Animal project

becoming, biology, Oil, Painting

The next show at the art society is a collaborative one. Members need to ask a non-member to either do a collaboration or to hang their pieces side by side.

I asked a woman that teaches on my team at the school because I know she’s an artist too. It turned out that her daughter is also an artist so we are all working on a piece together. 

She picked animals/kindness and animal rights as the topic. I don’t frequently paint animals except for my dogs, but I thought it would be fun to try. I had the idea that we should work on individual canvases and fasten then together at the end because it would allow us to each work at our own pace. 

At this point, I have 4 6×6 paintings of animals that are either being farmed or losing habitat. I also have a heart canvas to go in the middle. The other artists should each be supplying 2 6×6 animal paintings for a total of 9 canvases. They will be fastened into a 3 canvas by 3canvas square. The final dimensions should be 18×18. 

Here are my paintings. 




I’m excited to see this thing come together!

Tulips, lilies and a banana 

becoming, biology, Oil, Painting, Still Life

I’ve been working on a more subtle color palette. Purples and yellows are difficult.

I went to the store and was able to get reduced price tulips. The clerk told me she couldn’t sell them for someone as a gift, but since they were for artwork she could give me a really good deal. I wanted yellow so that was great. The white lilies make the yellow pop a bit sound got those too…

First I did a 5×7 black and white study.

Then a color one. I completely lost the color in the background. It is the right tone, but too grey.


Then I scaled it up paying special attention to the background colors. The size is 11×17. 

My work has been taking longer due to the new process, but the pieces are more fleshed out. It’s a lot less stressful to know what I’m doing when I’m looking at  the bigger the blank canvas. I’m able to be freer with the work because I am more confident in my vision too.

This isn’t quite done yet. The background darks need to be deepened and the lights need more brushwork. I don’t want to over cook it, but it’s pretty far along… I’ll repost when it’s finished.

Three flowers 

becoming, biology, Oil, Painting, Still Life

This piece is close to finished. I have been working on studies from thumbnails in order to get the composition and colors the way I wanted them.

This piece was really designed to test the process. I found that I got to paint almost as much. I have several small studies and a large finished piece as a result. I think the finished piece is stronger than it would have been otherwise. The studies allowed me to try different things with minimal risk. This allowed me to be bolder in the finished piece. 

I still might like to sit down and paint from scratch, but this process is valuable and I’m glad to be using it again.

Tree in field 

becoming, Drawing, Landscape, Oil, Painting, trees

This is entirely from my imagination. Here’s my sketch

I wanted to keep this light. Kind of like the paper but I hadn’t planned my color scheme before I started painting.


At this point I like it, but it was not finished. That was more obvious in person than from the photo. I do need to step away from my work more and earlier. That’s a challenge in a studio as small as mine…


This version was too much the same tone. I worked it a lot from here. Scraped off the tree.. Did a bunch. It didn’t improve it much considering all the work I put in.


I learned a ton from this piece even though it didn’t come together that easily for me. I really should have done a color study after the sketch and had a better handle on my intended palette. I gained somethings and lost some as I finished it. 

Maybe if I do the color studies to bridge between the sketch and the final piece, I’ll be able to keep it looser and it will actually be finished. I’m excited to try a new workflow process. I definitely need to be doing more before jumping into the painting. And I think I have some ideas.

Next I’ll be working on a cooperative piece relating to animal rights with another artist I know. I’m excited to try my new workflow on the joint piece to see how it goes. Good habits go a long way! Now to clean my brushes…

My doggie muse

becoming, Dogs, Figure, Oil, Painting

I haven’t been able to paint for several weeks. I have been going to the life drawing sessions though. I wanted to start another painting of trees but also knew I just had to paint something simple to get myself going again. 

Here’s what I came up with; Miles again! He’s so much fun to paint. I want to keep it fresh, so it’s pretty much done.

I’m calling it Ennui. Just look at the face!

One yellow tree

becoming, biology, Landscape, Oil, Painting, trees

I’ve decided to explore trees in my paintings. I am excited about the idea of portraits of trees. 

Trees are important to me. They are important to us all, really. But as a biology teacher, I did a School Woodland Ecosystem Study Project Fellowship with the Cary Institute. That project permanently changed the way I view my trees. I already knew a lot about trees and their interactions with the environment, but I learned much more about different species of trees and their specific contributions to an ecosystem. I have even gotten fairly good at identifying trees without leaves from their bark alone. It’s no surprise really that this would find a way into my art. 

Trees are like people in that they reflect their environment. That are molded by it like we are. They survive hardships like we do. That portrait of a tree appeals to me for this reason.