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:
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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.

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Sheep Oil Study

Hi everyone, below is a finished study of a sheep 4×4″:

Sheep oil studyAs you know, I’ve been trying to get comfortable with oil painting. So I decided that I will do a variety of small studies. I think it’s a first for me to do farm animals, there’s something simple and wholesome about farm animals.

I started off with this underpainting:
Sheep oil underpaintingI might change my method of doing things later. I still haven’t found a streamlined way of working on multiple pieces at once and not worry about layers. For example, if I have 6 paintings going at once and I work on a couple of them in one day and others on another day, some are bound to be dry and have different number of layers. That in itself is not a problem, but as I have to add more fat in each layer of a painting, I will not be able to remember how much fat was added or which layer it is (number) in a given painting.

I might implement a drying rack system to help with the problem of sorting out which stage a painting is in. I already hacked/built a drying rack to store my paintings. Maybe as I paint, can I store them different slots that identify different layers. Them, I use mediums that I formulated with different ratios of fat to correspond with the layers. We’ll see I guess.

Anyhoo, I have found that realistic representational paintings take a lot of time and sometimes tedious when working on them. And since I don’t want to deal with layers, I try to finish them in one sitting. Maybe when I get more used to them, I won’t worry too much about technical issues about the material. But they are rewarding when they are finished:
Sheep oil study closeup Above is a closer look at my sheep. It’s refreshing to paint different subject matter sometimes. It goes to show you, you should always try something new.

Wishing you a productive week.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it!

Just a quick post today, here is a “4×4” piece called “Crimson Vine” I was fooling around with one night:
img_3893This is painting is acrylic on deep edge canvas. I love the variation of opaque and transluscent effect of the crimson hues. So I decided to take the colour further, on the face, in the form of a vine.

This painting provokes an interesting thought; how much does our environment seep into our selves… Wishing you a great rest of the week!

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Mixed media painting 2

Hello everyone, here’s another mixed media painting using pouring medium:
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This painting is incorporates the idea of Japanese Kintsugi into it’s visual cues by way of gilded lines in the painting. I was considering the Zen, cycle of life and the beauty and acceptance of imperfection.

Zen as a Japanese phenomenon is further stressed with the imbedding of rice paper in the clouds here:
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And the use of black acrylic paint to mimic calligraphic sumi ink here:
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I’m happy with the way it turned out. Here are some more details:
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I am still exploring different possibilities with this medium and enjoying the discoveries quite a bit.

I hope you have been enjoying the summer. For me in the Pacific Northwest, hot dry summers are such a gift.

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Mixed media painting with pouring medium

Hello everyone, as you know I’ve been playing around with pouring medium. I recently made a piece that has inclusions of metallic embroidery thread below:
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I don’t know if it’s really noticeable at first glance. But as you know, one of the things I like most about working with pouring medium is the ease of incorporating layers. Layers make the piece more interesting and rich by revealing visual motifs piecemeal. The more you look, the more you find. I guess that’s true for most things but with pouring medium, it’s a three-dimensional effect through transparent and or translucent medium.

Below are more close-ups:
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Above you can see the embroidery thread embedded in the medium of the painting.

I’d like to mention that sometimes the pieces are hard to photograph because of the glare from the shiny surface. And that the pieces are usually better in real-life.

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On a roll with pouring medium

Here’s another pouring medium piece done on cradled wood panel:
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This one is 6″x6″. This piece was a failure that turned into a success; by success I mean a piece that I am pleased with in the end. When I started out, I had a different outcome in mind and it wasn’t going in the direction that I wanted. So I changed directions; pouring medium is very forgiving in that, you can always start over on top of the last layer, leaving in only what you want to show through.

Below is a detail that I like very much of the silver paint fragmented by small crackles:
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Here are a few more details showing black paint and metallic highlights amongst the layers:
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Watercolour and summer

I wanted to post some summery images to offset the grim events of the fires and to cheer myself up. To me, summer is about sun and sea, and watercolours are great for light and colourful paintings. In this case, a small starfish painting on a piece of rag watercolour paper:

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The watercolour is decorated with white acrylic inks by Daler-Rowney, FW inks. They are very nice quality inks applied with a dip pen (the kind with holder and nib). I think I would have liked the nib to be finer in this case.

The decorated aquatic specimens are my way of celebrating and appreciating nature by observation and adornment.

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Watercolour fish

It’s summertime where I am. And it’s been hot!

For me, the seasons and temperatures do influence what kind of materials and images I tend to work on. Below is a watercolour of a fish accented with black and white designs in ink:

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It looks light and reminds me of Batik prints. I did a series of simple watercolours like this on small pieces of rag watercolour paper.

Sometimes it’s good to make some light-hearted art.

And Happy Canada Day to us Canadians!

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