Animals · paintings · portraits

Image Dump: New cat (and human) oil paintings!

Yes, I’ve been busy painting lots of cat portraits and human portraits. Because I’ve been neglectful in updating this blog, I’m dumping a lot of new oil paintings in this post!

“Sun-kissed Tabby,” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

This painting was just completed tonight, but it waited on my easel for way, way too long. So glad to finally call it “done”! I really loved capturing all the different colors I saw in this kitty, not least was the light showing through the ears.

“A Lock of Red Hair,” 12×12″ oil on panel. Photo reference by Marvin Mansilla (used with permission).

This is another painting that took a long time to complete. I actually signed it years ago, but only recently decided that it was truly “done” after a few touch-ups. I saw this fantastic photo on Instagram, contacted the photographer, Marvin Mansilla, to get permission to do a painting. He said yes, and here is the result! Thank you so much, Marvin, for being such an amazing photographer!

“Corazón roto” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

I’m learning some new techniques and studying some new (to me) art concepts. One new thing is speed painting, or oil “gestures.” The goal is to see how much can be done in an hour. Well, I couldn’t quite finish this painting in an hour—it took 80 minutes. But I’m still surprised with myself! This painting is part of my “novela” series (paintings inspired by Mexican telenovelas).

In this portrait painting, this poor man obviously has had his heart broken, hence the title “Corazón roto” (broken heart).

I used a limited palette of White and Burnt Umber. I like Winsor & Newton’s Burnt Umber, as it has a warmer cast than some other paint brands.

“Minus the Tabby” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

This is another “speed paint,” or a “gesture” painting, though it took longer than an hour. (Probably two hours?) This time I used a limited palette of Burnt Umber, White, Ultramarine Blue, a tiny bit of Yellow Ochre to mix the green eyes and a tiny bit of red to add some color to the nose.

Minus is one of my kitties. She is named after a cat we had when I was a kid. My dad named the original “Minus,” but I have no idea why he chose that name. (He had a propensity to giving everything and everyone weird or hilarious nicknames!)

Minus is a very sweet kitty, but a little “minus” in the brains department, alas. But of course she is very loved!

“Wide-Eyed” 4×4″ oil on canvas panel.

I loved the reflection in the eyes of this kitty and enjoyed capturing the many colors in the fur and also that wide-eyed expression.

All these paintings are available through my Daily Paintworks gallery.

Animals · paintings · portraits

Mini Siamese Kitty and other paintings

Mini Siamese Kitty – 2×2″ oil on primed panel

New small cat paintings

I neglected to post these paintings earlier, after I first painted them. But it’s never too late. Here they are now!

I painted “Mini Siamese Kitty” on a Trekell Mini Panel. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these panels and bought an embarrassingly large amount of them. They now reside in my substantial stash of painting panels.

They are fabulous panels because they have a subtle texture that isn’t too overpowering when you’re painting that small. I much prefer them over extra-small panels that use canvas.

To give you context to comprehend how small this painting is, behold:

Mini Siamese Kitty next to a pink packet of sweetener. Just so you understand HOW SMALL this painting is!
“Green-Eyed Kitty” 3×3″ oil on panel.

I really enjoyed painting this tabby. I used a 3×3″ mini panel from Trekell with that same sublime subtle texture. So much fun to paint on—so much fun!

“Fluffy Tabby in the Grass” 5×5″ oil on canvas panel

I enjoyed painting this tabby kitty with all the grass reflecting on his fur. The size at 5×5″ was a little small, but since oil paint is so smooth and buttery it’s amazing how much detail you can capture if the canvas texture is not too rough.

“Siamese Tabby” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

The color cast of the reference photo was a little warmish and I battled capturing the contrast between the warm yellow-greens and the magenta-burgundy colors in the shadows. In the end, I liked the way the painting turned out. Such beautiful blue eyes on this kitty!

Inspired by telenovelas

“Ana” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

I fussed with this portrait a bit, but…what the heck, put a fork in it, it is done!

If you’ve seen a few select shows in the USA or if you speak Spanish (or study Spanish), you might (might! the likeness isn’t perfect!) recognize this woman. She’s a Mexican telenovela actress and I love the telenovelas. Many of the small portrait studies I paint are “inspired” (meaning the likeness is purposely not 100% there) by Mexican telenovelas. I am learning Spanish and watching Spanish TV is a great learning tool. But I’d be lying if I claimed I just watched telenovelas to practice Spanish. I also just love the over-the-top drama and the gorgeous Mexican landscapes and architecture. Watching my telenovelas is a true guilty pleasure.

There is a wealth of inspiring painting material from these telenovelas (so many emotions expressed, so much drama!) and so I’ve got a queue of reference photos from telenovelas lined up, ready to be painted.

A few other examples of “telenovela inspired” paintings include Jorge, Indecision, Eavesdropping, Señorita, Intense, Sad Tears, and Mercy.

paintings · portraits

Brian (painted at age 19)

“Brian,” 16×20″ oil on stretched canvas

I painted this oil portrait (which is NOT a good likeness!) of my brother-in-law Brian when I was age 19. I remember I was studying under Shirlee Prescott at the time and she advised me on the colors. I used a black-and-white photo (taken by my sister) as a reference.

John Singer Sargeant said, “A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.” And that applies here! His mouth and chin aren’t quite “there” yet. But, since it wasn’t that embarrassingly bad as a portrait (of someone), I put it up on one of my other websites many years ago and didn’t think much about it for a very long time.

Until today. Brian died suddenly from natural causes a few days ago and the news has just broken on social media. Everyone who knew him is in shock, adding memories, sharing thoughts, and I didn’t know what I could contribute. Then I thought of this. This painting. This is my contribution. I just wish it were a better painting. But it still is a painting. Oil on canvas.

Paintings have a “permanence” to them that is unique. That’s why people commission artists to do portraits. A likeness of a person takes on more weight when it’s transformed into paint on canvas, filtered through an artist’s eyes.

Portrait paintings invite attention and a chance for discussion. Paintings often will get “spread” farther online than a simple snapshot will. People will discuss the painting on its artistic merits and sometimes start thinking of the subject of the painting too… and that’s why paintings are a special kind of memorial. If the painting is particularly good, the painting gets seen by more people—who will then see the painting of the person, the subject of the painting.

When you lose a loved one, one of the things you want most is for them to be remembered. They are gone from this earth, but it’s so comforting for something of them to be left behind in a tangible form. A painting can be one of those things.

You are here today because you like art and somehow found my art website. I am here today because of Brian. I want to share some things about him for a moment.

Brian has been a wonderful father and husband. He dealt with our crazy family shenanigans with long-suffering endurance. He was the father of two remarkable sons. He has two amazing daughters-in-law (who adored him—and you know you’ve succeeded as a parent when your in-laws love you!). He has two beautiful granddaughters, and he also leaves behind a sister and a niece.

He was a flight test engineer who had a life-long passion for planes. He built his own small aircraft and of course was a pilot. This passion spread to my sister, who also learned how to fly.

Recently they got their dream house in a “residential airpark,” a community for plane geeks, uh, fellow flying enthusiasts. It had this HUGE hangar for his planes and he spent a lot of time tweaking things there. It was a dream come true for a plane geek flying enthusiast like Brian. But it was to be short-lived—they only enjoyed a few years at that house. I feel that injustice acutely. But at the same time, I’m just so grateful that he got to enjoy it at all.

You leave a big void in our lives, Brian. I know you are flying with your own father now (who was an Air Force pilot). God bless you.

Brian doing what he loved most—tweaking on something plane-related in his own personal hangar!
Brian at a family Thanksgiving.


One of my awesome nieces-in-law sent me a cell phone pic of another piece I did of Brian. Drawn when I was the same age (19), with the same problems with chin and mouth. (Mostly the chin.) But hey, it’s a good lesson: You do get better with time and practice!

Animals · portraits

After over a year… (IMAGE DUMP!)

The guilt over neglecting this blog has finally become too much! I’m trying to catch up with so many things in the past year. After a lengthy period of sharing caregiving duties with a sister for our mom (who had dementia) the “new normal” is requiring some adjustment. Furthermore, there were other things that have happened in the last year, things that kept me from painting (or updating this blog) as much as I’d like.

I can’t say that everything is now perfect and normal, but when is it ever? All I can say is that things are gently pushing upward. For that I am grateful.

Anyway, I have done many paintings in the last year. I’ll post many of them in future posts, but just want to share a select few here:

Backlit Tiger – 8×8″ oil on canvas panel.

I’m going through a “tiger phase.” This is just one tiger example. I’m not done yet! I’ve got many more tigers (and other big cats) to paint! If painting tigers is wrong, I don’t want to be right! Continue reading “After over a year… (IMAGE DUMP!)”

Animals · paintings · portraits

After another long absence, some updates, awards, etc

I have neglected this blog (as well as painting), but it hasn’t been without a reason.

Some old (but still exciting) news is that I got some recognition from the Art Muse Contest for April 2016. Thank you so much to the judge! I was a finalist in the “Emerging” category and also got the additional honor of being eligible for Gallery Representation. Pretty cool, and I am honored and thrilled!

“The Greek Artist” 12″ x 12″ oil on panel. Finalist in the Art Muse Contest! This is a portrait of a fellow artist who has strong Greek roots—a detail that brings him great pride! I snapped an impromptu photo of him while he was attending a figure drawing session. The photo made a good basis for a portrait.

“The Greek Artist” also got a “Fav 15%” from the Bold Brush awards, so that was also very cool.

There were a couple of other honors, and I need to update my “About Me” page to include them! This Spring was especially good to me.

And for other news… the last several months I’ve been quiet on this blog. I also haven’t posted any new paintings for sale on DailyPaintworks or UGallery for quite a while. Continue reading “After another long absence, some updates, awards, etc”

paintings · portraits

Profile in Blue

“Profile in Blue,” 6×6″ oil on panel. Thanks to Dailiaa of dA for the photo I used as reference.

It’s been a frustrating few weeks, with not enough opportunity to paint, and a propensity for procrastination even when there was some time to paint. There’s no excuse for this! But, thankfully in the last few days, I’ve carved out more time for art.

I started this painting about a week ago, and while I initially planned for it to be finished reasonably quickly (they call it “Daily Painting” for a reason), that’s not what happened.  I fussed with this, and corrected that, and finally I have decided that enough is enough.

So, put a fork in it, it is done!  Continue reading “Profile in Blue”

Animals · paintings · portraits

Warm & Cool, plus Close-up Cat head

“Warm & Cool,” 14×14″ oil on cradled panel.

(This painting was a recent award-winner! I ramble more about that in a previous post. This work got 1st place in the Oil category at a local art show.)

“Close-up” (Cat Head), 4×4″ oil on panel.

A mini 4×4 inch cat head!

Okay, I’ve got a lot to cover in this post, no time to waste! Continue reading “Warm & Cool, plus Close-up Cat head”