Archive for September, 2014


September 30, 2014

SI8514 Step 1

The Napa Valley does! Let’s get to work painting this beautiful part of our great United States. My initial plan is drawn up on the canvas and we’re ready to begin. Please remember as you go through my blog, you may enlarge the pictures by clicking on the image.

SI8514 Step 2

We’ll make this a bright, warm spring day. The basic blue is painted first with a combination of Cobalt Blue + White. The lowest part of the blue sky is made with a mix of Pthalo Blue + White. Then the billowy clouds are added. They are made of various mixes of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White and MUD + a bit of Alizarin Crimson + a touch of Cadmium Orange + more White.

SI8514 Step 4

The most distant hills are painted bluer, or cooler, so they will recede. “Painting Forward” the hills become increasing warmer with more greens and tans added. This follows a simple rule that helps to give the impression of depth in a painting: Cool Colors Go Back, Warm Colors Come Forward. The same concept is applied to the vineyard. Notice how the farthest part of the rows are made bluer. Toward the front of the vineyard they are painted with brighter spring greens which are warmer, making them appear closer.

SI8514 Step 5

Now for the lupines nestled under the vines. Their basic color is blocked in first.

SI8514 Step 6

Next the little white caps are added. Presto…….Lupines! That’s all for today, hope you’ll come back tomorrow. If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post please feel free to subscribe to my blog. CLICK THIS LINK and scroll to the upper right side of the page. You will see a heading EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS. Just enter your email address and click the button “Sign me up!”  It’s easy. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!

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Poppy Parade

September 23, 2014

SI8114 Step 1

Don’t you love Red Poppies? Jack and I certainly do. Fall is time here in the Texas Hill Country to put out wildflower seed. We’ve seeded several areas with both Red Corn Poppies and Bluebonnets. Now we’re praying we get the right amount of rainfall over the winter to give us a glorious blanket of vibrant color next spring. But in the meantime let’s just make our own and immerse ourselves in a bed of those lush crimson Poppies. The first step on this commission is to sketch my basic plan in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

SI8114 Step 2

Following my usual sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last the application of paint begins with the blossoms. Working in this order keeps the flower color crisp and clean. If the leaves were blocked in first my brush would pick up some of the green when painting the flowers, muddying their brilliant hue. The blooms more in the distance, at the top of the canvas, are painted darker and cooler so they will recede. Mixes of Cadmium Red Deep + Magenta are used.

SI8114 Step 3

The flowers lower down on the canvas, closest to the viewer, are blocked in with Cadmium Red Deep and Cadmium Red Medium. Then work begins on the foliage. Cooler greens made of Pthalo Blue + a bit of Cadmium Orange + a hint of Cadmium Yellow Medium + White are used in the background. Moving down the canvas more Cadmium Yellow Medium is added to the mix making it warmer.

SI8114 Step 4

White and Cadmium Lemon is added to the leaves directly in the front, making their color brighter and more intense. This makes them come forward. Then I start adding highlights to the Poppies with Cadmium Red Light. The thick paint is gently “Laid” on top to avoid picking up any of the color underneath.

SI8114 Poppy Parade 14x14Poppy Parade      14 inches by 14 inches    Original Oil Painting

Adding the detail in the centers of the flowers finishes up our Poppy Parade. Hope you’ve had as much fun following along as I’ve had painting. Oh, almost forgot! You can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image 🙂 Hugs,

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September 20, 2014


This picture of Albert is more true to his color. Since the photo was taken in natural daylight the highlights in his dark face tend to be blueish.

SI8014 Albert step 17

The basic values of his face are established first. Large areas are covered with a big Bright brush, then I come back and add the details of the fur with a smaller one.

SI8014 Albert step 18

Mixtures of Ivory Black + Burnt Umber + White are used for the dark expresso color of his face. The highlights made of Ultramarine Blue + Burnt Umber + Ivory Black + White help to shape Albert’s muzzle and zygomatic arches.

SI8014 Albert 14x14Albert      14 inches by 14 inches     Original Oil Painting

His long whiskers are delineated with a fine liner brush. In the actual painting the highlights aren’t as blue as they appear here. Digital photography tends to enhance the blues in artwork, making them look lighter, brighter and more intense than in reality. I love painting animals, if you would like me to paint a portrait of one of your “Fur Babies” please feel free to contact us at

Thank you for following along. We’ll be back to flowers in our next session. Hugs,

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Silky Fur

September 19, 2014

SI8014 Albert step 11

Before starting on Albert’s body, I want to paint his eyes. The color is mixed from various proportions of Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Ivory Black + a tiny bit of Pthalo Blue + White. The iris of the eye is a flat plane sheltered by the clear cornea that forms a dome over it. Therefore the kitty’s eyelid resting on the cornea casts a shadow across the iris.

SI8014 Albert step 12

The lighter portion of the iris is then blocked in with a middle value of the blue mixed in the previous step. The light is coming from the upper left so the catch light is placed about 11 o’clock at the edge of the pupil. You never want to put the catch light inside the pupil, it makes your portrait subject appear drugged. The sunlight is transmitted through the clear corner and lightens the iris on the side opposite the catch light. My lightest mixture of the blue is used for this. Please remember, you can click on any of the images to make them larger.

SI8014 Albert step 13

Now let’s turn to Albert’s silky fur. My colors are mixed and laid out on the palette. I use a couple of special colors here that aren’t normally on my palette, Ivory Black and Burnt Umber. The two are combined and White is added to make the mixtures for his coat. A blob of Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Burnt Umber + White is also mixed to add coolness in the shadow. If you would like to know more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System CLICK HERE.

SI8014 Albert step 14

Albert’s coat is now blocked in with a large Bright brush. CLICK HERE to find out about the type of brushes I like to use.

SI8014 Albert step 15

The fine fur on his chest is highlighted with a fine liner brush. I don’t put much detail on his side, I keep it subtle so it doesn’t draw attention. I want the majority of detail to be in Albert’s face.

SI8014 Albert step 16

We finish today by painting the fur around Albert’s face. I want to get it in while the background is still wet. That way it’s easy to keep the edges soft. I appreciate all of you following along. We’ll complete the portrait in our next session. Hugs,

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Background First

September 18, 2014

SI8014 Albert step 6

I work on the background first, that way I can soften the edges of Albert’s fur into the wet paint behind him. Three different mixes are made, I’m going to describe them in reverse order. #3. Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + a little White. #2. Mixture #3 + additional White. #1. Mix #2 + even more White.

SI8014 Albert step 7

The lowest portion of the background is made with the darkest mixture, #3.

SI8014 Albert step 8

The rest of the canvas is covered with Mix #2.

SI8014 Albert step 9

The lightest mix is painted wet-into-wet in the mid portion of the background.

SI8014 Albert step 10

The transitions have been smoothed out. The lighter glow behind Albert will accent the dark points of his face. I can’t wait to start on him. You’ll have to come back tomorrow and watch! Hugs,

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A Kitty Portrait

September 17, 2014


Albert4 small file

Monica and Myron contacted me to do a trio of three paintings. The first is a portrait of their precious Albert who is now in kitty heaven. They sent several images, I particularly liked this closeup of his face.

SI8014 Albert step 1

I begin by sketching him with a 2B pencil on my canvas that has been primed with 2 coats of white acrylic. I prefer to work on a surface that is slicker than what you get with gesso. If you would like to see this or any of the other images enlarged just click on the picture.

SI8014 Albert step 2

Now I block the drawing in with a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + LIQUIN.

SI8014 Albert step 3

Bracing my wrist on a mahl stick helps to steady my hand as I delineate the details on his face. What is a mahl stick? CLICK HERE to find out.

SI8014 Albert step 4

Adding the dark points on his face make the sketch begin to come alive.

SI8014 Albert step 5

The basic values and planes are now established. This is not a perfect likeness, it’s not meant to be. We’re just blocked in and ready to paint. Come back soon, I’ll be applying color in the next session. Hugs,

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Before and …….

September 13, 2014

Well, I was going to say After but realize I’m a loooonnnnnggggg way from being done. It’s more like Before and I’m working on it! Many of you have asked about the new garden so here are a few pictures. Remember, if you would like to enlarge any of them just click on the image.

Back Courtyard area 2014-4-18

APRIL 18. The first thing to do was RIP those unimaginative boxwoods out of there.

2014-7-4 Back Courtyard area 1

JULY 4. To make it safe for our rescue kitties, Molly and Sissie, we replaced the fence. It was a mess with more holes and broken boards than good ones.

Back Courtyard area 2014-7-14

JULY 14. Our fountain arrived. Can you believe we found it on eBay! Nothing like listening to the melody of splashing water as you sit on the deck.

2014-7-21 GOT PAVERS

JULY 21. GOT PAVERS. Let the fun begin!

2014-8-5 Courtyard Steps 1

AUGUST 5. I start with the lowest step and curved planter.

Back Courtyard area A 2014-8-16

AUGUST 16. It has been so hot we need to get our Star Jasmine planted. So I take a break from the lower steps to construct the fountain base and planter. The heavy wire livestock panel attached to the fence will be the trellis. In the spring the air is going to be filled with the incredible fragrance of Jasmine.

2014-9-1 Base of Planter at end of deck 1

SEPTEMBER 1. Back to the lower steps. Originally we had planned to have five, equally spaced steps going up. But getting into the project we felt it would be nice to have a flat space under the arbor. A nice place to bring a couple of folding chairs and have a glass of iced tea under the roses.

2014-9-8 Planter seat close up

SEPTEMBER 8. “Speaking of sitting under the arbor….What about this?” Jack asked. “Why don’t we just make the top of the planter a seat? Then it’s always there, no need to haul any chairs.”

2014-9-11 Planter with arbor from below

SEPTEMBER 13. The arbor is made of another 16 foot stock panel anchored to steel fence posts. Climbing Peggy Martin Roses, Bougainvillea and Honeysuckle will cover the arch.

2015-4-10 Fountain Courtyard steps and tomatoe bed

UPDATE! Let’s skip forward to APRIL 2015; here’s how our fountain courtyard looks now! The bed on the right extends all along the back of the deck and is perfect for our tomatoes.

2015-4-10 Fountain Courtyard 3 rose arbor

The Rose arbor will be draped in Peggy Martin Roses, a special old fashioned type rose. The “Mother Plants” were discovered in New Orleans. They had survived being totally submerged in salt water for almost 10 days after Hurricane Katrina. So a commercial grower decided to propagate them for sale to the gardening world. Know what the neatest thing is? They have NO THORNS, pruning is a pleasure.

2015-4-29 Fountain courtyard 3 from ramp

And here is the view from the ramp going up to the deck. We put that in so it would be easy to wheel the heavy pots up onto the deck come winter! So… you can see how our fountain courtyard has come together. Hugs,

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UP, UP and AWAY…………

September 8, 2014

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 6What’s more cheery than a bright red door and a happy sunface tile? The door is a little different combination, Cadmium Red Medium + Alizarin Crimson is used for the shadow. Cadmium Red Medium + a tiny bit of Alizarin Crimson + a touch of White make the portion in the sun.

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 7The entire surface of the courtyard floor is covered, establishing the light and shadow pattern. Then the perspective lines of the tile are drawn into the wet paint with a fine liner brush.

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 8The Bougainvilleas are mixtures in several different proportions of Permanent Rose + White. Following my usual sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last the mass of blossoms are blocked in to begin. Then the leaves are added. The Pink “Bougie” on the far right is complete.

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 9I work in the reverse on the Daylilies because it would be difficult to paint the long strap-like leaves around the flowers. To paint the blossoms I carefully “Lay” the paint on top of the underlying green. I don’t want to pick up any of the foliage color and muddy that of the blooms.

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 10The Geraniums are made with mixes of Cadmium Red Deep + Magenta and Cadmium Red Deep + Cadmium Red Light. The highlights on the petals will be made with Pure Cadmium Red Light.

SI7514 - SI7614 togetherSunflowers finish out the pair of appreciation paintings. If you would like to enlarge any of the pictures just click on the image.

SI7514 Up, Up and Away 6x6Up, Up and Away……..


SI7614 Gracious Welcome 6x6A Gracious Welcome

Hope you’ve enjoyed following along as much as I have painting these little gems. If you ever have any painting questions please feel free to ask. Have a great evening and Hugs,

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A Neat Way to Say Thank You

September 7, 2014

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 1

This is a fun commission, it’s a thank you gift! The son of our collector stayed with a friend of theirs in La Jolla. While there Connor got to go paragliding. So Paul and Nancy decided to have me do a pair of embryos as an appreciation present. They wanted to somehow capture the paragliding experience in the paintings.

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 2

They loved the sketch so let’s get to work. The basic plan is drawn up on the panels with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash made of MUD (Alizarin Crimson + Ultramarine Blue) + Liquin. Please remember, you can click on any of the images to enlarge them.

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 3

After completing the sky and ocean the paraglider is painted into the wet background. I was at a total loss as how to draw the lines used to control the glider. I don’t want to show them all but just indicate that they’re there. Even my smallest brush was far too big. Jack said dip a needle in MUD and just etch them into the wet paint. Wasn’t that brilliant? The only problem was finding a needle. I’m not the most domestic person, I’d much rather be painting or in the garden than doing house stuff. In fact over the years when Jack lost a button on a shirt or trousers I’d offer to sew them back on but somehow never got around to it! He would finally do it himself, OPPPS! When I found a needle it worked PERFECTLY!

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 4

The bluffs of Torrey Pines warmed by the sun are a beautiful contrast to the cool blues of the Pacific Ocean behind them. This is a great example of Warm Colors Come Forward, Cool Colors Go Back. The building is white stucco, similar to a lot of the Spanish Architecture found in Southern California.

SI7514 - SI7614 Step 5

A terra cotta tile roof finishes out our work today. Hope you’ll come back, I’ll be finishing up in the next session. If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post please feel free to subscribe to my blog. CLICK THIS LINK and scroll to the upper right side of the page. You will see a heading EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS. Just enter your email address and click the button “Sign me up!”  It’s easy. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!

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Laundry Day on the Amalfi Coast

September 5, 2014

SH7314 - SH7414 Step 1

Let’s run away to Italy today! Here’s the basic idea for my eBay auctions. Please do remember, if you’d like to enlarge this or any of the other pictures just click on the image.

To go directly to the auctions CLICK HERE.

SH7314 - SH7414 Step 3

The two panels are worked on at the same time, much as if it was just one surface. The basic plan is sketched up with a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. “Painting Forward” the sky is completed first, it determines the light for the rest of the piece. Then the rocky coast and azure water are rendered.

SH7314 - SH7414 Step 4

The soft Taupe walls are made with mixes of MUD + Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. More MUD is added into the mixtures for the shadows. The door wall is made bluer with Ultramarine Blue + White at the far end, making it recede. This is a very simple, but extremely important, rule that helps bring depth to your art: Warm Colors Come Forward, Cool Colors Go Back.

SH7314 - SH7414 Step 5

One of my favorite things about traveling in Italy is seeing laundry hanging from every conceivable place. Don’t get me wrong, I love my washer and dryer. In fact, Jack surprised me a couple of years ago with a fancy LG pair that are RED! How in the world did he figure that I’m just a little bit fond of that color?

SH7314 - SH7414 Step 6

Old, worn cobblestones pave the way leading down to the ocean. The large leaves of the Giant Bird of Paradise are painted with a large Bright brush. Would you like to know more about the brushes I use? Just CLICK HERE.

SH7314 - SH7414 Finished Pair

Cheery, bright flowers complete the Laundry Day on the Amalfi Coast diptych.

To go directly to the auctions CLICK HERE.


SH7314 Laundry Shadows 6x6Laundry Shadows      Original Oil Painting EMBRYO

Watching the dance of Laundry Shadows on buildings is absolutely mesmerizing. Enjoy the soft rustle as the whites gently ripple in the breeze, every time you look at Laundry Shadows on your wall.

SH7414 Relaxing Vista 6x6Relaxing Vista     Original Oil Painting EMBRYO

The AMALFI COAST! Doesn’t that name conjure up the thought of spectacular views? Wouldn’t you love to spend a week there, greeted by the amazingly Relaxing Vista that appears through open archways as you wander the ancient cobblestone streets? Well, you can. Escape on a magical trip to the coast of Italy every single time you see Relaxing Vista in your home or office.

SH7414 Relaxing Vista 6x6 with tape

Each piece measures 6 inches x 6 inches. And don’t worry about framing them, these little gems painted on panels with 1 1/2 inch finished sides are ready to hang as soon as you unpack them. The auctions are staggered 7 minutes apart so you can win one or both Original Oil Paintings for your home or office. AND…..If you win the TWO EMBRYOS we will give you FREE SHIPPING!

BUT HURRY, the first auction ends Sunday, September 7 at 8 PM Texas (Central) Time.

To go directly to the auctions CLICK HERE.

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