Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pelican Repast

I love the photo I took of this pelican, and even painted it once before as small oil pastel, as you can see here:

But more and more lately I'm spending time with my acrylics, so gave him another go. This is acrylic, as I said, done on an 8x10 canvas - a size I seem to gravitate to. Not too big and not too small. For me it's "just right" - though 9x12 works as a "just right" size also, but I can't seem to find pre-prepared canvases in that size.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


This was the second painting I did at my friend Leslie's house the other evening - another small 8x10 acrylic. I've decided I like this size. Small enough that you can finish something up in a reasonable amount of  time, but big enough to be able to get in a big of detail if you want. The bird looks a tad portly, even after slimming it down quite a bit! Still, came out better than I had hoped.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Cape May Morning

Thanks to my friend Leslie for inviting me to her studio, helping me get out of the rut I've been in. I actually did TWO paintings at her studio, both smallish 8x10 acrylics. This is the first of them, done from a reference photo I took some years back of the beach shortly after sunrise in Cape May, New Jersey.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dolphin Dance

This is a little acrylic I did tonight, trying to use some of the things I learned a couple weeks ago in the Gloria Clifford workshop. That one was based on sea turtles of course, but I have no pictures of sea turtles! I do have a few of dolphins however, so decided I would paint a dolphin. This is just an 8x10 on stretched canvas.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Sea Turtle close-up

I had such fun at my workshop yesterday. I finished my sea turtle painting with over two hours to go, but had forgotten to bring a second canvas. My friend Kay, though, graciously gave me an extra 8x8 small square canvas that she had and it seemed perfect for a close-up portrait.

Of course I didn't realize how hard it would be when:
1) I was working from a very small reference photo without strong facial details.
2) I've never painted a sea turtle before so have no clear mental image of what they should look like.

So this was actually a bit of the struggle. As the instructor said "He looks a bit like an alien". But it was really more the water I cared about than the turtle anyway, so it was still fun.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Sea Turtle

What a fun day today. I took a one-day workshop on painting sea turtles and water with Gloria Clifford, who specializes in tropical and sea creature art. I've never painted a sea turtle before, but I do love water although I struggle with it, and I'm always happy to learn more about it.

Gloria was wonderful, and very much an intuitive painter, as I tend to be also, rather than one following all the classic "rules" of painting. She made the day a lot of fun, even for those of us struggling with the water and turtles. This was my first painting, done on 11x14 stretched canvas.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Walk on the Beach

Another 8x10 acrylic, done from a photo I took during a walk on the beach. I never get tired of the beach and could easily do beach scene paintings all the time! I need to sort through all my (thousands) of photos and see if I find other references I like.

This is actually a mirror image of one I did a few years ago in pastel here.  I like the pastel better in most ways, but it did have a couple things I wanted to change:
1) The horizon line was too harsh and dark. This is easily correctable if I choose to do it.
2) The lines of incoming wavelets are too perfectly straight, as if I'd drawn them with a ruler; not quite the way they are in real life.

I tried to correct both of those things with my acrylic, but I'm still less than happy with how it turned out. Still, as they say, you can't hit a home run every time. It was still fun to do.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Gold Head in the Morning

LOL, I had a reference photo all picked out and sitting on my table - with oranges and golds, that I was going to paint for my next project, as a change from the cool colors I'd been doing. Then, the morning I sat down to paint, the reference photo was gone! I looked everywhere. It had been sitting on top of the table and I had not touched a thing, but there was no photo there. As I scrabbled around I did pull up a reference for the scene about, always one of my favorite scenes, so I painted this instead, another 8x10 acrylic.

The funny thing is that this is the third time I have painted from this exact same reference, all small. I first did it as a small 6x9 pastel here, and then again I tried it as an 8x10 acrylic here. That was one of my very first acrylics when I was just beginning to dabble in them. Well I still feel like a dabbler since I've had no formal training in acrylic, but I'm enjoying them a bit more now.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Chalupa - Foubtain of Youth

This is also from the reference photos I took at the Fountain of Youth last week. I took a bunch of photos of this boat - a "chalupa" or replica of the sort of work boats they built here in the 16th century when the colony at St, Augustine was first founded. 8x10 acrylic/

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Early Morning - Calico Creek

This is a scene down the road from my sister's house in coastal North Carolina.  Whenever I visit her I walk my dog down here in the morning. My dog is an early riser so I usually get to see the pinks and violets of the soft early morning light.

This is another 8x10 acrylic.

I love this spot so much I've even done a couple pastels from this same location, namely here and here. If you stand on the path for those two paintings and turn to face left you will see the scene in the acrylic painting above. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Peacock - Fountain of Youth

This is another 4x12 acrylic. This is sort of a fun size to work with. I was at the Fountain of Youth last Saturday with the First Coast Pastel Society, and it was a chilly, windy, blustery day. Not really good for plein air, and the lighting was not so great, but I enjoyed all the peacocks strutting around, took a variety of photos, and enjoyed the 16th century reenactment going on for the weekend.

So now I'm looking at the photos for references and could not resist starting with a peacock. :-)

Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Wave

Another small 8x10 acrylic. I admit that pastel will always be my first love, but I've been having fun with these small acrylics, and they are great to take to the Starving Artist Gallery since they don't need framing under glass. In fact don't need framing at all since I paint the sides of the canvas too and just present them as gallery-wrapped and helps keep my costs down, LOL.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Small dunes

Well I had time for another small 8x10 acrylic this morning. Pastels are my first love, but I've been having a lot of fun with acrylics lately. They go much faster than pastels, especially when you are trying to keep things really loose and impressionistic. When a small painting only takes 20-30 minutes it's not too hard to keep up with a one-a-day schedule. A few days I've even done 2-3!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Small sketch - Club Continental

Today the Art Guild of Orange Park had a plein air day at Club Continental. I stopped by but just had my sketch pad with me, so did this 5x7 sketch using my colored pencils.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Still small

Still working on small acrylic paintings. This is my effort for today, a beach with some coquina rocks. This one is also an 8x10.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Painting small

I've hardly done any painting since breaking my wrist last summer, so for the New Year decided I should try to do more. I've been working on some small acrylics since, if smaller, I can do more of them! These are the ones I've completed so far, none with titles yet.

  Egrets: This one is an 8x10.

 Flamingo:This one is 4x12.

 Moonlight: This one is 5x7.

 Heron: This one is 8x10.

 Cardinal: This one is 8x10.

 Oranges: This one is 5x7.

 Marsh sunset: This one is 4x12.

Beach Sunrise: This one is 4x12.

Lots of fun! I'm looking forward to more smaller ones.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Backyard Treasures II

The previous pastel, "Backyard Treasures", was done in order to enter into a prestigious art show the Art Guild of Orange Park was having at the Thrasher-Horne Gallery. I was not crazy about it however, and didn't think it was show quality, so I decided to try it again, this time in acrylic, and see what I thought of that. This is the result, also 11x14. I was not crazy about this one either, but like it better than the pastel.

So in the end I entered them both in the show. Surprise! This one was juried out and the pastel was accepted into the show. You just never know.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Backyard Treasures

 I have a large orange tree in my back yard. Alas it's a bitter orange, so no good for juice, but it is good for making marmalade! The oranges begin to ripen in late October, and do through January or so. I love it when the oranges are ripe though, and the sun shines on them. This is my first cut at a painting - done on an 11x14 piece of cream-colored Art Spectrum paper - a mixture of pastels but mostly NuPastel and Terry Ludwigs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas Cake

We painted this as a group still life at one of my pastel society meetings - done on 9x12 UArt paper. It was fun to do, and after we all painted - the cake was cut up and we all got to eat the setup. :-)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sanderlings and Waves

I'm not getting much accomplished lately since I fell and broke my wrist a couple weeks ago. Granted it is my left wrist, and I'm right-handed, but I still felt so washed out for days! And so many things are hard with just one hand - including this blog post typed with two fingers, LOL.

However energy is coming back a bit, and I'm still on my love affair with oil pastels, and with beach scenes.
This is done with the oilies on an 8x10 Ampersand Pastelboard - my fave surface for these.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

More small paintings


Sunrise II

I'm still having fun playing with the oil pastels. They are fantastic on Ampersand boards, and then blended with some turpenoid. Finish with three coats of varnish and you have a well-protected surface. I did both of these the other day - just small 5x7's on Ampersand, using my Holbein oil pastels. They have three coats of varnish each and could easily be framed without glass - a nice savings.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Winter Morning Fishing

Today a group of us from the Art Guild of Orange Park went to the Isle rehab center in Fleming Island, FL. We had several artists who brought various items for sale, and others who worked on art projects with the residents, and a couple of us who worked on art work in public spaces. There was a potter who was quite popular, but I was set up to paint right in the main lobby, and I had a great time talking to people as I worked.

The above is the painting I did this morning, from a reference photo I took last Thanksgiving weekend when I went up to NC to visit my sister and her family. Every morning I took my dog for a walk on the beach just about sunrise, and got lots of great photos. Regular pastel would have probably gotten dust all over the floor so this was done again with oil pastels. I'm learning a little more about them, like the fact that they don't layer well if laid down with too heavy a hand, so on this painting  I worked on multiple light layers. This is done with my Holbein and Caran d'Ache oilies on an 11x14 sheet of Richeson sanded paper. It was a fun morning.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Breakfast Time

More and more lately I'm having fun playing with my oil pastels - most of the benefits of the regular dry pastels but not all the mess and dust. They are a great medium to use with my grandkids! Turpenoid works great for blending them. I've been coating them with varnish and so far it seems to create a hard surface with no mess and stickiness - and could easily be framed without glass, or so it seems. The best of all possible worlds.

We'll see, so far so good. I saw this pelican just a couple miles from my house, picking up a fish at a local boat ramp on Doctors Lake and I had to take a few photos. I guess my biggest issue with the oil pastels is that they don't layer very well, unlike the regular dry pastels. The oily surface seems to prevent it, so some of my brights are not as bright here as I wanted, but could not add any more layers on top of the darker colors. Still, I'm having fun and it's all a learning experience. This was done on an 8x10 plain Ampersand board which I coated with a couple coats of the pre-mixed Art Spectrum ground, using a mixture of both my Holbein and Caran d'Ache oilies.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Six by Six

Today I had some fun playing with acrylic again. These three paintings were all done on 6x6 inch gallery-wrapped stretched canvas. It's fun working small as you are able to accomplish a lot in just a small amount of time! I need to get more into the "paint small, paint often" mindset. It's been a good week for that!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Working smaller

I'm really having fun using my oil pastels and turpenoid and creating small works. These two which I just did today are both 5x7 on Pastelmat boards I primed with Art Spectrum primer. I seemed to be working backwords. Many artists do small paintings first as studies for larger works. Me? I did larger works and then did these small ones afterwards. These are small versions of the paintings seen here and here.