James’ Rose

Our son was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society last night at his middle school. As part of the ceremony they were given roses. This is his. I painted it as fast as I could and limited my palette aiming to simplify.

acrylic on paper, 12×9″ 


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Slow Return

I hadn’t painted outside in a while and I hadn’t used acrylics in a while. It was a slow adjustment this morning returning to both.

Typically I edit a scene down to what specifically interests me about it. Today I started taking baby-steps towards including more. I added cars, which I always omit. I also removed some trees, telephone poles and of course the wires. Lately I’m feeling an interest in including more information like the cars. I don’t know if that stems from the slower observation of my recent figure work or not, and I don’t know if it will be an improvement in my paintings. I do like the addition of the cars, but the top of the painting where the trees and wires were seems empty to me. If I can get out to paint this week maybe I’ll focus less on the buildings and more on the visual detritus that I usually ignore.

acrylics, 12×12″ 


And while the kids played outside… I played outside. Ouch! Horrible drawing on that car.

03.22.15-driveway 03.22.15-driveway2

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One More

Another figure in oils. I spent more time on this one. That was probably a mistake. I’m stopping because I think I could go on and on refining it and that wasn’t the purpose of these. Even the face has too much information. Back to acrylics or watercolors tomorrow.


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Another day of figure sketches in oils. I feel like I’m struggling too much with the oil paint and it’s preventing me from focusing more on color and drawing. Tomorrow I may try one longer painting instead of three quick ones. Each of these is under an hour. I think I scraped off more paint than I left on.

I really didn’t want these exercises to become a process of retraining myself with oil paint. I just thought they’d be throw away sketches and rather than wasting my beloved acrylics I’d use up my old oils. One more day. After that I may switch back to acrylics or watercolors.


94 to go.

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Figure Practice

I realized I probably painted 100 plein air landscapes before I was comfortable with it and could do it reasonably well so I thought I’d charge into a lot of figures. I’m pretty terrible at it but I was terrible at plein air landscapes when I started those too. Here are three I did today. They are in oil paint and I haven’t used oils in a very long time. I have a lot of oil paint though and figured I’d use it up for these exercises. These are no more than 45 minutes each. 9×12’s


Only 97 more to go!

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Here’s one of my kids. I started this from life on one of their snow days while they were watching TV but had to finish it from a photo.

acrylic, 6×8″ 


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4 a.m.

I was up at 4 today and looked out the window. I made some mental notes on value and color so I could go back to bed. I painted this from memory and a little bit of looking at the scene during the day. It’s not a very good photo of the painting but…

acrylic, 12×9″ 


Set up and looking out the window at the scene during the day.


And last night I made it to the Brandywine River Museum for a talk by Jamie Wyeth about his work. Fun.


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Snow Day

The kids had a snow day today. Got to paint a little though.

acrylic, 14×11″ 


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Watercolor Figure

I dared to try painting the figure in watercolor today. I took my acrylics just in case but left them in the van. I enjoyed the change from a forgiving, changeable medium like acrylics to the challenging unforgivingness of watercolors. I may try it again…. I dunno…. It’s hard for me to see (and show!) results as rough as these. I know what I get out of something like this but I don’t know that other people can see the value in it.

A quick one to loosen up a little. Student grade paper always performs poorly for me but probably the most interesting of the three today. I should’ve just done a bunch of quick ones.


This one is on QoR watercolor grounds that I tinted with acrylic paint. You can see the edge on the right where the paper is white and the toned ground was added. I needed opaque white to pull out the lighter areas. That was kind of a fun approach but much stiffer and controlled than I like with watercolors.


A bigger effort. Perhaps over worked. But I’m happy enough with it being my first try at using watercolors with a live model. I’m still clinging to reality a bit too much I think.



And this was a quick watercolor sketch I tried to try and muster some courage to take watercolors to our figure painting group.


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More Ice

I raced this morning to get all of my domestic responsibilities taken care of so I could go out and paint some more ice before it’s gone. I don’t usually get to paint plein airs mid-day. Today I got to paint two. I have a lot of studio work to catch up on but I couldn’t resist. It was warm today and the ice was melting as I painted it.

acrylic, 12×16″


acrylic, 10×10″ 


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