Tag Archives: painting

Artist Growing Pains



As an Artist I strive to grow and my paintings and art mark that growth.  Now, as a business, it is time to grow and stretch also.   Over the past month I have really put thought into what direction I want my art to go in.  It has taken much time, but I want to make sure that I lay the foundation down that is necessary  not only to be a successful artist, but also a successful entrepreneur.

Over the next month, new changes will be happening with my website, and my blog – I am excited to be taking the next steps on this path.   I will be creating some new art, and I will be presenting you with an opportunity to participate in this artistic journey with me – so stay tuned. . . . there will be some nice surprises coming soon as I work my way through this process.  You definitely don’t want to miss out, so if you haven’t already done so, sign up now and you will automatically receive updates from me.   It’s really easy to do – just type in your email address and click “Subscribe” and like magic my next update will appear in your inbox .  Hurry, subscribe now.

God Bless America Painting

Finally, my watercolor painting of the American Flag flying over Joe Patti’s in Pensacola, FL is done.  This is the first of my seven painting series for my upcoming exhibition “Pensacola, an Artist’s Perspective” in July, 2014 at the Quayside Gallery.

The completed painting.

The completed painting.

Naturally, now that this painting is done, it is time to move on to the next . . . . patiently waiting for “inspiration.”

The Thinker!

The Thinker!

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Seeing Red

With the background sky color painted in and dry, it is now time to begin painting the flag.   I decided to so with a wet-against-wet technique.  This will allow colors to blend on their own with each other creating some of the dark shadows and lighter areas of the stripe.   I have started laying in the reds of the flag, and I just love the way they are turning out.  What I found very interesting in this flag is how the white of the stripes pick up hints of the red and blue.   I will be adding that in next.   Moving along on the Stars and Stripes ……

Applying red paint to create the stripes

Applying red paint to create the stripes

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Value Sketches

The Reference Photo I will Use to Create the Flag Painting

The Reference Photo I will Use to Create the Flag Painting

After deciding which flag photo reference I would use for my painting, I then transferred the image from the photo onto drawing paper, which then gets transferred one last time to my watercolor paper.  Lots of steps, I know.  However, in the long run, if I ever decide to do this painting again in the future, the drawing is preserved and ready to go.

For my art style, the labor is all on the front end of the process.  When I finally get to pick up a paintbrush and apply paint, it all goes pretty quickly.  After having transferred the drawing from my drawing paper to the watercolor paper, I now set all of this aside, and begin doing value sketches.  Since I focus on macro-paintings, (close up views of any single object)  I typically will only break down my value sketches into three values, dark, medium and light.   Those values inserted into the background, middle ground and foreground will give me 8 combinations from which to chose on how to proceed with the composition.

Another sheet of plain paper is pulled out, and I create 8 blank squares approximating the size and shape of the parameters of my watercolor paper.  Then, I sketch in only the rough shapes of my composition.  I do not put in any details.  It isn’t a sky, a flag pole and a flag I am drawing in, but rather, a rectangular shape, a long line, and a square.  I do that within each square – again, tracing paper comes in mighty handy at this point.

The rest of my time is spent shading in the different combinations of values within the compositional shapes.

Four of the 8 Value Sketches I did, I have narrowed down to two

Four of the 8 Value Sketches I did, I have narrowed down to two

I am drawn to two of the value sketches, the two on the bottom because I think they are compositionally strong, and provide greatest potential for impact.  The first bottom left sketch  has a dark foreground, medium background and light middle ground.  The sketch next to it  has a medium foreground, a dark background and a light middle ground.   After some contemplation, I have decided to go with the bottom left value sketch: dark value foreground, medium value background and light value middle ground, with the center of interest and focal point going into the light middle ground.

That’s the plan for this painting….but, you know what they say, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”  Let’s hope that isn’t the case with this painting plan.

Stay tuned for the next step the actual painting process.



Painting in Pensacola Not in Buenos Aries

My family visit and art vacation to Argentina was supposed to begin on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.  Today, I would be returning satiated on delicious food, wonderful wine, and fabulous art.  Unfortunately, the day before my departure date, Pensacola experienced a rare, fluke ice/snow storm.  After trying many different alternatives, there was no choice but to accept that the trip would be cancelled.  Rest in Peace vacation!

A Fluke Snow Storm Brings Pensacola to a Grinding Halt

A Fluke Snow Storm Brings Pensacola to a Grinding Halt

After spending the rest of the week in mourning over the lost trip, it is now time to start painting and creating art.

In July 2014, I will be exhibiting with three other local artists paintings that highlight Pensacola.   Naturally, the first hurdle to cross is, “what in the world am I going to paint representative of Pensacola?”

After much thought and planning, the first painting is taking form.  In the next several blog posts, I will show the process from beginning to completion of the first art work in the seven (maybe eight) painting collection.

In front of Joe Patti’s Seafood Market is a fantastically, huge American Flag.  When I say huge, I am not kidding.  I believe it is one of the largest flags I have ever seen.  I spent the better part of an afternoon taking photos of the flag.  Once I had about 50 reference photographs it was time to come home and start going through them to find the one photo that spoke to me.  Happily, I was pleased with the majority of the photographs.  In fact, I am thinking after completing the seven paintings for the Pensacola exhibition I may do a series of the flag.

The Reference Photo I will Use to Create the Flag Painting

The Reference Photo I will Use to Create the Flag Painting


Pencil Sketch of Flag which Will be Transferred to Watercolor Paper

Pencil Sketch of Flag which Will be Transferred to Watercolor Paper

My creative time today has been spent making a drawing that I then can transfer to my watercolor paper.  Stay tuned…..the next phase of the flag painting is coming.   The next step for this art work is all about composition consideration and planning.


Good and Bad News

It was a day of mixed news…..lets do the bad news first.  I submitted my painting “Stuck in Neutral” to the American Watercolor Society for acceptance into the art exhibition this year.  In order to be a signature member, I need to be juried into their show twice.  Today, came the unhappy news that my painting was “rejected”.

My Painting Submitted to American Watercolor Society.

My Painting Submitted to the American Watercolor Society.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t as devastated as I thought I would be.  You see, I am taking a workshop with John Salminen, who’s art I greatly admire. http://www.johnsalminen.com/index.jsp   He has actually won the first place award for the American Watercolor Society exhibition twice.  The salve for the wound to my pride was when John announced during the workshop, that he also received his rejection from the American Watercolor Society today.  In that case, I am in good company.

Now for the good news!  In the same afternoon, I also received an email from the Florida Watercolor Society, that my painting “This Little Piggy” was accepted into their online exhibition.  That also helped take the sting our of my American Watercolor Society rejection!  I guess you must take the bitter with the sweet.

Accepted into the Florida Watercolor Society Online Exhbition

Accepted into the Florida Watercolor Society Online Exhbition

Life goes on, paintings will continue to happen, and there is always next year . . . so look out AWS, because I have an entire year to prepare my next art entry.

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The Elements of Art

Whether an art enthusiast or an artist, having a basic understanding of art composition is important and will make the art experience a better one.   Of course, the casual art observer to the most accomplished artist knows if they like a painting, no additional training or information is needed.  It basically becomes a question of taste.  However, to really appreciate what we see when we view a piece of art, a general base of knowledge is helpful.  The basic building blocks for art are known as the Elements of Design.

When an artist skillfully manipulates these building blocks they create a cohesive piece of art work.

An example of the use of line in Art

The first element of design is the line.  It is either a visible or implied pathway connecting  two points.  The line is used in art to move the viewer (you) through the painting.



Next is the design element shape is a representation of a two dimensional object, and it will look flat.

Example of “Shape” being used in composition

Form is another element of design and it is the representation of the look and feel of a three dimensional object on a two dimensional surface.  All objects have either shape or form, with form being three dimensional and shape looking flat.

This is an example of Form

The next element of design is color and is pretty well recognized by the everyday art observer.  However, what is not so well known about color is how strong of an impact it can have on the viewer. 

The color wheel

Value is the next element and it addresses the lightness or darkness of a color.   Many artist consider value to be more important in the composition of a painting then even color.

Use of Value

Use of Value

Texture refers to the qualities of an objects surface, is it smooth, shiny, rough etc….

Use of Texture

Use of Texture






Use of Space. Foreground, Middle ground and Background

Last but not least comes space and this is the area contained between the edges of a painting. It is the space between objects and is all around us.




Not every painting will have all seven elements of design within them, nor should they.  Strong artists, usually will pick 2 or 3 of these design elements to incorporate into their compositions, and if they are handled well the painting will be a strong work of art.

As you can see, being familiar with the elements of design  will help both the artist to compose a strong painting and the viewer to appreciate what they observe in a painting.  In future blogs, I will explore the elements of design more in depth.  You definitely don’t want to miss out on this free educational series that will make your art experience even better.  To receive the next edition simply fill in your email address and subscribe.