Posts Tagged ‘still life’


Blue Pot and Buds

July 16, 2018

Blue Pot and Red Buds – Oil on Canvas – 10″ x 8″

My wife had gone shopping. Did not find what she wanted, but came back with an interesting blue pot, Quickly put it to use for my Oil Painting class. Started this as a demonstration and finished it in my studio. I have ideas for incorporating this into additional Still Life compositions.


Gallons of Galas

June 25, 2017

Gallons of Galas – Oil on Canvas – 11″ x 14″

Started as an example for my Saturday morning students. The reference photo is this bucket of apples sitting on a deck. I used this reference to cover three aspects of design.

First, cropping the photo to create a more dynamic composition. Second, to remove/replace objects which do not aid or enhance the focal point (the redwood stained planks of the deck were a distraction and did nothing to augment the bucket of apples). And finally, utilize a complimentary color to enhance interest in the red apples. Love the result.


Sunflowers in Coffee Pot

June 18, 2017

Sunflowers in Coffee Pot – Oil on Canvas Panel – 8″ x 6″

Started this as a lesson for my Saturday morning painters. I wanted them to see an example of using complimentary colors to make a painting “Pop”. Purple in the background and used in the shadow areas of the flowers help to tie the work together.


Fall 2016 – Studies for Oil Class

December 26, 2016
Sunflower Study November 19 - Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel - 8" x 6"

Sunflower Study November 19 – Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel – 8″ x 6″

I host an oil painting class on Saturday mornings. To help students, I start paintings along with them in order to help the students be comfortable with the early stages (and foibles) of the rough sketch and block in stages to their works. After the basics are in place, I move around to help the students get their works “on track” and feel more comfortable and content with their efforts. Often, my ‘starts” get wiped off of the canvas panels once I get home. Occasionally, my starts are encouraging and exciting enough that I will finish the works either in class or once I gt back to my studio. These are four of the works which received the nod this past semester.

Pitcher and Pears December 3 - Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel - 8" x 6"

Pitcher and Pears December 3 – Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel – 8″ x 6″

Candles for Christmas 2016 - Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel - 8" x 6"

Candles for Christmas 2016 – Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel – 8″ x 6″

Package and Ornaments December 17 - Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel - 6" x 8"

Package and Ornaments December 17 – Oil on Oil Primed Canvas Panel – 6″ x 8″


Coffee Pot Display

September 1, 2016
Coffee Pot Display - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 6

Coffee Pot Display – Plein Air – Oil on Canvas Panel – 8 x 6

My wife desired to plein air paint with me. However, she was expecting a phone call and suggested that we paint at our backyard. The flowers were in full bloom, so it seemed like a good idea. While I set off to work on a scene adjacent to our bird feeders, my wife cut a few flowers and placed them in an old coffee pot.

My design did not go well and after fighting with it for about 1-1/2 hours, I decided to wipe the design off of my canvas panel. As I was “de-painting”, I noticed a nice opportunity in the display which my wife had arranged. I grabbed a small canvas and attacked the panel. Took little under forty minutes to crate a painting that worked.

Best part was having to alter the shadows on the pot. As I was nearing completion, the sun gave me some great shadows of the petals. Had to go with God’s gift and capture the opportunity.


Anatomy to a Still Life

March 15, 2016
Anatomy to a Still Life - Oil on Canvas Panel - 18" x 24"

Anatomy to a Still Life – Oil on Canvas Panel – 18″ x 24″

To help my students understand a process to create their oil / acrylic paintings, I created this work. It helps to illustrate (1) Thumbnail drawings as means to explore and test design options (2) Size and Angle relationships of the components (3) Basic drawing concepts (4) Breaking down the items to basic shapes (5)Roughing in to start the painting (6) A finished version of the composition (7) Colors utilized to create the work.

Toughest part, actually getting my students to create any thumbnail drawings. A bit frustrating to go through all of this, imploring students to work out their ideas in thumbnail drawings. Later, moving around to help students resolve problems with their works. First thing I request? “Show me your thumbnail sketches.” When they admit to not having spent any time on thumbnails, I ask for their sketchbook or paper and begin to work thumbnail drawings for them, helping to illustrate ideas for how they could have prevented their current predicament and options for possible solutions.


Christmas 2014

December 30, 2014
Christmas 2014; Oil on Canvas 10 x 8

Christmas 2014; Oil on Canvas 10 x 8

Sorry for the delay. Had this painting done and this post ready for a short commentary. Had intended to post this a week ago. Then life happened and in the rush to finish all preparations for the Christmas, I forgot to publish this post.

A belated greeting of Merry Christmas to all of you that follow my posts. Thank you and may you all have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2015.



Thanksgiving 2014

November 29, 2014
Thanksgiving 2014; Oil on Canvas 8" x 10"

Thanksgiving 2014; Oil on Canvas 8″ x 10″

Happy Thanksgiving.

A few days earlier, I utilized grapes as a prop for my Still Life painters and my oil/acrylic painters. I liked the set up but, unfortunately, I was teaching and assisting students and therefore, unable to paint for myself.

Once home, I decided to use the grapes along with a small pumpkin to create a set up to serve as a Thanksgiving greeting to my mailing lists. Before I started, I had assumed that the leaves in the background would be the difficult part of this composition and had assumed that the grapes were among the least of my concerns. Boy, was I wrong. The leaves in the background did prove to be a challenge, but the grapes proved to be difficult..until I REALLY looked and observed them. After starting the grapes and then scraping them out a couple times and getting frustrated, I took a break and got myself a warm beverage. I sat in front of the display nursing my beverage while contemplating how to record this element. By the time I finished my beverage I had resolved the issue and was able to swiftly capture the grapes and finish the scene.



Sunflowers – Lesson

April 23, 2013

SunflowersWorking with my Still Life students, I decided to give insight to my method  and incite their creativity.

I forwarded the reference photo posted above. Not a great photo, but a fair reference. Most students tend to reproduce the photograph…exactly as the photo. That means they do the design exactly as seen in the photo. That means they do the colors exactly as seen in the photo. That means that they do everything exactly as the photo. Yawn!

Rather than allow them to follow their normal routine, I allowed them to see how a reference photo can be cropped to create a more stimulating design. In addition to the photo, I forwarded a design sketch. They were free to work their own design, but this should help them move towards a more dynamic presentation.

Sunflowers - Line Sketch 5" x 7-1/2"

Sunflowers – Line Sketch 7-1/2″ x 5″

Allowing them to choose their own direction with paint application, I presented two possible options. The first choice keeps the color selection closer to the real flowers, though the application is created to keep the colors loose, free and fun. The first or outline stage still allows watercolor to be watercolor.  The second option plays upon the splash lessons where we work to apply bright colors near our focal point regardless of their presence in the actual objects. We try to apply colors of appropriate values to the subject not necessarily the same colors as the reference. In other words, we play and entertain the viewer with a fresh and sometimes unexpected presentation.

As with most of my demonstrations for the students, I apply the first, or outline stage to my paper and only indicate where the refining and defining applications may lead me. I do not wish to complete the painting. I aim to let them express themselves in their work. I do not desire to have them create clone paintings.

A couple students selected one method for their painting. One student was ambitious and created one watercolor of each method and then, before class ended, did the unexpected. The student took a piece of watercolor paper and without the aid of a drawing, applied colors in a splash method. Her goal is to apply a drawing after the paper dries. In part she will impose the design but in part, will allow the first, lively application to guide her watercolor. I can not wait to see how this student completes the challenge.

Sunflowers - Traditional Approach; Watercolor 12" x 8"

Sunflowers – Traditional Technique; Watercolor 12″ x 8″

Sunflowers - Splash Technique; Watercolor 12" x 8"

Sunflowers – Splash Technique; Watercolor 12″ x 8″


Candle and Teddy Bear Redux

December 13, 2011

Candle and Teddy Bear, Oil on Canvas 14" x 11"

As we move from autumn to winter, I find that I am spending more time in the studio. Over the summer and early autumn I spent more time outside and tended to neglect housekeeping  in the studio. A week ago, I  decided that some organization and clean up was in order. In the process, I opted to clear the studio of a few paintings. A few “clinkers”. Paintings that I realize are not good enough. About couple dozen such works.  The nice thing with oil paints is that you can apply gesso over old, unsuccessful works and start afresh. For now, each evening before leaving the studio, I grab a few paintings, apply gesso and leave them to dry overnight. Within a few days, I will have less inventory of paintings and a greater inventory of “blank” canvases ready for me to paint.

As I was clearing out the clinkers, I came across this work. I created this from life last year during the Christmas season. Before destroying this work, I decided to take some time and play with it first. A few touches of paint to the front side of the table. Brighter, more intense colors to the ornaments, greens and candle. Then, darken up the background. I have attached an image of the original design for your comparison.

Candle and Teddy Bear - Original