Thursday, June 7, 2012

A White Bowl

When I woke up at 7:00 this morning, the sun was shining and it looked like we were finally going to have some good plein air painting weather.  I had a cup of coffee, ate some breakfast and started thinking about just going out in the back yard for the first outdoor painting.  Then all of a sudden it was as though someone turned the lights out.  The clouds arrived and the rain wasn't too far behind.  I could hire myself for fighting forest fires.  I could just show up with my new painting box and rain would be guaranteed.

It was time to do a painting from life, so I pulled the light box out and set up a white bowl with a blue background and green surface.  The purpose of the exercise was to paint a white object without using pure white and make it believable.  I gave myself another challenge by only using two colors and titanium white to tint them.  The palette consisted of ultramarine and cadmium yellow pale hue.

I am used to drawing the setup and then painting it with pastels.  For this oil painting, I negative painted the background and table surface which left the outline of the bowl.  I was surprised how it turned out.  Not perfect, but not too bad.  I also used a small viewfinder that came with the Thumbox.  Dumb as it may sound, it was the first time that I can remember using one.  What an idiot I am.  They work like a charm!

Anyway, this is painted on a 4 x 6 canvas panel and is painted from life.  I used Windsor & Newton Artisan water mixable oil colours.  It took about half an hour to paint.  Thanks for looking.



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Shady Path

Or is is a shady past?  Either way, I am not sure I like it.  I seem to have problems painting this type of scene.  I don't know if it is because of the value change from sunny to shaded areas or it is the wall of trees.  I think it will take a stab at painting something like this from life for me to have any success.

It was raining out all day and there was no way I was going to be able to get outside for the maiden voyage of plein air painting.  It is supposed to rain for the next three days, so it is photo reference time.  I might try a still life tomorrow.  It has been a while since I have painted from life.  Maybe I can get a couple of paintings done tomorrow.  We will see if I am up to it.

This is painted on a 4 x 6 canvas panel, using Windsor & Newton Artisan water mixable oil colors.  I used the same palette as yesterday.



Monday, June 4, 2012

Breaking in the Thumbox

After taking Larry Seiler's course and chatting with him on WetCanvas, he inspired me to try plein air painting.  I figured painting in public couldn't be any more intimidating than posting paintings online for the whole world to see.  After a few years of doing that, I don't even think about it anymore, but I still remember the first few times I hit the send key.  So I know it will be a little scary the first couple of times, but hopefully it will become an addictive habit.

The first thing I needed was a painting box.  After doing some investigating I settled on a Guerrilla Thumbox.  This pochade box is very compact and suits my needs for painting 4 x 6, 5 x 7 and 6 x 8 panels.  Small paint tubes, short handled brushes, a palette knife, a small brush cleaner, a small oil tin and a few other objects can be stored inside the box below the sliding palette.  I hope to be able to mix my paint on the palette before going out to paint.  That should cut down the time needed to be in view of the public.  It also will also allow me to get right to painting when I get to the painting location.

I thought it might be a good idea to use the Thumbox in my studio to give it a try before going plein air painting.  It was a little different at first, but after a while it was just painting as normal.  There will be things to learn, but the only way to learn is to do it.  Maybe my next post will be a plein air painting.  We will see.

This painting is done on a 4 x 6 canvas panel and I used Windsor & Newton Artisan water mixable oil colors.  I used a split complementary palette of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow medium and cadmium red deep hue along with titanium white.  I really like the greens you can make with this palette.

I am including a photo of the Thumbox with the painting.  Thanks for looking.


The Guerrilla Thumbox


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Which Way to the Beach?

I have painted this scene a few times in pastel, but this is the first time in oils.  There is something inviting about the composition.  Probably the path to the water leads the viewer into the painting.  The photo reference is by Paula Ford, a fabulous artist who has helped me over the past five years at WetCanvas.

We are lucky to be the proud owners of three of Paula's beautiful pastel paintings.  When I saw them in person for the first time it opened my eyes to how different paintings look when viewing them online.  It also showed me how far I still have to go as a painter.  Aim high!

This is painted on a 5 x 7 canvas panel using Windsor & Newton Artisan WMO's and I used the same palette as the last two paintings.  Thanks for looking.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

High Water

As soon as I saw the photo that I took last week at the bird sanctuary in Salmon Arm, I knew I had to paint it.  Now I'm not too sure.  Usually a shrub or tree would have a darker value than the background hill, but the photo showed differently.  I know you should never trust a photo, but it looked correct to me.  When you live in an area with evergreen trees everywhere you look, the hills and mountains can look very dark.  I guess I could just say the sun was shining on the shrub, but the background was cloudy.  Now that I am typing my thoughts out it makes perfect sense.  It is up to me to decide what the painting looks like and I can have the sun shine anywhere I want.  I feel better now that I won that argument with myself.  Or did I lose it?

Shuswap Lake is on the rise with the runoff of melting snow from the surrounding mountains and you get scenes like this quite often.  Normally this little bush would be far back from the lake, but right now it doesn't have to look too far for water.  It looks like it is just standing there in defiance, daring the lake to come any closer.  I don't know if I would have taken the photo a few months ago.  It wasn't a great photo, but I thought it could make an interesting painting.  I am learning to take photos for painting references now, not for beautiful photos.  There is a big difference.

This is painted with Windsor & Newton Artisan WMO's and is painted on a 4 x 6 canvas panel.  I used the same triad as yesterday.  The paint was a little sticky, but still workable.  I didn't time myself, but it probably took between thirty to forty minutes to paint.  

Thanks for looking.


Doug Wasilieff


Monday, May 28, 2012

One Pastel and One Oil

Life has been hectic around here for the past week, but things are back to normal now and I should get back to painting more often.  Hopefully I can get back to painting daily, because I feel like I learn more when I paint for a few days in a row.  I guess one gets in a groove and you start doing things without thinking.  My wife says I do that all the time.

I have two paintings today.  The first is painted in pastels and it took a couple of days to finish.  It's not that it took that long, it was just trying to find time to paint.  It is always hard for me to go back to a painting the next day and continue painting.  Maybe it is because when you start a painting you vision it in your mind and if you have to stop painting and start again the next day, the vision is gone.  Could it be that the excitement is gone?  I know a lot of painters who take many sessions to complete a painting and they do a great job on it.  I think if you finish a painting in one sitting, it helps you achieve a looser look.  Makes sense to me.

Here is number 39, a pastel painting that is painted on 5 x 7 brown Pastelmat.  I did a little experiment with this one, using just the Maggie Price Value Set of Terry Ludwig pastels.  It is a sixty pastel stick set made up of ten hues and each hue has six values.  I kept track and I used eighteen sticks for the painting.  This would be a limited palette for pastels.  This is painted from a reference photo of mine.


This is number forty.  A third of the way through the challenge.  It is a water miscible oil painting using Windsor & Newton Artisan paint and is painted on a 5 x 7 canvas panel that was toned with mud made from leftover paint from the last oil painting.  I used a limited palette again, but this time I used a triad of ultramarine blue, lemon yellow and cadmium red hue along with titanium white.  The same method as the last painting was used, mixing three tones of each hue and mixing the hues together, getting three tones of each mixture.  I really enjoy using a limited palette that is already mixed.  You just paint and don't worry about not having the "right" color.  You just use the closest color and value you have and go for it.  Fun stuff!


Thanks for looking.

Doug Wasilieff

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pastel Painting Using the Same Reference Photo

When I was painting with oils yesterday I couldn't stop thinking how the painting would look using pastels.  Today I found out.  Although it has been a while since I had my sticks out, it felt good to get my fingers dusty again.  I think I will be able to go back and forth using pastels or oils, depending on my preference that day.

I wanted to keep a loose feeling to the painting.  Not too much detail.  I think my oil paintings are looser than my pastel paintings, but this is a step in the right direction.  There is a thread over in the Pastel Talk forum at WetCanvas about finding your style.  I have always said that I am waiting for my style to find me.  It may sound corny, but that is how I feel.  I don't think you can consciously pick your style without it looking forced.  When you start painting using the right side of your brain, painting in the zone, that is when your style emerges.  That's my theory and it's my blog so I can say what I want (hehe).

This is painted on 5 x 7 Belgium Mist Wallis sanded paper using a variety of soft pastels including Terry Ludwig, Mount Vision and Unison.  It took me about two hours.  Thanks for looking.


Doug Wasilieff

Monday, May 21, 2012

WetCanvas WDE

Every weekend over at, they have a challenge called the WDE where a host posts sixteen photos and you pick one to paint or draw and post your results.  The goal is to take less than two hours to complete, but if you are not finished you take a photo and post it at the two hour mark and when it is finished you take another photo and post the results.  It is a fun challenge and can get you out of a rut.  This weekend was hosted by a fellow Canuck, mbeckett, who posted some wonderful photos to choose from.  Thanks, Mike.

I decided to continue with the water miscible oils and see what happens.  I am not too sure about this one, but it is another step to the 120 mark.  It is done using just three hues and white again.  I sure like painting with a limited palette and can see the advantages it would give an artist painting plein air.  Premix three tones in each hue and mix each color with another and make three tones of those.  This is done with a split complementary palette of lemon yellow, ultramarine blue and dioxazine purple along with titanium white.  I mixed a pile using all three colors and a little white and used it to tone the canvas to get rid of the white.  I also used a bit of the mixture to mute colors when I needed to tone the color down.   It is painted Windsor & Newton Artisan WMO's  and is painted on a 5 x 7 canvas panel.  It took just over an hour to complete.

Thanks for looking.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pigment Soup

No, it's not something an artist makes for dinner.  It's a term Larry Seiler came up with for the mixture of left over paint from the previous painting.  You just get the palette knife out and mix all of the paint into one pile of mud.  It's pretty mud though.  Mine turned out to be a beautiful red grey.  I didn't know mud could look so good.

The first thing I did was tone the canvas panel with the mixture.  I spread the mixture onto the canvas and rubbed it in with a paper towel, rubbing until the surface was a nice light red grey.  I then added a touch of the mixture to all of the piles of paint from the last painting.  This unifies the colors and the theory is that no matter what pile of paint you choose, the colors will all look fine together.  This is all new to me, but it sounds reasonable.

It was a good experiment for someone like me, a color geek.  I am looking at this painting beside the last painting and I can see how the muted painting makes the other painting look that much more colorful.  Using pure and muted tones together in a painting only makes sense.  That's what this challenge is for.  I am learning as I go.

This is painted with Windsor & Newton Artisan WMO paint and is painted on a 5 x 7 canvas panel from a photo in the WetCanvas Image Reference Library.  Thanks to Paula Ford for the photo.  I am happy to say this took less than an hour to paint.  Having the all the paint premixed sure helps.  Three values of each hue and away you go.

Thanks for looking.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Two More Oils

I feel bad about not posting for a while.  Life gets in the way sometimes and art has to take a backseat.  I have been dabbling with oils and gouache here and there, but mostly just experimenting and practicing mixing colors.  It will take a while getting used to mixing, but it is fun to see what you can create.

The first painting was done a few days ago.  I have no idea why I didn't post it.  Maybe it's because I don't like it.  I guess it's okay, but I felt lost when painting it and just couldn't do what I had in mind.  Oh well.  This is a learning experience and we get what we get.  It is painted with Windsor & Newton Artisan WMO's and is painted on a 9 x 7 canvas board I purchased at a dollar store.  Where else would you find something that size?

The second painting was done after watching Larry Seiler's last class where he discusses different palettes.  He mentioned a split complementary palette and mixing a dark, medium and light in each color and each mixed color.  I used ultramarine blue, cad red hue, cad yellow light and titanium white.  The green came from mixing blue and yellow... you get the picture.  It was nice having all your paint premixed and ready to go.  I could just grab whatever color and value I needed without much thought.  It could be that you might stay in the right brain mode because of the premixed paint.  It was sort of like painting with pastels, just not as many choices, which I find makes things easier.

Anyway, same paint as the first, but this is painted on a 5 x 7 canvas board.  I see white showing through.  The first time I didn't prime the surface.  Both were painted from my own reference photos.

Thanks for looking.




Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My First Oil Painting

I bought some Windsor & Newton Artisan water miscible oils about a year ago and other than doing a few black and white studies, this is my first ever oil painting.  I know some people don't consider WMO's to be true oils, but using them straight out of the tube, I can't see any difference.

After watching Larry Seiler's video, it was only a matter of time until I would give oils a go.  I am glad I did.  It was fun!  Holding a brush in my hand seems different than holding a pastel.  Both are used to put pigment onto a surface, but I seem to loosen up more with a brush.  More freedom?  I don't know, but I will be using oils more now that I have broken the ice.

This is painted with Windsor & Newton Artisan Water Miscible Oils and is painted on an 8 x 10 canvas board.  The photo reference is from the Image Reference Library at

Thanks for looking.



Monday, May 7, 2012

Gouache, Golly, Gee

I bought the download lesson's from Larry Seiler's webinar.  It is great to be able and sit back and listen to Larry's wisdom about painting.  The more I listen to the lessons and read the lesson notes, the more I realize how much I didn't retain from listening live.  Included in the package is a painting demo titled "Last Light Impressions."  I watched it last night and enjoyed it immensely.  I woke up thinking about painting.  Not only painting, but painting with a brush.

There are so many options at my fingertips.  I decided to do a small landscape using gouache.  I will save the oils for another day.  The gouache was still wet in my sta-wet palette from a week ago, which is nice to know.  Artist quality paint is not cheap, so finding ways to extend the time that the paint is usable is very beneficial.

Last week I primed some cold press watercolor paper with Art Spectrum Colourfix Rose Grey primer, thinking I could use pastel on it.  Maybe two coats wasn't enough, but I didn't like how the pastel went onto the surface.  In the past I have used a watercolor under painting on Colourfix, so I figured it could be used for a gouache painting.  It is nice starting a painting on a colored surface.

This is way out of my comfort zone.  I tried to keep it loose and just thought shapes.  I think the sky turned out okay, but I don't know about the rest of the painting.  Maybe because it is different from what I have done in the past.  Anyway, painting #32 is 5 x 7.

Thanks for looking.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Starting the Second Quarter

Painting #31 seemed so far off a month ago, but here we are, thirty paintings to the half way mark of the challenge.  And the third day in a row I painted.  It feels good.

A couple of months ago I purchased some new pastel paper called Art Spectrum Suede.  It feels smooth to the touch, but I was surprised at how much pastel it took.  It will take a while to get used to it, but I think it could become another favorite.

I lined the light box with black paper and it made a big difference.  It was easier to see the reflective colors and I could see the shadows better and both of those things are important.  Maybe I will take a photo and show off the 'pour man's light box' in the next post.

This is painted on 5 x 7 blush colored Art Spectrum Suede paper using a variety of soft pastels.  Thanks for looking.



Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Mug

No, it's not a self portrait.  It's my favorite coffee mug.  I have a ton of them, but this one usually finds its way into my hands at some point during the day.  It has been around for a long time and I have painted it before.  It is always a challenge, because is is so dark and has a shiny finish that catches light and color.

I set the mug up in my new, primitive light box.  It is just a cardboard moving box with a hole cut out on the side to let the light in from a clamp on desk lamp.  I have to paint the sides black, because there is too much light bouncing around.  It could drive a person nuts trying to figure out where all those reflections are coming from.

This is a soft pastel painting and it is painted on 5 x 7 Wallis Belgium Mist sanded paper.  Painting from life is fun.  There are so many things a camera can't pick up.

Thanks for looking.  Here is number 30.  Wow, a quarter of the way through.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Larry Said There Would Be Ugly Paintings

And he was right.  I had this vision in my mind for the past two days and I just had to paint this reference photo from WetCanvas.  I even knew PanPastels were going to be used on Uart 800 grit paper.  It was going to be a beaut!  Then I started painting.

Oh my.  I must be getting immune to embarrassment.  This is a dog, but it is another painting on the journey and it just proves to me that I love painting, because I can't wait to paint the next one.  I can already see it in my mind.... lol

It is painted on 5 x 7 Uart 800 grit paper and it is painted with PanPastels, soft pastels and pastel pencils.  Thanks for looking.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Spotlight Challenge

I am a day late getting started this month.  I had to get going and the Spotlight Challenge over at WetCanvas Pastel Talk was a great place to start.  This month's theme was "edges," an important part of a painting, but often over looked. 

When you think about it, landscapes don't have many hard edges.  Trees, grass, water, clouds and clear sky don't have hard edges.  If a tree has hard edges, it will have that 'cut out and pasted on' look.  Just softening those edges will give the painting a more realistic look.  Softer edges can give a more painterly look as well.

This is painted on 5 x 7 Uart 400 grit paper using Terry Ludwig pastels.  It was started with a gouache under painting.

Thanks for looking.

The Gouache Under Painting


Monday, April 30, 2012

Back to Basics

I had to take some time out to clean up my messy studio.  It looked like a bomb hit and there were things spread out all over the room.  It was getting to the point that I didn't know where anything was, so I decided to put all my energy into cleaning up and organizing my supplies.  I now enjoy walking into "my space."  It is MY little part of the house where I can create anything I want and be by myself.  I find it easier to be creative if no else is around distracting me.

The rain was coming down in buckets today, which put a kink in my plans to go scouting painting spots and taking some photos now that most of the trees have leaves on them.  Hopefully it will clear up for tomorrow, because I NEED more landscape photos.  It seems like the more I paint, the more I don't like using photos that other people take.  Maybe I can connect to my own photos because I have been to the place I am painting.

It has been a few days since I last painted, so I thought I would keep things simple.  I haven't painted a pear for a while, so I grabbed a pear and my gouache and painted.  It isn't the most exciting painting, but I painted and it felt good.

This is painted on 5 x 7 cold press water color paper, primed with Rich Beige Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer.  I could use this as an under painting and put pastel on top.  Hmmm.... maybe I will just do that.  If I do, I will post the results.

As always, thanks for looking.  I will share a couple of photos of my nice clean studio.  It won't stay that way for long.


My pastels

The working area

The view from the drawing table

It's a wonder that I get anything done.  I could look out the window all day long.  If I go over to the left side of the table, there is a view of Shuswap Lake.  If I ever need motivation to learn how to paint landscapes all I have to do is look outside.  I will share more photos when the weather gets nicer.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mixing Greens

The other day I watched a video by Liz Haywood-Sullivan on using greens in a landscape.  She used a pastel and alcohol under painting of orange for greens in light and dark red for areas in shade.  She showed how it was possible to use green as the dominant color in a landscape painting.

I will watch the video again to really study her method, but not today, because I was itching to paint.  It has been a while since I have been able to paint, but it should be clear sailing for the foreseeable future.  There are a thousand ideas bouncing around in my head and I just want to paint and paint some more.

This painting was started with a pastel and alcohol under painting, using a light orange for the grass and a darker orange for the sunny part of the trees.  I think she used the same orange for both.  Now that I have done this, I think a darker orange for the ground would enable the greens to show better.  I used a dark violet for the under painting in the shaded part of the trees.  A light yellow was used for the sky and two different violets for the background trees and hill.

The painting is done on 5 x 7 UART 400 grit sanded paper and I used a variety of pastels.  It sure felt good to be able to paint again.  Thanks for looking.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back to the Sticks

It was time to take the sticks out to play with, because I think they were getting jealous of their cousins, the Pans.  So I put the lids on the Pans and stacked them on the corner of my pastel table and moved the sticks to the front and got my fingers dusty.  It felt good.

I usually like to start a pastel painting with some kind of an under painting.  This one was started with a pastel and alcohol under painting.  The alcohol sets the pastel into the tooth of the sanded paper and leaves most of the tooth for my heavy handed application of the pastels.  I need all the tooth I can get.

This isn't the most complicated painting I have ever done, but I needed to get something done.  I seem to be at a stage where I have to make myself paint.  Is that a good thing?  Maybe.  If I wasn't doing this challenge, I think there would be a very good chance that I would have been sitting on the sidelines and not painting.  At the end of the month I would look back and wonder why I hadn't painted more often.  Doing this challenge will get me painting and that is the only way to improve.  Mileage at the easel!

This is a 5 x 7 pastel painting done on UART 400 grit paper.  Thanks to Paula Ford for the reference photo.   Hmm... those sky holes could be better.  Oh, well.  Thanks for looking.


Monday, April 16, 2012


I wasn't happy with the outcome of this painting, (what's new?) so after I took a photo I decided to have some fun.  I shouldn't say that, because I usually have fun when I am painting.  Let's say it was time to cut lose.

The painting was finished off without the aid of the photo reference I started with.  It was time for imagination and feel!  Put those colors down and be proud!  Contrast!  Color gradation!  Brushstrokes!  (Well, actually they are sponge strokes)  It was fun to do this on a rainy, dull day that needed to be brightened up.

This is another Pan painting on 5 x 7, 800 grit UART paper.



Maybe not.  lol  Thanks for looking.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Across the Lake

After working on Pastelmat with the Pans, it crossed my mind that UART 800 grit paper should suit Pans as well.  I have tried the 800 grit paper a year or two ago without any success, but I thought it was time to give it another go and am I ever glad I did.  The paper doesn't hold as much pastel as other sanded paper, but the pans blend nicely and go on smoothly.  It will just take some more use to find out want I can and can't do with this paper.  I have quite a stash of it, so I am a happy camper to find a way to use it.

This is painted from a photo I took last summer while walking the trails at the bird sanctuary in Salmon Arm, BC.  I liked the view of the hills across the lake and the clouds just added to the scene.  These types of clouds are quite common around here and I am glad about that.  It is painted on 5 x 7 UART 800 Grit paper using Pan Pastels.

Thanks for looking.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cloudy Shuswap Day

Today's painting is painted from a photo I took from the public wharf in our new home town, Salmon Arm, BC.  Now that we are settled in, I want to wander around and discover new painting opportunities and build up the photo references and look for some good painting spots.  There is so much around here.  Mountains, lakes, rivers, farms, old barns and fifteen minutes down the highway there are desert like scenes.  

This is the fifth day in a row that I have posted a painting.  I think this challenge thing is working.  This is another 5 x 7 painting, painted with soft pastels and Pans.  It is painted on dark grey Pastelmat.  The clouds are one thing, but this is the first time I am happy with the water reflections.  I am starting to put things together.  Might be time to try a larger painting.

Thanks for looking.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Clouds 2

Can't win them all.  These clouds didn't turn out the same way as the first ones did, but to keep things real, I am posting them anyway.  This blog and challenge is all about trying new things and tackling subjects that have been a problem for me to paint in the past.  If you don't try something, how will you ever learn?  I am past the stage of worrying about what others think about my paintings.  I enjoy the process of painting and if the painting turns out, that is a bonus.  Does that make any sense?  I learn something with every painting.

This is another Pan Pastel painting, painted on 5 x 7 Maize Pastelmat.  I am also posting a revision of the last painting.  I changed the shape of the top cloud, because it was the same shape as the bottom cloud.

Thanks for looking.


Painting #21 Revised


Monday, April 9, 2012


You would think there were only sunny days in my life when looking at my landscape paintings.  Very rarely would you catch sight of a cloud.  Why?  Because I can't paint clouds!  Whenever I tried they would look like heavy clumps that couldn't possibly float in the sky.  "Look out below!"

This challenge is all about experimenting and trying new things, as well as slaying dragons of the past.  So, after deciding to attempt a cloud painting, I went to the PanPastel site and watch a half hour free video on painting clouds by Deborah Secor.  It was very helpful and I highly recommend it.  The price is right.

This is another Pan pastel painting and is painted on 5 x 7 Maize Pastelmat.  It is painted from a reference photo I took from our backyard.  As soon as I took the photo, I knew it was a good reference photo.  Not all photos are.  

Thanks for looking.



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mount Ida

Mount Ida makes a perfect backdrop for our small city and I am sure every artist in Salmon Arm has painted it at least a dozen times.  I took a photo of Mount Ida from our backyard the other day and decided it was time for my first attempt to paint the local landmark.

The mountain turned out okay and it is the first time that I have something that resembles clouds, so I am happy with that, but there are too many trees.  Boring!  The next time, maybe a panoramic view of the mountain with just a few trees showing would make for a more interesting painting.  Actually, I had quite a few ideas pop into my head while painting this, so there may be more paintings of Mount Ida in the near future.

This is another 5 x 7 pastel painting, using Faber Castell Polychromo, Mount Vision, Unison and Pan pastels and is painted on Buttercup Pastelmat.

Thanks for looking.



Saturday, April 7, 2012

Taking it Further

We have all had that painting that taunts you.  The painting that gets under your skin and there doesn't seem to be a damn thing you can do about it.  That was my last painting.  I hated it, but could see some potential.  I worked on the sky and was happy with it.  Then tree was tended to, until it looked okay.  So far, so good. Then came the grass.  The bloody grass!!!!  I just couldn't get it!  I ended up wiping all the pastel off left of the path yesterday and went back to it today.  I am not overly pleased with the outcome, but it is an improvement.

Anyway, it doesn't count as another painting, but I thought I would post it.  Most of the revisions were done with soft pastels.  Okay, NOW I can move on.  Ain't this fun?


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Standing Tall

It took two days, off and on, to paint this and I always struggle when it takes longer than a day to finish a small painting.  I don't know if I lose my vision or I lose interest, but I have noticed the one day paintings seem fresher.  I can't use pain as an excuse or I will never paint.  Pastel paintings take longer than gouache, so maybe I have to look at gouache more seriously and paint in pastel only when I am having a good day.  The problem is, I never know when the good days are coming.  Oh well, I know things could be worse.

This is a 5 x 7 pastel painting done on Belgium Mist Wallis sanded paper, painted with a variety of soft pastels and Pan Pastels.  The photo reference is from the Wet Canvas RIL.  The sky and tree were mostly done on the first day and the grass and path on the second day and I like the first days work the most.  I remembered sky holes this time, so all is not lost.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Path To?

This time I used a very dark paper, which made the whole painting darker.  I wanted the pines to be dark to make a nice contrast with the grass and path, without the path being too bright and sticking out like a sore thumb.  I actually like this one, but after the last painting, anything would be an improvement.  

This is painted on 5 x 7 dark brown Art Spectrum Colourfix paper using Pan Pastels.  I used a reference photo from the Wet Canvas IRL.

Here is #17.  Thanks for looking. 


Monday, April 2, 2012

Road to Nowhere

It went from bad to worse.  It started with another gouache under painting and then I added Pan Pastels.  I wasn't happy with the results, so I added soft pastels.  I guess you get the idea, but not what I had in mind. I remember when I came across this scene.  I was out hunting for photo references in the back roads of the town we used to live in, Houston, BC, and I turned a corner and came to a stop.  I loved how the shadow went across the gravel road and the strong contrast of the shadow and the sun drenched trees.  I might try this painting again, after I do some plein air painting.

It is painted on 5 x 7 light grey Pastelmat and I think I spent about 45 minutes on it.  I think I will put this one in the "ugly" pile.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pans Over Gouache

That title sounds like something you would order for breakfast at Denny's.  It just describes how I did this painting.  I have wanted to try the Pan Pastel/ gouache combination for a while and I am glad I did.  The Pastelmat soaked up the gouache nicely and the Pans went on top without noticing any loss of tooth.  I really like the painterly look and I will be doing more paintings with this combo in the near future.

This is another 5 x 7 painting and it took about half an hour.  As you can see, I stayed over at the yellow/ green area of the color wheel which gives some harmony to the painting.  I stopped myself from putting blue in the sky.  Old habits are hard to break.

The photo reference is from the RIL at



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shuswap Lake

I am sure there will be many landscapes in my future that include beautiful Shuswap Lake.  I get to look at it every day from the comfort of our kitchen while eating my breakfast.  The views of the lake, valley and mountains give me motivation to paint.  We still can't believe we live in this beautiful part of BC.

This is another Pan Pastel painting and I must be getting the hang of things, because it only took about 45 minutes to paint.  I let some of the maize Pastelmat show through the painting to give a warm feeling.  I added the some violet flowers to harmonize with the mountains.  Without the violet in the grass, the mountains looked out of place, but as soon as the flowers were added, it seemed to tie things together.  I think.

This is another small 5 x 7 painting.  The reference photo was taken last summer at the bird sanctuary in Salmon Arm, BC.  I tried to simplify everything in the painting and I didn't do any detail work on it.  I can't believe this is #14 already.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trying to Simplify

Simplify your painting.  That was my goal for this attempt at the same photo reference as the last try.  I used Pan Pastels, because I find you don't put in as much detail when using them as you do when using regular soft pastels.  When I just use Pans, the painting usually ends up with a softer look.

I am happier with this painting.  The trees don't have individual leaves, but I think there is enough information to tell you what they are.  Simplifying is something I want to explore some more and see where it takes me.

This is painted on 5 x 7 dark grey Pastelmat.  Thanks for looking.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Should I?

Should I post this?  Should I explore a more contemporary look?  Should I throw my gouache away?  Should I give up art?  Those were just some of many questions going through my mind when painting this over the past two days.  It was one of those paintings.

I know there is a learning curve and I also know there are going to be a lot of ugly paintings along this journey.  If you keep painting the same style over and over, how would you know if another style didn't suit you better?  I feel better about it already, just reading my words.  I would be an idiot if I didn't pursue this more.  I know it's not for everybody, but it is closer to what I have in  mind than a lot of my latest paintings.  I think this is close to the style of my still life paintings from a few months ago.

This is painted on 8 x 10 cold press watercolor paper with Daler Rowney gouache.

Here are a couple of Pan Pastel paintings from late last year.   I may try the above painting again using Pan Pastels.  Pans are a more familiar medium and I might have a better chance of success.  I still want to play with gouache, but I think Pans and Pastelmat could help get the look I am after.  Anyway, here are the paintings from last year.

Thanks for looking and listening to my venting.  I am quickly finding out why people urge others to start a blog.  Even if nobody reads it, seeing your thoughts in print is very helpful.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pastel Trees

Here is the latest attempt at trees.  This time I went back to pastels.  There is a more detailed look with my pastel trees than my trees painted with gouache, but I didn't spend any time adding detail.  It's just scumbling light over dark that gives depth to the trees.

This is painted with PanPastels, Unison and Terry Ludwig pastels and is painted on 5 x 7 natural sienna Pastelmat.  Still not pleased with my grass.

Thanks for looking.  Here is #11.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Yesterday was the final webinar with Larry Seiler, and he stressed the importance of simplifying your paintings. The trees don't need to be detailed for the viewer to believe they are looking at a tree.  Let the viewer put their own detail into it.  That way they will be more connected to the painting.

Simplifying sounds, well, simple.  Putting in the least amount of detail, but enough to make it believable is NOT a simple task.  Practice and studying artists I admire will be a way of learning this valuable tool for making better paintings.

This is another gouache painting.  It is painted on 5 x 7 cold press watercolor paper and I used the same photo reference as my first four paintings.  Thanks for looking.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Glowing Trees

This is painted from a photo I took behind our old house in Houston, BC.  In the fall, these trees would glow when the sun was behind them.  I have always wanted to paint them so I figured now is a good time to try.  I am still not happy with the grass.  I have to find the grass demo at by Paula Ford and follow her instructions.  She always has great demos. 

This is painted on 5 x 7 brown Pastelmat and I used a variety of soft pastels.  Thanks for looking.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lemon on a White Plate

I think this painting should just be called, Lemon.  Not my best work.  The perspective and the ellipse of the plate gave me problems and it is the first time trying to paint a white plate.  And then doing it in gouache, still an unfamiliar  medium.  What was I thinking?

When I was setting this up, the yellow of the lemon looked more cad yellow than lemon yellow.  I should have known to stop right there.  I chose a split complementary palette of cad yellow, ultramarine and magenta with perm white.  I shouldn't be so hard on myself, because I do like how the lemons turned out.  The plate?  Anyway, it was a good exercise mixing a limited palette and painting from life.  No grid or photo to help out.

It is painted on 5 x 7 Buttercup Pastelmat using Daler Rowney gouache.  I planned on letting some of the paper show through, but that didn't happen.  This surface offers a chance to do an under painting in gouache and using pastel on top.  That is for another day.

Here is number 8.  Thanks for looking.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Pastel Pear and Bottle

I am back to pastels, but did I ever have problems with this puppy.  It was difficult to see all the colors in the pear, bottle, shadow and reflection.  I don't normally paint this late in the evening, but I want to try to paint every day and this was the only time I could paint.  I guess that is part of the challenge and you have to try to find the time.

This is painted with a variety of soft pastels and is done on 5 x 7 Wallis Belgium Mist sanded art paper and took about an hour to paint.  It is painted from life.  That's #7.

Thanks for looking.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Orange and Mug

I stayed with gouache for today's painting.  It was done with a split-complementary palette of cobalt blue (hue), cadmium yellow (hue), cadmium red (hue) and permanent white Daler Rowney and painted on cold press watercolor paper.

I guess I should have used ultramarine instead of cobalt blue.  When the cobalt blue was mixed with cad red and white I ended up with a greyed down red violet.  It all makes sense to me now.  If you mix a green blue with a yellow red, you will end up with a dulled down color.  The ultramarine is more of a red blue and would have mixed a more vibrant color.  So, it depends on what look you are going for.

This was painted without putting down a drawing first.  I just started putting paint to paper and flew at it.  The most difficult stroke is the first one and after that it seems the right brain takes over and you end up with something resembling an orange and a mug.  I hope.

I know it's not the most exciting piece, but it is my daily painting.  Thanks for looking.