Friday, April 3, 2020

Learning from Renoir

This is my reference photo that I took several years ago.  My former yoga instructor posed for me in a beautiful spot just west of Loveland, Colorado.   She is a beautiful person inside and out & wanted to paint her in a peaceful pose.  My home studio students requested studying Renoir.  We each picked one of his paintings to either copy or (more challenging) paint in his style.

I kept my Renoir book open so I wouldn't forget to keep the brushstrokes soft & the background muted.

I looked up Renoir's pallet online.  I didn't have some of the oil paints listed but learned how to make them.  For example to make Red Madder, mix Cad Red with Sap Green;  to make Vermilion I mixed Cad Red & Cad Orange; to make Prussian Blue mix Phthalo blue with Black.  I like having a canvas sheet with colors of the painting to come back to as a reference.
I started very loose with no under painting. 

I thought I might be done but after looking it for awhile I saw I could make some improvements. I didn't like the foliage around her head and her right arm was too short.  It always helps to step back, look at it with fresh eyes and take a photo of it. (much the same as stepping back)
I'm calling this one 'Breathe' as it was finished during the Covid19 pandemic.  All of my classes are cancelled due to the crisis currently so it's my way of sharing online what I teach in my classes.  This oil painting is for sale.  I will upload it to Fine Art America after I get a professional photo of it.   

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Lotus progression

It's always best to start with the best reference photo.  My sister took this photo in Thailand.
  The lotus grow 4' tall!  DO take your own reference photos or get permission to use them.
I decided to make the painting all about the Lotus flower. I used Phthalo Blue for an under painting.
I find using an under painting (cool for a warm subject & vice versa) helps me focus on the subject, value & composition.  You will also get a lovely sparkle in your oil painting.

In my oil painting classes we learned and experimented with transparent oil colors. After using a permanent marker on a canvas pad , we painted a variety of  straight oil paints over the black mark.  Now you can easily see which colors are transparent. I also started labeling the brand of paints I use as colors can vary by brand.  I love Gamblin,  Winsor Newton & some  WIlliamsburn & Rembrandt brands.


I used a limited transparent pallet for this painting but did need to use some white.  I found the perfect pink for this flower using Quinacridone Red

Darks first!

I wanted the mountains suggested in the painting, but not the focus.

Finished painting!
With the current Pandemic going on, I've had to put my home studio classes on hold.   I seriously miss my students!  When things calm down, I'll organize some plein air outings.  Keep painting!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

14" x 11"  Cottonwoods of Taos
9 x 12" oil, Strong shadows
New paintings for 2020!  All are original oils, painted impressionistic-ally with lots of impasto.  They were all started as class demos in my oil painting classes.   

12"x 9" oil    Mist on top of Rocky Mountain National Park

20" x 10" Smoky Reflections in NW Ontario 

See more of my art and inquire about available paintings at

Mary M Giacomini's Artwork                   

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