Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time To Ponder

Done or not, that is the question?  When is enough, enough or not enough?  This is going to be set aside for a few days while I look at it and decide.

A fellow Canadian took a photo of a window in a home in the countryside near San Miguel de Allende where he lives.  He was kind enough to give me permission to use his photo as a reference for this painting.  Thank you very much Todd M., I really love your photo!

This is soft chalk pastel on Canson Mi Tientes pastel paper.  Approx. size is 11 x 14 inches or 28 x 35 cms..
Title:  En El Campo, (in the countryside).

As always ideas, critiques, and comments are welcome, feel free.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Finishing Up The Odds and Ends

I have had a couple of paintings on the go here for quite awhile that never seem to get finished.  They just keep getting set aside while I finish other more pressing things.
Yesterday I decided it was time to look at them, touch them up a bit and call it quits.
For some reason my camera has decided to take photos which are very dark this morning.  Monday morning rebellion perhaps.  I will have to check and see what settings I have managed to change somewhere along the line.

Anyway here are the finished paintings.  Both are for sale.

1. Oil on canvas.  Size:  15.5 x 23.5 inches
Title:  La Iglesia a Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico (The church at Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico)
***My thanks to Eddie G. for giving me his permission to use a photo of his as a reference for this painting****

2.  Oil on canvas board.  Size: 12 x 16 inches
Title:  Abandonado, (Abandoned)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Preparing A Canvas

I am getting ready to begin a new commission oil painting and thought I would talk about the steps I need to take before actually sitting down to do the painting.  It seems like there is a lot of boring stuff to do before the actual fun part of painting.

1. Talk to the customer and find out what they want and the size or decide what I want to do if I am just doing one for myself.

2. Hunt down a carpenter to make the wooden framework for the actual physical canvas, and also hunt down a place to buy some canvas for said frame.  This is not so easy in our city with zero art supply stores.  (There are a couple of stores which sell, as a sideline, paint and some regular size canvases; but the choice of canvases is limited and they are not always a good grade.)

3. Discuss with the carpenter the price, size, wood width, number of supports, style (wrap around-staples on back or regular-staples on side, making sure they will round off the wood so it won't show through after you paint on the canvas, etc. and do it in a language that you are not fluent in.  It is fun actually and people are always helpful.

4.  Pick up said canvas when it is finished.

5.  Prep the canvas to get it ready for painting which means putting a couple of coats of gesso on the back and usually 3 coats on the front. (I cannot buy the gesso here, in my city, in other than very small bottles which are expensive, so I mix up my own.)  A lot of people don't do the backs of their canvases; but because of the humidity factor here I always do.  So far I have had no issues with paintings molding or mildewing on the back as they hang on the walls.  I know other people with non prepped canvas backs have had this issue.  After all these coats have dried, I sometimes will put on a thin wash of some colour complementary to the painting colours to cover the white up.  I don't usually bother tinting the gesso; but do sometimes do this wash after the gesso.

6.  Do some type of drawing on paper and then transfer it onto the canvas.  I do not draw right onto my canvas as I do lots of changes/corrections and it is easier to make the changes on paper first.

7.  Finally, ready to paint!!!!

The commission that I am getting ready to start at the moment is oil on canvas, 60 x 100 cms. or 24 x 39.5 inches.  It is to be a landscape scene with some mountains in the background and a marshy area with lots of trees in their fall colours in the foreground.  This should be a fun painting as it is not as structured as a lot of things I do.  Looking forward to starting it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Almost Finished-- Pelican

Well, time to step back again and look at this one, until I decide if he is finished or not.
Oil on canvas, size 16 x 20 inches.

Title: El Pescador, The Fisher

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Ok, enough is enough.  I am done playing around with Mr. Lion.  A touch here a touch there, when is the next touch going to ruin him.  Time to step away from the easel and say he is finished.
He is not perfect; but then neither am I.  I am hoping that my grand daughter will like him regardless of his imperfections.  All I can say is that he was done with love for her and hope that is enough.

So here he is:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lion -- Time Out To Think About Him

I did some more work on the Lion today that my grand daughter is waiting for.

I am going to set him aside now for a day or two and look at him until I decide what more to do or whether to say he is done.

Friday, November 15, 2013

WIP Lion For My Grand Daughter

Well,I am about 16 or 20 hours into this one and it is starting to take shape.  A ton of work left to be done on it; but it is coming along.  I am enjoying working on this one.

I was talking on Skype yesterday with my daughter in law and I showed my grand daughter the lion.  Her big smile was a pleasure to see.

So here is a photo of the partially worked painting.  It is in soft chalk pastels on Canson MiTientes pastel paper and the finished size will be about 10 x 13 inches.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Christ At 33 Years

I finally finished that pastel painting of Heinrich Hofmans painting, "Christ at 33 yrs.".
It looks better than it did before; but I am still feeling that something is not quite right with it.

Here it is:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Painting Framed

The lady who had commissioned me to do a pastel painting of their two dogs emailed me a photo today of the painting matted and framed.

I love when people do this as the mats and frame really change/improve the look of the painting.

So here it is all finished.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wise words to live by:

"Be of good cheer.  Do not think of today's failures; but of the success that may come tomorrow.  You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.  Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost."

Helen Keller

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Mission at Carmel, California

I added a few touches here and there to the pastel painting that I had done in the online class yesterday.
I am saying it is done.

The Mission At Carmel, California
Soft chalk pastels on Canson pastel paper
Size: 8.5 x 11.5 inches

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A First For Me

I enjoy watching the free painting videos on You Tube and other art sites; but have never paid to take one of the online classes offered through the art sites.
I had watched several video clips and a free 1 hr. session offered by a painter named, Johannes Vloothuis.  I really enjoyed his manner of teaching and his subjects.  Then the other day I saw that he was going to be giving an online art class for the next 4 Saturdays for 4 hrs. each class.  So a total of 16 hrs. of instruction and the cost was very reasonable.  I had been telling Roy how much I liked this mans way of teaching, etc. so when I mentioned that he was having this class, Roy said well, sign up for it.  I thought about it, watched some more of his free videos and finally broke down and signed up.

Today was the first class, well instead of going for 4 hrs. he went on for almost 5 hrs..  At the end he was asking the students if they could see mistakes and if he felt they were right he then corrected the painting.  Very interesting class.  He was doing this class in watercolours, which I don't do, so I actually worked along with pastels instead.  I have never tried painting along with a video before either.

Considering how slowly I always work, it takes me forever to actually finish a painting, I actually accomplished more on this than I thought I would.  It is not finished and needs some mistakes corrected and lots of finishing touches; but I am happy with what I accomplished in, for me, such a short time.

His subject was The Mission at Carmel, California and I enjoyed trying my hand at this.

Next week he will work in oils, no idea what his subject will be until a day or so before the class.

So here is what I ended up with.  It is pastels on Canson paper, approx. 8.5 x 11.5 inches.

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Driving Me Crazy

The pastel painting I am attempting of Heinrichs Christ at 33 yrs. is driving me insane.  I am sure of it.  There is something or perhaps many things that are SO wrong with this painting; especially with either his eyes or maybe the whole face.
I pulled it out again today and did some more work on it; but it only looks slightly better.  I started art classes again and last Wednesday I discussed this work with my art teacher.  I am going to take it to him and see if he thinks it is salvageable or garbage.  He is extremely particular so I know that he will tell me what he thinks, in a nice way ha ha.

Naturally any suggestions you have are welcome.

This is what it looks like today after I worked on it a bit more.

This is what it looked like the other day when I posted it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spinning My Wheels

It seems like I have been painting on something everyday; but I don't seem to get anything much done.  Story of my life.

I did actually make it to art class last night and for all I accomplished I might as well have stayed home, oh well some days are like that.

Today I finished the blocking in on the water pump painting, so when it dries it will be ready to continue on with finishing it.

Yesterday I finished blocking in the Pelican painting and also did some of his feathers.  Lots to do on him still and also the water needs more work done on it also.

Finally this afternoon I pulled this one out.  It is of the Church in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora.  I can't even remember when I started this one.  It was ages ago when I was also working on the 3 paintings of the blue doors.  When I finally finished the blue door paintings I was so tired of doing buildings that this church one got set aside.  Every time I would look at it I would just groan and turn away.  This afternoon I decided that I am not going to start anything new until I finish this church.  So I set it up and did a bit on it.  Some to do yet; but it is taking shape finally.  I will be so glad when this one is done.

So that is what is keeping me busy and out of mischief.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

El Burro de Calle Durango, (Durango Street Burro)-Alamos, Sonora

Well I think I have finished the donkey painting.  I will set it aside and look at it for a few days and see if it needs some final touches once it is dry.

Title: El Burro de Calle Durango- Alamos, Sonora
Oil on canvas board
Size: 12 x 16 inches, approx. 30 x 40 cms.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

El Rey - The King

I did a bit of finishing this morning on this one and am thinking it is finished for now.

I have titled it, "El Rey" or "The King" as that is what he is on our street.

Oil on MDF board, 12 x 16 inches or approx. 30 x 40 cms.

For Sale

****Oops, that little brown strip at the left hand side is not part of the painting, I just did a poor job of cropping the photo.****

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finished For Now

Well, I have done some more work on my rendition of Heinrich Hofmans  painting of, "Christ at 33 years".  It may or may not be done, I will look at it for a few days and see.  My non critical spouse says it is done and good.  Me, well as usual I am not happy with it; but that is normal. This was way out of my comfort zone as I don't have a desire to do people and so it is harder to do.

Mine is done in soft chalk pastels on Canson pastel paper.

Size is 20 x 25 inches or approx. 50 x 63 cms..

I need some honest critique about all of the problems that I have with this.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Coming Along

I have had a really bad cold for over a week now and haven't been doing a lot.  Today I finally did some more work on the Pastel painting of Christ at 33 yrs. that I am working on.

Size:  20 x 25 inches
Medium: Pastels, both soft and pencils
Paper:  Canson MiTientes

So here it is so far, not finished by a long shot; but more done anyway.  I should be able to have it in the mail for her for Christmas which is when she wants it for.

Monday, September 2, 2013

New Work In Progress

Well the dogs are done, the grand daughters painting is done and both are in the mail on their way to Canada.

Time to start on something new.
This next one is really out of the realm of normal for me and also way out of my comfort zone.  I just have never had the desire to paint any people/human figures.  The only human face I have ever done was in my first art class about 5 yrs. ago, didn't like doing it, didn't enjoy it, so never attempted another one.  Fast forward to our trip to Canada this summer where my spouses daughter asked if I could attempt a painting for her. It is to be my rendition of the painting by Heinrich Hofmann which is titled, "Christ At 33 Years". We will see, wish me luck, I am definitely going to need it.

Here is a photo of the beginning of it. Pastel on Canson pastel paper. 20 x 25".

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Second Attempt Finished

Well, I was really not happy with the first attempt I made of the painting for my grand daughter so decided to try again.

I finished it today, or I think I have.  I am happier with this one; although I still see places where I could have improved it if I would have noticed sooner.  Oh well.

See what you think of the second version.

Here is the first version.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dogs Commission

I am back, I was away for a couple of months as my spouse was having some health issues; but things are back to normal now and hopefully I can get back into my artwork.
I did manage to do a pastel painting for my newest grand daughter while I was gone; but because of lack of materials with me, etc., it is not the greatest.  My daughter in law does not care for the paper type I used so I may end up doing it over again.  Here is the one I left with her, not sure if she will frame it or not or wait for me to do another.  That is on the back burner at the moment though as I have a couple of commission paintings to do.

This is the one that the grand daughter has at the moment or until I get a better one done now that I am at home.

This is the commissioned painting of a couple of dogs I have been working on.  At this point I have set it aside for a few days to see if I want to call if finished or make some more alterations.

3 photos to show how it progressed from beginning to maybe the end.

The possible finished painting.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Work In Progress

It's been quite a while since I posted what I have been doing.

I have 4 oil paintings in progress at the moment.

This is from a photo I took of a burro in Alamos, Sonora on our little trip there, after about 5 minutes of Roy scratching him behind his ears they were best friends.  He was so cute. It is oil on canvas covered MDF board.  12 x 16 inches.

This an old well pump and pail.  I don't like the shape of the pail so am going to change that.  Oil on canvas covered MDF board.  12 x 16 inches.

This rooster was hanging around in our street for a few weeks, he was following one of our resident street chickens around.  His feathers had the most gorgeous colours.
  I have already titled it, El Rey de la Calle, or in English, The King of the Street.  It is also oil on canvas covered MDF board.  12 x 16 inches.

And last; but hopefully not least, is this Pelican.  I took his photo out at the marina in San Carlos, Nuevo Guaymas, Sonora.  It is again oil on a regular canvas.  16 x 20 inches.

All 4 of these are only in the beginning stages and there is much, much more work to do on them.  I took the photos inside and our wall colour tends to give everything a yellowish tint so they are not the best pictures; but will have to do for now.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The lady that commissioned me to do the landscape painting, called me yesterday.  She wanted me to come and see the painting now that she has had it framed.

It always amazes me, the difference a frame can make.

She had a carpenter make the frame and he did a lovely job, in my opinion and hers.  The smile was a mile wide on her face as she was showing it to me and after I saw it my smile was the same size.

The finished painting.

Finished painting framed and hung.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sunrise From the Patio

Well, here is the latest painting that I just finished.  It is a bit of a departure from my usual controlled style and is done partly with the palette knife, a first for me.

I also, for the first time, used wall paste compound to get a rougher textured area for the stucco house wall.

The painting is titled:  Sunrise From The Patio and is oil on MDF board, 12 x 16 inches or approx. 30 x 40 cm.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


We are back from our short trip to Alamos, Sonora and I am back into the painting.

I finished this chalk pastel painting of my grandchildrens dog Dakota.  I am not happy with it at all.  I really seem to have problems with doing the very light coloured animals.  I think it is because I am too cautious with the darkness of the shadowing; but I am not sure.

Anyway it will be off to them shortly, I hope they will like it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Finished Commision

Well, I finally finished the painting that the lady had commissioned me to do.

It is oil on canvas and the size is 24 x 36 x 1 inches in size.

Please post your opinions/criticisms in the comments.

The lady with her finished painting.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Art Show/Sale

I took some of my paintings to an art show/sale last Saturday in San Carlos.  It wasn't a bad day and I sold 2 paintings, 1 larger one in oil and 1 smaller one in pastels.

Here is a photo of the lady who purchased the oil painting.  I hope her and her husband enjoy it as much as I have.

This is the pastel I sold; but I didn't get a photo of the people who bought it.  Oops.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blue Doors Series Finished

It seems like I having been working for years on the series of 3 Blue Door Oil Paintings.  Slowly one by one I finished them, after setting them aside to work on other more pressing things.
Finally they are all 3 finished.

Here is the last one that I just finished.

 I painted this from a photo that I took in Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Oil on canvas, 16 x 24 x 2 inches or 40.5 x 61 x 5 cms.

This was also painted from a photo that I took in Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Oil on canvas, 12 x 15 x 2 inches or 31 x 38 x 5 cm.

I painted this from a photo I took in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.

Oil on canvas, 12 x 15 x 2 inches or 31 x 38 x 5 cm.

All 3 are for sale, either as a set or separately.