Paintings 12&13

Hello everyone I hope you are doing well. Below are numbers 12&13:

#12 “Brown Eggs”, oil on panel, 5″x5″img_4337When I saw a photograph of this, I knew I had to paint it. The “brown” of the eggs against the robin’s egg blue of the carton really caught my eye.
When I started painting this, I realized how difficult the “brown” of the eggs really is. It’s was hard to define and match the colour, for me at least. It’s more like a range of light caramel, light chestnut, bisque and burnt sienna instead of just brown.
The blue of the carton in all it’s variations is one I have loved for a long time. So I didn’t have trouble with it. I am happy about the way the “cardboardness” of the egg carton turned out.

#13 “On the Way Home”, oil on panel, 8″x8″img_4338This painting is based on a blurry photograph I took through the car windshield. We were on the way home from a trip out-of-town. Suddenly, whilst the sky was shifting, I saw the most vibrant red in the sky. I remember never having seen the sunset that red. Maybe because it was sandwiched between dark and smouldering clouds, but the red was really intense.

Thank you for reading.

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Paintings 9,10&11

Hello everyone, it’s Monday and I hope your holiday preparations are well under way. Below are the next three installments of my paintings:

#9 “Two Halves”, oil on panel, 4″x4″img_4305This piece was a pleasure to work on, it gave me no troubles. Sometimes, regardless of the perceived difficulty or ease of a picture, some paintings will give you problems. But this one was straight forward and enjoyable to paint. I especially like the imperfections in the flesh of the avocado and the beautiful variations and depth of the green.

#10 “Raven Study”, oil on panel, 4″x6″img_4310This piece was partly a learning experience in figuring out what kind ogf brushstroke would  give the look of feathers. Unless you are painting in the Hyper-Realist style, you need only to suggest the look of feathers, not paint each one. I think in the end it looks believable. I do like the monochromatic look with a hint of blue-black.

#11 “El”, oil on Gessoboard, 5″x7″This piece, in case you don’t recognize it, is ‘El’ from the Netflix series, “Stranger Things”. I thoroughly enjoyed the series and thought the little girl who played this character was beautiful. So I attempted to paint her, but it the painting ended up portraying her to look older. With the time frame I was working in, I didn’t want to correct it or do it over. And I do like the feeling and look of the piece.

It has been a lot of work so far. It is one thing to paint everyday but to finish a painting a day is quite challenging for me. The good thing is, it’s like a crash course; I am learning quite a bit about oil painting. And that’s a good thing, since my motivation for this challenge was to get more proficient in oils.

Thanks for reading,

Wishing you a great week!

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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.

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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:
img_4249

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.

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“Moo?” Oil on Panel, (“Doh” moment)

Hello everyone, as promised, below is the finished oil study:

img_4189Sorry for the glare in the photo. This piece is 5 x 7″ done alla prima with a break in between. It’s part of my growing farm animal collection 😄.

The story about this piece is one of those “doh” moments in life, where you are incredulous of how dense you can be:

As you know, I was trying to loosen up my paintings. Some of the ways that you can do this is to use larger brushes and larger surface to work on. So as I was reaching for a larger surface, the only one I had already sanded was this 5×7″ panel ( it was cold and rainy and I was being lazy and didn’t want to go outside to sand). It wasn’t larger by much, but I proceeded to use it anyway.

As I was painting, I couldn’t figure out why I kept on reaching for smaller brushes to execute this painting. Half way through, I realized that while my surface was bigger, I was trying to convey a larger subject. The studies I did previously were close-ups of animals. In this case, the whole body of a larger animal is portrayed. Hence the need for smaller brushes. If I were to do a very loose study, I could have done it with bigger brushes but I didn’t want it that loose. Anyhoo, a lesson learned, however embarrassing.

Here is a closer look:
img_4190You can see some loose brush strokes especially on the leg of the cow. Suffice to say this painting isn’t what I intended in terms of really pushing looseness but it is finished.

So far, I prefer doing farm animal portraits rather than full body. I may do a few more full body studies to see if this one was a one-off.

Thanks for reading and I hope your weeks is going well.

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“The Pond” 4×4″ oil on panel

Hi everyone, below is a finished painting of a Koi:

img_4153 This was done alla prima (in one sitting, wet in wet). I’m pretty happy with this piece because it came out pretty close to what I envisioned in my mind.

As you know, I’m still feeling my way around oils and trying to render realistic forms. This practice in itself is good to hone skills, but I tend to get caught up in details and sometimes, it seems like work just copying what’s there. The other thing about a realistic focus is, the work can end up looking stiff. So I aimed to loosen up my painting.

Loosening up is kind of tricky; if you are using a reference, there’s a tendency to paint what you see on that reference. And if you are using a real photo, it’s natural that you would end up with a near copy of that photo. So you have to make a conscious decision to render things to a degree of abstraction and looseness. I tried to stay loose by mostly using bigger brushes but I still resorted to fine brushes for details.

I was interested in the look of painting simple subject matter and using the chiaroscuro style. And instead of carefully modeled forms in some of the Old Masters like Caravaggio, I wanted to incorporate a looser style. You can see the looser form here:
img_4154 The tail of the fish is very loose and is abstracted into obscurity. I like this effect quite a bit. I also like the contrast of the dark water and the saturated and brilliant colours of the fish.

Here’s look from another angle:img_4155 You can also see the loose brush strokes on the back of the fish. I liked these brush strokes, the colour mixing is done optically, a phenomenon that the Impressionists employed. I enjoyed this aspect of painting loosely and I like the shorter time it takes to complete a painting. This piece took 2.5 hours, half the time of the other paintings. Bear in mind, my being new to this medium and I’m probably slow.

I found it challenging to paint loosely and equally challenging painting wet into wet with oils. It’s difficult trying to paint a colour atop another colour without lifting it up. This was especially hard with painting the highlights in the water. As with all challenges, it’s very rewarding when you overcome them. I am making progress in oils and I guess I will experiment more. This is my way of figuring things out.

Now, I am wondering if it might be easier to paint looser if I paint larger..

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

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Playing with Paint

Hello, I hope everyone had a restful long-weekend (for some Canadians).

Back to oil painting:

img_3985After preparing most of the necessary materials for my adventures in oil, I found myself kind of frozen on the edge of a precipice. I don’t know why but I’m finding that there’s a block  when it comes to oil painting for me. It may be because of the fat over lean rule compounded by painting mediums and driers that interact with this rule. I have never had a problem just making art with other art mediums.

I guess that oil paint is the medium which I have/had the hardest time wrapping my head around. So, to help with this, I just decided to so some alla prima exercises, so I don’t have to worry too much about layers and fat over lean.

The exercises I set about doing was really low-key, just playing with painting effects. Using gessoed watercolour paper I made a while back, I taped up some sections:
img_3972I just started to paint with different colour mixes, using the palette knife, blending, using heavier impasto application etc..

Then I pulled of the tape:
img_3974Some of them look kind of interesting. The whole point of this exercise was to just start painting and enjoy the process. Breaking the block caused by fear and inaction is sometimes the biggest hurdle. I may continue to do these exercises until I feel confident enough. Maybe this type of exercise might help you if you feel stuck, or are afraid of starting something new.

Wishing you a productive week!

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