Author Archive

Oh My! It ha been an awfully long time…….

August 18, 2012

My case of internet avoidance seems to have gotten worse – I see that it’s been over a year since I posted here.  I do paint, and have been participating in online workshops with Richard Robinson this year, where I’ve learned a lot and had many ups and downs.  In the beginning, mostly downs as I measured myself against some of the fine painters on his site. I have gained in confidence though.

Here are some of the paintings which are randomly on my desktop right now.  One of the problems with not blogging for a while is the work involved in catching up – but I will try!

40 – and moving along

May 4, 2011

I’ve actually been painting lately, even though I’ve been mostly absent from the internet.  Trouble is, painting has not been going well for me in 2011.  I’m trying to paint my way through this bad patch though.  I’ve joined Matthew Archambaut’s Painting Tutorials Online  to try to improve my technique.  Matthew is an illustrator, and works in a very tight style which doesn’t correspond to my lazy and careless personality much, but I’ve been trying to apply myself.  Following are some small studies done from reference photos supplied on his site.  I was unable to make myself do an accurate underdrawing and underpainting – I just plowed in and refined as much as I could.  I think the Model T came out surprisingly well considering my sloppy approach, but I’m not thrilled with the other 2.  The point of these was the palette used. Here is one with a warm palette, one with a cool palette, one with a “broken palette” (basically 2 complementary colors – here I used blue and orange, apparently red and green work well too). Of course I cheated, adding yellow to obtain the green leaves.  I loved using the warm palette, didn`t really like the cool palette and hated the broken palette.  I think the results reflect that.


I also did one more version of that Loire scene – really that will be the very last one from that particular photo.  There will be more of the Loire since I live a stone’s throw away from it though. I followed Jill’s idea and cut out that damned island this time – it was the major problem in my composition.  This is also  tiny.  I haven’t had the nerve to work on a big canvas lately, but working so small creates other problems. This was extremely difficult to control, and I didn’t really get it.

And as I had a lot of leftover paint after that one, I did a quick sketch based on a photo I took from my studio one evening last fall.  This took no more than 20 minutes and the colors are all wrong but I’m counting it because how else will I ever get to 100???  I may turn it into a painting at some point, but I’m not sure.


Two quick oil studies from the same reference

April 15, 2011

I haven`t been doing much painting since getting stuck on N° 37 (below).   I hated that painting but could not work out what was wrong with it.  The more I worked on it the deeper I dug myself into a hole, but I was like a dog with a bone and just would not let it go! I tried changing the shape of the canvas (and a friend pointed out that I had unconsciously changed the poplar trees into pine trees – I have no idea where they came from!)  I have finally decided to move on and paint over my second attempt.  I`ve been working from a reference photo that just doesn’t have enough information and I don’t have the skill level to pull off a large painting with my imagination.  Anyway, to put this thing to rest I did two small oil studies yesterday working with a limited palette of blue and yellow, plus a little pre-mixed grey and white.  In one I kept to a warmer mix of colors, using cerulean, and in the other I tried to keep things cool, with a touch of alizarin in the blue. The underpainting shows through in both of them.  I may play around with another study combining the two color strings since they are already mixed up, but I will not be doing a large painting.  When I started this landscape series, the plan was to quickly do a whole lot of small studies, but I let myself get bogged down by being overly ambitious.  I really hope to pull myself out of this slump and get working again.

Here’s my reference photo, followed by the latest landscapes – 38 and 39. If you’d like to use the reference and paint one yourself, please feel free to do so.

The Loire Seen from the Bridge in Amboise

December 20, 2010

This one is quite large. Number 37.

OOPs – a friend asked me why I put pine trees near the Loire – in the heat of the painting it just happened.  I am currently re-working this one.  I transformed them back to poplars, but in the process messed up all the shapes and values.  This one will be a learning experience. I almost took it down, but that seems dishonest somehow.

Sky Study

December 17, 2010

I’m calling this a landscape because there is a horizon in it….The camera filtered out all the yellow tones for some reason, and made the clouds look green.

I’m up to 36 now.

I’m still here!

December 11, 2010

I just have had a hard time getting back into painting (not to mention blogging and even visiting blogs).  Anyway, I have finally broken through to the other side of whatever was keeping me from painting, and am thus able to present numbers 34 and 35 on this journey to 100 landscapes.

We had a gorgeous autumn here in Touraine this year.  A few weeks ago, while I was out walking with my sons Damien and Paul, a storm rolled in in the distance, creating a thrilling contrast between the dark stormclouds and the gold afternoon light we’d had until then. Luckily we were armed with a camera.  I think Damien took the photos.  Here is my feeble attempt to paint the scene.

I was thrilled to have finally finished a painting, but felt there was too much detail in it, so I did another one.

And now all I feel like doing is painting.


33 – Stormy day on the Loire

June 16, 2010

I didn’t much feel like painting today, but once I got going it was ok.  This is from a photo I took a couple of days ago, but accurately reflects the weather we are having today.  No particular progress today, but moving along….

Simplified cityscape

June 11, 2010

I had an awful time painting a landscape from the photo I chose to work with this week – I wasted days on it and was ready to give up oil painting altogether.  I couldn’t work out exactly where I was going wrong , but I think it had a lot to do with the fact that the photo didn’t give enough information, and also that the light source wasn’t clear, and I had a hard time being consistent. Finally yesterday I tried doing it in pastel and couldn’t do that either, without a radical simplification.  I then altered my oil painting to look more like the pastel – eliminating 3 trees in the process. I don’t know what I think of it, but here it is. 32.

Landscape with Figure

May 27, 2010

This is from a photo I took in Turkey.  The light was tricky – it must have been around noon.  Oil painting is certainly a lot easier on a linen canvas than on those cheap panels I’ve been using. This is number 31!!!!

Number 30 – A Seascape

May 22, 2010

I’m very excited because I think I’m getting this values thing.  It makes me want to do more paintings!