Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sand Dunes and Eucalyptus     6" x 6"  oil on panel
Returned recently from a fun time painting in the Carmel (CA) area.  I hiked down through the sand dunes at the end of Ocean Ave. in Carmel to make this painting.  The ice plant is a nice contrast with its red color against the green eucalyptus trees.

You can bid on it in the Daily Paintworks auction 

Here is the scene I painted from in Carmel.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Finished Commission Painting

"Cornflower Field"  30" x 40"  oil ~  on the easel
After working on my commissioned painting most of the afternoon, I feel like it is finished.  But I will let it rest tonight and look at it again with fresh eyes in the morning.  If you compare it to the last post, you will see that I decided I did not like the two mounds of hay and thought it would look better with just one.  So I painted the left one out, added more of the walnut orchard and gave the viewer a peek into the distant hills.  I completely re-worked the barn and I am so much happier with it it.  It matches so many barns I see here in the Central Valley of California.  I worked on the trees to the right and the foreground as well.  Lots of other small changes as well.  

Now to sign it and let the paint rest and dry.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Day 4 work on my commission

I had a great time in Monterey this past weekend visiting artist's studios in the Monterey County Open Studio Tour.  Some very good artists and fun to see their studios.

I really enjoyed Annette Corcoran's studio.  She creates some of the most spectacular porcelain tea pots.  She is 87 years old and quite a lady.  She has been doing these ceramic pieces for 30 years and has many of her pieces in museums.  I recommend looking her up on the internet!

Today I had time to work on my commission painting again.  Made lots of changes and I am very happy with them.  New sky, pushed the distant mountains back some, reworked some of the trees, and worked a little more here and there.  Tomorrow I will be working on the foreground and the trees on the right and perhaps a few more changes.

Keep checking my blog to see how it is coming along!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Angel Trumpets Painting

My painting "Angle Trumpets" is now up for auction on Daily Paintworks.
You can bid on it here:

Angel Trumpets   oil   12" x 9"

These are the most beautiful flowers!  I love the way the light hits and shines through the flowers!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 3 Working on the Commission Painting

More work on this beautiful landscape scene.  I got so involved in the painting that I forgot to take progress photos!  But here is the mostly finished painting after adding the pine tree limbs on the right, more grass and of course the purple coneflowers as well as tweaking a few more spots here and there.

Coneflower Field with Sheep Sorrel  -  oil -  30" x 40"

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day 2 Working on the Commission Painting

Day 2 work on the painting
I finally had a chance to get back to my commission painting.  Every time I look at this scene I fall in love with it.  The beautiful golden hills make a beautiful contrast against the purple coneflowers, green trees, and the deep purple brown sorrel is amazing.

Yes, I found out what that purple brown weed is called.  I did some internet searches and discovered it is a perennial and a common weed of crops, pastures and roadsides.  I remember seeing lots of it as I was growing up.  It is a native to Asia and Europe, but has spread to North and South America as well as Australia and Africa.  The plant is green at first then becomes reddish brown as the fruit matures.  There are a number of varieties of this plant with many different names for it

including Sheep Sorrel, Sour Grass, Field Sorrel, Red Sorrel and Dock.  I am not sure, but I think the Sorrel in my painting is Sheep Sorrel.  Some people make a tea from its leaves, but I read that it can be mildly toxic, so I would not recommend it.  I love it as it makes such a pretty contrast to the greens and yellows.

The view today.
Notice the Sorrel under the trees. 

As I drove to Monterey last weekend, I kept looking for the Sorrel along the road sides.  I was disappointed by how little I saw, but I think I found the place where I took my original photo many years ago.  It doesn't look the same anymore. The beautiful purple coneflower field is now a grape vineyard and there are new trees blocking the view of the hills.

So with my piece of sorrel I broke off on the site, I worked on my painting today.  Below are a few photos of the painting progress. 

Working on the field behind the sorrel. 

Softened the hills and worked
on the sorrel and grasses. 

Working on the foreground as well as the background buildings. 

More detail work on foreground grasses and side trees.
So after a good six hours of work, I decided to give my painting arm a rest.
I will hit it again tomorrow and add some coneflowers, more grasses and work on the trees to the right.

Getting close to half done.  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Day 1 Painting on the Commission Painting

First Day's Work

Well today was the first day in awhile that it was cool enough to get into my studio comfortably.  So I headed out there to get started on my large commission painting.  Many artists layout the design using black charcoal, but I have found that to be a mess.  The black blends in with the paint and sometimes changes the color, so I decided to try my new white charcoal pencil.  I was very pleased with the results.  After grafting off the canvas into rectangles, I was able to draw out the design composition.  

Drawing the Composition in
White Charcoal Pencil

My client said she likes grain towers, so I decided it would be fun to add two to the painting and make some compositional changes to lead the eye into the background better.  
Drawing in the house

Adding some of the dark values

When I was satisfied with the composition, I began by painting in the darkest values with ultramarine blue, sap green and a tad alizarin red.  To balance the darks I added some of the lightest lights in the buildings. 

Adding some light values

I wasn't sure how to capture those tall, deep purple weeds and what colors to mix to get that color, but I discovered in my stash of paint a tube of Madder Brown.  It is perfect!  Wish I knew what those weeds are called.  I love seeing them in the landscape.  If you know what they are called, let me know, OK? 

Well I got carried away painting and forgot to take more photos as I was working.  The sky and rolling hills captured my attention for a long time.  So here is my 1st day on the job and getting the under-painting worked out.  That foreground is going to be a challenge, but fun to tackle in the coming days.  Come back often and see the progress.... !

Close up of the house & trees


Every monitor is different according to your settings.
The actual painting may look different from your computer monitor.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Art Show in Pacific Grove

 AUGUST 28 - OCTOBER 27 - 2017

They even installed new track lighting for me!
I have a display of a few of my small paintings at the Sally Griffin Active Living Center in Pacific Grove, 700 Jewel Ave.  The center is only a block from Lovers Point, so you can enjoy the beautiful coast before you drop by the show.   

RECEPTION - SEPT. 8th 5 - 7 pm
Please join me and the three other artists in this show, Harry Wareham, Laura Lockett, and Tamara Keiper, for our reception on Sept. 8th, 5 - 7 pm. 
Come and enjoy live music and refreshments. 

10% of all sales donated to the Sally Griffin Center to help Meals on Wheels. In conjunction with the Central Coast Art Association.

Three pastels.

A painted lady in Pacific Grove.
This pretty house is near the park in Pacific Grove.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Preparing the Canvas for a Commission Painting

Look how much bigger the 30" x 40" canvas is
compared to the small 8" x 10" study!  
It has been miserably hot (105) and smoky from all the horrible fires around the state today, but I did get out to my studio early enough this morning to prep the canvas for my large 30" x 40" commission painting.  I set it up on my easel to make sure it fit in my small and crowded studio.  Since I have been painting small 6" x 6" Daily Paintings lately, this canvas seems huge!  But I am very excited to get to it.  The ozone and heat prevented me to do much more in my studio for the rest of the day, but I am hoping to get going on the painting this week.

Here are photos of the clay pot color which I toned the canvas.  I used gesso tinted with acrylics.  I brushed it on with a wide brush then wiped it smooth with an old credit card to even out the brush strokes.  This seemed to work well and I think it will be a good background for the painting.

Brushing on the new tinted gesso. 

Half way there. 

All ready to get started...
when my studio is cool enough that is.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Preparing to Do a Large Commission

I am so blessed to be doing a large 30" x 40" commission painting.  My client wants a copy of a pastel scene I did many years ago.  It is one of my favorite scenes I worked from a photo I took on the way home from Monterey.  I was driving near Casa de Fruita when I noticed a field of beautiful purple corn flowers, dark purple tall weeds, trees, houses and the golden, rolling foothills.  The scene captured my heart.  I have passed by this same spot many times since, but never found those flowers again.

Small oil studies
To get ready to paint the large painting, I have been working on some small oil studies.  One in black & white to study the values and a second smaller 8" x 10" painting, also in oil, to work out any problems I may encounter.  I toned the small canvas with an orangey background color to see if that would work, and I like it.  

You can see the steps I made along the way in the 8x10, although, I was so engrossed in the painting that I forgot to take more photos.  I am so looking forward to getting started on the large canvas.  Come back to this blog as I will be posting my progress... if I remember to take photos!  

Blocking in the dark and light values

Adding buildings and background grasses

A peek at my palette

Moving right along

Working on the foreground

Adding some of the cornflowers and pine tree on the right

Come back later to see work progressing on the large painting.

All work copyrighted.  

Visit my website:  www.RhettsStudio.com
and my Daily Paintworks Gallery

Friday, July 21, 2017

New Halloween Paintings

Pumpkin Guards   16" x 12"  acrylics
I know it is way too early for Halloween, but..... I have been asked to paint some paintings for the Halloween themed show at the Tracy Grand Art Gallery (in Tracy, CA) for the Sept / Oct show.  I am so excited about the way they turned out, I just had to share them now.

I am trying something new.  I never thought I was very good using my imagination, but I am so excited about this new painting process for me.  It is called "Intuitive Painting".  It is begun with putting lots of globs of acrylic paint on the canvas and mixing them all about with scrapers, brushes, sticks, sponges, etc.  Let that layer dry (or not) and add stamps, stencils, more brush strokes, etc.  Let that layer dry again. The idea is to play with the paint and not worry about anything, just trust yourself that it will be alright whatever you do!  

The next layers seem to paint themselves.  I had an idea what I wanted in the paintings... crows and a halloween theme... and somehow the images just popped into view as I started blocking in the various images and painting over parts of the background.    My mind just flowed with the paint.  I painted over many of the background layers, but some stayed and more layers of stamps & stencils and brush strokes appeared too.  

It was an amazing experience creating these paintings.  I hope to do more like these in the future!  Let me know what you think of them!

In the Pale Moonlight  16" x 12"    acrylics 

I wanted to keep the Halloween theme light and fun, not gruesome and bloody.  There are children who visit the gallery and the paintings need to be fun.  

Spirit Dance    16" x 12"   acrylics
Candy Thief   16" x 12"   acrylics

See my paintings at the Tracy Grand Art Gallery, Tracy, California
September and October, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Painting the Town with Red Party Shoes!

Party Shoes   8" x 8" on deep cradled ampersand board
My friends and I were waiting for a restaurant to open for lunch and we spotted a thrift shop.  Well, we simply could not pass up that opportunity!  I was poking around and spotted these fantastic, high heel red shoes with a "rose" on the toe.  I just had to have them.

Now these are shoes I have always dreamed of wearing!  So pretty with the open toe.  They were made of silk-like material with a silver lining.  And oh such a high heel!  My feet ached just looking at them.  But some gal wore them.  They probably hurt her feet so badly that she gave them up to the thrift shop!  I wonder what she was like, the girl who wore these shoes.  What story she might tell of her adventures in these shoes!

Value Studies in pencil

I set up my light box in my studio with a spot light to one side to show the highlights and shadow pattern on the table top.  I began by making some pencil studies to get the feeling for the values and their shape.

Photos of the shoes in my light box. 

First stage in the painting process

 I toned my board with red, wiping off most of it.  This was just to give a little color to the background and to cut down the white glare.

I next drew the shoes with burnt umber to get their shapes right.  Then the real painting began.  I started with the bright red.  I found red is a difficult color to work with.  If you want a light area, you can't add just white as it turns the red pink!  So I had to darken the areas around the bright red to make them show off.  

Below are my finished paintings.  

Red Shoes    6" x 6" on cradled ampersand gessobord

After the Party    6" x 6"  oil on cradled ampersand gessobord. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Baby Mourning Doves Mixed Media

Baby Mourning Doves
Here is my second attempt at doing an ink and pan pastel drawing / painting.  Since it uses acrylic inks painted with a brush and then pan pastels on top.... would you call it a painting or a drawing?  Hummm.

Well, I guess I will just called it a Mixed Media piece.  My reference photo is below.  These mourning doves find our carport perfect for their nests.  This is the 2nd brood this year!  Momma is very watchful of her babies.

My photo reference from my own photo. 

Here is my oil painting from the mixed media project below. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Drawing a Mourning Dove using acrylic inks and pan pastels


This has been an interesting project for me.  I am trying some new techniques and using some new materials I have never used before.  I am still struggling learning to accurately draw birds.  They are more difficult than one would believe. I bought an online class on Craftsy on drawing birds.  The teacher is a very fine bird illustrator and he had us using acrylic inks in many layers.  This creates a beautiful, stained glass-like affect. Wonderful! We have Mourning Doves nesting in our carport every year.  Last year there were 5 broods of nestlings!  They are so cute to watch as their parents care for them.  Mourning Doves are so sweet.  I just love them and thought I would  try my hand at this bird. 
Before we began we made a value drawing and graphed it out to transfer to our final paper.  I learned that I really did not observe the bird very well.  John Muir Laws says he often makes the head too big and yep, so did I.  Amazing how you learn from your mistakes.  I also wanted to slim down the bird a little as I thought she was too fat and puffy.  This was probably another mistake.  I should have followed the photo more closely.

Photo by Pandeeswaran Bhoopathy
Thank you to Pandeeswaran for letting me use your photograph.  He is an amazing photographer!
Here is my value pencil drawing from my source.
I made a photo copy of my drawing and then graphed it out to transfer to my mixed media paper. 

This is the beginning stages of inking my drawing.  I used very thin, pale ink.  
The final stages of inking. 

I decided to add a branch under my bird, but the source photo did not show me the feet.
This made it very difficult.  I am not very good at drawing feet without a source.
So I searched and searched for a photo that might show me a Mourning Dove in this position
where I could see the feet.  But I did not have much luck,
but I finally figured out what to do which you can see in the final photo. 

I was not really very happy with my results.  I felt the bird looked like a pine cone
(a quote from John Muir Laws) because I had drawn every feather!
 A big no no.  So what could I do?  Well I decided to go over my drawing with pan pastels.
They are amazing pastels.  I have worked with stick pastels for years,
but these new pastels are amazing.  They are very transparent and can be put
over the inks making a softer look.  
Doves have a softness to the feathers and the pan pastels really made the dove
look nicer and smoother.  I loved it!

I wanted to add a soft background, so I decided to try my hand at using the pan pastels.
Here is my effort as I was progressing with this.
The pan pastels are so soft and create a fuzzy, soft background.
So here is my mostly finished project.  For a first project using this technique, I am satisfied, but feel I have much more to learn.  But that is a journey I am willing to work toward improving.  And I had fun doing it!

    John is an excellent teacher and has some great bird (and animal) drawing lessons on line. Check his website out.

    Drawing Birds in Brush & Ink with George Boorujy
    George is a very fine bird illustrator and this is an excellent class.