Saturday, April 17, 2010

Poolside Dining

One of the jobs of a painter is to only paint what moves them and not to paint what looks it'll sell. It's vital that something in the imge moves the painter to want to capture it. If the artist feels an excitement about the subject, it will show up in the painting. This all sounds really obvious but it's amusing how often people are surprised by it. Friends are always suggesting subject matter to me; musicians at a festival, a particular valley view, etc. What they're saying is that that image moves them and they wish it moved me so I'd paint it! Commissions are another story. Hopefully the artist is painting commissions in a certain field, pets perhaps, that they specialize in so they can get exctied about painting another dog. It's no news that we do what we like to do though. I wanted to paint Poolside Dining because I loved the pattern of the umbrellas and their shadows. Giving a reasonable explanation for what moves me is not part of this blog!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yellow and Red Tulips

When it rains, hails, snows and is sunny and blue skies all in one day, you know it's time for the tulips to be up in the Pacific Northwest. Don't like spring weather in Seattle? Then wait a minute! For those of us inclined towards playing with paints, we stay inside and paint tulips. Choosing a canvas size is part of the painting process. You can choose a canvas shape and then choose the subject or choose a subject and choose a canvas shape that fits your image. I have one more tulip painting to paint before completing my triptych--a wonderful word meaning three paintings that go together as one unit. Purple tulips on a yellow background will be the finale. Choosing 6x24" panels are a perfect venue for a skinny vase and tall flowers. What would you choose to paint? Email me your ideas--I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Poolside was painted using a photo reference. I would guess most representational painters use photographs from time to time and you might think that would make things pretty easy. Simply copy the photograph. But the problem lies in that photographs lie. My teachers have told me this and I believe them! Shadows in photos are always a terrible, ugly dark colors. Everything is on one plane. There is no mid-ground or far-ground to be seen. Every single detail is showing and none of these things make for a beautiful painting. So the photo is a reference and only that. You have to work as hard when you paint from a photo as you do from real life to create a beautiful painting. Leave out all the unnecessary so the necessary can tell their story. Paint shadows as beautiful as the lights around them. And push back the background using fuzzy edges, grayed out colors or lumping details into masses of unidentified but interesting shapes. You simply have to outwit your photograph so it’s lies don’t spoil your painting! See Joanne Shellan's website at