This is Tanner. He lives on the west coast with his buddy Coal. I have been wanting to paint a pair of Yin and Yang panels of the these little guys since last year. I hope to have something of Coal tomorrow if all goes well. Stay tuned.
This piece is more illustrative than some of my older animal paintings. It has the feeling of a plate in a children's book. Not that I am unhappy with it. Quite the contrary. In this day and age of computers and image manipulation, it is pleasant to see the hand of the artist, is it not?
You should be aware by now that my "daily paintings" often serve as sketches for larger works. By their very nature, these small paintings allow for the exploration of multiple compositions from various angles without spending days and weeks on a large polished painting only to find that it could have been improved if only I had done this or that. The fact that these little panels hold together as finished works of art is a side benefit of their creation. A case in point is the painting above. An earlier version saw the standing beagle with his hand on the huntmaster's arm. I liked that very much but I might want to introduce a few more of his canine cohorts at the bottom of the larger finished painting. We shall see.
As promised, I am back at the easel and at the keyboard. Today's painting is a study of a horse head. I may have mentioned that I am starting an equestrian series and am familiarizing myself with horse anatomy. I have great respect for horses, although I have very very little experience in the saddle. I prefer to have 76 horses under the saddle in the form of my Harley-Davidson. I used a semi dry brush technique on this piece. It almost has an egg tempura effect.
To quote Britney Spears - "Oops, I did it again." That is just so typically me, I have neglected posting work and musings on my blog. I actually have been painting and the new work often finds itself on my Facebook page or www.dailypainters.com. Even when I have posted here, it was just a quick entry of a painting, with little more than title, size and date. Sorry to the few followers who are still with me. I am going to make a concerted effort to be current and informative. Fingers crossed!
This is Soph. He (yes, he) belongs to some friends of mine. When they found and adopted him, they had named him Sophie, with the assumption that he was a she. They learned otherwise at his first visit to the vet but his name stuck, hence "Soph." It was their choice.
I really had fun painting this piece. The tooth of these Ampersand panels allows for some great effects. I doubt that I could have gotten the same scratched weathered wood effect on canvas. It was a bright sunny day in Healdsburg, with a few puffy clouds as evidenced in the base of the wine glass.
The meaning of mandala comes from Sanskrit
meaning "circle." Even though it may be dominated by squares or
triangles, a mandala has a concentric structure. Mandalas offer balancing
visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony. The meanings
of individual mandalas is usually different and unique
to each mandala. The goal of the mandala is to serve as a tool on our spiritual
journey as it symbolizes cosmic and psychic order.
The design of the mandala is to be visually appealing so as
to absorb the mind in such a way that chattering thoughts cease, and a more
philosophic or spiritual essence envelopes the observer which in turn leads to
higher consciousness or awareness. In short, a mandala can be seen as a
hypnotic, letting the creative hemisphere of our mind run a little more free
while our analytical mind takes a little nap.
Each observer has different experiences. However,
the overall consensus is that meditating with the mandala leaves the observer
relaxed, and he/she comes away with a resolution or clarity concerning the intention that was set before the
Another form of mandala meditation is to make or
color a mandala of your own. Painting, coloring or drawing mandalas allows for
our creative brain to come out and play, leading to an altered state where we
can perform constructive healing, and gain incredible insight into ourselves
and our lives.
Once we have set our intention, we begin to focus on the mandala. Let your eyes take in
the beauty of the designs, allowing your mind to wander
as it will. If your mind begins to chatter (i.e., I should do laundry, have to
get milk, need to finish that report for work), simply bring your attention
back to the beauty of the mandala. Get inside the mandala, simply fall into it,
swim in it, let it absorb all of your attention. As you fall into the mandala,
you will begin to feel lighter, and intuitive thoughts may arise. Relax and
float with the thoughts and feeling that come to you. If you begin to feel
lost, uncomfortable or if you get the "chatter" again, simply focus
your attention back on the mandala."
Of course, for me staring at a plate of oysters also makes me hungry.
Bikers have an expression - "Chrome won't get you home." That may be so but it is fun to paint. Not that this is a tricked out trailer queen. This lowly plumbing fixture adorned the urinal at the now defunct Dogwood Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland. Some wag noted recently that I could paint anything, kind of the visual equivalent of a singer being able to sing the phone book. High praise indeed. When I'm on, I do feel that way.
I may go back into this piece. "Daily painting" doesn't allow for glazing techniques, as the idea is to lay it down in a few hours. I wanted to capture the warm setting sun on these critters. The goat worked out fairly well but I need to glaze some shadows into the rooster since the sun was shining through his comb and a more distinct shadow falling onto his feathers. I'll post the glazed piece here in a week or so. Stay tuned.
pretty bi-valves were had last year in Healdsburg California at the
Passport Wine Festival. Unfortunately I cannot recall their
appellation and provenance. I should have named this painting "Stars in
the Heaven" as that is what they remind me of. Their elegant ripples
and points and the glistening ice are as varied and as vast as the
This painting has a lot of presence for its diminutive size. I was happy with the movement of the Percheron cantoring around the ring, his mane blowing in the breeze. One can almost feel his large hooves kicking up dirt and gravel. I had forgotten just how challenging painting a portrait the size of a dime can be. I have new found respect for Jean-Léon Gérôme.
This little guy is the resident greeter at a restaurant in the Hampden area of Baltimore. His name is Lucky Dog. I won't name the restaurant because, unlike Paris and other European cities where dogs are welcomed, our health department is not be thrilled with such four footed maître d's. I have been in more than one dive bar in town that could use a resident cat to keep the mouse population at bay.
I've been told by some of my followers that they have had issues with the e-mail notifications crashing. I think the problem may have been the large files I have hitherto been posting. I have gone to a 72 dpi file size which I hope will correct the problem and also make it harder for the Chinese to steal my work. Sorry about that.
This little nude is quite different from the brushed out, tightened down paintings that I am used to doing. It was all I could do to not blend out the strokes and soften her up. Old habits die hard and I am fighting against years of photo-realism. I am not unhappy with the results. Fear not! A zebra can't change his stripes. Doing these quick oil sketches will hopefully keep my larger work fresh and lively.
Fellow blogger, Alice Thompson, recently opined the demise of the art blog and the exodus to other social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Is it any wonder? We artists want, nay need, constant ego stroking and approval to keep the creative fires burning. Sure, there is a place for comments on a blog but seldom do people take the time to make them. Days or weeks may go by without a single remark. It is much easier to hit the "like" button on Facebook. Today's artists judge the success of a painting by how many "likes" they get. I must admit that it is nice to get immediate approval of one's work. Then there is the wider audience that popular social media enjoys. Here on my blog I have 163 "followers." On Facebook I have many times that and with other people "sharing" my work it goes on from there to infinity and beyond. I still use my "Daily Painters" site to reach an even broader target audience for my small works. Thousands come to that site daily to look for little gems. I personally think there is room for both blogging and other social media. In the old days an artist would spend weeks or months in the studio preparing for a gallery show. If you were lucky, two hundred or so would come to the opening and a few more would amble through during the run of the exhibition. Thousands and thousands of people from all over the globe see my work now and I have paintings in Greece, Germany, France, England and many other countries. Why, there are workshops in China stealing my work and selling copies at this very moment...but that tale is for another day.
This is one of my studio cats - Ella. She came in as a feral kitten 6 years ago and has made the jump to indoor life quite well. She is top cat and keeps the other three - her mother, sister and a recent addition from the shelter, in line with a hiss and a firm paw.
This is new twist on an old theme. I really enjoyed painting the warm tones of this oyster painting. The slightly briny oysters were shucked at a friend's party over the weekend. They were staged on a venerable aluminum cookie sheet, the brushed surface of which picked up and diffused the warm light of the kitchen in a delightful way. The yellow and pink tones of the shell and flesh of the oyster played well against such a background.
A visitor to the studio yesterday asked me if I liked painting horses. I told him that I did but that I had a lot to learn about equestrian body language and other idiosyncrasies. A case it point - Joy, the little brown mare here, does not have her ears pricked forward. Something which I did not pick up on. I made a similar mistake a few years back when I painted my first llama. His ears were way back, which signifies agitation. I suppose I should be glad he didn't spit at me when I was in the field with him. I'll have to have a consultant to guide me with the hunt paintings I plan to do this Spring. Tally Ho!
What is it about oysters that makes them so much fun to paint? Could it be that each one is as different as a snow flake? Or that the flesh is so sensuous. Their varied shapes and sizes never fails to excite me, whether they be plump or slender, colorfully flamboyant or mono-chromatically plain, large or small. Oh, and they are tasty little creatures too!
This is a colorful one. I personally don't nap my oysters with cocktail sauce or douse them in mignonnette, preferring to enjoy the lovely brine and taste of the sea. To each his own. I do savor the dash of color the red cup of cocktail sauce brings to this painting however.
I attended the blessing of the hounds this past Thanksgiving, across from St John's Episcopal church in Glyndon, Maryland. It was a crisp morning with a fresh thin blanket of snow covering the field. The foxhounds were frisky and anxious to be off. I fancy this little guy was asking the hunt master "Is it time to go?"
Last year was a particularly sad one with regard to our furry companions. Aside from me losing my beloved JJ, many of my friends saw the demise of little loved ones.
Thor, the world traveling Schnauzer, left us late last year. He had been to Germany, San Juan, New York City and numerous other far away destinations in the company of his opera singing "parents." Farewell, mighty Thor.
I have been sitting on this reference of model Amy since before the turn of the last century. I laid it in and started to work on it and I felt that I just couldn't go on. The image is so wonderfully late nineteenth century, so Bouguereau, that I didn't think I could do it justice at the time. Armed with the Zorn palette. I think I may be able to finish it now. The little sketch above is my dipping a toe in the water. It reminded me of the scene in H.G. Wells The Time Machine when George shows his friends the model of his invention:
To paraphrase Professor Higgins - "By George, I think he's got it!" I have finally figured out this daily painting thing. Six new works in six days! The daily paintings are meant, for me at least, to be a sort of warm-up exercise to start the day. For the longest time I have treated them as more like small jewels than sketches, not that there is anything wrong with that. The hours involved in some of the small but very complex works of the past didn't make fiscal sense and I lost my way. This Harley painting is a case in point:
While the painting is lovely, I got very little for it, considering the hours spent on it. This is one of those paintings that I wish I had kept for myself. I have at last discovered that the joy of creation is in letting the paint speak for itself. "That looks like a photograph." is not necessarily a good thing in this day and age of computers and Photoshop. I want people to say - "That looks like a painting"
I am trying to touch all the bases while my creative juices are flowing freely so I have been maneuvering from one genre to the next - oysters, dogs and cats and people, to keep it fresh and exciting. It has been a while since I pushed flesh around and this little sketch allowed me to play with the limited "Zorn" palette again. Laid down in about an hour, it was refreshing to paint something that was not too tedious. It may not be the "Girl with the Pearl" but it was fun.
This is Sherwood. I met him in Healdsburg CA last year. He was really sweet and loved the water of my friend's pool. We were reacquainted last week in Palm Springs and I was reminded of this reference. I wanted to try my hand at wet fur. The painting is not this orange/red/yellow. I seem to have lost my touch at white balancing.
Day three of being back at the easel and the paint still feels good coming off the brush. The key to daily painting is to not stop (duh). I have often and often, on these pages and in my personal journals, bemoaned the dreaded artist's block and the cold start. My goal this year is to not let that happen. I am armed with many, many images stored away, so my quiver is full of arrows. Hopefully most of them will hit the mark.
This oyster shooter was from an oyster bar in Portland Maine. I tried not to get too fussy with the wood-grain. I liked the way the sun played on it through the glass. The piece has a lot of texture and I scratched and applied the highlights in the glass with the back of a brush.
Sadly today's painting didn't photograph well. The subtle browns and greens went orange for some reason. Oh well. I may pick at this in the north light of the studio in the morning. Day two and I am still on track. Woo hoo!
2015? Wow, what happened to 2014? ...and 2013, and 12, 11, 10, heck, the whole new millennium? My time on this ball grows short and I am sensing that it is time to start padding my oeuvre before it's too late. So my New Year's resolution is to try and paint or draw something every day and to keep up with this blog. I'm sorry that I have let you down over the past few years. I know what you must be thinking - "Hey, it's already the 10th. What's up with that!" Okay, I was in Palm Springs enjoying the warm weather. Can you blame me? It is 11˚ here in Maryland tonight. Brrrr! However, I'm back now and ready to push some paint! Here's to a productive New Year!