The Garlic . . A Closer Look

“Garlic Roaster”
oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

So, here is a better photo to see the detail a bit easier from a few posts ago. Every painting is a trial . . . . .an experiment . . .this is one subject that I will probably do again and again.

I had a quick thought about the subjects I have chosen for still lifes . . . Diana and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen together . . .there is something universally appealing (besides just hunger!

😉 ) about food. So many ways to cook . . .so many ways to use the different tastes of the ingrediants . . .cooking is indeed an art form, too!

Saturday’s Painting . . .

“Garlic in Roaster”
Oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

You saw the post two days ago about the shadow box. And you saw the subject and how it was lit in the shadow box.. Here is the resultant painting . . .and this was a challenge! The subject is all one color! Well . . . .not really . . .but it seems so, at first. I had to look hard at shadows and reflected light as well as the direct light to gain a sense of the subtleness of color and value changes. This painting will be shown without the frame when it goes to EBay later. This photo is shown to give you the viewer an idea of how these little jewels look in a frame. And they look classy !!!

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Because Diana is down and out, the family is convening here for a big dinner. My sense is that there won’t be any painting tomorrow. . . . . at least I don’t think so! Look for something on Monday.

I have to admit I am suffering from cabin fever while I look out the windows at the gorgeous weather. It will be good to get out in the air and be part of the scenery.

What Would I Do If I Hadn’t Made It?

“Red Onion”
Oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

Today’s post is a painting of a red onion and shed skin. Nice.

My wife, incapable of much movement sits watching TV. I paint when I am not taking care of her. Usually in the late evening. I wonder: What would I be doing if I had not commited to doing a painting a day. It seems rather simple now that I am in the habit. Beforehand it seemed like a monumental decision. Paintings actually go a little faster now. Familiarity and being in the zone help tremendously.

Can’t write much today, since I have to be ‘on call’ shortly.

My next project is to begin offering these paintings on EBay.

Till tomorrow . . . .

Mike

Look Only As Far As . . . .

“Red Bells”

Oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

I am one of those people who begins to get a little shakey if I don’t create something. I don’t know why or how that is. It just izzzz. That means that if I find myself getting irritable or grouchy, I probably need some time with a paint brush. When it seems the world is getting too close or crowding me or my time, I go to the studio for a while and schmear paint. If I read about it and don’t do it, then the itch just gets worse.

People ask me constantly, “How do you find the time?” or “How do you do it all?” I suppose the answer is something to the effect of “How could I not?” This morning I awoke at 3:30 AM with my head buzzing with ideas. By 4 AM I was in the studio painting. Done at 6:30AM, my mind is now settled and I am ready to get on with the day while completely satisfied that all is right with the world. Nice ! 🙂

I experience similar feelings about getting outside to paint, but when circumstance dictate otherwise, I look no further than my studio and the produce drawer in the refridgerator for something to paint . . . .or deep in an old cupboard, or a drawer, or my workshop. There is always something waiting for the honor of being promoted from ‘ordinary’ to a treasured piece of art.

Every Attempt Counts!

“The Scent of Surf”
oil on linen on panel, 8″ x 10″

Here is another of the plein air adventures. Caught near sunset, the light was bouncing off the white foam of the breakers behind this tree. What a terrific thing to paint! I can see I have much to learn about how edges behave in back lit subjects . . . .learn? Heck!! I am fascinated . . . . . . . .read: obsessed! . . . .by this stuff.

One thing I have learned in years of painting in another medium is this: While every painting doesn’t show up at the end as perfect, every one counts! That is, each piece contributes to the success of subsequent paintings. It is all an accumulation of occurances, challenges, solutions, failures and successes.; Every painting matters . . .the results of that significance just doesn’t show up every single time. And THAT is the reason for painting daily: to quickly accumulate experience and to stay in the learning zone.

Some Days I Get Two . . .

“Tanner Heights Grove”
oil on linen 12″ x 16″
SOLD

Oh, Yessssss !!!! Some days it just works out to paint more than one!

On the day it rained, my painting buddy and I (Bill) had to call off our get together to paint. And, as you see in my last post, I painted in the studio. Later, while at the office, the sun came out and I had the itch to be out painting. So, I cleaned up my work and started out the door at 5PM . . . .and Diana (my wife) called to tell me we would be eating at her mother’s place. Perfect! I’ll find a spot around her house and paint. Diana was surprised that I didn’t need a big “scene.”

So, I stood behind the house, looked down into a eucalyptus grove. . . . . and painted fast cuz it was getting late. I had to hurry . . .a spot of color here, a blotch of color there to set off the other color, a dark here and a light there . . . .a little atmospheric perspective . . . .next thing I knew a painting was taking shape and I was amazed that it came out like this!! Some days just about everything goes right !!

I am having a wonderful time!!

Mike

Some Days it Rains . . . .

“Eileen”
oil on gessoed masonite 6″ x 8″
SOLD

I have read about guys huddled on their knees in the pouring rain under a poncho holding it up to let the light in on their canvas while they paint with their free hand. That is NOT what I do when it rains!

I work in the studio . . . .or go to the office . . . but if I have planned to paint, I paint. What’s more, I have a commitment to paint daily. That is every day except Sunday.

So here is a little studio study. I have been watching intently while others paint. And I am surprised at how quickly I can see how they do what they do. A lady by the name of Karin Jurick (she is one of my links here) paint (most of the time) on black gesso on masonite. I could see it subcounsciously . . .then one night, I awoke with a realization that she paints on black . . .and the paintings look entirely different. So, never having done that before, I grabbed a little something mundane to paint, set up a spot light and painted it on black gessoed masonite. Kinda fun, doncha think? Let’s just call this painting “Eileen.” (Wait a few minutes and you’ll get it! 😉

This brings up an interesting point about painting. Choose anything! Yup! Anything for a subject. Then take the challenge to make it look interesting . . . .even extraordinary. So, here is a common ball point pen used as an advertising piece. Plucked out of a jar on my wife’s desk, it flew to the studio ready for its mission to become extraordinary. I had fun with it!

By the way, It looks wonderful in a frame!

Mike

Stop the Hunt and L O O K !

“She Waits”
oil on linen on board, 8″ x 10″
SOLD

Last week, while in the fray of a few exciting days of painting outdoors, I had decided to go down to the beach (about 10 minutes away from the house) . . .and it was on a weekend. I should know better than to try the beach on a weekend. Every tourist with wheels is there!

I did get there, however, and found the wind to be blowing a gale. Impossible to set up an easel of any kind . . .it would be a sail! So, I began looking for places to paint . . . .driving here and there all the while searching for a place “that would look good in paint.” Whoops!! I could have gone on all day long!

What I really needed was a place that was wind protected ! I didn’t necessarily need a fancy schmancy place that was pretty to look at . . .and probably already in hundreds of paintings! . . . . . . . .I just needed to set up my easel in a good, well protected place and find something there to paint. That’s right. There is ALWAYS something. It just takes a little effort in LOOKING and SEEING.

This beautiful tree with silver bark was waiting all the time. I loved the light on its branches. It was a struggle (still unused to the techniques of oil painting!) But here it is . . .with her arms outstretched, “She Waits” . . . .

Confining The Subject

“Surf Watch”
Oil on linen on board, 8″x 10″

Yesterday was one of those rush rush days. Ran to the painting location on a beach here, set up and had to ‘scram’ fast. There was much going on there last nite. Beach visitors, houses on the cliff, nice sunlit patterns on the cliff walls and houses. Even three guys lounging around against the cliff on the beach. It would have / could have made . . . .well, um, now that I think about it . . . . .a rather trite painting. And besides, there was too darned much to spend time on with a small canvas. I had exactly an hour of light left.

So, it was cut to the essentials and get on with it . . .without dithering. This game is about putting down what you see, trusting that it is right, then moving to the next spot of color.

Let’s see, what color is the color of sand? ? ? Gotta choose something! Better mix something. Whaddabout that shadow? What color is that? Can’t name it. Just match it and move on to the next spot of color. (Under my breath I am thanking my stars for all the studying and experimenting I have done with color and mixing!)

So, here is what came out . . . . .”Surf Watch” . . . .

The Time Has Come . . .

“Taking a Stab At It”
Watercolor on paper, 15″ x 22″

The time has arrived after much deliberation, consideration and excitement . . . .to make the commitment. Yup! I have decided to commit to making a painting a day . . . .every day except Sunday.

This may not seem like much if you aren’t an artist, but I can assure you that the commitment requires putting just about everything else aside in order to meet the promise.

Why, you ask? Simple! To compress a lot of experience into a short time. To force the learning process. To create new art. To GROW . . .and grow quickly.

You may know me as a watercolorist. In fact, that I am. But let me be very clear about something; I am an ARTIST before all else. Yes, I paint watercolors . . .and darned good ones. Some might say that they push the edges of the medium to an extreme. I agree.

Something has been eating at me over the last several years: The oil paints I have in my taboret drawer. I recently came across Kevin MacPherson and a few of his delightful plein air pieces. As well, I had ordered a new set up for plein air painting with watercolor. The one I purchased happened to be almost the same set up that he uses. I took it out and tried oil painting with it one time. I was bitten!! And I was bitten hard!!

Then, while exploring the internet for plein air painters, I came across a website featuring painters who had made a commitment to a painting a day . . . .and then my bite got much, much worse. I could quickly see how much growth these people had mustered in a short period of time. So, here I was. . . .madly going out to paint almost daily in the late afternoon and getting up early to paint in the studio.

Meanwhile, I was still going to class, teaching “Watercolor Beyond the Obvious” and doing my level best to continue in my still life series (another post for later) and creating some interesting abstracts for the more serious genre of studio born watercolors. I will use the one above as the piece to kick off this blog.

I fully expect to remain loyal as a watercolorist, you can see the work on the website by clicking here. But you can also expect to see me pushing into the next world of oil.

I’ll be posting oil paintings daily here. Watch for them!