Pink Roses in a Vase, oil pastel


A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.” Paul Gardner

Pink Roses in a Vase, an oil pastel (8.5 x 5.5) was done on a gesso-prepared hardboard.  The underpainting background was painted with acrylics and the main medium, oil pastels, were mainly Senneliers (creamy) and Holbein (soft) oil pastels.  Tools used to manipulate and spread the OPs were my fingers, clay shapers and a palette knife.

I’m fascinated with 19th century florals, whether they are painted in a traditional style or impressionist, I feel nothing but admiration for those master artists.   Their ability to control the details, mix colors and manage the technicals like values and edges, etc. is the reason they are considered the top class of their time.  Simply put, their work is fascinating to analyze and learn from.

In the case of my painting, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Gardner.  I was ready to go in and make a few minor adjustments and realized an “interesting place” was achieved so it was time to stop and let it be.

Thanks for checking in ~ click onto the image for a larger view.

Pink Roses in a Vase

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Tulip and Glass Study, oil pastel


I invent nothing, I rediscover.” Auguste Rodin

Mr. Rodin described perfectly what I’m striving for, to rediscover our precious world through my paints.

Tulip and Glass Study, is an oil pastel (8.5 x 5.5) painted on a gesso-prepared hardboard.  For this painting the goal was all about developing contrasts in both values and colors – allowing the tulips and vase to standout against a supporting rich dark background.  It was done as a study, I think for a larger size I’d paint the tulips more fluid with taller stems and the vase as long-necked – that would probably get me the vision for this piece I’m after.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Thanks for checking in ~ click onto the image for a larger view.

Tulip and Glass Study

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY IMAGES – MY ART IS COPYRIGHTED.

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Sunflower Study, oil pastel


I’ve been missing from blogging for the past month or so – my apologies to everyone.  We’re busy with personal projects and I’ve had a bit of an artist block and one really bad painting, so bad in fact that it shook my confidence to continue painting.  A break was needed from both painting and blogging giving myself a little space.

I’m slowly getting back into painting.  For now I’m concentrating my work on developing studies devoted to backgrounds and still life’s mainly flowers, but I know that other subjects will come into play.  Not all of the paintings were successful, but elements in each are definitely useful for developing larger paintings.

Sunflower Study, is an oil pastel (8.5 x 5.5) painted on a gesso-prepared board.  The background was done with acrylics with the flower, leaves and vase produced using oil pastels.  It was an interesting project, because the background kept revealing some neat patterns that I was able to develop the leaves and vase off of.

Looking forward to catching up with your blogs, thank you for taking the time to check in – always appreciated.  Click onto the image for a larger view.

Sunflower Study

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY IMAGES – MY ART IS COPYRIGHTED.

PLEASE DON’T COPY OR USE THE IMAGE WITHOUT RECEIVING MY PERMISSION FIRST – SEE DISCLOSURE ON THE RIGHT PANEL.

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Bluebonnets in Texas Springtime, oil pastel


Beautiful quiet expansive fields are not unusual to find in Texas, but in the Spring these barren fields come alive with large patches of wildflowers.  Truly a sight to see ~

Bluebonnets in Texas Springtime, is on oil pastel (8×10) done on a gesso prepared hardboard.  This scene is one of the fields that we saw during our recent trip to Ennis.  It seemed rather ordinary, but taking a second look there were some elements that made this scene real interesting.  This little beauty showed itself to be a great subject for a painting.

Using acrylic a three-toned purple underpainting was layed down (very light for the sky, slightly darker for the mid-ground and then darker still for the foreground) – I wanted to cool down the yellow and greens.  The sky was completely clouded, so blue was added to harmonize with the bluebonnets.

Did you know that Texas wildflowers love any kind of dirt to grow?  You’d be surprised to see how easily they come up year-after-year in hard Texas black clay and rocky fields – talk about determination!  Thanks for checking in ~ click onto the image for a larger view.

Bluebonnets in Texas Springtime

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY IMAGES – MY ART IS COPYRIGHTED.

PLEASE DON’T COPY OR USE THE IMAGE WITHOUT RECEIVING MY PERMISSION FIRST – SEE DISCLOSURE ON THE RIGHT PANEL.

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A Field of Indian Paintbrushes, oil pastel painting


Several weeks ago we went down to Ennis to see the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes, driving down some of the narrow trail roads to see the fields we came across one that could have been the subject for many of the French Impressionist painters ~ and who knew, in the middle of Texas!

A Field of Indian Paintbrushes, (14×11) is an oil pastel painting done on a gesso-prepared hardboard.  The scene captured my attention immediately, as picturesque as one could imagine I knew this would be my first oil pastel painting after taking a long hiatus from the medium.  I took several photographs of the area, each one a painting in itself.   The field had mostly Indian Paintbrushes with a few Bluebonnets showing up here and there in the foreground.

The painting was started with a warm acrylic underpainting done in a combination of cadmium red light and yellow ochre for the sky and field, for the tree a bit of dioxazine purple was added.  I was hoping that some of the colors would peek through under the oil pastel paints – I was not disappointed.  It took a little while to get used to painting with color and oil pastels (the sticky wetness, for spreading, making marks, scratching and blending), but in no time it all started coming back.  I may try my hand at this particular scene again without the underpainting for a different overall feel to the scene.

Thanks for checking in ~ was great painting with color again!  Click onto the image for a larger view.

A Field of Indian Paintbrushes

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY IMAGES – MY ART IS COPYRIGHTED.

PLEASE DON’T COPY OR USE THE IMAGE WITHOUT RECEIVING MY PERMISSION FIRST – SEE DISCLOSURE ON THE RIGHT PANEL.

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Strokes of Genius, The Best of Drawing – The Sixth Volume: A book review


This book is the sixth in a series called “Strokes of Genius,” edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf (an artist and freelance editor), an excellent resource of 144 drawings from 142 artists.  The goal of the book is to provide readers with a collection of drawings that illustrate values, lights and darks created from different mediums (mainly graphite and charcoal) across a wide spectrum of subjects.

I’ve been looking for a drawing resource that is not so much instructional, as is a collection of high quality drawing images that are large enough to let me study artists’ results from a variety of techniques to achieve certain looks.

If one is looking for complete instruction, this is not the book, but here are several reasons why this book met my grade:

  • Each image has a corresponding paragraph from the artist explaining something important about how or why they achieved the result of their drawing.  It’s this personal touch that makes the book invaluable – giving just a hint of information, but enough that allows an artist to discover techniques on their own.
  • A couple of gems that I picked up in the book.  The one consistent message I heard over and over throughout the book was about value, artist Scott A. Williams message was spot on, “The correct use of value is critical for defining forms, controlling edges and creating a believable three-dimensional reality.”  Period, end of story – get the value right and all else falls into place.  I’ve returned to drawing in B&W over the last several months to work more on values, lights and darks.   In the book artist Linda Lucas Hardy summed up perfectly why I’ve been working so hard on this aspect of my art, “Value without color has the power to standalone – color without value can’t.”  It gets no better than this simple enough, but very powerful statement.
  • Many images fill the full 12” x 9.5” page, but you’ll also find many in the range of ¾ and ½ page sizes too.  For me this is an important aspect because the sizes allow me to see very clearly the artists’ work, and analyze their drawing techniques.
  • Additionally the larger sizes allow me to see the differences in how certain surfaces (papers, boards and other) and mediums perform as they respond to the artists’ strokes and touch. Very important because I have a tendency to get in a rut using the same support surfaces just because it’s there.  But here my vision for future works was sparked with many creative possibilities.
  • And finally, the quality of construction and materials this book was made from.  It’s a good solid, hefty book measuring 12” x 9.5”, with a matte finish used for the book cover and inside pages.  The high quality thick paper used for both the book cover and inside pages is top notch – meaning it could get a good handling from readers and won’t get worn down quickly.

In fact this book would make a very nice coffee table book, but seriously I wouldn’t do that because there is too much value in those beautifully illustrated pages – it should be picked up and used for the great artists’ resource it is.

If you are interested in the book, it can be found at North Light Shop. 

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Linwood Gardens is a Showplace for Peonies Trees – A Destination for Photographers, Painters and Lovers of Peonies


Tama fuyo

If you love Peonies, are a photographer, or a painter then you might want to consider putting Linwood Gardens in New York State on your go-to list of destinations.  Linwood Gardens is located in Pavilion, New York, 35 miles southwest of Rochester in the farmlands of the Genesee Valley.   The gardens include a distinguished collection of Japanese and American tree peonies that are featured each spring at the Tree Peony Festival of Flowers.  During the summer months, Linwood Gardens offers a peaceful garden sanctuary for workshopsopen garden days, wedding ceremonies, and guided tours.

A little history from the website, “William Henry Gratwick II, from Buffalo New York, created Linwood Gardens as a country home in the years between 1901 and 1910.”  Architect Thomas Fox designed portions of the Summer House with an Arts and Crafts style, as well as the original garden areas that include walled gardens with pools and fountains, ornamental trees, and a view of the valley beyond.  More information on the history behind this incredible property can be found at http://www.linwoodgardens.org/history/.

This year Linwood Gardens is celebrating their 20th Anniversary of “A Festival of Peonies” that runs May through June, check here for details Linwood Gardens – A Festival of Peonies.

Perhaps Linwood Gardens will be your next destination for inspiration ~ I’ll be off for the next week spending time with some dear friends.

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2016 Yellow Roses, from my garden – photography


Here in North Texas we have had the unfortunate experiencing of Rosette, a virus that has nearly wiped out all our roses.  Fortunately for us, we’ve been lucky to still have a couple of our bushes left.  This year both our Yellow roses and White roses came in beautifully.

Last evening I took some photographs before we got a downpour.  Good thing I did because the roses were smashed during the nighttime storm.  Thank goodness I got a few shots of the first batch the yellow rose bush produced this year.

Please see free to use these photographs as inspiration for painting, writing or just to enjoy the goodness of nature!   click onto the images for a larger view

FOT5E6AFOT9955FOTF2FBHope you have a wonderful weekend!

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2016 Ennis, TX – Flower Power, photographs


Yesterday we took a trip down to Ennis, TX to see the annual Spring blossoms of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes ~ everywhere you looked there was a spectacular showing of gorgeous flowers.  Here are a few shots for you to enjoy!

FOTE83BDSCN0487DSCN0502DSCN0503Please feel free to use these photographs as inspiration for drawings or paintings.

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Lake Reflections, graphite drawing


Reflections can take on several meanings – in this scene nature showcases the foreground rock and weeds by mirroring back from the lake, but a peaceful scene like also gives way to letting us quietly reflect on life ~

Lake Reflections, a graphite drawing (8×10) was drawn on Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper using a minimalist approach.  Graphite pencils used were 2H, HB, B, 3B, 6B, and for blending tools a tortilium, pad and kneaded eraser.  The scene could have been drawn illustrating the lake as a full body of water using highlighted lines to symbolize water movement, but instead I went for a minimalist approach hoping that the reflections of the foreground subjects provided the vision I was after.

Thanks for checking in – click onto the image for a larger view.

Lake Reflections

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY IMAGES – MY ART IS COPYRIGHTED.

PLEASE DON’T COPY OR USE THE IMAGE WITHOUT RECEIVING MY PERMISSION FIRST – SEE DISCLOSURE ON THE RIGHT PANEL.

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