Sunday, April 26, 2015

Computer Issues

As much as I enjoy my computer, it is really taking up too much of my time. My current website software (Microsoft Front Page) is now obsolete and is being eliminated from many servers and I can no longer access my websites to make changes or updates. Luckily my son and daughter-in-law (Maine Web Creations) live near by and will help me set up Word Press and teach me how to work with it. But this means building three new websites, mine, the gallery's and a friend's. This weekend I am copying all the files and pictures to my computer and hopefully next week when the grandkids are back to school we will begin. So, I have sent out the following newsletter. My newsletter was really a duplication of my blog. Now one less thing to think about.

May Newsletter - Changes
In an effort to reduce my computer time, I will be phasing out my Newsletter in favor of my Blog.

I enjoy writing in my blog and find it an easier format to work with. I hope you will join me. You can sign up to automatically receive my new blog posts in your email. Click here to sign up. You can opt out at any time but I hope you will enjoy these visits to my studio.

On my blog I share my latest paintings, some with step by step illustrations, answer questions and hope to provide interesting information gathered from my years of painting and teaching. Topics have included painting gear, color mixing, compositional problems, painting theory and more. There is always something interesting to explore in art.

I have always enjoyed teaching and look on my blog as a way to meet and connect with other artists and students. I enjoy reading other artist’s blogs and share new information and viewpoints with my readers. Your comments and questions are always welcomed and that leads to more interesting discussions.

Here are two ongoing events that I share –

Leslie Saeta’s 30/30 Challenges. Offered twice a year, the concept is to paint thirty paintings in thirty days, (you can paint as many or as few as you like, there are no rules except to have fun). You are invited to share your paintings on her website.

The Virtual Paint Out.
Traveling with a group of artists from all over the world, via our computer, to a new designated location each month, we use Google Street Maps to “walk around” looking for a good spot to set up our gear and paint. You can share your finished paintings to the website and see all the paintings by this group of virtual friends.

Membership in these groups is easy and free. No commitments – just sign up and have fun. This is a fun way to meet other artists and see their work or you can just paint and not share.

I do enjoy writing in my Blog, sharing information and staying connected with my artist friends and family. I hope you will join me. My blog address is

If you wish to automatically receive my new blog posts in your email you may click here to sign up.

Thanks for visiting. I look forward to your comments and questions. Happy painting.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mother & Child, Bhutan. April's Virtual Paint Out

Mother & Child, Bhutan. oil. 9x12

My second painting for the Virtual Paint Out. Bhutan, located in the southern Himalayas is a beautiful country. Wonder where we will be painting next month?

This painting is available on my Ebay page.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Colors Do I Use to Paint the Ocean?

 “What colors do I use to paint the ocean?” I was asked this question and thought it would make in interesting blog post. As I mentioned before, these are my opinions after years of study and observations. Someone else might have a different explanation.

It’s not possible to give an exact color formula for painting the ocean. The colors will shift with the energy of the water – a calm sea with gentle swells, a windy day with choppy seas, a heavy storm surf, bright sunshine, cloudy skies, colorful skies and the time of day – these all influence the colors we see.

Water reflects colors that are perpendicular to its surface. Flat planes reflect the sky color, the angled planes of the waves are darker and are influenced by surrounding objects and other waves.

Aerial perspective also influences the color of the water making it appear lighter and grayer in the distance, darker and more colorful as it comes forward. But I have seen times when the ocean is darker in the distance because of cloud shadows and atmospheric conditions. When painting this reverse effect, care is needed to maintain the illusion of depth in your painting.

Waves are triangular in shape, thicker and darker at the base, growing thinner and a more translucent blue/green as they begin to crest. The foam and sea spray from the crashing waves fragment into prisms that reflect bits of sparkling light and color from the sun. There is a thickness to the foam that calls for subtle shadows and cast shadows. If the sun isn't shining, these effects are modified.

Water is both reflective and transparent. The land underneath the water influences the color of the water, especially near the shore where the water is shallow. Sandy beaches may have turquoise water in the shallows. Dark sand and rocky beaches will have darker water. Water crashing against the rocks will be changed. Your viewing perspective also influences what you see. Are you looking across the water or down into it?

Nearby objects reflect into still water. The color of these reflected objects are subdued because the water absorbs some of the energy from these reflections. And the ocean is never perfectly still, the shapes and colors of reflections waver and distort.

Avoid using intense colors, straight from the tube, or heavy dark colors. Choose a variety of muted blues, greens, grays and brown for starters. Then the reflected colors are chosen. Coloration is important. If you study nature you will see that there is a great variety of subtle grays and delicate shadings. And please, never pure white, always add a bit of color to your white. White is a color killer and always a student problem in art class. Use lighter colors or lighter analogous colors to lighten and brighten.

The ocean is very complex and always in motion. Affected by the tide and weather conditions, the sea continually changes shapes and colors. Study, direct observation and practice are necessary. You will benefit from doing many small studies. Studies that are failures are very important for understanding what works and what doesn't. 

Working from photographs can be tricky. Remember the sign in my studio that says “Photographs are 99% wrong.”  If you copy them exactly your painting will look artificial. You need to understand the nature of the sea. The best way is to spend time looking at the ocean and watching what happens as the light changes and the water moves. That is why it is so important to paint subject matter that you are familiar with – but that is another topic for another day.

Thanks for visiting with me. I hope this information was helpful. Your comments and questions are always welcome.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Limited Palettes & Color Harmony Revisited

I received a lot of questions after my previous post about using a limited palette with the three primaries, plus black and white. I hope these answers will help.

Cad yellow light, alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue, plus black and white, is a good basic palette. These colors will give you a good range of bright and intense coloration.

Yellow ochre light, Venetian red and cobalt blue, plus black and white will give you a range of softer colors.

The choices are many and I suggest that before you begin to paint, you take the time to mix up some color combinations. Try substituting different yellows, then different reds, then the blues. The combinations are endless and the results are very interesting. Soon you will be able to judge the results of the colors you choose without all the experimenting. But give yourself the benefit of doing a bit of homework.

Another version of the limited palette is using a warm and cool version of each of the primaries. The basic palette may now contain – Indian yellow and cad yellow light - cad red light and alizarin crimson - cerulean blue and ultramarine blue, plus black and white. And again, other versions of the primaries may be substituted as long as one is warm and its partner is cool.

The reason for using a limited palette is color harmony. If all the color mixtures in your painting are related because they contain a bit of each other in their mixture, color harmony is assured.

Some colors straight from the tube need a bit of “tempering”. If one of your chosen primary colors is too pure in its hue, the addition of a small amount of its analogous neighbor will be necessary.

When you look at the color wheel and choose a primary color, you will notice that both its complement and it neighboring analogous colors are secondary colors. Secondary colors are naturally harmonious because they all share the three primaries. 

 Example:  Primary red. Its complement is secondary green. Its analogous neighbors are secondary orange and purple.

This can lead to another color palette experiment. How about a limited palette of the three secondary colors – orange, purple and green with black and white? This secondary palette can then be extended by using two versions of each of the secondary colors – one warm and one cool.
The study of color is complicated but fascinating. If you are happy with your colors, that’s great. But if you are not satisfied, a little thought and study is needed. In fact, a great deal of thought and study is needed, because the more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is to learn. 

A good way to understand color harmony is to experiment with different limited palettes and color mixtures. There is no short-cut to good painting skills and no substitute for practice.

I hope this answers some of your concerns.

Your questions and comments are always welcome. Happy painting. 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Prayer Flags, Bhutan. April's Virtual Paint Out

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group is traveling to Bhutan, a small country in South Asia in the southern Himalayas, bordered by China on the north, and on the south, east and west by India.

Prayer Flags, Trashigang, Bhutan, 9x12, oil SOLD

My reference photo from Google Maps, street views, transferred to my Kindle.

I am so glad that I joined this painting group. Each month I look forward to our new destination. Bhutan is another fascinating country that I would never have thought to explore. I could spend hours just traveling the roads via my computer and Google Maps. What a fun way to travel.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the group - Using Google Maps, street views only, we explore our designated location and each artist finds a spot to paint. The idea is to “walk around” the area as if we were actually there with the painting group looking for that ideal spot to set up our gear and paint. I photograph my chosen painting spot and transfer the photo to my Kindle. I can then paint from my Kindle in the comfort of my own studio. Our finished paintings are posted to the Virtual Paint Out Blog with a link to our reference location. For more information check out, New members are welcomed. 
To see all my paintings from our Virtual Paint-Out tours, please click here.

Thanks for visiting and hope you will join us in Bhutan!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine.  oil, 9x12

This painting is available on my Ebay page. 

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, April 5, 2015