Monday, September 28, 2009

Tulip Study-Final

© Ellen Blonder
It's nice when, once in a while, things fall into place without a lot of fussing. I suppose that makes up for all the times painting is a struggle. Here's the study of a tulip I started yesterday and finished today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tulip Study-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
I photographed the tulips in the garden after a brief rain several springs ago, but I'm just now turning this one into a painting. It's just a small study, on a 5 x 7-inch board. The challenge will be to capture the light and shadow without turning the shadowy yellows into mud.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


© Ellen Blonder
I repainted the veins on the leaves truer to the spacing on the real leaves, and continued shading the pears. This post shows a slightly closer view. Now it's time to eat the still life.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pears-Day 4

© Ellen Blonder
I've been slowly shading and highlighting the pears, and have also added some details to the leaves. It amazes me how difficult it is to capture an almost smooth surface. All the pears have ripened and the leaves have dried out since I began this painting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pears-Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
I've fixed the perspective a bit on the bowl, and still need th shade the interior more. I'm in the process of shading the pears; a challenge is that the paint dries darker than when wet, so what looks smooth when applied becomes blotchy as it dries. The leaves still need their veins painted in; I've made them greener than they are in a more dried out state.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pears-Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
Just filling in truer colors today. Getting the pears shaded is going to take a while. The bowl's perspective needs correcting, too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pears-Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
My friend Janet shared her abundant pear harvest a couple of weeks ago. I put some in my favorite green bowl and photographed them before they ripened. I'm still exploring painting against a dark ground (see Rose in Bottle posts), so here's the first day's underpainting. I used to think detailed leaves would be much harder to paint than smooth open areas--like the surface of the pears or inside of the bowl--but the opposite is usually true. The painting is on a 16 x 16-inch sheet of masonite.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tulips from Years Ago

© Ellen Blonder
Sometimes it's nice to go back and trace where one's been in order to figure out where one's going. I've been interested in flower paintings for a long time; this was done in 1992. I painted this in gouache on bristol board; it's small, about 8 x 3 1/2 inches. It was meant for a line of enamelware teakettles and other kitchen accessories, but never got produced.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


© Ellen Blonder
I painted over the sky to even the tones, lightened the pavement, and added details to Wendy's hair, clothing and shoes. I also wanted to add some perspective cues without distracting from the dynamics between Wendy and Bear. I think I'll stop now, so as not to clutter this up any more.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reluctance-Painting Day 3

© Ellen Blonder
This doesn't look like much progress for a day's work. When I started painting Bear, I realized I hadn't gotten her stance right. Her legs needed to move farther forward so it's clearer she's holding her ground. I also needed to shorten her face and body; a lot of today's painting was painting over mistakes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reluctance-Painting Day 2

© Ellen Blonder
With a long holiday weekend trip, this underpainting was as much as I managed to do in the last few days. I considered added foliage behind Wendy, but perhaps I should put it behind Bear to give the illusion that Wendy's pulling against even more resistance.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Reluctance-Painting Day 1

© Ellen Blonder
On August 28, I posted a sketch of my talented friend Wendy Slick and her dog Bear Lee, based on a photo I took along a recent walk. I liked the dynamics enough to turn it into a painting. Wendy is clever and resourceful in her documentary filmmaking, but she's no match for Bear when Bear doesn't want to go uphill.

The canvas is 16 x 20 inches.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blue Sky Collaboration-My Day 4

© Ellen Blonder and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp
I'm probably done for now. I've added details to the newly-lightened bricks, sharpened some of the clouds in the sky.
Detail of the center of the painting is shown below. The painting doesn't feel quite finished, but I need to set it aside and think about what else it might need.

© Ellen Blonder and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blue Sky Collaboration-My Day 3

© Ellen Blonder and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp
The scene is taking shape. I have to add the mortar between the bricks, details to the inside of the archway, and smooth the transition between the scene inside the arch and the sky below it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blue Sky Collaboration-My Day 2

© Ellen Blonder and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp
I'm starting to paint in the brick wall and arch, but don't expect it to cover much more of the sky than it has on the left. I'm glad to have finally settled on a direction (see posts below). The archway view is something Lisa and I experienced together in Rome.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blue Sky Collaboration-Four Possibilities

© Ellen Blonder
I don't know why it's so hard to figure out what to do with the Blue Sky Collaboration canvas (see multiple posts below), except that a blue sky invites possibilities. Upper left sketch is the view of a lone tree through an archway on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Upper right is a floating section of foothills (following the influence of yesterday's post). Lower left is an elegant double door, entry to a house in Rome. Lower right is the barn from my childhood. The double doors are too staid and blocklike, and the barn reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. I like the foothills, but I'm going to try the archway.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blue Sky Collaboration-Possible Influence

© Ellen Blonder
I'm considering floating a mountain in the sky (see yesterday's post) of my current collaborative painting with my daughter Lisa. Contours of mountains and hills have fascinated me for a long time; evidence here is a 30 x 30-inch canvas I painted in my early 20s, not long after my first visit to Hawaii. I liked the way the four sections of mountains turned out, but the center of the painting has always bothered me. I may revisit this with my paints and a fresh perspective once the other painting is done.