Still Making Art

Life Gets Better as I Get Older

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New Day 22 – Back to Oil Painting – YAY!

I can barely believe it has been eight – that’s right, EIGHT months, since I painted in oils. I’ve been making art of one kind and another, so at least I’ve been doing creative things. BUT…I had no idea what a void there was until I finally cleaned up from my last project, put up the canvas I had prepared months ago, sat down and began mixing colors. WOW! I felt this enormous peaceful wave much like the joy I feel when I return home after being away. This certainly makes me feel that this is what I should be doing – even though I have enjoyed the other activities.

Making a start

Making a Start

I took the photo (actually 4 prints put together) months ago. It’s been pinned to the board collecting dust. The fact that I had already prepared my canvas and made my sketch made it very easy to get stuck in again.

I’m starting with the most difficult (for me) section – the greenery. I am trying to paint at a distance and to be more suggestive than exact. I’m hoping I don’t have to wipe it all off and start again. We will see.

My set up

My setup

This is my small studio. That black cloth gets lowered across the window when the sun is pouring in (south facing), otherwise it’s half open for the plants.

I perch on that child’s wooden high chair while I paint which makes it easy to stand and move away to asses what I’ve done.

On the right I have all my tools. That black thing is my color checker built using the drawmixpaint design video. If you’ve followed this blog you’ll know that I now use laminate to check most of my colors. But every once in a while I find I need to use the old checker.


Tools of the trade

See – when I start out my palette isn’t to bad. It will only take a few days for it to become a mess.

Those small round jars contain my brush dip (see genevafineart). The dip comes in a large bottle from which I dispense a small amount into these little artichoke jars. If you have not yet discovered drawmixpaint and their products at genevafineart, I very heartily recommend them. The brush dip allows you to walk away from painting without having to clean the brushes. I’m not sure if it works for all oil paints, but it does with the Geneva oils which I use, and for which the dip was designed.

Today when I was putting dabs of my Geneva paints on my palette, I made a discovery.  I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out. The paint tubes have two ways of opening them, one using the flip top, and the other unscrewing the whole top to reveal a tiny hole through which the paint is squeezed. I will confess that I had not been really happy with the tubes because the caps and my fingers were always getting paint covered when squeezing the paint out. BUT today I was using a new tube, and had to unscrew the top to peel off the seal. DUH…I said to myself, I should be unscrewing the whole top to squeeze out the paint rather than using the flip open method. Instant clean process! I pass this on just in case there are others a little slow to make this discovery!

My palette is a Masterson palette box. I originally purchased one for acrylic painting which was fabulous – for those of you using acrylics.  It keeps your paints moist for days! Then I purchased one for oils. What I then did was have a piece of glass cut to fit the box, and under the glass I placed brown paper from a paper bag. I now use both boxes for oils. One is too small for most paintings. The glass, naturally, makes cleanup with a razor blade extremely easy. I just put the air tight lid on after painting, dip my brushes, and walk away. So easy!

One more note: I often recommend sites or products – NOT from any affiliation, personal relationship, or for financial gain. I do so simply to spread the word on places and things which I think are excellent.



New Day 21 – Playing With Paint-Pouring

I got bitten by the flow-paint bug. If you haven’t yet discovered the hundreds of videos of flow painting, don’t go looking unless you are ready for a great distraction. I can’t remember just how I came upon this craze, but one video and I was eager to try my hand at it. There is a quality about it that reminds me of blown glass.

Basically it just what it sound like – pouring paint over a canvas/board/whatever, and seeing what happens. Much of it is quite magical.

There’s an artist out there who pours on ceramic tiles, and since I happen to have two boxes of  tiles in my attic that were here when I bought the house, that’s what I decided to use. Later I moved on to preparing wood and pouring on that. Most of ones time is spent making frames, preparing wood etc. The paint pouring (which is really FUN) takes only a few minutes. But the excitement of seeing what happens is irresistible.

Here are a few results. I’m planning to sell these on ETSY as everyone who has seen them, loves them.

Sample framed tiles copy


IMG_8292 small           Round #2 - terrible lighting small


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New Day 20 – “Nana’s Cookie Jar” Finished

Well – I’m done!

I’m calling this “Nana’s Cookie Jar” because the cookie jar was the item around which I created the still life. And, of course, this is my grandmother’s cookie jar. This sat on a small bureau in the dining room of my grandmother’s summer house at Merrymount on Lake Winnipesaukee. My sister, brother, and I spent our entire summers there throughout most of our childhood. Nana made cookies often, and we would sneak into the dining room when she was napping to steal cookies. There was an art to getting the lid off this cookie jar without the lid making its very tell-tale grating noise. Fortunately Nana also had a larger cookie jar on the same bureau that had a lid more quietly removed.

This cookie jar is one of the few things I have that belonged to Nana. I treasure it.

Here’s the finished product. It’s 24″ x 16″ – oil on linen. [Note: This is a pre-varnish photo, so the blacks may have matte areas that vanish when varnished.]

IMG_7857 - Nana's Cookie Jar - pre varnish





Day 19 – Painting Nuts is NUTS!

Do yourself a favor and do NOT put a bowl of nuts in your still life. I spent hours – and I mean many hours – painting these dumb nuts in my still life. I still haven’t captured them to my liking, but I’m moving on to the cookie jar.

One reason I shouldn’t do this is that I have all the browns already on my palette, and should probably paint the single ones on the table top before I move on, but I can’t bear it at the moment. What will happen is that when I do get around to painting them I won’t remember where the blotches are that I used for the nuts before, or I will have mixed them into something else when I get there. Still – I will do the cookie jar in the interests of  painting sanity.

Messy Palette

This is my messy palette. You can see there’s not much room for mixing new colors, so those browns will morph into something else. Either that or I’ll wipe the whole thing clean and start over, which I’ve already done several times on this painting.

I have never been able to keep a tidy palette. For me it’s like what they say about a desk, a messy desk is a sign of intelligence. It is true, however that the messier the palette, the harder it is to find the blotch you just used. Okay…so where was that spot I was using?

I am really happy with the blue bottle.

Before I began painting in oils, I thought it would be nearly impossible to paint glass, but in fact glass is one of the easiest things to paint. The blotches of light reflections instantly turn the opaque image into transparent glass. It’s just a matter of getting the colors and tones right, and then add the dots of light reflection, and presto – magic!

This is what I love about painting – the magic of it all.

I’ve taken to getting up around 4:30 am on the days when I work full time, to get some good hours in painting. My job isn’t terribly demanding on my left brain, so I get through the day on the job pretty well. Then I come home, feed me and my animals, and then off to bed with a book. I usually fall asleep before I’ve read one page – LOL.

Yesterday I picked up my book and found I just couldn’t remember who one of the characters was. I had to flip back through to sort out who was who. The hazards of getting up at 4: am.

So…here’s where I am at the moment.

Two Candles 5-8-17


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Day 18 – A Lot of Painting and a Lot of Wiping Off

Whew! I did a lot of painting these past few days. I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off from work. I find having a nice stretch of free time is my best time for painting. So…I worked away.

This was a difficult section for me. I often find that the shadows on cloth are the hardest for me to get the color and the tone right. I did a ton of wiping off and doing over, and lots of using my color checker (see Usually I’m off because my tone is way too light. And for a cloth that’s basically yellow, the dark shadows are primarily green! And..there’s a lot of subtle colors based on the cool light that’s coming in from the left. In the end I solved my problem when I realized I needed a touch of veridian. The white looks off because the rest of the painting isn’t there yet. Of course I could end up having to tone it down – you never really know if it right until you get the neighboring paint down. But I think I’ve got the hardest bits done now.

FYI – I’ve opened a very basic website – primarily just a gallery – which is, if you are interested:

Here’s my progress to date.

Two Candles - 5-3-17


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Day 17 – May Day! Moving Along

I thought I had done quite a bit on my painting from the last posting, but I see I’m still just slogging along. The bottom dark is not right yet, and touch up is always needed, but here’s my current progress.

I’m anxious to get this one done because when I was out on the west coast visiting my daughter I found a whole collection of table cloths and pottery I want to use in my next paintings. I can’t wait to start the next still life set up. The staging of a scene is almost the best part of painting. That, and the magic of turning blobs of paint into something they are not. I just love that!

Two Candles 5-1-17



Day 16 – Slow Progress

You can see how slow a painter I am. Here it is a week later and this is how little I have managed to do. I don’t paint hours at a stretch. I have to get up and stretch and even go out for a bit of gardening every 20 minutes or so which accounts, I suppose, for the slow-going. But I’m comfortable with how it’s coming along and still love the magic of it all.

Cranberry Candles 4-25-2017