Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Perception: Contemplation"

30x40x1.5", acrylic on stretched canvas

As with yesterday's painting, this was done on a textured surface. In fact, this surface had loads of texture and was painted yellow. Now, when I do my figurative paintings, I usually start with an image as a jumping-off point, and ideally I put that image away after painting the framework. I say "ideally" because sometimes I get caught up in making all the details completely accurate, which is not what abstract painting is about. It's better to start the dialogue with the painting. To do that, you constantly ask "What does it need?" (Well, not in words, perhaps.) The trap is that, since you're always looking for how to improve it, it means you're looking for what's not right, and you can become very critical of yourself and your painting. 

This one was a bit of a surprise in that I was painting it up close, but it really came to life from a distance, or if you suddenly saw it while coming around a corner. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"The Red Box"

30x48x1.5", acrylic on stretched canvas

Now we're getting somewhere. I've been doing my textured abstracts and figurative abstracts, and wondering if or when I'd combine them. This is a start. I had put a little bit of my texture material on the canvas (the texture material is stuff from the hardware store). I took the built-up canvas to my class with Sefla Joseph and worked on this. Besides painting with a brush, I also put in a lot of the skin tone with palette knife. And I am seeing the mix of figurative plus texture starting to work. I've got one or two more in the works, but it feels pretty good.

And, by the way, one reason I love working with Sefla is that I get surprised, either about things she suggests  or about my results. This is good. If you only heard what you already know, then why study with someone?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"In Your Face"

6x6", oil on canvas board

I painted this one over another painting that I didn't like much. But I enjoyed letting colors from the prior painting show through. It's a cool practice, since you can surprise yourself and end up, say, combining colors that you didn't expect to. Like, I rarely use hot pink. The title was interesting to come up with. The pear looks like it has a big butt, so I almost named it Baby Got Back (that's the song that starts "I like big butts and I cannot lie").

Friday, September 7, 2012


6x6x3/8", oil on textured board

I don't actually remember when I did this. Sometime in the last six months, I would think. But I like it. I'm not sure why. And I think this is why I keep doing abstracts.

Hmm. OK, let's get rational, here. It's mostly low key, but with pops of color. It has a full range of values, including difference values of the same hue. The composition is pretty good. If I were to find fault, it might be that too many of the shapes are the same size, but since it works for me anyway, let's just say it breaks that rule. 

Anyway, I might have trouble selling this one.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Look Over There"

6x6", oil on canvas board  

It's funny how concepts change. I've been feeling uncomfortable about the bright colors throughout my paintings. Partly, the colors make them look more like decorations and less like statements of how amazing a small household item can be. Partly, the bright backgrounds might steal the show from the main item. So I decided to go more neutral. In this one that red-brown background might not be really neutral, but it's more neutral than many things I've painted recently. Onward!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


6x6", oil on canvas board

This has a funny composition. I think I was entranced with using colored glass, so that became the focus, particularly the neck of the bottle. Usually the focus is the flowers. In order to get the shadows inside the bottle, I had to arrange the light to shine from almost straight upwards. The yellow behind the flowers is an effect that came about by mistake on a prior painting, but I decided to try it again here, and it does give an ethereal glow. I wonder if this is how haloes came to be? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


6x6", oil on canvas board 

I've been painting but not posting much. Time to catch up. In recent months I've dived back into my skill builders. And they're adorable. Partly they let me work on a skill I want to gain, but also I love how intimate they are. So I have a handful of those lined up to post.

I'm also in a class with Sefla Joseph, who is a wonderfully creative teacher as well as an amazing artist. In those classes I'm working on my figurative abstract work. More on that when the time is right.