Sunday, February 28, 2021

Day 8 PaD number 7

 Painting a Day challenge got off track so this is painting number 7. I posted the photos from the day here.

My daughters came over for a little retreat here with us on this bitter cold snowy February weekend.  Oldest daughter brought her four-month old baby and I did two paintings of them. First alla prima portrait with baby nursing on the left side and then another alla prima with baby nursing on the right side. Nursing is mostly what a four-month old with a healthy appetite does all day (and night). In between meals he napped, kicked his legs vigorously, and chirped, cooed, and laughed. 

It was easy to keep painting all day because my daughter and our beautiful grandson kept returning to these poses for me. Painting from life! 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Day 6

Here's a photo of my setup with a kitchen knife on a cutting board. But of course, I painted from life. The wonderful enormous apple is getting a rotten spot but I turned that to the back!
My daughter came around and remarked that she felt the paring knife was aggressive? She wondered why I would include a knife in a painting since it is a threatening object. This comment shows how much a viewer brings to the work of art. 
We talked about the objects used in European still life paintings from the 16th and 17th century.  Memento mori themes often used skulls or burned out candles to symbolize the shortness of life. Vanitas paintings were popular because they had symbolic meaning as well as a decorative beauty. Sometimes they included dead flowers, animals, and rotten fruit. Vanitas means life is short and all is transient.
Memento mori (Latin for remember that you have to die') is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Day 5

Day 5 of the Painting a Day challenge.  I have this lovely orchid that is in its second blooming. I started a really large canvas back on January first! A New Year Day ambitious idea  (link to my earlier posts) that I still haven't finished, in fact in six weeks now I haven't made any progress on that big canvas. Instead of portraying the orchid plant and blooms in all height and glory on a 18x24" canvas,  I composed an 8x10" painting to do from life, alla prima, all in one day painting session. 

Again, it's a white on white flower, which I find very appealing. I rigged a black backdrop out of black t-shirts, need to get out to a store for a proper black fabric backdrop to hang over my still life box. Speaking of still-life, even a supposed still life doesn't stay still. The tulips I painted three days ago? They kept opening and closing throughout the day. They started the day closed into tight ovals and by late afternoon opened so wide I thought the petals would fall off. Then I noticed that the next day they did it again. Same thing occurred with these orchid blooms, some of them have lost the flare that they had when I started. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

hyacinths and poems

 Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits. 
Carl Sandburg

I will come back to that quote because I resonate with the idea that a painting is a poem.
A small painting made from direct observation in a single day session like this one is more like a brief poem, a haiku. A capturing of a memory, a moment in time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Day 4

Day 4 of the Painting a Day challenge. After the strenuous workout of the day before, painting yellow bananas against a blue cloth, I thought I would make it a simpler composition. White on white, I thought, that might be easier?
A white hyacinth in a glass bottle. Quiet and calm. Alla prima, one session, premier coup oil painting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Day 3

Day Three of the 30 day painting challenge. I thought this would be a simpler arrangement but ended up working for six hours. In fact as evening came I didn’t know if I would finish in one day. I started feeling really tired, standing all day. This forced me to make faster observations and decisions about brush work and colors. Two bananas on a blue Dutch cloth. I have a good friend who was born in Holland and she gave me this cloth to wrap a loaf of bread. It was a souvenir from a visit back to Holland. I enjoyed the color play of the blue against yellow bananas. oil painting 8x10 on linen
Here is a photo of my painting set up, I made a still life box and lighting arrangement.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Day 2

Day 2 of the Painting a Day Challenge
I chose a complicated arrangement, or at least it seemed that way a couple hours into it. I spent about six hours total trying to get it all in one day and struggling with wet into wet oil paint. 8x10 oil on linen board Next day, next challenge! 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Day 1

Painting a Day
challenge, studying with Duane Keiser, learning oil techniques, how to see, and getting the hard work done. Day 1 plein aire from my window view. 3 hour session. 8x10 oil on linen 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Day 7

 I will never run out of ideas for things to paint for this 30 day challenge! Everywhere I look there are new views, new compositions from everyday objects.

Day 7 Painting a Day challenge was a bust, I spent the day doing housework, laundry, and welcoming guests for the weekend. My three daughters came over for dinner, two of them to stay the night and have a cozy weekend. On day 8 I painted two portraits of my older daughter nursing her four month old baby. 
I have a brand new cute little portable easel, (not as cute as the baby) the brand is Cup Easel. I brought it out to the living room to be able to paint while everyone enjoyed sitting around.

Because I didn't make any paintings today I am posting a sequence of photos of myself with my grandson. I spent as much time cuddling his chubby sweet self and kissing those fat cheeks as I did making art. Here I am holding him and he seems very interested in my painting.

Monday, February 15, 2021

too much winter

"You can't get too much winter in the winter."
~ Robert Frost
Thursday, February 11, 2021 I took my grandchildren to a local farm to see the newborn baby lambs. Because those mama sheep are giving birth to adorable twins and triplets even though it was about 10 degrees and very snowy outside the lambing shed. We trudged about the farm through deep snow and my 4 year old granddaughter remarked in an encouraging affirmation of the day "Winter is sure doing a good job of wintering today." As she skipped on through snow drifts nearly her height in her little pink boots. I was miserable with the cold and managed to stay for an hour or so before I suggested that we go back to grandmas for hot cocoa and marshmallows. As we slowly walked back to my car I noticed how beautiful the scenery was. This little stream with the ice and snow and trees all glowing. I promised myself that as soon as it becomes a bit more tolerable temperature-wise, I will go back to that scene with my portable easel.

Friday, February 12, 2021

3 days down, 27 more to go

 I've finished the first 3 days of premier coup, or alla prima wet-into-wet oil painting. These are for my 30 day challenge, the Painting a Day Project.

Day 1; Winter scene with moon painted from my window.

Day2; Spring flowers in a pot with window and white curtain in background.

Day 3; Bananas on a blue Dutch cloth.

30 Day Challenge

 I am working away at the Painting a Day 30 day challenge while learning from Duane Keiser in an online Zoom workshop.

This is physically demanding to work at this pace, producing a painting every day whilst fitting in laundry, cooking dinner, occasional shopping when we run out of food, and sleeping!

Here is a stack of 8x10 linen painting boards that I have prepped with an oil based ground. Waiting for me to work my way through the pile. I think I have more than 30, perhaps 38 or so that I prepped.

Thursday, February 11, 2021


admire the plein aire painters who get outdoors and paint those lovely snow scenes. Landscapes in the winter fascinate me. But going outdoors to paint in the winter? 
I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. The cold absolutely frightens me. I had a personal trauma episode just watching that movie Fargo. Too much shivering!  I also don’t believe the wisdom of “no bad weather, just bad clothes”, because more and better outerwear doesn’t help, it just makes it hard to move or breathe. I grew up in the Philippines, I’m a tropical person. 
However I painted this snowy scene from one of the windows in my house. Early morning, fresh snow, bright blue cold sky and the remnants of the waning full moon behind the bare trees. 
So no suffering and shivering involved, just got stiff legs from concentrating and standing on a chair to get it all in one fresh session. Alla prima or premier coup painting of a scene from life impression.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

moment by moment

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”  
~ Buddha 

A painting every day.
I am taking a class online with live Zoom lectures and a private class facebook page. Because that's how things are done in the pandemic early 20's. It's fine, great in fact, but I am working very hard to keep up with the pace of assignments and exercises. 
Our instructor is someone whose career and technique I have followed for a least 10 years now. 
Duane Keiser is a well-known painter who is the inventor or first to use the idea of "a painting a day".  He began making small paintings of everyday objects and scenes, most of them small but complete works of art. He sold them using ebay and auctions and the idea became quite successful probably because his work is sublime. Now there are many artists following this trend and selling using auctions online. It is also a trend now to use the internet to sell and avoid art galleries which have become more and more out of fashion.
My class is strenuous! I did my undergraduate degree at The Art Center College in Pasadena, California and I thought I knew how to handle stressful assignments and deadlines. This is bringing it all back.
Our first exercise was to paint 100 gesture paintings in oil, each one timed to take no more than 10 seconds. Then we wiped off the panel and started another 10 second painting. Whew! Then we started another series with all the time in the world, all of 5 minutes! More color exercises at 20 minutes each followed.

Now we are at the real work of the class, producing a painting every day for 30 days. We began in the first week of February. And really, what else will you do with your time in February? It's too cold and miserable to go anywhere.
I chose a coffee carafe for my 100 gesture paintings. Too simple? Not at all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

stop time, paint

“How to stop time: kiss.

How to travel in time: read.

How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.”

― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

How to stop time and keep it forever: paint a picture of it. Little babies grow up too soon.

Monday, February 8, 2021

It's that super time again


I am not a sports fan. Family joke is to ask me "who are the teams playing?" I usually have little to no idea.

But I enjoy being invited to watch the game, watch all the commercials, and eat yummy food. Here is my post last year and some of my sketches from years past. Once I figured out how to sketch really fast I enjoyed the games so much more. My trick is to grab a gesture and then wait for that player to repeat it so each time I spot that action then I add more to the sketch. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.