June 26, 2016

291 Geraniums

291 Geraniums291 Geraniums

12 x 12 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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From Poppies to Geraniums I've happily hopped, using a photo by @johnderian as reference for this work. Someone recently asked what style of my painting is, in reference to the straight edge strokes. The answer is that I don't think there is a name for that style or those types of strokes ... except the way I get those strokes is that I use for the most part, short flats (aka, short brights) in terms of paintbrushes. I also sometimes use filberts but mostly short flats. They help me keep things loose and avoid blending. Many thanks to John Derian for this intriguing composition ... makes me think he was holding a Geranium in front of a landscape with hills and a body of water at dusk ... or maybe it was just growing there. Either way, it is so cool.

June 25, 2016

290 Poppies on Purpose

290 Poppies290 Poppies on Purpose

8x10 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas.

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My love affair with poppies continues with this work. For the most part, I stayed true to my limited modified palette of mixing everything with 5 tubes of paint and then brought out the cad orange at the very end ... one of the vivid hues that I just cannot mix without a little smidge of this super color. But before adding the strokes of the vivid cad orange, I first painted the flower clusters with a less vivid orange that I mixed and then added strategic strokes of cad orange on top, preserving spots of the darker orange for where I observed the darker parts of the petals to be. As I've shared, I've been training myself to layer and not to blend or swish. But with this work, I made an exception and made some swish strokes ... to make the clouds look like they are moving. Yes, I swished on purpose, and I liked it.



June 24, 2016

289 Innocence and the Field

289 Innocence in the Field289 Innocence and the Field

12 x 12 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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As soon as I saw the beautiful photo of a child walking in a field that Rebecca Sower posted on her IG feed, I knew I wanted to paint it, which is exactly what I did. I love how even with simple landscape scenes (with a simple human figure) there are depths of value and subtleties of colors and shadows and light that are challenging and very rewarding to paint.

June 23, 2016

288 Peonies Found

288 I don't know288 Peonies Found

8x10 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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I stand when I paint. It helps me walk back and forth frequently so that I try my best to simplify and stay loose with reduced shapes into general forms rather than get lost and mired in the over-thinking of details. Still, I occasionally find myself standing very close to the canvas, forgetting that it should be my practice to step back frequently, as I get lost and tangled in every centimeter and every detail. And then I wake up and tell myself: "Step back stupid." And that's when I get untangled as I see large, reduced, general shapes. And I think to myself, isn't that so true with life as well? That when things seem really weird and conflicted and insurmountable, it becomes less so when I step back and gain a larger perspective. Yes.

I used a photo of peonies from the Internet for this work. I sometimes got lost and had moments of crisis when I was over-thinking everything and I thought the work was going down the drain. It's only when I stepped back that I was able to bring it back. And I was found.

June 22, 2016

287 Field of Poppies

287 Field of Poppies287 Field of Poppies

20 x 16 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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Not sure if I've shared with you that I usually work from my home studio. It's just easier that way because of all my creature comforts that are near by. Like my fridge (for easy snacking), my washing machine and dryer (to do a loads of laundry in between strokes of paint), and my red couch (where I sometimes crash and burn and indulge in delicious, syrupy midday naps). And of course my pups, Toby and Scout. Today, however, I worked in Studio Crescendoh, my  studio which is about 2 miles from my home. Whenever I push myself to work in Studio Crescendoh, part of me misses my creature comforts. But I also know that part of me receives new observations and ideas and visuals that inspire me and my future work in unexpected ways. It's a good thing.

Poppies continued to be my subject matter today. I love them so much. Minimal, clean, and sophisticated flowers they are. I used a photo reference for this work and while working, dreamed of one day finding myself in a real field of poppies (like Dorothy, the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin man did) and working all day to use real poppies from the field as my reference ... with such focus and fervor that I would eventually crash and burn to take a nap, not in the poppy field, but back at home, on my comfortable red couch.

June 21, 2016

286 White Rose

286 White Rose286 White Rose

12 x 12 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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I took a photo of a white rose right outside my gym and used that as reference for this work. You may have noticed that I've been painting more on stretched canvas for my oil paintings rather than my usual gessobord. It's different but I really like it quite a bit. It takes up a lot more paint to paint on canvas but I feel like I'm letting the actual paint do more of the work, than the brush.



June 20, 2016

285 Dried Peonies

FullSizeRender-73285 Dried Peonies

8x10 inches :: original oil (on top of acrylic) painting on stretched canvas

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I started this work by first painting the canvas with acrylic paints. On top of that I painted my still life composition, playing around and allowing bits of the acrylic under layer to be seen. I used three peonies that I dried recently as my subject, along with my little glass vase. In case you're wondering ... you can paint oil on top of acrylic but you cannot paint acrylic on top of oil. Well, I guess you CAN do whatever you want but the latter is not recommended because it would be like wrapping oil with a layer of plastic, eventually causing the plastic to fall off. 

June 18, 2016

284 Becoming

284 Becoming284 Becoming

8x10 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord

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Boy, the warm weather has arrived here in Santa Ana, California. With a power outage on our street and everything. Thankfully, the power is back on ... just in time for me to list this work ... a continued exploration of flowers, values, layering shapes without blending, and a limited palette.

June 17, 2016

283 Unencumbered Peonies

Peonies283 Unencumbered Peonies

10x8 inches :: original oil on stretched canvas

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I modified my zorn palette by bringing in ultramarine blue for this work. Also instead of ivory black (because I ran out of it) I used lamp black. Aside from that, I stayed true to mixing everything else with just 4 colors. A challenge that is becoming less challenging and really a marvelous way to work for me. I just love it. Not sure if you can notice but with this work and the last two or so, I've also refrained from what I have been known to do toward the end of the process, which is to employ a large brush to swish sections together. I feel that when I study the great master painters (like Sargent) the work is non-blended, non-swished clusters of strokes that are placed accurately in terms of value and shape. So when we look at the work not with a microscope but from a distance, it all works in a most masterful way. I don't want to ban swishing from my tools ... just not encumbered or defined by it. (I used a photo reference of flowers in a vase that I found on the Internet for this work.)

June 15, 2016

282 Limited Melodrama

IMG_1767282 Limited Melodrama

8x8 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord

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Today was another day using the limited color palette of titanium white, yellow ochre, cad red, and ivory black to mix all my colors for this work. I actually didn't use raw umber (the color said I can't paint without ... haha) and instead brought in a pre-mixed teal, which try as I might, I couldn't mix with the four I tried to stick with. I had a moment of thinking something like "You're not such a good color mixer or a painter after all." And then thankfully and rather quickly, a moment of thinking something like "Stop being so melodramatic. It's boring as hell. The world won't collapse because you can't mix it at this very moment. Go ahead and squeeze it out of the tube and enjoy your short life."

I used my trusty teal mug, a lemon from my tree (that has kind of a sweet peachy aesthetic) and some bing cherries I bought from the store last night for this composition.

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