Sunday, November 26, 2017

Marine Painting

Every time I paint a new marine painting, I'm reminded of why these can be so difficult to do well. Although I had the background for this piece worked out, finding the right resource for the water and the sailboat became a great challenge. I needed to find one where the waves, water, wind and light all worked with the reference photo of the clouds. Basically, I needed three photos. Actually, that's not as many as I used for my large marine piece, "Before the Reef". But still, even with finding photos that worked for all those factors, I was still confronted with the color issue. How to make all these disparate factors come together for a harmonious painting.

I find in these cases the best thing to do is to put it all together on Photoshop, work on getting the light and values to work together and then changing the whole image to black and white. Then I can use what ever colors work best for the piece without being influenced by what I see in a photo. That's what I did here. I may change things a bit later on. I sometimes do. But I think it's OK for now. Anyway, it needs to go in my upcoming show at Gallery 9 in December. Wish me luck.




















"Running with the Wind"
17 1/2" x 23 1/2"
Oil on Panel

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Painting Nature, Quail's Nest

I have several pieces done but this was my favorite. I just love the way the feathers curl around the nest in a little protective embrace. So I was looking forward to displaying this little gem at the gallery and last night a good friend came by for dinner and bought it! So the gallery loses the commission but I gained another 20%. And really, although I would have enjoyed showing it off, it sold and that's the point of these little pieces, isn't it? So I did a little happy dance and put it aside for varnishing.

I enjoyed this little painting and think I might like to explore nature a bit more. For someone who lives so close to it, I don't get out as often as I'd like. I'm pretty sensitive to the cold and now that winter is here, I spend less and less time out of doors. Maybe I'm missing something?

P.S. I'm now entering my work onto Art Work Archive. Here's a link to my Public Page. Still have a ton to put up there but at least things are getting organized.

Quail's Nest
5 7/8" x 6"
Oil on Linen Panel
SOLD


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Miniature Painting of Tin Measuring Cup

Measuring Cups
6" x 8", Oil on Panel



During the months of October and November, Gallery 9 in Port Townsend, WA will be featuring a 100 under $100 sale which will include small art works, jewelery and miscellaneous items for sale under $100.  I just whipped this little piece out in anticipation of the event.  Be sure to come by and check out the sale! Lots of great opportunities for Christmas presents and other holiday gifts.  


Monday, September 25, 2017

Marine Painting of Ship in Storm Tossed Sea

Done! Lots of time went into this piece. I've learned a lot. I've gotten some good advice from other painters and plenty of advice from sailors. There are one or two things I would have done differently here but otherwise I'm satisfied with this piece.

I'll be giving a talk at the Olympic Peninsula Art Association this Thursday on the making of this piece. But it won't really premier until the beginning of  December when I can put it in the window of Gallery 9 where I'll be featured artist for that month. Stop by if you have a chance. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ship on Stormy Sea

This is the fourth or fifth iteration of this painting. It's had more work done before this stage and some after. I'm nearly finished and will post the fnal piece in a couple of weeks.  

Here I've painted in the rigging as well as the seams on the sails. I made some changes to the hull as well, removing the gun ports as they were empty and I didn't have good photo resources for them. 

The wave in the front has been worked on more as well as those in the background. Stay tuned for the finale!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Marine Painting - Ship on Stormy Sea

Here's the second progress report on my first marine painting with a ship.  I have, of course, lots of photos of this piece in progress but thought better of boring you with too many closeups and small change photos. 

The water is nearly finished although I have made changes to the mid-ground and foreground wave not shown here. Also the sky. 

The ship remains with lots to do.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Marine Painting of Storm Tossed Ship

Clouds and ocean go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or at least it seems so to me. I've been practicing skyscapes a lot over the past year and with them, I've painted a lot of water as well. So after all this practice, I decided to put it all together and drop a ship into that water. Now despite living on the water, or at least close to it, I don't know much about ships and less about sailing. But I figured I could do a decent job of painting one. So in my typical - "let's just dive right in" attitude, I pulled out the stops and started to paint one.

The elements for this painting were drawn from stock photos. I pulled separate pictures for the sky, mid ground (er, water) and foreground. Then I searched for a masted ship photo that would serve for my subject. Then I put it all together and Photoshopped the color and values until I was satisfied. So here are the first two iterations. The painting is much further along than this now but I want to show how I have been building toward the final image so stay tuned over the next few days.I've skipped a couple of steps in order not to bore you. 



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Wedding Portraits in Oil on Gold Leaf

I recently attended the long awaited wedding of my granddaughter Cassidy to her fiance, Luke. Like any grandma I wanted to give them wonderful presents. And I did. My husband and I bequeathed a monetary gift as well as an item from one of her gift registries. But it just wasn't enough. I mean, when you love someone you want to keep on showering them with stuff.  

Because my granddaughter and her family live three thousand miles from us, it makes showing love in other ways difficult. How many times can you heart someone on Facebook?

I recently became interested in doing miniature portraits and paintings on gold leaf. So I went to Cassidy's FB page and looked over all the wonderful pics she had been posting of her and Luke.  I really liked this one so I copied it and projected it on my computer to work from. This was the result.  I gifted this to her at her wedding shower and she loved it.  Turns out that the photo was a popular one and she had used it on the special wine bottles that were gifted to members of the bridal party and family.  


I love doing these. The total size for the entire piece framed is 8" x 10".  I can work from any photo you supply as long as it is clean and clear.  Old black and white photos lend themselves nicely to a beautiful antique look as I paint them in a warm sepia tone on the gold leaf. These make wonderful anniversary or wedding gifts. Wouldn't you love to gift your parents or a favorite friend with one?

If you're interested or just have questions, you can email me at: susanspar@susanspar.com.  Check out my website for other gift ideas. Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Video Demo of a Pastel Landscape


I was proud to have a one woman show at the Sequim Museum in Sequim, Washington during the month of June. On June 17th I held a demonstration of a pastel landscape. I really enjoy doing demos because it's a great opportunity to meet the public in a way that introduces them to my work and also helps to enlighten and teach others about the art making process.

This painting was done from a small oil plein air study I painted a couple of years ago at Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, Washington.  It's a long spit that goes out for about two miles into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  It was overcast that day and very windy. I actually did this small piece as a demo for the paper and my small plein air class. I used a very limited palette for the oil. I always liked the study and thought it would be fun to try as a pastel. So I used it for the demo.

I didn't have a videographer to work my camera so I set the camera up on a tripod and asked a friend to just monitor it and make sure it kept running.  Unfortunately, I do step a bit out of the camera range but only for a second or two.  It's been edited down and fixed as much as possible.  Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Still Life Painting of Fiesta Ware and Two Eggs


Fiesta Ware and Three Eggs Oil on Panel 7" x 10"


Since hitting middle age, my favorite color has become red. Hmm. Some folks call it the menopause color. I prefer to think of it as the power color. In any case, I've always gravitated to warm colors. I'm a fall person - or so I've been told.

I have a solo show coming up on June 2nd at the Sequim Museum and Art Center.  This is one of the pieces created for the show.  It will be framed in a cathedral frame that sets it off beautifully.

I'd love to see you at my reception which will be held on June 2nd at the Sequim Museum and Art Center located at 
175 W Cedar St, Sequim, WA 98382.  Refreshments will be served. Come and have a look-see and then wander off to view the rest of the Sequim Gallery Walk.  



Saturday, April 29, 2017

Painting of Nesting Egrets on Gold Leaf



Lately I've found myself itching to try my hand at something new. Namely Gold Leaf. Now, if you've ever tried to use the stuff you'll understand me when I say - AAAGH! That stuff is really hard to work with! You literally have to hold your breath every time you try to place a little bit of it.  It's so thin and so light that the slightest puff of air will send it flying or rip it to pieces.  Sooo... having tried my hand sometime back with imitation gold leaf or metal leaf, as it's called, I decided I'd better stick to the faux stuff until I get a bit more practice.  I had quite a bit on hand since my last experiment with repairing a frame so I figured I could do a respectably good size piece.

I wanted something relatively monochromatic for the main subject.  I felt color could come later so I chose a couple of Snowy Egrets for this first experiment.  After building and preparing a substrate (panel), I transferred the cartoon to the panel and did a sketchy under painting.  I then prepared the area around the birds with adhesive, waited the requisite amount of time (about 30 minutes) and then commenced with the torturous job of laying the leaf.  Yes, it looks very silvery in the photo.  The light on my easel casts a bit cool.

The next step was to seal the leaf with an oil based shellac.  That was easy and it dried fairly quickly so I was able to proceed with the next step. I laid a coat of Transparent Brown Oxide in small sections (that's a lot like burnt umber) and then started to wipe out leaves and the shape of a tree running diagonally on the right top corner.



Once I completed that step, I moved on to the birds. That was a bit more up my alley and so I was able to move fairly quickly through the rest of the piece. I finished up with some details and some darkening of shadows to allow for a little more integration - but not too much. They are, after all, a bit more realistic than the background.  I wanted them to stand out a bit.

The final result is, I think, respectable.  I can see I'll need some more practice with this medium but I'm enjoying the journey.  I have a show coming up in June at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center. I hope to feature this piece along with two or three miniature portraits on gold leaf.  Now those will really be fun!

"Nesting Egrets"
22" x 24"
Oil on Faux Gold Leaf

Monday, February 20, 2017

Graphite Portrait of African American Man


"Brice"

20" x 16"
Graphite and White Chalk


Just finished this portrait of Brice, one of my models.  It's done on Tan Stonehenge paper which is one of my favorite papers to work on. Unfortunately graphite is a bear to photograph.  I tried using my scanner, my good Nikon camera and my iPhone.  It either comes out too grainy or too contrasty.  Here the lamp on my easel is casting too much light on the image.  But when I remove the light and try for even ambient light, that makes things look weird too. You'll just have to take my word for it that this looks much, much better in person.  Transitions are very subtle in this piece but the photo just doesn't show that.  I'm frustrated enough that this may be the last graphite drawing I post.  Really.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Maine Coon Kitten

Maine Coon Kitten - Misty
6" x 8"
Oil on Panel
$85





I Love cats! Really love them, I mean. Just check out my FB page and you'll see dozens of cat videos. I particularly enjoy "Simon's Cat" videos. So naturally, my friends and relatives have asked me numerous times, "why don't you paint cats?" Well I've asked myself that too. Mainly it's because I don't paint subjects that are too "sweet". And let's face it. Kittens are sweet. But I couldn't stand the pressure anymore and so I caved. Yup. This is my first kitten. "Misty" was my first Maine Coon and while I did paint her picture in profile years ago when she died, I kept that one to put near her urn. Yes, I had her cremated. But here she is as a kitten. While this didn't provide me with a huge amount of challenge, I did enjoy painting her so I may be doing more of these in the future. And yes, I do paint pet portraits from time to time on commission as well.

You can puchase this painting by going to http://www.susanspar.com/small-works/.  Thanks for taking the time to read this. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Miniature Landscape Oil Painting

Hazy Day
6" x 8"
Oil on Canvas Panel
$75

When I lived in California, one of my favorite hiking and painting locations was the Santa Rosa Ecological Preserve.  It was located south of where I lived on the way to Temecula near Murietta.  It comprises 900 acres of rolling grassland filled with Engelmann oak woodlands. There are riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, bunchgrass prairie, and vernal pools as well as more than 200 species of native birds and 49 endangered, threatened or rare animal and plant species. The paths are easy to navigate.  No matter how many people you may find there, it is easy to lose yourself in its peace and quiet. I took rolls and rolls of film there (before digital) and still have many of those reference photos.  Still, even if I didn't, the place is indelibly marked in my memory.  The Oak trees were, and still are, my favorites.  Over 400 years old, they stretch wider than their height - which is no mean amount.  Many of them are over 60 feet tall.  They provide luxurious shade on hot days and shelter from rain in the winter.  If you have a chance, visit the Preserve, and send my regards.  This small study for a larger piece is a view from one of the trails.

To purchase and/or view on my website, to go www.susanspar.com.