Tag Archives: oil paint

Back of the Dunes painting update

The sky, background dunes and trees are finished. The water has one coat of paint on top of the underpainting but still needs another layer. The sedge is still in the underpainting stage. I need to work on the sedge before I finish the water.

It took a while to mix the colors I wanted for the gray and brown dunes. The greens were easier to mix but still took some time. When I get the right color I still take more time to work the paint by adding drops of Terpenoid and mixing it in until the paint is evenly runny. Mixing and working the paint is half the job.

A piece of cut grass is sticking to the wet paint but it will come off when it dries.

The real fun part is blobbing down the paint with my palette knife then smearing and scratching through it with the palette knife.

I’m excited about how this is going. I think it will work out!

The first 3 times I was there getting started on this, it was cloudy but the sun finally came out and really brightened the scene. I like the bleak look of the cloudy days, but the sedge is freakin’ gold with the sun on it. Maybe I can finish the painting this week. Tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy then we get more sunny weather for a couple days before it rains again, if the forecast is right.

Homage to Surf and Turf / with close ups

That was fun and I think it worked out. I’ll try another pointillist painting next year.

If you eat enough crabs you find a claw gripping a leg sometimes. PETA would tell you this is why not to eat crabs. They think their death is a violent struggle. It’s not. When the crab hits the boiling water it’s dead instantly and cooking. They jump and snap their claws but that’s a reflex. When you cut the head off a chicken it can still run. Could the chicken be alive without a head? I don’t think so. The same thing with a snake. They keep moving without a head. The crab has similar nerves but if it got out of the pot and back into the bay it would be dead in the bay.

The legs come off easy in nature. When a predator tries to catch a crab the leg comes off and the crab doesn’t die. It escapes from the predator and grows a new leg! Some sea critters can direct stem cells in their bodies to replace a lost limb. Scientists are trying to learn how they do it so humans can grow new limbs or organs or what they need to live longer.

I had to buy more crabs so I could mix the right colors. I like the colors of nature and try to match them most of the time. When I started dotting this crab I had one on the table as a model and I noticed that my sketch in the underpainting stage wasn’t finished. The crab has a face from this perspective and I dotted it in. He looks happy. The crab mouth isn’t a horizontal slit. It’s more like two vertical slits from what I could see feeding ghost crabs last year.

This is a focal point on the far right, a black dot close to white dots.

This is another reason I’m glad I didn’t skip the color rough stage. When I did the rough I wasn’t sure about how to paint the table top. Checked tablecloth or no checks? And where to draw the edge of the table so one crab can be falling off. I didn’t do the checks and the painting doesn’t need them. I lowered the edge of the table and now I like the way that one leg breaks the line.

The subject falling off the edge of the table is an old master trick to make the art viewer want to be in the picture. You want to push it back from the edge. The masters often had fabric or plates or grapes or something going off the edge. It also represents “we all fall down”.

I wasn’t originally planning to have the horse step on the crabs but when I drew it on the canvas with charcoal I made corrections on the sketch and the hoof was on the crabs. I decided not to redraw it, just let it be.

The horse was really hard to do. It’s a view where you see down onto the horse’s back which foreshortens the neck and legs. Also the right front hoof is closer to you than the right rear hoof. Since you’re looking at it on an angle instead of directly from the side the body is slightly foreshortened. I drew it and redrew it so many times all freehand. I knew if I kept at it I’d get something close to visually realistic. This was good drawing practice.

I leave you with some flowers.

Hopes and Plans / oil abstracts

This is my car sliding through New York City without having to stop in a traffic jam because it’s early on a Sunday morning and I’m sailing across the Tappan Zee Bridge which I found without getting lost even once.

This is me making piles of things I need for my vacation which will all fit in the trunk of my car and I’ll have all the art supplies I need in Maine which I couldn’t take along if I flew there.

Unless these abstracts look like something else to you, in which case whatever you think is right, good or bad, because the art viewer’s interpretation is the correct one despite what the artist intends, so they said at the academy.

textural oil paint abstracts

The Swamp At Night

This is Winsor & Newton, Winsor Violet with a little Titanium White.

I’m just doing a color check for flowers that I’m going to paint in my still life.

Nude On The Beach

If you want to give it another title I could change that.

Amethyst by Michael Harding with a little Titanium white.

Today’s Catch

Brilliant Pink by Michael Harding.

I love working this paint like this. Making it runny enough to dot is like making a glaze which I normally do anyway with oil paint. Mixing colors and thinning them with terpenoid using a palette knife is the old traditional way of painting and the still life also has an underpainting which is the old school style so the pointillist experiment I’m working on is similar in those respects to how I usually work with oil paint. The main difference is the dots instead of brush strokes.

It does take some time to prepare the paint for glazes or dots and a lot of artists don’t like to do it but I enjoy this step.

pointillist painting debriefing

close up of finished crabs with horse hooves showing on the top left that are still in the underpainting stage

I took this photo in my dining room light so the colors are a little too warm. I’m excited because one more difficult step is done and I’m almost finished with the painting. The crabs, they kind of sparkle or shimmer to my naked eye. I’m not sure the effect is working on the computer screen.

This project has taken me months with all the sketches I did and all the planning. A few hours at a time and not every day is how I’m getting it done. The flowers and horse are still in the underpainting stage and will need two coats of dots because the background plant and the crabs needed two coats, The horse looks like the most difficult part and I’ll probably do it last.

The reason the crabs are shimmering is because tiny dots of the underpainting are showing through. The underpainting for the crabs was in cool grays and the dots on the crabs are warm orange and red, so the complimentary tints are close to the same value but opposite causing the shimmery look.

The shimmer is a thing I like about pointillism so I’m excited because I think all the hard work I put into it is going to pay off.

Some unplanned things happened with this. I’ll show more close ups with some weird happenings when it’s all done.

underpainting for Homage to Surf and Turf

This will be my new pointillism experiment. I wish I knew how the pointillism masters did it because I like the visual effect. It’s kind of a color experiment. I tried to do a dot painting before and I’m still trying to figure out what works best. Do they draw an outline on a white canvas and start dotting on white or do they do and underpainting? I did the underpainting because this is complicated. I’m guessing Seurat did an underpainting.

My underpainting is in warm and cool gray. The areas showing up in warm gray will be dotted on top with cool colors and the crabs, horse and flowers will be warm colors so they are the blue gray in the underpainting. The underpainting colors might show through or even if they don’t show they will have some effect on the finished dot colors.

Some times I try a color experiment using complimentary colors in the underpainting and I don’t always like the finished look. These crabs, if I used green that is the compliment of red, or blue is the compliment of orange, the two main colors in the crab being shades of red and orange, the color contrast would be very strong. In fact it might look psychedelic which is not my favorite look in a painting. So this time I used grays instead of pure blue or green for this part. I hope you can see what I’m trying to do, make color contrast but not so contrasty that it looks psychedelic.

This is a big painting for dotting all over it. What if I have to go over it twice?! OH NO!! hahaha Then what if it looks stupid finished?! OH H-LL NO!! It could happen. That’s how it is with art experiments. I’ll give it my best shot but it could take a couple more weeks so don’t worry, I’ll post it and let you decide, either way.

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.

Stormy Weather Moving Through / oils

I used my sketch from a couple weeks ago and painted this at home because it was too hot and humid to paint on the beach. We had a few storms but it didn’t help. Tomorrow, rain, but then they’re calling for some nice days just in time for Labor Day! I’m so excited! I’ve been hanging around at home too much.

I went out walking a few times early in the morning but then didn’t want to go back out later. I saw some real neat things I want to draw while I was walking. I hope I can find them again, a washed up jellyfish with small waves lapping on it, and part of a fish skeleton, it mush have been a big fish. I also found some inspiring sand dune with water scenes for after Labor Day.

I taped my paint brushes onto yard sticks again, ala Matisse. You can see how wild the brush goes in this close up.

I tried to pick my colors from memory. The dark green was painted with my modified fan brush taped to a yardstick. It was easier than I thought it would be. I hope it’s a good representation of waves, maybe a little abstract.

At first I painted the clouds too dark and I scraped it off and went a little lighter but they’re still stormy. I smeared and blended my brush strokes on the clouds so they would have a different texture than the waves. Kind of winged it a little on the clouds because they were moving fast and I was looking out the window.

Here’s another wave close up. I’m trying to show dry sand, wet sand, wet sand with a thin layer of water on it which is reflecting the sky, moving water with a direction, and foamy breakers.

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.