Analogous Colors with Semi-Neutrals

I’m reading a great book on Color by Stephen Quiller that I will review at a later date.  I tend to go a bit wild with colors.  Sometimes my tones are all too bright and there are so many colors it hurts your eyes and it’s hard to see the main focus from the background.

I decided to do a few paintings base on color schemes I’m learning from this book.  While I’m not fond of the still life, I did one in analogous colors with semi-neutrals for this exercise.  I used greens next to each other on the color wheel, a yellow green, viridian, and a blue green.  I mixed the yellow and the blue-green myself using the viridian.

Here is my palette:

 The colors at the bottom are the semi-neutrals where the opposing color from the color wheel was mixed, for instance quinicone red with viridian green.   This gave me a semi-neutral.  I added white to the main hue as well as the neutral to give me a larger palette.

I set up this still life:

 I then did the following painting with the idea of it being soothing and calm. 


The Three Teddy Bears Go Camping

Take 2 The Teddy Bears Go Camping

I posted the comment below on Facebook and an artist friend made some suggestions so here is Take 2 of The Three Teddy Bears Go Camping.  What she suggested was that I make the cold sky and background warmer and fill in the trees.  So here is the new and improved The Three Teddy Bears Go Camping



Take 1

I’m still trying to find a balance between careful clean brushwork and the more interesting combinations of  “dirty” brush.   I just bought a book on color theory which should help me.   I feel at this point I’m diving into too many colors at once and loosing clarity.  But I’m also getting interesting textures and brushwork.  




The Bumblebee’s Last Party of Summer


And the brush ran away with the paint!

Sometimes the cow jumps over the moon and sometimes the brush runs away with the paint.  I have a fabulous picture of Tila rolling in the snow making a snow angel.  I really meant to try and do something realistic, but I’m finding I still have some impressionistic canvases that need to be painted.  It is as if the ideas are waiting in the wings and they are clamoring, “Me next! No Me!”.  

I have actually bought all the canvases I need for the ideas waiting in line.  And I’m sure when they are done, my muse will go out and fetch me some more.

So here is Spirit of the Snow Angel.  Some day I will try to do the realistic version, Snow Angel.   But when I tried this time the brush just ran away with the paint. 

Spirit of the Snow Angel





Addiction-Yes I Have an Addiction

I confess, I am addicted to paint brushes.  I love each and every one and cannot help but click “buy” every-time I see a new one on a website.  Here is a picture of my rapidly growing collection and a link to types of brushes and their uses.


The Growing Brush Collection







I have the exotic, like this “cat’s tongue” brush.  I read some of the old Masters used this and I just tried it today and love it.

Cat's Tongue Brush







And then there is the old paintbrush from who knows where that I found in a drawer.  It’s very useful when you want to lop a lot of paint on for a ground.   I usually underpaint most of my paintings with one color or another.  Blue if I am doing snow, yellow if I am trying to be impressionistic and so forth.

"Junk Drawer" Brush


I love the big rounds for the wonderful free strokes they make that seem to imply motion.


Round Brush







And who could forget the fan brushes for delicately putting on layers of glaze.


Fan Brush

I do have a ritual for cleaning all my brushes involving wiping, turpentine and soap and water but they get worn with use.  I think I like them better when they are a little broken in.

I have a dagger brush on order, well backorder (the dastards!) that I am awaiting.

If you have a brush or three you love, let me know.  After all you can never have too many brushes!


Twitter Tweet Twit

Twitter The Original by Nature

This spring I heard many birds twittering and tweeting in my backyard.  And they did it without I-Phones!

I remember back in the day when someone said “Twitter” then it meant a noise birds made.  The logo for is even Larry the Bird.  So I decided to call this painting “Twitter, The Original By Nature”. 

I also was playing around with glazing at the time and glazed many shades and layers on the cardinal.   So if you like it, Tweet it! 




One Scene Painted Three Ways

I decided to take one scene and paint it three ways, a realistic the way “I think” a painting should be painted, an impressionistic, where I tried to paint the color and the light and the contrast, and a palette knife style.  I have since learned more about the impressionistic palette which I use in two paintings that will be the subject of a future post. 

So here is my reference photo.  The beautiful Blue Grotto in Malta.  On my honeymoon my husband and I actually visited this and this is one of our vacation photos.  Sadly, little motorboat after little motorboat arrived almost on a train schedule to this peaceful grotto.  In a another time it was probably a lovely place to sit in a boat, gently bobbing along, uncorking a bottle of wine and breaking some fresh bread and perhaps stealing a few kisses from one another.   However, we, along with others, came, looked, shot a few pictures and buzzed out again because there was a boat in front of us and one behind.


Now here is my favorite of the three.  The “impressionistic style”.  I somehow feel I captured more of the spirit of the place in this one.  But the photo is rock and water.  Easy peasy right?  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  I have since learned painting realistic rock is extremely hard (at least for me) and water as well is an “advanced” technique.

 Next, side by side are my realistic and impressionistic style.

 The realistic (right) seems to lack the “poetry” the impressionistic one has.  It seems a bit flat.

And lastly my palette knife technique.   This one was almost an afterthought and done on a very small canvas.  But I wanted to try this technique.

 One of the things I found very difficult with this is that the rock is almost all creamy white with very slight variations in it.  To try and give the depth and the texture I had to exaggerate, and almost intensify colors that were only barely visible.   I found this a challenging exercise.  After doing this I had a complex dream that caused me to look more at the impressionists.  Perhaps I’ll tell you a little about the dream in my next posting which will be about using the impressionistic palette.



Now there are those who are worried about 2012.   They say many different cultures including the Maya have predicted it is the end.  As in the big THE END OF EVERYTHING!  In reality I think the Mayan calendar just ran out and they didn’t think that they wouldn’t be around to provide the world with the new updated version.

But what if all our pollution came back to bite us and to cause the end of…not everything…just man.  Gaia decides to take care of her planet and get rid of the destructive parasites.  Well I think most of life would go on.  The sun would rise and set, the fireflies would come out and the little critters would do what little critters do.  So here is 2012:  Gaia’s Solution.



And Van Gogh had his Ear

I started painting after a car came into my lane and caused severe injuries to my leg.  I couldn’t walk for over a year and spent most of that time in a wheelchair.  Of course, as my job was a field job, that was quickly lost.  So I started to paint.

I’m in good company when it comes to making art after being in some way injured.   Let’s look at Van Gogh, during a fit of anxiety, he cut of his ear and did a self-portrait.  He died at the age of 37 from what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Have no fear, I am both older than 37 and have no plans of leaving this earth.

Henri Toulouse Lautrec broke his right leg at age 12 and his left leg at age 14.  The bones never healed properly and he never reached full height and he could never quite move properly.  He threw himself into his art and created such wonderful works such as At the Moulin Rouge and his famous posters of can-can girls from that era.

Frida Kahlo contracted polio at a young age.  Perhaps that was what inspired her to desire to study to become a doctor.  But at age 18 she was in a tragic bus accident. She too, threw herself into her art.  Untrained, except for books and contacts with other painters, she produced some of Mexico’s most well known art.  A self portrait, known as Between the Curtains was dedicated to Leon Trosky.  She had an interesting political life as well as an artistic one.

Well Van Gogh had his ear and I had my leg.  So I decided to turn into art the thing that got me started painting and modeled the painting after my x-ray.  The painting is titled 08 17 2011 the date of my surgery after my accident, where over 60 pieces of metal were installed to rebuild/help nail and screw my bones back together.  Somehow, painting this was healing.  Rather than something that just happened to me, it is a mark of transition in my life.  And now hopefully I can close that chapter and move on, more slowly and less able than in the past, but still move on.


A Jury of Your Pyrs: The View from the Dock

I could not resist the word play.   I have the greatest respect for the courts of Great Britain and no slur is meant.  I don’t think they are going to the dogs.   If you’d like to read about my background research you can read the post Inspiration from the English Courts.

News update:   My Muse Calls and A Jury of Your Pyrs has been blogged about on Law Actually!