed
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