Paintings 14&15

Hello everyone, it’s Friday again and what a relief! It’s hard to believe that this set of paintings marks the half way spot! Only fifteen more to go and it seems the time is flying by. Here are paintings 14 and 15:

#14 “Etched in Concrete”, oil on birch panel, 8″x8″
img_4344This painting is from a photograph I took of a natural patina of sorts, in concrete. I was mesmerized by the diaphanous form of a cloud, tree or mushroom that just occurred naturally. I found it beautiful and amazing.
When I set out to paint it, it was interesting. Often times I tag a painting as representational or abstract. In this case, it’s a representational painting of an abstract image~go figure.

#15 “The Look”, oil on birch panel, 4″x4″
When I saw this photo of this goat, I had a chuckle. The look on the goat reminds me so much of one of my sons when he’s in a certain mood. I like to approach portraying animals as I would a human portrait;  I think it adds a lot of character and is a lot of fun.

I am reminding myself to enjoy the little things.

Wishing you a great weekend!

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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 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.

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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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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!

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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:

img_4220
Still Life of Shadows by Abby Ryan

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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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Eye Study

Hi everybody, below is a 4×4″ eye study in oil:

img_4128 I’m still trying to establish some sort of practice routine with oil paints. So, I think I’ll be doing more of these small format studies.

Since doing my previous study of my son’s eye, I found that I really enjoy doing eyes. It’s amazing how different and expressive people’s eyes are. Even without the rest of the face, you can really tell emotions just by the eyes.

In the process of painting eyes, I really enjoy how the eye comes to life near the end of the painting. And the point of doing a study, you really learn quite a bit. For example, the whites of the eye are actually not white but grayish. I also learned the importance of cast shadows on the eyeball as well as highlights and reflections. Here’s a closer look:
img_4129The eye has a quality for inviting the viewer to be able to look “through”. I guess that’s why there’s that saying of “eyes being windows to the soul”.

I hope you will find my studies interesting as I paint/practice my way and through oils.

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