Friday, November 30, 2012

"The Green Scarf" 14" x 11" Portrait Oil on Canvas Panel

eBay Auction NOW  - Starting bid $95 -- Was $400
"The Green Scarf" -- Oil on Canvas Panel  -- 14" x 11"

"Following in the style of Carolyn Anderson, a fine teacher and finer artist, I was enamored with this model's red hair against the green scarf."  --- SFG

Choose your instructors carefully. If you take from many teachers that have too diverse points of view, you will inevitably confuse yourself. There are many teachers who paint similarly and base their instruction on foundational principles. Their work will be similar in quality, if not in style.

Once you have determined that  an artist/teacher has similar views to those presented in your previous studies and are in class, follow his techniques and ideas. That's what you are paying for. Whether you later discard those you cannot use at this point in your development, you have benefited from the experiment. The purpose of a class is not to produce finished paintings!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

REPOST: "A Life Well Lived" 24" X 20" Oil on Canvas Panel

eBay Auction NOW - Starting Bid $395 - Was $1200
100% Donation to American Cancer Society

"A Life Well Lived" - Oil - 24" x 20" - $1200

"From sadness to celebration (after my mother passed away). As I read my mother's journal, I was reminded once more of how much she delighted in flowers, gardens, and the passing of seasons. These brilliant tulips, a thoughtful gift of a dear friend, spoke of her enchantment." --- SFG



Because of the intensity of the colors in the tulips, I set them against black to take advantage of their vibrancy. They were still tightly closed until I turned on the spotlight. They unfurled as I painted.

As I drew with thinned cadmium red - it doesn't contaminate later colors and leaves a sparkle if I miss a spot when painting over it - I considered the directions of the leaf lines as well as the overall placement on the canvas. The vase and flowers were so dominant, I decided that they should be closest to the viewer. Normally, I have still life objects in front of the vase in a floral that serve to lead the eye into the arrangement. There was no question of where to go with these!

Because I knew that the flowers would change quickly, I established their colors immediately, comparing yellow to yellow, red to red, and white to white. This was a break from my regular method and I knew that I would make considerable adjustments after the surrounding colors were in. Placing a new color next to an existing one ALWAYS changes the existing one.

Here, I've added that dark background. It really intensified the tulip colors, didn't it? I made careful note of the color differences as the light traveled across the tablecloth and passed through the water-filled vase.

I toned down the yellow pot that was behind everything and changed it to look like more of a tray standing against the background drape. I used its curve to repeat those of the leaves. As a pot, not enough of it showed to explain what it was, but I needed something to bring some action to the lower part of the painting. I couldn't eliminate it entirely.

I compared the color on the lighted side of the pink vase to the pinks in the flowers and hit a warmer, somewhat grayed pink. Putting a cool, grayed pink on the shadow side made the lighted side look warmer, too. Notice the warm versus cool on the teapot, as well.

At the end of this session, I turned off the lights and heat in the studio, so the flowers would not open too much to work the next day.

Best laid plans didn't work, though. The blooms were tightly closed again when I opened the studio the next afternoon and turned on the spotlight, but the hour I let the studio warm up was a bit too much. When I returned, the tulips were much more opened and had moved a lot as they chased the light.

Instead of redrawing all, I simply added some of flowers in their new location and state. This filled out the bouquet and added more interesting shapes. The white bloom with red stripes inside is actually the one on its left as it opened and moved. It became the point with the greatest value change and hardest edge.

Note also, how I softened the edges of all but a few of the tulips.

Because of the action in the bouquet, I included all the variations in color and value present in the vase, table drape and other objects. Both light highlights and dark accents contributed.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"My Imaginary Friend"


"My Imaginary Friend" - Oil - 9" x 12"

"This wisteria trellis is in full bloom and I hoped to have a model to paint. The subject just called for a lady in a sunhat ... or one with a basket... or one sitting in a wicker chair with mint julep waiting nearby. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work out. This figure is imagined." --- SFG
Note for artists: First, paint what you see! Making things up too much leads to a pit of mistakes. If you find it necessary to add something for compositional reasons, be sure the light and perspective are consistent with the rest of the scene.

September in the Trinities


"September in the Trinities" - Oil - 8" x 10"

"A yearly visit to the Trinity National Wilderness Area in Northern California gives me access to many spectacular views. While I do not climb mountains like the rest of my family, I absorb the best of the area and catch a little painting time. This was a quick sketch that caught the light of the day." --- SFG

Just as brevity is the soul of wit, simplification is the key to composition in painting. With a small canvas, such as this one, I simplify shapes and include only the essentials that will set the mood and tell the story.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Embankment in Bloom"


"Embankment in Bloom" - Oil - 14" x 11"

"These colorful 'weeds' were growing next to a road near Cambria, California. Their vivid energy were in keeping with the beautiful spring weather." --- SFG

Keep your eyes open. Subjects are everywhere!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Just a Whisper"

ENDS: SUNDAY  (Nov 18, 2012 18:00:24 PST)

"Just a Whisper" - Oil - 11" x 14

"Those familiar with the work of well-known artist C. W. Mundy will recognize his influence on this piece. This is the first painting I did after watching a demonstration by him. As is typical of his work, thick paint, scattered color, and interrupted edges are present. If you have followed my recent work, you will see these elements used to varying degrees. " --- SFG

Titled "Just a Whisper", the daring experimental painting is 11" x 14" and is oil on canvas on Raymar canvas panel. 

Experimenting with new techniques is important to growth, but jumping from style to style results in confusion and prevents the development of one's subconscious reactions. The subconscious tells the artist whether something is right or not and frees him for self-expression. Only intensive work within a familiar framework develops that ability. I have painted many years within that framework to develop and perfect that judgement.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I ran across this article I wrote several years ago and thought it was still timely.

by Susan F. Greaves

Buying art online is a growing trend despite problems like variable onscreen image reproduction, verifiable dealers and artists, and problems determining true value.  Still, a large number of collectors are entering the market this way. Whether you wish to enlarge an existing collection or are new to the fine art field, there are ways to minimize the pitfalls involved.

1. FOLLOW YOUR HEART. This is a time-tested maxim. Few, no matter how experienced, can predict future increases in the value of an artwork. Preferences change and what was wildly collected a quarter-century ago may be less valuable if it is put on the market now. Web sites tout the glories of this or that, but your educated intuition and preferences are more reliable. Many famous collections stand on their own as a reflection of the interests and taste of the collector, not the specific artists represented. Make your collection YOURS and you will achieve maximum gratification.

2. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE BUYING. Be sure you understand the medium or the method of reproduction used. Certainly, know whether the work is an original or a reproduction. Even paintings that look original may simply be “enhanced” prints on canvas where areas are painted with thick paint to give the appearance of an original. If the work is a print, know whether it is a limited edition lithograph, poster, or giclee.  Ask about its permanence. Were archival materials used? For sculptures, investigate the medium. If it is one conducive to multiples like bronze, ask about the number cast.

3. KNOW FROM WHOM YOU ARE BUYING. Is this web site or listing of a dealer, gallery, artist’s representative, artist directory, or the artist himself? Dealers and galleries take work on consignment from living artists or current owners of the artwork. Occasionally, they buy work directly from the artist or owner. Representatives and artist directories usually get a percentage of the selling price. Ask the agent how long he has been in business, since longevity is a measure of his ability to honor his commitments. Buying directly from the artist may be preferable, in that it allows you to establish a personal relationship with him or her. It may surprise you, but artists relish this. It has been one of the major benefits of selling on the internet for artists. Not only is it more fulfilling for them, it can fuel their future work and tell
artists whether they have achieved the true goal of fine art… communication of their ideas.

4. RESEARCH THE ARTIST. Whether you find the work that interests you on the net through ads, auctions, or web sites, you should learn as much as you can about that artist. Read his resume or biography. To which professional groups has he been elected? Has he won awards? Has he shown locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally? What other sites show his work or list him? Use online registries and other sources.

5. CHECK THE SELLER'S REFERENCES.  Any cross-reference that verifies that a seller is a legitimate and reputable business person is necessary. Auctions like eBay have the advantage because of the feedback system. If a seller, whether an artist or a dealer, has many sales with little or no negative feedback, you can expect to be treated professionally and honestly. With other methods of purchase, verify phone numbers, addresses, call the Better Business Bureau, look for endorsements from companies that verify businesses, and so on.

6. SET YOUR MONITOR FOR MAXIMUM COLOR. Many variables make viewing artwork on the internet and online imaging difficult. The seller cannot control the brightness or contrast settings on your screen. Sometimes a color that is a lovely coral was show as bright orange on a different monitor.  You will come closer to a true reproduction if your settings are maximized. Still, the artwork may not look like what you expected. That leads to our next tip….

7. IS THE SALE GUARANTEED? The unavoidable and undeniable problems with color reproduction and visualization of artworks in the online forum make it appropriate that you demand a “satisfaction guaranteed” commitment. It’s very hard to fully visualize a 36” x 48” painting from even the largest image online. The customary policy calls for the buyer to pay for all shipping, but you should be able to get a full refund for the price of the artwork if it does not prove to be as described or does not meet your expectations. Most reputable dealers and artists willingly offer this guarantee.

8. BE SURE THE SELLER USES A PROFESSIONAL SHIPPER OR IS WELL-TRAINED TO DO IT HIMSELF. After investing the time and effort into finding and verifying all the facts about your artwork, a safe delivery is a must. Most shipping companies - Federal Express, UPS, etc. - set higher requirements for the packing and claims process for fine art. Be sure that the seller uses a company thoroughly familiar with these rules or is so himself. Also, be sure the shipper uses a carrier that allows tracking and that the seller fully insures the piece. Online feedback will give clues. Sometimes it is what is NOT said, such as no reports of damage or returns, that should guide you.

By following these tips, you can enter the fine art market online with confidence. Look forward to the many rewards provided by owning a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of original artwork.

Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

"Hills Near Paso Robles" 11" x 14" Oil Sketch -- $95


Ends Nov 17, 2012 18:00:07 PST

"Hills Near Paso Robles" - Oil - 11" x 14

"Clear skies and rolling hills characterize the area around Paso Robles, California, in springtime. I painted this one during a trip to paint in nearby Cambria, another artist's Mecca. Something about this one reminds me of a museum piece. Its composition is exploratory, not by rote formula, but with brushstrokes and colors typical of the artist. " --- SFG

Titled "Hills Near Paso Robles", the field sketch is 11" x 14" and is oil on canvas on Raymar canvas panel. These excellent boards are archival and the canvas will not flex, reducing the risk of future cracking of the paint or damage in shipping. The paint is professional quality. There is a 100% satisfaction guarantee on the purchase amount.

Some painters have a natural sense of balance that guides the arrangement of elements in a work. Others have to study and follow basic rules for years. Once the eye is trained and sensitive to composition, breaking rules will help you grow. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Jeff -- 14" X 11" Oil on Raymar Canvas Panel -- $55 Starting Bid

100% Donation to the AMERICAN RED CROSS

"Jeff" - Oil - 14" x 11"

"'Jeff' is a model I painted in my studio several years ago. The result shows how I responded to his strong features and presence."  --- SFG

This portrait sketch is 14" x 11" and is oil on canvas Pintura panel. These boards are archival and the canvas will not flex, reducing the risk of future cracking of the paint or damage in shipping. The paint is professional quality. There is a 100% satisfaction guarantee on the purchase amount.

Accurate drawing is the key to capturing a likeness. Practice is the key to accurate drawing.