Posts Tagged ‘oils’

in the studio

September 28, 2013


I went to see the High Museum Exhibit in Atlanta that included Vermeer’s “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” last weekend and for the first time in forever, I wanted to paint in oils.  I took a phone photo of my son studying outside on our return home and am using it to paint.  I have never done a successful portrait of Taylor (I did do a watercolor of him sleeping at about age 4 but since the local art show rejected it I am not sure I can call it a success, although  I liked it enough to hang on my wall for several years) and I am hoping I will consider this one successful.  Truthfully, I am hoping I just finish it.

Taylor photo copy


First a charcoal sketch.

taylor 1 smallerDust off excess charcoal.taylor 2 smallerBegin with a grisaille underpainting using cadmium blue, raw sienna and flake white.  Cover the canvas fast!

taylor 3 smallerRefine.  Refine.  And refine some more.

taylor 4 smallerAmazed I remember!

Awww, the fresh smell of turpentine!  Wish me luck in remembering how to use color!


It’s good to be Queen

August 8, 2009

Esther was lovely in form and features according to the book named for her in the Bible. She went without any extrarraneous bangles, baubles and other such bling (if you want to translate the Bible this way) when it was her turn to be presented to the King Xerxes.  And she won his favor and became the queen.

This young woman makes me think of Esther with an innocence and beauty that needs nothing to enhance it. I hope I have conveyed that in this small portrait I painted today.



6″x6″   oil on canvas

two pairs of eyes are better than one

August 3, 2009

I have been working on the stone angels today and thought I would share my progress with you.  I struggle with knowing when a painting is finished and how to proceed each time I pick up a brush to work on one after I have put it away for a day or two.   That is when it is good to have an instructor or another set of eyes looking over your shoulder.




I am amazed when someone looks at my work and immediately picks out something that is so obviously wrong, yet I have not even seen it.  My mother and daughter are both good at doing this. Do you see anything jumping out at you and want to offer me some construction criticism?  I am open to it (as long as you are gentle!).

Pride and (just a little) Prejudice

August 1, 2009

I am very excited!  Suzannah is coming home tomorrow after having been an unit counselor at Camp Juliette Low ( all summer!  Well, I should say she is passing thru (long enough to eat lunch with us) on her way to Myrtle Beach for a week in the sun, but who could possibly deny her that after having spent the entire summer in the woods.   I cannot wait to spend some quality time with her.

So, while thinking of her, I decided to share her very first real painting.  This is a self-portrait she did in her first painting class at UGA.  Can you guess just how very proud of her I am???  And she even made  the doll she is holding, too!


Self Portrait by Suzannah Finley

40″ x 31″      oil on canvas

I have been working on the first two angels in my series and have started the third.  I am showing it at an even earlier stage than the others, having just finished the charcoal drawing on the canvas.  I am finding photoshop so much fun as a tool in painting.  No longer do I have to do thumbnail sketches (I always hated that process), I can play with the composition in photoshop and even alter colors if I like! 


I have this image in my head of my great-great-grandchildren seeking my final resting place and after much searching thru the brambles they will stumble across my grave, brush off the spider webs covering the headstone, and grow excited as they make out my name.  I guess I won’t request an angel like this looking down upon me… she would likely make it way too easy to find me and take all the fun out of the search!

The Profile

July 15, 2009

When I was taking classes in portraiture,views  looking toward the model’s face were always the most desirable.  Why is it then that all my portraits seem to be of the profile?  Perhaps I am not assertive enough.

     This is a portion of a portrait of a class model done several years ago.



20″x30″     pastel on mi-teints paper


This is from an old black and white photograph again.  I like painting from old photos because then I only have to get the drawing right.  I can do any ol’ color I want and who will know the difference.


 Girl in Black Hat

8″x10″   oil on canvas

And one of my favorite artists, John Singer Sargent, did his most famous portrait of Madame X (considered scandalous when it was presented to the Salon in Paris).  The woman was Madame Gautreau.  She was “high society” and was influenced by her peers to hate this painting.  There is a great book called “Strapless: John Singer Sargent and The Fall of Madame X” by Deborah Davis that goes into this story.  It was perhaps the most enjoyable non-fiction book I have ever read.

There is a waitress at a restaurant we frequent who, surely, must be a direct descendant of  Madame X.  She has this exact profile.

I dared not try to copy the whole painting but I did attempt to copy her face. 


Madame X’s Profile

8×8  acrylic on canvas