straight line block-in warmups

Still life warm-up sketching

My focus for quite awhile has been on painting landscapes, but recently I’ve become frustrated by my progress. And when I’m frustrated more than not, it’s a sign to take a step back and reassess. I think what’s going on is a combination of a few things: feeling rushed when painting outdoors not having enough outdoor painting experience to be able to enjoy working from photos struggling with making the materials do what I want trying to paint fast when indoors Reflecting on this made it pretty obvious to me that a good next step in my painting practice would…

low key light study oil painting - featured

Study of landscape in low key light

Overcast days are common here in North Carolina, and I’m drawn to the quiet moodiness of the low key light when the sun is hidden by clouds. But so much of the teaching I’ve followed has been about how to address brightly-lit landscapes. That’s one of the big things that Impressionists often capture — the sun and its effect on color — and most of my virtual mentors have been in the Impressionist camp. Lately I’ve been exploring Tonalism, and along with that how to handle more diverse light situations related to the landscape. I purchased several lessons from Dianne…

oil painting of mandarin orange Mar 15 2020 - featured

Simple mandarin orange still life painting

Every time I took one of these mandarin oranges out of the bag to eat, I had the thought that I’d love to paint one of them. Since this was the last one in the bag, today was the day to make it happen! I’ve been studying classic oil painting a little bit and wanted to try this with an old-masters-classic feel. I used an 8 x 10 oil primed linen panel that had been toned with burnt umber to a light value. To begin, I brushed a thin layer of burnt umber all over the panel and wiped out…

9 mini landscape paintings project featured collage

Wrap-up of the 9 mini landscape paintings project

My goal with this 9 mini landscape paintings project was to get over feeling rusty with painting and have fun getting back into landscape painting. To do this, I would go through my painting process from start to finish (except for varnishing) 9 times within 3 weeks. The deadline was simply so I didn’t let the project linger without making progress. I’m very happy that I did reach my goal! Doing regular, small work and going through my painting process worksheet several times got me over the fear of starting and helped generate enthusiasm for exploring more ideas. More ideas…

9 mini landscape paintings 9 - featured

9 mini landscape paintings project, number 9

For the final entry in my 9 mini landscapes painting project, I chose a photo from my collection that was not very interesting as a composition. But I liked enough of the elements to do some redesigning in order to turn it into something I liked better. As I studied the reference photo, one of the things that stood out to me was the contrast between the large tree in the foreground that was almost entirely in shadow, and the middle ground trees that were struck by the low evening light. So that’s what I chose as the concept: the…