Sunday, March 22, 2015


Our little rescue dog, Pink, stayed right by my side for 2 1/2 hours as I painted the bottom of the fire hydrant for our local off leash dog park. We started taking her there to socialize so that she  will be a little more friendly with people who come to visit us.

It was a beautiful day in late morning with more dogs and owners than I was expecting but all were friendly and seemed to appreciate my efforts. One male dog was so friendly he peed on the hydrate while I was painting on it. That was a first for me.

I did not realize how difficult it is to paint on such an odd shaped object and trying to get some detail into my doggy hydrant. The iron has all sorts of bumps in it which makes a straight line impossible. 

Now that my company has left I will set to the task of painting the hydrant in the big dog section. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015


There were many intermediate stages but here is what I came up with. Sunshine pouring through foliage at a local park setting. I learned so much more than my painting illustrates.

I did do a still life the second day but forgot to take a picture of it to show you. I disliked my stiff, lack-luster presentation so I painted over it. My mind said; "This is not how I like to paint, it isn't me"so it's history and I'm sorry I forgot to take the photo.

I used white chalk to add temporary details but in the end the details over powered the focal point.

Softened the secondary tree and did negative space painting for the branches in the lavender tree. In the end all of the background trees need to recede to place the focal point front and center.

Wonderful plein air experience.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Day Two of the John Traynor Plein Air Workshop

John Traynor workshop demonstation

You may be asking;"Why is Mr. Traynor painting a still life in a Plein Air workshop"? Day one was marvelous for painting outdoors but day two was iffy at best. We hold our regular workshops at a local church which has a beautiful room with large windows for natural light. First John demoed outside for those die hard paint in the rain plein air painters then he came up to the still life room and did another demo for the; "It's raining out there!" painters.

I have to give Mr. Traynor high marks as an instructor, he truly spent his time going from one student to the next to offer suggestions on how to improve their painting skills, he barely took time for lunch and was willing to stay late if students still needed help.

Painting a still life is the same color/value process as painting a landscape. Please read the previous blog to catch up on what I learned on day one. Here is my summary of the things I learned on day two painting a still life:

*We had an art light for the still life set up which John said this was a cool light therefore he painted a warm tone on his background.  Remember cool light-warm shadows using a warm violet.
*Mass in the shadows and main shapes.
*Put a cool blue tone on any surfaces that have highlights. Cool light gives cool highlights but warm shadows
*Set up warm/cool colors shapes before getting into detail of local color.
*Mentally divide each object and surface into three zones; fore, mid and background. Determine a color that will represent each color/temperature change on that one surface.
     Example: Cloth under the still life will be painted blue all over but the foreground  add a warm color to the mixture, mid will have yellow ochre added and the background will have a cool color added. If you put a warm blue in the background zone it will look out of place and visa versa.
*Yellow and black make a great dark color for a background
*The key of a painting can be high or low. I am drawn to high key paintings.
*Color and value are a single concept.
*Gray+white+green= a silvery tone.

It always feels uncomfortable while painting using new concepts but I am learning to accept that odd feeling as strides toward improving my artistic skills.

John Traynor Still Life