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Tag Archives: Arches Oil Paper (Huile)


I followed a suggestion from the artist and author, Betsy Dillard Stroud.  She wrote a book titled The Artist’s Muse in 2006. The book comes complete with decks of cards that have creative art exercises listed on them. I tried one of them for the above self portrait. The instructions were to choose one color to represent your spiritual self; one to represent your physical self and a third to represent your mental self.  Then you are to take those three colors and create a self portrait. I chose quinachridone orange (copper kettle) for physical self, quinachridone gold for spiritual self, and phthlocyanine blue (arctic ice) for mental self.


These three colors are the three you see on the top row of the image above. The other blobs are example mixtures of those three colors.

I was very skeptical as I began to work on this, but was presently surprised by the results very early on in the painting. It was relaxing to be concerned with only three colors (not as daunting as I supposed).  More than any other exercise I’ve done, I quickly began to realise the importance of value as compared to the small role that color plays. I  also learned a great deal about how I could stretch these three colors and what they looked like combined with each other. I also learned how they behaved and looked when applied dark, applied light and when I used them to glaze, one over the other. I will try more of these three color paintings in the future. Maybe I will choose my colors for other reasons for other subjects. Colors that I think look angry or colors that may reflect the colors of a rainy day. There’s no end to how I could assign three colors to a painting!

I rate this exercise worth trying!



The above painting is another experiment in format. Instead of cropping an image into a long and narrow format like in the previous post here, I cropped my reference photo to a square. A square will often give an up close and personal look at the image you are creating. It is a non-commital format but can be used to attract attention when hung alongside the much used rectangular formats used for landscape. This week, my landscape students have been asked to create a landscape, using the guidelines of composition, within a long and narrow format or a square.  This means they need to be mindful of their area or center of interest.  It is my hope that this exercise will inspire them to reach for an interesting crop with their reference materials and open the door to more creative interpretations of the world around us.

I was fascinated by the image of the above tree when I found it on wet canvas. I do not know what kind of tree it is. I liked the contrast of the warm colors against the snow and those foreground shapes with the deadwood branch pointing back to the tree, above. There was a lot of movement in that old gnarly trunk and the foliage offered me a chance to play around with color and wet-in-wet applications.  I liked the feeling of playing around with abstract forms to render something realistic. I also thought this image could be created in collage papers rather effectively.

Thank you, again, to wet canvas for the reference for this.


I have been feeling like I have been painting rather tight, lately. The above image was taken from a really abstract photo reference I found on wet canvas. I cropped the image to create a panoramic scene. I like how the light fell on the distant hills and the moisture came up from the surface of the ground in steamy looking fog. The whole scene, in the photo, was darker and cooler throughout and I added my own choices of color to this. I wanted the ground to cool in the foreground and the hills and middle ground to be warmed by the light coming through the clouds.

I am working with a new paper called Huile or Arches Oil Paper and I am really liking that I can paint and lift on the surface of this paper. It allows for me to play with the water and my brush longer than any of the other watercolor papers.