Little Canvas, Big Brush

I attended a second class this week and we painted on small canvases with very big brushes.  I did this same exercise in the spring and combined it with the Rose Challenge from the DPW website.  This was my first effort at a rose, here it is:


My style has tended to be focused on single flowers or vegetables.  I’ve been working on compositions with more detail, so for this week’s exercise, I selected a ballerina next to a wooden chair.  I pulled out a size 8 brush, then a 10, but my teacher handed me an 11 filbert.  The point of this exercise is to improve your brush strokes, twisting and turning your brush to get the details.  Here is my effort:IMG_5799

The outcome is good, but I’m still holding my brush tight and close in, especially for this painting.  I should try this again holding the brush further back and working on control.  I’ll keep you posted.

As an update to the studio blog…My husband has mentioned adding on a studio a few times, as my work was taking part of the kitchen, part of the laundry room and half of a spare bedroom.  He mentioned this to my teacher, she said, “do you use your dining room?”  And we don’t, except for our Holiday party and a few meals with family, but usually, we are entertaining outside.  A few weeks later, I dismantled the dining room.  Here are some photos.

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I’ve created a place to set up a still life on the cart with a bulletin board to hang a backdrop.  Our dining table is a gate leg style, I folded one end and placed it in the corner as my “office”.  It will be easy to set up again for our next party.  The table in the center is an old folding table that I’m using for framing projects and more.  The metal shelves are organized to hold paintings in different stages:  ready to photograph and varnish, ready to package and packaging supplies, ready to sell and sold plus shipping materials.  I’m enjoying my new space.  I need to work on my lighting, if anyone has suggestions, I would love to learn more.


Dallas Craft Guild Art Show

11221821_1078432775508030_2709064030499716962_nI’m honored to have been selected as one of the Craft Guild’s Emerging Artists.  If you are in the Dallas area, please drop by and view all of the artists’ exhibits.  I will have a wide selection of framed and unframed paintings available for purchase.  30% of the proceeds go to help support this great organization.

Do an Exercise, Count Your Strokes

Our class exercise this week was to do a minimal stroke painting.  We selected a photo to paint, projected the least number of strokes we could paint that photo. I can’t say mine came out too great….  here it is:  FullSizeRender

I projected 25 strokes, I did this by counting the dark side, light side, shadows, stems and white spaces.  I didn’t leave myself enough strokes to better define the lights and darks, or add highlights.  5 more strokes would probably have solved these issues.

We did this exercise in the spring, I projected 50 strokes and finished in 52.  The little black streak was one of those “happy” mistakes.  But can you tell those are lemons??


Oh well, the point of this exercise it to learn to load the brush with paint instead of picking at it over and over.  Do you sometimes feel you are taking off as much paint as you put on?  Loading the brush helps this problem.

I needed to redeem myself after the awful apples.  I did this quick and loose version.  Ahhh, better.  IMG_5798

Take a photo and keep on paintin’

As a daily painter, I sometimes want to be “done” with a painting and move on to my next project, be it another canvas or my to do list. I usually take a photo when I think I’m done, often to send to others for their comments. Invariably, when I look at the photo, I see an error that needs correcting, sometimes it’s a shape, the eyes of an animal are not at the right angle or I missed a shadow. I’m trying to make a habit of taking the photo when I think I’m done, studying the photo and making corrections. I find I’m taking 4-6 photos before I feel I’ve made the real corrections. At this point, I have to learn to Stop! or I will just pester the painting beyond what is really needed. Here are some examples of photos and corrections from a painting I completed last week.

Photo 1, Pumpkin Bullseye, #1 The first thing I see is a misshapen pumpkin on the bottom right, while the photo is perfectly round. I also felt the pumpkin was “streaky”, the highlights weren’t really highlights, but lighter color painted in. The stem in the photo had multiple colors, this appeared to be only a combo of 2 colors with a couple of highlights.
Photos 2-4

You can see where I began to add depth to the darks and lights with each review.  In the end, the bottom right leaf has the most extreme darks to lights.  In photo 2, the left looks flat but in photo 4, you can see were the edges are lifting and lowering.  This has taken me a lot of practice and I still need to work on this technique.

Here is the next painting and review photos I completed.  Can you tell the changes I made?   Martha’s Bell, photos 1-4:


What else would you correct?

In Honor of National Dog Day

I”m totally a cat person, I’ve never owned a dog, nor have my parents or brother.  But I found a cute face on a friend’s Facebook page, and I just had to paint it.  Here is the result:

IMG_4029He’s available on auction at:

The next day I painted the same dog from the backside in a larger scene.  IMG_4031  My Mother showed it to a friend ta day later and it sold!!

I have painted 2 more Dog Selfies (see below), both are from Rescue Shelter photos posted by a friend.  I’ve promised to donate some of the proceeds to the shelter if they sell.  If you are interested in either of these paintings, comment below or email me at:

6x6 oil on gesso board
6×6 oil on gesso board
5x7 on canvas panel
5×7 on canvas panel

I’ve had a couple of commission requests from friends, I hope to do these in the next week.  We’ll see how they go, I’m feeling lots of pressure to please the clients.  If it goes well, I will open up to more pet commissions.

Have a great weekend, Renee

50 Shades of White

I hope you are having a creative day.  I’ve produced 2 paintings today, I’m feeling fulfilled.  🙂

I recently read a forum on my Daily Paintworks website asking about how to paint whites.  I felt so accomplished, I’ve had 2 classes on whites with Alice O’Leary.  The first was early in our Beginner session and later this summer at a workshop in New Braunfels.   Just like learning to see shadows, I’ve had to learn to see many shades of a color, especially white.  Painting white is really painting some shade of grey with a blue, red or yellow cast and less white for the shading.  Here is my first white study in class.  IMG_3010    Alice taught us to make a grey pool first.  We did this by mixing ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and cad yellow, then adding white.  Notice that the bottom two petals are actually dark shades of grey, one is more red, the other more purple. I made these by tinting one leaf with more crimson and the other with more blue.  The center darks were made with more yellows.  Then we added white to make brighter shades for the highlights.

I was so excited about this lesson, I ran home and tried another subject.  Here is my egg study.  IMG_3014  The yolk is the only color that is not some shade of grey to white.

Here are 2 more paintings I’ve done using this technique.
Sand Dollar DreamsIMG_3102

FYI, I’m now on the Daily Paintworks website with a gallery of photos, check it out at: Sorry it has been so long since my last post, I’ve been busy setting up this site and building my Facebook page.  You can also find me there under An Artist in Bloom.  Have a great Thursday evening.

A Studio for a new Artist

Have I mentioned that most of my paintings are produced fairly quickly?  I can sometimes complete 2-3 small paintings in one day.  I finished 2 this morning before lunch.  So, you may be wondering, where I do all of this work and where does it go after I complete the painting?

Today, I’m going to talk about my “studio”.  Our house is on a completely shaded lot, so the best light filters in from the kitchen windows.  Fortunately, we never filled this space with a dining set.  I decided this was the best place to start painting.  Here is an overall view of my space.

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My easel was passed down from my Dad when we bought him a new and improved easel.  It is old, cranky and not overly stable.  (I have ordered a new easel that will arrive tomorrow.  Yippee!) It does have a nice flat surface to put my paintings while they dry….some of the paintings.  It also has some pull out drawers for my brushes and pallet knives.  I stand when I paint, so I have purchased a cushion mat to help my knees and feet.  Since I mostly paint small size canvases, the foam core board helps keep them stable.  Yes, I do paint outside the lines.

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The 4 tier cart houses all of my supplies.  The top shelf does not have sides and my pallet box fits perfectly and is easy to paint from.  The next shelf holds my extra paints, turpenoid and a few other supplies.  The 3rd shelf holds my canvas stock, some are ready to paint, some still need a gesso priming.  The fourth shelf has reference photos and ideas.  And of course, it rolls, so when we have company, it is easy to put away.


Because I paint so quick, my inventory of finished art is building.  I have completed over 100 paintings, so far,  about 75% are salable.  I am currently overflowing into one of our guest rooms with more drying racks.  There is also a shelf with finished produce in cellophane sleeves to protect the paintings now and during shipping.  Yes, I am planning to sell some of these guys.  Be on the lookout for a selling website coming on Facebook.

That’s it for today.  Hope you are having a creative week.