“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

October 23, 2017

Wine & Pears One, Oct 7, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"
Wine & Pears One, Oct 7, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″
Wine & Pears Two, Oct 21, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"
Wine & Pears Two, Oct 21, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″


I’ve decided to play around a little with a series of paintings of the same still life approached with different styles. I have two completed and I’m not sure how many I will paint in total – it will depend mainly on my attention span. The first painting was done using the basic technique introduced in the Craftsy course that I completed: Paint & Palette Essentials. I didn’t incorporate all of the ideas from the course, but I did work quite a few in. Overall I’m pleased with the results in both paintings.



“To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.” – E.M. Forster

August 28, 2017

Couple of Pears, Aug 12, 2017, Oil on Panel, 8" X 8"
Couple of Pears, Aug 12, 2017, Oil on Panel, 8″ X 8″
Couple of Apples, Aug 19, 2017, Oil on Panel, 10" X 8"
Couple of Apples, Aug 19, 2017, Oil on Panel, 10″ X 8″


The last painting from my July Painting Challenge inspired me to paint the same painting a couple more times. I thought I may do a series of these incorporating variations, but after the third one I think I need a break. At least I have a set of three now.

“Color is the place where our brain meets the universe.” – Paul Cezanne

August 14, 2017

July Painting Challenge – Conclusions and Notes

Panel Preparation
  • Started with 20 Exhibition Wood Cradled Panels from Opus – 15 were 8″ X 10″ slim panels (3/4″ deep) and 5 were 8″ X 8″ deep panels (1.5″ deep)
  • 3 coats of gesso applied to each panel with a light sanding between coats
  • 6 panels were covered with found paper and another 3 coats of clear gesso with a light sanding between coats
  • 9 panels were gessoed in black, grey or Venetian Red gesso
  • 3 panels were covered with gesso tinted with acrylic paint – light blue and yellow
  • The edges of all of the panels were gessoed black and I covered them with green painter’s tape while I was painting
Daily Process
  • Each day I started with about a half hour of drawing, often of the same subject that I would then paint. I found this very helpful to get a feel for the values of the subject matter with graphite or charcoal prior to taking on the paint.
  • I began most of the paintings with a very quick charcoal sketch directly on the panel.
  • I spent between one hour and an hour and a half painting each panel.
  • I painted with two spot lights – one directed to my subject matter and one to my easel and kept the blinds closed in order to control the light.
Random Notes
  • I played a lot with outlines which flatten the image, but then adding volume into the objects themselves with gradated values.
  • Trying to keep the edges sharp was tedious with oil paint and my lines became very inconsistent as a result, which annoyed me. Distinct outlines also created issues regarding shadows and light reflected off the edges of objects and how to portray that in a simplified manner.
  • On Day Fourteen, I decided to soften all of my edges – with a favourable outcome.
  • I should have known better and not cut the a lemon off on two sides on Day Seven. There was no way I was going to be able to make that lemon 3 dimensional after that. And I completely forgot to add the shadow under the bowl.
  • I really need to avoid outlining round objects until I learn to draw a better circle. This was a problem in Day Seven and again on Day Thirteen.
  • My lights were quite bright and the room fairly dark, which sometimes resulted in a fairly dark painting, as in Day Nine.
  • On Day Twelve I roughed in a few colours onto the pears and was about to start blending them in and then decided I liked it how it was and I just stopped.
  • Prussian blue is one of my favourite colours and it turned up in eight of the paintings and the combination of Prussian blue and burnt umber appeared in six of them.
  • The last 3 days I used all of the same colours.
 The biggest gain I achieved from this project was developing an increased ease at just jumping in and starting and not thinking about how it’s all going to turn out – and that has made it well worth the effort.

Day Fourteen

This is the last painting of my Summer 2017 Painting Challenge –  I’ve decided 14 days is enough. I’ve spent about 20 hours on the project and as much as I’ve enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to a few days away from my easel. 

Day Thirteen

I had’t intended for this to turn out so abstract – those are actually plates, not just big circles – not that it matters. 

Day Ten

I needed a change, so I played with oil sticks today and came up with these ghost lemons. With only 5 colours to choose from (including a very pale yellow), I might have considered a different subject – but I didn’t.