Category Archives: oil paint

swamp painting finally finished / oils

I might have to pay a pro photographer to take a decent shot of this because I’m not getting it.

Painters and poets, we all reveal ourselves through our work. When I look at this I think oh no! If there’s an art savvy shrink in the room they’ll be able to peel the layers of my personality down all the way to my subconscious which is represented here by a few inches of stagnant swamp water. I would advise you that even if you’re wearing hip boots you could sink in and get stuck in the muck.

It’s almost like feeling undressed in public when you feel like your life is shown in a painting. People who I don’t know will get to know me well.

That’s why I don’t feel the need to express my emotions through my painting. Even if I’m only trying to represent nature as accurately as I can it’s still all me there. Get 100 plein air artists to paint this scene and none will look like my painting.

This close up shows some Spanish moss on the right which I blobbed in some lines of dark green and very light green then scribbled through it with my palette knife, and some orange cypress needles done with my modified fan brush, some bark done with the modified fan brush, and some background trees painted with regular brushes taped to yardsticks.

This close up shows some Spanish moss at the top of the painting. It reminds me of a valence because I worked at sewing for most of my life. I made a lot of curtains and slipcovers but never anything as beautiful as a Spanish moss valence, so delicate, airy, graceful, and yet scary and spooky. I’d take it home and glue it to a cornice for my apartment but it probably has tons of tiny microscopic bugs in it that would come out and bite me. I’m afraid to pick it up when it’s on the ground.

This close up shows a lot of layers of paint. So many I can’t even count. Some in the background, middle ground, foreground and some yellow leaves on black sticks on top of all the rest.

It might seem like I painted every detail but I actually skipped a lot of things that I decided the painting didn’t need, lichens on the branches, stick bushes in the water and dead branches on the ground, dead leaves on the water etc.

The painting fell down again and picked up cypress needle dirt but that will brush off when it dries.

This close up shows my attempt to make sunlight on top of reflections because I could see the reflections through the sunlight. This is a calm place in a busy painting so the art viewer’s eye will find a place to rest. The eye will also go to rest in the background. So, hopefully, the Spanish moss and the orange cypress needles will keep the viewer’s eye going from background to foreground, and around the canvas again.

unfinished swamp painting update

There’s a slight glare on the painting because my Maroger medium makes it a little shiny. I tilted it forward and that helps but the glare is still showing on the left.

I’m excited about the progress I made in the past few days and it still needs a lot more work on the bottom of the canvas. There’s a bush on the left that I tried to sketch in a couple times already but then painted over because it wasn’t working. It has yellow leaves on thin black branches and some of the leaves cover the main cypress branch. I hope I can paint that in tomorrow. It could add some brightness to the left.

One thing about painting in plein air that most people don’t know is that you have to pick where you want your sunlight to show up and where you want shadows. So many artists think they have to paint fast so they can capture the changing light but it doesn’t have to be a rush rush thing. If I hang around there for 2 hours because that’s how long my concentration lasts, then it’s time for lunch or something, the light changes a lot over that time. Sometimes the light is perfect on the branch. Then it’s perfect on the Spanish moss or another part of the painting. When you keep going back to the same location day after day you get to know when the light is best for a certain part of the scene. Then you can plan how to use the light to create your focal points where you want them. The artist has to decide. If you’re copying a photo you don’t get those choices. The art viewer will never know part of it was painted at 9 and part was painted at 11.

I tried twice to start painting the water with reflections at home and both times it was so not good. I just can’t mix the right colors if I’m not there. This close up shows my 3rd try from today and I think this will work because I did it from life not from memory.

I was very excited to get that shiny wet mud painted in. I did that mess with my palette knife, scrumbling off white and a couple shades and tints of burnt umber in with it.

I hope the sun comes out again tomorrow so I can continue the beams of light over the water. My water should be dry enough tomorrow that I can put a layer of Maroger medium on top of it without smearing the reflections I painted today. The plan is to do a real thin glaze of white on top of the water going out on the same angle as the shadows from the trees. If I can make the glaze thin enough so that some of the reflections show through maybe I can make the effect of sunlight on water. If it works it will be an accomplishment for me.

After I’m all finished with the water I’ll have to continue the cypress branch sticks all the way down to the bottom of the canvas with bright orange foliage over the water. Then I have to do the Spanish moss last. So, maybe next week I can finish this. It depends on the weather. They’re calling for rain on Mon.

unfinished swamp painting / debriefing

I started painting the swamp water at home but I’ll need to do more work on it before I can finish the branches that cross the water. Those thin branches will need another coat of paint and some orange cypress needles. (not sure if you call them needles but they don’t look like leaves either.)

Tomorrow I’ll work on the mud. I’m looking forward to that. It has bright sunlight going across it on an angle with shadows from the trees. Then the sunlight continues across the water with tree shadows continued. That’s still a lot of work before I put the orange in the fore ground over top of the water. So that’s still a lot more layers of paint.

When I got there today and compared what I had finished on the background last week to the colors of nature I wanted to warm up my background trees so I used my modified fan brush and lightly brushed in some new bark colors.

It was fun to do the highlights on the leaves also with my modified fan brush.

It was windy but the overlook is somewhat sheltered and my painting didn’t fall off the easel. I was standing way back from the painting with my brushes taped to yardsticks and didn’t have to worry because sometimes when it’s windy I have to keep a hand on the canvas. It was cold too.

Then when I was packing my things to go home I had the painting propped up on the deck and it fell down! It didn’t leave any paint on the deck but it did pick up some of the fallen cypress needles which stuck to the wet paint. You can see the dirt in the photo. when it dries the dirt will brush off.

This is my modified fan brush next to a blob of brown paint on my palette. I cut the bristles zig zag. It’s great for painting in 15 dots and a smear all at once, or rough lines. I use this brush all the time. It’s one of my favorites. You can get so many textures and they’re easy and fast to make.

That’s how soupy I like my paint for building up layers. I add a few drops of terpenoid and mix it in well with a palette knife.

The last thing I’ll do is the Spanish moss.

swamp painting 2021 / an ok start

oils

This is only the first step in a big job, my underpainting. I lugged my stuff out to the overlook twice and stayed for around 2 hours both times, didn’t finish my underpainting yet. Maybe I can work on the bottom of the canvas at home. That’s the swamp water with reflections of trees, barely sketched in.

I took my yard sticks and taped my brushes to them so I could keep my brush strokes looser and try to paint like my favorite artist, Matisse. Standing way back from the canvas helped me visualize where to paint the big brown branch which will be the focal point of this painting. It’s easier to see the painting if you stand back. It’s fun but the brushes go out of control a lot. A few people came out on the overlook. If they saw the yardsticks with paint brushes taped on them they didn’t say anything.

It got a little windy and cloudy so I quit for today. The overlook is protected from the wind so it wasn’t a problem. It’s supposed to rain tonight and be colder tomorrow. I might be able to go back out there tomorrow, but I don’t know. Colder is better as far as I’m concerned because less people will be on the trail and I can take the cold weather better than the horrible heat and humidity of summer around here.

This could take some time to finish depending on the weather, and I don’t want to go over there to paint on Sat. or Sun. but I’m glad I got a start.

Interdimensional Tossed Salad @ Milliways collage

It’s served with their own secret recipe house dressing called “Infinity Ranch.” The dressing is more than just regular ranch dressing with purple food coloring. I couldn’t identify the secret ingredient. The shiny salad toppings are crunchy.

The menu has so many of the favorite foods of the galaxy and I didn’t know what any of them were, except they did have pizza but we wanted to try new foods so we ordered the Super Nova Pu-Pu platter for two and inter dimensional tossed salads. It’s a 5 star restaurant so you know everything on the menu would be approved by Gordon Ramsey.

When I stuck my fork in for the first bite I heard a screeching sound and didn’t know what it was. I thought it could have been the weird fork scraping on the weird plate so I took a bite and when I chomped down on it I heard a voice say, “Not again!” I stopped chewing and looked at my boyfriend. He was enjoying his salad. He said, ” Everything ok, Babe?”

It was real tasty and I didn’t want to spit it out because that would be rude so I swallowed it and I heard it cry, “What are the odds?!”

I said, “Yeah,” Then I got a box to take it home and finish it later.

background for my collage / oils

This looks busy, doesn’t it.? I’m not sure if it will work. Maybe I should swamp it with terpenoid and see if that improves it.

I’m excited about the collage plan that started with mono prints using these colors and I added violet for this step. The mono prints were thin paint so I decided to use thick paint for the background and smear it on randomly with palette knives.

Most of this will get covered when I put the mono prints on top. It will take forever to dry. I could work on it again tomorrow if it partially dries. At least I made a little progress on it because the weather isn’t good today, cold, rainy, windy yuck out there.

Anyway, the collage idea is inspired by “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” It’s going to be fun!

E.T.s come to Richmond / monoprints and story

As soon as they stepped through that bright light portal people loved them. They looked like a delicious tossed salad and smelled so fresh. They communicated through mental telepathy that they were here in peace and said,”Take me to your leader.”

The governor rushed right over to meet them and they promised that they could increase our crop yield 1000%. Imagine getting a real ton of tomatoes from each plant, 50 foot tall corn stalks with 100 ears on each, pumpkins large enough to be made into housing! They could do all that because they are actually vegetables themselves and they want to put down roots in Virginia.

The governor gave them the key to the city. Then the next day they were shopping downtown and some kids started chasing them with bottles of ranch dressing and forks. Suddenly the portal reappeared and they vanished.

I hope you enjoyed the story. If the mono prints look like something else other than aliens tell me what you see!

It’s raining and I had some fun with these prints but I’m not finished with them. I want to do a larger collage using them and make something deep with layers of paint. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to do that. I’ll have to wait a few days for this to dry then I might cut these and rearrange them.

Life’s not easy if you’re a pine tree on a sand dune. / oils

Trees are like people.

I spent roughly 20 hours on the dune next to this tree and I was only trying to capture it’s image but when I got home I kept thinking about the tree, like the tree was communicating with me by mental telepathy or something! nah, I’m kidding. This is what the tree would like to say.

The sand doesn’t have enough nutrients. The wind is trying to blow me down all the time. Someone called me scraggly and now I have a low self esteem. I won’t live as long as other pine trees or ever get tall.

And still, the scraggy little tree lifts it’s dead bleached arms to the sky like a person who suffered but doesn’t give up hope.

There’s something going on in the shadows and places where you can see the dune grass through spaces between branches. It’s heavily textured.

You can’t go down the dune through the grass filled with burrs and give the tree a hug. The tree is prickly too, not to mention that’s a steep drop off and you have to climb back out.

You want to remind the tree that it is on prime real estate with a better view than most pine trees have and its head is above dune level.

Plus, the tree has a lot of grace, like people who have lived through some bad stuff. Then when something else bad happens, those people don’t freak out in the next dangerous situation. Like the tree, they remember a worse storm. And people or trees that had it easy fall apart under stress.

windswept tree painting progress report

This is how far I got on it after 4 mornings of going out on the dune to paint and staying for 2 or 3 hours each time. It was sunny and not hot so, very enjoyable out there. My Gluteus Maximus had a workout 4 mornings in a row hauling my art supplies up the dune on the deep soft sandy path. The beach cart makes it possible but not easy. And I have a dark tan, which is really only a darker shade of red because I don’t tan well. It doesn’t feel sunburned. They’re calling for cloudy and rainy days all week. bummer, because I’m almost finished with the painting. I could finish it this week if the sun comes out. I hope they change the weather forecast. I guess there are plenty of things for me to do at home that I neglected lately because this painting took a lot of energy last week.

The tree is still only roughed in. I had to work on the background first. I considered finishing it at home but most of the time when I work on a painting at home, when I get back to the scene I don’t like what I painted at home.

windswept tree underpainting / oils

It was real nice out on the dune this morning and yesterday. I’m excited that I got this far with the painting. Maybe tomorrow and Sun. I can make more progress.

I have two coats of paint on the sky and I’m going to call the sky finished. Before I paint the tree I need to work on the opposite shore, the sand, the water and the grass again and let it all dry a little so that when I paint the bare branches over the sky and water they don’t smear.

I changed my mind about adding a kite surfer into the picture. This painting is all about the tree. I’ll try painting a kite surfer another time.

The branches and sticks will be the last to paint along with the pine needles.