This Little Piggy…

September 13, 2012

Drawing inspiration from the child hood rhymes:
and an adorable stuffed pig with personality we have the makings of a series of fun little paintings.
This Little Piggy… 

So much potential subject matter to yield lovely simple little paintings that lend to great paint passages and expressive compositions.

This little piggy just wants to stay home and hide her head under the blankets.

This Little Piggy Stayed Home. 5×7. #2012_07_12.

Early morning light and deep shadows really helps push the composition.  The light both softens and warms up the compositional balance of negative shapes. A few more layers of paint composing the rounded feet and curly tail add just a touch of whimsy and dimension.

This Little Piggy Snuggled. 5×7 #2012_07_13

This little piggy wants to snuggle in the morning light with her favorite monkey.  Again the lighting and shadows help define the composition while a similar palette of warmer pink and cooler blue values establish the rounded forms of the plush piggy.

Five more minutes… 5×7. 2011.

Five more minutes was the first of this series.  So it is understandably a bit more simplistic.  However by changing the lighting, I ended up with a darker mood and value study.

These paintings are more color, light and compositional studies while really working through a new medium and discovering its various characteristics.   So these are just a few of a growing series of studies to work out.
I wonder what This Little Piggy shall do next?

Barr Mansion Carriage House. 7x5. 2011.07.21

Plein Air painting “on the spot” will get you out the studio and give you a chance to take a drive and find new places to see fresh colors and shadows.

This weeks paint out with the Plein Air Austin group was hosted out at Barr Mansion outside Austin.  The staff at Barr Mansion have done a beautiful job creating an inspiring space to spend  a morning painting.  It was hard to choose just one spot. The 7″x5″ painting above is of the carriage house nestled in the summer gardens.  Location influences a lot of outside painting.  There are many beautiful spots but painting in direct sun is bad news, and an even bigger health risk these day in the heat. I’ll just have to go back to look for a different spot on another day.

The goal was to capture the play of sun light on the building in the early morning shadow patterns.  Plein-air painting requires quick accurate painting to capture the moment before sun moves higher and the shadow patterns and color temperatures begin to change.

I decided I needed a warm light /cool shadow focus to relate the summer conditions.  Next, I work out a pencil sketch to be sure what i am intending to paint will fit on the canvas.  Then mix out a limited value and color range.  For plein air, I limit myself to 8 tubes of paint.  R (Alizarin) Y (lemon yellow) B (Ultramarine and Cerulean for sky) +white, +black, sometimes adding a green or cadmium depending on the lighting and subject. Everything I need can be mixed from these.  Then I set about painting shapes and values that reflect what has captured my interest today.

Some small plein-air paintings can come together in a hour to hour and half.  Anything past that and the light has begun to shift significantly from where you started the painting that it can quickly turn in to a night mare if you are unaware of how long you have been working.  Not to mention risk sunburn and heat stroke in the Texas weather.

A fair days painting for a fair day of triple digit temps.

*I will post a picture below to show my easel setup on site just before I came home. 

These Shoes…

July 16, 2011

Sexy Shoes. 7x5. 2011.07.16

Stepping out of the norm. These shoes are Sexy Shoes.

They are a favorite pair of mine.  These shoes are surprisingly elegant and beautifully comfortable to wear.  I’m a more practical classic kind of gal.  Comfort before style…at least when its my shoes and I have to wear them.  But these are elegant beauty and comfort. I’ll take them. Maybe I’ll paint them too.

The more elegant and simple the subject appears the  more challenging to paint.    And that’s before you even get to load up on color ranges.  The challenge in painting elegant shapes is in the complexity of the simplicity. Think about it.  Go ahead you try to draw a perfect circle or ellipse with only a pencil no other  gadgets. Then consider painting it in all the values to transform that circle into a sphere.

These shoes are a complex creation of spheres, cylinders, cast shadow, loops, light patterns and reflections.  Weee!!! “Jump in and push the paint” only works to a point.  An artist must know the shapes and value temperatures needed.  An artist must know how the paint will mix when applying it next to a wet area. All this and more to relate the subtle shifts in light and depth to create credible impression of the intended subject: my shoes.

So here is the painters “not so simple” version of elegant shoe theory, at it’s basic development.


July 15, 2011

Sassy Cootie. 6x6. 2001.07.15.

This is Sassy Cootie.

Thick paint gives definition and body to the toy cootie as warm light shifts to cooler shadows.  Because one cootie is never enough.  This 6×6 could be a sister study to Solo Cootie.  Check out the detail of her head to get a good feel of the paint application.

Sassy Cootie, head detail.



Dishes will wait.

July 13, 2011

Dishes Will Wait. 5x7. 2011.07.13

So you see the Dishes Will Wait…  They have no desire to wash them selves while you are working or painting.  But they can inspire small studies.   Yes, The chores are still there when I’m done painting.  And I of course have to clean up my paintbrushes too.

Can anyone guess what color scheme I used today?

Painting or chores? Hope I can to finish both today.

Tomato Trio.

July 6, 2011

Tomato Trio. 5x7. 2011.07.06

A spoon full of veggies can be more than just tasty!

Today’s painting is a 5×7  Yellow / Violet split complement study of a few cherry tomatoes from my sister’s garden.  The challenge of the subject was the somewhat transparency of the tomatoes when in the sunlight.   *Yellow and Violet are opposite on the color wheel.  When mixed together they create a variety of neutrals and help to emphasize the color contrasts between complements.

Time to go put my veggies together for dinner.

Wind Up Dino

July 5, 2011

Wind Up Dino. 5x7. 2011.07.05

Here is today’s study in the Toy series.

This one is for those that love extra thick expressive paint.

I applied the paint somewhat thicker since that seems to be the nature of painting without thinner or medium these days.  But i do like that it has grit and form to it.  However, something to remember, even us artists have our off days and others are just totally disconnected.

I spent most of the day trying to push the contrast to pop the dinosaur with complements (opposites on color wheel) thinking Blue Green’s complement was Red Violet.  What was I thinking? Its more like Red Orange.    That helps.

Starting Fresh

June 21, 2011

Here it is!

My long awaited blog is here featuring daily paintings, adventures and research.  My subjects vary from the playful still life to intriguing city scape exploring the balance of light and dark within each painting.

The goal is to create  5 new paintings a week.  I have completed 5 paintings in 7 days!  Woot.  Sorry, I had 2 days of non-painting, and 2 crash & burners, thrown in there for emergency family needs.  I will continue to post a new painting each day so long as life allows.

Blue Kitty 2. 5x7 2011.06.18

Orange / Blue spit compliment study. To purchase please click here.


Ren's Garden Strawberrys. 8x10. 2011.06.15

Green / Red split compliment study. To Purchase please click here.

Blue Kitty. 11x14. 2011.06.14.

Limited Blues study. To purchase please click here.

Reds & Yellows. 9x12. 2011.06.13

Dramatic Light, playful subjects. To purchase please click here.

Feel free to browse and comment on these.  Sales links are attached.  Future posts will be daily inspirations and creations.