Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Once in a Lifetime

I had the good fortune to see "Becoming Van Gogh" at the Denver Art Museum with my college-age art student daughter during our Thanksgiving break.  The press on this is that it is only showing in Denver, so it was a once in a lifetime experience.

Both of us were captivated by the journey Van Gogh took during those brief ten years of his artistic development. He was methodical in his approach to learning everything he could about becoming an artist. We were struck by the vibrancy and luminosity of his paintings - which simply cannot be captured in a flat photograph.

One of our favorite paintings by Van Gogh is his Still Life with Basket and Six Oranges.  We returned to this several times to study the intense color and line work.  Truly breathtaking!

Even if you are not a fan of Van Gogh, something can be learned by seeing this exhibit and listening to the audio guided tour.  I encourage you to see it if you can.  While there is no "Starry Night," the exhibit includes work by Van Gogh to showcase his evolution and development as an artist.  There also are several pieces by his contemporaries, including Pissarro and Toulouse-Lautrec.

UPDATE 8/11/16:  Here is a link to www.artsy.net/artist/vincent-van-gogh for more of Vincent!

We will be returning to the Denver Art Museum in a few weeks to go through this exhibit again.  

Thank-you to www.vincent-van-gogh-gallery.org for the image of "Still Life with Basket and Six Oranges."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New From Used

Yesterday I looked over all of the miniatures I've painted these past two years.  The purpose of this "exercise" was to find pieces for the next Holiday Fine Art show at the gallery.  Some will be framed miniatures, and others will go into the bin sales.

I came across a painting I did as an online challenge quite some time ago.  I was going to toss it, but it was a 5" x 7" panel in great shape, so I did something I never have before...I sanded off the old paint and coated it with a tinted titanium zinc white.  After that layer dries, I'll lightly sand it again and apply a second coat of tinted white.

The paint I used for this is oil, matching the paint that was used on the original piece.  I did not want to use an acrylic based gesso on top of any old oil paint and risk it not bonding properly.  Sure, it takes longer for the oil base white to dry, but it should provide a good starting point for the new oil paint on top of it.

Meanwhile, here are two new miniatures that will be included in the holiday show:

Colorado Gold
Summer Park
Thank-you for viewing my paintings!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Work: Pampered

Here is a painting of our friends' dog.  He is a collie mix and just the cutest boy, taking a sunbath.  Ball is his favorite game.

18" x 24"
Thank-you for viewing my art.

Prints of this painting are available on Imagekind.
(Click Here)  

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Work: Lime Sections

I recently completed this 4" x 6" oil painting on canvas panel.

Lime Sections

4" x 6"
Oil on Canvas Panel
Thank-you for viewing my art.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Still Wet: Shady Meadow

Here is a 4" x 6" original oil painting that was started during my plein air session a few weeks ago.

Shady Meadow
Original Oil Painting on Panel
4" x 6"
Thank-you for viewing my art!

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Colors II: Violet PV-19

Time for an update on the Caesar Purple/PV-19 confusion.

If you remember the color chart I made from all of my oil paints with the color index name of PV-19, Caesar Purple was much bluer than the others.

I did a bit more reading and discovered that there are two versions of PV-19:  a red and a violet.  So, I ordered some other brands of the violet PV-19.  Here is the color chart that includes Caesar Purple and the other new violets that arrived last week:

Color Chart for Violet PV-19 - Oil
Various Manufacturers
And here is the previous mostly red PV-19 Color Chart

Color Chart for (mostly) Red PV-19 - Oil
Various Manufacturers
You can see that color-wise, the violet PV-19 is pretty much the same for all of the manufacturers that I sampled.  The same goes for the red PV-19.

However, each manufacturer has its own formula for creating tube colors with different working characteristics, and, of course, each manufacturer has its own purchase price.  Here is a break down of the prices for the violet PV-19 tubes I recently purchased, most of them on sale:
                                             Purchase Price    Size of Tube (mL)      Price/mL
Schmincke-Mussini                   $ 15.57                     35                    $  0.44  
M. Graham Co.                             9.59                      37                        0.25
Rembrandt                                   13.35                    40                        0.33
Gamblin                                         9.57                    37                       0.29
Blick                                            22.25                    40                       0.56

The point of this exercise is to demonstrate that manufacturers who use the color index classification system are making paint that is consistent in color at vastly different prices.  So why buy the most expensive brand when the least expensive will do the trick?  You may prefer the working characteristics of the costlier paint, and that may make it worthwhile to you.

As for me, I now have plenty of violet PV-19 on hand, so I think I am set for the rest of my life a while.  I will eventually do this exercise for other paints in my collection, but it's time for me to get back to the easel!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Back To Plein Air

Yesterday morning I met my paint out buddy Ginger at the Stone House for our first plein air session of this year.

The light was a bit surreal as Colorado has been inundated with smoke from the huge fire in New Mexico.  (Wishing those folks safety and relief from the inferno.) It has been hazy here for a few days, and our Colorado Blue sky has been a very washed out gray..

However, it became a beautiful day, with temperatures in the low 70's by the time we finished.

Ginger was painting in watercolor, a bit of a change for her.

I was set up with oils and my Guerrilla Painter Cigar Box.  I love this contraption; it is very simple and attaches to a heavy duty tripod,

Guerilla Painter Cigar Box

The panel holder will take standard sizes of 5" x 7", 6" x 8", and 8" x 10".

 I rigged up a way to hold smaller panels, in this case 4" x 6", by attaching a piece of 5" x 7" mat board to the back of each using double stick tape (Scotch brand, yellow label).

I initially was concerned that the tape might not hold up to the weight of the panel itself combined with the pressure of paint strokes, but it worked great!  I made up several of these to carry with me in the field.  They are light weight and fit into a pocket of my rolling pack, which houses all of my other plein air gear.

There is a panel adapter for a 4" x 6" panel that is manufactured for the Guerrilla Painter boxes.  You can find it and other Guerrilla Painter products on the Judsons Art Outfitters website by clicking here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Color? It's all in a name!

When I recently shopped online for more tubes of paint, I discovered a color made by Schmincke Mussini called "Caesar Purple".   It sounded interesting and unlike anything I had, so I ordered a tube since it was on sale.

Caesar Purple

(FYI:  My background is in the technical and scientific community.  I have always loved research, number crunching, and discovering what the foundation of a product is.)

Apparently, Caesar Purple was nothing new to my palette. According to the ASTM label, the color index name is PV-19, or Quinacridone Violet.  I purchased this online, and this information was not provided on the website.  If it had been, it's unlikely I would have ordered it.

It turns out that I already had FOUR tubes of paint with the PV-19 designation:  Gamblin's Radiant Magenta (which is mixed with Titanium White), Gamblin's Quinacridone Red, Grumbacher's Thalo Red Rose; and Winsor Newton's Permanent Rose.  And there probably are duplicates of these lurking in the studio somewhere...

Silly me!  I was charmed by the name of the product, and it's obvious that I love this color.  Why else would I now have FIVE tubes of it?

To compare the different brands, I charted them out.

Color Chart
Various Brands of Tube Paint Pigment PV-19
It's obvious that four of the rows match up (the bottom row, Radiant Magenta, has that white premixed with it).  But, wait a minute!  Caesar Purple (the middle) looks very different from the other tubes of PV-19.  It has a lot more blue to it.  What is going on here?  Has it been mislabeled by the manufacturer?  What aren't they telling me? An investigation into this anomaly has begun, and I will revisit this in a future post.

Even though it is labeled with the same color index name, it looks like Caesar Purple really is something new to my collection.

PV-19 is a useful color for me, working its way into the background shadows, tempering the brightness from yellows and yellow-greens.

And, I guess I'd better use up my current supply before I order any more.

Which brings me to my next point:  Manufacturers' Labels

Most of the manufacturers do provide the ASTM color index names on their paint tubes, which allows you, the artist, to see what pigment you are really getting.  Try to ignore the fancy names (NOT what I did!), and stick to the numbering system.  More information about this can be found in Michael Wilcox's excellent reference books on color - information available on the website at schoolofcolor.com, where you can purchase all sorts of terrific reference materials, as well as his signature paints.

And, yes, there are some manufacturers out there who do not identify their colors with the color index names printed on the paint tubes.  Even though I occasionally buy a color on a whim (Caesar Purple, anyone?), I prefer to know what I really am buying.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Work: Old Friend

A couple of days ago I posted a new piece that I completed for an upcoming exhibit in June.  Here is another completed oil for that show.  This painting includes two of the themes from the show: wheels and ribbons.

"Old Friend"
9" x 12"

Although making the wood grain was challenging, this was great fun to paint.  This dog is something my father found at a county fair for my daughter when she was very young.  A simple thing, it frequently participated in races through the house and truly is an "Old Friend."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Preliminary Gamblin Paint Review

I like the new Gamblin "radiant" colors so much that I ordered the rest of the radiant palette.  They arrived last week (along with a few other colors I needed to refill). So here is the complete Radiant color palette from Gamblin:

I've been going through the Gamblin paints website and have found that there is some very good information for oil painters.  I've marked it as one of my favorite sites, so that I can return to it quickly in the future.

Getting new materials for painting is always an exciting adventure for me.  These paints are great, with a smooth buttery texture that I love.  They are made of quality pigments (referencing the Wilcox ratings), so permanence is assured.  These have a luminosity of "7" and, so, are good for the higher key portions of a painting, or a way to introduce light into darker passages.  The Gamblin "Radiants" have found their way onto my palette.

Radiant Smiley Face C:


Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Work: A Cheerful Spot

Just finished this 10" x 10" oil on stretched canvas. 

A Spot of Cheer
10" x 10"
This will be going into a show in June at the Lakewood Arts Council Members Gallery.  Five of us who belong to the LAC Co-op gallery are hanging this show, with themes varying from cows and trees to wheels and fish.  A Cheerful Spot goes with the "leaves" theme.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dreaming of a Workshop

One of the artists I follow is Dreama Tolle Perry.  I love her loose brushwork and captivating color.  Her latest news included a link to her workshops for 2013 (Sorry, but 2012 is all full).  I just wanted to give her a shout out and send you over to her workshop link.  I hope some of you wll be able to sign up for one of her workshops.

Click here to go to Dreama's 2013 Workshop List

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lucky Me!

Every once in a while, we need to be treated to something special.  Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to do something a bit extravagant, as long as it doesn't adversely affect those close to us.  And so, I did this thing...

I have been an admirer of Carol Marine's work for some time now, and when she posted her piece "Old Trippers" I could not resist entering the bidding frenzy.  I got lucky and won, and I am so excited!

So, check out Carol Marine's paintings and send her love. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Paints!

One of the first things I do whenever I get a batch of new paint colors is spread them onto a palette and play with them. I was so excited to get some new Gamblin oils yesterday.

Gamblin Colors

These are not a brand that I usually paint with, but there were some interesting colors I wanted to try.

Gamblin Whites & Torrit Grey (2012)

Sometimes when I order a new color, I am sadly disappointed when I open the tube and spread out the paint.

Palette with New Gamblin Paints!

Alas, it was too late last night to begin painting, so I'm up early today.  I can't wait to get started! For those of you who are interested, here is a link to the Gamblin website. I know I will be returning to it often.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eggs and Coffee - Submitted To DPW

Just finished this piece, a 5" x 7" oil on linen panel, and sent it over to the DPW Paint Your Breakfast Challenge. It was fun, and definitely challenging, to paint the reflective surface of the bowl, as well as the egg shells.  Using this much red is novel for me, and I enjoyed it very much.  I hope you like it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Work and An Announcement!

Wow, the first quarter of the year has zipped by for us.  I've been painting regularly but haven't had time to post any updates for almost three months. 

First, here is an oil of our border collie sleeping with one of his toys.  He doesn't get many toys because he is notorious for ripping them to shreds.  This toy is one that has escaped total destruction, and it's his favorite.  (Well, he HAS ripped off the ears.)  He often sleeps with it.

Puppy and Lovey
5" x 7"

And now for the announcement! 

I've recently started another blog called Still Life Workshop, located at http://blog.stilllifeworkshop.com/It's a companion to my new website Still Life Workshop that provides information on painting still lifes. 

The blog allows viewers to send images of their art to me via email.  I will be posting painting challenges of various still lifes that I create as part of my own art development.

The website provides general instruction that I have absorbed over the years through instructors, artist friends, books, videos, and websites.  I'm providing links to the websites of artists who inspire me with their still life work, and I welcome any suggestions you may have of additional artists to include in the links page.  Also on the website are reference photos which may be downloaded and printed out for you to use to inspire you in your own still life paintings.

Both the Still Life Workshop blog and website are now live, but it is an ongoing development.  Look for changes and updates to be continuing this year.

So, stay tuned, and please visit my new blog and website.  Thanks!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Work: Pear Still Life

The new members' exhibit at the LAC Gallery and Art Center is an artist's challenge where at least one apple, lemon, or pear must be included in the subject matter in each submitted work.  This exhibit opens Tuesday, January 31 and continues through Saturday, February 25, 2012.

I've been working on 4 paintings for this exhibit.  The largest measures 8" high by 24" wide.  I set up several arrangements with pears and took many photographs.  After studying several arrangements and the many photographs I took of them, I selected the picture below to develop into a painting:

The red pears were some of the largest I have seen, and they contrasted beautifully with the tiny yellow ones that also caught my attention in the produce section.  I kept the drapery neutral in order to bring out the color differences in the pears.

Working in oils, I blocked in the initial layout and values on a plain white stretched canvas using burnt umber thinned with oderless mineral spirits (OMS).

Finally, the color was applied:
Sequence of Pears

Thanks for letting me share my art with you.  I hope you like it.