Friday, January 30, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days!

January 30 Paintings in 30 Days

I'm so pleased with these paintings! Some were of the 10 minute variety, and more than half were done on my ipad, but there are 30 of them. And though on some days I painted more than one, and on a few days I didn't do any, there was a lot more painting done this month at my house than in the previous few months. Thanks very much to Leslie Saeta, who runs this challenge a couple of times a year, and encourages all the participants. Take a look at her last blog post of January 2015, to see a collage like this from hundreds of artists. It's quite amazing!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Farm Pond Pines Summer Dawn

Farm Pond Pines Summer Dawn

Farm Pond Pines in Fall

Farm Pond Pines in Winter

Farm Pond Pines in Spring (improved over the Jan. 2 version)

I couldn't finish the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge without completing my set of Farm Pond Pines ipad paintings. This final digital version (top) is summer, which is when the original oil painting was done. I think the ipad versions look very nice together, which is where I've put them in my 30 in 30 collage, which I'll post tomorrow.

I'd like to give you some more information on digital painting before the month ends.

I first became aware of painting using an ipad when Gail Sauter and Suzanne Delesseps gave it a try. Then Peggi Kroll-Roberts posted about using it and showed us at a workshop how she used it while flying.

The most famous painter using this technology that I'm aware of, is David Hockney, routinely described as Britain’s greatest living painter. Many of this ipad paintings were shown with other work at the Royal Academy in 2012. I was a big fan of Hockney, even before he started using his ipad, but his beautiful colorful paintings of the woodlands and fields of the Yorkshire countryside are just marvelous. He uses the Brushes app, and is able to print very large versions of his ipad paintings. I'm going to look into that, since I can't do that from the ipad with ArtRage. And it's wonderful that with today's printing technology, we can buy the book from this exhibit on amazon for the price of a hardback novel. I was given it for Christmas, and it's beautiful and fascinating.

I want to thank Bill Tomsa for this reference: the Digital Plein air Society. These guys are doing some really impressive work digitally, some quite photo-realistic, and others very painterly. They'll even show you how to make a set up that will let you use your tablet outside in the sun, without glare. Do check it out.

And finally, my take on ipad painting. One of the most important things about learning to paint, is learning to see (beyond what non-painters see). Painting using an ipad requires the same see-ing, and is a great way to exercise that skill. For me this month, it's enabled me to practice my skills during a time when I was committed to spend most of it without a paint brush. I know it's helped me keep my hand it, and it was a lot of fun. Thanks for joining me.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Poinsettia II"

"Poinsettia II"
5"x7" oil on linen panel
click here to purchase

Poinsettia II before final editing

Poinsettia Sketch

Here's another go at the Poinsettia. I've actually cut off the small red leaves in the middle on all of these, because otherwise the center is just a mass of red, and I like having some dark shapes there. Can you see the differences in the sketch and the final painting? The lifting of the bottom left leaf in the draft painting, made me want to lift the right one as well. Don't you think that helps the composition?  I've taken to going for a walk or doing something around the house for a few minutes and then coming back to check things before cleaning up. There's usually something I want to change!

Wouldn't this one make nice wood cut?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Poinsettia I"

"Poinsettia I"
6"x8" oil on Raymar panel

Poinsettia I Draft
Before I made the final edits

Poinsettia Drawing

I couldn't let my effort on the Many Minute Poinsettias go to waste, so I got to work on a larger version, with no time limit, at a suitable aspect ratio for a future Holiday card. I'm surprised how hard these are to paint. I don't think it's the red, because I don't have any trouble with the multiple reds in apples. And I thought because of all the pointy leaves, it would be great from the composition perspective, lots of angles, etc. Perhaps the problem is I'm not looking at the flowers enough, concentrating too much on the painting. With the 10 minute version there was no time to fuss!

Here's great quote on this problem: "Look three times, think twice, paint once." - Robert Genn

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stonington Start

Under painting for Stonington Wharf
Oil on canvas panel 8"x16"

I've been able to spend a little time working on larger paintings this month. I'm excited about this one, the green house in Stonington with it's green shed on the wharf. I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

And here are a couple more iPad paintings I did last week, but didn't have time to post.

IPad Pear

IPad Mandarin

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Many Minute Poinsettias

 Poinsettias Practice 1-4
each 4"x4" oil on a single 8"x8" Raymar panel

I love poinsettias! And we've got a nice one from Christmas that I've been meaning to paint, so today was the day. I meant to do my favorite 10 minute exercise, but these guys are really tough. I wiped the first one, and above are the next four. My first mistake was not doing a thumbnail sketch, which I remedied between number 0 and number 1 (see below for thumbnail). I think it took me more than half an hour to do the first one shown here, and I was probably close to 10 minutes by the time I got to number 4. A very good exercise!

Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

3 Fruits

3 Apples, digital painting with ArtRage

3 Mandarins, digital painting with ArtRage

It's been busy around here! More iPad paintings, and we had a great time at my Daily Painting Workshop in Yarmouth on Saturday.  We painted 10 minute apples and everyone loved value painting on photographs (see below).  Then they all did wonderful paintings of that scene. If you missed it the first time, I'll be teaching the workshop again on Saturday, February 28th at Artascope, in Yarmouth. Click here for more information.

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Double Mandarins"

"Double Mandarins"
5"x7" oil on linen panel
Click here to buy

After painting the four 10 minute mandarins, I set up this pair connected by a bunch of leaves, and went for it. I think the practice on the four 10 minute guys made a huge difference in this painting. I'll try to take a picture with less glare in the daylight.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

!0 Minute Mandarins

10 Minute Mandarins
8"x8" oil on Raymar panel

Setup for 10 Minute Mandarins

When I walked into the farm stand this morning and saw mandarins with beautiful fresh leaves, I was thrilled. I love them this way! And you know how much I like the 10 minute painting exercise as a way to limber up. Don't you think the bottom two are better than the first two (on the top)? By the time I was done, it only took about 8 minutes to paint one. Then I painted a 5"x7" with two of them. I'll post it tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fruit on Green

Fruit on Green
Digital painting using ArtRage

Process photo using 75% thinners (painting done mostly with 50% thinners)

Experimenting with "Thinners" on the ArtRage paintbrush tool is giving me a more realistic look to the under painting.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"On The Beach" Painting

"On The Beach"
6"x8" oil on Raymar panel
Click here to purchase

 iPad version of On the Beach

Today I started painting using my iPad paintings as a reference. This is my first effort, and it's not a great photo, I'll try to get a better one. I might still tweak it a little, but I don't want to loose the initial freshness, which so often happens. The most obvious thing that hit me is that the zoom on the iPad isn't in my brushes! I think a larger version will be needed to fully use the iPad version information.

I've added a process photo to yesterday's post. There I did an initial sketch and block-in with a higher transparency setting, hoping that it would show through and make the final a little softer. I'll be exploring other ways to do that.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


digital painting with ArtRage

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Other Uses for ArtRage

I'm learning so much using ArtRage! I'd like to show you some other ways I've found it to be useful. Below is the original painting of "Icy Brook". I got some feedback that the ice patches in the brook were reading as shadows and were confusing. So I took a photo of the painting and loaded it into ArtRage. The second image is the painting after I edited it in ArtRage. No longer confusing, right? Then I used the information gained in ArtRage to fix the oil painting.

Original "Icy Brook"

"Icy Brook" after IPad editing

Final "Icy Brook" oil painting (with different white balance) Only the pond was repainted.

Another example is shown below, where I was working on a woodcut. At this stage I had transferred the drawing to the block, and lightly added the values to show me where to cut for each layer, but not done any cutting. I wanted to look at some different color combinations. So I took a photo of the block, loaded it into ArtRage and painted over areas in each of the planned layers to get an idea if the combinations were going to work. The final printed woodcut is here.

Image of "Irish Piper" woodblock with over painting in ArtRage

Below is the first painting I did in ArtRage, done almost 2 years ago, over a photo of one of my previous oil paintings of the pond, which was painted en plein air in summer. The result was pure beginner's luck, with more luck added because I was experimenting, with no expectation that a sale-able painting would be the result. I think that's one of the points of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge I'm participating in, to encourage artists to experiment, try new mediums, techniques, and subjects, and just see where it takes them and what they can learn. Thanks for joining me on the journey.

Winter Pond

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Backdoor to Seal Bay Redux

Backdoor to Seal Bay Redux
digital painting over oil under painting, using ArtRage

This is today's iPad painting. It was a long day at the office, and I didn't have much time, so it's something simple. Some of you will recognize the composition.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

On the Beach

On the Beach
digital painting over image of an oil underpainting - ArtRage

This is today's ArtRage painting for Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 days challenge, which is on day 6. I think I'm the only artist painting digitally.

This is what's underneath. You'll see that I left out some of the rocks in the foreground.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Stick Houses

Stick Houses
8"x8" digital painting using ArtRage on IPad

More fun with ArtRage. I'm really enjoying this! Thank you all for the great feedback, it makes it all worthwhile.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

ArtRage 10 Minute Apples

ArtRage apple #4
8.5"x8.5"" digital, all done in ArtRage (no image underneath)

I love Carol Marine's 10 minute apple exercise. It's a great way to get your painting muscles into shape and to learn your tools. Do you think I got better as I progressed from #1 to #4?

I usually set the apple on a green cloth to do this exercise, but I couldn't find the cloth when I started out, so the apple was sitting on a cardboard box. Yuck! Off to look for the cloth again, and I found it. I also raised the surface so I wasn't looking down on the apple as much.

I've had a few questions about ArtRage works, so here goes. I'm using the iPad version, which isn't as full featured as that for a desktop, but it has the advantage that you can touch the screen, and paint with your finger (numbers 1-3 were done that way), or with a special stylus brush made for phones and tablets (number 4). Here's what the app looks like on the iPad screen:

You can see the tools on the left that we use to paint with, and note I was using the brush (it's sticking out a little). On the bottom right is the palette. It's a little hard to get used to, and I learned something doing these apples. You can drag your finger (or the blunt end of the stylus) in the outer wheel to change color, and in the inner wheel to change the value (going around) and the grayness (going in and out). I hadn't used the drag before, and it's very helpful.

Here's the Stylus Brush, by Sensu (available on

I recorded the brush strokes on each of these apples, but I'm going to have to do some research on how to play it back where you all can see it. You need the app to play it back, but that only works on a desktop/laptop. So I'll have to make that happen and then do a screen recording. I'll give it a shot.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Always Happy to See Me"

"Always Happy to See Me"
6"x8" oil on Raymar panel

I'll be back to digital painting tomorrow, but wanted to show you a recently finished commission. These two sweathearts belong to a dear friend, aren't they the cutest?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Farm Pond Pines in Spring

Farm Pond Pines in Spring
6x6" digital over photograph of painting, using ArtRage

Next in my series using Art Rage. A bit simplified compared to the others, using a bigger "brush", with less detail. This was painted over a photo of the beginnings of a 12"x12" oil painting, not the same 6"x6" finished painting used before. See below for a process photo.

It's interesting to come back to these. In the spring of 2013, I intended to make four 12"x12" oils, one per season. I did the under painting of each one on site, on the same day. I wasn't able to pull off the oils. Only summer, basically a larger version of the original 6" plein air piece, saw the light of day. However, with Art Rage, it's easier to let go and let my imagination take over.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Farm Pond Pines in Fall

Farm Pond Pines in Fall
6"x6" digital over photograph of painting, using ArtRage

Here's another view of the pines at Great Brook State Park in Carlisle, MA. Once again it's a digital painting, using ArtRage over the original painting. Below is an intermediate version, at the stage where just the deciduous foliage was painted digitally, and the trees and sky were still showing the image of the oil painting. My initial use of this was as a way to experiment with a four seasons series of this scene, before attempting it in oils. Now, I'm starting to like the look of the digital painting. Tomorrow I'll go into how it's done in more detail.