Archive for the ‘Original Oil Paintings’ Category

Now for the Groom……

October 20, 2017

We’re ready to paint John. Here are the recipes for the colors I’m using for his skin tones. #1. Three combinations of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + Cerulean Blue + White #2. Several mixes in different proportions of MUD + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light + Alizarin Crimson + White.


One of the first things in painting the mouth is to establish the corners. This is very important in capturing your subject’s likeness. A mix of Alizarin Crimson + a touch of MUD is used to make the corners of John’s mouth.

In the original picture John’s shirt was light blue. I’ve decided to take artistic license and make it white. Shadows are mixed from White + MUD + a bit of Cadmium Orange + a little more Ultramarine Blue. The pure White where the sun illuminates John’s shoulder and collar adds a fresh crispness to their portrait.

It’s fun adding the highlights on the side of John’s face and nose. You may click on the picture if you’d like to see it larger.

One last thing, her grandmother told me Sara’s eyes are actually blue, the photo I had showed them greenish. A perfect example, you can’t always trust photos! So those green eyes are now blue! The surprise Wedding Gift is done. On August 19 Our Lord brought two hearts together as one. So I’ve decided to call this special portrait “One Heart”. I appreciate all of the help I’ve received from John and Sara’s families in making this project come together. What wonderful teamwork among the in-laws, Sara and John are a very fortunate couple to have such a supportive and loving team behind them. HUGS,

The Bride……

October 18, 2017



Here’s my palette. #1. All of my sky and ocean colors are saved in case I need to go back and work around Sara and John. Much easier to save the paint than to have to remix colors! #2. Four mixes for Sara’s hair. They are all different combinations of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Yellow Medium + a bit of Cadmium Orange + White. #3. Sara’s skin tones are very pink so I’ve made several mixes in various proportions of MUD + more Alizarin Crimson + some Cadmium Red Light + White. It’s amazing the variety you can get by combining just 4 colors!

Work begins by blocking in the shadows on Sara’s face, torso and arms. Please remember as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the pictures to view them larger.

The bracelets on her wrist are first drawn with MUD, then highlights are added with some of the blonde hair color.

The rim lighting on Sara’s and John’s faces is one of the reasons this photograph was selected for the portrait. It’s fun to paint portraits with such a strong source of light.

Now that her face is blocked in, we’ll let Sara’s long blonde hair blow in the gentle ocean breeze. Working wet-into-wet over the background makes it easier to pull the fine strands in smooth lines, as well as soften the edges, to give her hair a natural look.

I realized in the picture I was working from Sara only had her engagement ring! Since they are now married I sent a quick email asking her to take a picture of her Mrs. John Houston rings! Sara was a sweetheart, replying almost immediately with a photo!

Sara has green eyes, it’s a challenge to show the color working this small. And the green doesn’t really show very well in the photo but it is there. Painting on this portrait is quite a change from the larger than life size angels I just finished in my previous project.

Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Ivory Black + White is used for Sara’s dress. I haven’t added the design that was in the original picture; it would be too busy. We don’t want anything to take away from Sara and John. John’s head looks a little small right now, that’s because when painting the background I came a bit over my sketch. I’ll fix that as I paint him. When John is finished I’ll go back over the portrait and do one last comparison to the photograph, making any adjustments needed to completely capture the likenesses of the happy couple. Today’s blog is two days compressed into one session, didn’t have a really good stopping point! So next up is…….Gentleman John! HUGS,

A Surprise Wedding Gift

October 16, 2017

This is a fun surprise. Sara and John got married last August; however…I wasn’t able to do the piece in time because of preparations for my annual collector event in Santa Fe. So…we decided to give the happy couple a BLANK CANVAS as a wedding gift. A card was enclosed saying they would receive a painting, but they would have to wait to find out what it would be until I posted the progress on my blog. SO this is the BIG REVEAL…..A Portrait of Sara and John at the beach! After looking at several different pictures of the couple on Sara and John’s website we selected this one taken by his family, the lighting is wonderful.

John’s family provided me with several photos they took that day; I’ve printed a couple of them and taped them up on my easel. The canvas is framed in our Senkarik White Signature Frame, a heavy duty acrylic that is applied on a gallery wrap canvas. The frame is taped off to keep it clean as I work, when finished I just pull the tape off and PRESTO….the painting is framed. I’ve lightly sketched the couple on the canvas in pencil, then I begin blocking them in with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. You may click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

I concentrate on establishing the light and shadow patterns on Sara and John. This step is not meant to capture their likenesses perfectly, that will come at a later stage.

I think it’s so cool the way the sunlight illuminates Sara’s hand.

The flow of Sara’s dress is exaggerated, I want the viewer to feel the soft ocean breeze.

Our beachy couple is sketched up on the canvas! We’ll begin painting in our next session, hope you’ll come watch! 

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!


October 15, 2017


Let’s all get together and pray for the many people in California who are facing such awful fires. Fear and unrest fills your heart when you have to quickly evacuate your home and all you’ve worked very hard for; not knowing what you’ll find upon your return. So many families have lost their homes, and even worse, loved ones. I’ve heard from a few collectors of mine who have lost everything and are living in shelters. For how long? They don’t have a clue. Pray for Our Lord to calm His frightened children, giving them the strength and courage to face this huge upheaval in their lives. In Him,

Christmas Angels

October 12, 2017

Christmas is right around the corner and we are reviving the pair of Angels that hang on either side of the alter in the front of my Church, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran. The originals were made years ago and were looking very tired. So I’m repainting the faces and hands; other wonderful members on our Team are going to be costuming them for a fresh, new look. Please remember as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

Kelsy, our church receptionist, secretary and overall Girl Friday agreed to model for me. She has the sweetest spirit and is perfect for our Angels.

My colors are mixed, here are the recipes: #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a little Cadmium Orange + Cobalt Blue + White. #2. Two shades of MUD + Cadmium Orange + a bit of Cadmium Red Light + White. #3. MUD + Cadmium Orange + more Ultramarine Blue + a touch of White. #4. Mixes #2 + additional White. #5. MUD + Alizarin Crimson + some Cadmium Orange + White.

After sketching the basic details of the face with a pencil, painting begins by blocking in the shadows. The Angels are painted on 1/4 inch Birch Plywood that has been primed with Liquitex Titanium White Acrylic. 

The eyes are next, notice that the whites are not pure White. Since they are shaded by the eyelids, they are made with a mix of White + Ultramarine Blue + a tiny amount of MUD.

The cheeks, nose and ears are pinker than the rest of the face. This is because the skin in these areas is thinner and the blood vessels are closer to the surface. The lower face is a little cooler, or bluer. This is especially prominent in men because of their beards, but is still evident in women.

The long dark hair is mixes of Burnt Umber + MUD + Cadmium Orange. Strokes of Ultramarine Blue + MUD + a little White are added for coolness on the shadow side. The hair will end up being covered with “Faux Hair” that will be glued to the board. But I go ahead and paint the hair around the Angel’s face in case there are places that aren’t fully concealed.


“For it is by GRACE you have been saved.”  Ephesians 2:8

Here’s my painting setup for the second Angel. The plywood is taped to a sheet of double ply cardboard. The reference photo is displayed on the laptop, I’ll move it over to the taboret beside the palette where it’s easy to see as I work.


“You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY.” 1 Peter 1:8

The hands are taped to the same cardboard for painting. First step is to draw the fingers with a brush dipped in a thin mix of MUD + Liquin.

Light illuminates the side of the hands and fingers, making them easier to see from a distance.

“Thanks”                                       “Praise”

“THANKS be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

“PRAISE Him, all His Angels; PRAISE Him, all His heavenly hosts.”  Psalm 148:2

Each piece is signed and given a name with a corresponding scripture on the back. I’ll also date the paintings. No one knew exactly when our other Angels had been done! 

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!

Sally Ann’s Flowers

October 9, 2017

Trumpet Vine cascades over the building on the right. The flowers are mixes of Cadmium Orange + Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Orange + White. Various combinations of Sap Green + White are used for the leaves.

Dark centers are added to the flowers with Alizarin Crimson.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Lavender

Large Pink Peonies are blocked in with mixtures of Permanent Rose + White. This is fun, I haven’t painted Peonies in a long time. I wish they would grow in our garden but this part of Texas is far too hot and dry for these beautiful flowers.

Slender leaves are a warm green made of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow + White. Random brushstrokes of Pthalo Blue + White are added into the foliage for coolness.

Bright Red, Red Orange and deep Pink Hollyhocks adjoin the softer Pink Peonies. The broad leaves of the Hollies are Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow.

I’ve saved the most fun part for last, THE SIGN. Its entire surface is covered with a mix of White + a touch of Ultramarine Blue + a little Cadmium Orange. This makes a soft gray background to paint the lettering into. Guidelines are made for the calligraphy, then I roughly make the letters to establish the spacing. You may click on the image to see it larger.

The final calligraphy begins with a mix of Permanent Rose + Cadmium Red Light + White; a nice Coral color. The mahl stick is essential here to steady my hand as I work.

Once the sign was finished I decided to go back and changed the “L’s” in Sally. I like the more whimsical feel of the new ones.

Sally Ann’s Flowers   20 inches x 24 inches

Well……“Sally Ann’s Flowers” is finished and OPEN FOR BUSINESS! I can tell you this, I’d be her very first customer. Jack said he never saw a flower shop that I didn’t go in and come out with arms overflowing! Thanks to Sally and David for giving me such a fun opportunity to do this piece. AND…to all of you for following along. HUGS,


October 6, 2017

David’s Mother had a large, blue ceramic container with a yellow rim at the top. Since the flowers cover the top of this one he asked if I could move the yellow stripe down. So here goes! The shadow part of the band is Lemon Yellow + a little bit of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). The lighter portion in the sun is pure Lemon Yellow, then a highlight of Lemon Yellow + White is added.

Sunflowers of a warmer Cadmium Yellow Medium fill the Ultramarine Blue container. After blocking in the leaves, the large centers of MUD + Liquin are made.

White Daisies surround the base of the tall container. The mass of flowers is roughed in with mixes of White + Ultramarine Blue, White + Dioxazine Purple, White + Pthalo Blue and White + Pthalo Blue + a touch of Lemon Yellow. This color will provide the shadow areas for the blossoms. I’m using mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Lemon Yellow, leftover from the Sunflower leaves, to paint the Daisy’s foliage.

Centers made of Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Yellow Medium define the individual flowers. The icing on the cake is to highlight the delicate petals illuminated by the sun with pure White.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Paint Mixtures for the Cobblestones

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the rough Cobblestones

The tall door on the right is Pthalo Blue + White. This mixture is brighter and more intense than the blue door of the Flower Shop, which makes it come forward. The adobe is also a bit yellower than that in the background, the warmth brings it to the foreground.

An old, wrought iron lantern is drawn into the wet paint of the door. Its rusty top is painted with some of the mixtures remaining from the cobblestones.


We’ll be planting again in our next session! Grab your gardening gloves and come give me a hand! I need all the extra help I can get, See Ya! HUGS,

Wisteria and Hydrangeas

October 5, 2017



VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Wisteria Part 1

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Wisteria Part 2

Now for that beautiful blue Hydrangea snuggled below the Magenta Gladiolas. Mixes of White + Cobalt Blue are used to block in these special flowers.

Some of the greens remaining from the Wisteria are used to make the large leaves peeking out between the fluffy Hydrangea blooms.

The Dutch door of the flower shop is a mixture of Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Pthalo Blue + White. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a Dutch door in your home? You just don’t see them very often here but they are quite common in Provence.

Red Geraniums fill the window planter. The green awning above them, which is the complimentary color of red, makes the blooms appear even brighter! Placing complimentary colors, ones that are across from each other on the color wheel, causes the hues to look more intense.

The warmth of the Cadmium Red Light highlights on the Geraniums makes them jump forward of the deeper Red Gate in the back. You may click on the picture to see it larger. “We’re Moving Right Along”, as Jack would say! More planting in our next session, I’ll see you then. HUGS,

Painting Forward

October 3, 2017



Cedar brush provides a dark backdrop for the golden chamisa that covers the hills around Santa Fe. Mixes of Pthalo Blue + a touch of Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium + White are used for this native plant of the high desert.

One request my collectors had was to change the gate from blue to red. So, Cadmium Red Deep and Alizarin Crimson are combined to paint the arched gate.

The raised walk leading through the gate is Satillo tile. The entire surface is covered first, then the lines separating the individual pavers are drawn into the wet paint with a fine liner brush. 

Notice how the back portion of that floor is made bluer. The coolness of the blue makes it recede. You may click on the picture to see this larger. A bit of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added into the floor mixtures to make the terra cotta containers lining the side  of the Flower Shop. We’ll stop here for today, hope you’ll come back to our studio for the next session. I’ll have a video showing how I paint the Wisteria! HUGS,


Floral Collaboration

October 2, 2017

We’re beginning a new collaboration today. My collectors saw a picture of “Floral Invitation” in our Texas gallery, Pitzer’s Fine Arts. That’s the same gallery where I’ll be doing a painting demonstration next January 27th! If you’d like more details CLICK HERE.

David and Sally would like their painting to be similar to “Floral Invitation” but with some changes, mostly in the flowers. I begin sketching the basic plan up on the canvas with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. Resting a t-square on the top edge of a standard canvas the uprights of the architecture are drawn. Attaching the canvas to cardboard will make it much easier to handle when the paint is wet. CLICK HERE to see how the canvas is anchored to the backing cardboard.

The open areas of the flower shop window and door are covered with a semi-transparent wash of MUD + Liquin and Ultramarine Blue + Liquin. I intentionally leave some of the canvas showing through, this will give the impression of the interior space when the door and window are finished. 

My collectors specifically asked for the blue container to have a yellow band about 2/3 of the way up from the base. So, the ceramic pot is covered with a wash of Ultramarine Blue + Liquin, leaving the band area white.

Next the building on the right side is drawn. Please remember, you may click on this or any of the other pictures to view them larger.

The arched gate is fit in between the two buildings. This canvas is not as long as the original piece. The gate, as well as the row of flowers to the left of it, will be more compressed.

The composition is drawn on the canvas and we’ll begin applying color in our 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!