Saturday, September 1, 2007

Open book

8/31: Open book, oil on canvas panel, approx. 8x6 in.

The book was Ralph Mayer's Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques - I often think about painting a stack of books, but always find I have none that are interesting on the outside. I thought the placement here very satisfying, with the contrast out toward the edges and the book's "important" part subdued.

Old English word of the day:
bóc [bōk]
This also meant a beech tree - the plural béc pronounced [bāch] - so it is supposed that the word "book" originated from the pieces of wood used in Northern Europe to write/engrave upon - in the same way that Greek biblion (papyrus) and Latin liber (inner bark of linden/basswood) referred to writing materials.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Coffee cups

8/30: Coffee cups, oil on canvas panel, approx. 6x8 in.

I always enjoy seeing the frothy pattern along the inside of the cup that my coffee leaves behind, so I thought I'd examine that here. We are spoiled: our daily "coffee" is cappucino made in a 2-in-1 regular-coffee/espresso-and-cappucino machine that we got at Wal-Mart (that also had an open-box discount). It takes more effort than just flipping a switch, but worth it.

I was very shocked this morning to find my little pig buddies were the Illustration Friday pick of the week! Thanks to whoever made that decision, and to everyone who left a comment - if I was confusing before, I painted it with oils (I'm really not good with acrylics). I apologize for having a dead portfolio link for the longest time, but until I get the "real" site redone, the link now goes to the Flickr set where I've put those images.

Also, I want to share an article I just saw about an old friend, Jenga. She's a good person doing a good thing - check it out here. (You can read more in her blog "The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round," which is in my links list.)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Baby food jar

8/29: Baby food jar, oil on canvas panel, approx. 5x3 in.

Just an attempt at painting glass, which I kept to 45 minutes or less.

Old English word of the day:
glæs [glăs]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


8/28: Spools, oil on canvas panel, approx 3x5 in.

We had a power outage this morning that lasted until about 4 in the afternoon, so I'm posting very late. The drawing here is a little off, the shapes sort of cut-out and awkward like some of those portraits of children from the Colonial period (the creepy ones that stare at you), and it didn't photograph well either. But it looks good from farther away in indirect light.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pink Pearl

8:27: Pink Pearl, oil on canvas panel, approx. 6x4 in.

Same brown mix as yesterday but thinner: transp. red oxide, burnt umber and black, with ocher in the lighter parts and more black in the darks. I guess the red oxide/oxide red does here what burnt sienna usually does for me, except it's transparent. I'll have to play around with this further.

Old English word of the day:
brún [brūn]: brown, dusky, dark.

It is interesting that in the old form of our language the terms for colors dealt more with the brightness of a thing than its hue. Not until Middle English (c. 12th century) did color names begin to refer to hues specifically. Here is a good discussion which touches on this and other things that made Old English super.

Monday, August 27, 2007


8/26: Lemon, oil on canvas panel, approx. 4x6 in. SOLD

I mixed a really great brown here, sort of like coffee, I think made of transp. oxide red (which I just learned about from Terry Miura's work), burnt umber and black, with ocher in the lighter parts. Wasn't exactly keeping track though, so I'll have to mix it again.

Learning is hard; learning anything - painting, a foreign language - is a neverending process. I can picture it as like going on a long religious pilgrimage, of the kind where you go on your knees, or crawling backwards perhaps. You don't mind the undertaking so far because your heart is in it, but there comes a point when you are resting at a high place and you see for the first time the small town that is your destination. You glimpse in the distance its old towers and steeples and even faintly hear the bell ring in its main square. Your heart is glad and you wonder how long, before you've crossed those hills and valleys still lying in your way. Or maybe what you see is only the next village on the path, as the next local person you greet may surely tell you. And as you rest, other pilgrims slowly and tiredly make their way past you, some younger, some older, some of whom must have traveled farther distances or have even made the trip before, and you marvel at the strength of each one. Yet you are all the same despite your different experiences, as you remember that it's the journey that is meaningful.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Illustration Friday: "Visitors"

8/25: Visitors, oil on paper, approx. 3.5x5 in.

Here's a corny little piece, my first time with an Illustration Friday topic. It was done on a printout of a sketch, coated with acrylic medium. So, I was thinking, what about when the first two little pigs show up at the third pig's house? Corny. And it disturbs me a little somehow.