Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Making of "The Muffin" Tutorial

muffin oil painting completed

muffin oil painting demo tutorial
This oil painting tutorial is by no means the be all end all to painting a muffin. As you know, there are as many ways to paint as there are artist. What I hope to provide is motivation, inspiration and a little technical knowledge to anyone interested, as I explain how I approached this particular painting .

The first thing I would suggest for any artist to do is study you subject. Whether you are painting from life or a photo, get to know your subject. Study each area of the object. Look for areas of light, dark, shadows. Ask yourself:
1. What colors do I see?...Look for color patterns and shapes.
2. How I will paint the object...What techniques will I employ?.
3. Also make mental notes of any area that you might find challenging.

"The Muffin" was painted from real life. The photo shows the actual muffin that was used. I started this one by studying the muffin. I divided into areas the were defined by colors and shapes. I also made mental notes of where there were transitions of color.

The palette and material used were:

Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Naples Yellow, Transparent Red Oxide Red, Ivory Black and Titanium

8 x 8 gallery wrapped canvas.
No. 8 Filbert, No. 4 Filbert, No. 2 Round and No. 6 Fan Brush
M. Graham Walnut Alkyd medium

I start by sketching the muffin on the canvas using very burnt sienna thinned with medium. For the background I used titanium white and Cadmium yellow. The yellow was used to provide a hint of warmth. The foreground was blocked Ivory Black and White to create
various shades of gray. Next I blocked in some of the basic shapes and color tones using a mixture of cadmium orange and trans oxide red. I chose to use the colors in the muffin for the initial block in for the shadow area because I wanted to add interest to the shadow areas.

Next, I experimented with different mixtures of colors. These were used to fill in the shapes trying to match the color that I saw in the muffin.

Finally some of the edges were blended to create softer transitions. Dashes of colors were placed here and there. The background and foreground were blended together using a soft fan brush. To complete the painting, the shadowed area was painted again with various shades of gray allowing some of the initial colors to show.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chocolate Candy

I originally had planned for this painting to be a demo. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures. The picture on the right shows my progress when my memory returned.

I will say that I painted this one faster than usual because my model was under constant threat of being eaten, by everyone in my family, including myself. After this painting was done, the candy did not stand a chance.

Chocolate Candy is painted on a 11 x 14.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gossip, Three Pears, Original Oil Painting

The inspiration for "Gossip" came from a recent trip to one of our local diners. There were 3 friends sitting at the counter, having coffee, laughing, talking and just enjoying each others company. This painting conveys the colorfulness, liveliness and the energy the ladies exhumed. I enjoyed their presence.

These three lovelies are painted on a 8 x 10 canvas with artist quality oil paints. I used a basic palette consisting of cadmium red, cadmium yellow, sap green, ultramarine blue, burnt umber and titanium white.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cosmix, Original Oil Painting 11 x 14

Cosmic was painted plein air on the eastern shoreboard. A storm was approaching, so this one was painted with a sense of urgency. Which if I was successful, is conveyed with expressive brushstrokes and the wonderful brilliant colors.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Continental Breakfast

My puppy is a thief. I should have named him Bandit instead of Nitro. Nitro is a 8 month old lab shepherd mix, that we adopted from our local animal shelter. If Nitro does not have to attend to puppy things, (translation getting into trouble) he is usually close by me when I paint. But on this particular day, I guess, Nitro got it in his puppy mind that he wanted to create a painting too. I had my tubes of paint on the table, while working on this piece. I should have know that he was up to no good, because he was quiet. While my attention was diverted, Nitro decided to help himself my ultramarine blue tube of paint. He chewed up an almost full tube of paint, leaving just the cap. The mess that my adorable puppy created is almost indescribable. Needless to say there was blue paint all over the floor, the carpet in the family room and the Nitro's mouth and paws. In retrospect I should have dipped his tail in the paint and used his tail as a brush.

After overcoming my initial outrage, at his thievery, my concerns turned toward his health. I was not sure what type of pigments are in ultramarine blue, I knew that the oils would not hurt him. I called my vet and was advise that more he would probably be alright, but watch him for any change in his condition. I am happy to report that Nitro continues to be healthy, and mischievous. I am anxiously waiting for him outgrow his terrible 2's.

Continental Breakfast is painted on an 11 x 14 canvas. The underpainting was done with yellow ochre. I used a limited palette, consisting of yellow orche, indian red, ultramarine blue, (Nitro's favorite color), alizarin crimson, oxide of chromium, and titanium white. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beached, Green Row Boat

This one graces an 8 x 1o canvas. I used sand from a recent trip to the beach to create the textures in the sand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending an art fair in one of the neighboring municipalities There were plenty of vendors in attendance. While it was a nice event, it was a little disappointing for me because of the lack of Art. This fair should have been aptly named Craft Fair. There was plenty of jewelry, trinket, bird houses and things on wooden sticks. Unfortunately, there was only 5 artist present out of about 200. I wonder if art fairs, in the pure sense, are becoming a thing of the past. Thereby, no longer a profitable venue for self-representing artist.

I call this one, (no surprise) Oranges. These scrumptious beauties were created by glazing. There are about 5 or 6 layers of thin paint. Each layer was allowed to dry before adding a new layer. I like the way this one turned out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I went on a brush shopping adventure today. They had a good selection of brushes. All of which, were vying for my attention. Unfortunately, I made the super bad mistake of taking dh with me. Dh was very annoying, impatient and borderline obnoxious. thus ruining my brush shopping experience. Needless to say, I left the store utterly disgusted and frustrated. Lesson learn, take dh's credit card and leave him at home. I will attempt to shop for brushes again this weekend.

I completed this painting a couple of month ago. It is aptly titled "Grapes and Pears". This painting was accomplished in part with thin layers of glazing on the grapes. I employed a dry brush technique on the pears.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cover Foot Bridge Over Water

This is my first landscape. I must confess, that I enjoyed this painting and I plan to do more. This particular bridge is one of a few historic footbridges left in PA. This added to my privilege of being able to render on canvas. It is painted with oils on an 11 x 14 canvas.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fish in a Red Bowl

This one was fun to paint. Fish in a Red Bowl is painted on a collaged newspaper background that compliments the fresh mackerel in a bowl. The fish are contained in a deep vibrant red dish, which also compliments the blue and green hues reflected in the scales of the fish. This one is painted on a 12 x 12 mdf board. As always, comments and critiques are welcomed.

Monday, July 14, 2008


This is a painting of an American Avocet. This bird has an elegant profile and striking coloration. In summer it can be found in temporary and unpredictable wetlands across western North America where it swings its long upturned bill through the shallow water to catch small invertebrates.

I used a new to me technique to paint him. He is painted on an 8 x 10 canvas. I used modeling paste to achieve the birds textures. I applied the modeling paste with a knife. The paste was allowed to dry overnight. I painted him the next day using a limited pallette,consisting of ultramarine blue, white, yellow ochre and alizarin crimson.

I was pleased with the way the painting turned out. I just hope that my photography skills were able capture some of the interest and texture in this piece.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Life is Just A Bowl Of Cherries

Cherries are another one of my summertime favorites. This one was fun to paint. I started one with a grisaille under painting and glazed with layers of the rich colors. Life is a bowl of Cherries is painted on an 11 x14 canvas.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Boats at the Dock of the Bay.

It is summer. It is my favorite time of the year. During this season my thoughts tend to drift toward the ocean, sea, and lakes. Pretty much any place that I can get wet and cool off might find itself a subject for a painting. This piece is called Boats at the Dock of the Bay. It was inspired by a boating contest that I was fortunate enough to attend on the Chesapeake Bay. Save Now

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lone Red Boat

Wow it has been awhile since I updated my blog. I can believe how time slips away when you are busy with "life", work, family, and excuses. I am glad to steal a few moments to update and share. My attempt at a painting a day has failed miserable. I am now going to refer these quickies as my "every once and awhile" paintings. Here is one I completed in about 2 hours. Comments and critiques are always welcome. I call this one "Lone Red Boat"

Thursday, February 14, 2008