Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pugnacious Pines

Pugnacious Pines
6" x 8", oil

After two paintings of subjects I had never attempted before I thought it would be nice to go back to a soothing, simple (ha!) landscape. Well, this landscape seems anything but soothing to me, every part seems to be fighting for attention. The pine woods in the back was the worst offender, they did not want to retreat!

Friday, January 30, 2009

San Francisco Victorian
6" x 8", oil

Another painting for DSFDF. This time I tried painting on an all black background, at first I thought never again, but I think I'll give it another try. This one was a huge challenge for me. Several times I was ready to wipe the whole thing off, but Mom gave me some helpful advice and saved it from the garbage can. Thanks mom!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Technicolor Jefferson

Jefferson Memorial
8" x 8", oil

My first submission to DSFDF.

OK, I went a little nuts with the colors. I think I tend to do that when I haven't painted for awhile, in a addition to painting from a photo. I'm still working out some sort of method to the madness. I've been using Shelby Keefe's underpainting method for awhile now, but I'd like to try the all black canvas method that Karin Jurick uses, or maybe a hybrid of the two??

Two steps forward, one step back? Seems more like one forward, two back right now... but at least I painted something!!

Photography & Retouching Help

I was going bonkers yesterday trying to photograph my Jefferson Memorial painting for DSFDF. The outside shots washed out my highlights completely and my indoor shots were speckled with tiny bits of glare from the lighting.

Putting my painting in my homemade light diffuser helped somewhat but I still had glare speckles. I found a nice way to save those speckled photos tho. Here's how I did it in photoshop:

Under FILTER go to NOISE > DUST AND SCRATCHES. By setting the Radius at 1 or 2 and the Threshold between 15 and 25 I was able to make the speckles disappear. Be sure to zoom in and make sure you aren't losing any brush detail tho. The number I used may be different for different resolution photos also.

Some tips on adjusting photos:

After cropping my painting in photoshop I start with the overall values. The first step is checking the levels:


I usually move the black arrow in to the right just to the point where histogram levels start to climb, I do this with the white arrow on the right side also. This cleans up any haziness and gives you nicer contrast. Then on the midrange arrow I try to match the values of my actual painting moving it to the right or left:

Next I work on color. I mostly use this tool to make color adjustments:

If the colors in your photo just don't seem to match the intensity of your actual painting try using this:
Try boosting the saturation a bit to match your painting.

There are probably 10 different way to achieve the same results in Photoshop, so here's my method to add to the pile!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


6" x 8"

This is our border collie/blue heeler mix, Gypsy. Its extremely difficult to get her to sit still and pose, especially outside, but she laid down long enough for me to get a couple photos. This is the first time I've ever painted a dog, it turned out better than the chickens attempted once before, but I still have a lot to learn...

Back to the studio

This past fall my freelance biz dropped off a bit so I finally got back to painting a little bit before the holidays took over. Here are my first three attempts:

Rust Remover
6" x 8"

Beware of Thalo Blue
6" x 8"

Getting There
6" x 8"