Paintings 7&8

Hi everybody, TGIF! I hope your week has been good. Below are paintings #7&#8

#7 “The Diver”, Oil on Birch Panel, 5″x7″
img_4290I always liked the look of being underwater with the light shining through from the surface. In real life, I’m kind of scared of being underwater despite knowing how to swim.  I really liked this picture when I saw it and attempted to paint it.

I am happy with the way it turned out. I think it could have looked a lot worse, like one of those magazine ads. I wanted it to have an introspective and psychological aspect. I like the diver figure obscured with the dark blues of the water. The darkness is contrasted by the glow of the light. It almost feels like a metaphor for life.

#8 “Study of Bird Skull”, Oil on Birch Panel, 4″x4″ img_4295This painting looks better in real life. In this picture, there’s more contrast in the contours. In reality, the painting is more subdued. That’s the look I was going for. I wanted to use a limited palette to render light and delicate variations in tone. I wanted to illustrate the beauty and delicacy of the bird skull.

I hope you like these so far.

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Paintings 5&6

Hello everyone, I hope your week is going well. Below are #5 & #6:

#5 “View”, Oil on Birch Panel, 4×4img_4265
I painted this little scene using a copyright free photo reference. I love the vibrancy of the colours and the turquoise patina on the rock walls. I also love the contrast between the shadowed walls and the saturated colours in the light.

#6 “Study of Caravaggio’s Judith”, Oil on Panel, 2.5×5″img_4273
I have long been an admirer of Caravaggio’s work. His mastery of chiaroscuro and drama of his scenes are intense. The painting I was studying is called Judith Beheading Holofernes. The subject matter of this painting was very popular and many artists depicted this scene. I don’t like the gory part of the painting but Judith’s face really captured me.

I decided to use an even smaller surface to work on but I think the painting looks powerful and big somehow. I tried to capture the expression of the original since the other aspects were not possible.

One of the aspects I’m talking about from the original painting is the colour. It is impossible to duplicate in my situation, since I was working from a digital reference of a photo print. Also, I was painting alla prima with paints that are made of different pigments. Also, the manufacture of the paint is different was well.

Despite the differences in materials, technique and the time constraints, I really enjoyed working on this one.

Paintings 3 & 4

Hello everyone. Needless to say, it’s getting kind of hairy with the holiday season ramping up. I don’t have my tree up yet and usually I like to have it up on December 1st. So I wanted to let you know that I will try to post regularly but the paintings in my posts will likely have a one-day lag. Anyhoo, below are paintings 3 & 4:

#3 “Persimmon with Hazelnuts” Oil on Panel, 4×4″
img_4240I love persimmons and as it happens, this was the last one I had left. So I decided to paint it. To make the composition more interesting, I threw in some hazelnuts. This painting was done from life.

#4 “Unknown Hooves”, Oil on Panel, 5×7″
img_4253This painting was done from a photo reference. I had saved this photo from a copyright free site because it looked interesting. But I have no idea what animal these hooves belong to.

I found the forms of the legs and hooves really interesting to draw. I especially like the contour of the shapes. Here is a close-up of my sketching in the underpainting:
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I hope you have a good week.

I will remind myself to stay calm and be mindful of compassion to others in this holiday season.

Painting Challenge #1 & 2

Hi everyone, as I took the plunge yesterday into A Painting A Day Challenge, I have been busy catching up. Below are paintings 1 & 2:

img_4226#1 “Still Life with Handmade Pottery”, oil on Birch Panel, 4×4″

The first day was a mad rush to get this piece done since, I just committed to the challenge in the same afternoon. The pottery featured in the painting is one of my pieces I made at the end of summer. This is my first still life painting and it was done using a live reference, not from a photo. It was nice working from life but also difficult, because of the shifting natural light while I was painting. I am pleased with the way this turned out.

There’s something about the simplicity of still lifes that appeals to me. I am drawn to Still lifes that have very simple composition with very few objects. I think that the simplicity invites the viewer to really look at things.

The thing I like most about painting is when the painting shifts from the “ugly phase” into interesting passages and starts coming to life. Usually this happens when things quiet down and you get into a “zen state”, where you just observe and paint and all other things fall away.

img_4231#2 “Red Sea and Clouds”, oil on Gessoboard, 5×7″

The second painting was done using a reference photo loosely. It’s an abstracted seascape that was manipulated with textural effects. Here is a detail shot:

img_4233This is the first time I deliberately pushed oils incorporating organic effects.

I hope you liked my first two, hopefully I can manage to fulfill my commitments for this month!

Wishing you a great weekend!

December Daily Painting Challenge

Hello everyone, Can you believe it? It’s December 1st.

I’ve always been interested in the Painting A Day movement started by Duane Keiser. Since PAD, there have been many challenges within the artist’s community. I wanted to participate in some form of daily painting sometime in the future. Then, just the other day, I was reading Naomisnotebook.com a fellow artist and blogger who took up this challenge for the month of December. I thought, is she crazy? December is a crazy-busy month! After some encouragement and inspiration, I have decided to take on this challenge.

Mind you I’m kind of terrified, but this commitment will force me to do something I’ve always wanted to do. In my experience, there’s never a good time to start anything like this. So I guess I’ll start at the worst time; in the heart of the holiday season with lots of family and social obligations. So it’ll be a real challenge. In the end, I believe it will be rewarding.

My hope for this project is to obviously get better at oil painting, but also to develop a painting routine, loosen up and take the fear out. I will be on a modified schedule; I plan to do 30 paintings but I might not post them everyday. I will also take Christmas off. Most of them will be small-scale and I want to explore the Still Life genre but I won’t restrict myself to it.

Today is day 1 and as I’m writing this post, I am not even ready. But technically, I have until the end of the day to complete a painting. No pressure 😆!  I hope you will find this project enjoyable if not, entertaining.

I leave you with one of my favorite paintings from artist Abby Ryan, whose approach I want to adopt; daily painting as meditation:

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Still Life of Shadows by Abby Ryan