Starting Your Painting

Lydia Lane Legacy, 9x12", oil on linen panel (plein air)Recently, in class, a student mentioned how difficult it is to start painting on a pristine canvas.  Another emailed me and said, "It's weird how timid a blank canvas can make you feel!"

Every painter has felt that way!  The answer, of course, is to just start.  If you can't do that, then "mark" your canvas - just throw a brushstroke across the surface.  It's no longer as intimidating because it's now "used". 

The same is true when you're painting plein air.  It can be terrifying to stand there knowing every person who walks by is going to a least glance at what you are painting and there are many who are going to hang over your shoulder while commenting.  Talk about intimidating!  Yet, the comments are universally friendly, interested, and considerate.

That said, always begin with confidence.  Practice makes perfect and all painting is about practice.  Put down the strokes like they count and do so with conviction.  Trepidation will show; so will your assuredness.  Focus on the process and not the outcome.

Most of all - Paint!




Expand Your Vision

Sharon, 12x9", oil on linen

Untitled, 9x12", oil on canvas panelI would say that I'm a landscape painter.  I love being outdoors, I love views and vistas, and this is what I mostly paint.  That said, I was taught that you should be "good at everything".  That meant that as an artist it was equally important to practice still-life, figure, portrait and landscape.

I have to say that I love figure, that I find it difficult but enjoyable to paint.  I love still-life as well, I enjoy painting the intricacies of the shapes.  I love portrait, noting the nuances despite being a challenge.  And of course I love landscape painting, but that's a given.

If the process of learning to paint is practice, and improvement lies within practice, then part of that process is to make it an all-encompassing exercise.  Stretch into the difficult realms, enjoy the process, don't judge the end product, and above all, have fun!  It's how we learn to be "good at everything"!  




A Warm January

A Warm Winter Evening, 12x9", oil on linen panel

Painting on this warm winter evening was pleasant.  I didn't even require a jacket.  On the other hand, the light was dim and the sun was sinking rapidly.  I selected a spot as quickly as I could, noted the areas that were lightest and then painted quickly.  I took into consideration why I was there and what I wanted to accomplish.  In this instance it was about focusing on the evening colors and values of the defoliated trees and the grass covered hills.  Listening to the birds chatter as I painted was just one of the bonuses of being outdoors.

This was painted at the base of Mt. Diablo at the end of Regency.

Next time I promise to focus on getting a better picture of my painting before I post! 





It's a New Year!

Happy New Year to All!South of Monterey, 6 X 6", oil on canvas

Time to create those painting goals.  Take a quick look at what you have been painting this past year and do some thinking about what you want to learn.  The act of creating art is extremely nuanced with an incredible amount of knowledge to acquire.  So give a little thought to where you are and where you'd like to head.  Are you going to focus on color or brushwork or another artist's techniques?  And how are you going to acquire this knowledge: through classes, self-study, peer groups?  My questions are simplistic.  Ask your own.  Give it some thought and see where those thoughts take you.

Don't forget, if you're taking classes, sign-ups are now!  Don't hesitate.  My classes are filling and some are already full.  This is most likely true wherever you live.

No matter how you choose to learn or what lesson you intend to undertake, remember to take it in small steps, learn through repetition, and don't judge your work!  Paint and then let it go.  Have fun, explore and allow yourself to enjoy this practice... because it's all practice.

Best Wishes to Everyone!  Peace and love...and Happy Painting!



Small Works at Renditions Gallery

Yes, I have another show coming up!  It opens this Friday, December 9th at Renditions Gallery in Walnut Creek.  The reception is from 6 -9 PM.  Come and join us! 


Renditions Gallery

1383 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek

Opening Reception: Friday, December 9th, 6-9 PM

Another Adventure Ahead 



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