Working on a little birthday gift for my husband’s aunt. She is turning 80 in May. Hard to think about what kind of subject matter would be best…settled on Lily of the Valley as this is the official flower of May. Difficult little buggers to get right! Fun to work on though.

Also messing around with oil bar paint on found beach wood. Thinking of moving on to shells, or back to the birds. Vacation week is coming to a close.


Bird Week


Somehow I got focused on the water birds this week. Feels like the right subject matter while at the beach. Someone pointed out to me that I keep cutting the poor birds beaks off! It happens a lot! For the next one I will try to keep the beak within the frame. I am really enjoying the paint transfer technique with the oil paint…and I have discovered how to make this work on canvas as well. The line is more difficult to control on the canvas, but still offers up a quality that I appreciate.


The Ninth Day


Here we are day 9. I am going to throw caution to the wind and use a painting that I just finished to stand in for day 9. I started it weeks ago, but finished today. This was done in oil paint bar with a palette knife on paper–sunset over Maui pastures. I did another piece that I am happier with, but by the time I completed it the daylight was gone…so no way to take a good photo (and my scanner is in a different location. I will post that one tomorrow. I had a great day painting! #30paintingsin30days!

Style Departure


The goal for this painting was just to try out the oil bar paint on paper, but with a gesso ground. When I use just the paper, of course some oil seeps through over time. While the feel is different on the gesso ground I think it is a better choice for longevity of the work. For the drawing and subject I just wanted to do something simple…so I chose the pelican in a very graphic depiction. And, I had a lot of fun doing it!

It’s a total style departure. Fun to do something totally different.

Beach Clouds

Oil Paint Sticks on paper: 10" x 8"

Oil Paint Sticks on paper: 10″ x 8″

Back to the oil paint sticks on paper. I was thinking that the simple shapes of a beach scene would be a good way to practice with the oil paint sticks. And, it is, but it’s not easy by any stretch! Beaches are difficult in their simplicity! Clouds are much harder than they seem! But, I do think that this is a good approach for me, scenes that are not too complex, and I can concentrate a bit more on how to lay down the paint…mixing on the paper and layering to achieve what I want. An artist friend gave a great suggestion that I will employ next, bring some sand color up into the clouds.

I found my friends blog post as a good resource to go back to: Edward Seago Inspiration

Painting and Sketching

Oil Paint Sticks: 6 x 9 on paper

Oil Paint Sticks: 6 x 9 on paper

More practice with oil paint sticks on paper. I am going to try and stay within 6″ x 9″ and 8″ x 10″ sizes on paper for now. This is a good size to work on to get a piece done within a reasonable time. I think this is a good way to get my technique refined before moving over to larger work. I did get some Shiva oil paint sticks that are not student grade, the color seems to be richer. They are “hard” but that seems to be working to my advantage right now.

Practicing Faces: inspired by Modigliani

Practicing Faces: inspired by Modigliani

My other goal right now is to improve my drawing skills for faces.  I have some pieces that I want do that involve things like mermaids and they need to have nice faces! So, I am sketching faces, mostly from expressionist and impressionist painters…I don’t want to get to tied tight with them.

Like Butter!

quick study: R&F paint sticks on paper

quick study: R&F paint sticks on paper

So, the quick small study reveals that R&F oil paint sticks are super buttery! Which, in some cases will be exactly what I want. It makes them more difficult to work with on a small scale. The next experiment will be on a larger scale…maybe 9x12ish. I need a broader range of colors in these paints–and I probably should do a little color mixing with them to see what colors I can make. These paints will work very nice using a brush I think.

Next up to try will be the Windsor Newton Oil bars!


Sunflower study: oil pigment sticks on paper

Sunflower study: oil pigment sticks on paper

I think that I have discovered a medium that I will stay with for awhile. I feel like I have been on a discovery project for the last couple of years…playing around with lots of different mediums and subjects. The oil paint sticks are awesome! So, my plan is to commit to them for the next 12 months and see how the work goes.

Not to say I am going to put away my pens and watercolor type mediums…I love those for sketches. Now that I have decided on the medium, I think I will be able to focus on my subject matter in a more serious and planned way. I need to get back to a sketch a day to continue to improve my drawing skills.

Feeling good about making some specific choices for the next few months!

Finished painting: oil paint stick on canvas

Finished painting: oil paint stick on canvas

Beach Inspired

Happy Whale: oil paint stick on canvas 11 x 21

Happy Whale: oil paint stick on canvas 11 x 21

Finished up the whale painting today–tail is more proportional in the larger version. I like using the oil paint sticks on canvas…it’s a little different than working on a rigid substrate for sure. I found that I could use the edge of a plastic palette knife to make some really nice marks on the surface. And, the knife did a great job of blending the colors the way I wanted. I think that I will keep going with this technique for a couple of pieces.

I am going to try to do a similar scratching technique on paper to see if that works, but the surface may be too soft. I need to get more canvas!

Oil Paint Sticks

Playing around with oil paint sticks

Playing around with oil paint sticks

Loving the oil paint sticks! I got a starter/student set of Shiva oil paint sticks to try while on vacation. The color selection is a little primary…but that is good to learn with. I also got a set of mini iridescent oil sticks–they are very nice colors and not too metallic.

Working on paper is actually very nice with this medium and it dries pretty much overnight. Dry enough to close my journal anyway. I love the fact that the sticks are kind of chubby, so it forces me to stay loose. I have gone into little spaces with a brush as well. The Shiva product is not as buttery as the R&F that I was using at home. I like the quality of the Shiva for paper…I think that the R&F will be better for canvas.

Study 4x6 for painting. The tail is too big!

Study 4×6 for painting. The tail is too big!

Playing around with some small studies–working on a larger painting from the small study. Interesting feeling going from paper to canvas.

Beginning of larger painting with oil paint sticks on canvas.

Beginning of larger painting with oil paint sticks on canvas.