Abstract: Vellum

I decided to play with abstract art today. Below is my first abstract, I call it “Vellum.” I had fun playing with colors and textures. I am working on two wildlife pics, but they will take more time to complete.

Vellum an original oil painting by Yeshua's Child Art studio

“Vellum” Original oil painting, 16 X 20 on canvas board

This is actually a landscape, I based it in part on an old landscape photo I took last spring; but then I played around a lot with textures and colors. It was a LOT of fun to paint! Hope you like it.

How to Paint a Finch in Oils: Stages 4, 5 & 6

Today, I’ll share the next steps in creating a finch painting in oils.

adding lights and darks to the background

adding darks and lights to the background

I now start adding more darks and lights to the background, defining the branches and the snow behind the bird. This will get reworked. I mix the snow hues with ultramarine blue, cobalt blue and titanium white, with a hint of burnt sienna; in the sunny areas, I add a touch of cadmium yellow light and more white. The branches are getting thicker and more defined now. Now for the next step: working on the body of the bird more.

stage 5 adding detail to the bird

Stage 5: working on the body of the bird

In this stage, I add burnt sienna mixed with ultramarine blue to the body and head; and create cream colors with the above plus yellow ochre and white; I start at the front of the bird, and work my way down the body. At this point, the painting looks “gaudy” because I have yet to tone down the bright colors with shadows and highlights; these will come later. My main goal is to show the roundness of the body, and the feather patterns.

in stage 6, the body of the finch is defined more

Stage 6: underpainting the body of the finch

Okay, it’s starting to look like a bird amid snow-covered branches. At this point, it’s got lots of nice color; that’s part of the fine, trying out different colors and combinations. I could stop at this stage, but I like a lot of depth and realism and fine detail, so I’ll keep going. In a few days, I’ll share the finished painting.

Let me know how your painting progresses!

How to Paint a Finch with Oil Paints: Steps 1, 2 and 3

I decided to break down how I approach painting birds, to help others who enjoy painting wildlife.

Grays, blues and whites on the background of this bird oil painting

Stage 1: Creating the background canvas color

Above is my very favorite part of painting: taking a blank white canvas, and priming it with the background colors. For this painting, which is set in a snowy woods, I used mixes of ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, titanium white and a hint of burnt sienna to create the blues and grays. I added a tint in places of pthalo green as well, just for variety. Now, it looks like a soft abstract of blues and grays, just waiting for the painting. This is the exciting part – the possible painting.

Next, I lightly sketch in my main features – the bird and branches for the painting.

in stage 2, a light sketch of the main elements of the painting

Stage 2: sketching in elements

It doesn’t look like much yet, but this step is important. I tend to sketch in freehand; I do know some artists who create computer carbons for their birds or portraits, but I prefer sketching it myself; I often play with where things will sit until I am happy with the result. You can always “rub out” the sketch easily with a bit of turpentine and a rag at this stage.

Next, I start strengthening the background. I always work on my background first, for a reason: if I finish my bird first, I tend to “lose interest” or rush the background. If I work on my background first, then I will spend more time on it.

In stage 3 the background branches in the oil painting are defined better

Stage 3: defining the background & bird more

I also start blocking in some of the finch colors lightly: burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, titanium white, yellow ochre, cad. yellow light for this stage. This lets me know if my sketch is accurate; I constantly redefine as I work.

I’ll share more in my next post.

Yay! Sold Out and Other Great Stuff

Okay, I’m very, very glad – my art cards have been selling well at local art galleries during the holidays, and today I sold out of one of the card lines (the blue jay – I should have made more!). I also created a profile and will have my art on the Saatchi Art Gallery online.

I also sold two paintings this past month, and have two commissions. That’s all great news.

However, I have yet to make an online sale. So, I got to thinking…why? My guess is that if people actually SEE my art, they like it. I took some cards to a local craft fair the other day, to find out how to exhibit at the next one, and the response was gratifying: the person who oversees the show saw my cards, said “OMG! I have to go show these to the other folks here, these are amazing!” and then she proceeded to show them to her friends who liked them a lot, I got a commission that day as well.

So, I guess I will continue to work on offline sales. I do have a friend who is a professional photographer who is going to help me take actual decent photos of my paintings (you now, without all the glare and stuff that I can’t seem to figure out how to get rid of).

I would love to hear from other artists out there – is your experience like mine? Are you selling most of your works offline? What have you experienced in this area?

Well, the sales did make for a happy holiday!

Canadian Geese: Lesson – How to Paint Reflections

Lesson in how to paint water reflections, using "Canadian Geese" from the Birds of Michigan series by YC Art Studio

Birds of Michigan: Canadian Geese, oil, 16 X 20 (c)2014 YeshuasChildArt

I finished the painting of the Canadian Geese, and decided to break this down into a lesson in how to paint reflections.

First the paints: I use Winsor and Newton artist grade oils. For this painting, the palette I used was: ultramarine blue (deep); burnt sienna, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, cadmium red medium, cobalt blue, black, titanium white, cad. yellow light, and sap green.

How I created the water reflections:

1. First, I blocked in the main (medium value) water, using mixes of the blues. It looked like a big blue square of varying shades, with the geese lightly sketched in with burnt sienna.

2. Next, I blocked in the geese main colors.

3. I waited a day for the canvas to dry. This is important, for the glazes to not mix in too much.

4. I then mixed my blues back up, with varying amounts of titanium white; I also added just a hint of pthalo green to create a pretty cerulean. I then took a medium sized brush with a fine point, and “swiped” this glaze lightly over the deeper blues. I then took my deeper blue mix from the previous day, to reinforce the darker parts of the waves.

5. I let the water dry for another day; and worked on the geese. When dry, I then painted in the reflections, remembering that light colors reflect darker, and dark colors reflect lighter on water. I created a mix of burnt sienna, yellow ochre and cad. yellow light in varying mixes for the highlights; and burnt sienna and ultramarine blue for the darks. The final highlights had a hint of titanium white added to the light mix, and were added sparingly. This all took time, to glaze lightly over with a small brush.

6. Once the geese and water were done, I then finished the background. I added a few reeds for interest; with several falling over and pointing to my center of interest – the geese.

I hope this is helpful! I would love to see how others approach this as well.