Tag: photo realism

“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.

Photographs are Wonderful for Inspiration!

I really enjoy taking pictures, trying to capture the moment; especially when no one notices. As a kid, I went from trying to afford 110 film, flashbulb and developing; upgrading to better camera, 36 mm and development. Now I can basically take unlimited amounts of photos.

I do tend to go a bit crazy, so this year I made a limit. This was the first time I have actually been forced to delete pictures on my camera, because I ran out of memory (more then once) and had no where to download and save them. I should have gotten another card, but I was trying to limit myself to 1600 and I suffered the loss of some wonderful shots.

Pictures are my biggest inspiration. They easily show what colours, and where to put them. I can see detail, that gets missed as time goes by. At least objects in a photo do not move. As well, the  subject is not inconvenienced by sitting immobile for hours, over days, possibly weeks.

Mystery Tree at Balloch Castle, Loch Lamond, Scotland, UK 2014

Mystery Tree at Balloch Castle, Loch Lamond, Scotland, UK 2014

My mentor showed me how the masters would draw on the canvas first. If they wanted it exact, they would make a sketch, before griding to enlarge. With photos, I employ the same techniques with the benefit of printing in greyscale. This simplifies that once complex array of colours, to just white, light grey and dark grey.

There have been some pictures I dare not paint, only because they stand alone. My daughter started taking those types of photos and transferring them onto canvas. The results are very rustic and vibrant. Some of these can be found on her etsy store, Piercing Moon Creations. She inspires me daily with her constant creativity and energy to keep making whatever she wants. Check out her blogs as she tries her hands at making new things.

Sleepy Tree Frog, Beckwith, ON 2014

Sleepy Tree Frog, Beckwith, ON 2014