Saturday, April 30, 2011


Oil on canvas. 8"x10"
Here's me again with some adjustments to the lower part of the face. I think it looks a bit more like me than the first version (which I've removed from this site).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Break Time

Oil on canvas. 8"x10"
Here's my usual afternoon pick-me-up...a mug of tea and an apple.

These small paintings are just for fun. It's back to doing more color studies this weekend. We've had two dripping, sopping wet days, but the forecast is for sun tomorrow. If it's warm enough, I may even venture out to try some plein air.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lisa Z's Tulips II

Oil on canvas. 20"x16"
This is a continuation of the painting that I posted on Saturday. I didn't feel it was complete, so spent some time on it this evening. I'm trying to keep in mind the idea of painting color rather than form...easy to slip into old habits. I changed the background color, darkened the dark masses and lightened the lights. I like it better, now.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Tulips

Oil on canvas. 16"x20"
These are the same tulips I painted yesterday. They're quite beautiful and worth painting twice.

I didn't finish this painting, but I think I'm done for today. I'll look at it later and decide whether to continue working on it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Strawberry Season

Oil on canvas. 8"x10"
It's not quite time for Oregon strawberries - these hail from Watsonville, CA. We try to eat local, but these looked so tempting, and it's been so long...

Lisa Z's Tulips

Oil on canvas. 20"x16"
My friend, Lisa Z, gave me these beautiful tulips on Thursday afternoon. They were tight buds on Thursday, and have just blossomed into the most vibrant yellow-pink flowers. I love flowers and think tulips are my favorites.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Color Study 16/Homework

Oil on canvas. 16"x20"

Another color study using a palette knife. Each section of the canvas was allotted 15 minutes to complete.

I used colored gels to cover the light source (the gels are used for stage lighting). The top left section of the canvas was painted under green light, the top right section was painted under red light, the bottom left section was painted under yellow light, and the bottom right section was painted under natural light.

Another great exercise in learning about color. I had to paint very rapidly (not my forte), and mix colors quickly.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Going Green

Oil on canvas. 14"x11"
More color work.

I'm very grateful to my art classmate, George, who shared a great tip for keeping oil paint fresh. Putting the covered palette into the freezer between painting sessions will keep the paint from drying out. It works! I haven't had to toss any unused paint. Thanks, George.
Color Study #15/Homework

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Three Little Pots

Oil on canvas. 16"x20"

Here's today's exercise in painting color. Below is the first stage of the painting in progress.


Oil on canvas board. 7"x5"
It's past 1:00 a.m. and I'm still ridiculous. I made the mistake of reading a painting blog that had the best description for how to lay on paint. The blogger (I'll locate his name tomorrow) said to put on the paint the way you lay tiles. Licking the paint (isn't that a disgusting term?) will mix the paint on the canvas and cause it to look flat. If the paint is placed on one layer after another, the previous colors will show through and give off a sort of vibration. (You have to trust me on this - sometimes you can get colors to vibrate.)

Of course I had to try it...that's why I'm still awake.

The painting itself is nothing to write home about, but I think the "aha" moment that goes along with it is really a step forward for me in understanding how color works. Now I get why the color studies are so important.

Good night.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two Flowerpots

Oil on canvas board. 5"x7"

Flower Pots

Oil on canvas. 16"x20

Still working to capture color. White is a real challenge.

Color Study 14/Three Pots

Oil on canvas. 16"x20".
This is today's homework. I had a great time flinging paint around!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Oil on canvas. 11"x14"
This isn't a color study, but I tried to incorporate some of the theory into these objects. I realize this is just playing chopsticks in paint. Tomorrow I'll spend time really practicing my painting "scales" so someday I'll be able to paint beautiful music!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fall Down Seven Times-Get Up Eight

This lovely article was written by Jon Miller of the Kaizen Institute (formerly Gemba Consulting) and describes the power of perserverance:

Change is like the boughs of the willow in a breeze. We can seldom control more than the very leaves and tips of branches, never the whole tree itself. When faced with absolutely solvable problems going unaddressed or imaginable future states not being approached, it can be extremely frustrating for the change agent. We're talking mad-prophet-in-the-wilderness level of frustration. In the face of seemingly intractable obstacles in leading people towards improvement, one can tempted to give up and walk away.

Ono no Tofuu is a renowned 7th century Japanese calligrapher whose will to continue was similarly tested at one point in his studies. Taking a walk in the rain he saw a frog leaping towards the leaf of a willow tree to catch an insect, falling short and plunging into the mud. The frog leaped again and failed again. The frog leaped again and again until finally it attained its goal. Tofuu was both humbled and encouraged by this, and found the strength to go on to become a master calligrapher.

This "willow and the frog" story of persistence in the face of adversity is commemorated on many Japanese works of art. It even became a stamp, as seen above. Sometimes we just need the simplistic willpower and leg strength of a frog. Leap, fall, leap, fall, try, fail and try again. How small is this willpower? It is the smallest thing. It is merely intention, decision, volition. Yet the non-frog parts of our brains put all sorts of walls between us and this small act of will. We need to be reminded to leap, leap, and leap again.

There is a Bible verse that reminds us of a similar lesson, that if we had faith even as small as a mustard seed, we could command a mountain to move and it would. In the Ramayana the monkey god Hanuman is cursed with forgetfulness that he is a god with great powers. He despairs until he is reminded of his powers, leaping over the ocean to rescue Sita from the demons.

There are many stories from many cultures that remind us that with faith and will, nothing is impossible. The irony is that if you don't believe this, you will never find out whether it is true.

Cool, huh?

A link to Jon's blog, "Gemba Panta Rei," is located on the right side of this page.

Color Study 13/True Color Study

Oil on canvas. 16"x20"
Here's a "for-real" color study that I did in my art class this evening. I learned that my recent color studies weren't truly color studies at all. This was much, much harder. My homework assignment is to continue to do color studies (real ones this time) and make sure the canvas is covered in paint within 15 minutes. Farley's a tough task master! I'm really pleased, though. I feel like I'm learning a lot from him.

Anyway, I'm pooped and I have a raging headache from staring at colored boxes all evening. I'm going to have a late dinner and call it a night.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Color Study 12/Painting Kata

Oil on canvas. 10"x14"
Kata is a Japanese term for the repetitive practice that one does in order to improve. It's more than just repetition, it's a mindful,structured practice. Kata is used when learning martial arts. These color studies are my painting kata.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Color Study 11/Balance

Oil on canvas board. 8"x10"
This painting is of a simple soup bowl. Sometimes, after a particularly hectic day, the most satisfying dinner is soup - it seems to bring balance to the day. Painting does the same thing for me. It's a quiet time after the craziness of the day and it brings balance to my soul.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Color Study 10/ Left-handed Coffee Mug

Oil on canvas board. 8"x10"
It's easy to tell which is my coffee mug - it's the one that sits with the handle on the left side and lipstick stains on the back.

Most of these color studies are done with a palette knife - the idea is to concentrate on color and not focus on form. For example, do you see a wrinkle in the bottom right-hand side of this mug? It's there because the color isn't right in that area.

In the interest of time, I'm using a brush for the background. I'm still fighting backgrounds - should they be worked first? I don't know. I have so much to learn!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Color Study 9/ Pitcher with Onion and Garlic

Oil on canvas. 16"x20".
In our art class, we're learning to paint color rather than form, which means learning how to see color. So interesting...I could happily paint all day every day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Color Study 8/ White Bowl with Tomatoes

Oil on canvas. 18"x20"
Yet more tomatoes. I know I should move on, but the color red is just so satisfying.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Color Study 7/ Orange and Plums

Oil on canvas. 16"x20"
It's good to see plums in the market - hopefully that means warmer weather is on its way.

My Uncle Bob has just completed a book about his son, Danny. Danny was a wonderful young art student with promising talent. His life was cut short in an act of mindless violence. My aunt and uncle have honored Danny's memory by founding a scholarship for young artists in need. The proceeds of Uncle Bob's book, "Daniel's Dream," will go toward maintaining the Daniel Robert Lynch Art Education and Scholarship Program.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Color Study 6/ Eggs in a Basket

Oil on canvas. 16"x20"
I continued to work on this painting - I thought it was too dull and blah. This time I used a brush. I like it better after the touch up.

As you can see, I was careful not to put ALL my eggs in one basket. Better to be safe than sorry, I always say...well, maybe I don't always say it.

I'm not sure if Farley, my art instructor, would count this as a color study since I mostly painted it with my fingers. I only occasionally picked up the palette knife and brush. It was a heck of a lot of fun to paint, but probably not what a real artist would do. Tomorrow I'll get serious about my color studies.