SM Out of the Darkness 4

Finally I feel better about this painting – Out of the Darkness 4

SM Out of the Darkness 4
Out of the Darkness 4

It has been quite a stretch for me. Learning to just take my time is not an easy lesson for me.

It’s likely a flaw in my personality that I’ve worked to hide for my entire adult life! Being able to do things quickly (and kind of well enough) has been a trademark of mine.

But this series of painting exercises tells me that I can really do better when I slow down. It still is so foreign and I’m sure to forget the lesson~!

SM Out of Darkness 3

Be Willing to Keep Working

I am an impatient painter. I want to do mine alla prima (all at once). I am learning that sometimes that is good, and sometimes it is not.

Now I am about to make corrections to a paintingI did earlier and just am not happy with. So here goes.

img 0839
Out of the Darkness

This is the study I did earlier this year.

SM Out of the Darkness 2
Out of the Darkness 2

I’ve been spending some extra time trying to make it better. IOu started with the apple. After day 1 the halftone shadow on the apple is still too abrupt. I’ll work on it a bit more.

SM Out of Darkness 3
Out of Darkness 3

Day 2 has the apple looking OK. Next I moved to work on the drapery. It’s different but no where near right!

That led me to seeing some areas to alter in the brass pot.

  1. the shadow is way too dark, it obscures the shape, so it’s hard to even see that it’s a pot!
  2. the surface doesn’t show enough reflections. It’s hard to see it a metal.
SM Out of Darkness 4
Out of the Darkness 4

OK. It’s starting to come together. I like the pot and the branch. The aple is better now that it’s more red throughout.

The drapery has been a problem. It’s too wet to make pure white. Perhaps then the reflection will read right as reflects in the metal.

I’ll let it dry once more and work on it more in a while.

SM Value Cylinder 1

Value Study in Classical Painting

This week’s Threads skills workshop inspired me to work a bit more on value to paint form. I laid out my palette with a value scale, in this case of 7 values from white to black. The sphere and cylinder can be convincingly portrayed using these values.

Once I became enthralled with classical drawing and learning just a bit from the Brague drawings, I was determined to look into other lessons to gain by studying some classical painting technique.

Much of the traditional ways artists were trained was nearly lost by the mid 20th century as Expressionism and Abstraction led the way in art schools. Since the 1990s smaller art academies have been resurrecting some of the older methods. Ateliers dedicated to teaching the classical teaching modes have been springing up around the globe.

One is headed by Juliette Aristides, the Aristides Classical Atelier at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle Washington. She has also published two volumes: Lessons in Classical Drawing and Lessons in Classical Painting.

In order to produce realistic art on a two dimensional canvas, one must find a way to show the third dimension. Accurately depicting the way light plays across the form is the way to accomplish this feat.


SM Pauls screen

2019 Studying with Paul Foxton

Realism and Color

Once I began to feel a bit of confidence it was time to move on to really study with someone who knows the process of making fine realistic still life paintings.

Paul Foxton is just such a person. He’s also a wonderfully helpful teacher. He has a number of classes available. Joining them has been very helpful.

I began with his color course and graduated to Threads where I still study.

SM Pauls screen



Composition: Have a Concept for your Painting

Know where you’re going at the beginning of the painting

My favorite artist, David A. Leffel expressed this as the idea of “Concept”.

  • Is your painting about Light, chiaroscuro. Understand the interplay of dark/light.
  • Is your painting about Movement. Understand placement of the still life objects in your setup. Understand how light moves through the setup.
  • Will your painting have “drama”? How will you create this drama?

That all sounds good, but how do we get there at all?

Kelli Folsom has been helping me to learn to be able to answer some of these questions.Last year I spent several months as a subscriber to monthly Vital Art Sessions. She is a very dedicated and inspiring teacher.

Even after I was no longer able to participate in that program, I periodically receive an email from her. Today I learned that she was sharing her new video. Today’s was exploring ways to setup/layout your paintings. .

She is glad for me to share it on this site.

I hope you get a lot of new information for it, too.


Please go here for more information on Kelli’s VAS subscription program: https://kellifolsom.com/page/13774/vitalart– sessions-monthly-video-subscription

SM Daisy Daisy

Daisy, Daisy

Give me your answer, do

No answer yet, but I certainly enjoyed picking these blossoms froma patch in my garden. My perennial garden is filled with blossoms and I wanted to catch them before they wilted in our 90 degree heat today.

Then they begged to be painted so I obliged.

SM Daisy Daisy

Ikebana 1

Ikebana Arrangement 1

SM Foulkeways 1
Ikebana Arrangement 1

Fresh flowers are one of the great joys of life at the retirement center where I live. Painting them is a joy for me, too!

Years ago a former resident left an endowment sufficient to allow for weekly visits to a local wholesaler to pick up fresh flowers. Resident members of the Flower Committee then meet each Tuesday and Friday. They create the most wonderful arrangements which are then placed in various location around the community.

Remember this sort of gift of your treasure when you are arranging your own legacy donations. Pay it Forward and the saying goes!

SM Two Pears after Brague

Post Bargue

I’m back to painting now that I’ve done several Bargue drawing studies. Let me know if you can see any change.

SM Two Pears after Brague

This is with adding a single glaze layer of olive green and alizarin. To get more depth of color I may add more layers later.

The Old Masters used this technique. It takes quite awhile since drying between laters is required. Since I’m impatient I prefer the alla prima style.

SM Hand 1

Bargue Hands

SM Hand 1
Hand 1
SM Hand 2
Hand 2

So now I’m beginning to do the Bargue book studies from the beginning. These are said to be the easiest and then progress ever more difficult.

Oh, my! I’m not so sure. The proportions appear to be off. My drawings are surely not coming close to truly matching the originals.

Hand 3 looks more like it comes from a gorilla! I’ll have to try once more another day later.

Hand 3
Hand 3