Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beyond the Sea

This is for Calypso Moon Artist Movement, April 2011 challenge, Art in Music challenge. It's oil on 10x12 canvas board.

When I saw this challenge (ref), the first song that came into my mind was Beyond the Sea (La Mer). Everytime I look at the ocean, Beyond the Sea always comes into my mind. The ocean always has a calming and up lifting effect. I chose Bobby Darin's version of Beyond the Sea (music on YouTube) because this was quite humorous. The picture I chose to paint was from a photo we took a few years ago when we visited Hawaii, in the Makena area of Maui. It was quite breathtaking watching sunset with the ocean crashing onto the volcanic rocks.

The main colors for this painting include cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, prussian blue, ultramarine violet, burnt umber and white.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


This is for A Day Not Wasted April 2011 challenge. It's oil on 20x20 stretched canvas.

When I first saw the reference photo of the dog (think it's a bichon frise?) named Zoe (ref photo), I thought the picture was so nice that I had to paint it. Given the amount of detail needed for this dog portrait, I decided to go with a bigger canvas, 20"x20". Plus, my younger son has already put in the order that the finished painting will be hung in his room.

I first prepared the canvas with an acrylic base of yellow orchre for the light parts and violet for the shadows. Then the painting was done with many shades of white. The background is lemon yellow with white. The dog is white plus colors such as raw umber, ultramarine violet, terre verde, gold orchre, cadmium yellow.

As with any portraits, placements of the facial features takes many rounds of fine tuning. The fur color between the light and dark took many rounds of fine tuning too. I think I'm at a point I need to stop tweaking the painting or else the whole thing will turn into mud color. After this very good exercise, I have new found respect for painters who paint animals: they're not easy to paint!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Three Vases

This is for Rookie Painter, April 2011 challenge. It's oil on 8x10 canvas board.

We went away for the Easter holiday, I didn't have time to do this challenge in time. However, I like the reference still life photo (ref photo),with its warm tone, so I had to do it anyway. The yellow is basically a mix of Indian yellow, gold orchre and white. Warm light is a gold orchre, cadmium yellow and lots of white. The shadows include terre verde, ultramarine violet, permanent blue, prussian blue, sepia, burnt sienna, and raw umber.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Morning Stroll in Hakone

This is for Virtual Paintout, April 2011 challenge, Japan. It's oil on 10x12 canvas board.

This month's VP is selected to be in Japan, to pay tribute to the people in Japan in light of the disasters that have been unfolding there. We visited Japan a few years ago, and Hakone was one of the places we went. This scene of a man strolling by Lake Ashinoko caught my eyes because of the bright autumn background in contrast with a shady walking path. The painting itself is actually a composite of two views, not too far from each other. One with the man walking, and the other one with stronger light contrast. (ref photo 1, ref photo 2)

I first started with a thinned down oil paint for the background, including the bright mountain across the lake as seen in between the trees, sky and lake. It appeared from Google Map that it was autumn, so I added in cadmium orange in selective part of the painting. I also wanted to make the skinny pine trees on the left to look like lace, in contrast with the thicker vegetation on the right hand side. Patches of sun light were peeping through the trees, creating more interest for the eyes.