Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Minecraft Cow" Original Oil Daily Painting

Busy day! I prepped a bunch of new substrates so that I could do my daily painting without running out. This time, I cut out foam core in 4 x 6 and 4 x 5 inch sizes. Then I covered them with a thin film of hide glue and positioned Claessan's Belgium linen over them. I smoothed them out and covered them with heavy weights. They have to sit this way for 24 hours. Then I can see if there are any delaminated spots, or if they are ready to paint.

Then, I started my next daily painting. I have been wanting to do a series on the video game "Minecraft". When I first saw this game, I thought I was back in the 80's with it's heavy pixelated and blocky textured look. The huge difference is that you get a 3d view of the game space. Players can create anything within Minecraft, only their imagination providing the limit. I just picked up a small manual on Redstone so I'm looking forward to learning about it. I'm not a player, because I know that it 's very addictive and I'd spend too much time on it if I started. My daughter is a Minecraft player though, and I like seeing it's world through her eyes.

"Minecraft Cow", 2.5 x 3.5 in., oil on canvas/SOLD ©Victoria Page Miller

This painting is an ACEO. ACEO stands for Art Card Originals and Editions. They are kin to ATC or Artist Trading Cards and share the requirement of being 2.5 x 3.5 inches, or the same size as a standard playing card. This is the first in my series on Minecraft.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Brown Bear, what do you see?" Original oil painting

Brown Bear, what do you see?

Victoria Page Miller Brown bear, what do you see? painting
"Brown Bear, what do you see?", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
"Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me...."
- Eric Carle

This bear was playing in the water and absolutely enjoying himself. It was amazing to see such a powerful animal engaged in play. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"You've Got a Friend in Me" Cat Oil Painting

You've Got a Friend in Me

"You've got a friend in me
 You've got a friend in me
 You got troubles. I got 'em too
 There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
 If we stick together we can see it through
 'Cause you've got a friend in me
 Yeah, you've got a friend in me" - Randy Newman

Everyone needs to know that someone is there for us, through thick and thin. This pair of cats, one real and one a stuffed animal, are inseparable friends.

"You've Got a Friend in Me" cat painting, the rough in stage
The rough in stage of the painting

"You've Got a Friend in Me", color blocking stage
The color blocking in phase of the painting

Victoria Page Miller "You've Got a Friend in Me" painting
"You've Got a Friend in Me", 5 x 5", oil on  linen/available ©VP Miller

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Caramel Apple Original Oil Painting

In case you have decided to roast your own beets, like I did yesterday, there's a few things you should know. First, take a head of garlic slice off the top and drizzle it with olive oil. Wrap aluminum foil around it and roast it along with the beets. You might as well, it's the same temp and time (400 deg F for 1 hour). You can then smush some of the garlic heads out since they are nice and soft, and use it in your sauteed beet greens. It makes a world of difference. Also, after you've tasted the earthy beet flavor and enjoyed their gorgeous claret red color, er, um fair warning that you will probably see that red again, and again, the next day. Nothing to be alarmed by and no reason to call your doctor! Just a public service announcement for any other fresh beet newbies out there.

Now on to today's painting. Fall. Autumn. This may be very early (especially for those of you in the South), but caramel apples are reminiscent of county fairs, crisp evenings and of course, Halloween.

Caramel apple, getting the center of interest down on the canvas

The beginning of the painting. Shadows down first, then the background behind the apple.

Caramel apple, blocking in the background

The background is mostly in. I like to brush into a wet background, when blocking in my center of interest. It's better than doing a lot of work on an object, and then having to paint the background in afterwards and try to avoid messing up what you've already done.

Caramel apple, rough block in with light and dark side

Here the apple is filled with two shades of brown, a light and shadow side. I learned that I could have gone darker with the dark shade but it was corrected later. The previous me would have tried drawing the peanuts in first and painted around them. Why? Because a) I didn't know better and b) I like to draw. I've learned from David Leffel, that although you may want to draw with your paint, you must paint instead.

Nothing delights a student more than to draw with a paintbrush - the more minute the detail, the better. Avoid doing this. Instead, paint with your brush; think in terms of dimension. Instead of individual hairs, for example, paint hair thickness or dimension; paint the light on the hair.
Caramel apple, peanuts painted in but without highlights or accents

The concept of the painting was it's shape. The shape of the caramel apple combined with it's shadow makes for an interesting positive and negative space. The darkest areas are in shadow behind the stick and below the apple. Each area has the lightest light next to it. I put in the highlights on certain peanuts and knew something was missing. It was the accents - dark spots. You can't have light without equally dark areas in value.

Victoria Page Miller "Caramel Apple" oil painting
"Caramel Apple", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller

The finished caramel apple painting. I adjusted the main shadow and added final highlights and accents. I didn't overwork it and it was fun to paint.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beets with Wine Bottle Original Oil Painting

Beets with Wine Bottle

"Beets with Wine Bottle", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
I set up a triangular composition of three beets, their greens and a wine bottle. My intention was to make the leftmost beet the center of interest, followed closely by the wine bottle highlight. The greens would boomerang your eye around, effectively keeping your eye from leaving the painting. 

I'm still learning and focusing on the concept of massing - keeping darks together or whites together to form continuity. The darkest dark on the beet is next to the lightest light. That is mirrored in the wine bottle. The greens are mid-values. Their focal point is color, although nothing to light in hue that would rival the highlights. I learned a great deal about paint handling into wet dark values.

Tonight, I'm enjoying roasted beets with olive oil and salt (for the first time), and having the sauteed beet greens on the side.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Still Life "Grapes with Pear" Original Oil Painting

Grapes with Pear

Victoria Page Miller "Grapes with Pear" oil painting
"Grapes with Pear", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
This painting is about studying massing and edges. Massing is keeping your darks together and your lights together. The grapes, their shadows, the pear's shadow and it's darkest area are all connected. By edges, I mean I am working on found (sharp) and lost (soft) edges within a painting. The sides of the pears are almost completely lost in the background, yet you still feel it's mass. The edge of the grape stem that connects with the center of the pear (and it's lightest part) is also a hard edge, which should lead your eye there.

 It's also a just a pretty good representation of grapes and a pear. I am channeling David Leffel, of course. I'm not really channeling him (he's alive, thankfully). I am learning from him in an old book called "Oil Painting Secrets from a Master". Hopefully as I progress through his lessons and apply what I've learned, you will see a progression in ability too.

You should know, this was terribly fun to paint.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Never Forget" Yellow Rose with American Flag Original Oil Painting

Never Forget

"Yellow Rose with American Flag", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
This is a tribute to the military, fire fighters, police, EMTs and other first responders of 9/11. May we never forget how we came together as a nation after tragedy. The yellow rose is a nod to the military tradition of tying a yellow ribbon around a tree to remember and support those who are far away in service. The American Flag is a symbol of unity and strength. 

God Bless the USA!