Posts Tagged ‘value study’

Painting a day—March 2016

March 3, 2016

For the past couple of years, I’ve challenged myself to a month of painting a day challenges. Normally I do this during the month of February since my schedule seems to slow down a bit during that month. This year was an exception. Life was busy and a bit messy and I fell behind. The next thing I knew, I was shaking my head and a week and a half into the month of February and I hadn’t done one painting. Rather than continue to be frustrated with myself, I decided to postpone the challenge for a month. Well, here it is…. it’s March…. How’d that happen?

I have to say, February went out with a bang, I ended it with a two day painting workshop followed up with a new nephew born on leap day…..I guess life really hasn’t slowed much, but, I’m determined so, here it is, the start of my painting a day challenge.

For the first painting, I got up a couple hours before I had to get ready for my “day job” and decided to go to my easel and do a quick study. I decided to start where the workshop I had just taken, left off. One of the main concepts of the workshop was, “paint what you know”. We worked on sketching multiple thumbnail sketches, all from our memory… photos….no “en plein air” work. It was all based on scenes we’d studied, maybe painted before, or were just familiar to us. As we built up several sketches, we chose one to build upon. We sketched it in greater detail and made detailed studies of key parts of the sketch. Later, we worked on a color study of one of the thumbnails. This was meant to be a quick study but, I had trouble working out the colors that I had in my mind. We were given a two hour period to do a “final” painting based on the reference material and study we’d made previously. I didn’t feel like my color study was quite where I wanted it to be so, I spent an hour on it. With the last hour, I felt I needed to get something done on my “final” painting so, I started blocking in color and shape. My “final” painting wasn’t done by the time our time was up and it wasn’t quite meeting my vision. I say all of this to introduce my first painting for March…a quick, 30 minute study on background for my “final” painting. It is nothing fancy but it is a building block. Building blocks and the benefit of structured, repetitive practice are my goals for my painting a day challenge. I hope you’ll come along for the ride and maybe gain a bit of insight as to my process…..or just stop by to see what I felt like painting that day.


No Scrub-Day 27

February 28, 2015
5"x7" oil on canvas panel

5″x7″ oil on canvas panel

Day 27 of my painting a day project–one more day to finalize the project and to end the month of February.  This guy was spotted on one of our hikes in the Rockies a few years ago.  He was walking among the scrub and sage brush….he was definitely no scrub!  He had a nice set of antlers and bulk to match.  He had recently finished shedding the velvet from his antlers because there were still a few bits hanging from them.  He was a beaut and even better, he didn’t seem to mind our presence so, I got some fantastic reference material for later paintings/drawings.

Here’s the link to this painting on the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking:

Antlered–Day 26

February 28, 2015


5"x7" oil on canvas panel

5″x7″ oil on canvas panel

Day 26 of the painting a day project.  I was fascinated by the patterns, highlights, and shadows of the antlers on this guy so, the crop is a bit different than I would normally do when painting this type of subject.  If I had set out with the intent of painting a mule deer value study, I definitely wouldn’t have cut off the nose/muzzle and would’ve probably shown more of the body.  I didn’t want to get too “fussy” with the antler detail but, I did want to get those contrasts that show the form and curve of the antlers.  This was a fun but challenging painting–subject I will definitely like to explore larger!

Here’s the link to this painting in the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking!

Wisdom–Day 24

February 26, 2015
7"x5" oil on canvas panel

7″x5″ oil on canvas panel

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Day 24 of the painting a day challenge.  Four more days of the project–whew!  It has been a hectic month and especially a hectic week this week, between my “day job”, class, and keeping up with this project.  Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day and I begin to feel like I’m treading water and slowly sinking!  That’s when I have to take a moment, take a deep breath and say the serenity prayer to myself.  It’s great meditation, even if it’s just for a moment.

This subject is a barred owl that I happened upon on my way to work one morning, on, of all days, April Fool’s day!  I happened to be doing the photography project at the site  so, I did have my DSLR with me.  I quickly turned around, pulled over and set my camera settings to what I “thought” they needed to be because I knew, when I stopped, the owl would fly.  I figured I would have one shot at it.  Turns out, I was basically right.  I was able to snap 3 shots!  One of him perched on the fence post and two of him flying away.  I ended up being late for work but so, worth it!

Here’s the link for this painting on the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking!

Pioneer–Day 15

February 15, 2015
Pioneer-value study

7″x5″ oil on panel

Day 15–I’m on the back half of the challenge.

“There will always be a frontier where there is an open mind and a willing hand.” ~Charles Kettering.

Here’s the link to the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking:


February 13, 2015
7"x5" oil on canvas

7″x5″ oil on canvas

My 100th blog post!!  Wow….and on Friday 13th no less!  That has to mean something, right??

I’m almost 1/2 way through my painting a day challenge for the month of February 2015.  It doesn’t seem like a lot when you take it day by day but when I look at all of my little paintings laying out on the table, it’s pretty satisfying.  I did those.  I can see room for improvement but I can also see improvement.  I can also see which paintings I was “feeling” and which were a bit more “forced”.  It’s all a process.

And with that….I’m going to end this post with one of my favorite quotes by the Duke….. “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway!”

Until tomorrow…….

Thanks for following along.

Here’s the link for this painting on the Daily Paintworks Gallery:


February 13, 2015
Day 12

7″x5″ oil on canvas

Any time I see this breed of horse, I instantly think of my grandpa “ship” and it makes me smile.  I used to be so fascinated by these beautiful blonde, “gentle giants” and how grandpa handled them and worked them.  He used to keep a pair during the summer and of course, I would invite myself along when he would go out to feed, water, or work them.  One of the benefits of growing up next door.  Well, benefit to me….he may not have always seen it that way.  I’m sure there were times when I was more in the way than “help” but, he never turned me away.

I thought I was really big stuff when I got to lead one of them all by myself or help put the harness on.  I loved to watch him throw the lines over his shoulder, after they were all harnessed up and take off driving them and then back them up to the wagon or buggy that he was going to hitch to.  I can remember watching him drive them in the parades, at farming demonstrations, and in a horse show.  He seemed do it all with such ease, it was obvious he grew up doing this.  I’m sure these horses were associated with a lot of hard work back in his early years but I’d also like to think they were associated with some fond memories for him as well.

Here is the link for this painting in the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking!

Soldier-Day 11

February 13, 2015
Day 11-Soldier

7″x5″ oil on canvas

Playing catch up once again on my posts and paintings.  This challenge is proving to be great practice in values and drawing.  Each one, I usually see something I would’ve done a bit differently or something I would probably change but, I’m trying to limit myself to no more than an hour or hour and a half at the very most.  Most of them are less than an hour.  I’m trying to remind myself these are practice studies and therefore they are what they are.  If I don’t like the concept or drawing, I give myself two options; wipe it off and start over but still finish within the hour, or, try the subject matter on another day in another study painting.  This painting was done during my lunch hour the other day, I did rush it a bit.  Now that I study it, I do see a couple of things I would “tweek”… is what it is and I’m on to another painting!

Here is the link for this painting in the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking!


Pioneer Woman-Day 9

February 11, 2015
Pioneer woman

7″x5″ oil on canvas panel


Be Brave, Strong, and Courageous & Seek Adventure and Truth.


Here is the link to this painting in my Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking!

Plainsman-value study–Day 5

February 5, 2015


7"x5" oil on canvas panel

7″x5″ oil on canvas panel

Plainsman-value study

Day 5—Painting a day challenge for February

Here is the link to the painting in Daily Paintworks Gallery:–value-study/330572

Continuing with the value studies theme, here is another one of Bob, the same guy from day 1. He too, has such a great look and I have so much reference material to work from. Again, I could probably do a whole month of paintings of him as well.

With today’s painting, I thought it would be fun to share a bit of trivia about plainsmen and the old west way of life. I’ve been reading a little book that surprisingly enough, I found at a local resale shop—it’s been quite a little “treasure” and proved to be more than worth the $1 I paid for it!

Barbed wire, a fencing material made of twisted wire with spaced coiled barbs, turned the open plains of the West into enclosed pastures and forever changed the society and economy of the region. It was the invention of Illinois farmer Joseph Farwell Glidden who received his patent in November 24, 1874. Ranchers could now isolate their cattle and control breeding.

On the vast prairie where firewood was often scarce, cowchips were regularly used for fires. Camp cooks relied on them, as when they were dry, they made a hot fire. Of course the burning chips gave off an unsavory smell, but, thankfully, it did not affect the food. One old range cook who used his hat for a bellows claimed that in one season he “wore out three good hats trying to get the damned things to burn.”

On the cattle drives, when the chuck wagon cook was finished with his work for the day and before hitting the sack, he would always place the tongue of the chuck wagon facing north. When the trail master started in the morning he would look at the tongue and then know what direction he would be moving the herd.