Still Life

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I’m sorry this is late.

I’m not sorry that my first post of this new year is about art. Hopefully there will be many more this year focusing on my art.

In my second to last art class, we walked in to see tables set up around a massive still life scene.

I’ve never really painted a still life before. I chose my seat and used a full size easel for the first time. I’m addicted to using one now.

Anyway, after moving things around a bit, I came up with this set up to paint:

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For the background, I wanted a nice natural blueish color. What I came up with was a little darker than intended, but I still liked it enough to not take the time to paint over it. I wanted to use a natural lighter tan for the base before putting in the objects.

After the background and base colors were established, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about starting the actual objects. We were told the best approach is to slowly add layers so that each object was in the same state of completeness.

Following these instructions, I blocked out the objects in white, off white, light blue, light yellow, and light green.

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After blocking out everything, I then added shading using matte medium and black much like the landscape we did previously. I don’t have a picture of this middle step, sorry! After the shading, I started detailing the taller bottle and the lemons and limes.

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Sorry the lighting is a little off on this one.

Our last class we were given the opportunity to finish any of our paintings and I chose to work on this still life.

I started by detailing the objects. My instructor and I both agreed that the background was too flat and didn’t fit in with the rest of the painting. I noticed that there was a black smudge on the top left of the painting, so to add some pizzazz and texture, I used a really watered down white, tan, and sometimes black and smudged it down with my finger and more water. I really loved the effect and it transformed the painting.

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At home, I made some updates and added the cloth on the table.

I hate those flowers, so I tried to create the background color again. It took a few attempts to recreate it, but I added the slightly later shades to the background. I really dislike the colors I used for the table, so I’m going to make it significantly lighter and give it more of a natural fold look. I might add a bit of yellow too. I also need to go in and add the background texturing over the newly changed background areas.

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Almost there!






Acrylic Thursdays

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Remember when I took the water based media class? Well, I’m taking another art class at Root Division. This time I’m taking the Intro to Acrylics class and I’m a fan of it so far.

In the first class we studied color and mixing colors and created a color wheel. I’m a fan of this practice. I usually try to avoid buying colors that I can mix myself. I am used to making my own greens and purples and oranges. It was fun to see what colors you can make with certain hues. I’ve always used Cadmium Yellow Medium. In the class, she suggested we get Cadmium Yellow Light. Aha! The perfect green!

One of the students asked what the point of this exercise is and then tried to use the store bought green on that section of the color wheel. The point of this exercise, sir, is so that you can learn to make colors on your own.

Sometimes I buy a few different shades of blue and yellow. I usually have black, payne’s grey, and some sort of burnt or raw umber.

Now that you have my color choices down, I will share with you our second week’s assignment.

This week, we were to complete modern style paintings containing squares, rectangles, stripes, and/or triangles. We were then supposed to use our color wheels to create a work using a specific color relationship: Monochrome, Analogous, Complimentary, or split complimentary. I could talk about color relationships for a really long time. This article does a great job of discussing the mixing of colors.

My design consists of a solid background and a triangle/pyramid in the center. Originally I had intended to use true orange as my background and create the shapes in the middle using split complimentary colors of blue/green and blueish purple. My background did not turn out the way I wanted it to and was a bit more red (always add WAY more yellow when making true orange!). So I went straight with complimentary which is the blue/green color and then chose to do the shape in various shades of that color.

We then were to use a tape method to create crisp lines with the acrylics by using matte medium under the tape edges to help create a sharp, crisp line. Upon the next update on this work, I’ll add some pictures of the in between stages. I also want to try this out on other works as this isn’t the style I usually work in. I want to try various shades, etc.

Enough with words and my rambling on what I want to work on.

Behold! The makings of my piece:

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The colors are a little off in this picture. Hopefully by the end, I’ll get some good natural lighting and get a good angle that shows the colors true.



Artful Thursday

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Never again will I look at a photograph that seems simple to paint an say ‘hey this looks really easy, I guess I’ll give it a go as a quick painting in 30 minutes’.

3 hours later this was born:


Acrylic on a flat board canvas. Reference photo below:

bulgaria48 Bulgarian countryside taken while on my jeep safari while on Semester at Sea.

I played with the colors a bit. The printed version I have of the photo is a bit darker. Over, I’ll quite proud. I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I do.

With ink-stained hands…

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… I write this post.

Actually there won’t be much writing. This post is mostly about artwork.

My next post – which I’m going to work on tonight – will be written with ink-stained hands. Sort of.

Tonight I felt the pull to create some new artwork. I may or may not be tossing around the idea of starting an Etsy shop at some point in the future mostly for thank you cards and hand made postcards and small works with India ink and some with water color.

All of these were started with India ink. The first two also had watercolor paints used.

The rest are just ink.






Works from Watercolor/Water Based Media Class

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I decided to take a watercolor class at Root Division here in SF. I love  it! I’m learning a great deal. Next week is our last week, which saddens me but its been a wonderful experience. Hopefully I’ll be getting together with one of the girls in my class and some of her friends to create some art together.

When I first started with acrylics years ago, I started with yellow, red, and blue and mixed my own colors. We only use shades of yellow, red, blue, paynes grey, and brown. I really like that and will probably just go back to those colors as I continue with painting.

So, here are some of my works from the class.

*I missed week 3 due to a work conflict. So exciting my life is, I know.

Week 1: Flower study

Ink added after class.

Week 2: Fruit study
Week 4: Work 1 – working from professional artist paintings – 19th century British watercolor


Week 4: Work 2 – working from professional artist paintings – modern section of a famous painter whose name I can’t quite remember

I added the ink outline in the day after class for this last picture.

Back into the swing of things…. painting things that is

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(ORIGINAL POST DATE: Wednesday April 6, 2011)

Monday night I was commissioned by my co-workers to make a sign for our one colleague that is making a career change. I brought out all of my art supplies and actually ended up painting part of it.

Between that and being in San Francisco, I finally have some motivation to paint again. I’ve been meaning to work on some paintings but lacked motivation or inspiration.

I think the trip to San Francisco has definitely helped me get this spark back. I decided I wanted to paint the skyline of San Francisco with the golden gate bridge for my cousin. I couldn’t decide how I wanted it to look and was originally going for Sgraffit – where you paint one layer of paint on top of another and scrape down to the bottom layer. However, I found my palette knife in my paint container and decided that this would be a good time to try out painting with one. I’ve never done it before and now I’m hooked! Perfect for skylines.

I started with the bridge then added the buildings. I really really don’t like the bridge, but ran out of yellow paint so I can’t really paint over it yet until I get more. I could probably squeeze some more out, but if you’ve EVER painted, painting over black with yellow is the worst. It’s easier to paint over black with white than it is to paint over it with yellow!