Friday, October 27, 2006

Notes From Private Lesson

I need to write down everything before I forget what I learned today.

After a 2 1/2 hour session with my very gifted teacher, I have much to remember.

:: I don't like small canvases - that is okay ---- my style is big and bold and a small canvas with tiny details is not to suit me - no need to drive myself crazy over the lady in the window canvas because I can't get her dress and window cloths and draperies - it is OKAY - I learned a great deal from that canvas and not all will be suitable for framing. I will never, ever paint another detailed scene on a small canvas.

:: There are many book suggestions that my teacher gave me that I intend to purchase through amazon or ebay - she is full of reference knowledge and encourages my studies.
copied from her email notes about references I should purchase:
Good article on composition: Great book on colorStern,Aurthur, How to See Color and Paint ItComposition:Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne Also, the North Light Book Club has a ton of good books!
"Good article on composition: Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne
Also, the North Light Book Club has a ton of good books!"

:: My teacher cried when she saw my reflections in my apples and the tablecloth - she was so proud of me and said that I had broken through a painting stage - I told her that I felt that my apples were more scientific - bit by bit - and although i liked the outcome, I enjoyed my first painting more. She showed me pictures of her microscopic detail paintings versus her free paintings - it is okay to do all of the above. Just because I was heavy with my first big painting (heretofore known as my masterpiece) and light with the apples, that is normal.


:: Painting is like sex. When interrupted, one becomes annoyed and irritated. Painting and creativity comes from the shakra that is associated with the womb - creativity - creation. It is good that I get lost in my art.

:: My masterpiece only needed clear liquin gloss all over and it is done. I have yet to sign it! I probably should have signed it prior to the final glaze.


:: I will probably not work anymore on the girl in the window and that is okay. I learned a lot and to spend my valuable time on her is useless.

:; My sugar dish needed more deep purple in the background and more indian yellow glaze on the bottom of the dish. I also needed to add more white highlights and it is normal to do highlights, glaze - touch up some glaze ...........touch up highlights etc.....on and on and on.............that is fine. I should not expect the first pass to stick.


:; As long as the oils are dry and I am glazing, the clear liquin will act as an eraser for any bits that got smeared while glazing with color.......clean brush - dip in liquin - wipe away or push up or push away the unwanted mistake - it is a great eraser and makes glazing freeing.

:: I need to get a deep purple color for my collection of colours. My teacher uses purple a ton! She showed examples of purple in her paintings and it was surprising how much of that colour she uses.

:: My apples needed to be cleaned up. I should let unwanted focal areas disappear or become vague. I added RED to my background dark gray and that bumped it up a huge notch. ONE MAJOR LESSON: WHEN WORKING BACKGROUND HIGHLIGHTS, SUBCONSCIOUSLY PUT ARROWS POINTING TO THE POINT OF FOCUS IN THE PAINTING - SMEAR OR BLOT - DON'T MAKE IT OBVIOUS - BUT ARROWS POINTED TO FOCAL POINTS MAKE THE BACKGROUND MUCH MORE INTERESTING

:; Indian yellow highlights are wonderful but also remember to add white highlights as needed. Indian yellow glaze is not the end!

:: When working fine edges, it is good to use a huge brush instead of a signature brush - also, you will work edges many times in a painting..........the background goes into the subject........the subject goes into the background.............always finish with the subjects edge - ALWAYS!!!!!

:: Use pencil and NOT charcoal. Pencil will show through during the initial oil layer - that is okay - the paint will erase and cover the lead from the pencil.


:: Cover the charcoal sketch with the initial thin wash layer (almost like watercolour) and don't worry about charcoal showing through right now - it will be covered up by the end of the painting. Good to see details and markings. Each petal will be treated as a jewel, it will take much time and effort - so many colours in each petal and there are HUNDREDS of petals - it will beautiful in the end and I am capable and patient. I MUST cover the canvas before I go out of town for 3 weeks so it will be dry when I get back and the real painting can begin.

:: So many styles - free and detailed/scientific -------- experiment and have fun.

Remember, painting is like good sex.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Charcoal Nightmares

So, it took me forever to sketch out the sunflower picture and I used some vine charcoal thinking that would be best for that kind of detail.

I tried to break up each petal into lights and darks - I wanted this piece to be beautiful and I was willing to take the time to make it special.

I needed an underlayer and instead of using burnt umber everywhere, I decided to use some yellow and greens diluted with liquin so I could still follow along with my drawing.

The charcoal is smearing everywhere and is showing through. I don't even know that the thicker, real layers are going to cover it up.

One good thing is that I will still be able to see my sketch when I go to paint the real colors but the bad thing is that I am afraid the charcoal will not cover up everywhere.

I have already spent so many hours so I'm worried.

I have my second private lesson tomorrow and I am taking all of my canvases. I suppose I will be asking more questions than painting tomorrow - I have so much to learn!

I need to finish the final glazes on my masterpiece and put glazes on my lovely apples and I am ready to throw away the girl in the window and my sugar dish is just okay. I am also going to take my huge sunflower canvas so she can give me pointers on it.

I put a bit more yellow in places today - nothing much and wasn't able to take a picture tonight - I will tomorrow before I start my next session on it.

I do love seeing my progressive paintings.

I am learning a ton!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What I am up to lately

I got my new easel and it took me hours and hours to assemble it. SO aggravating!

I was able to use it today because I decided on a huge canvas!

This is my newest inspiration:





I am using a very, very thin application of paint and liquin in the hopes that it would dry fast - preferably tomorrow!

I need to block out the basic lights and darks right now.

At this stage, I feel that it is more scientific than artistic.

I just have to go bit by bit and step by step without looking at the big picture as yet.

I got the original photograph from and I just loved the composition and colors - I also need to practice with flowers.

I think that when it comes time for the petals, I need to treat each one as a jewel - versus a big fancy fast blob like in my first painting.

I have another private lesson with my art teacher on Friday and I look forward to her helping me with all of my pieces.

I cannot believe that I have so much already!

The masterpiece (that's what my husband and I call my first painting)
The sugar dish
The girl in the window
My green apple with tablecloth
Sunflowers in vase

That's a TON for now!

I will be going out of town in a week and will be gone for 3 weeks so I will miss my oils.

I can't wait to see what my teacher says on Friday!

Ta ta

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Workin' It

I am finding myself excited about painting and then when it gets close to time to mix the paints, I get a bit stage fright.

Once I begin, I am lost in artistic space for hours.

I am trying very hard to concentrate on not putting any brushstroke on the canvas until I am certain of it and it feels right. When I paint absentmindedly, it never comes out right.

I am finding a weird line between being too scientific about this and being completely free and uninhibited. I am learning and must be okay with my process.

I absolutely adore painting with oils.

This is what I did today:

I worked on the stupid back bit of apple for about an hour and I then decided to take it out. I also needed some bright color in the cut piece. The picture of the cut bit is so washed out that I had to add interest with my paints. My whole apple and napkin from the tablecloth set were great references but the cut bit was rotten by now. I had to concentrate on values - the white of the napkin got darker further back and I still need to adjust the very back red - it needs to be smaller.



Friday, October 20, 2006

So SLOW!!!!!!!!

I worked on the apples again today and was struggling.

I am second guessing myself about the tablecloth.

Here is my progress:



What I like:

I love it that I looked at all of the reflections carefully on the apple - the tablecloth is IN the apple.

I like the feeling of the cut bit of apple

What I need to work on:

White bits in background
Far apple
I wish seeds in front cut apple were more perfect
I am wondering if I should just change the table to a solid color

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I had a very productive day today.

I glazed two of my cherry trays so they will be dry for my trip back East and I can give them as gifts.

I also glazed the sugar bowl and changed the background - yet again! I will leave it alone this time!

Background changed for the 4th time

After gardening and chores, I finally got 'round to my lovely apples.

Thank goodness for cameras, is all I'm sayin':

Thank God for Cameras

I can't wait to get the tablecloth in - all the reflections should make sense then - I spent the afternoon fidgeting with the apple and the cut piece - I started getting mud so had to stop on the cut piece - it was also getting dark outside!

What will I do when winter is here? I so savor sitting outside and painting.



Tomorrow! I will get to the tablecloth!

Geez, I'll never get 'round to the other scavenger hunt items. I am very proud of myself for painting everyday.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Onward And Upward

Okay, so I got sick of the girl in the window - way too little - I don't have enough teeny tiny brushes to get the details and so I got frustrated.

Yesterday was, by far, the worst day I have had with my art so far. I just lost all confidence - it seemed that everything I did made it worse.

I don't like little canvases with tons of details.

I am so enjoying the scavenger hunt series on wetcanvas - it is helping me to free up and I also have grown confident in my drawing skills.

One of the items is a stained glass church window and so I went to a charming little town to sketch one of their beautiful windows - they were having a bar-b-que and so I had to leave - I did take some pictures to try my hand later.

One of the items on the scavenger hunt was fruit - cut and whole.

I have some beautiful apples, bananas, lemons and grapes but decided on the green apples.

It was my first time setting up my own still life and because I KNOW how important light is, I wanted to capture the pose to make sure I was on the right track.

This is what I decided on:


I blocked it out and because the cut apple was turning brown at an alarming rate, I was left with having to use my photo as a reference for the cut part:

I wanted an interesting tablecloth and preferably complimentary colors:

I wanted to block the dark tones and because the red reflections are going to be so important - I blocked in that

I tried to pick up medium tones - trying REALLY hard not to mix more than two colors because I HATE MUDDY COLORS!



Above I blended with a dry brush - short strokes - light touch - NO MUD!

I needed to trust my initial instincts for color. Real fine line for blending too much and making yucky colors.

I added the gorgeous Indian Yellow from danielsmith with white to get the cut apple bits.

This is how far I got after about 2 hours:


I cannot wait to get up tomorrow to work on the rest!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

And The Beat Goes On

I wanted to try my first figure and what better way than to have her back - too much for full front right now.

My sister lives at the beach and I thought this would be nice for her - I have another window picture that I thought would make a nice set for a gift.

getting values



I liked it that the lady was fuller figured - I decided to accentuate her behind:

i like big butts.....

Next step:

Working on other colors:

background and floor

Trying to save the lights for later

I love my floors! I saw more red in the picture and went with it:


I need to remember - color-color-color! I need to go for it

NO MUDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't make much progress yesterday:

workin on water

the small size is really bugging me - too difficult with my brushes - ugghhhhhh

My new easel came!!!!!! yippee !!!
New Easel!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Know When To Say "When"

Background changed for the 4th time

My First Dish

that's it

I need to leave it alone

put a nice warm and cool glaze on it in a couple of weeks and sign it

Backgrounds can be more difficult when working from life

Remember never to paint a still life while outdoors - light changes too much

Friday, October 13, 2006


I want to record some of the things I have learned this week - I will post pictures later - I love taking pictures in progress.

My sugar bowl bothers me. It was way too gray and I felt it was boring and not creamy/white enough. I changed the background - still not pleased and it actually looks better in the photographs the first time.

Bowl was more boring: Background colors overtook painting:

Took gorgeous goldish background out and tried to make a setting - also added more color to sugar dish:

I am trying to research online about background colors. I know about complimentary colors, but when dealing with gray/white/blues and pinks.........what the hell to use! I am thinking gray - it is supposed to make it "pop" - we shall see.

Here it is with the gray:

My teacup is becoming WAY over-worked - it is much too wet to be tweaking, yet, I can't help myself.






Painting my twig was more fun. I kept it in bright sunlight - placed the colors and blended. Need to not overblend - trust myself and leave it alone.


oil paint on paper sucks but i don't want to waste so many canvases for practice
My lemon tree and lilac tree - oil on paper - I wish I had added the sky:

I sketched many things this week.


table leg gave me trouble because of a back leg that was extremely forshortened - I had to use negative space to get it right.


After looking at my tatting and shuttle, I decided it was going to be too difficult so I put it away. Yesterday, I decided to not let it defeat me and try - step by step. I am very pleased with the way it turned out.


I took drawing 15 years ago and still have pencils and sketch pad and colored pencils - I don't know what any of them mean. Why #4 pencil and what does "B" mean etc..... I am just picking up the pencil and going for it.

I got my DanielSmith oils in the mail yesterday - I can't wait to use them.

My brand new huge white tube has a broken screw top - I have to use tape to seal it which is a bitch.

I ordered a nice projector for future paintings. I know I can draw - it takes so many hours. FOr my paintings, I will start projecting the image so I can get to painting.


Complicated twig twists were never right from the beginning, thus weirdness insued.




I don't want to mix more than 2 or 3 colors - I want vibrant colors.

I didn't spend a fortune on these gorgeous oils to make them muddy!!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


My teacher wants me to paint every day, whether I feel like it or not. She says that if she waits to be inspired, she may not paint for months. I have made myself do something every single day and it feels great. Wetcanvas website has some great forums and I am participating in a scavenger hunt game over there and ended up painting one of the items on one of my canvases.


I almost should have left it like that! It looks kind of cool. Unfortunately, my sugar bowl is more creamy, yellow than gray but I just couldn't paint all of those colors - that was disappointing. I could get the base color of the dish but I never could see the true color of the shadow areas. I have to be okay with where I am right now. I did succeed in finishing the painting in a day

Here you can see the sugar bowl:


I need to learn how to take pictures so there isn't as much of a glare. I do not like the background at all.

I still have another canvas I have started to sketch - a lady in a window.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Comparing Progress






Leave It Alone!


It is so difficult to not keep tweaking and tweaking - that is why I need to have several going on at the same time.

I need to remember how the glazing with indian yellow really helped pull the highlighted areas out and purple for shadows - it made it more dramatic.

Remember to bring things towards the middle(had to make tablecloth not bleed off the canvas - keeeps the eye in)

Many "perfect" things will have to be destroyed - for instance, I really loved my white vase rim before my class - after working on background and glazes , it got messed up and I had to go back and try to fix it - sometimes "perfect" things in paintings take away from everything else

So, now I have to let it dry, do a liquin glaze on top and get it framed.

I also need to not look at for a while.

Friday, October 06, 2006

First Private Lesson

Because it is evening, the pictures didn't turn out so I will try to upload some tomorrow.

I am going to try to list all that I learned:

:: Glazing is a miracle

:: Mix medium with warm color for highlight areas and cool color for shadowed areas.

:: Glazing is only for mostly dried oils - DO NOT TRY ON WET PAINT

:: Diluted golden yellow is brilliant for highlighted sides

:: Diluted purple works well for receded areas

:: Don't blend too much

:: Dry Brush ONLY for blending - dry brush, wipe, dry brush, wipe, dry brush, wipe - Do NOT use a WET BRUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:: Looking at picture in a mirror helps to pull away from the painting

:: Work on MANY paintings

:: Come from a good place when painting - be loving and positive

:: Let your creative juices flow - place colors as you see it

:: Be free and open and brave and bold

:: Don't over work a painting

:: The glaze makes so many things gel that seemed unfinished

What I remember the teacher telling me:

Trust my color choices

Trust my painting instincts

Don't be afraid to be bold

Many "favorites" in a painting will end up being destroyed - don't be afraid of destroying some parts to rebuild is a part of the process.............not everything perfect will last on a painting and that is okay......................many times, it ends up better.

Do not be timid.

Bring the focus inward - don't let focuc bleed off of canvas............bring focus into center..........worked edges of my painting to bring focus in and not all over......

Exaggerate color and hues...............

DON'T BE BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Comparing Tweaking