Archive for March, 2011

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Girls in the Park Painting: Final

March 28, 2011

Here’s the final, although, not necessarily finished version of the latest painting. I’ll set it aside for study and likely make a few more touches here and there. It’s 12×16″ on a traditional gesso wood panel.

I decided to go ahead and make the grass area greener and a shade darker. I had resisted the idea at first thinking it would be too much green, so I colored the previous digital image in Photoshop to test it out. Liking the result, I went ahead with the glazing and think it turned out okay.

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Girls in the Park Painting: Part 4

March 26, 2011

I’m getting those “ghost” figures filled in on the new painting. The girl in the foreground needs to have the dark values tweaked more, but I’ll have to wait until the paint dries some, so I’ll come back to her later.


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I hope to get all the other figures filled in by tomorrow, time permitting.

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Girls in the Park Painting: Part 3

March 21, 2011

A little more progress to show here on the new painting.

I’ve been using the lawn outside my window as a reference for the grass. We’ve been having a serious drought and everything’s very dry as you can see represented here. Maybe I’ll use a bit of Artistic Licence and add a green glaze later on.

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Girls in the Park Painting: Part 2

March 19, 2011

Showing a little more progress on the new oil painting. This is the bottom half grass area.

Closeup of painting

You can see here the red-violet undertone on the right side, which I’ve covered with a thin layer of red oxide and then various mixes of green and yellow ochre. Because the undertone is dry, I’m able to lightly scrape through the paint layer as I apply it without exposing the white of the gesso beneath.

Here’s a closeup of the palette of colors I’m using. From left to right: red oxide (mixed with light gray,) yellow ochre, a light gray mix (titanium white, ivory black, and yellow ochre,) titanium white, ivory black, chromium oxide green, and phthalo blue-green. The light gray serves as a sort of bridge color for both the red and green shades.

Those “brushes” laying in the center of the palette are actually rubber tipped tools called “colour shapers.” I’m using them here in order to be able to dig into the paint as I apply it, sort of like using tiny paint knives. I also use a regular brush to soften the paint edges as well. This helps give me a proper texture for the grass.

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New Painting: Girls in the Park

March 17, 2011

I’ve finally gotten around to starting a new painting. This is an oil on the recently prepared gesso panel I made a few days ago. The image is based on a couple of old sketches.



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The picture on the right shows the inverted hues (made with Photoshop) of the actual painting on the left. This gives you the general idea of the target colors I’ll be using next; although, that might change some and the values will be different, especially in the background.

The medium I’m using here is a bottle of “Xavier de Langlais Egg Medium” by Lefranc Bourgeois. It’s extremely simple to make an egg/oil medium from fresh ingredients, but I wanted to use this since it’s been sitting around awhile. It works well as an undertone medium that dilutes with water. It also glazes easily, as you can see in the red jacket of the foreground figure.

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Self Portraits by Favorite Artists

March 16, 2011

I’ve been putting out a good deal of effort lately on marketing my work, and it feels like trying to make my way through a thicket with child-safe scissors. I’m hoping to get rid of some of the inventory of work that’s starting to back up around here. Some good connections have been made but no sales results as of yet.

As I start to get back into production work, in the meantime here are a few self portraits of some of my favorite artists I hope you will enjoy viewing. Perhaps there are a few you’ve not seen before.

Cecilia Beaux


Francisco De Goya

Ferdinand Holder


Edward Hopper


Louis Boilly


Berthe Morisot


Rembrandt van Rijn


William Chase

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Gesso Panel Part 4: Bracing the Back

March 2, 2011

The final step in this project is to add a brace to the back that will help keep a thin panel like this as straight as possible.

I’m using ¾ inch (20mm) square strips of poplar, which is a hardwood species that takes glue well and has low shrinkage. The panel is 12×16” so I’m placing two strips along the 16” length (horizontal) and three along the 12” length. The intersection is a half-lap joint cut on a tablesaw. This notch is cut with the blade set to half the height of the strip and ¾ inches wide. You can use a dado blade attachment or just whittle it across with a single blade. A router would make short work of this also.

The brace is glued to the back by placing 1 inch spots of glue at each end and about 1 inch apart instead of all the way down. This allows the wood to have a little more “give” but still be held straight; otherwise, you might see a ridge puff up on the front of a panel this thin. The glue I’m using is PVA wood glue. Once it’s in place, I put some weight on it and let it dry for a few hours. The panel is now ready for painting. The brace makes the whole panel as deep as a stretched canvas, and can be framed accordingly.

Although this whole gesso project may seem long and laborious, the only time you need to be careful is to use the right temperature for the glue and to use caution when applying the layers. Consider that an acrylic dispersion “gesso” must properly dry out for several days before painting on it with oils, and an oil primer takes several months to cure. This whole project took me about 4 days from start to finish (less time would have passed if I didn’t bother using fabric,) and most of that time was spent just waiting for the glue to dry. If you want to try out the surface on commercially prepared gesso panels, check out companies like Real Gesso or True Gesso.