Saturday, March 30, 2013

Daffodils And Miniature Roses (Work In Progress)

The above reference photo of mine was taken some time ago, when daffodils were plentiful at the florists here in Hawaii.   It was way over a year ago when I bought them; as you know spring bulbs will not grow in this tropical climate.  Below is a close up I took as more reference for my oil painting of spring flowers.

I have no idea why I used that gold material other than it was new and I liked it, but in the oil work in progress below I opted for using a white foreground.

Work In Progress 
12" x 9" oil on panel

It is almost embarrassing to post this painting above, because it is so very rough and a little messy.   It has a long way to go yet and I want to use more exciting color and contrast in the background.  To tell the truth, I came close to what I wanted while painting today, but then wiped it off and started again.....mistake!  Sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone.   Funny how sometimes the painting paints itself with ease and other times we struggle a bit to get it right.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Slim Pickin's (Brazilian Cardinal On The Beach)

"Slim Pickin's"
11" x 14" oil on panel 

This oil painting of the Brazilian or Red-crested Cardinal is pretty true to my reference photo I took at Bellows Beach on Oahu.   There was sand inside the broken coconut shell, but evidently this fellow found something to nibble on in it as well.   On the tip of  the bird's beak are some sand particles.  The wind was blowing, which made its crest more flat against its head instead of standing up straight as in my reference photo of another cardinal shown below.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What About Color? And Natural Pigments? (In Still Life Or Other Paintings)

"Painting is a mosaic of colors weaved into a seamless whole."  - Igor Babailov

"Joyous Celebration"  
African Tulip Tree
24" x 20" Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas

My painting above was painted with a lot of joy, mostly because I was excited about the colors involved.  The vivid orange blossoms with the complimentary blue background visually moves you.   However, it is primarily a "warm" painting.   Marion Boddy-Evans has been quoted as saying, "It doesn't matter whether the overall feeling of the color in a painting is warm or cool, it just shouldn't try to be both."   Good advice.   

I began painting in oils when I was 15 years old, without any instruction to speak of except what I had learned in books about supplies needed and a few basics.   I can honestly say that from the very beginning, I painted mostly from instinct, and that particularly applied to the use of color and color mixing.  It came very natural to me, although it took a few years of painting experience to learn more about color and get a sense of what direction I wanted my art to go. I am still learning and experimenting with color today.  A quote I love is by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, "Who told you that one paints with colors?  One makes use of colors, but one paints with emotions."

"Iris Garden Dance"
18" x 24" oil on gallery wrap canvas

I chose to feature 2 of my flower paintings here because they are so colorful.   I find much excitement in using a variety of colors in my works.   It keeps my paintings from all looking alike and also helps me to learn more about color mixing and color harmony as I go.    Marc Chagall said, "Color is all.  When color is right, form is right.  Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration."  I agree with that to a degree; form and contrast and value are also very important.   

I would like to tell you about a new 2 DVD set by Stephen Quiller, a well-known and respected artist, which is all about color theory and would be a great source for beginning painters.   Check out this link for more information and a short video. 

Also, there has been much interest of late about traditional artists' materials and natural pigments.  Please visit this link for a source of natural pigments, including lead white, mica lead white, ceruse, ercolano red, and many more.   They carry not only oil paints, but casein, tempera, and watercolor.   There are interesting articles on this site as well, such as the color palettes of some of the old masters.

"I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music."  - Joan Miro

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Forget Me Not" Oil Still Life Painting And Prints

Forget Me Not
12" x 16" oil on canvas

I am happy to announce that this still life oil painting is now available as prints at Fine Art America.   Please go to this link for information on available sizes and types of prints. 

This painting is full of symbolic meaning, such as the yellow Peace rose in a vase of  "living water".
Those are forget-me-not flowers on the cup and saucer.

Friday, March 8, 2013

High Key or Low Key? Plus Shipping Boxes For Paintings

"Tropical Delight"
12" x 16" oil on gallery wrap canvas

Although the above still life oil painting of the pitaya or dragon fruit has some darks within it, to me it is basically a high key painting and I had a grand time with the exciting colors.   I am currently working on more than one painting, and one of them is a still life of yellow daffodils which I want to be mostly high key with a lot of light colors; however, it is not exciting enough to me and rather ho-hum looking, so I may have to add a dark table top for more contrast.   But I also hope to liven up the colors a bit.   Stay tuned.   The above painting is from a previous post, but I thought I would share it again for new viewers to this blog.

Now about shipping boxes for paintings (which is the primary reason for this post tonight).......  To ship framed paintings to galleries or art competitions my personal opinion is go with Air Float Systems Strongbox
Their strong corrugated boxes have been tested by FedEx and UPS for resistance to damage and are approved by major airlines.  They are re-usable and inside have 3 foam layers to protect your framed painting.   There is an excellent video at their link above with a short demonstration.   

Another good source is EZArtshippers found at  I ran across that information tonight on Carol Marine's blog .   They are great for shipping or storing paintings on panels.  I will check them out.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Work In Progress - Red-Crested Cardinal and Video

Red-Crested Cardinal 
Work In Progress - Stage 4
oil on 11" x 14" panel

There have been obligations to take care of, so I finally got back to working today on this oil painting of the Red-crested or Brazilian Cardinal.  Reality check: there is more to life than painting everyday     :-)     There is much refining work to be done on his feathers, as well as other areas of the painting.   In an earlier post I explained how I photographed this fellow at Bellows Beach on Oahu, as he was busy nibbling on something inside this fallen coconut.  

Below is a video (not mine) of these cardinals on the island of Kauai.   Beautiful and relaxing to watch !