Category Archives: Painting

Rose and Lemon

This painting was a lot of fun.  I’ve been focusing on value and really enjoy the strong contrast between the rose and the background.  And of course, I had to pull myself away from obsessing on the drapery so I can get this completed in the time available.

Rose and Lemon

Available for purchase here.

Grandmother’s Kettle

I was focusing on value with this painting.  The metallic surface and drapery was a lot of fun.  My painting teacher, Kate Bollons commented, “There are two kinds of painters: Those that love painting drapery and those hate it.”

I definitely fall into ‘love painting drapery’ camp.  It’s fun to use both sides of the brain to interpret drapery.  The   Left Brain for figuring out the structure, light and texture and the Right Brain for how treat it with a painterly effect.


Available for purchase here.

And for the record, it was Kate’s grandmother’s kettle–not mine.


Portrait of Miranda.  Sticking with a value-based pallete.  But I warmed the mid-range skin tones with Alizarin Crimson and the highlights with Cadmium Yellow Pale.  I cooled the neutral with little bit of Ultramarine Blue.

Available for purchase here.

Sketchbook – 07-MAY-2011

Here are my sketches from today’s figure drawing.  I busted out the watercolors again.  It must be the sun out that encouraged it.  After so many years of drawing with the same group of people, its wonderful to see the figurative arts community solidifying and growing.

I’ve had an ongoing conversation with one of the artists that regularly goes to these sessions, about persevering even when you can’t seem to make a correct mark that day. I’ve taken on the motto, “Fail Boldly”. Look forward to an upcoming post where I will share some of my spectacular fails.

In the meantime, you can see more of my sketches here.

Comments welcome.

Plein and Simple

On a recent post, I made reference to doing ‘plein air’ painting. Some readers thought it was a typo, others wanted to know if the antonym would be ‘fancy air’ painting. Art, like most human endeavors, has its own jargon. Much of it based in French, Italian, or Latin. Like most professionals, I sometimes forget my audience and use terms that leave some people scratching their head.

The term ‘plein air’ is French, meaning, “in the open air” and primarily refers to painting. It developed in the late 19th century with the advancement of tube paints and portable easels. Prior, Academic artists worked almost entirely in the Studio, from initial sketch to final painting.

Being able to see the world outside of the artists studio (and the artist’s contrived models and costumes) allowed a new group of artists to paint from life outside the wall, and focus on color and light. This group came to be known as the Impressionists. This method of painting spread across Europe and eventually across the Atlantic to the United States, and continues to be popular throughout the world.

While ‘plein air’ could easily be substituted for ‘outside’, the term has rich connotations for artists describing the work as natural observations on expression, color, tone, and light. ‘Plein air’ paintings are usually done in a single sitting, resulting in impressions of a place rather than photo-realistic renderings. Whether the outdoor sketches are the final product or a preliminary work for a more refined painting is largely artist preference. Early impressionists were criticized of trying to pass of ‘unfinished’ works. Outdoor sketches certainly existed before the term ‘plein air’ but it was only in the 19th century that it was accepted as a finished product by itself.