Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Plein Air Show and Fall Workshops in Austin!

Sailor's Delight, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Plein Air Austin Show - Corridor of Arts Gallery
Chase Bank Building, 700 Lavaca, Austin, TX
Through September 5, 2017

Plein Air Austin is having its annual show this summer, and I am pleased to have these four paintings on display with that exhibit. Please stop by and take a look if you are in downtown Austin! 

Registration is now open for my fall workshops at The Contemporary Austin Art School. Please follow the link below for more info and to register. I would love to see you!!!

Still Life: Process and Studies, 9/29-30/2017 REGISTER HERE
Plein Air: Identifying Values, 10/20-21/2017 REGISTER HERE

 Bright Spring Morning, 8 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Rising Tidewaters, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Hill Country Bell Tower, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ready for Harvest - Radiant Group Show

Ready for Harvest, 18 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Available at the Davis Gallery Radiant Show

This is the last of my pieces represented in the Davis Gallery summer group show. In case you missed an earlier post, the show is "focused on radial compositions, luminescent surfaces, circular shapes, and all things Radiant..." 

As I worked on each painting, a local farm scene from my plein air workshop kept screaming to be painted. This angle, with it's one point perspective, added another whole level to the radial design concept. In addition to the circular form of the flowers, the radiating design of their petals, the luminescent quality of their color... the rows of plants themselves create a radiating pattern as they disappear into the distance. 

Radiant. I love this theme. The show is up through August 19 at the Davis Gallery in Austin, Texas. For purchase inquiries, please contact Kevin Ivester,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tilting Faces - Radiant Group Show and process shots

 Tilting Faces, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Available in the Davis Gallery Radiant Group Show

This is the third of four paintings that are on display in the Davis Gallery "Radiant" show. I have had several people ask for more details on the underpainting technique I used to achieve the glow in these paintings. SO... below are process shots of how I preserved the golden areas by laying in a stain of Indian Yellow. Unlike the cadmium family, this yellow is transparent and works well as an undertone without contaminating the layers above. (Cadmiums are opaque and tend to mix into and change subsequent layers, instead of glowing beneath them.) 

Below you can see how I went from my block in, straight to staining the "glow" areas. This allowed me to preserve those areas for later development AND provided a base tone that would glow through subsequent layers. 

Sketch and beginning of block in.

Block in with Indian Yellow applied to floral "glow" areas.
I painted the yellow in, then wiped it out leaving a stain behind.

Working dark to light, I return to the foliage... 
Darkest darks and highest contrast in foreground, muted and softer in background.

In the final stage, I add highlights to all the greenery and develop the flowers.

Perhaps the biggest development is how that front flower "tilted it's face" in these final marks. It's never too late to change things, and that was an important one. I thought it looked too rigid facing forward, so I used information from flowers behind it to change things up. I like the final gesture of that front sunflower so much better! It feels much more natural to me. :)

Personal GrandBaby Update: I am still in heaven with my daughter's family and their new baby girl, and so grateful for these days of bonding. Her name is Laurel Anne (she'll go by the double name), after me and her other grandma, whose middle name is Anne. What a great honor for us!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Urban Pinwheel - Radiant Group Show

Urban Pinwheel, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Available at the Davis Gallery in Radiant Show

I love that sunflowers come in many varieties. They are cultivated as a farm crop but they also make wild appearances along country roads and city highways. These untamed beauties were especially captivating to me, as they shimmered in juxtaposition to the hard lines of the cityscape in the distance. That contrast greatly enhanced the brilliance of the delicate flowers. 

One painting technique I used to depict "radiance" with these sunflowers, was to use an undertone in the brilliant areas. I did my block-in as usual, but before building up the values and color, I added passages of Indian Yellow where I wanted the color to pop later. Indian Yellow is transparent and can easily be used like a stain (if applied thinly and wiped out it's unobtrusive to subsequent layers.) I then continued to work from dark to light, as usual. That intense undertone not only saved the place of the brilliant areas, it helped to cast a radiant glow. (For purchase inquiries, please contact Kevin Ivester,

Initial Sketch...

Block in with splash of Indian Yellow to mark the brilliant areas. 

Baby Watch Update: Our sweet baby granddaughter was born early Monday morning (on her due date), healthy and happy! What a great blessing and honor it is to be here, and to see this dear new life as she meets her family and the world for the first time! Her big brother is pretty taken with his new baby sister! Such JOY!!!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Field of Orbs - Radiant Group Show

Field of Orbs
Available at the Davis Gallery in Radiant Exhibition

Radiant - A Group Show
Davis Gallery, Austin, TX
July 15 - August 19, 2017
Reception July 15, 7-9 pm

This weekend, Radiant opens at the Davis Gallery in Austin, TX. A description from the show curator says it best... "This group show is focused on radial compositions, luminescent surfaces, and all things Radiant. The goal of the exhibition is to invite our audience to explore the importance of form, composition, and tone, by studying how each piece fits into the show's parameters. Each artist created new work specifically for this exhibition, or carefully chosen work from the past, which uniquely recognizes the Radiant concept."

As I considered this challenge, sunflowers seemed like one of nature's perfect examples of radiating forms and luminosity. They became my personal focus (and obsession!) as I prepared for the show. I am pleased to have 4 pieces on display, and will post the others in the coming days and weeks. Please stop by the gallery to see the work if you are in town! For purchase inquiries, contact Kevin Ivester,

On a personal note, I will not be at the show reception, as I am off to Italy for the birth of my 3rd grandchild! Hard duty, I know! Grandma duty is the best! More on that as well! ;)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beach Day's End

Beach Day's End, 18 x 24, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017

As I was considering the final touches on this painting, I couldn't escape an urge to add some life to the scene. In order to capture the depth of the beach and the height of the sky, I needed a human reference for scale. Below is a shot without the people, just so you can see the before and after. I was hesitant - I wasn't going for a figurative painting, and what if I screwed it all up? But the painting kept demanding something more so I went for it. I am glad I did... Those people added just the right dynamic, focus, and most of all, that missing sense of scale. It's good to respond to inner nudges, even if there is a little fear involved. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!


Just a little bit of human reference shows how deep and wide the beach is.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Evening Song

Evening Song, 30 x 24, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017

A few weeks ago I posted a study for this larger work that is now on it's way to the Anderson Fine Art Gallery on St. Simons Island in Georgia!! On occasion, my heart breaks with the beauty of the low country and it's dramatic skies. I can never get enough! As I took this piece larger, I didn't want to lose any of that drama, and that required staying committed to the dark passages. Below is an image of my block-in, where I laid those darks in pretty boldly. 

Evening Song Block In

You may be wondering about that little passage of yellow... Early on in the block in, I used Indian Yellow to lay in some of the light areas. Indian Yellow is transparent, and is a perfect "place holder" for passages that will be that color. The transparency allows it to save the yellow areas without contaminating the darks that need to surround it. I used it to hold the spots higher up in the sky as well, I just forgot to take another photo. Try to imagine! :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunflower Fields Aglow

Sunflower Fields Aglow, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Sunflowers are such happy flowers, don't you think? I just finished a series of larger sunflower pieces for an upcoming group exhibit, and this backlit field of the giant stalks was a little study I did in preparation. I love their brilliant color and saucer-like forms. Painting them brought me great joy! (I kinda became obsessed!) 

Please stay tuned for the larger pieces and more information on that group show when it opens in July!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Iron Gate and Revising a Painting

Iron Gate (Revised), 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016
Click to purchase $120 + $16 s/h

Sometimes I feel the need to revise a painting. This inevitably happens when something is a bit "off" and it just keeps bugging me until I do something about it. Of course, my goal is to notice these things when I am in the process of making the piece, not days or weeks later. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes days or weeks to realize what is bothering me. This is one of those pieces, and I thought it might be interesting to talk about my process of making changes. 

Problems/Solutions in this piece: 
1) Problem: The wall had an odd notch in it; and even though it was true to what I saw, it didn't make sense in the painting. Solution: Removed the wall notch!
2) Problem: The cypress trees were too dark and looked flat. Solution: Intensified highlights on trees. 
3) Problem: The foreground didn't lead "in" as much as I wanted it to. Solution: Added blue flowers in the foreground and popped highlights on gate and lamp. This brings the eye to entrance of painting.

Here is the "Before" and "After"

Reworking a painting: 
1) Wait till painting is dry. 
2) Wet the entire painting with linseed oil, then buff it off. This restores luster of dried pigment and allows fluidity for application of new paint. (If you use Liquin or some other medium, you would use that instead. Refined linseed is my only medium, so that works well for me.)
3) Mix the same colors that are in the painting and make changes area by area (test in small areas first.) 
4) For the wall: I mixed wall color and painted right over the dry trees behind to remove the notch. Then I added highlights to new portions of wall. 
5) For the cypress trees: I started with the original color of the tree and re-painted that base color. Then I modified the new wet layer with my highlight tone. 
6) Blue flowers and highlights: I mixed the colors and laid them in with a liner brush. Extra linseed oil makes the paint flow better from a liner brush. 
7) Newly painted areas will dry dull (oils "sink"). You will need to oil out the painting when it dries again. 

As an alla prima painter, I prefer working wet into wet. This approach allows me to modify  a dry painting without loosing that alla prima look. Often, just a few small changes make a big difference. I like this little painting so much more now! :)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Swirling Vines - with process shots

Swirling Vines, 12 x 16, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Collection of the artist

The Georgia coastline and St. Simons Island are known for their huge Live Oak trees draped in Spanish Moss. I love them so much (and have since my first encounter), AND I find them very challenging to paint. There is just so much going on... this one was especially complicated, with tangled vines wrapped all around its multiple trunks. 

Below is a photo of the scene and some process shots. You can see that I simplified the background quite a bit, a necessary sacrifice in order for the tree to emerge. One thing I have learned along the way is that you can't have it all! ;) (That is true for a lot of things, isn't it?)

Setting the scene... the tangled tree in a grove of Live Oaks.

In my initial sketch, I tried to establish the movement of the vines.

As the painting progressed, details came and went... and came back again!

When the light peeked through, I popped in highlights and final marks.
That moss? I dragged it in at the very end.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Western Sky (Study)

Western Sky (Study), 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

This was truly a fleeting moment that I was happy to capture on my camera, so that I could revisit it in the studio. Skies like this happen almost nightly on the Georgia coast. I never tire of the sun's dramatic exit!! I did this small study in preparation for a larger piece I just finished. I will share that one a little later when it is signed, sealed and delivered to the gallery (or at least on it's way.)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Antique Beauty

Antique Beauty, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Click to purchase $120 + $16 s/h

Over the Memorial holiday weekend, I came across this antique car, sitting ever so pretty by the side of the road. Its owner had wandered over to an adjacent fishing pier, so I thought I might have time to give it a go. Just as I was finishing she came back, jumped in, and drove off. The good news is that I was almost finished... the bad news is that I never got to see what kind of car it was. Well, that is not completely true... I could easily see that it was a very CUTE car (I just don't know what make and model it was)! 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Palmetto Lace

Palmetto Lace, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

I was blessed to find myself back on St. Simons Island for a few days over the Memorial Day weekend. It was a short visit, but I managed to get out painting (how not to?) Little studies were in order and I had to work fast; but I find we have to catch these things when we can!!! In this piece, I wanted to capture the feeling of those lacy palmetto branches fluttering in the breeze. The soft colors of the marsh created an awesome backdrop, drifting in and out behind the palm fronds.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Turkey Bend - Texas Lifestyle Magazine Article

Turkey Bend, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Private Collection

I am very pleased to be featured in the spring edition of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. The article talks about my inspiration and process, and how the Texas landscape impacts both. See story in magazine by clicking HERE. Scroll to page 66.

Many thanks to Editor, Julie Tereshchuk, and Texas Lifestyle Magazine!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Iron Gate

Iron Gate, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Click to purchase $120 + $16 s/h

This is another painting of the beautiful grounds at Laguna Gloria, where I teach painting in Austin. It's no surprise that this is a popular wedding venue, as well as an art school and sculpture garden. The main building is modeled after an Italian Villa. It is surrounded by gardens and just a few steps away from Lake Austin... one of my favorite places! 

This is my favorite sculpture on the grounds...
"Looking Up" by Tom Friedman, stainless steel

Me, standing at the foot of the giant!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Big Commission - In Situ!

A Capitol Evening (detail), 60 x 72, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Commissioned for the Dell Seton Medical Center, University of Texas

Those who followed my posts at the start of the year will remember that I painted my largest painting ever, for the new teaching hospital at the University of Texas. It was a terrifying, but wonderful challenge for me. Well, I have an update. This past weekend, the Medical Center threw a grand opening party for the public to view the new facility. Below are pictures of my painting "in situ". That grin on my face lasted all day! (Okay, I am still glowing a bit.) I am honored and grateful beyond words to have my work showcased in this great institution of healing. 

Click HERE for original post on this piece. (The other two paintings I did for them were not viewable at the reception as some areas were closed off... no pics of those.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Villa Cypress - Demo 3

Villa Cypress, 12 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Click to purchase $145 + $16 s/h

Choosing a subject... what to include, what to leave out? That is the question. This demo is about choosing between two interpretations of the same scene. The composition on the left is all about the statue as the main idea. The composition on the right is all about the tall cypress trees as the main idea. Both are valid, but I felt that they were two different paintings. 

To accentuate the cypress trees in today's post, I needed to focus on their height. Therefore, it was important to show that they were taller than the Villa (which has three stories). Using a tall, skinny format helped to further "push" the idea of height. I chose to leave out the sculpture completely, so that it would't distract from the main idea.

One scene, two ideas...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Garden Watch - Workshop Demo 2

Garden Watch, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

This is the second of the demo ideas I worked up for my recent workshop. (To see block-ins of all four ideas, click HERE.) I love this little angle on the garden and the sculpture adds an instant focal point! Below are several process shots so you can see how the painting developed. 

Blocking in with Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna.
 I tried not to worry about the details on the sculpture at this point... just the shape of a figure on a block. Keeping it simple at the start actually helps me avoid over painting it. 

Building the darks in the upright plane.
Depicting the statue was accomplished by painting both the shape itself AND its negative shape. In other words, I started with a general form and then carved into it with the surrounding background color. I go back and forth between the two (negative and positive) to help me hold the form.

Again, the finished piece. 
I wish I had taken more pictures showing how the sculpture element evolved. I just got going and forgot. :(