Red and green? Don’t worry, the spirit of Christmas hasn’t reared it’s ugly head again. Instead, it’s more of a Dr. Seuss thing. One painting, two painting, red flower, green feline. Hmm…maybe I better stay away from any attempts at Seussian-style poetry and just show you my latest artwork.

First Off: A Bunch of Cherries

The idea for this came from a little sketch I did recently (one of my art journal chores). It’s a very different style than what I normally do, but I couldn’t resist getting out the acrylics and trying it on a larger scale.

I ended up doing everything except the background with a makeup sponge (the little wedge things) because my paint brushes weren’t behaving as I wanted them to. The outlines of the leaves and cherries were built up with some acrylic gel, again applied with a makeup sponge.

“Cherries” 10″x20″ acrylic on canvas

The stems presented a challenge. I first thought of building them up with more acrylic gel, but didn’t think it would work very well. I then thought of some twine we have lurking in the garage. Hmmm…I cut a length and laid it out as a test run. It stood out just as I wanted, so I gave it a coat of copper paint just to make it a little nicer looking. Once dry I set about to gluing it down with the acrylic gel. Amazingly, it stuck without any loose pieces on the first try. Yay!!


With all the building up of texture on this, I felt like I was constructing a project, not just painting. Working on this piece was a huge dollop of fun – except for the fact that I couldn’t get the lyrics of UB40’s “Cherry, oh Cherry, oh baby, don’t you know I’m in love with you” out of my head.

Don’t Put Away the red Paint Just Yet

Once my cherries were done, it was time to work on something a little more “serious.” Because most of my work is relatively small, I wanted something a little bigger as a lad in piece to my show – the piece people will likely first notice when the walk into the venue. So not only a little bigger, but very bold.

When I found this picture of some lovely red flowers by Alicia Elliott, I knew I had what I was looking for. Luckily, I still had the red acrylic paint out from the cherry construction project.

Photo by Alicia Elliott

For the background, I just wanted something simple with a mix of greys. I don’t know much about color mixing, so I made quick study (aka “Internet search”) on how to make different types of grey using reds and greens, blues and oranges, and purples and yellows. The result was a lovely range a neutrals and a background that came out just as I pictured it in my head (which is very rare, usually my backgrounds are nothing but a source of frustration).

Then, onto the flowers. This was kind of one those theoretically-I-know-what-I-need-to-do-but-have-no-idea-how-to-do-it moments. I knew I needed some petals to recede and others to come forward and also to work in some shading here and there.

I have idea what I’m doing!

I started out, thinking I would tackle one flower at a time, but working each petal individually (working from front to back) turned out much to be a wiser decision – I even had the petals sequentially numbered on my reference print out.

Hey! It worked.

As a final touch to really make the flowers “pop” from the background, I put on a thick layer of acrylic gel to give them some shine and to add a little “edging” to them. It’s hard to see in the final photo, but trust me, it’s there (also, apologies for the bad photo, light conditions aren’t so great here in Portland lately).

“Burst of Spring” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas

And Finally – Green Eyes.

Look at this guy. How could I resist drawing him? This was a bit of an experiment since I don’t usually work in black and white, and because I would normally reach for my graphite pencils, not my colored pencils to do a black and white drawing.

Photo by WickedIllusian

The drawing started out great. The texture of the fur was turning out well, a touch of green to his eyes gave them a little something extra, and his nose even looked mighty cute.

But as I started working the chest fur and around the chin, my shading somehow took a turn for the worst. I think this drawing is still salvageable – I know I need to darken the shading in some areas – but for now, I think Mr. Green Eyes is going on the back burner. Not literally…please, don’t call PETA on me!

Save me!

One Last Thing

The first couple of promo spots for my upcoming art show and open house appeared last week. The first was in the Clackamas Community College class schedule for spring term (since the gallery is in one of the CCC buildings) and is just a write up regarding yours truly and the show dates. The second was in the Clackamas County Events Guide for spring with a big ol’ announcement for my open house on 15 April. Yay me!!

That’s it everyone. Thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of your week. Oh, and be sure to share any projects you’ve been working on in the comments below!

9 thoughts on “Red Flowers and Green Eyes

    1. Yes, twine is a bit like hairy string…I had to use a fair amount of gel to slick back those hairs. Although a few stubborn ones ares till poking out. 😜


  1. More artwork completed? You’re on fire! (Although not literally, I hope 😱) I love the bright bold reds in your two latest paintings – those petals really do pop, despite the best efforts of Portland’s daylight, and this has to be a much better use of makeup sponges than a mere applying of gloop to face! Also, Mr Green Eyes’ eyes are so expressive… I really hope you don’t leave him on the back burner indefinitely!


    1. Thanks! Ol’ Green Eyes will get his much-needed attention soon enough. For now, he’ll just have to curl up on his cat bed while I complete a couple other projects. I may have to try the makeup-sponge technique some more since I have bags of these things that have been sitting around for years. Oh no, I hope I’m not on fire… I’d hate to lose all this new work before the show!!

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      1. As a cat, I’m sure Ol’ Green Eyes will have no problem with that treatment 😺 I really do hope you’re not on fire, but if you are you could perhaps consider changing the description of your show to “performance art installation”…

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