Saturday, March 31, 2012

Painting with Oils on Mylar

This is a technique I had been wanting to experiment with for awhile. I wanted a simple subject, so I picked this little guy from the sidewalk in front. Then, using oil paint, thinned with a little Liquin, I did a simple painting in only one color. Soft brushes are necessary, unless you want brush track marks. It is easy to lift the paint to lighten, so I used no white. Here is the result:

 I like the fact that the mylar is translucent, we can see through it. So, I turned it over, and drew on the back with charcoal to enhance the dark areas. Here's what the back looks like with the charcoal on it:

Turn it back over, and here is the result:
I'm not sure if the charcoal helped... It has more definition. I may have to experiment further.. Do you have any thoughts? Ideas?

Friday, March 30, 2012

First Light

First Light - oil on museum quality panel - 5 x 7"
When I walk along the San Francisco Bay Trail at dawn, I often see something that I don't expect: The water in the marshes has a pearly appearance. It's beautiful, but I don't know if it's algae or some light effect. I have painted it here in this painting. It's wonderful and really adds an artistic look to the water! Naturally!

This is a photo of the same effect:
Dawn along the Bay Trail
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Touching the Sky

Morning towards Oakland - oil on panel - 5" x 7"

Only from the heart
Can you touch the sky. 
Click here to buy this painting. It is $75 unframed and shipped for free. To see my other work, on my website, click here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Waiter

The Waiter - oil on canvas panel - 6" x 6"
I love the pattern of light and dark here! Notice how all the dark areas are just one big shape? If you squint, the waiter pretty much disappears into the background.

The waiter's shirt was originally the same dark brown color, but I glazed over it with a transparent blue. I like glazing with transparent colors because it gives a richness to the surface that you can't get otherwise. Colors and shapes in the dark areas become visible according to the angle of your vision and the angle of the light.

If you would like to buy this painting, click here. It is $75, unframed, and shipped for free!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Meeker Slough

Tidal Marsh at Dawn - 9" x 12" - oil on linen panel
The sun has not yet risen, so the whole sky is one big luminescent dome. In the distant hills, the city of Oakland, CA, is just waking up. The air is full of the smell of fresh baked bread? Yes, this is near Grace Baking, where breads for grocery stores and restaurants are being coming out of the oven, and being loaded onto trucks. I love the smell, though at a scene like this, I always expect the smell of seaweed.

If you like this, please click the like on Facebook link below or to the right. To see my website, click here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Missing Winter

Winter Whitetails - oil on canvas panel - 6" x 6" 
Here it is, March. The spring flowers are blooming, but we never really had winter. Of course, Northern California never has winters like WV, but at least it usually gets cold. Anyway, I wanted something snowy to paint, so I dug into my files of WV photos and got a good reference for this one. I hope you enjoy it, even if it is out-of-season.

If you would like to buy this painting, click here. It is $75, payable by Paypal or credit card, and shipped for free (US and Canada). To leave a comment, click here. See my other paintings on my website

Friday, March 16, 2012

Coming Home

Coming Home - oil on canvas panel - 5" x 7"

It's getting dark. Return to the harbor, to safety... Another boat, returning. They always leave and return with their sails lowered.

This was the preparatory study for my last painting. It is Richmond Marina, along the San Francisco Bay Trail. I walk past this harbor almost every day.

If you would like to buy this painting click here for a Paypal button. Of course, you can also use a credit card if you prefer. Shipping is FREE. If you would like to see my other paintings, click to view my website. And there is also the Facebook page.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Return

The Return - oil on canvas - 6" x 12"
This is the completed painting from my previous post about slurpy paint. I love the symbolism of boats as vessels that carry us safely through life.

If you would like to see my other paintings, click to view my website. And there is also the Facebook page.

What are your thoughts about boats? Do they have any special meaning to you?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Good Morning!

Good Morning!  oil on canvas panel - 6" x 6"
This was a really over the top sunrise. Yes, the colors really were that bright! This painting was scratched in the recent earthquake, when all my paintings on drying shelves fell to the floor. I painted over part of the sky to repair it. Now, you can't tell that anything happened. Whew!

Do you know I have started a Facebook Page for my art? You don't have have a Facebook account to see it. You can see it here, and if you like it please use those "like" and "share" buttons!

As usual, you can see more of my art on my website. And if you would like to buy this painting, it is $75, and shipped for free, click here!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Edgar Payne Exhibit at the Crocker Museum


Wednesday, I went to Sacramento for the Edgar Payne exhibit. Payne wrote THE book on composition: Composition of Outdoor Painting. First printed in 1941, it is a classic, and still in print. My own copy is underlined and well read. This is a great exhibit, and many artists are returning to see it a second time. Unfortunately, it is not scheduled for any museums in the East.

When you are looking at the photos of his paintings in his book, they are only 2" square. So, seeing the originals at 4' square is surprising! The colors are vibrant and stunning. I tried to take a close-up photo of the brushwork, but a guard informed me no photography was allowed. In some cases, especially the early works, the paint was very thick, with short, straight horizontal and vertical strokes. Brushstrokes were less pronounced on the later works.

Payne got his start in painting as a scene painter for the theater, and he really could set a scene. You can see on some paintings, that the figures were added later, after the paint had dried. He used the square format very frequently, while most landscape painters use rectangles. He often painted monumental scenes of canyons or mountains with little tiny figures on horseback almost lost at the bottom of the canvas. The grandeur of nature, with man being just a tiny part of the whole.

He was an avid amateur photographer, and developed his own film. He also made treks into remote areas and set-up his easel to make "plein air" studies. These paintings were for reference and were hardly ever signed or shown.

Usually, when we look at a landscape painting, it is as if the picture frame is a window, and we are looking out onto the scene of the painting. Payne, however, pulls the scene up close, so his mountains are almost on top of us. His boats are so close you could almost touch them. If I could sum up his art with one word, it would be "monumental."

If you live near any of the cities where this exhibit is showing, it is certainly worth seeing!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Relic - oil on panel - 5" x 7"
Here, again, is that old pier. It has a sort of Stonehenge look. Built by people long ago, in a less technological era. Off across the water, on the horizon, is the city, almost like another world as well. It is easy to look off into the distance and imagine what might be happening over there...

I hope you enjoyed visiting my blog. If you like this painting, it can be yours for only $75, by clicking here for the Paypal button. It is shipped for free! You may see my other paintings on my website.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Reaching...  8" x 8" - oil on linen panel

This was the most beautiful sky. And here we have pampas grass trying to reach it! It was such a wonderful cool evening.
I hope you get out and enjoy your evening.

Click here to buy using Paypal or a credit card. $200.00 and shipped for free! See my other work on my website. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Sun Pours Down Like Honey (Study)

The Sun Pours Down Like Honey (Study) - Oil on Panel - 6" x 6"
One of the reasons for doing these small paintings is that they can be studies for larger works. I really like this as a small painting, so am now working on an 18" x 18" of the same subject. When the California Art Club had their Winter Symposium last month, they requested that artists submit paintings for a critique session. Well, I was having doubts about the foreground, so I submitted this study. It was somewhat shocking to see this little 6" x 6" painting projected on a screen to 12 x 12' in front of 200 artists! The study was critiqued by a panel, but they liked it and didn't think the foreground was a problem at all!

Translating this small thing into a large one is a lot harder than you'd think. Humm.. How many times have I used the word "hard" on this blog? Does it sound like I'm whining? If it weren't hard, I wouldn't feel so good when it's done. There's a real elation to solving a difficult problem (like how to paint shiny mud in this case)!

Oh, and yes, I took the title from a Leonard Cohen song.

This one will not be for sale till I complete the larger one.