meet the artist








the art life

The first artist sighting

Why so many paintings?

The storm

The secret to becoming an exceptional artist.

What art language do you speak?

The mystery behind a subject

Art as autobiography

The artist in the recession

Come out and play

The nature of creativity

Living the artist's life

Creative block


learn to paint

Rocking chairs progressive

Canning jars progressive video


Chuck Close

Roy McLendon

Agnes Martin

The art of children

personal pieces

St. Patrick's Day


Favorite quotes

Day at the beach

Rocking chairs progressive  


I always enjoy seeing how another artist creates a painting. Even though I have painted for decades myself, I still get excited about the mystery involved in the creation of an original work of art with just canvas and paint. So, I thought I would share with you the progressive pictures of an piece I am starting.

Using a photo I took in Tampa recently, I am beginning a 16 by 12 inch painting on canvas of two rocking chairs on a wooden porch. The original photo:

original photo


There are many ways in which I might start a work, depending on the subject and complexity of the composition. In this case, I have several reference photos to show me the shape of the chairs and the fall of the shadows, but the perspectives have been warped by the camera. This is a complex design to paint, so I began with a tight pencil sketch to correct the perspective lines.



Then, I began blocking in the first layer of colors. I usually start with the background, working towards the foreground and finish with the main subjects, in this case the chairs. I have found this the easiest way to work, in order to get sharp edges in the primary subjects. At this point, I am just trying to cover the areas well by scrubbing some basic tones into the texture of the canvas.

painting start


By the end of the next day, the entire canvas was covered, giving me the basic colors and tones to actually start the final painting. Because I want the chairs to capture the most attention, I then deepened the distant background and muted the color of the wall on the right side:

end of first day


The third day was spent changing tones that bothered me, such as adding a warmer color into the porch floor and the shadows upon it. All the horizontal lines behind the chairs bothered me, so the foliage shadow design was extended across the porch. I like that better. The chair details were also cleaned up.

Yes, I did actually paint the entire picture twice by this time. I heard somewhere that you are not really painting until you are pushing paint into paint. That's probably true. This stage of the work is always the most fun for me. It's where the magic happens:

painting continues


Close-up of the chairs:

closeup of chairs

The painting will dry for a week or so, then I will look at it again with fresh eyes and probably make a few more changes. I hope you enjoyed seeing how this painting was created.