It’s quite amazing watching life unfold before my eyes…

I realize I have been absent for a while.  A lot of water has passed under the bridge since my last post. I don’t even know where to begin. I will in time speak of it. In hindsight I do believe that since I have been reading the Tao Te Ching, the world became a whole new world.  It’s quite amazing watching life unfold before my eyes.  I have learned that compassion is the secret to life. That when one looks past their own problems and serves another human being, ones own difficulties fade away and life falls into place. I have attracted people into my life who follow a similar path and I’m truly grateful.

Some Kitty company…

The road I travel definitely requires much energy. I do believe there will be some interesting times ahead. I’m fortunate to be sharing these travels with a cute Kitty, some company to make life a little sweeter.

Please forgive me for not replying or getting back to some of you, I will, I promise. As soon as I am able to exhale. The studio I found isn’t working out for me. It’s a communal studio. Too busy and too noisy. Painting requires much concentration. Don’t you find when there are too many distractions and interruptions that you cant get anything done? I know I will soon find a peaceful place to work.

I took part in the Moss Street Paint-In, more on that to come, just waiting on a few images.

Now for some Rooibos tea, Hippie style, while I do my homework :- )

iphonepics 010

A wise man once told me…

Your inner peace is within the present moment. To experience the presence is to only focus on what you are doing from moment to moment. When one paints, you are in the moment. A wise man once told me to focus only upon the task at hand and that way you can give it the full attention it deserves. You are meditating while you paint. You are fully present and within that presence you feel your inner peace.

There has been a misconception about the drying time of oils…

Yesterday, while painting En Plein Air at Bastion Square, a young man stopped by to watch me paint. He mentioned that he paints in acrylics because oils take too long to dry. Or so he heard. He himself had never painted in oils.

There has been a misconception about the drying time of oils and therefore people turn to acrylics. The oils I placed on my canvas was almost dry by the end of the day. If one uses oils with high oil content, yes it takes longer to dry.  Use the leanest paint on your first layer. If you add a slow drying medium to your oils it will take longer to dry. If you paste it on thickly, it will take longer to dry. Another misconception is the strong odor of oils. In my opinion, acrylics has a stronger odor than oils. It’s the turpentine that has a strong toxic smell. Don’t use it.  I’m asthmatic and I use oils. If you want to use traditional oils but still don’t want to clean your brushes with mineral spirits, then use walnut oil to clean your brushes and wash with paintbrush soap. Murphy’s soap works best.

Don’t miss out on using oils because of other’s misconceptions. Oils are a beautiful medium to work with. Easier in my opinion to plein air paint in oils than acrylics that dries almost instantly on a hot summers day leaving no time to manipulate your paint.

Happy Painting and I wish for you all a wonderful day!

The winds of change have come…

The winds of change have come, in more ways than one.  This morning I looked back at my fisherman painting and at that moment I had an epiphany. A veil lifted from my eyes.  I felt as if a fresh breeze kissed my muse and woke her up.

I thought back to a time when I was  teenager at high school. I lived in the Art-Room. My imagination was wild and creative…Limitless. But recently discovered that my age had stolen my imagination. I know now, well I think I know how to get it back. I would imagine myself as a teenager again with limitless boundaries, designing and creating freely . My adult inhibitions would no longer hinder me from exploring like a child again. If I choose it, then so be it. Laugh if you must, and I hope you do, because I have a wild imagination, really I do. I had to go back and fight with dragons and dragon slayers and the like and there it was, my Imagination. Shiny, although a little dusty, the magic still abides within :~)

me painting fisherman

Chopin plays his piano and soothes my soul…

It’s a beautiful morning on this first day of March. Although it looks like rain on the way, there is such a beautiful light flooding through my window. I moved my studio upstairs. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. The attic room was purple, but not for long. I painted it a dark sage green. The colour of ambient atmosphere. Perfect for painting people and still from life. I’m so fortunate to have this space in this north-west facing room.  The window light is more than enough light for painting. The natural light is way more uplifting for my spirit. Chopin plays his piano and soothes my soul while I write, sigh…

Here’s an image I took with my iphone of my studio. I love this space. I can close the door and shut the world out while I paint and swoon over the most beautiful music that touches my muse in such a profound way.

my new studio

In reply to your question, Felta, about how I set up a portrait sitting. How long a sitter sits and how much do I get done in one sitting.

I have two windows in my studio. I sit with my back facing the one window, so the window light falls on the canvas on my easel and palette. The sitter sits near the other window. Generally I like a two hour sitting, although I can manage an hour if the sitter falls asleep and needs to go home for a nap. Two of them fell asleep sitting for me yesterday hahaha!

Rolf's portrait

In this image, the sitter, Rolf came over to sit for his portrait quite late in the day and the light began to fade. I turned on a 5000k light and faced it up towards the ceiling. The light bounced off the ceiling and created the perfect light for my sitter. The first sitting took a few hours. This time was spent drawing his face with my brush on a canvas I stained with a wash of burnt umber the day before. I used burnt umber for my drawing. The second sitting was an hour and half. Half the time was spent laying in shadows and searching for the correct colours. I found the right mixes and made notes. The third sitting was in my new studio. An hour, Rolf fell asleep, lol, he had a long day at work, standing all day cutting hair. My studio is so peaceful. I have the most beautiful view overlooking a gorgeous Zen Garden David created. An old blue and gray house in the neighbors yard and the trees behind the house looks so inviting. I am definitely going to paint this view. Soon.

The colours I use for flesh tones are as follows, but first remember this, although we all have our own skin tone recipes, they are never written in stone. Skin tones differ and also depends on what surrounds the skin. Light and colour illuminate the skin. Our skin is like a mirror that reflects everything around it. Here are a few recipes I picked up from Daniel Greene, one of my favorite portrait painters. I found his mixtures to be pretty spot on. I like to premix some of my colours, especially when time is of the essence.

Raw Sienna + Cadmium red light. This is for the reds in the half tones and the hot reds in the shadows.

Chromium oxide green. I’ll explain how I use this colour…

Look at your hand. Hold your had sideways like this.

My hand

Notice that as the light begins to turn to shadow there is a green colour and then the hottest colour is right where the shadow begins. Right next to the hottest colour is green and then the shadow is made up of the ambient colour of the room . You can see it closer to my thumb.  If you notice the top left side of the image, the folds between my thumb and forefinger are red and then surrounded with a subtle green. Notice the green surrounding the indentation.  You will also notice the yellow colour of my skin in the light. Yellow Ochre + White and a dash of purple, I made up of Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine blue. Always think complimentary colours when you paint skin tone. I use Chromium oxide  Green and the Raw sienna and Cadmium red light mix for the shadows. For the deepest shadows I mix Sap green + Alizarin. Two transparent colours. You want to keep your shadow colours thin. Always tone down your reds with green. Always tone down your greens with red and that includes pinks too, as that is made from reds. Always use complimentary colours to tone down the intensity and Nothing else. For pinks I use Burnt sienna + white. For orange tones I use Burnt Sienna + Yellow Ochre. Always tone down your yellows with purple. Nothing else. Remember, Yellow Ochre is a yellow. I also mix up a pile of Transparent red oxide and Ultramarine Blue for my darks. Transparent Red oxide + Burnt sienna with a dash of blue + White makes a great base for skin tone too. It all really depends on the sitter’s skin tone and the ambient atmosphere. Alizarin and Viridian make a beautiful dark colour for shadows in the the background too. I also sometimes use Viridian in skin tones too, it really depends on the skin tone of the sitter.

As I mentioned in previous posts, make up colour charts of the colours you use. You can’t go wrong. If I don’t know what combination of colours to mix to arrive at a certain colour, I use my colour charts. It’s fail-proof.

skin tone colour chart

Hope this helps, please feel free to ask any questions should I have missed anything.

Good luck and happy Painting!

Boys and girls, the surface you paint on is crucial to producing a great painting.

Unfortunately for me, Stan is toast. Ugh, so disappointing :- ( I overworked it on defective canvas and again, this is the last time I ever paint on ready made canvas.  Never ever again. Never. Two months into a painting and I have nothing to show for it 😦 I will not, however, give up on Stan, as with Dean, I never gave up and produced a painting the second time round that was better than the first. This was a life lesson I will definitely learn from. Boys and girls, the surface you paint on is crucial to producing a great painting. Paint on crappy ready made canvas will result in a crappy painting, it’s that simple.

Next week I’m going to prepare my own painting panels, so the above disaster never happens again. This time I’ll take images to show you the steps.

Tomorrow I head out to paint en plein air in Cook st Village. Painting outdoors provides an artist with needed vitamin D and enjoyment that uplifts ones spirit. So I have that to look forward to. Here’s last fridays Paint-in…

Me plein air painting

A wise man once told me….

A wise man once told me to concentrate only upon the task at hand and nothing else. This way you give that task your full attention and the chance it deserves to flourish into something Extraordinary.

I guess it must be Stan’s spirit edging me on to complete his portrait…

This time of year is such not easy for those of us suffering with manic depression. I cant remember the last time I felt so low to the ground.  The pain burning like hellfire down my legs makes my life incredibly difficult.   I’m surprised I can paint under this kind of duress. I guess it must be Stan’s spirit edging me on to complete his portrait. This painting is taking so much out of me, I’m never satisfied. I feel as though I’m being challenged way beyond my capabilities. I wish I knew what to do to improve on it. I am getting closer and closer though. I wasn’t going to paint the embroidery on Stan’s cap, but have since changed my mind as the painting lacks color, this splash of color may just be the missing piece. If it doesn’t work, I’ll simply repair it. Wish me luck…

A successful painter once told me to never be satisfied with mediocrity…

Wow, now that the crazy rush is over, well almost. I can get back to planning the year ahead. I have a few projects on the go. One of the projects involve painting a collection for a fund-raiser. More of that to come later as it develops. I plan to paint more prolifically this coming year. One thing I do intend to take part in, the practice of a one hour, tonal study from life as a warm-up to start the day. I find this practice excellent for self discipline and improves one’s skill over a short period of time. One of these days I’ll film a demonstration to show how easy this is and how much pleasure one can derive from it :- )

The best way to progress as a painter~ is to paint. A lot. Every day. The more you practice, the better you get. There are no hidden ‘Secrets’ or shortcuts to painting beautifully. One cannot put an apple in a blender and expect grape juice. What you put in, is what you get out.  A successful painter once told me to never be satisfied with mediocrity. Always push yourself further than your capabilities. Challenge yourself with the most difficult parts first and when you have that down, challenge yourself even further.

Currently on my easel is the first of several paintings for a fundraiser I’m taking part in. More to come on that.

Happy painting :- )

Stan on my easel1

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