Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black and White Shih Tzu, Daily No. 7

This is a little shih tzu or pekingese or maybe a mix I painted for a customer whose other dog, a pekingese, I had already painted.  This little guy is adorable, I think.  I'm going to include it in my daily paintings because, amazingly, I painted it all in one
l-o-n-g day.  It was exhausting but worth it, too.  Fortunately, my daughter made my lunch and dinner for me.

I feel I'm finally beginning to benefit from my daily paintings, and I have 22 to go yet.  Yikes!  My studio is a mess because when I'm not painting, I'm thinking about what I'll paint next, posting my  painting (I'm behind on that, actually, and will catch up maybe this weekend), studying painting, etc., etc.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oops! I missed posting my Daily Paintings #4 and 5

 Oops!  Here are my daily paintings No. 4 and No. 5.  I've been so busy painting that I haven't taken care of posting as I should have.

The fourth one is the white German shepherd on light blue.  It was a really difficult one, but I think I finally got it (except for that ear on the right, which I'll be fixing tomorrow and re-posting afterward).  The original of this one has already sold as it was a request by a customer, whom I told, as usual, that I don't do custom commissioned paintings, but I do accept photo submissions that I may or may not paint; and if I do, they have first dibs at purchasing it, which this customer did.  (I always do my very, very best to paint every submission I get, by the way.)

The fifth painting is the border collie at left, and is the first of several border collies I'll be doing, also from photos that were submitted to me by a customer.

Border Collie on Green, Number 6 in Daily Painting Series

This is the sixth painting in my 30-day/30-paintings daily personal challenge.  It's another border collie (and there will be more border collies to come as another person has submitted photos to me of his border collies), and this one is on a green background.  Also, this one has erect ears.  I read up on their ears, and AKC, the ruler of all things pure dog, says that the ears can be either erect, as these are, fully hanging down, or partially hanging down.  So, there you have it on border collie ears.

I'm finally beginning to see a bit of progress in my paintings - horray!  This intensive work schedule for me is so far quite grueling, gut I'm so happy that I feel I'm finally beginning to benefit from it.  I don't want to say too much, though, because although I'm not superstitious, I don't want to jinx things -- just joking.  But I don't want to get overconfident and in a way mess myself up, either.

Let's just let it stay at I feel I'm beginning to feel as if I'm making some progress in what I'm trying to achieve with this project.

As with all these project originals, this one is for sale at my website,, either as a print or as the original painting.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dark Grey Cat on Light Yellow background, Daily No. 3

This is the third painting in my daily painting series, and it was a challenge for me.  I realize after having painted a couple of cats lately that I didn't know the anatomy of a cat's head well enough.  So since I have quite a few models both in my own house and in my neighborhood, I've been doing a lot of sitting around, studying cats' heads.  My own cats probably think I'm pretty weird because, being a very tactile learner, I have held their little heads in my hands and felt all over them to feel the skull under all that hair and muscle.  They probably thought they were getting strange but nice head massages - no one complained or tried to leave.  Anyway, now I feel a little more comfortable about the head anatomy and am ready to tackle more cat paintings in the near future.

Still on the topic of my daily paintings, I am finding myself becoming more knowledgeable of my brushes and even my paints.  It's amazing:  I've painted for quite a number of years now, just blithely going along, grabbing whatever brush was handy and whatever in-the-ballpark paint color I needed.  Now, I'm actually (yes, I know belatedly) studying the properties of said brushes and paints.  I even did a very simple color chart of all the paints I have and actually studied their properties.  (I have a lot!!! to learn.)  And brushes, they're finally beginning to make sense to me.

My family, on the other hand, are beginning to be concerned, I think, about all the time I'm spending locked up in my studio.  Wow, 30 days is going to be a lot longer than I expected it would be.

Day before yesterday, I did take a wonderful break, though.  My daughter, son-in-law, and little granddaughter and I took a beautiful hike on one of the "Rails-to-Trails" paths fairly near where we all live.  (It was near Vernonia here in Oregon, and I'll be happy to provide exactly where it was if anyone is interested.)  It was beautiful, and I took lots of photos with the hopes of doing a landscape from some of them.  There was an old train trestle, the top of which had been converted into a footbridge, but the old beam and timber supporting structure still stood.  It was amazing to be able to study the intricate way it had been put together.  We had a long discussion about all the workers it must have taken to build it, and out in the middle of a forest, too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Robin Bird in Oregon Forest

This acrylic painting of a robin in the Oregon woods is second in my 30-day personal challenge to become a better painter.    It came together pretty well, and I'm happy with it.  I see a couple of small flaws that I'll probably go back in sometime and fix (as in if someone buys the original!), but for the most part I feel it came out well.  I was able to focus on the important big matters in the painting instead of getting all tied up in tiny, minute details. In other words, I didn't paint every single feather, which has often been my tendency.

Okay, off to paint the third one.  I don't even know what it will be yet; but since several people have submitted photos that I can use in paintings, I better get started on one of those!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Okay, I've got to get my motor running again! My personal challenge.

I've been in quite a slump for several months now.  Too many things happened over the past few months; and even though life is pretty much "back to normal," my painting has really be affected - negatively, I'm afraid.

I finally decided to do a lot of studying, which is what I've been doing with every spare moment lately, including watching a lot painting demos.  But I'm still even kind of afraid to paint now.

So I've made a big decision, for me at least.  I've decided to do my own little daily painting exercise.  Here it is:  From yesterday for the next approximately 34 days (I'm taking one day off each week), I'm going to do a painting every day and post it here -- and elsewhere 'cause I've got to make a living at the same time!  I'll be numbering each painting (that's the first one off to the left here, the little beagle with the red ball in its mouth), which I finished yesterday.

Tomorrow I'll list the one I did today, which is another Oregon-based one, of a robin in the woods.  And, yay!  I saw a robin yesterday.  I know spring is just around the corner now.  And my neighbor's daffodils are blooming like crazy, too; another great sign.  Yes, I know, this is Oregon, and it's only a trick.  But I'm going to pretend it really is almost here.  And then glorious summer! I can hardly wait!  I've even already started my summer garden indoors.  Hope they survive until I can get them in the ground!

Oh, back to my challenge:  This is a challenge just for myself, by the way, to see if I can do it -- and if it gets me going again.  I think it will.  I heard someone say just the other day (what sparked my plan to do this, by the way):  He said that a painter gains a lot more knowledge, skill, etc.,  to spend 30 hours doing 30 paintings than thirty hours on a single painting.  Well, I can't do my paintings in an hour each because, well, that's just not my nature.  But I have set a two-hour limit for each one  (so far, I've almost been able to stay within two hours and I hope to get it inside two hours by the end of my challenge.)  So wish me luck and good painting!

By the way, all my paintings and prints are going to be on my website,, if you want to purchase one of them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm in a slump -- still

 Okay, here are the pretty good and the bad/ugly results of the two paintings I listed earlier.
I finished the bird and dragonfly paintings.  Even though it's just a little study (11x14 on canvas), I like the bird pretty well.

The dragonfly, on the other hand, leaves me dissatisfied.  Well, to me, it's still a work in progress.  The background is distracting and not flattering at all to the dragonfly.  I'll think for a while and either do something different to it -- or put it away indefinitely.

The use of oils, though, is encouraging.  I think once I get the hang of them (they behave amazingly differently than acrylics, which was quite a shock to me), I'm going to wonder why I ever did acrylics.

However, at least until I use up all my life-savings-amount of acrylics that I have, I'm going to use them for my under-painting.  They work fine for that.

Well, back to work.  I've been watching some great art videos at a website that I finally decided to plunk down the money for; is the site if you want to check it out.  In fact, I've been watching so many videos that my eyes hurt, I've neglected my paintings, I've become entirely overwhelmed with too many ideas and techniques and opinions -- oh my!   In the long run, though, I think I'm going to emerge from this self-enforced crash-course as a better painter.  We shall see . . . .

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oh, my! I'm working with oils!

Well, I finally decided to give oils a try.  I know; I've talked about it for a long time.  They look so appealing, what with their staying moist forever, their thickness, their SMELL!  I've been working on two little paintings over the past two days, and I think it's finally time to take a break from them because they're getting a bit muddy.
I generally don't show paintings in progress, but I will this time.  The lighting is very poor, and obviously, the background on one of them especially needs a lot,lot, lot of work.  I did the backgrounds only in acrylic, but I really messed up on the dragonfly one and just decided to fix it up after I did the subject (a bad, bad idea, by the way, because now I'm going to have to work around the oil because, as everyone knows, oil can go over acrylic but never the reverse).

 This bird, when it's finished, is just a head study I decided to try (less intimidating than dogs in a big way).  It's called a yellow-breasted chat.

Plus, I must branch out, so to speak, and do some landscapes (tree branches, get it?) and other subjects besides just pets.  I need it.  So I'm not only starting to switch over to oils (the water-miscible kind, by the way, which is a whole other story) but starting to do paintings of subjects other than pets.

The dragonfly I think will not be too bad when I get the background fixed and get more transparency into the insect's wings.  But again, I'm going to have to - very carefully, obviously, work just the tiniest bit into the space between the wings on the right with some background.  I accidentally ran the two wings together and made them too wide at their base.

Anyway, it's winter and nasty once again here in Oregon (we had a nice sunny break for a while), so it's a good time to try something new and get out of the winter rut.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fawn Cocker Spaniel Lying on Blue

This is a cocker spaniel, a fawn, painting that I just finished today.      I really enjoyed this painting.  It's on a 16x20x3/4" canvas, and the sides are painted the same blue as the background.  It's wired and ready to hang as-is (no staples), or it can be framed as well.

I have it for sale on my website  It sells for $200, plus $25 shipping and insurance.

I'm finally getting back to painting full-time again.  The next painting I'm doing is from some photos I took of a dragonfly on a fence.  I think it will be a good painting -- I hope, anyway!

I finally am getting around, too, to start painting in water-miscible oils.  I just bought a starter set a few days ago, and the dragonfly is the first that's going to have the oils.   I plan to do an underpainting with the acrylic paints for a couple of reasons:  First of all, I have a ton of them and feel I should use them all.  But secondly, and more importantly, I want the underpainting to dry fairly quickly so I can continue the painting right away.

I guess with the oils (which I haven't used in many, many years because of the solvents in the older ones), I'll have to have several paintings going at once so that the paint layers can dry a bit in between each application.

I'll be sure to report on how it goes with the water-miscible ones.  It'll be a fun new thing to try.