The Beach Path: Oil Painting

Have you ever had one of those paintings that you just aren’t sure if it “worked out” or not? This is one of those for me. I played some more with spatter painting (it’s been tons of fun), and creating a beach scene. 

A friend even let me paint a pair of her flip flops. 

Here it is: 



With this said, I’m not quite sure it turned out the way I envisioned it in my mind. It’s a path going down to Lake Michigan at the state park in Ludington. The sand is okay, the flip flops turned out, but…

Anyway, I would love to hear opinions. 


Experimenting with Spatter painting: Lake Michigan Shoreline

Okay, since I’m mainly self-taught (well, I did minor in art in college, but they didn’t teach much painting technique, mostly drawing and design) I like to check out art books from the library, learn about techniques and…experiment. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they are disasters.

I went to Lake Michigan a couple of weeks ago, and was fascinated by some old broken down pier posts on the beach. So, I decided to try spatter technique for the first time to create the sand, and paint the rest traditionally. Below is the result:


Sorry about the glare; the oils were still a bit shiny. The real thing is a bit sharper.

How I did it: I sacrificed an old toothbrush, washed it out in hot water, then after painting the underpainting in a mixture of burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre and a touch of white, which I let dry, I dipped the toothbrush into turpentine, then mixed up yellow ochre and white for the lights, in varying shades.

I found out that I needed to keep the paint mix very thin, and not hold the toothbrush too close (or I got big blobs which I had to wipe up). For the darks, I mixed raw umber and ultramarine blue. I also used a bit of yellow ochre and burnt sienna for mid-shades. It took a LOT of spattering to get the right amount of texture.

My roommates love it. I’m experimenting with spatter painting in another painting that I’m doing. I confess: I love water and shorelines. I can’t wait to visit the shore again. Lake Michigan is AMAZING. It is huge, just like being at the ocean (okay, I’m from Texas, I had no idea the great lakes were so big). Or beautiful.



Birds of Michigan series: Titmouse

Recently, I’ve been painting birds. I did a couple for one of the bathrooms in the house I live in, to complement a series of birdhouses that a roommate put up. They look nice together, along with the shower curtain that has…birds.

I live where the birds constantly come and visit, due to the feeders we put out. During the fall, winter and spring, the chickadees, titmouses, red-breasted Grosbeaks and cardinals swoop in all day long, while the finches and woodpeckers get their share, too.

A friend suggested that I paint a “Birds of Michigan” series (this friend REALLY likes birds). So, I’ve decided to go for it. This is the first painting I’ve completed; it’s a titmouse. Image

I hope you like this little feller. He has that cheeky look that titmouses get; I love their beady eyes and tuft of hair. I think he’s quite satisfied with himself!


Plein Aire painting of Atoka Lake

ImageI love to paint outdoors, and capture the feel of a landscape on site. This is a plein aire (outdoors on site) painting that I did awhile back of the trees at Atoka Lake in Oklahoma. I was fascinated by the textures of the lichen growing on the bark, and wanted to show it. If you ever go there, it really does look like this in mid-summer, lots of brown and ocher grass, very different from the lush greens of West Michigan.

No mosquitoes there, either. But I do love the cool summer weather here, and how beautiful and green it is.