I spent too much time painting Dorothy. After extra 5 or six hours of work after she posted for my friends and me, I didn't know if it got any better. But I would say it probably did because I found not much I wanted to do over. But I think I learned a lot about temperature and hope it sticks.
Dorothy is my 89 year old neighbor. She is kind, wise, healthy and tough. We became good friends over the last dozen years. She is like a mother to me, whom I lost when I was 10.
Recently I got myself a few Silver Brestlon brushes and loved them. Sounds like I'm advertising for them, but they really deserve the praise. They make painting a pleasure as I no longer have to deal with the unruly hair of some of the brushes I use.
This painting is painted from part of a picture I took. I liked the composition at this corner, its colors and contrast, but especially its romantic mood.
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I painted this today from a picture I took at the Red Rock Crossing during a plein air workshop a couple years ago. I've liked this picture but dreaded to paint it because it looked so complicated. So, I summed up my courage.
Besides using a palette knife, I squinted my eyes a lot to try to ignore too many details. I also used a brush to paint where a knife would have messed it up. Since I don't have a lot of patience and a stead hand, the knife was handy for trees and twigs. The problem was that they tend to look too straight and mechanical. Perhaps I still need to use the brush for trees but only after the under paint dries a bit. Any suggestions? I'll appreciate it!
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My friend Sven and I went to Gloria's house to paint last Thursday. In her courtyard,I painted the chair and the flower pots, but Sven ended up painted me while I was painting. Although the setting was very pretty, I had to simplify the background to not fight with the chair. I like the structure of this painting and it had been a good experience.
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When my friends were busying painting a water jug still life, husband Mark came in with a bunch of sunflowers. I dropped everything and quickly painted them. I was in awe of the beauty. But I didn't quite capture the leaves. A few days later, I had to invent the leaves. They are fuzzy now as if in dreams.
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I was trying out the newly bought burnt sienna oil stick, and got into painting this little piece. I added a little blue and transparent oxide red and lots of white. It's spontaneous, and it's a good experience to help me paint looser in the future.
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I painted this from a picture I took of flowers on the adobe wall at a breakfast place where my husband, father and brother-in-laws and I went in downtown Scottsdale. The place had a feel of romance and the food was nice. I remember it was in April when the sun was gentle.
Oh, such lazy days staying in the comfortable, air conditioned home just goofing around and watching people buying international houses on the TV while the temperature here making record high of 109 in the late summer.
This painting transformed itself many times. Today I decided to just try a Joan Mitchell and call it good.
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I meant to paint this lady abstractly but ended up painting her this way. The intent, though, freed me up from being too careful like I often do when I paint real objects. The hands are the most difficult to paint. It took me a few hours to find out what I did wrong, but ended up learning a lot from the mistake. Looking at this now, I think I need to add just a touch of yellow orange to bring the right hand to life, which I'll do in the morning.
This painting was based on a picture I took during a plein air paint-out at the Pebble Beach along the Bush highway. The green tree stood out amongst the grey leafless trees along the creek. I added some horizontal elements to break up the many vertical lines.
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I painted this a week ago and let it sit in my studio while pondering about it. It had a lot more red then and had no dark value, and it seemed too sweet. So, I revised it a bit today. Even though it's an abstract, a focal point or area still helps tying everything up. I would have loved all my abstracts to look good no matter how you placet it. Not this one, though. It wants to look like a bunch of flowers, from my heart.
Please contact me if you have any comments, questions or have something in mind for a painting. Or visit my website, and my other blog. Hope you have a wonderful week!
An update of my 4'x4' commissioned abstract painting: I'm painting it in my mind, no kidding!
A month ago, I did a painting called In the Blue, of some penstemen flowers by the road superimposed on the blue shadow of a tree. Sometimes, when I do the house chores, I would think about the etherial image, about how best to show the feeling. Today, I put it down after a few tries, going a full circle and came back to my original imagination. I think the name "Forget-me-not" is fitting. Don't you think?
To me, Abstract is more difficult to paint than representational painting because the process tends to go through different kinds of preparation, research and techniques. But in the end, it will have to meet the criterias of what makes a good painting: composition, values, color harmony, proportion, depth, eye movement, etc. There are so many ways an abstract can turn out: a little darker here and more color there; warmer here and less busy there. So, here it is, an exit way appeared and I called it a day.
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It was fun and different going back to a bigger canvas. A dear friend came to paint with me today. In between the conversations, I had room to ease my fixation and made this expedition a joyful one. Please come visit my blog to see more recent paintings, or mywebsite to see other paintings. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to contact me via my email.
Before I posted this, I had to think about how this painting came about, even though I only started it two days ago, changed it, let it sit there and finished it today. Then I remember it was a landscape with a big Agave in front and a graceful Mesquite tree in the back and a strip of light in between the two. I still have the picture in my file, but come to think of it, it's really not bad, but I started over and here it is.
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This piece evolved from a presentational to a non-presentational. I found that it is easier to "switch" from one to the other, rather than to start an abstract from nowhere, which I do sometimes, because quite often I end up losing the freshness and the momentum. The images in the mind are hard to hold, and the paint, once on the canvas, solidifies the image; one has no choice but to keep going, innovate and know how and when to quit.
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I painted these two paintings one after the other.
I'm loving the small panels because I can paint quite quickly and spontaneously with lots of paints. Modifying and doing over are quite easy. They can also provide me a feel of what bigger paintings with the same theme can look like.
Today, for the record, I set up an ebay store to sell my small paintings. I don't know how it'll go, so I'm a little nervous. I don't really know what my paintings are worth and what the market is like. There are tons of paintings out there, some are originals, some are copies. But I know that if I keep on painting and get better everyday, some people might appreciate my work. I have everything to gain, especially, by doing it, as an incentive to keep painting. Wish me luck! I will soon put these up to my ebay store when I sum up courage. Please come visit!
The fun thing about painting Abstract is "walking" without knowing where you're going. "Walking in Beauty", as a very dear friend of mine used to say, is the journey we all embark upon. There's no one path that isn't worthy of traveling. At the end, then, like this painting, it is how we make it better by changing, eliminating, and choosing a view.
This pair of pears took me longer to paint than it should have. They are fairly light in color in life with very little red (yes, I picked them, duh), even when I used the spot light, the shades were still quite light. It was a disaster this morning when I looked at it. Then, I went back and made a few attempts to darken the shades. I think I've learned my lessens.
After painted a larger version of this, I went back to paint this smaller one to see how I could do better. The pink and white blossoms were a challenge because it was hard to see where one tree ends and the other begins. I discovered that once we notice the subtle change in shades we can exaggerate the values and colors to make it more painterly. This one is far from perfect, but I've learned an invaluable lessen from doing it.
This painting is painted from an image in my mind, with mostly a palette knife and a brush.
I'm getting better with using the palette knife, like how and what to paint first, and the usage of dark color to light color, etc. I think I'll explore this technique more often because I really enjoy doing it. It's more like painting the abstract which I've always enjoyed doing.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in this painting, ($125, including shipping in the US.)
Or, come visit my web site at www.limahalikart.com to see more.
Just finished this larger version of the painting I did a week ago. It has a lot more detail and took me a lot more time to paint comparing the sizes. I don't know which one is better, the big one or the small one. But each attempt teaches me a lot, and this one, about the contrast and the values of colors.
Please email me at email@example.com if you're interested in purchasing it or my other paintings on my web site, www.limahalikart.com.
Please also visit www.dailypaintersofarizona.com, of which I've just became a team member.
This is a quick study of a beautiful bush out in the front yard of my house.
Everyday when the sun is setting, casting the shadow of a handsome elm tree on my neighbor Dorothy's lawn, this bush with little delicate white flowers on it's long, wispy stems seems to sing with amazing grace against the deep blue across the street.
If you're interested in this or other paintings, please let me know.
I just bought quite a few small panels a week ago and decided to just paint and paint, not to worry about the outcome, as I truly believe that as a painter, my job is to become as good as I can possibly be.
When I started this painting at my friend Gloria's house, I thought I would do an abstract study from a photo I took at the Superstition Mountain. Using a big brush, I still came up with more detail than I intended to. But I was happy with the result and learned a lot during the process.
There are quite a few things I can say from doing this painting. First I found that the quality of paints really helps save time, energy and the resulting look of a painting. So, try to get better oil paints if you can. Second, look at the subject matter (if it's a photo), from far away, or in your computer file using a thumbnail view. It helps you decide if the composition is interesting enough to warrant the effort to paint. To me, the interesting composition involves good stretch of values, different masses and their distribution, lines and dots.
I tried this particular subject three or four times with different tones and brush strokes and finally was satisfied with this one. I found that to express a sunny day, a painting needs to have a good stretch of values, from lightest light 7 to 9 on a scale of 10 to the darkest dark, 1 to 3. It is pretty logical in reality or in theory, because value, as well as color, is relative. In a cloudy day, even though the shadows should even be darker than in the sunny day, we don't have to paint them as dark, as long as the lightest light isn't as light.
I could be wrong. I'll keep painting to find out if I'm right on this.
For a painter like myself, color turns out to be quite a personal choice as long as one is mindful about the value in a painting. For example, I could make this painting "warmer" by either using more orange while painting, or, I can, when it's completely dried, glaze it with a warm color such as orange yellow or very light burnt siena.
I did this study today from a picture I took near Wickenburg, AZ. Usually I'd rough up the composition with a brush and went on to paint. This time, however, I drew the whole thing carefully with a charcoal pencil, paying attention to the detail and the value. When I was satisfied about what I saw, I went on to put oil colors on. I'm pleasantly surprised with the result, as I didn't have to correct the composition which I sometimes do and would muddied up the paint. So, a little more work in the beginning saves a lot of time and energy later.
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These are the "After and Before" photos of my paintings of "Anna".
I painted the "before" of Anna at the Scottsdale Artist School during one of the OPA (Oil Painters of America) studio painting sessions. OPA had it's Annual juried Exhibition in Scottsdale this year, of which I'm an Associate Member. During the OPA event I met many great Masters of contemporary paintings including Zhiwei Tu, David Leffel, Jeff Legg, Joyce Pike and Carolyn Anderson. They inspired me so much I'll never forget them.
William T. Chambers, an OPA Signature Member was kind enough to critique this painting for me, I am so grateful. I followed his suggestion and revised the painting. I muted down one side of the chair to maintain the focus of the painting which is Anna, and kept the flow of the eye movement going. What do you think?
Cotton Series I, II and III
Cotton I, Oil on Cradled panel
The first of the series, Cotton I, has beenjuried into the show at SACAMA, together with my two other art work, "Yours Truly" and "Dancing", which is a bronze. The show "Point of Pride" began on May 5. Hope you'll come visit.