Thursday, November 19, 2009

Child Portrait, step-by step, in charcoal #2

I'm sorry this is not a good quality image, it was still on the easel. You can see I've refined and softened the skin. Still working with vine charcoal here. By the way, the finger cots are not used now because once you get a lot of charcoal on the page, they tend to pick it up, so I have switched to a maul stick.
Ordinarily, I don't like portraits of small children with open mouth smiles, because young children have gaps between their teeth that create a snaggle-toothed look. But this little boy has nice close teeth. This is not really a finished portrait, but a study for a larger oil I will be doing next.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Child Portrait, step-by step, in charcoal

I like to begin portraits with a charcoal study. Actually I was this far along before thinking my blog readers might be interested, so I'm sorry I didn't take some pictures earlier. You can see the grid lines I used for placement, and you can see I massed in the shadows using soft vine charcoal. I sort of work back and forth with the charcoal and an eraser, putting in darks and taking them out, till it gets to where I want it.

Here is the set-up in my studio. There is the image on the computer screen. I like working from the computer because it is so easy to enlarge the image. Any artist who has tried to work from a photograph, even 8" x 10" size, knows what I'm talking about. As you can see, I made it easier on myself here by converting the photograph to black and white.

For you trivia buffs, I know this looks like a condom... It is a finger cot. I like to use my pinky finger to steady my hand, and this keeps skin oils off the paper.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trout Pond

...Trout Pond...
watercolor on 140# paper - 10" x 7"

This is a plein air watercolor of our beautiful WV autumn. Well, at least I tried. I have not done any watercolor painting for a long, long time, and boy, am I rusty! But there is something about the feeling of it, the downright joy of the colors, that caused me to go ahead and show it online.

Watercolors force me think in reverse from the way I have to think when painting in oils. I have to paint negative space and work light to dark, which is really an incredibly good exercise in visual thinking.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


oil on canvas panel - 6" x 8" 

Another West Virginia landscape painting. Here is a rocky forest floor covered with moss. It was positively magical! The slanted light was just hitting the tops of the mosses, causing them to glow.

Taking my inspiration from the medieval icon painters, who painted on gold leafed panels (the gold symbolizing divinity), I covered the panel with Daniel Smith's gold gesso, and painted on top of that, hoping some of the luminescence would shine through. Sadly, I seem to have applied the paint too thickly, or perhaps the colors were too opaque. At any rate, the glow is only apparent in a few places. Here is a detail:

Even though I failed in my objective of communicating the beauty of those glowing mosses, I feel the painting still contains some of the magic and mystery of nature. I do intend to try some more paintings on gold gesso.

Purchase : $75 unframed (plus shipping). Please send me an email for availability.

See my other paintings on my website.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


...Nestled In...
oil on canvas on panel - 6" x 6"

Today was damp and cold, so I stayed in and framed paintings. I have a show coming up at the end of the month, and need to get everything ready. It's amazing how much more complete the paintings look in frames! This one is in a floater frame which shows the artwork all the way to the edges. You can see the pink underpainting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blue Ridge Mountains II

...Blue Ridge Mountains II...
oil on canvas on board - 6" x 8"

Another misty sunset in the mountains. I used Grumbacher Copal Medium in this and really didn't like the effect this time. (It was fine when I was painting the red tulip, go figure.) But this time, every brushstroke seemed to lift the paint underneath.

Click here to buy $75 + shipping, unframed.

Friday, October 2, 2009


...November Earth...
oil on canvas - 18" x 24"

This is a painting that I did last year. I decided to repaint it so there would be more muted color in the distance and the sky. Adding a new layer (scumbling) of light blue or pink in places created a pearly effect that I really like!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Early Color

...Early Color...
6" x 8" - oil on canvas

This is another plein air painting, started in the field and finished later in the studio. The leaves seem to be turning early this year, probably because it has been so dry. It is easy to get too detailed in a painting like this, especially since there is so much beautiful detail in the scene. I tried to lessen the detail by making the tree trunk on the left the same value as the foliage behind it. Not sure if it helped--It's hard to judge your own paintings when they're fresh.

While I was painting, one of my friends took my picture. Yes, I am using an umbrella in the shade! It really helped, too. There was dappled light coming through the tree above.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Falls Mill

...Falls Mill...
oil on canvas - 6" x 8"

Last week, I went out plein air painting with some friends. We went to this little waterfall. There had been a mill here long ago, but all that's left of it is part of the stone foundation. At this hour of the morning, most of the scene was in shadow. I had to work really fast and did a quick study, which I finished later in the studio from a photo.

The photo, by the way, was really boring and looked nothing like my quick study. (Did you ever take a picture of a scene you thought was really beautiful, and when you see the photo, you wonder why you took it?) I altered the photograph on my computer so that the colors and contrast would match my study. Otherwise it would not have been useful at all.


Oh, and here is the plein air study:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lewis Falls

...Lewis Falls...
oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

Another scene from Shenandoah National Park... Getting to the falls was quite a hike, but it was downhill all the way. Getting back was another story. This was as much of the falls as I could see, because there was so much brush in front of me, I couldn't see the bottom. As you can see, there wasn't a lot of water.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blue Ridge Mountains - SOLD

...Blue Ridge Mountains...
oil on canvas - 6" x 8"

I can't believe how hard this was to paint.
I had to wipe it off and start over three times! And I'm still not totally happy with it. I just keep telling myself, "It's only a daily painting, it's only a daily painting, it's only... "

Maybe I'm being too perfectionistic, but the very slight changes in the value and temperature of the colors, plus all the soft blending made a huge difference in the aerial perspective. The so-called "rules" of aerial perspective, (that colors get lighter and bluer and less intense as seen from a greater distance), seem to have been written on a sunny day with a blue sky. Here, at dusk, there was so much red in the light, there was a lot of purple in the distance. Actually, the color of those background mountains, which appears blue-violet here, had so much red it, it looked pink on the palette.

The sun seemed to be floating on a layer of purple mist. I put a little thalo turquoise in the sun, so it would vibrate against the reds.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shenandoah - SOLD

oil on linen on board - 6" x 8"

I spent last weekend at Shenandoah National Park. Beautiful! The flowers in this painting are black-eyed-Susans.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Silver Morning - Sold

...Silver Morning...
oil on canvas - 9" x 12"

I have been invited to take part in an exhibit, Carnegie Painted, hosted by 3rd Street Gallery in Carnegie, Pa. So, I went to Carnegie with Monica, an artist friend, to see what the town looked like. It was one of those misty mornings, and the sun was just starting to burn off the haze. I liked the silvery light shining off the rooftops.

Having grown up in the mountains, I know there is a comforting feeling of being nestled in among the hills, almost like being wrapped in a soft blanket. Their undulations protect you from the extremes of wind, snow, and sun. I lived for awhile on the plains, and it felt exposed, raw, but also expansive, and the sky was huge!

I really tried with this photograph, but can't get the colors to match the painting... Hope it doesn't look too bad on your monitor.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Surprise!

Several years ago, when I first heard about Google alerts, I set an alert for my own name. Now, whenever "Linda Schweitzer" is mentioned on the internet, I get an email with a link back to it. Yes, it is usually something that I have put in the internet myself. And of course, it keeps me up to date on what all the other Linda Schweitzers are doing. ;-) Obviously, this only works if you have an unusual name.

Recently, I was very surprised to get a Google Alert for this:

I have no idea who Adriana Ciobanu is, or why she made the slide show. From what I find on the internet, she is in Romania. She did a very nice job! There is no link back to my website or blog though. I emailed her but have not received a response.

You read so much about people "stealing" your artwork on the internet, it makes you sort of paranoid. So while my initial reaction was suspicion, I am now very pleased! Thanks Adriana!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mill Run

...Mill Run...
oil on canvas - 8" x 6"

I was painting with the international plein air artists' group when I did this one. Every year we get together for a week of painting on location, taking turns going to each others' countries. This year the USA was the host country, and we were painting in Western Maryland, near Deep Creek Lake, Swallow Falls and Friendsville which was all beautiful! And the people were so friendly and generous! And, yes, we did see wild bears, but they didn't hang around long enough to pose for a painting (or even a photograph for that matter).

While I was painting, one of the other artists took my picture...

Heavens! I look like I am totally concentrating on it, which I guess I was...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

Isn't this the most endearing dog! Who could resist that tilted head and rolled eyes? He looks like a furry person who is about to say something! Jake is a golden doodle: golden retriever/poodle, and this is a commissioned portrait, which is to be a surprise gift to his human dad. I just hope his dad doesn't see this blog before Father's Day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Allegheny Forest

...Allegheny Forest...
Oil on Canvas - 6" x 8"

I guess I should explain my absence. Well, without going into a lot of detail, I had to deal with major home repair issues, the insurance claim, and two trips out of town. But the long and short of it is that with all that, I just got out of the habit of painting every day and posting to the blog. It's amazing how once you get out of the habit, it is so hard to get started again!

Here is a painting I did on another trip to Valley Head, WV. It was done outdoors, from life (plein air) and I had to work very quickly because the light was changing. The sun was rising behind these trees, creating a wonderful glow.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Against the Wall Again

...Against the Wall III...
Oil on Canvas - 6" x 6"

This is the last of my red tulip against the wall paintings... at least for now. I had wanted to do a series of the same subject, using the same colors because:
  1. They might make a nice set if displayed together.
  2. I wanted to experiment with using a different medium for each one.
If you are not an artist, you might want to stop reading at this point, because here comes some "shop talk."

The mediums were:
  1. Gamblin Neo-Meglip--This turned out to be the most difficult to work with, because the brushstrokes showed in the transparent paint, and the paint started setting up, becoming sticky after about an hour.
  2. Garrett Copal Concentrate--A resin, not really a medium, seemed to make the paint thicker. Really easy to paint with! Strokes blended like a dream. Did not seem to speed drying. Because it thickened the paint, I ended up using more mineral spirits than usual, but that didn't seem to increase the transparency of the paint. (You know the expression, "Oils slip, resins grip")
  3. Grumbacher Copal Painting Medium--After the above experience, I decided to try this medium, even though it is a synthetic alkyd medium. At least it is an attempt to duplicate the effects of a copal medium. It did thin the paint and give better flow. Did not become sticky before the painting was finished. Paint seemed to have more body and less transparency than when using Liquin (another alkyd medium).
So, which did I like better? Garrett Copal Concentrate, though I'm now curious to try Garrett's Copal Medium, which I expect would thin the paint a bit, so I don't have to use so much mineral spirit.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Against the Wall

...Against the Wall II...
oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

Here is the tulip from yesterday. It is a different pose and lighting, but still against the wall.

Digital cameras seem to have a lot of trouble with reds, and I had to drastically turn down the saturation and cool the photograph's colors to make it look like the painting. The tulip is supposed to be a true red. Of course, monitors vary in color temperature too...


Friday, April 24, 2009

Uncooperative Tulip

...Against the Wall...
Oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

I was going to paint another classic tulip, this time with a red flower. Well, as soon as I got the tulip indoors, it splayed its petals. Then it refused to stand up straight. I finally ended up leaning it against the wall to get it into the right position. It reminds me of those police shows, where the arresting cop says, "Alright! Against the wall!" (Can you believe, when I was in school, we used artificial flowers--artificial fruit too.)

I used a lot of transparent painting here, to get the glow.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Plein Air

...First Greens...
oil on canvas - 6" x 8"

I went out
plein air painting today with two artist friends. It was our first time out this year and was quite a challenge (translation: learning experience!) The trees haven't leafed out yet, the water here was shallow, so the mud on the bottom was showing. All the colors were grayed, except the bit of green on the marshy land to the right. The geese were entertaining us the whole time with their loud honks and splashing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

White Tulip

...White Tulip...
oil on canvas - 8" x 6"

After doing flowers in their natural environment, I decided to try a more classical treatment, and go with a plain background. There is a simplicity about this that I really like. The tulip had the most wonderful and exotic fragrance!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Daffodils II - SOLD

...Daffodils II...
Oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

I am starting to realize that I tend to group my subjects in groups of two, while as an artist, I know that groups of three, or odd numbered groups are considered more interesting. I wonder if there is a deeper significance here? Or is it just that when working on a 6" square that I want to complete that day, I just don't want a lot of detail. A lot of daily painters just paint single objects... maybe I should try that?

But when you have two, or more, they seem to relate to each other, so it seems to give the painting a story, if only in the viewer's mind. What is the story here?

Friday, April 10, 2009

I've Been Honored...

I have been honored by the wonderful artist, Carolyn Finnell, with the Passion for Painting Award. Check out her blog and see for your self her colorful still lives and delightful portraits. I first met Carolyn at the Carol Marine workshop, and was really impressed with her commitment and love of painting. Thank you, Carolyn.

Here are the rules:
- List 7 things you love
- Put a link to the one who picked you
- Choose 7 others to pass the award to
- Notify them of their award

Here are 7 things I love, not an exclusive list, however:
My children - son and daughter
My grandchildren - two little girls
Painting, of course!
Getting together with my friends.
The little corners of nature that still exist.
Going to art galleries and museums
Curling up on the sofa with a good movie and a purring cat.

Now, the magnificent seven artists I want to honor. Their work is really worth checking out.
Ali Cavanaugh
Don Gray
Linda Apple
Cooper Dragonette
Jan Blencowe
Qiang Huang
Kelley MacDonald

Thanks again to Carolyn for nominating me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back to Still Life

...Round on Round...
oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

Sometimes my paintings surprise me...

I had been wanting to paint something on this polka-dotted fabric. These mushrooms seemed perfect because their round shapes repeated the round of the dots, and their neutral color seemed a good contrast to the bright pink. Now that I look at it, an alternate title might be "Floating on a Psychedelic Sea."


Sunday, April 5, 2009


oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

It seems like every time I post a painting, I ask, "what can I say about this one?" And because these little paintings are constant challenges and experiments, the first thing I think of to say is usually, "That was so hard!" Well, of course it was hard! That's what makes it so much fun!

I eliminated thalo blue from my palette, and used the milder Sevres blue (a Rembrandt color). It allows me to get bright greens, but without it being so overpowering. This is actually the second daffodil painting. For the first one I did use thalo blue to get the deep, rich dark greens in the background. Then I realized there was no way I could paint over it (as with the small amount of overlap that would occur when doing the edges of the petals) without it mixing into the white and causing blue daffodils. I almost wiped the whole thing off, but then decided to let it dry, and paint over it later. So, another daffodil painting will be coming in a few days.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oscar, Upside Down

...Oscar, Upside Down...
Oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

It has been so long since I've done a pet portrait that I had to learn how to do fur all over again. In fact, I've never done fur as fine and fuzzy as Oscar's. The fur seems to suck up the light and obscure the shadows, so it is a real effort to maintain the value pattern and give the form a 3-dimensional quality. Of course, the tabby markings don't help.

Oscar was not aware, when I bailed him out of the hoosegow, that his duties as studio cat would include modeling. But being a good sport, he decided to go along with it. This is a pose he strikes quite often, especially when he is about to be fed. He thinks this is a very successful painting, my best yet! He'll say anything for a tuna treat.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Reflections in Glass

oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

I wonder how many artists have gone insane trying to paint reflections in glass? I thought it would be a fun challenge, and it was! But these are daily paintings, meaning they are supposed to be simple subjects that don't take very long to paint. I remember taking a workshop with Don Eddy, who made a name for himself painting reflections in glass--row upon row of glasses, in display windows, in a photo-realistic style. Now that he is older, he says he was showing off when he did it, trying to impress other artists. (I know it sure impressed me!) It made him one of 5 living artists included in Jansen's History of Art (4th ed), the standard introductory college art history text. However, he feels that art should have a deeper meaning, and of course that is good too. But there's nothing wrong with showing off, in my opinion. Just shout, "Hey world! Look at this! Isn't it great!" After all, athletes do it all the time.

Anyway, after all this talking, I guess what I'm trying to say is, "Reflections in glass sure are hard," without sounding like I'm whining...


Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Art Form...

Here, in the spirit of sharing, and for your amazement, are some very skilled sheepdogs, savvy shepherds, and LED lights!

I think this video has gone viral, so you may have already seen it, but if not, Enjoy!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Forsythia--another view

oil on canvas - 6" x 6"

Here is forsythia outdoors. The only way I could get this view, at the right angle to the light and with the dark trees behind, was to actually stand in the bush. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my art...

The background here is softened and rubbed out with a paper towel. So, the lights you see there are actually the white of the canvas showing through.


Monday, March 23, 2009

"Forsythia in the Window"

8" x 6" - oil on canvas

This one was harder than the average painting (to paraphrase Yogi Bear). The little antique bottle is glass, but frosted on the inside in some areas. Like all my paintings, it's really all about the light.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Brilliant Autumn"

6" x 8" - oil on canvas

Here is the Cheat River again. I paint it a lot. Autumn is the most colorful time of year, and I like to make the most of it by getting a lot of photos. I also kayaked here. The water was so shallow, I could see every grain of sand on the bottom. There are dangerous rapids just downstream. (I don't do rapids.)
I like this one. The evening light had a lot of orange in it. I toned the canvas orange, and was still adding it to almost every color.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Grandmother's Baby Shoes"

6" x 6" - oil on canvas

These don't look very comfortable, but they were the fashion, back around 1910. They have patent leather bottoms, kid leather tops, tassels in front, and buttons on the side. Styling! The buttons required a button hook. I wonder what people in 100 years will think of our children's shoes?


Friday, March 13, 2009

"Autumn along the River"

6" x 8" - oil on canvas
Here is another scene from just driving along the back roads of West Virginia. I just had to stop and take pictures. Can you believe this is the view from someones front yard? I'd like to do this one as a larger painting.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"White Faced Cow" -SOLD

6" x 6" - oil on canvas

I saw this lovely lady while driving down Route 50 with a friend.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


6" x 8" - oil on canvas

I love skies, especially at dawn and dusk. The crow was an excuse to do a sky painting, which I suppose is an insult to crows everywhere. The light changes so much at dusk that the part of the sky which appears to be blue is actually a yellow-gray. It just appears blue because it is cooler than the warm clouds.

Monday, March 9, 2009


6" x 6" - oil on panel

This was an experiment. I used a gessobord panel by Ampersand instead of my usual canvas Raymar panels. This surface is very smooth, and as with doing a watercolor on smooth hot-pressed paper, all the brushstrokes show. Also it is very absorbent, so the paint dries faster. As you can see, it looks different than my usual style. (Probably 5000 more brushstrokes than usual! It took a long time.)

I had not done any still-life painting till I started the daily painting routine, but I like it. Still-life has been called the "celebration of everyday objects." Here, a simple apple, sitting on top of the microwave, has become an iconic object. I loved the subtle color changes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

At Last...

"First Crocuses" 6" x 6" - oil on canvas

The arrival of spring is always exciting! While it isn't officially here yet, the first crocuses always bring the first color, and the promise of more new life to come. We had a beautiful day today, with temps in the 70's, sunshine and crocuses.


Friday, March 6, 2009

"Flower in a Bottle"

6" x 6" - oil on canvas

Extra points if you can identify the beer bottle...

This painting is framed in a black floater frame. Shipped for free!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Nestled In"

6" x 6" - oil on canvas


I just adopted a cat from the animal shelter. He is an adult neutered male, about 1 1/2 years old. Of course, with an animal from the shelter, you wonder about their past history, and what happened that they ended up there. Well, at first, "Oscar" acted afraid of me, but he got over that very quickly and has now nestled in. (And I bet you were wondering why I was talking about the cat, when this painting is obviously an apple!) Well, the apple has a gesture of being completely relaxed, leaning up against the side of the bowel.

And here is Oscar, completely relaxed on my desk, head leaning on a sketchbook...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Melting Snow" SOLD

6" x 8" - oil on canvas

As we were leaving Valley Head, the snow was melting, and this is what it looked like. You can see why this is a great place for landscape painters!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Storm Clearing"

6" x 8" - oil on canvas

The title says it all. I was on the edge of a very steep hillside. The wind was still blowing some snow, but the clouds were starting to part, and a little bit of sunlight was trying to peek through. The weather can change pretty fast here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Logan Run Road"

6"x8" - oil on canvas

On these cool, crisp days, it is truly glorious when the sun comes out! This is another from Valley Head. I tried to keep it loose, with the brushstrokes showing. Some small branches were scratched in.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"February Light"

8" x 10" - oil on canvas
I loved the way the golden light was coming through the snow-covered trees. The back-lit trees were in shadow, and appeared blue, while the side-lit trees were reflecting the gold light.