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Oil Sketches

Going even smaller than a study, I have some Arches oil paper and I tried making very small (less than 4″ paintings on it to test colors or techniques.

I think the winter scene needs a bit more of a focal point. The kelp & fish: I brushed my hand over it while it was wet and blurred the lower left corner. Violet tree: I like it. I’m not sure if I’ll have trouble adding detail if I make it bigger, but probably not. Lower right: not happy with this at all, but that’s why it’s a sketchbook.

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Still Painting

I’ve been spending a lot of time doing quick sketches and practicing monsters. Monday I’m going to swoop through the thrift store to look for oil paintings that look like they need to have monsters added to them, failing that I’ll look for inexpensive frames to use for other paintings. These are all very small. they still take me longer than just one day, but I’m working on it.

Maribel – the Fjord Horse. 6×6 oil on board
Glass cup. 6×6 oil on board
value study: for a future oil painting
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More attempts at ‘daily painting’ although this took me more than 1 day. I tried it because I think of flowers as being very difficult and I guess I wasn’t wrong, this gave me some trouble.

8×10 oil on panel

I got my brother in law to spend a couple hours cutting down new panels into tiny sizes and I hope this will encourage me to paint more often without worrying so much about ‘what if I botch it?’. Wish me luck.

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Sketching summer of 2022

I have it in mind that I want to oil paint, that that is my primary medium and that I don’t want to get too invested in watercolor or acrylic because I should focus on one thing at a time. I’ve also realized that I have some trouble with value and composition and I should probably work out those problems in sketches BEFORE I start investing weeks to months of time working on an oil painting. As a result I started doing a lot in my sketchbook. Then I realized that sometimes I need to add color to the sketches to see how the colors will work. This is how I learned that I’m not really a fan of pencil because I don’t feel like I can get a rich enough color without spending too much time on it and I don’t like graphite pencil because it smudges too easily.

Result: I’ve started adding watercolor to my ink sketches to the point where I seem to be making tiny watercolor paintings now. What I like about them is that because I still consider them ‘sketches’ or ‘studies’ I don’t get too hung up about them having flaws. I also don’t really consider them ‘paintings’ in my own head because that would imply that I was studying watercolor technique, which I haven’t really done yet but it may happen by accident. In any case, these feel low stress and I don’t mind sharing them even when they have flaws or are unfinished.

This first one of these is of Ian-from-Canada’s house and we sent it to him along with a gift package as a ‘thank you’ for his hospitality.

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I haven’t been painting as much as I planned but I’ve started sketching again so hopefully I’ll start turning those into paintings again soon. I have two new ones, the first is a small color study in oil of Cutthroat Pass and the second is a somewhat larger (but still small) painting of some hay and a house we saw in France.

Cutthroat Pass Blueberries
8×10 oil on panel
11×14 oil on panel
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Early 2021

So – what am I working on now? I was joking that I’m no longer making art, I’m just looking at it. But it’s probably more accurate to say that I’m not finishing any art.

I’ve got 3 oil paintings in various stages of done-ness, one of which I had previously put away for over a year and now I’m trying to salvage it. One is a bottle painting where I decided i was unhappy with the composition so I may not finish it. Third is another portrait of my dog, because everyone loves my dog.

Other than that – I’ve just been making tiny sketches to see if I like the layout – to avoid the problem of not liking a composition once I’m half way through. I think the rock in the forest and the sketch of Chain Lakes have potential. The other looked better in my head. The chameleon was just for fun and because I wanted to see if my multimedia paper would take watercolor (it does). The glass of water was a practice study. And the portrait is about half done, I’m letting it sit a few days to see if the proportions still look right when I’ve been away from it.

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Last of 2020

There’s no theme here, but I wanted to get in the last few things I did at the tail end of 2020. Two of my previous pastel frogs are promised to family members and I wanted to have one to keep for myself. The still life is the latest in what’s turning into a series of light shining through glass bottles. For a while in the middle I regretted my decision to paint green light shining on green apples, but I think it turned out in the end.

Are those words?
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Fall colors

The Pacific Northwest doesn’t get the fall fireworks show that the East can get, but we do mountains much better and also, there are larches. I had never seen them before, but these are deciduous conifers and if you time it right, you can see them in full, bright yellow color up in the mountains.
These are all from Cutthroat and Maple Pass in the North Cascades. The yellow trees are larches, the bright red bushes are huckleberries and the haze is the remnant of wildfire smoke.