Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rachel and William

I have been tweaking my oil painting lately in the quest to paint good portraits.

I finished this painting last week.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Day 38: Yellow Creek

I just got back from painting down by the creek. 

I told myself, "David, if you don't do a good painting - a seriously good painting - today, you're going to have to kill yourself by eating that tube of cadmium yellow."

This is called "motivation." And it worked.


12 x 20". Oil on scrap wood panel.

As I finished, the rain began to fall again. The monsoons have tinted the creek with mud and I was fortunate to get a chance to paint during a gap in the rainfall.

More little paintings

I have continued painting every day, with the exception of one day where I completely ran out of time to paint. To make up for it, I painted THREE little paintings the next day.

Some are little plein air canvases, some are little still life pieces. I attempted a bigger plein air painting of some gnraled felled trees but it's not done yet. Good so far but I need to solve some problems.

Basically, I've just been sketching with paint and trying to find my favorite palette.


Nothing I'm really proud of this week. Just practice.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Day 32: Local Watermelon

I bought a pair of little watermelons from a local farmer yesterday and cut one of them up for breakfast this morning. I liked the way the inside looked... so I set up a little watermelon still life and painted 'em.





I have to tell a further story.

My friend Mike showed up yesterday morning with two rough-sawn mahogany boards, then proceeded to cut them up into "canvases" for me. The wood is so beautiful (and normally expensive!) I almost hate to paint on it, but I must paint.

I can't believe he carried those boards down the mountain from the sawmill, just so I could have more painting surfaces. Great guy.

Day 31: Sunset Clouds over the Mountains

Why stop? I think I'll just keep painting daily. It's good for me.


Like the previous two paintings, this one was done with a limited palette of just yellow, red, blue and white.

Day 30 (2): Rachel Finishes #NaNoWriMo

After finishing my last painting in the 30-day challenge, I watched the children so Rachel could work on the last 7,000 words of the novel she was writing for National Novel Writing Month.

She had been at it all day long, and as she was in the final stretch, I memorialized the moment on a little 5 x 7 panel.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 30: "The Revelation"

I made it! 30 days of painting daily!

Here's my LAST painting in the series:

This is a tiny one - maybe 6" x 6". I am happy with the looseness and composition. I used a viewfinder which helped quite a bit, and added some of the porcelain shards we discovered in the creek yesterday.  This is the now-baked head of the same fish I painted two days ago. Still worth painting!

Thank you all for joining me. I have learned quite a bit. Let me run through the revelations that hit me over this 30 days.

1. Some days you just feel it

I went into some paintings just knowing they were going to work - and they usually did

2. Bristle brushes work better for me than soft nylon ones do

I like the way they push the paint around. Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any bristle brushes until day 28, when my wife brought me some from the states. They are so much better.

3. Sketching helps

Sketching out locations with a pencil or brush to get the right placement of objects helps a lot. I used to just attack the canvas without much planning - now I've discovered that often leads to blah compositions and awkward moments.

4. You really only need a few colors

Today's painting had four in it. Red, yellow, blue and white.

5. Plein air painting is much tougher than still life

Rain, climbing mountains, fast shifts in the light, trouble with atmospheric perspective... I need to get out with my easel more. This has been a terribly rainy month with rain most days - the rainiest yet - and so I didn't get nearly as much outdoor time as I had hoped. Maybe in the dry season! I'm committed to plein air painting and I need to do a lot more, but I've also decided that I can tell stories with still life, which is a new thing for me.

6. Daily painting has improved me

The last painting I did was much easier than the first. Each day I learned something new or built on a previous discovery. I need to keep doing this for a year!

Maybe I'll do just that.