Post Surgery Painting

Earlier this year I had a shoulder surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon as well as my rotator cuff. Ever since mid-January, I’ve been unable to do much in the studio. To be honest, I’ve been unable to do much of anything for a couple months after surgery. After recuperating and starting physical therapy, I’ve been able to do a lot more. I finally got into the studio this week and was able to do a little oil painting.

Value Study of Mt Lamborn

This is a monochromatic value study of Mt Lamborn, near my house.

For my first exercise back into things, I did a small value painting (also called monochromatic painting). I thought it was a good idea to revisit the things I’ve learned to get my muscle memory to come back. I can’t say it was easy because it was difficult to hold the brush and also hold my arm up for any length of time. I had a nerve block in my neck to help with pain control and one of the side effects is some nerve damage. Which can be overcome as the nerves are busy re-routing themselves. Every day I feel a bit more control is returning to my fingers and hand. My wrist still feels like I sprained it similar to when you slip and fall ice skating. My arm muscles are protesting and I know I still am not supposed to use them very much.

Next week I am going to the Plein Air Magazine’s Plein Air Convention in Tuscon with my artist friend, Susan McKelvy. I feel strong enough to participate in several days of plein air painting and workshops with some of the leading painters around. I am just not sure my skills are back up to par with where they were before my surgery. I’ll report back……


Are Drawing & Painting Related?

Are drawing and painting related? What does drawing have to do with painting? After all one is in color and one is not, right? And painting is using a brush and not something pointy, right?

My answers are: Yes, Everything, wrong and wrong.

Drawing has everything to do with painting. It helps artists work out the shapes, sizes and values of the color of paint we daub on canvas, paper or where ever we paint. Using black and white helps define and commit to the values of our composition as well as lay it out in a pleasing manner. Artists can use lines the same way we use brush strokes.

I recently got some gray markers for sketching in values in a drawing before I started painting. I took them to the life drawing sessions that meet weekly at the local art center and planned to try them out. They are great! I really enjoyed working with them.


Next I used them to do a value drawing of a little study I wanted to do.IMG_0009

Here is the photo I used:


I think it really helped me to see the shapes of the horse, trees and ground and the values I wanted to use. I also used it to set up my composition.

Here is the little 6″ x 6″ oil painting so far:


Its part of a few I plan to do as studies for a larger composition. I like it so far and think its working well for me.

Drawing and painting are related the same way as toast and jam or cornbread and beans! One without the other is just plain lonely.