Category Archives: oil paint

Look at my beautiful palette

Am I crazy to be excited about my palette?

The greens, grays and blue are leftovers and I covered them with plastic wrap. They’ll stay soft and workable for weeks but will partially thicken up.

I tried to match the colors of my begonia and rejected a few of the mixes on the right which still look like neat blobs. I think the right colors for the flowers are between the ones I mixed. That’s close enough for lights and darks.

The two I liked for the light areas of the petals and the two I liked for the shadows are all messed up because I thinned them with terpenoid to make them slightly runny.

Mixing paints on the palette with a palette knife is real fun.

I decided to leave my begonia painting rough. I mean I’m not going over the background and leaves again. That’s the modern art way and I’m trying to go modern. Once and done.

I particularly like this smear. Now you see why I need the large palette. The blue is left over from the background and it’s covered with plastic wrap. I started thinning the red with turpentine and it accidentally bled over the blue and some blue got into the red. I had to quick scrape up the red and move it away from the blue.

The background is gray because I have duct tape on the back of the glass. It’s easier to see what colors you’re mixing on a gray background than on a white background. And the duct tape keeps the glass from breaking and making a problem when I’m out in plein air. I’ve had the same piece of glass on the palette for years.

These are the colors I want to use all thinned down nicely so they flow off my brush and make nice brush stroke textures.

ok, I’ll get back to painting, but I have all day and it’s hot and humid so you get to see this because I don’t want to go out. I have time to stop and take pictures of my palette and write a little. I hope it’s not boring.

begonia cubed / update

The background was easier to paint than I thought it would be and I like the blue, but now my dark green leaves look too dark and because I taped my brushes to yardsticks the blue and green smeared.

I might work on the leaves again today. You can see some smears in this close up. I’m not sure if I’ll go over the background again or not. Darn it. I should make that decision before I repaint the leaves.

I wish I could ask Matisse for advice. I don’t want advice from Picasso. hahaha What would Matisse say?

Sand Dunes / oils

That was a great place to paint and the weather wasn’t too bad in the shade with a nice breeze today. Bugs were buzzing around but I didn’t get bit thanks to DEET. I might not go back to this spot. It was tiring to lug my supplies out there even with my beach cart. By the time I left it was getting hot and a long walk back to the car in the sun. Not many people were there today.

I used my modified fan brush to paint the tall grasses. I had my brushes taped to yardsticks so I could sit back from my painting to paint and a few of those grass lines went on too thick so I scraped through them with a palette knife to break them up.

In this close up you can see some of my dark shadows. It looks like a good habitat for a snake, doesn’t it?

This shows a grass focal point with a direction going up to the sand slide and thin ridge which also has some direction in the shape of a light colored bent line next to a dark shadow.

This one is the top of a fragile dune and the dark line in the shade is the edge of a sand slide.

I went over the shadow in the sand again. When I got there and compared what I had before to nature, I though the shadow was too brown so I mixed a neutral gray and scribbled it on top of the brown glaze cooling it down slightly.

The original dark color is showing through where the sand breaks and a few tiny spots under the brown and gray sand shadow colors.

It was great to have a secluded spot where no one noticed I had my brushes taped to yardsticks because for people to see a woman out painting alone is enough but if they saw the yardsticks they might think I was really nuts and I don’t feel like explaining that Matisse did that and I want to paint like Matisse.

I think it gave my painting a more loose impressionistic look and I’ll use the yardsticks again.

waves and dunes are the same thing. / mono print

this is a close up

Waves and dunes are the same shapes. They both are always moving but you don’t notice the dune moving. They’re so much alike you could dress a dune up in wave colors, tell people it’s a wave and everyone would believe you.

this is the full view of my mono print.

I want to paint waves but it’s too hot to hang around on the beach. I used my sketch of a dune and did a palette knife painting of it with wave colors from memory, then folded the paper in half to make a mono print.

this is my palette knife painting before I smooshed it.

Dunes are like waves in another way, they’re breaking.

In my dune sketch there is some plant life on top of the dune and the sand breaks below the vegetation. So instead of painting that part green I used white and it would put the white water of a breaking wave in the right place. It’s me dressing a dune in wave colors.

This mono print is a variation of the dune painting I’m working on and hope to finish tomorrow if I can get up early enough to be at the beach before it gets too hot.

sand dune painting update

It was windy but nice to be out after a lot of days that were too hot and humid and rainy to paint in plein air. Finally! I could go back down there to work on this again. The wind was around 20 to 25 mph I think. It almost blew me down when I stood up. Last time it was windy too. It felt good but the blowing sand got in everything.

the wind was blowing my brush around because I had it taped to a yardstick and was sitting back a yard away from my painting, like Matisse did. It’s a lot of fun but you have to give up some control. Can you see the craziness in this close up? Sand in my paint? Scribbling because of wind and sand? I doubt anyone could call this painting “tight” hahahah

I enjoy it a lot but maybe other artists wouldn’t.

That big dark slash there, that’s a blip of the brush because of wind and sand. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix that but I fixed the bad place in the sky so I’ll do something to break up that dark blob. Note the sand getting bad by the time I got this far with it.

I’m trying to decide if I should brush the sand off when this dries or leave it there. Some of it won’t come off.

Just as I was packing my things to leave the wind blew my canvas paper off the drawing board and it flipped back with the paint in the sand. I thought that was too much but it didn’t wreck it any worse than it was already. I had to quick slap more tape on it before it started flapping in the wind. This is the kind of plein air experience that might deter a lot of artists. I’m not fighting nature. Let her mess up my painting. I should care but I don’t.

Too much sand on my palette. I had to quit working on it or else clean my palette out there because I couldn’t mix up another color on top of that mess. The blue colors on top are what was left over from the sky and they’re covered with little pieces of plastic wrap to keep them workable, so maybe that much paint is still ok.

I’m not sure about finishing this. I might go back in a few days after this dries a little or I might finish it at home.

can this painting be saved?

This is a start. It was tiring to lug my art supplies out to the dune and I had everything in my beach cart, but so much fun to paint there. I was saying to myself, This is the life! All those years that I worked at jobs trying to make ends meet and never gave a thought to retirement, then when I started painting in plein air and the beach was far away, I wished I could hop in the car and be there. Then my daughter married a Norfolk guy and says she’s staying in Norfolk, I moved to the beach and it’s great! Norfolk and Virginia Beach are just one huge city to me. If I believed in karma I’d wonder what I did to deserve this, because it was a pure delight out there today. Even though it made me tired, I thought the rewards for doing something difficult are higher than the rewards for doing the easy thing.

My spot is so nice. Picture this. I’m in the only shady place in the dunes. I sat on the sand and leaned against a post. I leaned my painting on a post about 4′ away and spread my stuff out all around me. I found a heavy piece of metal to lean against my painting and had a foot on it too and the wind, which really picked up when I was there, didn’t blow it down. The wind felt good. It was sunny and not too hot. But the best thing is people didn’t notice me there. Only one kid saw me and they all moved on. Since I knew I was hidden I took my yardsticks and taped my brushes to them so I could sit back and paint from far away like my favorite artist, Matisse. That’s why this underpainting is loose looking. And that made it all the more fun.

Since I had my brush taped to a yardstick it went a little wild here and I accidentally smeared some green into the sky. When I tried to wipe it off it only got worse. I wanted to go over the sky again so I’m not worrying about it.

The whole experience was so much fun I don’t even care that sand got all over my painting. It’s not even artfully designed sand and I don’t care. I mean, how zen is that?! I’ll give it a few days to dry and maybe most of the sand will brush off. It won’t all come off but let that be proof for future art historians after I’m dead that I was really right down there in it. I’m like freakin Turner tying himself to a mast in a storm to capture the storm! haha I would never tie myself to a mast because I’d be seasick. It would be great if my efforts would show up in the painting when it’s finished. I want to go back and finish it soon but it might rain in a couple days after this dries enough to work on it again. I need to go over it again twice.

stars and planets spiraling in a downward tornado into a black hole

stars and planets spiraling in a downward tornado into a black hole

I don’t know what happened to my wordpress thing here. Before, if I clicked on” write” a bar for a title was at the top of the post but now that bar is gone. So I clicked in the box and typed in “title” then I get a line to type on but it’s showing the title twice. If I try to erase one line they both get erased. I fooled around with it but I can’t figure it out. The blue question mark wasn’t getting me anywhere either and even my daughter can’t figure it out, so, oh well, maybe it will fix itself, who knows.

OK, back to art talk.

I’ve been doing modern art all week because the weather isn’t good for plein air lately. The modern art is fun and fast. I could knock out 5 in a day, or even more, but is it just a waste of paint or will it eventually make a better artist out of me? It seems to me that if you want to improve at a difficult game like art you have to challenge yourself and modern art, fun as it is, is no challenge.

All you have to do is throw some paint down, smear it around or don’t smear it or whatever you feel like doing, then look at it and think of a title. I guess most art viewers like a title because people want to make sense of things.

When I’m doing that, it’s like making a little Rorschach test for myself. The art viewer gets a glimpse into my subconscious. Maybe if I keep doing modern art the art viewers will feel like they know me.

I’ll let the viewers make the call on the question of will this make a better artist out of me. Meanwhile, it looks like more rain is in the forecast so I might continue with this for a few more days. At this time of year if I want to go out to draw in plein air, I have to get up early, and check the local radar for rain. If it gets too late it’s too hot out.

connections to the past / mono prints

Isn’t it funny when your kid thinks they’re smarter than you?

If you lived through some bad stuff and people tell you to, “Let it go”, that might not be good advice.

You might think you know what happened but you might not figure it all out until you’re over 50!

If it’s on your mind when you’re trying to sleep years later, there’s a lesson in there for you that you didn’t get yet.

We have to learn from the bad stuff because more bad stuff might happen and we will be better able to deal with it if we know what didn’t work before.