Tag Archives: floral

Oil Painting: Flowers for Paupau

Flowers for Paupau : Oil Painting still life abstract floral
Flowers for Paupau : Oil Painting still life abstract floral

Oil Painting: Flowers for Paupau

Here’s a dark moody floral painting perfect for the middle of winter. This is actually a piece I reworked with oil paints. I painted this in memory of  my late grandmother who passed away a few years ago.

The US is going through a cold snap, with much of the country experiencing sub zero temperatures. It makes me appreciate Oregon winters, even with all the grey and rain.

Here’s some pictures of the Charles River in Boston Massachusetts in winter:

Charles River in winter
Charles River in winter
Charles River in winter
Charles River in winter
Work in Progress: Acrylic Paintings

Meanwhile before I let myself hoard more art supplies I am going through some old art rejects and painting over old canvases. Most of these were acrylic paintings that I had painted a few years ago.

Here’s an acrylic painting I started, years ago. I think I was inspired by this canteloupe:

Work in progress: acrylic on board
Work in progress: acrylic and textured gesso on board
Canteloupe with seeds
Canteloupe with seeds

Here I am preparing the ground with a fairly solid color. It’s interesting to me how fastidious I probably was when I painted them originally and now I am just quickly painting over them to improve them. Just goes to show one shouldn’t treat paintings as too precious.

work in progress: acrylic painting
work in progress: acrylic painting

Watercolor Painting: Dark Chocolate Cosmos and strawflower still life

Dark Chocolate Cosmos and strawflower still life, 2017, Watercolor, 12 x 16

 

Dark Chocolate Cosmos and strawflower still life, 2017, Watercolor, 12 x 16

The dark chocolate cosmos are my favorite type of cosmos. They have the perfect  cute buttony shape. I couldn’t find seeds for them but I was able to find two plants at the local gardening center and yes they are perennials! They nearly died off though during our sad drought this summer. I planted them in the ground so I’m crossing my fingers they’ll make it back next spring!

Matisse the orange kitty inspects the quality of my floral arrangements.

 

 

Painting: Little study flower vase on oriental rug

Little study flower vase on oriental rug, 2017, 5x7

Little study flower vase on oriental rug, 2017, 5×7

You can get  a view of the rug somewhat in this picture of my studio mate kitty, Matisse. Even though he looks like a demon child in this picture (reminding me how Anne McCaffrey described young willful dragons in the book Dragonflight) and has not only bitten my work and also tried to pull the table cloth out from under all my watercolors,  this kitty has been  truly such a joy and a  wonderful painting companion.

Kitty studio mate

I’m also on instagram and a little less behind on posting my new paintings.

Crazy weather

It’s been ‘snowing’ ashes and the wildfires in Oregon have jumped the gorge. meanwhile there is a category 5 hurricane hurling towards the east coast. Don’t get me started about politics.

I’ve been experimenting with some watercolors, trying to do a more muted and effervescent feel.This one was a based on some dahlias I grew in my garden but I added some petunias and bougainvillea. This one I purposely tried to make the background flowers fade into the white of the paper. What do you think?

Dahlia, Petunia, Bougainvillea, 2017, 18x24, mixed media on paper

 

Here is the most recent watercolor of some chocolate cosmos that may have died because it ‘s been so hot here in Portland. I’ve been trying to get the right shade of pink and I think I nailed it. And I really like the way the blue interacts with the flower on the left. I should’ve held my ground and not gone darker with the red on the right. But there’s always next time!

Cosmos cloud, 2017, 12x16, watercolor on paper

I’m off to Pennsylvania and Colorado to visit some friends and family. Hopefully I’ll get some good shots!

 

Summer’s End

Beach 4, kalaloch

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of summer! That flew by so quickly. In art news, I am going to try to show some of my photographs from my trip to Mexico as well as some paintings at the art walk in Forest Grove next week. I’ll be at the Hidden Closet. I’ve never done something like this before so we’ll see!

The owners at Art on Broadway in Beaverton Oregon were nice enough to interview me for consideration for their guest art walls later in the fall. Not sure if I’ll make it but it was the a good opportunity and the first time I have ever talked to a gallery.

Here is Matisse the kitty “helping” me frame my work. I sure could use a studio helper!

I've been framed kitty

And on the day my little ginger kitty woke me up at 4:30 am, I somehow created this painting. I wish they all came out so effortlessly!

Pink Peony, 2017, Acrylic on Paper, 18x24

Cosmos, Gladiolus, and Amaranth Bouquet Paintings

I grew cosmos flowers and amaranth (for filler, although it is also technically an ancient grain that you can eat) from seed. It was pretty easy,  I literally through the seeds on the ground earlier in the year. The gladiolus was also cut from my garden grown from a bulb from a lady in Bethany.

Here’s a painting I did. Still trying as always to balance finished vs overworked:

Cosmos and Amaranth Still Life, 2017, Watermedia on Paper, 12 x 16

This second painting was a bit of a bear. I wanted to explore mixing the pink and green which looked cool in the vase part but the rest of the painting felt like a mess. But I kept going and eventually had fun painting the dots of the amaranth grain seeds. Might be fun to go over with oil pastels.

Cosmos and Amaranth Bouquet, 2017, Acrylic on Paper, 12 x 16

Kitty is ‘advising’ me on my drawing.

I love ikebana. There’s randomly an ikebana shop in Wheeler, Oregon in one of the vintage stores.

Here’s an amaranth and scabiosa flowers ikebana:

Two still life and two landscape oil paintings

I completed another blue painting of quince flowers inspired by the tonalist works of Whistler and Inness. I used thick cobalt blue to mark the petals. Cobalt blue is really pretty and I will have to use it again soon as a standalone color. This was painted on oil primed linen that I got on clearance from Blick. It’s a pricey, but wonderful support to paint on.

Cobalt blue still life

Previously I posted that I loved the look of raw linen and the universe heard me… Nancy Cuevas shared with me this product that Jerry’s Artarama sells of clear primed linen.

Footprint still life

The weave isn’t quite as nice as the first one but it’s an interesting challenge to preserve the beauty of the raw linen as a ground. Here’s one that I’m going to call “Footprint Still Life”. It’s a much quicker study and I accidentally stepped on it. I think I like it as is but stay tuned I may play with it some more.

I finally completed the small oil painting of my trip to Bandon Beach this past summer. These last two paintings are on canvas board, probably the least fun support to paint on but it’s nice to having something that is ready to go to prevent procrastination.

Bandon Beach

This last painting is a gift and inspired by my trip to Lake George in upstate New York. Lake George was immortalized by the great Georgia O’Keeffe. This painting comes nowhere near her genius but I was able to  explore colors that I had not used before and glazing pastels on top of other bright colors without any underpaintings.

Lake George painting

 

My glowing blue oil painting experiment

 

In my mood/concept mapping, I wrote down the words:

mystical
radiant
patina
residue
subtle, profound
fragile, ephemeral

not really sure where this is going but that’s the experience/aesthetic I’m working towards.

It is partially inspired by James McNeill Whistler’s tonalism paintings (there’s a great book by the Clark Art Museum) and I also saw his work in the National Gallery of Art in DC years ago.

I’m playing with all sorts of oil painting goop- gamsol, stand oil, cold wax, linseed oil. I am eyeing this strangely named medium, Neo-Megilp, although I am really trying to resist buying it to satisfy  my curiousity.  Artists of Portland…let’s meet up and try each other’s art supplies for the sake of our wallets!

I started with a dark transparent color, ultramarine. And wow is it glowing In fact, the painting actually really reminds me of a lot of the digital painting work that is coming out of ipads. Not sure if that’s a good thing, but I do like the texture, layering, and softness that is happening. I think I just need to ground the next one in a less artificial feeling color than ultramarine.

Also, this painting looks awesome in direct sunlight, but not as good in inferior lighting. I’m a little worried that all of my oil paintings are going in that direction…

Oh and I painted this on a prestretched oil primed linen panel that was on a major clearance at Blick. Boy could I get spoiled with this material!

 

Oil painting floral still life is done!

After being on the verge of done for what seemed like months (mainly because I would go weeks without touching it) I think I am finally done with this floral still life!

floral still life by Betsy Chang
floral still life by Betsy Chang

Well, I think I am ready to call it quits. There’s a lot I learned from this process and of course I have more questions.

My major learnings from this painting:

  1. Which colors are transparent
  2. Making things lighter by making the darks darker first

which gets me to my current conundrum.

This oil painting is darker than most of my watercolors. That’s not just because oils are more opaque than watercolors. It has to do with the fact that I chose a subject that had a dark background (which I normally wouldn’t try in watercolors because it’s hard to find good greys in watercolor) and my oil painting technique relied on a  mid tone foundation with layered glazes ….without really ever using the color white. Whereas in watercolor, the white of the paper shines through and keeps things bright.

So this oil painting is not only extremely hard to photograph- hello glare- compared to my watercolors. It also feels dull and heavy in normal inside light, while under a nice bright lightbulb or in the sun you can see this amazing luminosity and the feeling of glowing from within that drew me to using oils in the first place.

closeup of painting in sunlight
closeup of painting in sunlight

So I don’t have any Rembrandts in person to compare, but is this just how it is for oils? Do you need like museum quality lighting to fully view them and normally they are just meh? I don’t know if i I buy that…

If so that’s another debate. Watercolors feel flimsy (on paper) and they need matting and glass to protect them which gets expensive and cumbersome. Whereas oils don’t really need to even be framed, but are they just ghosts without strong light?

Which do you prefer? Oils or watercolor?