Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dark Backgrounds

Dark backgrounds set the stage for dramatic lighting options. The Dutch masters used this technique and called it chiaroscuro. Using dark transparent colors helps give a feeling of depth. I thin the dark colors and wash them onto the canvas leaving drips and brush strokes. Then I use opaque colors for the objects and try to make them "emerge" from the darkness. 

"Limes, Plates, Pitcher", 18 x 14", oil on linen

"Lemons & Chinese Bowl", 18" x 14", oil on linen

"Persimmons & Chinese Bowl", 8" x 8", oil on linen

"Daffodils & Creamer", 9" x 12", oil on linen, SOLD

High-key Paintings

After working on a few paintings with dark backgrounds, I'm ready to switch to a high-key palette. With high-key paintings the emphasis is less on dark and light values and more on bright color relationships. I tried to make "Lemons & Daffodils" as bright as I could. The darkest values are the mid-tones.

"Lemons & Daffodils", 16" x 20", oil on linen

"Memories of Sicily", 18" x 14", oil on linen

While bright, the next two paintings rely more on dark values.

"Breakfast Still Life", 20" x 16", oil on linen, SOLD

"Meadow Bouquet", 16" x 12", oil on linen, SOLD

Small High-key Paintings

Instead of using a stand light, I used the natural light from my north window to backlight the set up. I love the warm light cast by the maple syrup. Makes me hungry for pancakes.

"Eggs & Maple Syrup", 9" x 7", oil on board, SOLD

Painting the egg white was the challenge in this one.

"Broken Egg", 6" x 8", oil on linen, SOLD

I like the way the leaves turned out in this painting.

"Radishes", 8" x 8", oil on linen, SOLD

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers...

It has been a good summer for growing flowers. I've taken many photos in my garden as well as in the gardens of friends. I'm always trying to think more abstractly and focus on simplified shapes instead of details as I paint. I decided that painting from these photographs rather than from life might help me with this process. I'm posting these in chronological order.

"Hellebore", 8" x 8", oil on linen, SOLD

"Iris", 8" x 8", oil on linen, SOLD

"Peonies #2", 8" x 8", oil on linen, SOLD

"Peonies", 14" x 18", oil on linen

I haven't worked this large for a number of years. I enjoyed using big brushes and big strokes with lots of drips.

"Peonies #3", 30" x 40", oil on linen, SOLD

Figures and Portraits

Our niece Jane visited us for a weekend this spring and I snapped some shots of her reading the morning paper. I still prefer working from life, but for figures in settings like this, I use reference photos.

"Sunday Morning", 16" x 12", oil on linen, SOLD

Do you recognize the wood carrier? You can't beat a free model.

"Bringing in Firewood", 20" x 16", oil on linen

"Chelsea", 18" x 14", oil on linen


Many of you know that nasturtiums are my favorite flower. I plant them every year in my garden to enjoy and paint. Here are a couple recent works.

"Nasturtiums in Blue Pitcher", 8" x 8", oil on linen, Sold

"Tea for Two", 14" x 18", oil on linen, Sold

Red Wings

Boots and shoes are favorite subjects of mine. After years of wear, they seem to conform to the shape of the owner and pick up some soul, too. These are my father-in-law's old Red Wing boots. He spent many hours in them tramping through the woods. 

"Red Wings", 18" x 14", oil on linen, Sold