Friday, July 31, 2015

Oil Cans

Oil Cans
8x10 oil on panel

I hope you're fortunate enough to still be close with some of your best friends from childhood. I'm blessed in this way, a number of the kids I grew up with are still a part of my life. Sharing decades of experience is simply delightful, and the depth of understanding is beyond belief.

In the mid 60's the tomboy who ruled the neighborhood on the other side of the school yard and I decided to join forces, and we sealed the deal by climbing down a storm drain, pricking our fingers and pressing them together. My blood sister and I have made each other laugh while riding bikes, boards and horses, while confessing hopes and fears, and while exploring new places, lifestyles and fashion choices. We've celebrated countless birthdays, holidays, highs and lows and have stood by one another's side through thick and thin for over 50 years now.

We spent a weekend together on the central coast of California a couple of years ago and talked endlessly while walking the rocky shoreline and poking through antique (junk?) stores. It shouldn't be a surprise that we both fell in love with the same thing in one store, but you have to admit that it's a little unusual that it was a grouping of beat up old oil cans. Yup, our co-mingled blood called out for the very same odd ball stuff!  The cans went home to her place in Santa Ynez, but I borrowed them so I could have a painting of them!

I began by doing a tone drawing in Burnt Sienna oil paint 

After the paint dried I applied the base color for all the objects and the environment. While working to capture the color I try to remain true to the values that I established in the underpainting.  I let this stage dry and then I analyze my decisions and make note of where I want to make changes or corrections. After seeing to them I go in and fine tune all areas and add the finishing details.

The completed painting is at the top of the post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cactus Royalty

Cactus Royalty
18x24 oil on panel

This is a large version of a painting I completed in December. I love the scarlet bulbs arrayed like jewels in a crown atop the cactus. Their satisfying round shapes invite you to reach out for them, and the brilliant colors contrast with the smokey cool greens of the leaves in a way that satisfies me.

This is the second painting that I have repainted on a larger scale. In general I have never felt drawn to cover the same ground, and am eager to describe another subject. However, I was interested in seeing how scale would affect the feel of the image, and I am a fan! It changed from a beautiful little glimpse to a majestic vision. Fun! And I found that having painted the subject before the painting took shape quickly and with great confidence. We knew each other through and through and had worked out the bugs in our relationship months ago!

Below are some of the steps along the way to the completed painting.