Mar 28, 2013

Zion Cougar Painting - Finished!

This piece actually started out being just a cougar in a Zion National Park setting. But the expression on the cat's face made me feel he was looking around for a sound he heard. So I got the idea to add a rabbit that might have been making the sound the cougar's looking for. Then, having the rabbit hiding from the cougar made me think about what life must be like if you're a rabbit, with an animal around every corner ready to eat you! So I added other predators to the scene that might also want to make a tasty snack of the little bunny.

I think I'll call it "Don't Move!" because if the rabbit moves out of his hiding place he might become lunch! :)

Besides the cougar, can you find and name 6 other animals in the scene? (Click the image to see a larger version)

Click here to see the animals revealed.
 11"x14" oil on Gessobord
Available here.

Mar 26, 2013

Zion National Park Cougar Scene - WIP

I'm still here and still painting! I've put my 60-paintings-for-under-$60 project on pause for a bit so finish up a larger and more detailed piece. There are some upcoming events I want to have it ready for and I need to get it done this week so I haven't had time for the mini paintings lately.

Here's a picture of it in progress. It's a scene of a cougar in Zion National Park as you can probably tell by the distinctive and odd shaped rocks and hills that are unique to Zion.

I should have this finished up in another day or two and will post the finished image shortly after.

Mar 20, 2013

Miniature Painting - No 34 - Spring Bunny

To celebrate the first day of spring here's a mini painting of a little rabbit standing on its hind legs sniffing a flower. Soon the Easter Bunny will be hopping along so a bunny seemed like a good animal to represent spring. And, of course, flowers are always a symbol of spring.

 6"x6" oil on Gessobord
Original: SOLD

Mar 13, 2013

Albino Animals in Wildlife Art

Why are there no wildlife paintings of white or albino animals? I think white animals are beautiful. There are lots of photographs of white mutations, or albino animals, but I've rarely seen a painting done of them.

Except for the white tiger. I do see lots of paintings of white tigers. Those are not true "wildlife" paintings, however, since white tigers are pretty much non-existent in nature. Almost all white tigers have been bred in captivity.

There are lots of photos of white lions, which actually are found in nature, but I see very few paintings of those.

And what about all the other animals popular in paintings? Why are they never white?

What about a deer? Have you ever seen a painting of a white deer? They do exist in nature either as "piebald", which may be all white or only partially white, or as true albinos. But I've never seen a painting of one.

  How about a kangaroo? Have you ever seen a painting of a white kangaroo?

What about a painting of an albino zebra?

A painting of an albino raccoon?

How about a painting of a white giraffe!?? Ever seen one?

 Me neither!

And there are many more white animals that exist that I've never seen in a paintings. Alligators, bison, moose, ostriches, koalas, owls, snakes, squirrels, bears, gorillas, and even tortoises!

I think it's time to give these animals their moment of glory. Maybe I'll paint a white one soon. Or is that just too weird? How would you feel about such a painting? If you love paintings of orcas swimming in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, would you buy such a painting if one of the orcas was an albino?

Mar 9, 2013

Miniature Painting - No 33 - Coyote

Next up in my miniature paintings project is a coyote in the red rock desert of Utah. He seems happy there, doesn't he? :)

 5"x7" oil on Gessobord
Available here.

Mar 7, 2013

Miniature Painting - No 32 - Baby Barn Swallow

Next up in my miniature paintings project is a young barn swallow. I took the reference photo for this adorable little baby bird in Astoria, Oregon a couple years ago. It was a nice sunny August morning. He was relaxing on the railing of the beach house we were staying in, probably warming himself in the sun. He was old enough to fly but not old enough to be scared of humans yet so I was able to get within a few feet of him. He just sat there watching me while I snapped several photos.

He hadn't acquired his full adult plumage yet. Adult barn swallows are blue-black on the back. This little guy still had a lot of browns and buff colors on his back. This made him more colorful than the black would have so I wanted to capture those intense orange and rust colors that seemed to really glow in the morning sunlight.

Because he was young he still had his baby frog-like mouth, round head, and chubby little body that made him quite cute.

 6"x6" oil on Gessobord

Mar 4, 2013

Storing Water Mixable Oils the "Green" Way

I wrote a blog post a while back about how, when I used regular oil paints, I stored them in a container covered with water to prevent them from drying out. Now that I work with water mixable oils that obviously doesn't work. I now put them in plastic food storage containers with lids and store them in the freezer.

This only slows the drying, however. It doesn't stop it. So after several days I can no longer use those paints. They start to develop a dry film that gets chunks and bits in your painting. So I have to toss them out.

I haven't yet found a good method for cleaning dried paint out of plastic containers so I was just throwing the whole container out once or twice a week and getting new containers. This wasn't working all that well, though. Besides the fact that I can't eat enough turkey sandwiches to keep myself supplied with containers, the "green" side doesn't like the idea of throwing so many of these away. Because the plastic has been contaminated by paint I can no longer put the in the recycle bin. I don't like the idea of throwing so many plastic containers in the land fills so I wanted to think of a better, less wasteful, solution.

I know many artists line their palettes with paper so I decided to line my plastic container with paper. I didn't have any "proper" paper for such a thing so I looked around for what I had on hand. All I had on hand that I thought might work was parchment paper, normally used for baking. I cut a piece and put it in.


These worked out great! Now I can just throw out the liner and save the container for multiple uses. Much less wasteful this way. And, I don't have to eat so many turkey sandwiches! Not that I don't like turkey sandwiches but, really, with all that tryptophan, I'd be more likely to take a nap after lunch than get any painting done. :)

I don't just store my paints in these. I paint directly from them. That way I don't have to go through the hassle of transferring paint from palette to container each day. I realize some people may find my little lunch meat container too small to paint from, not giving them enough room for all their colors and mixing. But there are larger containers you can buy in the grocery store near the other food storage items like foil and plastic wrap. Stick with the cheap "disposable" containers instead of the more expensive Tupperware® and such. The cheap ones are just as good for this purpose and much less expensive.

Even if you need more space, you could still consider reusing your small lunch meat containers by using multiple containers for different color schemes. Put your sky colors in one, foliage colors in another, etc. Then you won't have your foliage colors drying out while you're only working on the sky.

NOTE: It's important to tape your liner to the container! I dropped mine a time or two and it could have been disastrous for the carpet had the liner fallen out and landed paint side down ... as Murphy's Law would have assured it did, just as a slice of bread always falls to the floor with the peanut butter side down! 

Anyway, that's my silly little method for storing water mixable paints. If you have other ideas I'd love to hear them. Please leave suggestions and tips in the comments section below.

Mar 2, 2013

Miniature Painting - No 31 - Happy Wolf!

A new miniature painting. For this one I revisited one of my earliest wolf painting from years ago and repainted his face in this mini painting. A bit of my art history coming back to the future.

 6"x6" oil on Gessobord

Below is the original painting from long ago.

Prints of this painting are available at Fine Art America.

Mar 1, 2013

Miniature Painting - No 30 - Monarch Butterfly

A new milestone! My 30th miniature painting! Almost all of the 30 mini paintings done so far have been sold. I hope you're all enjoying your paintings and are looking forward to seeing what's next. I don't always know myself what the next one will be until I sit down at the easel. :)

Today's painting is the majestic monarch butterfly. This would be nice paired with the previous butterfly painting I did, the swallowtail.

The monarch butterfly lives all over the United States, southern Canada, and Mexico. Because it migrates with the seasons it can be seen more in the southern regions in the winter and the northern regions in the summer. It's the most popular state butterfly, being the official state butterfly for Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia. So if you live in one of these states perhaps it would make a nice conversation piece. Do you also know the state animal, flower, and bird for your state?

In this painting the butterfly is facing to the right whereas the previous butterfly is facing left. It really doesn't matter, though. Notice I put my signature in the corner at an angle. I did this so you can rotate the paintings 90ยบ and have them face whichever way you prefer. If you collect both butterfly paintings perhaps you want them both facing the same direction, or maybe have them facing each other. Your choice.

 6"x6" oil on Gessobord

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