Tag Archives: toned canvas

Red Cabbage Still Life – A Challenge in Color and Shape

Red Cabbage Still Life, oil on canvas, 18 x 24, Kit Miracle

This still life is a little larger and more complex than many of my other recent paintings.  I was inspired by a visit to the grocery.  I must have had my “artist’s eyes” on that day because I seemed to be dazzled by the beautiful colors and shapes of the vegetables.  Several of the more interesting vegetables came home with me that day.

Inspiration in the vegetable department at the grocery. I love these colors and interesting shapes.

Before I tackled the main still life, I first completed several smaller still lifes just to get a feel for the shapes and colors.

Red Cabbage, oil on canvas board, 10 x 10, Kit Miracle

Surprisingly, the red cabbage was the most difficult to paint.  It has very subtle hues of purple, red and magenta.  It was a tight head so not much interest as far as shape until I peeled back a leaf or two.  I think a larger, leafier cabbage would be far more interesting.

Artichoke, oil on canvas board, 10 x 10, Kit Miracle

The artichoke, with it’s pointy leaves and shapes, was very fun to paint.

Radishes in Green Bowl, oil on canvas board, 10 x 10, Kit Miracle

The radishes are usually fun but their greens started to wilt quickly.  However, they later generated more new leaves so that was a big help.

The final big still life was painted on an 18 x 24 inch canvas which I had toned in variegated colors.  It seems to have a glow all its own.  I don’t quite know how that happened except that some of the under painting showed through.  Unfortunately, I didn’t’ take step-by-step photos of this painting.  I might tweak it a bit more but there’s always a risk of going to far.  Sometimes done is done.

These paintings will be for sale on my Etsy shop.  KitMiracleArt


Plein air painting, Brooks Bridge, Martin County, Indiana

Plein air painting of Brooks Bridge, oil on canvas board, Kit Miracle

I went plein air painting with my friend Bill Whorrall on Monday.  It was a beautiful and unseasonably warm December day with temps in the 60s.  However, the wind was brisk which posed some problems later.

Brooks Bridge across the East Fork of the White River in Martin County, Indiana

Bill lives in Martin County, Indiana which is lovely and boasts a variety of terrains – rivers, stone ledges, hills, woods.  We decided to paint this one lane bridge, Brooks Bridge, which spans the East Fork of the White River south of Shoals.  We had spotted this location before but the ground was too wet to drive on.

While we were painting, we saw about four vehicles, including a four wheeler; probably the farmer checking us out.  (It’s hunting season and there are lots of poachers.)  I just waved and he drove back.  The sparse traffic is probably why the bridge is only one lane.  Yeah, impossible for you city people to believe but they still exist.

Bill was working on some ink drawings that he created with sticks and twigs as drawing instruments.  You can see the results here.  Really neat.

Plein air painting along the East Fork of the White River south of Shoals. My friend Bill Whorrall is drawing with ink and sticks.

Painting half done

I decided to use a canvas panel toned with yellow paint.  It was pretty bright but where it shows through, it seems to add some magic.  I like it anyway.

Plein air painting of Brooks Bridge. The wind nearly took my easel right after I took this photo!

The only real problem was that the wind picked up throughout the morning.  A strong gust nearly knocked my easel into the river!

I tweaked the final painting in my studio, darkening the details and adding highlights.  It’s sometimes difficult to really see and judge colors and contrasts in the bright sunlight.  What do you think?

Yeah, it’s for sale at my Etsy shop.

The Huntress I and II, oil on canvas

The Huntress I – oil on canvas, 20 x 20, Kit Miracle

The Huntress II – oil on canvas, 20 x 20, Kit Miracle

The Huntress I and II are two paintings that I created earlier this year.  Although I have often created a series of paintings, this is the first time that I created a pair of paintings.  They each stand alone from a design view, but work better as a pair.

My aim here was to create a bit of mystery, to simplify the background and the figure, and to play off the high intensity light without adding a harshness to the scene

Check out the step-by-step page to learn more about how I made these beautiful pair. https://my90acres.com/artwork/the-huntress-i-and-ii-step-by-step/

Sunflowers in blue bowl

Sunflowers in blue bowl, 16 x 20, oil on canvas, Kit Miracle

Sunflowers in blue bowl, 16 x 20, oil on canvas, Kit Miracle

This is another example of a slow painting.  If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I like to paint en plein air.  The challenge of turning out a speedy painting in a couple of hours is fun.  However, some of my best work is when I create a studio painting which may take weeks or more.

This blue bowl of sunflower and zinnias presented its own challenges.  If you’ve ever painted live sunflowers, then you know that they keep up their rhythm of turning towards the sun.  This means every time you return to the studio, the darn flowers have rearranged themselves!

This is an oil on a toned canvas.  I spent about a week and a half on this painting.  I don’t know if the painting is actually done but I’m finished working on it.  The flowers were in pretty sad shape by the time I finished. I like the careful attention to detail but it is a real trick to not overwork a painting.  It should look effortless for best effect.  In my opinion.

Painting Nova Scotia

Cabot Trail, most iconic of drives.

Cabot Trail, most iconic of drives.

My husband and I made a trip to Nova Scotia last month.  Neither of us had been up that way.  It was so beautiful!  I took my painting materials but came home with enough subject matter to last for a long time.  We spent a week on Nova Scotia south shore, then toured the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton and finally ended on Prince Edward Island.  The weather was lovely with temps in the low seventies, dipping to the fifties and even forties at night.  Perfect for August, I think.

Nova Scotia Beach, Storm  Coming

Nova Scotia Beach, Storm Coming

Here are the first few paintings, some painted on location, some back here at home.  Rugged shores, pines, ocean, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, quaint towns and fishing villages…what more could an artist want?  As always, I appreciate any feedback.

Painting at Sand Hills Beach, Nova Scotia, Kit Miracle

Painting at Sand Hills Beach, Nova Scotia, Kit Miracle

Sunrise, Nova Scotia, oil on canvas, 12x16, Kit Miracle

Sunrise, Nova Scotia, oil on canvas, 12×16, Kit Miracle

French Lily, oil on canvas, 12x16, Kit Miracle

French Lily, oil on canvas, 12×16, Kit Miracle

Cape Breton, Cabot Trail, 12x16, oil on canvas board, Kit Miracle

Cape Breton, Cabot Trail, 12×16, oil on canvas board, Kit Miracle

Ritter Creek, Painting A Complex Subject

Ritter Creek, Final, 24 x 30, oil on canvas, Kit Miracle

Ritter Creek, Final, 24 x 30, oil on canvas, Kit Miracle

Ritter Creek is just down the road from me.  Like my last posting of French Lick Creek, this was also painted on a toned canvas.  However, this was a very complex subject, lowland creek bottom with many trees.  Check out my step-by-step demonstration for further information.  Sometimes as the artist, you must take things out to make a better composition.  Ritter Creek, Demonstration

Making friends with green

French Lick Creek, final, oil on canvas, 24x30, Kit Miracle

French Lick Creek, final, oil on canvas, 24×30, Kit Miracle

Green is one of the most difficult colors for most artists to handle.  However, if you’re going to paint landscapes, you’d better make friends with green.  I think the biggest mistake inexperienced artists make is not really looking at the color.  Green comes in many varieties – yellowish, orangey, silver, blue, purple.  Even just looking closely and slightly emphasizing what you see will help you immensely.  To learn more about the painting above and to see a demo, check out the page French Lick Creek, making friends with green, demonstration.

FrenchLickCreek,detail1 FrenchLickCreek,detail2 FrenchLickCreek,detail3 FrenchLickCreek,detail4

Junipers at Grand Canyon – Demonstration

Junipers at Grand Canyon, final, oil on canvas, 24 x 30

Junipers at Grand Canyon, final, oil on canvas, 24 x 30

I just completed this 24 x 30 oil painting of Junipers at the Grand Canyon.  I love their gnarly trunks and timeless quality.  Check out my demonstration at https://my90acres.com/artwork/junipers-at-grand-canyon-demonstration/


How to tone a canvas

TonedcanvasIn an earlier how-to post, I told you about the why of using a toned canvas but I thought I’d review that again.

Using a toned canvas takes away the fear and indecision of painting for many artists. You already HAVE something on the canvas. Mostly when you’re painting, you’re using push-pull. That is, pushing the background into the back, and pulling the foreground up front. You see this more often with artists drawing on toned paper, such as, pastel artists. This is a very old technique, maybe centuries old.

I like it because it seems as if the tone color (whatever I may have chosen) fills in the broken spaces of my paintings. A search on the internet will turn up quite a few artists who use this technique.

Most of the time, I will take leftover paint at the end of a session and tone a bunch of canvases just to have them on hand. Although I do not use this technique all the time, it’s great to be able to grab a few canvases as I’m heading out for some plein air painting. I just seem to be able to get a head start on getting the basics down. However, you can do this on location with just rubbing in some local colors with a rag. It’s entirely up to you.

My preference is for warm colors or even some very dark colors but I have used many – burnt sienna, dark brown/grey, blues, greens and even purples (yuck). One artist I know, Caroline Jasper, uses red for her canvases which adds an element of sparkle, and Wyatt LeGrand uses some very dark tones which also works well for him.

If you haven’t tried this technique, just try it for a few times to see how you like it.





Blue-rimmed bowl, still life

Blue-rimmed bowl, still life after Cezanne - final, 18x24, oil on canvas

Blue-rimmed bowl, still life after Cezanne – final, 18×24, oil on canvas

I just completed this painting which is my interpretation of a still life in the style of Cezanne.  Although it is not a copy of any of his paintings, I wanted to challenge myself to interpret his style and used several of the objects that he used in his still lifes.  For a step-by-step view, check it out on my Artwork pages.https://my90acres.com/artwork/blue-rimmed-bowl-still-life-step-by-step/