This time I painted Louise with a slightly different limited palette: chromatic black, cad red light, yellow ochre, and white, of course. I am stunned by the beautiful colors that come from just those four paints. I worked from a black and white photograph and just used the values that the colors gave me.
This squirrel has a cute little face all full of such innocence, but his hands have dangerous claws. He must need them in the big world where he is so small. Also he is fast. Davy chased him one day and did not catch him. Thank goodness!
If I said it took two weeks to paint this little gourd full of carnations, no one would believe it. But it is true. I wonder how many times you can wash down a canvas before it falls apart. I must have come close. I had some troubles finding the vision for it and I had grown rusty while finishing up my little book.
Carnations do not have a noticeable center so you get lollipop flowers. Also I tried using a synthetic brush which is not as responsive as natural bristles.
There is, after all, something about it that I like.
So many years ago the idea for this came to me and I have kept it alive in the back of my mind all this time. I really cannot describe the joy of bringing it to fruition at last.
The story is simple and the images are too, but the process of putting it all together was NOT simple! My admiration for professional illustrators has grown enormously. They deserve so much credit and appreciation.
My book can be found on Amazon, Children's Books. Put my name in the search box, but I am not the only Cheryl Wilson on Amazon. My Animals book and But Not So are my only books that you will find, so far.
How hard it is to lose a loved one. When our yellow lab Keely left us, we had Monte, a pup mix, to help us through the grief. Now, years later, Monte is gone and we have no new generation to comfort us.
He loved Keely and I always treasured this photo of them together. I painted it and I am pleased with it, but it was hard.
These big ol' sunflowers were a gift from friends to warm my new kitchen remodel. I knew immediately that I would try to paint them because they would serve my still life endeavors. I tried to see less (squint) and connect shapes. Such a lot to learn, even after you think you know everything there is to know.
The kitchen looks good and the flowers looked good in it.
When we moved to town, we made a new friend, the fox squirrel. Where we lived before we had gray squirrels and Douglas squirrels (so cute!). We think this guy is pretty cute too.
The canvas had a mishap that affected the surface quality. I had put it in the freezer to keep it fresh until the next day to finish it, and the freezer breaker switch flipped and the freezer defrosted on my canvas overnight. I thought it would be easy to repair, but it was not. The marks still show. I have decided to accept them.
These raspberries are from a bush originally from Oakland, CA, the yard of the the sister of my friend Jay. I planted them at my old house, and then when we moved here, I brought them with me. They are doing fine because the deer do not eat them.
Painting raspberries is a good thing because as they continue to ripen and fall off, I can just pick them up and pop them into my mouth.
It has been quite some time since I participated in the DPW Painting Challenge. I should do it more often because it is such a good discipline. For example, here I am painting a flower, not my best thing. That is OK. It is good for me.
This particular flower grew volunteer in my yard, so, naturally, I took its picture and I am glad I did. I needed it for this challenge.
Toyon grow wild just over the split rail fence in our backyard. There are only four lining the property line, but I wish they went the whole way. Some people call them Christmas bushes. Very cheery red berries in the winter.
This year's series of persimmons has been fun. Next week we go to the Mandarin Festival in Newcastle CA where I hope to find my favorite little oranges with stems and leaves still on. I will be needing new material for next year.
Eli lives at Animal Ark in Reno NV. His ears are very short because they froze off before the good people in Reno could rescue him. I took this picture of him considering a reddish fruit. I think it was a carrot, but since I do not paint carrots very well, I turned it into a tomato. I hope it is true that bears eat tomatoes. If not, then this is an example of artistic license.
It is harvest time for apples and persimmons in Northern California, so I must hurry to get my photography done before they are all gone to market. The trees are beautiful fully laden with their fruit. I just take lots of pictures of the trees, go home, download, and look for the paintings in the trees. One tree can give me several compositions to choose from. I feel so rich.
I believe this is the most difficult piece I have done all year! It was not the white on white that was the problem. It was all the little bitty details in the phone itself. And I left most of them out.
I had toned the canvas with Venetian Red and then found the reddish peach looked pretty on it. I decided to keep the color of the toned canvas but thickened the surface with more paint. The colors worked for me and I had very little more to do. It was like the painting said, "Here, Cheryl. We are going to give this one to you."
It was pretty cute. This one was standing behind the tree and peeked out to look at me when I took his picture. He was coming in to get a drink at the birdbath (the one that got broken when we moved). Now we have a new birdbath and I am hoping for visits from our new neighbors, the family of deer that lives here in the woods near us. I need fresh material.
As you may know, flowers give me trouble. Our camellias this year were so beautiful and I love that pretty pink color. I am just always worried that my paintings of flowers will look trite, and they often do.
I did enjoy composing the canvas though. I am interested in the divine proportion. If you multiply the length and width of the canvas by .618, you arrive at a result that is better than the rule of thirds. I never brag about my math skills, but I find the way the divine ratio works is great fun.
I do not do commissions. I have said it before and I say it now. But when I saw Madison, I knew I would make an exception. She struck me as truly exceptional.
She did, however, remind me of why I do not do commissions. First, she is a brown dog. How to make the brown look beautiful? Then there are her white spots. How to include them without it looking stupid? And I never would have been able to reproduce her spots and not someone else's spots. So leave them out.
Her eyes though turned out more easily. I did work on them quite a while and used all the tricks in my art bin, but I did not find them to be problematical. I hope her family agrees with me.
Julee did a big favor for my sister when she needed some serious help after her hospital stay. As a way of saying "thank you," my sister asked her favorite artist (me) to paint Julee's adorable dog as a gift. Here is the little darling, and, as usual, I fall in love with the subjects I paint.
The Growers Market is the best place to find fruit with the leaves still on. I bought several and then photographed them right away because I knew they would not last. I was right. We ate them immediately. Local summertime peaches--heavenly!
I suppose most everyday objects are rich material for metaphors, but my favorites are shoes and teapots. When I paint a teapot I can think about the setting, who is doing the preparing, who is doing the drinking, what they are doing and thinking or dreaming. For me, a teapot holds more than just tea.
Louise Brooks--I have painted her several times. I enjoy her "garconne" look, but I do not worry too much about likeness since her haircut identifies her so quickly. But this time I really did try to get a good likeness because I met the president of the Louise Brooks Society, and if anyone would notice if I got it right or not, he would.
It is a lucky find when the fruit still has stems and leaves. I bought the whole bunch and took lots of photographs. When I saw this one, I knew I wanted to paint it right away. At first I did not notice the crease in the linen. When I did, I had to decide whether to leave it in or leave it out. I am very pleased to have left it in. Don't know much about painting drapery, but I like the way this little wrinkle turned out.
I am trying to develop my still life painting, and I love to paint fruit, but utensils are a different story. In my kitchen I use the reamer regularly as I do my steel bowls, but I bet I will not paint them again any time soon. The bowl was not as hard as I expected it to be, but the reamer was ten times harder.
Although bosc pears look quite brownish, they sometimes also have a lovely orangey color that goes well with blue. Because orange and blue are complementary, the orange came out really, really orange, and the blue really, really blue. They could have used a little neutralizing or some split complement work. Aside from that, I love that little star shape in the center when you cut a pear crosswise.
I wanted to paint a still life in an analogous color scheme. The yellow lemons and napkin set the stage. I got my inspiration from Janet Rickus, and I plan to borrow more from her wonderful vision. One problem I have with that is I do not have a lot of crockery. She says she borrows from friends. I may have to do that too.
I have always enjoyed round orange fruits for my paintings. It is perfect when they still have a leaf or two on them, but that almost never happens unless I do the picking myself. The thing about persimmons is that stem section. Only four little leaves, what could be so hard? I don't know, but it is.
My friend found this phone for me at an antique fair. Working rotary phones are very rare now. I just love them. The sound, the weight, the way a secretary would use her pencil to dial because her nails were too long, things like that.
This one happens to be an army phone. I can just imagine someone using it to call home and tell us all that wars are no more.
Breaking rules again today. This time it is the "Rule of Odds." There is an even half dozen persimmons in my lineup. Maybe it would have been better with five or seven, but it is six and I do not mind. It looks OK to me.
These extreme canvases, 1:3 ratio, are really too long for good compositions but still fun to do. I like the challenge of arranging the subject, and I find that people enjoy them for just that crazy space on the wall that will not take a traditional canvas.
A funny thing about a persimmon tree is that all its leaves can drop and the fruit still hangs on. You see an old bare tree full of fruit. Persimmons are a good crop in California. The Fuyu, the kind shown here in my painting, is my favorite for eating because it is nice even when a little firm. The Hachiya, the longer pointy ones are often bitter and make your mouth pucker up unpleasantly. But both can make a lovely painting. Such a color!
Eleanor Powell was a fabulous dancer. She had such a sweet, wholesome look that made me like her, but she was not much of an actress, which probably explains why she was never a leading lady. She was still a bundle of talent. I love the one where she dances with the dog.