Thursday, August 10, 2017


Hornbill Brigade
7.5" X 14"
Original Oil

Ground hornbills are impressive birds. The largest of the hornbills, males can weigh up to 14 pounds and they can even kill small mammals such as hares to augment their diet of reptiles, frogs, and snails.
To achieve the brilliant red around their face I first painted it white (titanium white with a smidgen of cadmium yellow deep.) When dry, using Liquin as the medium I glazed over it with a various combinations of cadmium red and cadmium orange. Burnt Sienna and Burnt umber were used for some of the shadow areas. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Color Adjustment

The yellowish background (yellow ochre, naples yellow, titanium white, and a little paynes gray and van dyke brown) wasn't doing it for me. I felt it needed to be more peach so the future yellow foreground grasses would stand out. Using my left over background mixture, I added cadmium red, yellow ochre, some burnt sienna, and titanium white.
I've also darkened and added more ultramarine blue to the birds' shadows.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Another Miniature painting

Before I started working on the previous leopard piece, I painted the white passages on each bird's head. These sections will be glazed and need to be dry for that process.

Monday, July 31, 2017


8" X 13"
Original Oil

Once the painting is varnished, you will be able to see more detail in the background. I have found that many brown combinations dry dull and liven back to their original intensity once varnished.
My go-to spray varnish these days is Krylon Gallery Series UV Archival Varnish 1376 Semi-gloss.
It adds just the right sheen, not super glossy nor matte. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

More Leopard

Just getting started - lots of cat to go.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A miniature painting

Miniature paintings can be almost any "smallish" size. I've seen amazing work by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist as tiny as 1 inch by 1 inch. (they are world-renowned artists specializing in miniature paintings.)
Fortunately, the next two miniatures I am painting are substantially larger. Requirements for this upcoming exhibit and sale have the size set at 108 square inches or less (the equivalent of a 9" X 12".)
 It would be easiest to do a simple animal portrait and call it good. Guess what I am going to do .... yes, let's paint a full reclining leopard in the shadow of African vegetation.
The painting is 8" X 13" (104 square inches.)

Below I have the background roughed in and some base color for the foreground grass. I like to paint the spots first to give me a feeling of the cat's muscle structure. Once I paint the other colors of the fur, I will repaint the spots and blend the spots' edges into the rest of the fur.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Finished - updated July 20th

The painting is now dry and I've scanned it. Thought you might like to see the difference between the photo of the piece and the scan.
Scanned painting (before varnishing)

 Poppet and Kiera
Original Oil
14" X 31"
Detailed grass has been added since the last post. I've also dry brushed in a bit more gray/blue throughout the grass. 
Another important change is a softening of the background trees. In an earlier post I mentioned that they may be too dark. To push them more into the background so they do not compete with the dark browns in the dogs, I glazed over them using the sky color and liquin. Liquin gave me the flexibility to keep the structure of the trees and soften them to different degrees depending on how much paint was mixed with the medium.

Thanks for following. An additional note on this commission. Each of these in progress photos was sent to my client. It was a nice way to keep him involved in the creation. To one set of in progress photos he replied, "Coolest project ever!"