Category Archives: Process

what do you love?

In my last blog post, I focused on the importance of figuring out what we do well as painters. Another important part of the equation, it seems to me, is what do you love? Painting is about what you love to look at and what kind of art you want to create. As much as I believe that some of it is decided for us, I believe that intent also plays a big part.

flowers bring me joy. This painting, “ladies in milk glass,” is available through auction this week.

a forever painting

A favorite teacher of mine says … Read more ...

what do you do well?

A painter I know asked me one simple question a few months ago that I couldn’t adequately answer. He asked me if I knew what I did well.

This was the first painting I did after circling back to reacquaint myself with the importance of values. I was consciously aware of separating my light and shadow families when I painted this.

It’s a great question and one that I’m still trying to answer for myself. Because I had come to work in a way that was largely intuitive, I couldn’t necessarily break down the parts, so to speak. I knew … Read more ...

Repeating motifs

Yesterday someone asked me why I paint the same things over and over; why I repeat motifs like flowers, vases, my neighbors’ house, and views of my backyard. The short answer is – I repeat motifs because I am not painting things. I aim to focus on the specific aspects of something that make it interesting to me.

small hydrangea, 6×8″

hydrangea, 10×10″
I worked on this larger painting while also working on “small hydrangea.”

I am communicating light and silence and movement and joy and color. A motif is just the vehicle for how to get there.  Painting … Read more ...

Midtones

I’ve been thinking about the importance of midtones lately; how when I analyze what I love about a painting, it is often the beautiful can’t-be-named midtones. Midtones are a favorite topic of mine.


gerber daisies in blue bottle, 6×8″, oil painting on panel. This painting is currently at auction. Click here to bid.

As painters, we know the importance of values, and I won’t pretend to have it all figured out. My own approach is to simplify, to limit, to push the values into groups. But it’s all relative, and the midtones in each painting will be different from … Read more ...

Nothing to lose: taking risks when painting

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking risks when painting. In fact, risk-taking has become an integral part of my process. I will wipe out, paint over, glaze, scumble, and do whatever it takes to get at what I’m trying to communicate in a painting. I take risks to grow as a painter and to push past hurdles. Sometimes I ruin a painting in the process, but if the painting was mediocre or unresolved, then I didn’t lose anything.

He has nothing,
thus has nothing to lose.

-Lao tzu, Tao te ching
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Begin without beginning – an intuitive painting process

oil painting of pink rose in crystal bud vase
quiet light

When I paint, I “begin without beginning.” Another way to say it is to “begin without knowing.” This approach is opposite of the advice to “begin with the end in mind,” or to know where you’re going before you start. I’ve found that this organic, intuitive painting process suits me better than pre-planning every step. I try not to focus too much on the outcome of a painting session.

An artifact, not a painting

Let me explain. This means that I don’t usually actively try to produce a “painting” when I paint, though a painting is the result. … Read more ...