Tuesday, January 31, 2012


5 in. x 12 1/4 in., oil on panel

Often I'll paint a subject three times. This was the third for this one. The other two I painted where on a square panel. I kept imagining the figure in a longer, spread out space---so I gave it a try. I think it works.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- The Sociologist

Oh my, I didn't realize until after I posted this that the drawing was so off!  Look at those ears.  He has such a great face, I think I try him again.

watercolor, charcoal, & graphite

Friday, January 27, 2012

Metal Flowers

6in. x 6in., oil on panel

Yesterday evening, the postman delivered a new tube of titanium white that I had ordered from Utrecht Art Supply.  When I unscrewed the cap, I was amazed to find it so creamy and smooth, like soft butter---not at all like my old stuff. I couldn't wait to try it today, so I set aside a larger painting I have been working on and did this flower study. What a joy! I have never worked with such a luscious white.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- He Cooked the Fish

watercolor, charcoal, & graphite

This sketch is of the man who cooked the fish (below) that the two fisherman (previous posting) caught.  These three images are based on some photos I had taken in 1999.  The prints I did in 2000, this sketch today. 

monotype-oil based ink on paper,  2000

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- Another Face

watercolor & graphite
This morning's sketch isn't anyone in particular, playing with the reduction method again.  I like the softness that I get from using the gum eraser.

And here's another monotype that I found from 2000 where I wiped off more of the ink rather than paint it on to make the images.  I'm enjoying revisiting these prints that I haven't seen in ages and actually, showing them for the first time.  This one I had titled The Seliger. It might be hard to tell, but it's two fisherman. Tomorrow, I'll post the fish they caught.

monotype---oil based  ink on paper---2000

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- Just a Face

watercolor & graphite
I've been a bit sick the last couple days which has left me with little energy to draw or paint. I did do this small sketch today.  It's not of anyone in particular. I was playing with trying something different by using just one pencil and an eraser. Instead of drawing a face and shading it in, I did a rectangle of solid graphite and then with a gum eraser began erasing where I imagined light would hit, sort of working backwards. I made up the face as I saw it emerge, if that makes sense.
Many years ago when I was doing lots of printmaking, I created a series of monotype portraits where I painted or rolled ink on my printing plate and then, with a rag, would wipe portions of it away leaving what was needed to define the face.  I hadn't thought about them in years until today when using the eraser, kind of a similar technique  I found one and thought I'd share it. I think it's from 2000, twelve years ago! I like working this way, I like the surprises.

monotype--- oil based ink on paper---2000

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cigarbox Set-Up

I made two attempts at painting a bell pepper still life today but it wasn't working out---just one of those days.  We ate it tonight, so no more pepper. 
So instead of a painting,  thought I would post a photo of my new cigar box easel sitting at the dining room table.  The palette is glass and I love it. You can lift it off by that right hand corner space, underneath are my paints.  Even though I ended up wiping off my paintings it was still fun and I think this set up will work nicely. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- A Man With Many Stories

watercolor, charcoal, & graphite
I went to the library this morning and challenged myself  to a search for a face and a fast sketch.  I found this man but started reading the article and almost ran out of time to draw. I think the portrait came out a bit awkward but I do like some of the lines that I did the quickest and didn't fuss over.  My aim is to reach a level where I am accurately catching that certain something about someone with lines that have a lively feel to them.  Practice, practice, practice.

I finished the cigar box! Can't wait to try it out, hopefully tomorrow, but certainly Thursday.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- A Man Seeking Justice

watercolor, charcoal, & graphite
Still working on the cigar box easel, hoping I can finish it tomorrow.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- The Historian

watercolor, charcoal, & graphite
Today I was working on converting a cigar box into a small tabletop easel. I was inspired to do so by the many artist out there that have already done this.   It's great fun and I think it will work nicely.  I'm hoping it will help contain my spread when I'm working at the dining room table.  It's the spot right where I eat every day that has the most lovely light. I cannot resist painting there; perhaps the little box will make it less obtrusive.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breakfast with Cow

6 in. x 6 in., oil on panel
My breakfast still life is in response to a challenge by Carol Marine (dailypaintworks.com) to paint your breakfast.  Breakfast is my favorite meal and the morning light is so nice I couldn't resist. In addition to grapefruit and coffee there's usually toast and an egg, but today, just a cow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Clay Collaboration

5 in. tall, Longhorn Red Clay, leather hard stage

Today I set aside my drawing and painting to take advantage of the perfect Texas winter day to play with clay in the sun with my four year old.  This is what we made together.  He did the bunny with the big smile with just a little help to hollow it.   I made the base which is a shallow bowl (with legs) and a lid to which he helped attach the head.  Down the road we'll fire and glaze it. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- The Mayor

watercolor, charcoal, & graphite
I played with this one a little bit. First I did a fast contour sketch of my reference and then quickly blocked in the darkest value, mid-value and then white.

watercolor, charcoal, & graphite
Then I re-sketched it and did a more detailed drawing. This one looks much more like him, but I kind of like the first one better---I like that he looks a little grumpy.  My goal with these faces is to eventually feel confident enough to ask a live person to sit for me.  When I get that down, I'd like to try some small, quick paintings which would eventually lead to larger portraits.  I have a portrait project idea in mind but I need to strengthen my skills to pull it off. Anyway, that's the intention with all these portraits but also, they're just plain fun to practice.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Persimmon Among Flowers

6 in. x 6 in., oil on panel

I really love painting.  When I start it's hard to stop.  This went tighter than I had originally envisioned; I had so much fun getting immersed in all the subtleties I just kept going further and further.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait- The Magistrate

watercolor, graphite, & charcoal
I finished the persimmon painting but late and I would rather take a photo of it in natural light.  I'll post it tomorrow. This morning's sketch of a face was inspired by a photograph I found connected to an article in the Smithsonian about the Italian mafia.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sketchbook Portrait

watercolor, graphite, & charcoal

I didn't finish the persimmon, but almost, so I decided to post the face that I did this morning.I have to say the Andrew Loomis book has made a enormous difference in my approach to tackling heads.  Periodically I'll find a book that has similar instructions but for whatever reason, Loomis's descriptions and methods work for me.  I have lots of sketches of faces and seldom did they look like my references until now and with little struggle.  It's so much fun.  The book I'm looking at is one of those Walter Foster  how to books titled: Drawing the Head by Andrew Loomis.  I found it at a thrift store. It's from the 70's but first published in 1943.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Small Portrait Sketch

watercolor, graphite, & charcoal on paper

I didn't finish the persimmon painting today. I had added to my still life a knife resting on the edge of the plate. As the painting progressed I didn't like it so I wiped the image of the knife off and set my board aside. If the persimmon holds up, I'll try again tomorrow. The above portrait is an exercise I do every (or almost) morning in my sketch book: I flip through a book, magazine, paper, whatever is close by until a faces catches my attention and then I do a quick rendition of it.  The idea to do such came from reading a book about drawing by Andrew Loomis.  This year I really want to paint some portraits but I feel I still need lots of practice drawing faces....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Four Ground Trial with Persimmon

6 in x 6 in gessoed crescent board

A tonal ground study--- Usually, before I start a painting, I tone my surface a day or two ahead of time. Lately I haven't been happy with the way my colors have come out. So, before doing this next painting I wanted to do a test. Each square has a different under tone: 1-burnt umber, 2- burnt sienna, 3- Winsor violet, 4- no tone (gesso white) then blocked in shapes with burnt umber.  You can really see how that under tone effects the color, especially with oranges and whites. Also, I think my toning has been too much, too saturated with pigment, making it hard for me to get bright colors. I'm excited to see how this next painting comes out.  I'm going with the fourth square model to try and capture those brilliant oranges of a persimmon.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Background Test- Tangerine

6 x 6 in. gessoed crescent board

These are two quick studies (on the same board) to play with the background color.   I had intended to do another longer study of the same two tangerines from yesterday after I determined the background, but the day got away from me. Plus, the leafs were really curled and browned by this afternoon so I think, sadly, I shall retire them.  I'm liking the lighter background though, at least at the moment.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Two Tangerines

6 x 6 in., oil on panel
Happy New Year!

San Antonio tangerines straight from our friend's tree.
Thank you Dave and Shannon---they were perfect models!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and productive 2012.