July 01, 2016

297 Tulips

Tulips297 Tulips

10x8 inches :: oil painting on stretched canvas


I used a photo of tulips by @ourgoldenmoon as reference for this work. And for some reason, I struggled severely with this one. Maybe it's because I thought it would be easy ... after doing flowers that I feel are more complex (like the rose and peony) I thought tulips would be a breeze but they weren't. I underestimated their complexity. I don't recall a time when I struggled more with a painting. Anyway, that's what happened today.

June 30, 2016

296 Better in the Abstract

296296 Better in the Abstract

11 x 14 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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It's been a while since I've done a portrait. I used a photo of one of my online muses for this work. And then I channeled my inner Benjamin Bjorklund and Jenny Saville in terms of strokes and approaches as I tried really hard to keep every stroke in the abstract and keeping parts of the canvas raw and untouched by paint or medium ... as I pondered a sentence that I recently read that I agree with, which is: "Most humans are better in the abstract."

June 29, 2016

295 Perfect Rose

295 Perfect Rose295 Perfect Rose

12 x 12 inches :: oil on stretched canvas

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A rose on my kitchen table is what I used as reference for this work. I enjoyed leaving certain parts of the canvas untouched by paint or medium, suggesting those spots as the lightest spots of the table.

So I was discussing the topic of my painting style with myself and a few humans. I definitely have felt a shift from the style I have embraced to date, which is "magical realism" ... but to what I don't exactly know. Perhaps "emotional representational" or "expressive realism" or "imaginative representational" or maybe something else altogether different that I haven't thought of. No matter. I'm just interested in painting and painting again.


June 28, 2016

294 Little Girl Blue

294 Little Girl Blue294 Little Girl Blue

8x 10 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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There's this photo of me when I was a little girl standing by the water in Korea which I referenced for this work. I love the photo. Maybe I was 5. I've looked at the photo so much that I think I remember the water, the sand, and my father taking my picture. Or maybe I don't really remember it. But I feel that it was a morning when I felt blue, tender, and thinking of things to count ... perhaps my fingers, perhaps the pebbles on the sand, perhaps the raindrops that fall on little girl blue. 

Little Girl Blue
When I was very young
The world was younger than I
As merry as a carousel
The circus tent was strung
With every star in the sky
Above the ring I loved so well
Now the young world has grown old
Gone are the tinsel and the gold

Sit there and count your fingers
What can you do old girl, you're through
Sit there and count your little fingers
Unlucky little girl blue

Sit there and count the raindrops
Falling on you
It's time that you knew
All you can count on is the raindrops
That fall on little girl blue

No use old girl
You may as well surrender
Your hope is getting slender
Why won't somebody send a tender blue boy
To cheer a little girl blue


June 27, 2016

293 Pretty Perfect

293 Good Boy293 Pretty Perfect

10x10 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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Sometimes the rhythm of a day goes very well. Like today. I woke up wanting to paint two things very much. The roses I just listed before this one and also this dog. So after painting the roses, my husband decided to cook dinner so I didn't have to stop painting to cook dinner. All I had to do is to pause in the middle of the dog to eat a delicious meal and then get back to the work of painting while my husband cleaned the dishes. (I know, I'm a lucky girl.) I used a photo that my friend @lisa_heaney captured of this pretty perfect dog as reference for the work.

And that's how I sometimes get two works done in one day. Pretty perfect.

PS: Some have asked if I will be offering an oil painting class anytime soon. So on calendar in December is an oil portraits class. I do think I will get a basic alla prima class (still life) on calendar before then. I'm not sure exactly which month but I'm gonna try for either the second weekend in September or second weekend in November. Feel free to chime in with your preference at jenny@crescendoh.com.

292 Dried Long Stems

292 Dried Long Stems292 Dried Long Stems

10x8 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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I used two of my dried long stem roses to reference for this work. I love using dried flowers in this way ... you can practically hear the crisp and crunch of the petals. I enjoyed not covering the entire canvas and leaving some of it raw, as I continue to find ways to stay loose and layer, without blending.

June 26, 2016

291 Geraniums

291 Geraniums291 Geraniums

12 x 12 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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From Poppies to Geraniums I've happily hopped, using a photo by @johnderian as reference for this work. Someone recently asked what style of my painting is, in reference to the straight edge strokes. The answer is that I don't think there is a name for that style or those types of strokes ... except the way I get those strokes is that I use for the most part, short flats (aka, short brights) in terms of paintbrushes. I also sometimes use filberts but mostly short flats. They help me keep things loose and avoid blending. Many thanks to John Derian for this intriguing composition ... makes me think he was holding a Geranium in front of a landscape with hills and a body of water at dusk ... or maybe it was just growing there. Either way, it is so cool.

June 25, 2016

290 Poppies on Purpose

290 Poppies290 Poppies on Purpose

8x10 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas.

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My love affair with poppies continues with this work. For the most part, I stayed true to my limited modified palette of mixing everything with 5 tubes of paint and then brought out the cad orange at the very end ... one of the vivid hues that I just cannot mix without a little smidge of this super color. But before adding the strokes of the vivid cad orange, I first painted the flower clusters with a less vivid orange that I mixed and then added strategic strokes of cad orange on top, preserving spots of the darker orange for where I observed the darker parts of the petals to be. As I've shared, I've been training myself to layer and not to blend or swish. But with this work, I made an exception and made some swish strokes ... to make the clouds look like they are moving. Yes, I swished on purpose, and I liked it.



June 24, 2016

289 Innocence and the Field

289 Innocence in the Field289 Innocence and the Field

12 x 12 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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As soon as I saw the beautiful photo of a child walking in a field that Rebecca Sower posted on her IG feed, I knew I wanted to paint it, which is exactly what I did. I love how even with simple landscape scenes (with a simple human figure) there are depths of value and subtleties of colors and shadows and light that are challenging and very rewarding to paint.

June 23, 2016

288 Peonies Found

288 I don't know288 Peonies Found

8x10 inches :: original oil painting on stretched canvas

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I stand when I paint. It helps me walk back and forth frequently so that I try my best to simplify and stay loose with reduced shapes into general forms rather than get lost and mired in the over-thinking of details. Still, I occasionally find myself standing very close to the canvas, forgetting that it should be my practice to step back frequently, as I get lost and tangled in every centimeter and every detail. And then I wake up and tell myself: "Step back stupid." And that's when I get untangled as I see large, reduced, general shapes. And I think to myself, isn't that so true with life as well? That when things seem really weird and conflicted and insurmountable, it becomes less so when I step back and gain a larger perspective. Yes.

I used a photo of peonies from the Internet for this work. I sometimes got lost and had moments of crisis when I was over-thinking everything and I thought the work was going down the drain. It's only when I stepped back that I was able to bring it back. And I was found.

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