Thursday, July 24, 2014


This 12x16 oil records a beautiful plant I found blossoming profusely under the harsh desert sun.
These bursts of color were small in scale, but reached up from the glossy leaves throughout the plant.
The reflection of the brilliant desert sky and the beautifully articulated shadows on the curving leaves
caught and held my attention. I hope you enjoy it as well.
This is the underpainting, where I worked out the composition and the overall pattern
of light and dark before I dove into finding all those greens.

My pallet consists of 2 yellows, 2 reds, 2 greens, 2 blues, 4 browns, black and white.
This series has tested my ability to mix the necessary 1000 shades of green.
Someday I'll move to another subject and perhaps I won't feel
green around the gills after a day in the studio!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dawn Palm

It seems that the soundtrack of my most memorable vacations and adventures has always involved the rustle of palm fronds. This was an early morning sight, recorded while sipping coffee with toes in the sand. As I watched, the sun caught the center of the tree, chasing the early morning shadows away and firing up another brilliant tropical day.

I started with an accurate value study done in Burnt Sienna. This establishes not only the placement of the elements, here is where I design the pattern of lights and darks.

After letting my underpainting dry for a couple of days I began by laying in the clear blue sky that so beautifully set off the brilliant lights and deep darks of the palm.

Then I moved to the tree itself, beginning by placing my lightest lights and the darks of the deepest shadows. 

Then days were spent in finding all the middle tone greens that make up the bulk of the image and then color balancing and fine tuning. I stopped when I could actually hear the rustle of the fronds.