Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pears II

Second pear painting. Spent more time on this one, but didn't finish because I had the lamp too close to the pear on the right and I cooked it! I couldn't figure out why the color kept changing.

I hope you like pears, because I have a few. The hardest thing for me is getting the shadow right on the blue plate. I haven't really been successful yet and I've done 4 or 5 paintings.

Which you will get to see, you lucky devil.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pears Pears and more Pears

One of the things I struggle with is that I get bored with a subject too quickly. (hmmm, not that I have ADD or anything) But when you look at the really great painters' work, you see that they paint the same subject over and over again. Abby (painting teacher again) suggested that I do this. The reason for doing it is probably obvious, but it helps you work out a painting's problems in subsequent paintings of the same subject.

I really like pears - I love their shape and the different colors and since I don't really get bored looking at them, I decided to do a bunch of paintings of pears.

I found this great ceramic plate at a junky antique store - its a fantastic blue/green color that is a wonderful background for the color of pears.

So far I've done four or five of these paintings and this is the first. It is small - 4x6 - and I did it pretty quickly in about an hour or two. Not a finished painting, but I liked the way it looks so immediate and fresh so I left it as is.

More pears to come.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Apples and Oranges

Last of the acrylic paintings. I did this in January just before I started using oils. I forgot about it and found it the other day. It's about 11x17 and done on paper.

I'm moving to a new studio in July. Same building, just a smaller space. I love the space I'm in but it is about 430 sq feet and too expensive. The new space is about half the size and half the money :). I think it will be fine - though I may have to consolidate some of my stuff. The light is really nice in there and I will still have two big windows.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mum's the Word

This one's for you Mum :)

I did this acrylic painting last summer and it is a landscape from my imagination. My mother loves this painting and we disagree on this one - I really don't like this one at all. Maybe the little house in the background - that's it.

The one thing that was cool about it (and a little spooky) was that when I was painting it, it was like the scene was already there and I just filled it in.

I'm looking forward to painting outside this summer and trying real landscapes.

What do you think of this painting?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Underpainting II

I couldn't paint much today - started very late. But this is the underpainting from yesterday's post with color layers added. It is still in progress, but I put it aside for a while because it was bugging me.

I changed some things from the original after getting feedback from Abby and removed some of the folds in the lower left. Among many things to be done - the background needs to be toned back to a more neutral color and I want to work on the cloth. (Also the drip of paint on the yellow bowl :) ).

It's been at least a month since I've touched it. Here's a pic of what's on my easel now and you can see this still life sitting there in the background waiting for me to finish it. I think I might start working on it again tomorrow. I love 3 day weekends!

One of the greatest things about having a studio is that you can leave things up - like still life setups or paint or whatever - and not worry about it. Can't do that at home.

Tip for those family members (Mum, Dad?) and friends who are new to blogs, etc - you can click on the pictures themselves and they will open in a larger window so you can see them better.

To overwork a painting or not, that is the question

I just found this blog post by a local artist, David Rourke, on the whole concept of "overworking" a painting. He makes some really valid points, especially how the fear of overworking impacts a new painter's progress. His advice really hit home for me because I think about that a lot and I am most definitely a new painter. One of my all time favorite artists is Lucien Freud who sometimes takes months to do a painting and there is clearly nothing overworked about his masterpieces.

As an aside, did you know that he broke the record for the highest price paid for a living artist's painting? $33,600,000.

I don't think they bought it to go with the drapes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


This is an underpainting - I talked about underpaintings in an earlier post. I did this underpainting in acrylic - it is just burnt sienna and white and I tried to capture all the value changes in the color. I don't have a picture of this painting after I started applying color - I guess I forgot. I will try to remember to bring my camera tomorrow.

I took this with my iPhone - not bad for a cell phone :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Man with the Hand

First figure painting. We had a model early in the semester, but I don't have a photo of it. Actually I think it would be a good thing to post because there's a huge difference between that painting (2nd class I think) and this one.

This photo doesn't show the shadows accurately - too light.

Ok - self critique time - what I like - I captured the pose and his relaxed hand, I like his left jean leg and the folds, also his boot, curve of the chair arm. I overworked this because I finished it in the studio without the model. I did it because I wanted to try different things with the skin tones and I learned a lot doing that.

Dislike - it's overworked :). I think it would be fine as an illustration, but that isn't what I am shooting for - the overall feel is too stiff.

But I just signed up for a summer Life Painting class at the MFA - this isn't through the school, but through the museum. The artist who's teaching it does some great work - Samuel Gareginyan - and I am looking forward to it. I hope the studio is air-conditioned because the last few classes at the SMFA were uncomfortably warm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lonely Shaker

I tried to follow Carol Marine here - didn't really do it, beyond the small format (6x8) but this is probably one of the better paintings I've done. The shaker top is a bit warped looking, but other than that it worked well. This was one of those times that I pushed through the doubt and left it alone for about a week. I came back and added just few things - the red bits of color, the shimmer in the shadow, and a few other things.

A big challenge on this painting was the silver shaker top against the black background. My brain told me that the black background was much darker than the silver top, but if I really looked I realized that, in reality, this wasn't true. This happens a lot in painting - the battle between your intellect telling you how things are supposed to be, and your eyes seeing what really is.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Saint Bowling Pin

There's something about this that reminds me of my early (stress early) years as a little Catholic girl who sobbed while watching "The Song of Bernadette" on the afternoon movie. (What was that 70's afternoon movie program in the Boston area that showed all those old movies? I think the guy who used to be Bozo hosted it - Frank Averuch - God where did I pull that name from?) It's like the bowling pins are standing on the mount in some holy light - like when poor little shizophrenic misunderstood Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary at Lourdes. Okaaaaay - maybe not.

Anyway - this is a painting from class in April. Anyone who has taken any drawing or painting classes knows that you get these still lifes (lives??) that are just colored boxes or shapes. The goal is to learn how to handle the values of the shapes. Sometimes everything is one color and sometimes multi-colored.

This exercise was used to teach us about underpainting. Underpainting is when you use just one color and white for the entire painting. It really teaches you how to capture the values of the color, without using color. This is a very traditional method of painting -(think Vermeer). Then, when the underpainting is complete and dry, you lay on the color and the tones of the under painting show through and give you the value changes in the color. It was sort of a revelation for me and I loved the whole exercise.

I tried this myself in my studio and I'll post that one tomorrow. BTW - this is another large painting - maybe 2' x 4' again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Googling Google for Google Bugs

So after spending a couple of hours trying to get Analytics working on this blog I'm ready to post something. You'd think that since Google owns both Analytics and Blogger that they would work seamlessly but you'd be wrong. After much Googling of Google to find Google answers to Google bugs I FINALLY think I got it to work. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

Back to the painting. This was my first large canvas and it was in February. Abby (painting teacher) wanted us to try going big so this canvas is probably 2'x4'??? (guessing). We had to do the whole painting in a couple of hours. I had been too nervous to paint on a big canvas before that (there's that stupid fear thing again) and it turned out to be really freeing. You have to use a lot of paint so you get less finicky, and because it was so much bigger I was much looser. Also, since I knew I only had a short amount of time I went fast which also made it looser and more spontaneous.

I was told that the vase was a "breakthrough moment" and I have to agree with her. Because I had to go so fast, I couldn't agonize over the reflection and the transparency and I laid the paint on quickly. Most of all, I didn't have time to go back and over work it. There are issues (of course) the background is a bit muddy and I'm not crazy about all the vertical brush strokes.

Before this painting the biggest I dared go was about 16x24 - now I actually prefer large canvas.

The Backlog - need to catch up

I'm going to post a couple of paintings at once since I'm posting stuff that I've done over the past year. These two paintings were independent studies I did for class - the first in February and second in March. They are both about 16x20. The first one isn't finished - I got bored with it. The little white things are marbles that I didn't complete. I really should finish it I guess. My favorite part is the pink vase because I like the way I applied the color and the paint strokes. Least favorite is the red cloth background and the pewter vase.

The second one is better. I like the warm glow. The coffee cup is a bit distorted and I broke it before I finished the painting. I'm just going to leave this alone, flaws and all. But I think that there is definitely progress between the first and second. One of the reasons I think for the improvement was a workshop I took in March from Carol Marine - I'll post something about that tomorrow or later today. Hopefully I'll catch up soon :)

Name that animal

This little creature was munching on grass across the canal from my studio. I really hope this isn't a giant rat because it would lose the cuteness factor immediately.

What is this?

UPDATE: 3/19 - It is a groundhog - thanks Vicki and Mary - here's the official-it-never-lies-source-of-all-truth-Wikipedia description.


I started an oil painting class at the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) in Boston in January 09. It was a great class and I got so much out of it. My teacher, Abby Zonies is a fantastic teacher. I had done one oil painting years ago, before my son was born, in one of my attempts to get back to art but I really didn't know what I was doing.

I can't say enough good things about Abby's teaching - she is positive, but gives solid critique and teaches the basics really well. She has a good sense of how much each student can really take in, and tailors her individual comments to the student's level.

This is the first painting I did in my studio after my first class. I really thought it was terrible the day I did it, but when I looked at it again a few weeks later I saw things that I liked.

I've discovered that I do this with almost every painting. After about 3 hours I start getting frustrated and think that what I'm doing is a piece of crap. Sometimes it is, but most of the time if I just walk away and come back the next day I can see it more realistically. There have been times when I don't do that, and then I either over work it, or get so aggravated that I destroy it with big sweeping paint strokes.

The background on this painting is a problem - but I like the vase and some parts of the flower.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Lemons - woo hoo. Another one from last summer. I had a hard time with the blending of the shades because the acrylic paint dries so fast. I will probably try to do a few more like this in oil. It's a fun painting.

The Shack

All the photos that I took last year are kind of funky. They look a little distorted because of the angle.

This is my house, painted last August. I spent a loooong time on this, and did it from a photo. The angles and perspective were tough. The background trees are my favorite part, and that was what I was the most nervous about and saved it for last. Just shows you that you can't let your fear take over.

The part that really sucks is the road-that-looks-like-a-badly-painted-stream.

But I still like this painting - it was one of my first and I like the bright colors and the lounge chair.


I did this in July or August of 08. There were things about it that I liked - the flowers (snapdragons) are loose and vibrant. The shape of the pitcher is nice. The fabric is stiff and hard looking. But flowers are a lot of fun to paint, because I don't get all wrapped in the perfection, I just go with the color, light and shape. I wish I could do that with everything - but hopefully time will get me there. I should probably do more flowers because it loosens me up. I can be a prissy little painter :)

Four Pears

This is actually 4 little paintings done on canvas paper and then glued to a canvas. I think I did it in July '08. I was doing little studies trying to figure out how to use acrylic paint. I started with acrylic by the way, because I was intimidated by oils and thought acrylic would be easier. That turned out not to be the case, for me anyway.

I like this little painting.

Try Again

This is my second attempt at a painting blog. I didn't like the name of the other one and I never posted anything. So I decided to get back to basics, call it what it is - "Meg Temple's Studio". I want to use it to keep track of my painting progress, and to share the work with my friends, family and other artists.

Feedback is more than welcome - good, bad, and indifferent. The more feedback I get, the better my painting will become.

I will try to post a few times a week and include paintings. Initially I will post a bunch of stuff because I have a backlog of paintings. I'm going to start with the oldest and post until I am up to date.