Archive for December, 2014

A Fun Gift

December 11, 2014


SJ8914 Is That the Dinner Bell 30x36

I recently completed a commission called “Is That the Dinner Bell?”  My clients loved the piece so you can imagine my surprise when I received a call from Denise. She started out, “I have a real issue with the painting…..” My heart sank. Then Denise continued, “We have a dear friend who loves our ‘Fur Babies’ and the painting. Could you do something with Baby, Rumsfeld and Gragson for her as a Christmas present?”

SL9614 Jewelry Box step 1

We discussed a few different ideas, then Denise asked, “what about a Jewelry Box like you auctioned at your Collector Event last year?” PERFECT! We decided to paint all three babies on the top surrounded by flowers. I love collaborating with our collectors, they have such wonderful ideas. The bottom of the box is coated with black acrylic, the other sides are primed with white acrylic. I also paint a square of white acrylic on the inside of the top. This is where I’ll put the title, our code number of authenticity and a personalization for the recipient. Using blue painter’s tape the facing edges of the top and bottom are covered. Also the bottom of the box is taped off to keep it clean when the sides are painted.

SL9614 Jewelry Box step 3

The original painting serves as reference for the animals. I just enlarge the section with the three, print it out and tape it to the easel. A light pencil sketch is first made on the lid. Then bracing my wrist on the mahl stick to steady my hand I begin drawing the babies with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson + Liquin.

SL9614 Jewelry Box step 4

The dogs’ red kerchiefs are washed in with pure Alizarin Crimson + Liquin. Don’t forget, as you go through my post you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the images.

SL9614 Jewelry Box step 5

I wash the sides of the box bottom with thin coats of Pthalo Blue + Liquin and Viridian Green + Liquin. I just scumble this on randomly, my main purpose is to cover the white. By using the Liquin washes the sides will be dry to touch in the next session. The fronts of the yellow boxes holding the top and bottom are marked with a piece of blue tape. This helps me to keep them oriented correctly.

SL9614 Jewelry Box step 6

The same washes are used on the top to develop the background. The flower area is completely washed in, continuing the design over the sides. That’s it for today, we’ll let the box dry overnight and continue tomorrow. Hope to see you then. 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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Instant Greenhouse

December 8, 2014


2014-12-1 Greenhouse 2 door open

After painting the snow in Farolito Shadows I realized Old Man Winter will soon be visiting us here in South Texas. With several large potted plants to protect from our occasional freezes Jack and I thought it would be nice to make a greenhouse on our deck.

2014-12-1 Greenhouse 3 NW corner

The sides are made of freeze cloth, stapled at the top and bottom to 8 foot long closet rods. The corners are clipped with large binder clips from Office Depot.

2014-12-1 Greenhouse 4 N side rolled up

On warm days the sides can just be rolled up and held up with a small bungee cord. The infrared heater in the corner will make our greenhouse nice and toasty on freezing cold nights.

2014-12-1 Greenhouse 6 close up

Here’s a closeup of the raised side. They hang from bicycle hooks we purchased at Home Depot.

2014-12-1 Greenhouse 7

Another shot of the rolled up side secured with a bungee cord. Please remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

2014-12-1 Greenhouse 5 All Up

POOOF! Our greenhouse completely disappears on nice days. When a blue norther blows in I can roll the plants into the corner, drop the sides and flip on the heat. All of our tender plants will be safe and protected from the clutches of Old Man Winter. Thought you’d enjoy a day off from painting and seeing a little snippet of our garden! Hugs,

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Marley Bear

December 7, 2014

SL9514 Marley Bear step 11

The tall stalks of Mexican Bush Sage sway to and fro in the gentle breeze. The cool blues and purples drop behind the warm pink of Marley’s outfit.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 12

The front forks of the bicycle frame are painted in a warmer purple made of Magenta + Dioxazine Purple + White. I don’t delineate the spokes of the wheel. The detail would draw the viewer’s attention away from our star of the show, Marley! Leaving them out also gives the impression of movement.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 13

Permanent Rose + White is used for the main frame of the bike. Then I begin adding some of the detail on Marley’s boots. I keep the colors subtle so the design won’t distract from her face.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 14

As I mentioned previously, I thought this little stuffed bear was so cute. He was in the background of the reference photo, I moved him to the wicker basket on the bicycle. He is painted with mixes of Turquoise Blue + White.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 15

The warmth of the Nasturtiums in the foreground container makes them jump in front of the back wheel of Marley’s bicycle. The bright blossoms are mixes of Cadmium Red Light and Cadmium Orange.

SL9514 Marley Bear 14x11Marley Bear    14″ x 11″   Original Oil Painting

What a nice day for a bike ride though the garden! Can’t you just hear Marley singing to her little bear as she glides along? Thank you for joining me in the studio. I appreciate all of you who follow my blog and the kind comments you make. I write this for you so please feel free to ask questions. Hugs,

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Let’s Begin Painting

December 6, 2014

SL9514 Marley Bear step 5

The background will be painted first, my color mixes are shown above. #1. The three globs are mixtures of Sap Green + White in various proportions. #2. Three different shades of Viridian Green + White. #3. Pthalo Blue + White. The three pools of color to the left of mixture #3 are washes made of Pthalo Blue + Liquin, Sap Green + Liquin and Viridian Green + Liquin.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 4

To start the background is washed in with the thin oil mixes. This gives coverage near the edges of the canvas. That way I don’t have to paint that area as thick and the sides of the piece will dry more quickly. Since it’s a Christmas gift that makes it much easier to frame.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 6

Now for the opaque oil paint. The warmer greens (Sap Green + White) are used to the left of Marley. The cooler mixes of Viridian Green + White are reserved for the area to the right. Those bushes are farther away so I want them to recede. This follows a very simple rule: Warm Colors Come Forward, Cool Colors Go Back.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 7

Now let’s get to work on Marley. My mixtures are shown above. #1. This is the basic pink for Marley’s top and shorts, Alizarin Crimson + White.  #2. The shadows for her clothing, Alizarin Crimson + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. Many of our readers have asked how to mix skin tones so here we go. Group #3. All 6 blobs are Terra Rosa + MUD + White in various proportions. #4. Terra Rosa + Alizarin Crimson. If you are painting people, Terra Rosa is a must have color. #5. Ultramarine Blue + MUD + White. #6. White + a touch of Terra Rosa. #7. Cerulean Blue + White.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 8

Marley’s forehead and the sides of her face are painted first with some of the darker skin tones. Then work begins on the hair, working into the wet paint of the skin makes it easy to soften the edges.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 9

Next I establish the shadows and basic planes of her face. Using the mahl stick allows me to steady my hand as I work on the fine details.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 10

WHEW! Got Marley’s face almost done. I’ll come back in and make a few minor adjustments later but it’s really close at this point. If you would like to view this or any of the other pictures larger just click on the image. And please, always feel free to ask questions! Hugs,

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A Precious Baby

December 4, 2014

Mary Sue Marley 2

A Christmas surprise is up on the easel next! The recipients don’t follow my blog so I can share the process of the portrait with all of you. One of our long time collectors asked me to paint “Marley”. It’s a gift to her pastor and his wife, who are the sweet little girl’s grandparents. Mary Sue sent several pictures but when I saw this one I knew it would make a wonderful portrait. Isn’t she darling?

SL9514 Marley Bear step 1

After lightly penciling her image on the canvas I begin blocking in the basic plan with a thin oil wash.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 2

My idea is to have “Marley” riding her bike on a garden path surrounded by flowers. I love the little bear in the background of the reference photo, I’ve decided to pop him into the basket on the front of the bike.

SL9514 Marley Bear step 3

We’re all sketched up and ready to begin painting. My main intent at this point is to get the portrait “Washed In”, not make an exact likeness. I will focus on that when I paint her face. Hope you’ll come back soon. 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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