Cherry Coke Monster


Cherry Coke Monster

I painted this for Jeff (mostly) several years ago while we were living in Guangzhou, China. He really loves diet coke, but at the time it was harder to find than coke zero. So Jeff developed an appreciation for coke zero and here we have a can of it with the labeling in Chinese.

Jeff doesn’t especially like cherries, but I liked how they filled up the negative space in the bottom right so there they are. I like how Domo Kun is staring out as if he is looking at someone we can’t see in the painting. Like he knows he has been caught right as he was about to devour this can.

Domo Kun for Bryan

Domo Kun for Bryan

I painted this a few years ago for our friend Bryan while we were living in China. Bryan’s in Poland now and the painting is with him so I couldn’t post a more detailed image, but you get the idea. Bryan loves Domo Kun, skittles, and root beer. He also loves his wife and daughter, but they weren’t there when Domo Kun posed for this painting ;D

Old man with a hat

oldmanwithahatThis was done last semester using a technique invented by Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec called painting with spirits or “peinture à l’essence” (don’t ask me to say it). It involves using oils on cardboard or paperboard as both a painting surface and palette. The board absorbs the oils and the paint dries fast so you have to work quickly. Because the paint dries so rapidly turpenoid (or odorless mineral spirits) is needed to add some moisture back into the paint.

Flower studies

flower studies

As I mentioned in the previous post, earlier this month I went to a painting workshop given by Carol Marine.  Aside from the awesome opportunity to learn from someone whose work I love, the main thing  I wanted from the workshop was to start painting more loosely and boldly. This means changing how I see which involves a lot of squinting, filtering out of unnecessary details and trying to see bigger more abstract shapes.

Doing this means letting go. I mean this in a good way when I say one of the most important things I’ve learned at the workshop is to wipe the canvas when what’s on there isn’t working. I lost count of how many times I wiped this panel down.

Another important lesson I learned is that if I’m having to wipe the canvas down repeatedly then it’s time to do some smaller studies of the subject I’m trying to paint.

Carol noticed I was struggling and she painted the flower in the bottom right to show me how to break down what I’m seeing into value shapes. Then I started again. I almost wiped the top left, but since it was just a study I left it, which was just as liberating as wiping it was previously. And now I can see the progress I made from that to the other two I painted in the upper right and bottom left.

Wet panel carriers

My apologies for neglecting my blog reading. I’ve been away for the summer visiting family back home in Oregon and Washington. I look forward to catching up with everyone soon.

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to attend a painting workshop run by one of my favorite artists Carol Marine.

Carol uses Ampersand Gessobord for her painting surface. I gave it a try and I like it much better than the canvas panel I was using before. So now I’m using some my old leftover canvas panels as slats for the wet canvas carrier that my uncle made for me.
wet panel carrier 1

For the workshop I needed something that I could carry panels of various sizes without breaking the bank. My uncle re-purposed an unused bookshelf that he picked up at a garage sale and created these nifty carriers. I slid some 9×12 canvas panels between them to act as shelves.

wet panel carrier 2

These work great and are able to hold anything 9 x 12 or smaller.I ended up using the top as a staging area for still life set ups. By stacking/unstacking them I was able to  raise or lower my point of view.

wet panel carrier 3

They were great to have on hand and I’m sad to leave them behind in Oregon. Thank you Uncle Scott!

Tomorrow we get on a plane back to China!


Cupcake monster


Being able to start and finish (or nearly at least) a simple painting in a day is something I eventually want to be able to do, but I’m not there yet. So I’ve decided to aim for 3 a week instead of 4 because I’d rather end up with fewer paintings I’m happier with instead of more paintings that I don’t really like. I haven’t met my quota this week, but there’s been more going on this weekend with the hubby’s birthday and the dragon boat festival.

In the spirit of Jeff’s birthday (tomorrow) I painted a cupcake monster for him. Happy Birthday Jeff!


Friday Favorites are on hiatus for the summer!

Red apple with red pot

Red apple with pot

Some practice using reds (terra rosa, cadmium, alizarin) with a full palette. First semester I painted the apple and pot together, but at the time it was a monochrome painting using only terra rosa, ivory black and titanium white. So I wanted to try it again with a full palette this time. I haven’t used ivory black in a long time. Something close to black is created by mixing ultramarine and brown madder (usually I use burnt umber), basically a dark blue and a dark brown.

I usually use bristle brushes in varying sizes as well as softer brushes for blending. This time I used some new brushes I grabbed at the store, nylon brights. In general I like the squarer shape of brights and the strokes they make on the canvas, but as expected these nylon brushes create much smoother, less expressive strokes. So I have mixed feelings about the result.

Rainbow bunny with yellow cup

Rainbow bunny with yellow cup

I’m glad I decided to go for four a week instead of five. This gives me some breathing room since these take me awhile to do.

For some added inspiration here is Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest talk on TED. There are so many quotable quotes that I ended up printing the transcript and putting it up on my wall.