White Roses, Grandma’s Vase (and a Great Little Still Life Lamp)

White Roses: Spring Rose Series #7” Oil on Yupo, 12x9”
White Roses: Spring Rose Series #7” Oil on Yupo, 12×9”

I was happy that I met my two goals for this painting: 1) to keep it light and airy and 2) to draw and paint the flowers quickly before they changed or died.

I did the drawing on the first afternoon; painted the flowers and the background and began the vase on the second afternoon. I completed the rest of the painting the next morning, knowing it was my last chance before I’d be out of the studio for a few days. You can see the steps in the process photos below.

When I returned three days later the flowers were quite dead. Although I had a reference photo I could have used to “touch up” a few things, I felt that I’d said what I had to say and for once was willing to let it be as is instead of endlessly trying to perfect things.

Set up with clamp on LED 3-color lamp
Set up with clamp on LED 3-color lamp

One thing that made the painting really enjoyable was the discovery of this inexpensive and wonderful little clamp-on LED light that can be set to provide warm light, cool light or medium temperature light. It provided a perfect amount of directional light for lighting a still life and was easy to clamp on to my foam-core still life shadow box. The side of the box wasn’t quite tall enough so I just clamped on another piece of foam core and attached it to that. Since the light doesn’t weigh much it didn’t need anything more sturdy. No more clutter from a standing lamp or glare in my eyes from big heavy clamp on lights.

Spring Rose Series #6

“Spring Rose Series #6”, oil on Yupo, 12x9”.
“Spring Rose Series #6”, oil on Yupo, 12×9”.

I was careful to get these roses painted in one afternoon, after spending a couple hours arranging the still life and getting the drawing down because I knew the flowers would keep changing. On the second afternoon I worked on the leaves and background. I saved the vase for last, thinking it wouldn’t change. But of course it did, as the flowers slumped and the water level dropped. I wanted to paint it from life, but had trouble making sense of what I was seeing and ended up wiping it off. 

By the next day I had to toss the flowers so I used a photo reference on my iPad of the vase. Two more days of fails and wipe-offs followed. Finally I got to a point where I was willing to declare it done. You can see some of the steps in the process below.

Photo reference and initial block in stages
Photo reference and initial block in stages. Worked on flowers first.
Worked on leaves and background. Tried and failed repeatedly with vase.
Worked on leaves and background. Tried and failed repeatedly with vase.

Spring Rose Series #5 (and #2-#4)

“Spring Rose Series #5” Oil on Yupo, 12x9”
“Spring Rose Series #5” Oil on Yupo, 12×9”

I was happy with this painting of my roses, done from life in 2 1/2 afternoons, especially after having tried and failed several times to paint my neighbor’s pink roses. (See below for photos of the process).

I’d read that oil painting on Yupo paper worked well and was archival so decided to give it a try with a pad of Yupo I’d bought long ago for watercolor. It hadn’t fit my watercolor style then, but I found it very fun to paint on with oils and also easy to wipe off. It’s similar to painting on DuraLar except it’s not transparent.

Photo of setup and steps in the process
Photo of setup and steps in the process of painting above

Every time I tried to paint my neighbor’s roses, I’d get the drawing and block in started, run out of time and the next morning the flowers had slumped or collapsed to the point I’d have to give up, wipe off and start over.

 Roses painting attempt 3 and 4
Roses painting attempt 3 and 4

I finally decided the square oil primed linen panel was jinxed and abandoned it. (Or maybe it was karma? The first bunch I’d taken without permission but even after I’d gotten permission his roses just wouldn’t hold up.)

Rose painting attempt #2
Rose painting attempt #2
Dead Flowers Again!
Dead Flowers Again!

Spring Rose Series #1

“Spring Rose Series #1”, Oil on Linen Panel, 10x8”
“Spring Rose Series #1”, Oil on Linen Panel, 10×8”

My roses have started their spring parade of long stem blooms and I can’t resist painting them even though I’m allergic to their scent. This painting started a whole series that went from OK (this one) to 5 total fails (each painted on top of the previously scraped one), to one I declared successful, which I’ll post next time.

See photos of the setup and work in progress below. 

Silver Teapot and Happy Apple

"Silver Teapot and Happy Apple" Oil on oil-primed linen panel, 10x10”
“Silver Teapot and Happy Apple” Oil on oil-primed linen panel, 10×10”

This was my favorite oil painting experience ever. It was one of those paintings where everything just came together. Yay!

I painted it from life in two afternoons. I think what led to my success was that first I got the drawing right and then I just put the paint down and left it, doing very little touching up and/or correcting (aka overworking).

Below are a few photos of the setup and the beginnings of the work in progress.


Another Semi-Fail Flower

Matilija Poppy, oil on canvas, 8.5” x 11.5 inches
Matilija Poppy, oil on canvas, 8.5” x 11.5 inches

The only thing I like in this painting is the Matilija poppy and maybe the shadows. I’ve painted Matilija Poppies (much better) before like this one that also appears in the book “The Watercolor Artists Bible” along with several other of my watercolors. For some reason I find it much harder to paint flowers successfully in oils.

I started this mostly yucky painting by first using Procreate to design a color plan to work from (below) that I unfortunately didn’t exactly stick to. I like the digital version much better. Then I did a black and white underpainting in acrylic before painting in oils.

Color plan done in Procreate and black and white photo for values
Color plan done in Procreate and black and white photo for values
Photo of set up
Photo of set up

Hydrangeas with Post-It Note

Hydrangeas with Post-it Note, oil on Gessobord panel, 10x8" Available
Hydrangeas with Post-it Note, oil on Gessobord panel, 10×8″

My hydrangea plant lives just outside my kitchen window and each year I enjoy painting it. This time I was going for a more abstracted feel with soft, soothing beautiful colors and just the tease of a bent post-it note.

I hope all the rain we’ve had this winter will help it continue to produce fabulous blooms! This painting is available in my DPW gallery.

I love the way the petals range from pink to blue to lavender from the soft yellow when they first sprout. Below is a photo of the setup.

Photo of set up
%d bloggers like this: