North of the Creek

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10 by 7.5 inches, acrylic on gessoed illustration board
10 by 7.5 inches, acrylic on gessoed illustration board
underpainting, 10 by 7.5 inches, acrylic on gessoed illustration board

This week the girls and I painted using a photo from my parents’ Michigan farm. I worked on simple shapes and a clear value pattern. I put my painting last, since I didn’t get very far. I’ll post mine again when I finish it.

Meredith and I worked together on her underpainting, and then she added color. The sky holes in her autumn tree on the left turned out great.

I’d like to frame some of these paintings, so we’re trying out a frame on Holly’s painting. She’s very happy with it.

Here’s a photo of our little child laborers, hard at work:

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Rocky Mountains

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7.5 by 10 inches, oil on gessoed illustration board

I had a great time painting this from a photo I took in the Rocky Mountain National Park last fall. I tried to achieve more variety in the brushstrokes, with less smearing, and I think that worked out pretty well. I also wanted to emphasize the distance between the foreground, middle ground, the far wooded slope and the distant mountains. I’m still working on massing the simple shapes and keeping a clear value pattern.

Two Peaches

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10 by 7.5 inches, oil on gessoed illustration board

A solo effort this time.

Strawberries

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7.5 by 10 inches, acrylic on board
7.5 by 10 inches, acrylic on board
7.5 by 10 inches, acrylic on board

After a long painting break and our move to the suburbs, we broke out the paints again. I put mine in last as I’m not satisfied with it, but I like to see all three together after we paint as a group. I focused on the light and shadow areas. My brushstrokes felt clunky, and I had trouble seeing the values on the white bowl.

Holly set a speed record here, she seemed to be working on economy of brushstrokes. Meredith chose an excellent background color, as she so often does.

Three Apples

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8 by 7.5 inches, acrylic on illustration board
8 by 7.5 inches, acrylic on illustration board

8 by 7.5 inches, acrylic on illustration board

Lately when the girls and I paint together Holly is finished and ready to move on by the time I get all the painting supplies out. Meredith takes longer to complete her paintings, maybe half an hour. I usually get a good start in that time, and then I wash everything and put it away. I come back later at night and maybe the next day to finish up.

As usual, I love the color Meredith used. I can almost see three apples in Holly’s painting this time around, although she said she was painting poo poo and pee pee. I’m happy with the way the front apple in mine turned out.

In an effort to make the studio family-friendly, we use nontoxic pigments, and when I use oil paints they’re water soluble, so we don’t need solvents.

These apples taste so good.

Bottles and Bell

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8 by 8 inches, acrylic on gessoed illustration board
8 by 8 inches, acrylic on gessoed illustration board

Meredith and I both used the black gesso as a ground this time. Painting glass and shiny things is a lot of fun. I went back and forth several times on the bottles, making them more and then less visible. Holly painted a portrait of me, calling out colors of what I was wearing before applying them. That bright red patch is my nose, if you’re wondering.

9 by 12 inches, acrylic on paper

Chives

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acrylic on illustration board, 6 by 6 inches
acrylic on illustration board, 6 by 6 inches

I’ve been falling short of one painting a week. I’m not surprised or discouraged, and I hope to have more time for painting in a few months. The quality of my work seems to be going down instead of up, but I see reasons for that, too. When I do paint I’ve been spending much less time, under a hour, instead of several longer sessions.

The chives are blooming. M did her own preliminary drawing today, usually she asks for help getting started. I primed my board with black gesso I picked up last week. We worked in the living room where the rays of morning sun were shining in – the light moves fast!