Sunday, August 26, 2012


I love to paint Cyclamen, I don't often tackle them but I think I've enjoyed almost every painting I've ever completed of them. I guess it's partly the simple clean shapes of both leaves and petals, and the random twists of the flowers and petals that create just enough interest. Additionally the plant tends to be small and condensed, this allows the subject matter to be simply rendered and compact in composition.

In this one I pushed the colors to bring it into a range that I always enjoy, (well as long as I accomplish the right tones of greens). I suppose sometimes the green can get a little muddy for my liking, but here I kept them light, which allows them to sit nicely alongside the yellows and those ice blue/ aqua shades.

The table cloth patterning is a good test here, I wanted it cleanly painted but not too over powering. There's a risk that it can come off as poorly rendered, if the tones aren't strong enough but I think it works pretty well here.

Cyclamen on green with lemons
18X24  Acrylic on board

Friday, August 17, 2012

knowing when to stop....

I've probably posted about this before, but oh well.... The question an artist faces of 'knowing when to stop' is a common one.  As a young artist I always felt that in time it would become easier, and that as I matured as an artist I would always know the the right time to set a painting aside. But in truth, I have found it's a question and a problem that never goes away and always remains.

With this painting the urge to put in one more brush stroke, to add one more flower, or to remove/ rework a section of flower bed has been (it seems unending). Even now (though finished) the urge is strong, and I know in myself the painting had all the elements in place sometime ago, and yet I've continued to tweak and continued to play. It's been fun, but the actual improvement within each revision has been perhaps minimal.


 I think however, the biggest difference in 'knowing when to stop', is that as you become more experienced, gradually over time you get better at hiding the 'extra fiddling'.  This painting (I hope) continues to look fresh and strong, and the reworked elements are hidden sufficiently to allow the painting to continue to look fresh and alive.  So here perhaps is a saving grace of a few more years under the belt.


As an aside I really enjoyed tackling this subject, drawn by the beauty and complexity of the garden and the wonderful architecture the mission church provided. These buildings of age and beauty sometimes seem to far a field on the west coast of America, it was fun to put one too paint!

San Carlos Borromeo Mission garden
34 X46     Acrylic on wood

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


It's been a while since I painted Still lifes this small, and I'm having fun doing a few of them at this size. It allows for a reduction in complexity, of the subject -  a boiling down to what's important. This in turn encourages a more alla prima (in the moment) approach.

Rhododendrons are fantastically complex blooms, I think the trick is to try to paint them with a less is more approach and somehow it seems to work. These flower buds were fun to paint.

Rhododendron with fruit on red
18X24    Acrylic on board