Painting from life

My life model,

My life model, happily staying in one place and not moving.

With the sun streaming in on the floor next to my easel, my dog (a.k.a. my studio assistant) is taking a nap. I also look at her as my life model. Except for her collar she is a nude model if a bit hairier than most. I think it is better to paint something from real life.  A photo is fine but most of the values and colors get washed out or pushed into a rather narrow spectrum.

I snapped a photo of my model just in case a cat or coyote walked by outside and she felt the need to spring awake and move from her position. She managed to stay asleep long enough (35 minutes) for me to get the values and colors in as well as her position. Then she moved and got up. I was able to keep painting using the rug and sofa side as is. They don’t move on their own so all I had to deal with was the changing light.

Painting from life lets me see the nuances that normally don’t come through in a photo. I had to wait to the next day to finish this painting as I did loose the light in the room I was in painting because we are very near the winter Solstice.

I think the painting turned out well.

My Studio Assistant, Still Life Oil, 9" x 12"

My Studio Assistant, Still Life Oil, 9″ x 12″


Working on getting it down….

Cedar painting  in the snow in Cerrillos

Cedar painting in the snow in Cerrillos

I’m working on painting where ever I go. I went camping at Palo Duro canyon in texas. Not my favorite spot but I did attempt to paint there. I am also in Cerrillos, New Mexico visiting for a while and have been painting here a lot.

I am resolved to paint cholla cacti and have them look alright. The paintings have been turning out pretty lousy. I was really disappointed about that. But I’ve been keeping at it and finally I’ve had a break through. Today I did a cholla cactus painting that I don’t want to set on fire in the wood stove. Practice makes perfect, or at least tolerable. So I plan to work at it until I am really comfortable painting those spiny plants.

Early Morning Cholla

Early Morning Cholla, Oil, 9″ x12″, plein air

Painting in Cerrillos, NM

Raven oil

Raven, oil, 5″ x 7″

I am spending a bit of time in Cerrillos, NM. I have been painting inside the house because its been cloudy, windy and raining. There are a few big dead cottonwood trees in the yard alongside the Galisteo River where the ravens hang out.  The other day the ravens were fluffed up as it was very cold. That didn’t stop them from being bossy and cawing to let us know who was in charge. I love they way they act and the way their shapes are so streamlined. I had to paint one of those birds! Its amazing they didn’t blow away in that strong winds and rain.

And then the snow started. So I waited until the snow stopped and went outside to paint.

Cedar painting outside the house.

Cedar painting outside the house.

Its nice to be in the sunshine, even it its a bit cold. I have my winter outer wear on and have my assistants, my dog Tova, and the neighbor’s big dog, Kernel.  All is good.