Monday, August 14

Painting a 'Little Gem'

Night Line
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
5 x 7 in/12.7 x 17.7 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
It's been a couple of years since I painted and/or blogged about little gems, not since 2015 to be exact.

If you don't know what a little gem is, it's what I refer to as any small painting--small being 36 square inches (about 232 square centimeters) or less.

I'll tell you why I like little gems. They make you:

- immediately decide the most important things about your painting (composition, viewpoint, focal point)

- paint small, almost miniature, which means you naturally leave out all but the most necessary details

- control your painting world in a very confined space

- paint rather quickly because you can fill up the space with a few brushstrokes

Today's image is only 5 x 7 in (12.7 x 17.7 cm) and was completed in way less than one hour.

I hope you enjoy my work.

Monday, August 7

Another Acrylic on Paper

Night Sky
Acrylic on Arches Paper
9 x 12 in/23 x 30 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
If you keep up with this blog at all, then you know I've recently had a penchant for painting acrylic on watercolor paper, Arches paper to be specific.

I really enjoyed working on this one. The challenge was to paint the clear night sky with few brushmarks  so that it appeared as real as possible--that and the dying sun rays, too.

I hope you enjoy my work.

Friday, July 28

Painting an Acrylic Landscape

Greens and Blues
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
24 x 18 in/60 x 45 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
As I have said before, I enjoy painting landscapes, and this one was no exception.

Taken from a reference photo, I didn't have to do too much cropping to find a pleasing composition: high horizon line with a river for a lead-in.

I used pencil to free-hand the main components.
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Next, I considered the palette colors: ultramarine blue, pthalo green, titanium white, violet light blue, yellow ochre, cad yellow light, permanent green light, terra verte, viridian, alizarin crimson.

I painted the sky first. I painted the mountains second. Then I painted the river (first pass). Next I painted the various values of greens of the fields, flatlands and foothills. Then I painted in the trees and other foliage. I did a second pass on the river to show the still as well as moving water and the reflections of the trees.

I let it sit for a day and then gave it a final pass to make refinement; that is, adjust lost-and-found edges, strengthen highlights, and another pass on the sky.

I hope you enjoy my work.


Sunday, July 16

Impressionist Portraits Series 6

Young Mary Cassatt (from Public Domain photo)
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
8 x 10 in/20 x 25 cm)
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
Another painting in my Impressionists Portraits Series, this one of a young Mary Cassatt. I used thinned down acrylic so that it acted similar to watercolor. I also used the naturally transparent acrylic colors of Hansa yellow, cobalt blue, and primary red (similar to permanent rose) along with alizarin crimson, which is semi-transparent. I hope you enjoy my work,

Friday, July 7

Another Encore Painting

Stucco Lighthouse
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
24 x 18 in/61 x 46 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2014

I found another painting "in the back of my closet" in the studio that I decided to frame and hang so that I could look at it all summer long. I remember how much I enjoyed working on this back in 2014.

I hope you enjoy it this summer, too.


Friday, June 30

Acrylic Painting on Paper

Picacho Peak
Acrylic on Arches Paper
12 x 3.5 in/30 x 9 cm (image size)
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
Well, I decided to spend some of my painting time this week working in acrylic on watercolor paper, Arches 140 lb/300 g/m2 paper to be exact. The great weight, texture, and finish of this product make it perfect for painting with acrylics as if they were watercolor.

I also decided to paint two of my favorite subjects: panoramic landscapes and New Mexico, this of Picacho Peak near Las Cruces in the southern part of the state.

If you haven't tried acrylic on watercolor paper yet, especially Arches, you should. You're in for a painterly treat!

Tuesday, June 20

A Landscape for the Summer Season

West of Roswell
Acrylic on Board
24 x 24 in/61 x 61 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
Sometime during the day today or tomorrow will be the "official" start of summer in the northern hemisphere. On that happy occasion, I thought I'd post one of my latest paintings.

It's a summery landscape of a scene in the southwestern US state of New Mexico. As a former resident of the Land of Enchantment, I can tell you there is a lot of beautiful scenery to paint there.

I hope you enjoy my work, and a  happy summer to you.

Friday, June 9

A Still Life for the Summer Season

The Kitchen Window
Oil on Board
24 x 24 in/61 x 61 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
I don't typically paint still lifes. It's not that I dislike still lifes, I really do like them, especially many painted by the Impressionists.

I just don't paint them very often, probably because I don't put enough thought into what I would paint. I'm also not very good at planning ahead so that I don't have any (or many) items on hand that would lend themselves to a good still life painting.

That being the case, I pretty much made up this painting in my head about what would make a good still life. I used several reference photos of lemons that I grouped together, but the rest was imagined. That includes the tabletop, the wallpaper, and the kitchen window with the unremarkable view--they don't exist anywhere but my mind.

I like the results, and that's all that really matters to me. I hope you do, too.

Friday, May 26

Impressionist Portraits Series 5

Frederic Bazille (from Public Domain photo)
Oil on Canvas Panel
8 x 10 in/20 x 25 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
Here's another painting in my series of Impressionist portraits--this of Frederic Bazille, whose life and career were cut short with his untimely death at age 29 in the Prussian-Franco War.

Friday, May 19

Paint a Panorama

Heading West
Acrylic on Arches watercolor paper
12 x 3.5 in/30 x 9 cm (image size)
Copyright Byrne Smith 2017
Pan-o-ram-a, noun: an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer.

Well, that defines what a panorama is. So, when I say I like to paint panoramas of landscapes, I suppose what I really mean is I like to paint partial panoramas of landscapes. That is, I paint more of a 180-degree view, not a 360-degree view. Just wanted to clear that up for any compulsive-obsessives out there.

Be that as it may, I love painting panoramas.

They're open and usually vast in scope. They're a vista of a hopefully scenic view, if that's not too redundant.

They make me want to paint, and then they make me want to soar. You can find panoramic landscapes everywhere, or you can close your eyes and imagine one.

I like to use Arches watercolor paper, either 140 lb or 300 lb (300 gsm or 638 gsm) with an aspect ratio of at least 1:2 or better, 1:3 or 1:4.

I also like to use acrylic as if it were watercolor. This allows for flowing washes and unexpected delightful outcomes without constraining creativity.

Paint a panorama and let yourself soar!