Sunflowers in Old Crock

Sunflowers in Found Crock, oil on linen panel, 8x8 in

Sunflowers in Found Crock, oil on linen panel, 8×8 in. Click image to enlarge.

I found this wonderful old crock set out on the curb, adorned with a “Free” sign so I carried it home for my “Found Stuff” painting series. One handle had broken off but the owner had thoughtfully placed the pieces inside and I glued it back together. I love the way the flowers are reflected and shadowed on the crock. The painting is available here. Below are photos of the work in progress.

It takes two to paint. One to paint, the other to stand by with an axe to kill him before he spoils it. William Merrit Chase 

My biggest painting goal is to stop what I call “unauthorized painting” — I finish part of a painting, like it and write my plan for that area: “Don’t touch it!” Later I decide to just do a little “touching up” and the next thing I know I am wishing for a “REWIND” button as I try to wipe off the “unauthorized” paint. Where’s the guy with the axe when I need him? I need to draw him, axe and all, and stick it on my easel!

If you’d like more details about each session’s goals, my thoughts, missteps and corrections, click Autumn Sunflowers and Found Crock (PDF) to open the chart. As promised in my last post, here is a Session Template (click to DOWNLOAD Word file), for anyone who would like to use or modify it to track their own work. I’ll also post it on my Resources Page.


Two Sunflower Survivors with Process Chart

Two Survivors, oil painting of sunflowers and white vase on linen panel, 7x5 in

Two Survivors, oil painting on linen panel, 7×5 in

Persistence, patience, perseverance, determination, curiosity, courage, confidence, wonder…these are all qualities needed to become a better painter. Another essential is learning to really see and understand the subject. I titled this painting (available hereTwo Survivors because only these two survived from the big bouquet during the week I struggled with two previous sunflower “studies” (aka failed paintings). Sometimes it takes a while before the “blinders” fall away so that I can see the shapes, colors, and values instead of the named bits (e.g. petal, leaf, or nose) that interfere with seeing as a painter.

I was inspired by artist Chris Beaven (whose sunflower painting I purchased and love) by his Session Detail charts that he embeds at the end of each post (sample). I modified his chart to create one for myself to focus my goals and intentions for each session and the painting as a whole. Completing  the chart at the end of each painting session with image, results and plans/goals for the next session is making a big difference in my process and helps me avoid random, unfocused messing about with paint.

Below is the chart I used for this painting. If you’d like to see all three session charts for this painting with my notes about goals, composition mistakes and corrections, and corresponding images, click here to open 3-page PDF file.

Session 1 Detail Chart (Click image to enlarge or click PDF link above to see all 3 sessions)

I loved the original painting of the vase in Session 1 above, with wonderful warm highlights and cool shadows created by the new LED lightbulb I’m experimenting with. My intuition told me to leave the vase alone but instead I started adding the pattern from the actual vase. After a few strokes I realized I didn’t like it and tried to wipe the pattern off the still wet paint. Then I tried to return to the original shapes of color, temperature and value.

I revised the chart layout after this painting. In my next post (another sunflower still life) I’ll include the completed chart for that painting’s 6 sessions and a blank template for anyone who wants to experiment using or modifying it for their own artwork sessions.

Playing Dirty Ball!

Dirty Ball, oil on Gessobord, 8x8 in

Dirty Balls, oil on Gessobord, 8×8 in

I had so much fun painting these dirty old baseballs my dog found at the dog park next to the batting cage at Albany High School. It felt like fun and play, not work while I was painting it and I’m really happy with the results. I’d been struggling to find my way with oil painting the past couple months, so it feels good to get my confidence back. Playing Dirty Ball is available on my DailyPaintworks site here.

The first baseball Millie found and tore apart had a computer chip, wires and a tag with different speeds on it deep inside. Is that normal for baseballs? She loved shredding that ball, gradually tearing off the leather,  then unwinding the yards of tightly wrapped black twine until she finally got down to the wonderfully bouncy little black ball inside that she played with for weeks. At one point it rolled under the gate so she started digging a hold trying to get to it. I was surprised by the hole, worried she was trying to escape, until I found the ball on the other side of the gate.

Now that I’ve painted these dirty balls I can give them to Miss Millie for her shredding pleasure.

Shower Flowers Sketches: Dahlias, Pansies and Paper Bootie

More Shower Flowers: Pansies, ink and watercolor, 8x5"

More Shower Flowers: Pansies and Paper Bootie, ink and watercolor, 8×5″

My daughter-in-law’s mother (Why is there no name for this important family relationship: “Son’s Mother-in-law” and “Daughter-in-law’s mother” are so awkward!) decorated Brittney’s baby shower so brilliantly. She covered the tables with colorful vases filled with dahlias and a little pot of pansies at each place setting. She decorated the walls with banners hung with pages from all our favorite old Little Golden Books classics.

I took home my pansies to sketch (above) and a vase of dahlias to sketch (below) and paint (see previous post). Each place setting also included a little baby bootie (in sketch below) that she made from different decorative papers and filled with chocolate.

Shower Flowers Sketch: Dahlias, ink and watercolor 2-page spread in Moleskine 16x5"

Shower Flowers Sketch: Dahlias, ink and watercolor 2-page spread in Moleskine 16×5″

Shower Flowers

Dahlias-Shower Flowers, oil on panel, 10x8 in

Dahlias: Shower Flowers, oil on panel, 10×8 in (Click image to enlarge)

I brought these amazing dahlias home from my daughter-in-law’s baby shower and had fun painting them. (The painting is available here.) The baby shower happened just in time as our beautiful baby girl came a month early (so exciting!). Below are some of the steps in the process. I always seem to like the earliest stages of a painting best; my biggest challenge is to stop painting sooner than I usually do. I have a new system for setting an intention and goal for each painting and each painting session and documenting the results and I’ll be sharing more about that in my next post.

Random Little Moleskine Sketches

Here are some random sketches from hikes and walks with my dog, sitting in meetings, a movie shown in a library and at the dog park. These are all in my pocket Moleskine that I carry with me all the time. Hover over images to read captions or click on them to see them larger.


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