Monday, January 31, 2011

Family Strolling on Beach

This is for Rookie Painter Jan 2011 challenge. It's oil on 10x12 canvas board.

The reference photo is this wonderful scene of a family strolling on a beach. (ref photo) At the first glance, this is actually quite a complex painting to paint. There are three main figures, (plus a fraction of a fourth head) with moving water in the background. Keep the people's figure in relative proportion took a bit of time, I had to compress them a little bit to fit onto the canvas (I think my people are a little stockier than the reference photo in order to fit my canvas). It took a little bit of time for me to sketch out the figures before I start painting.

I wanted to give ocean a bit more turquoise feel, rather than pure blue. I used colors such as carribean blue, cerulean, turquoise teal, plus sap green, ultramarine blue, cobalt. Gamblin's radiant line of colors, such as radiant blue, radian violet etc were also used here. I think water is one of the hardest thing to paint well, and will definitely try to find more chances to paint some more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Passing by the Coop

This is for January 2011 Virtual Paintout Boston challenge. It's oil on 8x10 canvas board.

I started out browsing in Cambridge MA as I had spent a number of years there. It didn't take me too long before I found this interesting scene in front of the Harvard Coop. (ref photo) The student riding a bike in a cold sunny day was an interesting contrast with the display window at the Coop while the street vendor looks on.

To paint this, I bascially stuck with cold light vs warm shadow. Shadows is a combination of ultramarine purple and Indian red, while brights are mostly white and lemon yellow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sunset Gondola Ride in Venice

This is oil on 36x26 stetched canvas. It is based on a picture my grandmother took at least a decade and a half ago when she visited Venice. When I visited my grandmother this summer, we were looking at her old photo albums, this picture caught my eyes because of the strong contrast of the bright sunset vs darker boat, building and water. Of course being in Venice is a plus.

I first did an underpainting using thinned oil paint, so it bascially looked like as if it were painted with water color. The successive layers of thicker paints were added, mostly for the lighter tone areas such as sky and water, while keeping most of the darker tone areas, such as the background buildings, boats, tourists and boatmen, with the thin layer of underpainting showing.

So after three months of careful work, I think I'm finally done! I like the dramas in this final product: obviously light vs dark, but also thin vs thick paint, orange vs blue (complementary colors), the moving vs the still. Many thanks to Oxana who has been giving me honest feedback along the way.

Monday, January 10, 2011


This is for Jan 2011, Rookie Painter challenge. It's oil on 6x8 on canvas board.

The challenge had two versions of a pair of glasses. I chose this one since it's less symmetrical. (ref photo) The photo appeared to be relatively straight forward, however, painting it did require some careful work.

I sketched the glasses first free hand, and it was a good exercise for me to brush up on sketching and putting the lines in the right places. Colors I used for the painting included alizarin, madder, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, ultramarine violet, Portland greys, and white. Some small details at the end with a size zero brush helped define the glasses more.