Tuesday, October 19, 2010


hi there!

i finished! i'll start from the beginning, way back in september . . .

this was originally for the rookie painter challenge due last month - here's the photo prompt they posted there:

i have to admit, when i first saw it, i kinda shrugged it off. i didn't see anything exciting there; despite my admiration for artists who can portray that wonderful translucence in the citrus fruits, i just didn't feel this one was for me.

but then i looked at it again - and saw these wonderful blocks of color, especially in the shadows - and it clicked! i would do it exactly as i saw it - in distinct color blocks. i also saw more, warmer reds in the yellows of the lemon, & realized it'd make a nice contrast if the background & foreground were cooler. i also decided it had to be big to really show up the color blocks. looking at what i had on hand, i chose a 12x16 art board (only the second time i've painted that big!). ok - challenge on!

i put the photo on the digital picture frame, then went to sketch it in. easy-peasy, thought i - just a few curves and . . . err . . . that main part of the lemon kept coming out flat & wobbly - and i couldn't get the receding aspect on the slice at all! so, i gridded up the board, place my lucite grid in front of the frame, and sketched it in - & that worked fine!

for the shadows, i kept the sketch simple, but i made sure to get the lemon details fairly exact to get the right relationships between inside rind, outside rind, & pulp.

i wanted the background to stay cool so i chose prussian blue, anthraquinone blue, and ultramarine violet along with the titanium white. these colors were looking really 50s to me, & i liked 'em!

then i brought out the olive green & hansa yellow to get the color for the table. for the darkest shadow spots, i used alizarin crimson with what i already had out. the lighter shadows were combinations of the blues, green, and dark along with white. i loved the shadow areas, especially on the slice - there's light coming from all directions (well, maybe just two or three!) in the photo, and that made the shadows there complicated & interesting.

one thing i did that i think was important & helped keep the colors clear was that i was careful to not overlay the colors - the blocks of each color are the only thing there, with no (or as little as i could get myself to do!) blending.

i was pretty happy with it - it was hard to not blend the blocks of color in the shadow under the larger portion of lemon, but i felt it still represented what i wanted to do.

and there it sat. starting the next day, i had to go for numerous medical tests (don't worry - everything's fine for now!), and it took me much longer than i thought it would to recoup my former levels of energy & interest. but finally!

after catching up on all your blogs & wonderful paintings, i felt ready! without thinking about it, i put out naples yellow, indian yellow, transparent red iron oxide, and viridian along with white. these gave me light, warm, and red-tinged values to play with - & play i did! what fun, just laying down the colors!

earlier yesterday, nancie johnson had commented, "I think you'll enjoy the new vision you'll gain on painting shapes & colors (I did!)" & boy was she right! it was like stepping into an infinte, newly remade wide-open world of color & light!

in fact, i was having so much fun, everything just flowing from the end of the brush onto the canvas - that i realized when i was done (which was a sudden & surprising moment) i'd not taken any photos of the process! but in general, the naples yellow (with or without white) was for the lightest areas, then the indian yellow in combo for the midtones, and trans red added for the shadow areas. the lemon pips are straight trans red - couldn't resist! the nobbule on the end of the lemon is viridian mixed with white & naples yellow, and lighter versions of that, with lots more naples & white, are in the green tones in the pulp of the lemon slice.

and here it is:

it's rekindled, after being away from painting for so long, my joy in seeing-like-an-artist ("ooo - greens in the pulp! reds in the skin!") & painting. i feel this painting has a lot more 'me' in it than some i've done recently & i'm really happy with it!

oh - i'm trying something new - i got a bottle of m. graham's walnut alkyd medium, to see if i could use it, given my chemical sensitivities. it seems that as long as i don't stick my nose in the bottle & inhale (my usual test - you should see me trying to find a glue i can use!!), it's ok. i'm hoping it'll help the paint dry a bit faster, especially with winter coming up. the thing is, the paint went on thinner & more transparent (i used just one or two drops for my little blobs of paint, and 4 drops in the 1" long strip of white), so i'll have to keep experimenting with it.

well, that's it for now - off to do some blog reading & commenting - then deciding what to paint next. there's a number of new challenge projects (i've added more links in the box to the right) that are intriguing. the aspens of the wilderness art challenge would give me practice in doing landscapes, which i really want to learn. but the daily painters international - black & white plus one color - sounds yummy! or, i may just put together a still life at home!

thanks for stopping by - take care till next time!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Quick Note . . .

. . . to let you know, i'm back! that is - all recovered 'n' rarin' to go! right now, i'm catching up on commenting on all your wonderful blogs, then - i'll finish that poor lonely lemon from last month's rookie painter challenge! i'm really excited about checking in with all of you & seeing what you've been up to!

i'll be posting again as soon as this yields to my brush! here's where it's been this past month:

this is the original prompt:

i'm going for something new-to-me - just placing in the blocks of color & playing with the juxtaposition of the cool background/ground colors vs. the warm yellows, oranges, & reds that'll be showing up on the lemon.

when i do finish it, i'll also be posting it on daily painters international - i've decided it's time to get more serious about selling my work! i'll be adding a new label - "available paintings" - to those paintings i feel are ready to go out in the world! if you're interested in any of them, please email me (dustypinesart@gmail.com) - i haven't yet figured out ebay &/or paypal, but hopefully i will soon!

see you on your blogs & back here real soon!

thanks for stopping by - take care till next time!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Paint & Draw Together September Challenge - Puppy

or - "the coal black yeti from 4AM"! (hmmm . . . could make a good 50's drive-in movie . . .!)

hi there!

i've been recovering from the little sesshin i tried to go on, & didn't think i could get this one done for the paint & draw together september challenge in time. & in fact, i didn't! finished it at 4AM last night - tho i did send it in this morning with the prompting of my son, on the off-chance it might get posted!

this one was tough! it's my first animal, so fur, perspective, facial features were all challenges for me! this is the original photo:

i first tried an 8(h)x6(w) crop, but settled on a square 5x5 format close-up on canvas panel:

i gridded it & sketched in the main features. then - the fun part - mixing the black! i started with ultramarine violet & added a bit of alizarin & hansa yellow. it needed to be darker & less purple, so i added a bit of olive green & also prussian blue - got it to a really deep true black! very exciting, but problematic - it was transparent, but it had to be the main focus color! decided to press on since i liked it so much!

i blocked in the eyes (using some of the black, & adding white, alizarin, & olive green for the brown) & nose, and the main black highlights.

i then mixed up all the greys (using either white or naples yellow) & pinks, adding alizarin for the reds, and applied those.

then it was 'just' a matter of reworking every detail! i used filberts for the fur, plus a flat, and fan brushes for the details of wisps of fur. i wiped the nose out out at least four times & am still not happy with it! i also had a lot of trouble getting the muzzle to show length, and - did i mention the nose?!! at last, i decided i couldn't do more & called it done!

this actually was a lot of fun - i loved getting in the highlights in the eyes & playing with the fur! & hey - not everyone gets to create their own new species!

thanks for stopping by - take care till next time!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daily Painters International Art Challenge: Music

hi there!

lately, i've not been able to comment on the blogs of folks i follow - i'm disabled, & sometimes i can't do much, either painting, blogging, or - worse! - reading & commenting on other blogs! i really miss being able to do that, & i'd like you to know that, when i've not been commenting for a while, i'll get back to it just as soon as i can!

today, i did have some energy - & i spent it painting! oh the joy of getting back to putting brush to canvas! i've been working in stages on the daily painters international art challenge for this month, which had a one-word prompt - music.

now, when i think of "music," the first thing that comes to mind is my friend, joseph byrd. joseph is one of the great, important composers of the 20th & 21st centuries. he also plays a mean accordion! so i decided, despite my never having painted a portrait before (& having drawn faces just a few times!), i'd do a painting of joseph.

to start, i did a manip in gimp to play with some ideas. i used a favorite photo of him, taken by H. R. LoBue of H. R. LoBue Fine Art Photography. it was a black & white, so i played with the colors & added a background. i put in some place-holder music, & then got a copy of a sheet of "Water Music," one of joseph's compositions, to paint in. in the end, though, i decided the music was too busy for the painting, & just did the portrait.

here's the original manip:

i chose an 11x14 canvas panel which had been toned with acrylic cad yellow light. (the color's not showing well in the photo, but it was pretty pale to begin with.) i did the grid then sketched in the portrait, with just the barest hints of features.

i wanted the background, hat, & coat to be earthy, sepia colors, so i started working with trans orange oxide, trans yellow oxide, naples yellow (for the right side), & burnt umber & a smidge of payne's grey (for the upper left corner).

then i put in the hat & coat, using mostly a combination of burnt umber & trans yellow oxide, darkened with a bit of payne's grey in places, & lightened by the orange oxide in others.

for the face colors, i chose hansa yellow (i think in other brands, lemon yellow would be the closest), indian yellow, permanent green light, alizarin, & prussian blue. i started putting in the pink, yellow, & orange, using burnt umber for the shadows & glasses frame.

then the greens & blues went in.

after that it was 'merely' a matter of getting the features just right. for the next three hours!! i worked on the face shape, the beard, the nose shadow, the shadow under the chin, the glasses frame, the shadow under the hat, the eyebrow, the placement of the colors to show facial structure, and - the eyes. getting his left eye just right - oh wowie! i think i redid it about eight times - and the highlights twice! but finally i was able to step back & say, hey! it's joseph!

i'm pretty excited about it! i've always felt that portraits were terribly daunting - & it was a lot of exacting detail work - but now that i've done my first, it's not quite so scary any more!

thanks for stopping by - take care till next time!


p.s. i'll be gone from the computer wednesday through friday, so i'll be catching up on my blog reading - & commenting! - after that - see you then!