Good morning. Today I’m talking about a painting I had at the Flower Pepper Gallery’s Summer Show. This is a still life of orchid leaves inside a copper pot with an orange. In the setup, there was also a pear, but I knew I wouldn’t finish the pear if I added it – and the composition made it look very odd, too close to the edge of the panel, so I made the decision to leave it out.
Composition: When I’m coming up with an idea of how I want my painting to look, I often take a photo, and crop that photo to the size of my canvas on my phone. This way – I can see different placements of my objects and how they would affect the viewers eye. I also use the View Finder (the small gray square with retractable window) for finding composition, but in this case I did it on my phone. Since I had trouble with the pear, I left it out entirely.
Painting: You can see here that I have in more or less simplified ALL areas of my colours that will be taking up the whole painting. This is only about 30-40 minutes in. A huge advantage of this is that if I don’t want to get too detailed, I can simply leave it as is, and its a more abstract painting. If I don’t “finish” I won’t have something that looks clearly unfinished, I’ll have a fully realized painting, just some areas will be more abstract than others.
Here I’ve started to add some details, particularly the large swathes of lights and shadows on the copper and leaves. Pay attention to each object as it’s own object, so a full value range for the leaves, and also the object as it relates to other objects. Some of the darkest areas on the painting ended up in the leaves, and the leaves and orange both have reflections on the copper pot.
The finished painting. As you can see I really enjoy painting copper and shiny objects. It was a fun challenge to show the warm light and the two soft, cool, window lights that also affected the pot. I loved doing the reflection of the orange, and pushing that dark shadow in the leaves that really made this pop.
Thank you for reading.
Oil on Panel 8″x8″
I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who love art. I met Marian at the Sean Cheetham workshop, and she invited me to work in her studio once a week. We get together with some very incredible artists and practice speaking Mandarin and English, teaching each other about painting, and learning from Masters. Here is our selection this week, with my Edge Pro Gear Paintbook Pro as my go-to for longer sessions, although with the 8″x8″ size of my panel, the Sketchbook Pro would have done very well.
Our setup, some rich, luscious papaya slices and grapes! Looked delicious.
Here is a picture with my palette part of the way through. Here you can see each “section” has it’s own area on the palette. I can use these to mix with one another in order to show things like bounce light. Ex, the green went into some of the shadows because the grapes were getting the light through them onto the fabric shadows. Think about these things and mix enough of your colors that you can use some of it in unexpected areas.
I almost would have loved to do a larger piece of this – get in there with a small brush and add detail, but I’m always on a time limit. I do enjoy the way this looks finished, particularly the grapes!
Oil on Panel 8″x8″
So this was an interesting small portrait I wanted to do because, as you may know, I am a Southwestern type, and I love Western Art. I grew up in Arizona, which had a huge influence on me as I was surrounded with traditional realism and fantasy combined. When the rest of the art world went modern, Western art stayed strong, depicting gorgeous images of desert landscapes, horses and cowboys, Native Americans, and so many other wonders of historical and modern times in the West.
Growing up, my home was full of artwork, from a detailed landscape with lightning, to some fun plein air paintings in the bathroom, and colorful coyotes in a bedroom, art has influenced my life forever. I stared at paintings for hours, picking out details I’d never seen before or simply wanted to appreciate one more time. I plan to enter more into the world of Western art, because it’s so much in my blood.
Thank you for reading.
Come check it out! Here are my five paintings for the show.
Flower Pepper Gallery
Summer Group Show
410 Bamboo Lane Los Angeles
June 23 through July 19th.
18″x24″ Oil on Canvas
The creation of this painting was inspired by reference photos of my lovely model. I also had an idea that I wanted this cool theme, but wanted some major areas of contrast so her body wouldn’t be the focus of the painting. To do that I surrounded her black hair with a white “halo.” This adds the pop that lets you look at her face before you move to the rest of the painting. Lately, I have been considering my composition a lot in advance of painting.
This is the final painting, although the white balance on this photo is a bit on the warm side. The background is a dark, dark blue, which is enough to really come out with the strong contrast of golds and yellows I used in the background that are mirrored in her headpiece. She is wearing a rattlesnake tail with turquoise – reminiscent of her background of growing up in the Southwest, and her spirit animal, the Rattlesnake. She wears shells in her hair to show that she has traveled to the ocean, and moved a long way from the desert she first belonged to.
Also she’s hot.
Thanks for reading.
How to get your painting to show the focal point you want – or how to deal with competing focal points.
Here is a small, 6×6 painting of a couple roses:
In order to make the front rose into the focal point (actually, if you look at the back roses, they aren’t even roses, just some brush strokes!) I deliberately darkened and muted every single mixture I used for my back roses. The front is brighter, higher saturation, and more detailed, which is why your eye naturally sees it as the focal point. Always keep this in mind when you’re having trouble with a busy painting. I also have the entire process of this painting published on youtube at Los Angeles Academy of Art‘s feed:
These videos show the full, uncut process of how I mix my paints, and how I put them on the canvas in the most easy way possible. All done on my Edge Pro Gear Paintbook which I adore.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Thank you for reading!
This is a rather large painting for me, and I only had an hour to work on it. I was happy to be invited to my friend’s house for a still life painting session – only to find she had also invited some incredible, well known artists from China! What an awesome opportunity! Here is all I finished, I was on a time limit but next time I will have more time to work. I loved the antique, asymmetrical three legged bowl and the copper vase the most (as you can see, most of the work went there.)
The drawbacks of having so little time – I didn’t get a chance to move this into the style I wanted, I had to focus on putting as much information in as short amount of time as possible. There’s always next time!
Thanks for reading!
The finished painting!
Here is step one. Day two was almost completely painting, with Sean walking around to help individual students with their issues, instead of simply demonstrating. This is great for most people, because it gets from general, to what am I doing right? I know I wrote this about yesterday, but it was VERY tough for me to work from dark to light and paint as I put down, I usually block in my lights and darks and then work into them, so it was a struggle!
Here is with the shadow side of the cheek, not even completed. I probably could have ended up spending 10 hours on this, frankly, because it was such a challenge.
One of the main takeaways I got from the workshop was to create huge piles of your lights, darks, and for each area. I did a huge background tone, and worked all my paint into it. I did a huge pile of shadow face, and I worked into it. Awesomely, I could have worked even further into it after I was done, simply because I’d mixed so much. Same goes with lights, and this was invaluable for me to learn. I usually paint very thin and end up spending a lot of time re-mixing a colour instead of painting.
The finished product with some thumb shadow 😀 I am pleased. It’s quite small, only 9×12, but it took the whole time to finish AND with a migraine the second day.
Here is my set up as I tried to see what issues I had. There is Natalia Fabia’s setup next to mine.
Me and Natalia’s work in progress
My awesome new friend Marian made this gorgeous painting on the right in such a short amount of time! It was a very large canvas and so exciting to see her progress as we went along.
I’m glad to answer any questions you might have about the workshop, feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading!
Over Cinco de Mayo weekend, I had the pleasure of painting with Sean Cheetham at his workshop. I knew I’d be integrating this information into my painting and drawing classes at Los Angeles Academy of Art, so I wrote down detailed notes and got as much feedback as possible.
I’m going to go ahead and present it photo by photo:
This was the biggest struggle for me in this painting. If you’ve seen my previous painting posts, you know that I block in large areas of mid-tone first, and then work in from there, on top of an under-drawing. The way Sean showed his painting was with very little drawing, and absolutely no lay in. He went straight for each shadow area and light area, starting with the darks so he could get that rich, gorgeous contrast he is known for. Here you can also see that I had my panel toned for cool light – the warmth would show in the shadows and be covered in the lights. Unfortunately the model was under a warm light, so I switched plans on day two. The Edge Pro Gear was well loved and I’m sure a couple people bought it after seeing how convenient it was for me 🙂
This was very challenging for me, particularly because Sean mixes his paints on his palette, and puts them straight on the panel as is. I am used to working in the mixes on my panel – I can put straight cad red on the panel itself, and blend it with my huge areas of light and dark to get what I want. In this case, I had to know what it would look like on the panel before even adding the brush stroke. I was sweating! More because it was 90 degrees, though.
Here is a crop of my finished work. One thing I started to look at more was also the brush strokes. I really love the one light indicator under his chin, it is a confident, deliberate stroke that I planned in advance, instead of just painting it in.
More on that.
We had amazing artists in the course, including Natalia Fabia, who just won an award at Portrait Society of America, and Jeffrey Watts, as well as Erik Gist and Ryan Heitman, all from Watts Atelier down south.
Here is a selection of Sean’s work.
I’m a fantasty and RPG addict, so of course I had a close up of this one.
That’s all you get for day one, but day two is coming next 😀
Thanks for reading.