Tag: oil painting

“Please Save the Orangutans”


Orangutan Foundation international Canada


Orangutan awareness week – Nov 4-10, 2018!


I have always wanted to challenge myself with a large painting. So after finally being able to purchase some on sale in 2015, I was ready. After deciding on Orangutans, then looking through many posted images. I settled on a mother with a baby on her back.


Orangutans Source Photo

I began the process of enlarging the photo by using the grid method. Sketching and shading the orangutans onto the canvas, it had begun. A little intimidated, I started with the background, following the rules of back to front, light to dark, thin to thick using many layers of oil paint.I left the orangutans pencil grey at this point. Many people thought it was finished, it was quite striking.

Being such a large canvas, I found my easels were very flimsy for the task of holding the 3ft x 4 ft canvas. So I really had to hold on as I painted, which is very challenging, especially when i paint all sides of the canvas.

I have had many life distractions, including other art related projects in between the many layers added. For Christmas 2017, I was given a new bigger easel, which arrived in Jan 2018. I never really had a chance to put it to use, until recently. So after testing it out with the Horse, it was finally the Orangutans’ turn.

While working on the Orangutans, I was made more aware of their plight. I discovered how many products I was personally using that contained palm oils. We made a huge effort to read all labels and avoid even more products. As we had also changed our eating to vegetarians, due to food allergies, we found our list of things to avoid growing.  We try to cook all our food from scratch and purchase as much locally as possible. A great site helping organize that info is Better World Shopper.

I would like to bring attention to a wonderfully animated video that was banned for being too political, regarding the struggle of the orangutans, now on YouTube.

Orangutan Awareness Week 2018

2018, oil, not done

Horse 2018

still wet

So after a very long 2018, I found some time this weekend to look at my paintings. These big canvases require lots of paint and time to spread it across their canvas.

The Prancing Horse painting is large at 2ft by 3ft.

It was wonderful to see the clouds form in the sky, the trees in the background pop out and the fences take form.

The grass and dirt under the horse started to deepen, and finally more colour to the body of the horse. I didn’t feel it had really blended well, after all it had been a few years since it had a layer added. I decided it needed a linseed wash with more fur colour. The overall effect smoothed the previously added paint (from the night before) and softened the overall look. One of the many reasons I love working with oil paints, is that ability to go back within the day and still blend!

Now it is drying on the wall for at least 5 days, waiting for the final details to the mane and eyes.

A New Mentor

After moving from the northern GTA area, to the rural Ottawa area, we had a lot of adjusting to do. We had fewer neighbours, a gravel road and so much nature. At night it gets so dark with so many stars, something you miss growing up in the city.

Finally the pull of the canvas compelled me to finish Gandalf. I nervously started on my own, unsure if I remembered everything that I had learned. It took me some time adding and tweaking colours, until I felt like if I added anymore I would ruin it.

I went on to try painting something else, and decided on a picture I was shown of a dwarf. I sketched it on, then struggled trying to figure out which colours to put on first. So during the drying of layers, I decided to start another painting, this time of a Lynx. On a role, I also started portraits of my kids. I ended up with so many paintings on the go, it was a bit crazy.

I finally finished the dwarf, just before a new store opened in our local town. They offered lessons and group sessions run by local artists. I perused the line up and looked at some of the work they had submitted. I decided that I needed to join something, a 1 night a week for 10 week session, with a portrait artist sounded great! Hopefully I would learn new techniques and help keep me motivated.

2008, Still Life Oil Painting

2008, Still Life Oil Painting

Jack Neilson’s approach was so different from Clint. His approach was to capture the image like a still life. So I put my other projects away and decided to try his approach. I decided to be a bit radical painting in Impasto style, using just a painting knife, even attempting abstract painting (definitely not my strong suit). Jack had us always mixing colours, and this is when I really memorized different colours. I started really understanding the colour wheel, with tints and tones.

The first project was a still life of wine bottles. After that we could pick a picture of our choice. So we had to do a quick sketch, then start blocking in the colours. Jack worked so quickly, basically going over his canvas fully at least 3 times, but then that should be it.

2008, Oil Painting from photo

2008, Oil Painting from photo

This was my biggest lesson that I keep trying to accomplish. Since my media of choice has always been oil, I tried driers added to the oil, even different media like acrylic and gouache. I did attempt watercolours, but found them a bit difficult to achieve what I wanted. I even tried “plein airs”, which I haven’t been able to complete outside yet. I just love the details and 3 times just doesn’t seem like enough go overs for me, well not yet but I keep trying!