Tuesday, March 29, 2016

More rocks

I designed the painting so the rocks in the dry zone would not form a straight line. This gives the wet zone a more natural feel.
In the deep shadow on the rocks I used paynes gray and ultramarine blue, and then cerelean and ultramarine blues + titanium white for the highlights.

Friday, March 25, 2016


As a child, I remember combing the beach for interesting looking rocks. Some would look very non-descript - until I wet them in the ocean. The colors would then gleam and reveal interesting patterns.
The shores of the Antarctic peninsula were no exception. Though not as diverse as on New England beaches, there were still rocks with iron and potassium signatures and what I used to refer to as splotchy rocks, granitic rocks with inclusions.
This section of the painting required patience. In order to make it look like a rocky shore, I needed to take my time and employ lots of colors.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Cooler Clime

After "visiting" Africa in my last painting, I thought I'd take a trip to a place a bit chillier. It has been a while since I have painted a large water piece and these three guys gave me the perfect opportunity to "wet" my brushes.

When I work on a painting which has a lot of water, I tend to work very long days. The passages are best handled wet-on-wet when I can blend all the edges.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Someone to Watch Over Me
Original Oil
14" X 22"

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pushing the temperature

When I began thinking of this painting, I knew I wanted to really push the temperature on the lion - make her very warm to contrast with the cool hue of the rocks. Cadmium orange, burnt sienna, burnt umber, and a little naples yellow and cadmium yellow deep were some of my warm colors. For the shadowed "white" fur, I used some of my sky color.
I purposely have other warmth in the painting so the lion doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. You can see some other warm colors in the base of the center grasses and dried leaves, the left-center small tuft of grass, some places in the rocks (most notably in the upper boulder) and in the right-center grasses.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Guinea fowl

The main reason I wanted to paint this piece is because of the guinea fowl. When we first arrived at this kopje, there were five helmeted guinea fowl, several watching my main subject. The memory has been rolling around in my head since 2009. With some added thought on how to approach the composition, it was time to paint this scene.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Painting the tree

In my last post, I mentioned that I did not paint the small tree I saw. The larger tree on the right did not "touch" the rock in real life. By extending the branches, the left side of the painting is connected to the right side.

Below I have an example of how it would look if the tree branches were not as long (modified in Paint Shop Pro.)
Rather than forming a fluid composition, it almost feels like two separate paintings to me. My eyes do not move through the painting. And in some ways, the truncated tree feels less natural though it is closer to reality.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Accent Grasses

I could have filled the lower edge of the painting with rock, but having grasses firmly places these interesting rocks in a grassy plain.
When I was at this spot, there was a small tree growing out of the cleft just to the right of the center grasses in the rock. In another design it might have been worked. In this piece, a tree in that spot would cover the background horizon and split the painting in half. Seeing the plain in the background unifies the warm colors in the foreground grasses.