Sea Creatures


I must be easily influenced! One of my friends mentioned interest in Horseshoe Crabs and off I went to work on Horseshoe crabs. Never would I have thought to do a painting of this particular sea creature. But, it was super fun! And, I learned a little bit about them too. I am going to do a series of 3. One more to do. I actually love their shape and design. These lent themselves to the encaustic medium as a finish…and the addition of white broken shells. Both of them are done on cradled birch panel, using a combination of oil bar, watercolor and casein, encaustic and the found natural shells. Lots of fun! I just have to decide the color scheme for the last one!


Challenge Day 2!


I started off with the ambitious proposal to myself of 3 paintings today. I did 2. One was not worthy of posting, the other I am happy with. Maybe tomorrow I will get 3 that work well. I am fearful that in order to keep up with this challenge I will have to stockpile!

This piece is resourced from my Animals: 1419 Copyright-free illustrations of Mammals, Birds, Fish, Insects etc as well as images that I found on google. It is a cross between an American and European Avocet (which may be the same, I don’t know). Regardless, I think that they are elegant!

Medium is watercolor ground with salt and graphite over top.


small study: oil bar, 5" x 6"

small study: oil bar, 5″ x 6″

It’s so interesting to me that sometimes the studies that I do to warm up for a “finished” painting turn out better than the final. Maybe it is the carefree attitude. I suppose I could try to trick myself into doing larger “studies”! No doubt the more I do, the better I will get at being less worried when faced with canvas or large substrates. It’s all a process.

The last few days have been spent working with the oil bars and some ink and water color projects. Ink is a lot of fun. I like going back and forth between these two mediums…they are so different. I think switching over to a different medium helps my easily distracted brain!

Trigger Fish: Ink & Watercolor, 5" x 7"

Trigger Fish: Ink & Watercolor, 5″ x 7″

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!

Time and discipline

Acrylic: 18"x24" in progress

Acrylic: 18″x24″ in progress

So, I think I might be over ambitious. I had such good intentions two weeks ago to get a bunch of stuff finished…I am not sure why I feel the need to hurry anyway. I am going to try very hard though not to start anything new until I finish the Jack-in-the-pulpit painting. I am still working on my beetle bug and of course sketching as much as I can. I feel like I have abandoned my shell painting–I am just not that happy with it. Of course I can go back to it at any time.

I feel like I need to give my self permission to move on when a project is feeling good. But, on the other hand sometimes when I push through and just get it done it all works out! And, time or the lack of is probably my most frustrating problem. Time in is what I want. I am just going to have to be happier with the time I get to work on my art projects, enjoy it while it happens.

I am missing the bug drawing. Now that the days are longer, I need to plan to get into the art shed after my day job–discipline.

Warm-up sketch: watercolor pencil

Warm-up sketch: watercolor pencil