Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Getting a head start on Christmas commissions- don't worry, I'm not posting gifts until after they're given.

This is Dixie, isn't she beautiful? This was a commission for a friend- he's giving it as a Christmas gift... but he already told the recipient (who supplied this fantastic picture) 11"x14" acrylic on canvas. I've never attempted a dog's face this close-up before!

 My first thought was, "How does one paint camo?"

This next project is a palette knife piece of clouds over water- totally created from my head. I looked at photographs of clouds online before I started, but I think I would have been wise to have worked from a photograph.
I really like this one, but at first, no one else who saw it really liked it (it's just not everybody's style), until one sweet friend- who liked it as soon as she saw it, and ended up buying it! Acrylic 10"x20" on canvas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bottles N Brushes, a marsh scene, and PALETTE KNIVES....

Several recent works on this post!

 Not exactly original work, but I had a blast at Bottles N Brushes in Summerville with some sweet friends a few weeks ago- We imitated Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Of course mine is the light one... I have a hard time following the instructions exactly! Not sure it counts, but I decided it fell into the "My Art" category enough to be posted to the blog.

This next series is a commission for my aunt. We were going for a coastal scene, focusing on the colors in the fabric swatches that you can see draped over the backbone of the easel (above the canvas below).  My uncle loves sailboats, and I love my uncle... So sailboats seemed essential. 
I really wanted the water to be still and reflect the sky colors, in addition to the fact that open sails would have taken over the painting.... that led me to a parked sailboat. As you can see, the marsh started out too light and the boat started out too big, but that's why fast drying acrylics are fantastic, as well as why it's always better to work from a picture than your head! When I stood back and realized the low contrast and poor perspective, i painted out the sailboat and added a smaller one and reaaaaally darkened the marsh!

This is a 24x36" Acrylic on Canvas. November 2011
 That marsh is too light and green! Much better suited for bright sunshine and navy water!

 darker marsh...

 goodbye giant sailboat!

 Hello appropriately-sized sailboat!

and here's a close shot of the new sailboat, in a size you can actually see it.

A few months ago, I ran across the work of Marissa Vogl, an artist that works with oil and palette knife. I had the pleasure of meeting her and owning some of her work. She described how she came to start working with the palette knife, specifically how it helped her loosen up. We have in common that we tend to produce tighter more technical and realistic pieces, but appreciate looser, more expressive styles. The palette knife opened up a new world of texture and color blocks for her- see her work at 

She totally inspired me to try my hand with the palette knife and acrylics.  Again, I didn't work from a photograph or life, which isn't ideal. The primary objective with the 3 similar projects below was to learn to use the knives and experiment with paint amount, texture, blending, and strokes. 

The slightly larger one is an 8x10" acrylic on wood panel (which i love- no canvas texture showing through under the flat knife strokes), and the two smaller ones are 5x7" acrylics on canvas board. 
 You can see some of the texture while it's still wet. This is a TOTALLY different color scheme than the sailboat painting. I love yellow ocre paint and it makes me think of the fall marsh!

on paper plates while they dried....

I love this, and I think this is a direction I could really move in and enjoy. Hoping to experiment more. The upsides: It's quick, expressive, not exhausting with details and a tiny brush, serious texture. The downsides: it uses alot more paint, so it will be more expensive, and acrylics are hard to blend before they dry, unless you use a TON of paint. One day soon, I'd love to work in oils!

More to come!  Thanks for following!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dog Days of summer, literally...

The next two dogs were painted in May of this year, but because they were an August anniversary commission, I haven't posted them before now... National boards also delayed both painting and blogging progress. 
When Bradley asked me about painting his dogs, I was hesitant- I'm not exactly experienced in the dog portrait department. However, I decided to go for it. Not only was this a fun challenge, but it opened a door to a world of people interested in having their dogs painted. One thing we can be sure of: people love their dogs (me included). Happy LATE Anniversary Bradley and Maggie! Meet sweet Izzy (black and white) and Molly (the boxer), both 11x14 acrylic on canvas board. 

One thing I learned: I met these dogs a few weeks ago, months after their paintings were complete. Though I was pleased at the time with the reproductions from photographs, after laying my eyes on the dogs themselves I felt differently. Familiarity has a bigger role in recreating the likeness of a subject than I realized, especially when the subject has as much personality as a dog.

 Meet Maggie- Another anniversary painting, but a little more recent. Completed just a few weeks ago. 12x12 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas. I enjoy  extending the color around the sides, especially when it's as fun as turquoise. Happy Anniversary Shana and Nelson! The beginning:

One day, I'll paint my own sweet, curious, rowdy dog. Still looking for the perfect picture to capture that personality.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Graduation Art!

For my brother Art, who graduated from the Citadel in May. This is from some pictures he took hunting in Maryland with my grandfather last fall.
 I quickly learned that while to me the picture was about the sky and water,  to Art, the picture was all about ducks. Enter decoys:

That is where I thought the painting was complete, but there were some changes to make because I worked from a photo, not from life- I hadn't been there. If I had been there, I would have known that the sun was bigger, there were far more decoys, and there were ducks flying in the air. After some procrastination, the painting is complete!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This is the beginning of mom's birthday painting, seen in a previous post, but here the progression is documented. 30"x36" acrylic on canvas.

 The finished product, one more time:
I would say that my dad's obsession with his dog Beacon is outrageous, but my friends and family would remind me that I'm ALMOST as crazy about my own dog Sadie. For Father's Day, I painted Beacon in her favorite spot: the front of dad's boat (which is ironically named "Obsession") in a canal at the beach.
 About this time, I was struggling to figure out why the muzzle wasn't right and it didn't look like Beacon- my brother Art helped me out- the muzzle definitely needed more brown than grey. It's easy to miss the obvious when you've looked at something too long! 11"x14" acrylic on canvas board.
The finished "Beacon" 

 Happy Fathers Day!
 I went to Earth Art Pottery in West Ashley with my friend Ava a few weeks ago to paint pottery. I got lucky and the plate happened to be the perfect size to fit an odd glass cover that I'd picked up at a thrift store earlier. I love blue and white Chinese-inspired ceramics.

 Happy Anniversary to Nathen and Juliana! This painting is a synthesis of several pictures of St. Lucia taken on their honeymoon. I struggled with the color scheme early in the process, So I took a break and worked on another painting. When I returned to this one, I switched brushes and with fresh eyes the pieces fell into place more easily. 16"x20" acrylic on canvas.

This is huge: around 3'x4', a size I rarely work in. I took a break from Nathen and Juliana's painting and worked on this for a while one afternoon. It started out as a Venetian canal scene. I was liking the sky and the water, but I hadn't taken the time to accurately sketch the building proportions before I began painting- It was driving me crazy! So I kept the sky and created a huge loose "Van Gogh and Monet" inspired landscape on top of it in a few hours late that night. Acrylic.