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Friday, April 30, 2010

French Breakfast Radishes

I went to the farmer's market and found these heirloom radishes.They were very very complicated to paint and I was having brain strain trying to simplify and order all the stems, roots, shadows, etc. However, I couldn't have tackled this at all 6 months ago, so it is a good benchmark. I clearly understand there is a tonal AND color range of whites, which I didn't get before, even though that sounds so elementary. And I understand that between the light and dark there has to be a transition tone. I didn't know how to move from that light to dark, what to put between them to make the two connect. Now I can see the transition tones in the objects, and I can see them in other people's work, so I am on the way.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Perch on Glass Plate

I learned many things with this fish. First, I got a new camera, a Nikon coolpix, $150, and it does everything I ever dreamed of and more which I hope to learn about. Then: I laid down my white highlight areas first and worked into them, much more successful in keeping the whites clean. Also: I bought of tube of Cadmium Green to experiment with and it makes subtle but light filled greenish greys, very happy with this.
In addition, I went blogsnooping and found Dan Carr. (Google him, I can't remember where I found him.) He has painting videos! So helpful. His blog is very journal like, with lots of erudite information and musing. He did mention this term, though, that made me cower: excess color syndrome. I might have a case of ECS.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This is my 13 year old Yorkshire Terrier, Lulu. I am doing dog paintings this week, so I thought I would try a quick one of her for a warm up to the real work...
I reposted this after another photo. I am learning the hard way about cameras, and just now grasping the ISO. Not enough light this morning for color to show up.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I have been thinking about what causes tightness in the painting. My painting, really, because I don't know about anybody else. It isn't being careful, it's being afraid I won't get it right, and then going back to fix it. I can always fix it, with time and patience, but the aliveness of the first strokes are gone. When I fully understand the structure of the form, I am not worried about accuracy and I have a better chance of getting it down right the first time, so things don't need cleaning up. I think tightness in painting might be a drawing issue -- not enough drawing skill.
What I want is that aliveness in the paint itself, it's visible plasticity.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hammer and Eggs

What to say about this's not exactly meaner, but not as sweet in coloration and also not so soft, which is what I wanted. It is still too tight, though. I don't know exactly how to remedy that except just to work through it. I don't think it is technical stuff that can fix it, I think it is my carefulness. Aaauugghh!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blue Saltshaker, Old lIme

I was wanting to do something mean today, like hammers or sawblades, and to use the paint crudely and mash it around. I can't think where that went. Maybe I can do it tomorrow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tall Salt Shaker on Pink

I am finding that a single image painting is a good break from a complex composition. There are different issues, all that space and how the color works in it, for instance. I am doing better with the small sized canvas, but I'm itching for some room. I did have an epiphany this week: if I move the easel 2 feet back from the set up, the image is miraculously smaller and easier to fit into the small canvas. I felt very clever.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can Opener

This one was a sort of training session for greys. Every color of grey was in the can opener plus purples, blues, yellows, greens. Almost lurid, in fact.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The $2 Large Cupcake at HEB

A bit of glare on this one. Painting buttercream frosting is just like painting cloth, only smaller and wilder.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tart from La Madeleine

I replaced the pale lemon slice in the whipped cream with a maraschino cherry for color. Now the tart is very old and has been handled by my paint covered fingers, and so has lost its allure. But if you don't know that it still looks marvelous.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Junk stuff. My thinking here, how to make an isolated object work in a lot of space, how to make the color of the space hold the object sufficiently, and last, how to make a very small painting have a sense of bigness and spaciousness.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Junk Drawer Stuff

This was fun to do. So tight, though.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Onion and Citrus

This seems so bizarre now, but my aim was, a dark composition with nothing in the middle and forms going off the edge. I bought a pleine air frame (g0ld) for a 6x6 inch canvas and dropped some paintings in it. A good 1/3 inch of the edge is covered by the frame, which leaves a right small area left. If there is only one thing swimming there, it looks choked. Paintings with forms that go off the edge fare better and incorporate the frame into the whole. As the frame is 3 inches wide, that's a lot of mass that has to work with the piece. I also like the panel itself, unframed, but how to fix it to the wall. There is something funny to me about a big frame on a little piece that I really like.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Last Bluebonnet

This is the best of the lot so far, still tighter than I would like, but moving in the right direction. I neglected to mention my Georgia sister is also a bluebonnet fan and is the smartest and best looking of the three of us.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I'm trying some greying down of some parts, thinking it will jump the color in other parts....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Every year since I moved to Texas I do a bluebonnet painting for my Texas sister's birthday. Most of those paintings are really terrible, but they are steadily improving. I find flowers so hard, for all the same reasons as everyone else: they are so alive and after you paint them they are so not. And all the greats have painted them so there is a heavy historical burden. Even with all that, sometimes you have to do it anyway.
I take my hat off to you, Jane Freilicher.

Poblano Peppers, Red Onion

Shiny things are such a great vehicle for color, this one was fun.
This is yesterday's post, I will try to get today's post in today, and also try really really hard to have fun.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Bluebonnets. It's Texas, you have to do it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Red Onions on White Cloth, 8

This is the last onion painting. I actually learned a lot about painting cloth from doing this, maybe not so much how to make the white have depth and shine instead of being flat - but the importance of laying the paint down in a manner that lets each piece of color co-exist. It seems to me that white takes an extra deft hand, but then it all takes a deft hand. In any case, I could SEE what would make it work, even if I can't yet do it at will. And J.L., as for the onions, I guess there is no there there.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mango, Plums, Berries on White, 7

I did a truly bad painting of those onions yesterday and wiped it, then this one. I'll get back to those onions today. I hope.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Strawberries on White Cloth, 6

A friend brought by strawberries and I had to paint them before eating them, so the onions have to wait one day. I am doing better with the whites I think. There is a lot of color in the white of this cloth and it is still brilliantly white on the canvas. Not so shimmering, though. Also, I think I need a single lens reflex camera, because a lot of stuff is not showing up on the photograph. And then I need to learn how to use it (aaugh!).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Red Onions on White Cloth, 4

I am loving these onions, however they are not yet the way I want them. I want exaggeratedly strong and alive. They are so robust in real life, really huge and patent leather shiny. So back at them right away.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Onions, Shallots, Limes

I have underestimated re-entry time into the studio!
I did 3 paintings today, the first and third laughable, this one still a wiper, but proof that I worked. I wanted to work larger, so I used a stretched 8x 10" canvas. Will return to small format tomorrow and hope for the best.
While I was away I saw a retrospective of Lucien Freud and the painting part of my brain may be paralyzed.