Monday, December 21, 2015

Bucket of Sunshine and Tip #7

Back to oil painting after commissions, and large watercolors. This is an experiment in color. The background is transparent darks, chosen to read as distance in the painting. The foreground flowers, leaves and pot have all been painted over a transparent color. All have been overpainted with mixtures that have some opaque paint in them.

My tip today is another great book. I have loved reading "The Oil Painting Course You've Always Wanted" by Kathleen Lochen Staiger.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Eye on the Elf and another tip

Eye on the Elf/ watercolor/5.5 x 8/ $75
Purchase here
Sorry again for the lighting. This is on a white background (except the upper right corner).

Another tip for you is Carolyn Anderson's blog. If you subscribe, you won't miss her thoughtful, well written but not frequent posts.Start with this one (link). This one is titled "Four Ridiculously Simple Ways to Improve your Painting". I think for painters, this one is worth printing out and posting in your studio. Only six more shopping days.... (and days to complete the tip list..)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tip Five of 2015 Twelve Days

Santa 2015/ oil on board/ 8 x 10/
Think this is SOLD
Here is the final painting. I like the loose brushwork on this one.

I also like the colors which reminds me of today's tip.

One of best books to improve and reinforce how to paint color is:  "How to See Color and Paint It" by Arthur Stern. This book outlines a series of painting exercises. If you complete these exercises, I am certain that you will see an improvement in your own painting.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tip Four of 2015 Twelve Days

                                                                                  This is my present small painting. Can you tell what this will be from the block in?
If you look carefully,  you can see a faint outline sketch in light blue.
Tip four of my twelve days is the  Ultramarine Middle Blue Strabilo CarbOthello 1400/430  Pastel Pencil. Here is a link. This pastel pencil's marks melt in the overlaid oil paint (unlike many other marks which continue to show beneath thin paint).

Friday, December 4, 2015

Tip Three of 2015 Twelve Days

Hummer Sketch #2/ watercolor/ 5 x 7/ $75
Purchase here
Another little hummingbird sketch while I complete seasonal commission and large paintings for upcoming show deadlines.

As promised, my third tip is to read this wonderful essay about neutral color by Lori Putnam (link). This blog post is part of a collection of fantastic blog posts which are full of information (and may fill out my tip collection) that Lori curated in October. If you like this post, scroll through October and read them all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tip 2 of 2015 Twelve Days

I am a messy painter. Often I find interesting colors on my face, in my hair, definitely on the backs of my hands at the end of the day. I took care of my clothes. I adopted what has been attributed to Joe Miller  (Cheap Joe). I (like Joe) have two sets of clothes: one set has paint on it and the other set is going to have paint on it. For the clothes that I prefer undecorated (yet),  this is the best product to make that possible.
 It is available here:

It is truly amazing. It has removed fresh and dried oil paint from many types of clothing (my students and their families have used almost an entire jar). Please don't order this if you are a painting friend: it may ruin your Christmas gift!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tip One of 2015 Twelve Days

This is an image of a "View Catcher" from Dick Blick at  This year, I learned to use the holes that, on mine, are both on the slide and in the corner of the frame.  Looking at an isolated area of a lit setup through these holes, framed by the midvalue grey, allows for an accurate assessment of the color of an area of the still life object. For example, instead of "thinking" of the "red" of the apple, you are able to accurately see the "blue red" in the shadow, the "orange-red" in the light etc. You can also mix your paint and look through the hole  and directly compare a knife loaded with your mixture to the piece of the object you are painting. Asking yourself then if your mixture is the correct value or intensity, you can correct your paint mixture, re compare and place the correct color onto your painting in the correct location. This means that you paint what you "see" not what you "think you see". Try it and see how much your paintings improve. You can make a "color isolator" by painting a midvalue grey onto a square piece of mat board and punching a central hole. The advantage of the View catcher, is that the slide also allows you to "frame" a scene. This will allow you to plan a composition or to create a more accurate block in or placement sketch.

This little painting of a "Plover from Sylvan Heights" was juried into the 2015 Women Painters of the Southeast National Exhibition. The show opens this spring and I will post details later.