Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to All!

Sacred Pomegranate, L. Daniel

The pomegranate has been considered sacred by many religions since ancient times. In addition to its many healing qualities, it represents fertility, birth and eternal life. It's a perfect symbol for the message and hope of Christmas.

O Come, O come Emmanuel!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my home to yours.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ocean Walk

Ocean Walk, L. Daniel, 8 x 6, oil on panel, SOLD

We just got back from St. Simons Island, Georgia, where we spent Thanksgiving with family. It was great to walk the beach at a different time of year. I didn't have a chance to paint this week - "Ocean Walk" is left over from my trip in April (kept as reference for larger piece). No matter the season, I always love seeing that patch of blue and feeling the sea breeze as I trudge oceanward through the dunes.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Autumn Symphony

Autumn Symphony, L. Daniel, 8 x 16, oil on panel - SOLD

A recent day on Lake Austin... a reminder to give thanks for all things.
H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G   T O   A L L !

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turning Leaves

Turning Leaves, L. Daniel, 8 x 6, oil on panel, SOLD

Fall color comes a little late to Austin, and it usually has a pretty short window before peaking and flaming out. It's best to keep painting gear in the trunk and be ever "at the ready" for the perfect confluence of color and light. Well, that happened last week and you can bet I was out there trying to capture the magic! Watching the leaves turn multiple shades of red, orange and yellow is a spectacular show that never gets old. 

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dry Creek Bed

Dry Creek Bed, L. Daniel, 12 x 9

Normally, Bull Creek is full of water that flows back to some limestone ledges and a small waterfall. After a summer of no rain, it's temporarily dry. Walking up the creek on dry land is an odd feeling but the limestone bed is beautiful and smooth from the water flow. This is always one of my favorite places to paint in the fall, and I really hope the water is back next year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

October Morning and Banner Project

October Morning, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, SOLD

I am a little behind in posting, but this is a little plein air piece I did a few weeks ago when it was still October (is time flying by or is it just me?) At that point, our fall color was just emerging and now it's at full peak. It's not like New England, mind you, but it's pretty beautiful. 

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In other news...

"Happy Trails Art Banner Project"

Banners featuring 55 juried artists' work are currently 
hanging in historic, downtown Georgetown, Texas.
I am pleased to have the painting below included the project.
Of course I had to visit the display and get a photo of my banner!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stormy Sunday

Stormy Sunday, L. Daniel, 12 x 12

...otherwise known as "the day it finally rained"! This weekend was Plein Air Austin's year-end barbecue at Westlake Beach, a old and favorite Austin haunt. We gathered in the afternoon to paint first (because that's what we do) and families joined us later. Well, don't you know, about an hour in, the sky darkened like someone had turned off the lights... and yes... rain happened. We all ducked under pavilions to wait it out and then went back and finished our paintings. It didn't last long, but it was a thrill. (I mean that - an absolute thrill - we are literally praying for the wet stuff.) 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pomegranate Cluster

Pomegranate Cluster, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, SOLD

Yes, I've had a bit of a pomegranate fascination in the past few weeks. 'Tis the season and all.. and these golden orbs are just so compelling. Once I painted them this way and that, I had to paint them bigger and on squares. I will post the squares and that should be the end of it... at least till next year. :)

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In other news, I am happy to be a featured artist on "Artist.Blog.Critique", a new blog written by Tony Moffitt. Tony takes a look at artists and their blogs, and gives his personal critique on what he sees. Thank you for the kind words, Tony!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fruit Bearing Branches

Fruit Bearing Branches, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, SOLD

Our pomegranate tree had an abundantly productive season. I just love the shapes and colors, and it was especially interesting to watch flowers turn into fruit. It's quite a transformation. 

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alley On Avenue B

Alley On Avenue B, L. Daniel, 12 x 9

A few of us met up this morning to paint in a cute little bungalow neighborhood near the university - yep, a neighborhood with ALLEYS. I do love an alley. :) This one had such a wonderful play of darks and lights, and I was sucked right in. It was a great morning with half the neighborhood out walking dogs and babies. One guy stopped to take my picture and exclaimed that it was "just great to have a flock of artists here!" I had to laugh - so a group of artists is a flock! Learn something new every day. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sun-Struck Sapling and tips for using refined linseed oil as a medium

Sun-Struck Sapling, L. Daniel, 8 x 6, SOLD

Back at the Wimberley creekside, this small cypress sapling caught the brilliant mid-day light. It looked so beautiful against the purple gray limestone shadows. I loved it's simple but dramatic pose.

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Using Refined Linseed Oil as a Medium:
One of my readers asked me to talk about using Refined Linseed Oil as a medium instead of Turpentine mixes or Liquin. She has been experiencing some allergic reactions to solvents and is making the switch. Here is the thing about solvents and allergies: while not everyone is bothered, some people are completely debilitated. Still others begin to experience allergic reactions after years of use. Even the odorless mineral spirits are toxic - the fumes are there even though you can't smell them. So be really careful if you are using them. 

I learned to paint using linseed oil (I use the "refined") and have never missed solvents. If you are interested in trying it, here are some pointers:
 - Place linseed oil in small cup on palette - you only need a small amount
 - Dip just the tip of your brush in it, add a little as you go and mix in completely
 - Use it only to emulsify paint for an even flow (so all pigments are same consistency)
 - Do NOT use it for washes - you won't be able to paint back in and it will take a long time to dry
 - If you like a toned canvas, consider pre-toning with an acrylic wash in your preferred color
 - I don't clean my brushes as I paint - I wipe them out with paper towel as necessary to keep the color clean
 - I use lots of brushes - typically one for each basic color in the painting (since I am not swishing)
 - Brush cleaning - at the end of a session, I clean my brushes with warm water and Masters Soap (also a great conditioner - make a thin paste of the Masters Soap and reshape the tips)
 - Other options are walnut oil and poppyseed oil - I've not tried them but hear they are good choices

Like anything, it takes practice to gain mastery but it's worth it. Most of my students who try it never go back to solvents. I know we all want to be painting for a long, long time, so paint smartly. And good luck!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quiet Creek

Quiet Creek, L. Daniel, 12 x 9

Last week, the Outdoor Painters Society met up for a few days to paint in Wimberley, Texas... about an hour from my home. This was a special treat because we were invited to paint on private land along the creek. I got there early and had a quiet morning with this glowing stand of cypress tress. Delightful. (Also delightful was the gathering of friends at lunch time.) :) Thanks for having us, Bob!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reeds in the Lagoon - Plein Air Demo

Reeds in the Lagoon, L. Daniel, 8 x 8, SOLD 
Plein Air Demo

Today my fall plein air class started and we met up down by the lake to paint reeds and reflections and little yellow flowers. It was a beautiful, cool, sunshiny morning - a truly perfect fall day. I promised my students that I would post my demo from class step by step, so here you all are!

I began by blocking-in the large masses of my composition 
using a mix of French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna.
(The stain in the background is just leftover from a wipe-off.)

Next, I painted the darkest darks of the upright planes in foreground and background 
(keeping atmospheric perspective in mind to create a sense of air and depth.)

Then I painted the flower blooms (treating them as large masses) 
and saturated greens in the foreground foliage.

Working to get the canvas covered, I put in the muted tones of the reflections on the water.
I am always comparing value, chroma, and temperature of each component to the next,
because all color and value is relative to whatever is beside or around it. 

Once the values and color of the whole scene were working 
I added the sunlit tips of the reeds and broke up the masses with subtle value shifts.
At the very end, I added the final highlights (very important not to rush this final step.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sacred Pomegranate

Sacred Pomegranate, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, Oil on panel
*All Proceeds will go to "Every Mother Counts" fundraiser

The pomegranate has been held as sacred by many religions since ancient times. It represents fertility and marriage, birth and eternal life... and, it's revered for it's healing medicinal qualities. It seemed a fitting image for this cause.

*Every Mother Counts is an aid organization that combats maternal mortality during childbirth by training midwives and opening health clinics in the Republic of Congo.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

American Women Artists - National Juried Exhibition, Opening Friday

Summer Rains, L. Daniel, 9 x 12, Oil on panel
Available at Huff Harrington Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta

I am very pleased to be a finalist in the 2011 American Women Artists National Juried Exhibition. The piece above will be in the show along with fantastic work by women artists from all over the country. I will be attending the opening this Friday night, so if you are in Atlanta, please stop by. I would love to see you!

Here is the information:

2011 American Women Artists (AWA) National Juried Exhibition 
Artist Reception Friday, October 14, 6:00 - to 8:00 pm 
Huff Harrington Fine Art
4240 Rickenbacker Drive
Atlanta, Georgia
Exhibit runs through November 3

Thursday, October 6, 2011

One Chocolate and One Vanilla

One Chocolate Cupcake (after Wayne Thiebaud), L. Daniel, 7 x 5

One of my very favorite artists is Wayne Thiebaud, painter of desserts (and other objects of every day life.) In my still life class this fall, we have been looking at his work closely and taking inspiration from his thickly applied paint, colorful shadows and juicy edges. Of course, I had to take the challenge myself. SO, with great admiration and all due respect... here are some sprinkled cupcakes in the spirit and manner of Mr. Thiebaud

It must be noted that if Thiebaud was painting these cupcakes, the paintings would be at least 10 times larger. If you have seen his work in person, you know what I mean. BIG. I learned so much trying to emulate his style and hope my students did too!

One Vanilla Cupcake (after Wayne Thiebaud), L. Daniel, 7 x 5

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Summer's End (and thoughts on using thick paint)

Summer's End, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, SOLD

Here is another painting from last week's paint out where I my goal was to use thick and juicy paint. This is an area of focus for me right now - I am even making my students try it in our still life class. (Sorry guys, just sharing the joy.) :)
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Here is a question from one of my readers I thought might interest others...

"Why is it desirable to apply paint in thick brush strokes?"
I am just trying to better enjoy the buttery, goopy quality of the paint. The whole process is so much more delicious when the tactile factor is higher. Children get this intuitively. They don't need to be taught to smear it everywhere. 

Adults need to be retaught (or un-taught). I see it all the time in myself and in my students and friends. Due to some crazy grown-up fears, we are 1) miserly with paint both on the palette and on the canvas; and 2) tentative and overly careful with our mark-making to avoid mistakes. Our fears of depleting supplies and wastefulness make us scrimp and our fears of imperfection and failure restrict our ability to express.

Fear is not a good place to work from when we are trying to be creative. So, what better way to get past those fears than to face them full on, with more paint and bolder marks? Turn it into a game. Make it play. SET A GOAL. (Whatever it takes.) 

Of course, this is completely a matter of personal taste. Thick, chunky paint may not be everyone's cup of tea (it may even be UNdesirable to some people!) Whatever your preference, just remember to have fun.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shadow Shimmer

Shadow Shimmer, L. Daniel, 6 x 8

Last Thursday, Plein Air Austin met up to paint in the country. My goal for the day was to use thick, juicy paint; and the simple shapes of this shed and its shadows were a perfect subject for that goal. I am enjoying pushing myself in the area of paint application... if you click on the image, you will be able to see the thick paint up close. More of this experimentation will be showing up in my next few posts. :)

Spring Workshop Info:
Garden Vignettes En Plein Air, May 17-19, 2012, St. Simon's Island, GA
Contact Mary Anderson, Anderson Fine Art Gallery912-634-8414

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Workshop Announcement - come paint with me!

Back Gate, L. Daniel, 6 x 8 with 3" gold frame, SOLD
More work available at Anderson Gallery

This spring, I am offering a plein air workshop on St. Simons Island, GA
If you are interested in joining in, here is the information:

Garden Vignettes En Plein Air
May 17-19, 2012
Thursday-Saturday, from 9am-4pm 
Anderson Fine Art Gallery
St. Simon's Island, GA

Workshop Description: Develop oil painting skills through painting en plein air at a variety of private and public gardens. Emphasis will be on catching light and shadows, seeing color, achieving depth with perspective, editing and simplifying forms and capturing a sense of place. Each session will include a demo and a critique.   

To sign up:
Please contact Mary Anderson

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Still Life Lessons

Pair of Oranges, L. Daniel, 9 x 6

My last session at the Weekend with the Masters was a still life class with Quang Ho. Ho is a great painter, teacher, author, and just an incredible thinker overall. Listening to his ideas about painting and creativity is inspirational. He encourages artists to strive for "maximum randomness"... to look for variety and complexity in each area of a painting. Most importantly, he experiments. He is always open to new approaches and simply knows how to play when he works. "Play" is a really good goal and so easy to forget. 

In these two paintings, I tried to experiment with color and edges. The top one was my second attempt and favorite (I was definitely in play mode).

Fruit Toss, L. Daniel, 9 x 12

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mist On The Rocks

Mist On The Rocks, L. Daniel, 9 x 12

Back at Point Lobos on day two of the Weekend with the Masters... 
I studied with plein air painter Joe Paquet, who is passionate about painting, art and life. The day was overcast and foggy, and Joe did a great demo showing us how he paints air and atmosphere into his vista paintings. We started with an underpainting of all the shadow elements using cobalt blue, black and lead white (or flake white). Sadly, I didn't think to take photos of that stage so I can't show you what it looked like. My goal here was to create distance between the various receding elements and the underpainting helped me get the values set correctly from the beginning.

Addendum... it turns out that my friend, Leigh Sparks, took pictures at the workshop and happened to catch my painting at the early stage. Here is the underpainting using cobalt blue, white and black. Color was added on top of this. Thank you, Leigh! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Point Lobos - Six Quick Studies

Point Lobos Study 1, L. Daniel, 6 x 9, NFS

Last week I had the great fortune to attend the Weekend with the Masters  in Monterey, CA -  four days filled with workshops, demos, and lectures featuring some of our country's best artists and teachers. I spent one of the days studying with Ray Roberts, who focused on painting quickly in the field to capture important shapes and fleeting color notes. Learning to work fast means being able to bring home more options for painting a scene larger and more carefully in the studio. We did 30 minute studies, repositioned, and started again.

Some tips for doing 30 minute studies? Do not limit your palette (bring primary and secondary colors). Premix tints. Keep it simple (really simple). Use lots of paint. Focus on getting correct values and identifying major color families. Do not try to get finished paintings - stop when you have the notes you need. And practice, practice, practice. 

These are the studies I finished that day at Point Lobos in Monterey. It was an incredibly fruitful day and I think I caught the rhythm of something that will really benefit my work. Many thanks to Ray Roberts. (These studies are not for sale.)

Point Lobos Study 2, 6 x 9, NFS

Point Lobos Study 3, 6 x 9, NFS

Point Lobos Study 4, 6 x 9, NFS

Point Lobos Study 5, 6 x 9, NFS

Point Lobos Study 6, 6 x 9, NFS

Monday, September 12, 2011


Follow, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, SOLD

This dirt road winds it's way through old and dense evergreens in the Pacific Northwest and it certainly cries out to be followed! I was quite taken with this area of the country and can see why folks rave about it. It seemed to me that there was a painting in every direction and I hope to go back for more! 

PS - I am now back from the Weekend with the Masters and will share some of the lessons this week. :)

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fence Check

Fence Check, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, SOLD

I love a farmer's field, be it east coast, west coast or middle America, and this one in Washington simply had my name on it. The orange-yellow grasses and patchy blue sky were a delicious combo... and then there was that post and wire fence... irresistible!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cliffside Breezes

Cliffside Breezes, L. Daniel, 6 x 8, SOLD

Before I left for the Weekend with the Masters in Monterey, I pre-posted of some smaller studies I've been working on over the past weeks. They are a little like postcards to myself as I used them to process a few memories of my trip to the Pacific Northwest. Hiking next to the waters of the Puget Sound, we came across this bending tree, it's growth greatly impacted by the sea winds. It interested me to think about how the tree has adapted for survival there, hunkered in and clinging to the cliff. Nature always finds a way.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Painting Included in fall issue of Plein Air Magazine!! WOO HOO!

High Falls, L. Daniel, 12 x 12

The Fall 2011 issue of Plein Air Magazine has an article about the Publisher's Invitational that took place in the Adirondacks this summer, and this painting of mine is included in the story! What a thrill it was to open the pages and see it there (I'm not going to lie, I bought several copies!) The magazine is available at Barnes and Noble in the art section. Go check it out! And thanks for letting me share the good news!

Artist friends: this week I will be attending the Weekend with the Masters in Monterey, CA. If any of you are going to be there, please contact me. It would be fun to meet up!

My dear painting buddy, Carol Marine, has lost her home, studio and everything inside to the Texas wildfires. Many of you know Carol and would like to help out. The above link will take you to a fundraiser help the Marine family get back on their feet. All donations will go directly to them. Please keep central Texas in your thoughts and prayers. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Demo Notes - Stolen Moment (enlarged)

Stolen Moment (enlarged), L. Daniel, 16 x 12

On Thursday evening I went to Fredericksburg, Texas to do a painting demo for the Die Kunstler Von Fredericksburg group. Since I was painting inside, at night, I chose to do an enlargement of a 6 x 8 plein air piece. The original was done the week before my daughter's wedding in June and it brings back many happy memories of that joyous time. 

But beyond that, I also thought it would be a good scene to work through while explaining my painting process. More than 50 people came to the demo and they were a great crowd! Many thanks to the organizers and all who were there. I promised to post the whole thing here for a little review, so here we go...  

A Demo of "Stolen Moment":

Line and Mass Block-in
Using French Ultramarine and Alizarin Crimson I lightly sketched in my composition. 
Stepping back, I checked the drawing, made needed corrections and laid in the darkest darks.
For blocking-in, it's important to use a very dry brush and a light touch to avoid muddy colors later.
From here on, I will load the brush, continue to use a light touch and try not to scrub (more mud).

Foreground - Darks and Lights in Upright Plane 
Using color to describe the darks and lights, I massed the shapes & kept them simple.
Later on I will break up the masses with subtle value and temperature shifts in each range.
(Upright plane refers to vertical elements, such as trees and foliage. It usually contains the darkest darks.)

Foreground - Darks and Lights in Ground Plane
Again, I focused on the simple shapes of the darks and lights - this time in the ground plane.
(The ground plane reflects the sky, so it's overall value is usually much lighter than the upright plane.)
 I pushed the color a bit here, knowing that I will come back in with highlights at the end.
I tried to establish an overall vibrancy in the foreground that would contrast well with the muted distant shore.

Background - Establish overall Value
I try to compare every element; and here I compared "like" to "like"...
 How are the elements in the background different from the same elements in the foreground?
Atmospheric conditions make the background cooler, more muted, softer, lighter...
I painted the background mass using the average best value and color to establish a sense of distance.

Background - Darks and Lights in Upright Plane.
Once the value was correct, I broke up the large background mass with subtle shifts of light and dark.
The value range is tighter (less contrasty) in the distance, so I avoided dark darks and intense color.
I kept detail at a minimum (it's far away and I know I can't see that detail!) :)

Middle-ground - Reflections in Ground Plane
Here again, I indicated reflections by using large masses that I will break up later.
(You should be seeing a trend... Large masses that get subdivided.)

Sky - Value and Nuance of Sky Plane 
I generally paint the sky last, but I know lots of people who start there.
No matter when it's painted, the sky is an important key to the rest of the values in a painting. 
The sky is usually the lightest area in a landscape because the sun is there...
once everything else established, I know how light I need to go.

Final Touches - Highlights and Sparkle
Painting is a practice in patience and delayed gratification. 
I try really hard to establish the values and temperatures of all the masses before ever doing a single highlight.
Once the masses are working together, I begin to break them up and try not to overdo it.
Last, and I mean at the very end, I add the highlights and sparkle and any little details. 
Honestly, when I follow my own advice on this, I am happiest with the outcome. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leaning Tree in Sunlight

Leaning Tree in Sunlight, L. Daniel, 9 x 12

A few days ago I posted a painting of this scene at Rosario Beach (in WA) on an overcast, drizzly morning. I had several people mention that they would love to see the scene on a sunny day. Well, here it is. The day I scoped out painting sites was a brilliant, sunny afternoon, and I took photographs to remember some of my ideas for my days of painting. Of course, when I went back it looked totally different, but the time I spent painting it on location (studying the shapes and relationships) helped me bring the sunny day photo to life back in the studio. 

The plein air piece of the grey day is below - just for the fun of comparing and contrasting. You can see I painted new one from farther away and corrected the shape of the peninsula while I was at it. :)

 Leaning Tree, L. Daniel, 9 x 12