Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"OREO" ( Pet Commission )

Over the years, I've done a ton of "pet portraits". Last week, I picked up another such commission from a young lady in my class, requesting that I paint her kitty, Oreo. The photo she provided as a reference was a very close view, just as you see here. While my usual interpretation would involve a full head-shot ( including ears and shoulders ), this was the photo I was given and to be honest, I found it to be a refreshing change from what I had first perceived. I think this is a much more intimate, personal view of a beloved friend and I must give credit to Emily for making me "see" this in a different way. ( and in a more interesting perspective )
I can relate to Oreo, as my wife and I also own two black & whites ( Chloe and Tigger ) and they are very much a part of the family.
This piece is in Oil and is on 9"x12" canvas panel.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Knife Painting

Since my last foray into the world of "knife painting", I haven't been able to stop. lol It's just too much fun!! I guess it's just because it's a new approach for me, so it's rather exciting and is taking me out of my "comfort zone". And the Lukas Painting Butter I described in my last post puts a whole new spin on it. It makes everything just tacky enough to be able to keep layering it, which I never had much success with using just Oil paint alone.

And now that I've been showing these paintings around at my classes, my students are intrigued and chomping at the bit to give it a try. I already have 2 such classes scheduled, so I just placed an order at Jerry's for 3 dozen painting knives and a big tub of the "butter". I can't wait to try it in a class!

Shown above are some recent efforts.....................

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Knife Painting

Okay, so it's no real secret that I'm a "detail-type of guy". However, I do love the look of paintings executed with a palette/painting knife. I love the looseness of the strokes and the texture. Most people would not deduce this, ( at least from viewing my work ) but Vincent Van Gogh is one of my all-time favorite artists. He used brushes more than knives in his application, but they still yield that heavy impasto apperance. I've had the good fortune to see some of his paintings in person and they are visually amazing. His "STARRY NIGHT" ranks within my favorite top 3 paintings of all time, though I haven't seen that particulr one in person. Yet!!

Anyway, I was introduced to a great "impasto medium" through Jerry's Artarama called LUKAS PAINTING BUTTER, which is imported from Germany. It is alkyd-based, so you can layer it on as thick as you like and it dries soooo much quicker than just straight oils. Just mix it right in with your oil colors and apply it. It holds all your strokes and is a wonderful medium to experiment with. The best part is that if you're using a large canvas, the "Butter" extends the paint so that you won't use 8 tubes of paint to finish that given piece. And it won't alter your color at all! And since it's somewhat tacky, you can easily keep layering one color over another.

I discovered that if I let it set for a couple hours, it tacks up a lot and only makes any further "tweaking" easier. It is wonderful stuff and I fell in love with it! Be sure to check it out.

I am posting two florals here. The Tiger Lilly was done a couple weeks ago and is on 11"x14" GessoBoard. Lots of glazing and no texture at all. I used brushes only. That's my "usual" way of creating. The Sunflowers are on 12"x16" canvas panel and were accomplished this morning with 2 painting knives and the "Butter". Although I use a lot of knife work in many of my paintings, the times have been few and far between when I've used the knife solely for a piece. Usually, I would get "mud" as everything was just too wet upon trying to layer. This "Butter" solved that issue for me and I love the resulting texture I was able to achieve. Unfortunately, this photo does not accurately reveal that. It is much more striking "in person". I'm certain I will be creating more "knife works" in the future!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Latest ( in Acrylic )

This is a piece I started yesterday and just finished up this afternoon before I head out to my Watercolor class. It's in Acrylic and it's on a 22" x 28" stretched "gallery wrap" canvas which is 1-1/2" thick. So, the edges are painted and the branches and grass wrap around the perimeter. I used a sea-wool sponge for the leaf textures in the background, alternating between light and dark values.

It's actually a little wider than shown here as I lost a good portion of it by "cropping" because my photo angle wasn't "square". Therefore, the foreground tree on the far left got "trimmed" considerably and nosed out of the photo. lol Oh well, you get the idea.

It seemed good to work on such a larger scale than I'm used to, just for a change of pace.

Now, I'll go back and tweak those barns I've been waiting to finish. ( from my last post )

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Barns..............

Okay,.... I know some of you are crying "Uncle" by now and saying, "Oh no, more barns?", but for whatever reason, that's what I've felt like painting these past several days. I don't know where the inspiration for such comes from, but I do know that I love to try to capture the texture of the old wood and the "splintery" feel of the weathered boards. I guess it's that rustic quality that draws me. I also know that as time marches on, these old staples of days gone by are slowly crumbling away and there'll come a point in time when there will be none left. The only reminders we'll have will be photographs and paintings, such as these.

The two pieces that feature the red buildings aren't quite finished yet. I am letting them dry as they're still a little tacky, then I'll be adding a few more details; trees, fenceposts perhaps, etc.

These were all done with an Acrylic underpainting for the buildings, then Oils over the top and for the background and foreground. That way I can get the best of both worlds. Lots of definition and detail on the structures and the blendability and softness of the Oil background. It's impossible to get that amount of detail in the barns without letting it dry for 3 or 4 stages. With this approach I can bring it to this degree of refinement in one sitting. Adding any details from this point is very quick and easy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Work

I haven't posted much new stuff recently, simply because I've been so busy. For the past few days however, I've found a few hours here and there to do a few paintings.

It's no secret to those who know me best that I love to paint birds, wildlife and old barns. ( and lots of other things, too ) But, when I get a chance to paint "just for me", usually a barn or an animal will win out.

Here are a couple that are "fresh off the easel". Both are in Oils, with some Acrylic underpainting. ( each is on 11" x 14" gessoed masonite and untitled as of yet )

By the way, for those of you who haven't checked them out yet, Jerry's Artarama now has all 17 of my Free Art Lessons posted on their site. I've been getting a lot of great feedback from just about anywhere and everywhere. Never underestimate the power of the Internet!!
To see the lessons, click here,...........