Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Well, I'm back. However, in the process of having one computer repaired I have lost some software so I have to struggle with other ways of getting my images up here.

This is another figure painting from my weekly session. It does have a nice quality, but the paper which I bought on sale has some inconsistant sizing so some areas of the painting react more like blotting paper than watercolour paper and others have an unpleasent texture.

Again this was another painting where I got to a point when I felt I should do more, but didn't know what, so I stopped.

I cannot remember who said it but another watercolourist said, "If you don't know what to do next, you're probably finished."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Computer troubles!

I am sorry that I have been unable to post for a while, but the computer I have been using has to be fixed and I am still waiting to get that done. I will be back as soon as that is taken care of. Soon I hope!

Friday, March 14, 2008


This is another Tuesday night life painting. I really had a hard time with this one, but I think I nailed it. After the initial washes I completely lost the drawing. This has a lot to do with the lighting in the studio where I was working. If you are far enough back, and I tend to be since I don't usually get there early enough, you are outside the well lit area and it is sometimes hard to see what you are doing.
The model was not of course a Queen but my treatment of the pose gave her a regal arrogant attitude. This is what I find so interesting about figure drawing. 
There is another painter who, on one of my first nights did a painting of the young man posing. If you looked at the model you saw a guy sitting in a chair; looking at the painting you saw a self assured, confident young man (a good likeness of the model, in other words not a completely different person) regarding the world around him with a slight sense of  indulgent humor. This is what that painter saw in the pose. Was this a conscious decision? In his case I do not know. In my case I do know that I tried faithfully to render the model in the pose. It was at the end that I discovered that I had conveyed a certain attitude that the sitter may not have embodied. Is this intentional at a subconscious level or accidental? Is it a result of taking something in the pose and pushing it and arriving a logical but not necessarily anticipated destination.
Charles Reid did a painting in oil of two figures. He had started out painting a young women but as he was working he felt something was missing and literally grabbed a man off the street and added him to the painting, entitling it Friends. Even though these people were complete strangers there was an attitude about the portrait which led him to give it that title.   

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quick Figure Painting

Here is the promised painting. As I said yesterday, this is a quick sketch done at the end of the life drawing session. I do have a tendency to finish quicker than a lot of other people so I usually change position and do another one
Most of them have some flaw or other (due to speed, experimentation or lack of thinking) that makes them unremarkable, but this one turned out OK.
I do have another session this evening so I will have more for tomorrow.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Figure Painting-Thursday Afternoon

This is another of my figure paintings (again cropped to show only the upper torso) from a life drawing session. I will be re-using the paper to do another on the other side, but I am posting it because of an interesting and instructive thing which happened.
When the model initially took the pose I measured the head and then used it to construct the rest of the drawing. This is a common practice and even though I have only recently started using this technique I use it to make sure that a) I will be able to fit the whole figure (or however much of it I want)onto the paper and b) that the proportion is generally accurate. In this case all this proceeded as planned until the model took a break and then resumed the pose. At this point, as anyone who is familiar with a life drawing session will know someone will often tell the model to move slightly to better match the original pose. In this case the model asked if every thing was alright and one person said, "Can you match my drawing?" which we all found humorous. (The model then replied, "No one has ever  asked me to do that before!") 
At that moment I looked at my drawing was about to say that the model's elbow was much too close to her hip when I realized that it was my drawing and not the pose that was off. I thought, "How could I have missed that? How could it be so far off without noticing until then?" I had measured the head, found the various places but had entirely missed an important relationship and continued to paint oblivious to my mistake.  I did have the feeling that the figure was overly elongated, but I though that was because the head was too small so I had gone back and enlarged it before starting to paint. 
As always we can only strive to do better next time, but this time I think I learned an important and I hope that I can remember it in the future.
As I do every session I did a second, quicker painting of the same pose which I will post tomorrow.  

Friday, February 29, 2008

Front Door Floral

I haven't posted in a while, but I am celebrating my first month of blogging and sharing some of my art.
As far as being "uninspired" goes, if a painting goes well I think that whatever I might do next will not be as good and therefore I do kind of put things off looking for the "perfect" subject, or at least something that I think might turn out as well as the just finished piece. In other words I am afraid of backsliding which is another way of failing; failing to be better each time, failing to make progress, etc. 
If it doesn't go quite as well I will usually try again. I have found thus far that trying again will in most cases not improve things much, unless, as I said before, I let things sit for a while until I can figure out what is wrong with it.
This is all very interesting in light of a book which I have just finished; The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It is all about resistance to doing our work and about overcoming it. An interesting and useful read.
Anyway, on to the next month! 

Friday, February 22, 2008

Still Life with Three Oranges

This is the first of, or a study for, a possible series of still life paintings featuring oranges. I usually think more intuitively about colour; just using combinations which I like but after finishing this one it occured to me that it might fall into one of a number of classic colour schemes. Doing a little research I discovered that I had used a version of the "split complimentary" scheme. What this means is that instead of using two colours opposite each other on the colour wheel (in this case orange and blue), you use one colour and two colours on each side of its compliment. Without really thinking about it or planning (again, just because I happen to like these colours) I used orange (obviously for the oranges) and then violet (or purple, even though technically I think there is a subtle difference between the two) and Prussian Blue with is slightly to the green side of blue.
Even though as I say I didn't plan it out this way I did consciously use the blue-green toward the end as a contrast to the violet.
The painting is 9.5 x 12'' and available for $15o. Let me know.   

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Figure Study

This is the upper half of the piece which I did last night in my weekly Life class. I had the feeling that my figure work was getting too drab as I starting using more earth tones to get the dark values correct. In this I was concentrating on getting more colour into the work.
I am a great admirer of Charles Reid's figure painting, particularly in watercolour. I think even though the drawing leaves a bit to be desired I think that I have done a pretty good job in terms of edges and keeping a connection with the background.
If you are interested in seeing the whole work please get in touch.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wet Street Oranges Re-do

Here is "Wet Street Oranges II" approx. 9 x 12"
Even though I did several small b&w sketches to design the previous version of this painting I still had trouble because I didn't really know what I was going to do. I think it is very important when you are trying to simplify a painting and reduce it to its essential shapes to have a clear idea what before starting. In the previous version I was "trying this, trying that" and of course ended up with a bit of a mess. (See also the previous post-"Figure Study"  about "Overworking."
Another interesting thing was that the key to the redo was to move the figures out to the edge of the main shape and thus extend the silhouette. This is a fascinating example of self revising as discussed in "The War of Art" written by Steven Pressfield, a great book.   

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wet Day Oranges

This scene is similar to a couple of urban scenes in which I reduced everything to a grouping of significant shapes or silhouettes with little or no detail. I refer to these paintings as Gestalt paintings because this word is sometimes used to describe a composition in terms of large contrasting shapes.
I have posted this painting as a "daily painting" even though after finishing it, analyzing its weaknesses I decided to attempt a re-do and post that result next! 

Friday, February 15, 2008

Figure Study

As I have previously mentioned I belong to an Art Club that provides the opportunity to paint and draw from a live model several times a week. This is the figure study which I did yesterday. I have cropped it down from 15 x 22" to about 11 x 16 because of some overworking on the left hand side. 
Overworking is the bane of the watercolourist. It usually starts with an attempt to improve some part of the painting, which most times leads to then trying to fix that part because the improvements didn't work. It may stem from the feeling that whatever one is painting is the best one has done or at least pretty good and in an attempt to make it even better, ironically it gets worse. Many an artist talks about how they reached a certain point at which they were very happy with what was going on and then proceeded to ruin it.
It has been said of painting in general, and this applies particularly to watercolour that it requires two people to paint; one to do the painting and the other to take the brush away and say, "Ok, you can stop now, that's enough."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Sphinx

This is a painting which I did yesterday from a photograph in a magazine. In the past I have felt  badly about doing that and justified to myself that it was "only for practice." I have since discovered other well known painters who also use photos or images from various media which they some times refer to as "found images" so I do not feel as if I am cheating. Others may of course disagree.
This is a 1/2 sheet; 15 x 22 inches and I have decided to call it "The Sphinx."
Please also visit my website at The Framing Dames -

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Girl with the Green Earring

I belong to an art club that provides the opportunity to paint and draw from a live model a couple of times a week. This is a portion of my painting from last night.
I have observed from this group as well as others that a lot of people tend to paint themselves when drawing from a model. Their finished figure has their mouth or nose, or has the same shape of head. If they do not notice this, then it only follows that perhaps I would not notice when I am using my own features rather than those of the model. But if the whole process is unconscious than how would you know?
If you are interested just leave a comment and I can send you a picture of the whole piece which is a half sheet watercolour -15 x 22 inches.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

First Daily Painting

A couple of years ago I worked on a feature film; That Beautiful Somewhere which was shot in and around North Bay Ontario.  This painting is of a typical scene from the area, although I have been told it is also typical of many other  areas of Ontario.
This painting is 9 x 12 inches which will be the most common size for my daily paintings. It is available for sale for $75. Please also free free to visit my website at
Thanks for looking.   

Monday, February 4, 2008

Daily Paintings

I would like to welcome everyone to my daily (ish) watercolour painting blog.  I would of course appreciate any and all comments.

Hmm... I think I'll start tomorow.