Friday, July 26, 2013

Mendenhall Glacier - Alaska

This is a small 8" X 10" acrylic painting on stretched canvas of the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.  I painted it from a photo provided by a family member.  She requested the painting and I think it is finished now.

This is really the first time I've done any type of commission for someone.  It was interesting working from someone else's photo since I have never been there (but would like to go!). First we had to decide on a composition since her photo was a panorama type and she wanted an 8" X 10" canvas.

I made several sample compositions using Photoshop.  I made several other painting decisions too. She told me that the ice was bluer than in the original photo and I knew this from other friends that had been there. I looked online at other photos and paintings to get an idea of colors.  As always, you can click on any of the photos and you will get a larger image.

I took a digital photo of my painting and noticed that the colors are not quite accurate with my painting.  I always struggle a little to get a good photo, but this is fairly accurate. I will let the painting set for a few days to make sure I don't want to change anything else, then buy a frame for it.  The other possibility was putting a canoe in the painting (to show scale), but I felt it would detract from the painting and would be too small so I opted not to do this.

Here are some of the original photos I was working with. The top one is the original panorama.
Notice the color of the ice. I thought it was really beautiful.

And the canoe that didn't make it into the final painting:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On my easel today

I decided to make a comparison as I am learning how to use different kinds of paint.  The photo of the Bird of Paradise flower (strelitzia reginae) was cropped from one of the photos I took in May while I was in California. (Photo upper right)

The painting on the upper left is my first attempt to use oil paint on a canvas paper. Just trying to get used to the flow of the paint, I made a color wheel. This was done from an example I saw online.  The outer colors are put down and gradually mixed with the next color. The inner circle is white. Then the outer colors are brushed into it to see the tints.

The painting on the bottom left was done with acrylic paints.  I'm not sure if I like the 2 color background, but I'll leave it for now.  I can always change it to black later.  Both paintings are on stretched canvas (not canvas board).  I did the acrylic painting first.

The painting on the bottom right is my attempt with oil paint.  I used black gesso first as the background.  I had to use some again after I finished the oil painting to darken the background.  At first I didn't have the correct colors and couldn't mix them from my beginner set.  Then I ordered more colors and attempted to finish the painting. I changed the composition a little, felt that some of the leaves in the acrylic one did not stand out well, were too small.

It takes a long time for oil paint to dry before it can be varnished and considered done.  I did enjoy the flow of the oil paint so I will continue to learn more. I am working with books and DVDs now, hope to go back to a class in the fall.  I am working with water mixable oil paint (Winsor & Newton Artisan) as I do not want to work with solvents and strong odors.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Currier Museum Poster Contest

The Currier Museum is having a poster contest based on the state motto ("Live Free or Die") from John Stark and the revolution. They changed the words to "Live Free and...."  I choose "Hike" since I love hiking and made a little collage with prints of two of my hiking paintings.

 I'm very happy today to report that the original painting of Franconia Falls has been sold!  It's always exciting to me to sell an original since I still consider myself a student, although I think I have passed on from the beginner level to something more interesting and semi-professional.  I enjoy selling the cards and prints too, but an selling an original gives me a sense of validation for my work.

The voting for the poster contest is on FaceBook.  Looking at the other submissions, I think there were definitely some professional artists there.  This is the link if you are on FB: Currier Poster Contest

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


This is my experiment with palette knife painting. You can see the earlier view in the last post.  It was fun to do and I think I'll just leave it as is.  This started out as a photo of lily pads in a pond with trees in the background. Since I usually paint somewhat realistically, this was a nice change for me. Acrylic paint on canvas board, 11" X 14".  Original photo was from Round Pond on one of the trails at Lake Pawtuckaway State Park (NH).

This one is just a quick study for a larger painting. It is acrylic paint on medium texture artist canvas (that comes in a pad, not mounted). I taped it to a board to work on it.  It is 8" X 10" and I will be doing a 16" X 20" canvas later in the summer as a donation to a group home.  I took the photo of the sunrise when I was in Costa Rica last winter.  Sunrises can also be metaphors for a new day, a new start so I thought that was appropriate for the site it will be going on.

I have started to learn how to paint with oil paints now.  I started a painting today of a Bird of Paradise flower done with acrylic paints. When I finish it, I will do a second painting of the same image with the oil paints so that I can compare them.  So far I have only painted a color wheel with the oil paints to see how the paint goes on the canvas.

Time seems to be going very fast this summer.  Meanwhile, I also submitted an entry to the Currier Museum's poster contest -- "live free and ....."  Naturally, my entry was about hiking. I don't expect to win, but you never know unless you try.