Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another Bodhi Tree

I think this is the third bodhi tree i've painted. They seem to be quite popular. Was recently asked to paint another one that is 36x48. That will be my biggest painting.

This one is 30 inches high. The friend that asked for it wanted a 36x36 painting, but paper that high is not easy to find. This was actually a piece of illustration board. I hope it is archival quality?

So after it was done and as photographed above, I cut it to 30 inches wide. My friend wanted a square painting. It didn't look as good square. I think next time I'll cut the paper to the size required before painting, so it will be painted to fit the correct ratio. That is the composition will be correct. I'm not against square paintings, I just think that i painted it in a rectangle and when it was cut to be square it didn't look as good.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

phil hours

It's been a long while since I've blogged or painted. There are so few phil hours in the day anymore, I really need to decide what is going to give me the most satisfaction.

I'm not complaining. Life gets like that for everyone. But it seems to be going so quickly right now, I don't think I can waste it on something that isn't going to satisfy. So I spent a couple hours today painting.
The painting didn't turn out like I envisioned (like they ever do.) But I didn't execute like I know I should have either.

I just planned to do a contour drawing and wait for the lines to dry (to cure bone dry) before painting the shade inside. But I didn't so the lines and shade mixed and some lines pretty much disappeared.

I also bought Exile on Main Street. That was 20 bucks well spent!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Outreach Peru

I'm pretty happy with this iteration. Not sure if it will be the last. Looks great in the frame bought for the gala auction.

Maybe it's time to move onto a different scene and offer something different for my friend?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Outreach Peru

Here's another version of the same scene I've been painting over and over again. I think it turned out pretty well. Maybe the composition isn't quite right though?

I'd like to bring the foreground mountain forward and make it look three dimensional rather than flat like an aerial photo. It also seems like the shapes are too equal. Maybe some should be skinny and some fat?

Maybe i need to make the whole foreground mountain much darker to give it form? If anyone has any suggestions to do it differently, I'd love to see comments.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Horse and Train

I love this painting by Alex Colville!

I tried painting my own version and pretty happy with it. It's definitely not as awesome, but I think the experience of copying is very interesting. I didn't get the horse quite right. In awe of how he captured it's form.

I drew lines over the original to study composition. I noticed how the bottom half of the horse's ass is in shadow and fits under a diagonal intersect and the lighter half of the torso is above the diagonal. Also, the horizon is pretty much two thirds up the paper following the "rule of thirds." Even the smoke from the train follows a diagonal in the NW quadrant. It's very interesting.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Abstract Portrait

I like this painting now. I didn't when it was first finished. It turned out much different than intended. So perhaps disappointed at first and not liking it for what it is. But we're all good now.

I wanted to make a pretty realistic portrait and then put wet wrap over it and smush it around until it was partially unrecognizable. That is, eyes and nose and mouth etc might blend or be distorted. After the smushing everything was unrecognizable and only a vague outline of head and shoulders remained.

I feel like I'm learning a lot everyday about how to paint watercolors and my learning curve is very steep right now. If that is true, I must still be at the very start of my 10,000 hours of painting. That's kind of exciting.

Recent revelations include:
1. layering a colour over another before the first one is BONE DRY will lift the first one and reveal blank paper underneath.
2. A dry brush swished around over almost dry paint or a slight damp area can make some nice brush strokes.
3. Over mixing of colours makes a muddy dull color.

None of these revelations really relate to the painting above. The Peru pictures are move applicable.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mountain Steps

Here is another work of Peru based on a photo by Donna. It's definitely not too realistic. I like the variety of colors that are in the mountains and the light in the background.

Well I haven't been a full time painter recently. I've been putting more effort into finding a full time job. Maybe I was previously slacking on that, but it still is my number 1 priority. I have been putting more effort into being productive and not blogging so much about it. It's sort of silly to be wasting time complaining about not producing enough when I should be painting. Overall I'm painting more and more active in my job search. Happy the funk has passed!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

If I Really Was a Painter?

I'd have to sell my paintings for about a grand each to actually quit looking for a "real" job. That's pretty lame. That is my productivity or laziness is pretty lame.

I wondered how much my paintings actually do make? So I averaged all the non-vetta paintings I sell on iStock per month by the number of paintings, and i make $1.50/painting/month. Obviously i could adapt my style or subject to try and be more marketable. But that is quite a bit of guesswork.

A buck and a half seems like such a low number, but maybe consciously being marketable and then adding a lot of paintings every month would quickly add up to a reasonable number?

If i worked 20 eight hour days per month and made 1 painting per hour, after a year the portfolio would have over 2000 paintings. If it was still performing at $1.50/painting/month, that would be encouraging enough I think, to continue.

But there a lot of risk around the $1.50. That number of paintings might water down each painting's performance? On the other hand I might have to consider other venues for selling paintings, like etsy.

Okay I'm going off on a huge what-if tangent when the biggest uncertainty is actually my own discipline and painting 8 hours a day. To actually make painting my job. As long as I don't compromise looking for a "real" job, It might be interesting to see if I can be a real painter in the meanwhile.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Peru study

Even though I haven't been painting much lately, I'm still super stoked about contributing to my friend's Outreach Peru gala silent auction. My other friend is also letting me use her travel pictures as photo references, which is super nice and cool. Above is the first attempt.

I like a lot of things about this little study, but on the other hand it still looks a little weak. The terraces in the bottom left don't seem quite right. Maybe they need to be more opaque or I didn't get the perspective quite right? I paid a lot of attention trying to give the painting depth, by making the distant areas light and mauve-ish and the closer areas darker. But I think I need to do more of this as well as blurring the distant horizons.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Outreach Peru

Pastel Abstract

I got a really exciting request yesterday. My buddy Errin asked if I would donate a painting to a silent auction to raise money and send a medical team to help children in Peru. I love that I can help out even though i can't send a bunch of money. It will also be interesting to see how much one of my paintings will raise.

I'm going to try and paint a Peruvian landscape so there is a connection for the buyer between the artwork/donation and the cause country. But Errin and I will figure out which painting is best. The gala auction isn't until April.

This Pastel Abstract isn't that landscape, just a just finished painting. I like the way it turned out. It's a mixed media work.

I started with coloured sidewalk chalk making pastel shapes. Then i applied water using a paint brush and pushed and pulled the shapes. I think it turned out pretty good, but whether you like is probably highly dependent on if you like the colour scheme. It would probably be best in a room decorated by a little old lady.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mountain Lake Abstract

I started this painting trying to stencil some curved marks onto the paper. They looked okay but i wasn't sure how i'd make a whole painting from this technique. So i quickly started using the brush full on.

I was probably using too watery a mixture because the painting was starting to look too greyish without any depth. I wanted some hard lines and texture so i put on the plastic wrap again.

I like how the black trickled down the wet wrap, so i covered the whole painting using this technique. Then the board was flipped over and red was applied in the same manner.

After drying it and flipping around to see which way it looks best, i settled on the vertical aspect. It looks a little like a mountain scene with a lake and red sunset reflections in the foreground.

I'm sorry the video has poor lighting. I started it in the late afternoon and most of the light was coming in the window. But by the time it was finished the lighting was tungsten so the white balance is wrong.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Closeup Portrait

I'm pretty happy with how this painting turned out. I didn't do any planning or sketching but carved out the face as I went along. It's a bit of a surprise the proportions are more or less okay. It looked better wet than after it dried though. There is probably a fixer or something i can spray on it to look wet? The nose looks a little too straight on and should probably be pointing more to the left. But maybe she is an ex-hockey player and it's bent out of shape? That's the story i'll go with. Overall I still like it.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Okay I promise this is the last time I paint this scene. I'm tired of it too. I like this version the best. The video gets dark about half way thru because I finished with indoor lighting whereas the first half had a nice light from a window.

I came back to the painting because i decided that the closer hills were too dark in the painting. So I applied a masking fluid to the foreground rock and washed away a bit of the darkness in those hills. Then i rubbed off the masking fluid and bob's your uncle.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Two Minute Watercolors

Today i worked on two minute watercolor sketches. I was hoping for happy accidents, but am pretty unsatisfied. Maybe I was being too controlling? Maybe i'm expecting too much? I was trying to accomplish some dry horizon lines in the foreground to help suggest which hills are closer and give the painting depth.
I might have to revisit the David Dunlop video to be inspired again. But i'm also tired of painting my Moab photo. Going to look for another photo before continuing with 2 minute watercolours.

I made little time lapse movies of my paintings. I think they all went over the 2 minute mark because I wasn't happy with the result. Going against conventional wisdom i'm sharing these crappy paintings with the world. On the upside, i liked the scraping effect created with the end of a metal ruler.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I made a time lapse movie of a pretty "realistic" painting. It's a bit longer than I hoped it would be. Sorry if it's boring.

First I applied a masking fluid to save areas where I wanted to put some green plants. Then I sketched out the hills. I looked at an old photo taken way back in the 90s. I put some plastic wrap on top of the wet paint to try and get a nice texture. I didn't like the texture and painted over it.

I mostly like the painting, but I might try it speedier and hope for more spontaneous happy accidents.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gestión del tiempo

Gestión del tiempo es difícil. Búsqueda de empleo y pintar son la prioridad, pero un pocos minutos todos los días puede ser para aprender español. Hoy me adherir 'post-its' en artículos domésticos. También voy a conjugar los verbos en este párrafo.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fire Abstract

I'm REALLY happy with the way this one turned out. I used a combination of paint and colored chalk. I smeared the chalk on while the paper was still wet, and then brushed that into the painting again. Then i laid clear film on the lower half of the painting for texture. If i could duplicate these results i'd make 100 more paintings like this.

Actually I've been working on a different technique today. Results were not expected but I'll save that for when I post that work.

It's been a good day overall. I've kept the tv off even though i don't watch it closely when it's on. Today seems more productive than usual. I'm thinking tv is more of a distraction than i've admitted. I've even worked out somewhat intensely, which is a huge turn around to the trend.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I liked the way this painting turned out. You can get lost looking at the little details in the texture. Many layers of colours were applied and swooshed around. The texture is a result of pressing clear plastic wrap on the wet paint and waiting for it to dry. Then another layer of colour was added and plastic wrap again used for texture.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recommended Video

I caught the last bit of this guy's tv show "landscapes through time" and it was awesome. I searched for it on youtube hoping to find the entire episode, but i found a couple posting by him for youtube and they were awesome too. Inspires me to work faster and have more accidents.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011 Everyone!

I think if i died now my biggest regret would be wasted time. I feel like i should be way more productive. I need to re-prioritize. Make painting just as important as checking my email, brushing my teeth or making a pot of coffee. The same could be said about exercising.

Last year my resolution was to shoot every week. Started stronger than it finished. That said, i did shoot a lot more than 2009. I'm inspired to shoot more than i have the last few months, but this year I want to focus on painting. If i really want to be a success, i need to keep painting all year. Maybe closer relationships with other painters will help keep me focused?

I hope everyone has a great year and pursues their dreams.