Lessons with Kari Rajkumar, Spring 2019

I’ve had the great pleasure of having four lessons with Kari Rajkumar, from Paris IL, this spring (Feb, March, May and June). She is an accomplished artist in oil portraits. I first saw her paintings on display in Terre Haute last fall and knew right away that I’d like to learn from her.

We decided to delay starting lessons until after Christmas. It worked out best for her to come to my home, which was very convenient for me! We worked on a copy of a portrait by John Singer Sargent, each working on our own painting. She instructed and described processes as we went along in the 3 hour lessons.

I learnt so much great information about oil paintings and portraits in particular. I also benefitted from applying those to my other paintings, which Kari would then critique for me. That was really helpful.

This was the progress after the first lesson. The lesson was mainly about facial structure, lighting and skin tones. Rather a ghostly look!

Baby in the woods

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Oil on canvas panel, 8 x 10

My daughter-in-law suggested that I paint something for my son’s birthday and sent me a photo of their youngest daughter to work from. I thought it was a lovely expression, a fun pose and a great background. It came together really well and the result makes us all smile.

It’s still in my possession, but I will give it to my son when he moves to a new house in the summer.

 

Oxford I

Acrylic on canvas paper, 9 x 12

This is another boating picture, this time in a punt on the River Cherwell in Oxford, England, from the summer of 2018.

I toned the canvas with Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow Medium, using my blade to spread it. I like to leave areas of it showing through, as in parts of the boat.

It’s such a peaceful activity in a very beautiful city.

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Oil, 9 x 12

Then I tried another version in oils, again with the same acrylic red and yellow underpainting. I like some of the effects, but the faces are indistinct, and the oils seemed to become too thick. I have more to try yet!

 

 

 

 

Katherine

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Oil, 8 x 10, linen on board

I painted this portrait of my youngest daughter from a photograph that I took in the spring of 2016. The photo was taken in a cafe in Chicago, after our we had  just enjoyed a very good family trip to the Adler Planetarium. I think she had a special drink here, which is one reason for the pleased look on her face. I think she also looks calm and dreamy-maybe tired!

I painted this after watching videos by Matt Philleo  www.realisticacrylic.com although I did not completely follow his methods. He gives good information and teaching on painting very realistic portraits in acrylic, which were helpful and useful, but I decided to use oils in a slightly looser manner.

The result makes me smile inside.

 

A beautiful meeting

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Oil 9 x 12

This young lady is the daughter of friends we knew a long time ago. She was born on Christmas Eve and we visited her and her parents in the hospital on Christmas Day. I had seen her very little since that visit at one day old.

Last summer, we were able to visit her family on our travels to the east coast. As we were there visiting, she arrived home from Israel, having also recently been a missionary/aid nurse in the temporary trauma hospitals in Syria. She sat in the beautiful summer light and told me about her experiences. I loved the peace and calm she exuded and the hope she was offering to hurting people, all of which seemed symbolized to me by the yellow shawl she was wearing. I’d wanted to paint her ever since then!

I painted this with an acrylic under-painting (full color) and then painted oils over that.

 

Portrait Practice

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A Grandaughter, oil, 9 x 8 ins

I painted this one with an acrylic underpainting (full color) and then oils on top. I used a color isolator to see each color accurately. I like the result and am happy with her expression and the overall result!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Painting for my mother

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Statue, 9 x 12, oil

I am in England visiting my mother for her 80th birthday. A few months ago she asked if my sister or I could paint this statue that she has in her garden. She bought it right after my dad died in 2010. I had a go at it, from a photo I’d taken several years ago, and gave her this as part of my gift to her.

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This is the statue as it looks today. The plantings have changed around it, so the foliage and colors look different. I rather like it as it is today, as it has more color and varied, interesting shapes. Should I paint it again?

My First Show!

Thirteen of my paintings are being displayed for the month of September in the Bellvue Gallery in Bloomington, IN. It is a small one-room gallery attached to The Farmer House Museum. We had an opening night on Sept. 2, where I played my harp and my son played his violin. We’ll have a closing evening on Sept. 30, when we will play more ‘family music’. I am thankful for the opportunity to have my paintings displayed publicly for a month!