Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses, 11 x 14, Oil

After I enjoyed the lesson by Kelli Folsom so much (Terracotta Pot with Grapes, that I painted with my sister), I bought her Masterclass on painting roses. The first lesson was black and white studies of roses structure and form and the second lesson was on colors for roses.

This painting is from the third lesson. It included instruction on still life set-up, composition and colors. Kelli has such a warm, friendly and encouraging manner that it is a pleasure to listen to her, and her information is always useful. I loved doing this lesson!

Master Copy III

A copy of part of a portrait painting by Philip de Laszlo of the Princess Elizabeth, oil, 12 x 12 ins.

I painted this Master copy earlier this year, in a lesson with my teacher, Kari Rajkumar. I chose the portrait out of several she showed me because of my Britishness and my interest in painting children.

There are so many lovely colors in her skin! I really enjoyed trying to match them. I have focused since on understanding the warm and cool colors in skin, and I think I’ve gained some ground.

Plein Air in PA III

Oil on canvas panel, 9 x 12 ins

Our third Plein Air class was in the middle of very quiet Amish countryside, near New Wilmington, PA. The three of us stood within in a fairly small area but all chose different views, so came away with three totally different paintings.

I liked these big trees overshadowing the farmhouse buildings, with the big barn a little closer to me. There were numerous Amish buggies coming and going, and horses being used to plow the fields, so almost the only noise was of horses’ hooves. Altogether a very peaceful three hours of painting.

Plein Air in PA II

Oil on canvas board, 9 x 12 ins

For our second 3 hour lesson we went to a rural area and found a pumpkin field. One fascinating aspect of painting outdoors with other people is that we can stand in a small area together and produce totally different paintings!

My choice of view and subject was based on the pumpkins leading up to the white barns, which are silhouetted by the dark trees. I also liked including the distant hills. I had a strong sense of representing the feel of what was in front of me rather than the exact image. To that end I ‘moved’ the pumpkins around quite a bit!

Master Copy II

Copy of a painting by a Master, oil, 12 x 12 ins

This is another painting completed in a series of lessons with Kari Rajkumar. The original is a self-portrait by John Singleton Copley, a famous and well-established Colonial artist, who moved to London in 1774. I’m afraid I made him look slightly chubbier in the cheeks than he painted himself, but the process was absorbing and instructive.

Practicing oil painting

Although I’ve enjoyed the acrylic glazing process, I decided I wanted to return to something with more ‘solidity’ and depth, and a method that is more direct. I have not been able to find mediums I like for the water-mixable oils, so with some encouragement and instruction from Kari Rajkumar, I’m working with traditional oils now.

I bought a small selection of Gamblin 1980 oils locally, and have been working on exercises from Paint Coach (on YouTube and Patreon). Paint Coach (Chris Fornataro) is very good at simplifying and de-mystifying the materials and process, with excellent tutorials on all aspects of oil painting. And he’s often entertaining!

Here are my first apple studies from his video on Patreon. A very similar study can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if6Z4BaqDSU

Both apples were painted with a triad (Hansa Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Medium and Ultramarine Blue, plus Titanium white. I used Gamsol thinner and Oleogel medium. I enjoyed seeing the improvement of the second (lower one) over the first. I think I got a little better idea of the paint/thinner/medium mixtures the second time.
Apple studies, 6 x 8 ins, oil on canvas paper

Portrait lesson II

She’s moved towards looking more life-like! We worked on shadows on the face and neck, the hair and the background. There is so much good information; the time is extremely enjoyable and just flies by!

One change I’ve made, following Kari’s example, is to start using a vertical palette. This is so the painting and the palette are seen in the same light, and to bring the paint colors closer to be judged more accurately. My vertical palette is actually just my horizontal Masterson palette mounted on an easel. The glass mixing plate is held in place by magnets; the magnets under the glass are glued to the palette. I like using it this way.

Happy Flowers

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Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10

I painted these cheerful sunflowers recently from a tutorial by Sharon Hofer www.creatingamasterpiece.com after using her video instruction as a basis to teach 4 middle school students the same painting. I think it’s such a lovely painting I decided to have a go too! It was completed in about an hour. My daughter likes it so much she asked to have it hanging in her bedroom, which is where it now lives.

Sharon Hofer teaches good methods in a clear style, and I feel could help anyone develop their art. I was lent the hard copy video by a friend, although Sharon has now changed to a subscription system, which means a bit more capital outlay to access the information.

Skin tones in oil

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9 x 12 ins, canvas

In November I enlisted the help of this very gracious family member to help me follow the instructions of Brian Neher on the Craftsy video course ‘Painting Realistic Skin Tones in oil’.

We set her up near a North facing window, with a suitable background, and I took about 60 photos of her. Together we chose a few that we both liked and I settled on this pose.

The photo shows the colors a little incorrectly-the shadows are not quite that brown. However, I’m not satisfied with the shadow colors. I mixed cadmium red medium, yellow ochre, titanium white and a touch of viridian, aiming for grey, but the mix went more easily to a brown hue than a grey one. I need more practice and experimentation with this-does anyone have any tips?

I’m looking forward to trying the next one!