Friday, April 29, 2011

It's a Tomato

I guess it isn't the most ambitious of compositions, but here is a tomato. I harbored it for a day as my model but now we can chop it up and put it in our salad. I think somehow it sensed that was coming...

The Tomato, oil on canvas panel, 5x7 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Virtual Japan #3

This will be my last entry for the Virtual Paintout this month, featuring Japan. I did two other small paintings that I will post here after adding a few touch-ups. Looking forward to finding out what next month's location will be.

Crossing, oil on canvas panel, 6x6 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Backyard Ladybug

This guy was hanging out in our backyard having a pleasant snack until we started pestering him by snapping photos with the macro lens. As he maneuvered to escape the intrusion he only managed to move into better lighting. I've since cleared out his perch to make room for the garden bed, so he'll have to find modeling work in another yard for a while.

Backyard Ladybug, oil on canvas panel, 6x6 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Monday, April 25, 2011

Field of Poppy

I just learned that there is such a thing as a pink California Poppy. I have seen pale yellow ones and dark red ones, but I've never seen a pink one. I discovered them while buying my vegetable seeds from Renee's Garden Seeds. I think I'll be planting some in the fall, along with some of the other colors they seem to have come up with, like magenta and buttercream.

Field of Poppy, oil on canvas panel, 6x6 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Friday, April 22, 2011

Complementary Poppy

The wildflowers are in bloom on the hills near our house, and the California Poppy has always been one of my favorites. They take on such a great variety of gestures and shapes as they open and close every day with the sun. It's amazing what four little petals can come up with! I am submitting this painting to the Daily Paintworks Color Challenge (using a limited color scheme - in this case, complementary colors). Visit the site to see all of the other entries for this challenge!

Complementary Poppy, oil on canvas panel, 6x6 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chunky Succulent

Next in the series of my cactus and succulent garden portraits... This is a strange little one. The common name is Kangaroo Rose (or Karoo Rose), but I think it looks a little bit more like thumbs. I love the pale dusty green color, and I'm looking forward to seeing the yellow flower that it allegedly produces.

Chunky Succulent, oil on canvas panel, 5x7 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tiny Giant Peanut

The common name of this cactus is Giant Peanut, according to the sticker on the pot, but right now it's really only the size of a regular peanut. (The flower it produced, however, was giant.) This one was born in Arizona, but has now relocated to San Jose after making its debut at the San Francisco Garden Show. I'm hoping it will accept the fact that it isn't likely to be 114 degrees here very often. I know I do.

Tiny Giant Peanut, oil on canvas panel, 7x5 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Friday, April 8, 2011

Virtual Japan #2

Finished my second Japan painting yesterday and started two new ones. Meanwhile my new cactus collection is starting to call out to me. I might have to paint some of their portraits next week after I get them planted in bigger pots. Two of the little ones have already bloomed.

Blue Bike, oil on linen panel, 6x6 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Virtual Japan #1

The subject for this month's Virtual Paintout is Japan. I keep gravitating to images that have vending machines in them, mostly because I just like the colors and lights, but now I'm discovering that there is so much more to convenience than soda pop when it comes to vending machines in Japan. I thought it was funny when I came across a liquor vending machine, but that's still just another beverage. What if what you really need is some eggs, a necktie, an umbrella, a head of lettuce or a bouquet of flowers? Or, you might not NEED a pet rhino beetle, but you could get one of those too if you had the impulse.

Red/Green, oil on linen panel, 6x6 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bubbles and Bunnies

Tom Wolfe came up the other night, and through a chain of connections (mentioning The Bonfire of the Vanities --> the meaning of a bonfire of vanities --> the vanities in vanitas paintings --> googling vanitas paintings) led to my discovery of paintings with bubbles and bunnies in them (not together). I found a blog post about bubble painting and learned a new phrase: "Man is a bubble" (in Latin, homo bulla). Otherwise known as, "life is short."

David Bailly - "Self Portrait with Vanitas Symbols"

This led me to another post on the same blog, about a German surrealist who likes to paint animals in various situations, such as a well-to-do bunny getting dressed in front of a large mirror.

Michael Sowa - "Bunny Dressing"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Water Miscible Oils

Sun-Dried, oil on canvas panel, 10x8 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

I tried water miscible oils for the first time yesterday (result above). These are oil paints that have been molecularly altered so that they are solvent in water. The paints themselves are not water-based and still perform like traditional oil paints, but they can be cleaned up with water. This is a very nice thing, as washing the paint out of my oil painting brushes is my most hated chore. 

I tried two different brands: Winsor & Newton Artisan, and Holbein Duo. I definitely preferred the consistency of the Holbeins. The WN paints were very stiff. If anyone has tried other brands and can recommend one, I'd love to hear your suggestions. Any reviews of Royal Talens Cobra?

This image is another street view from Cape Town. I had to edit out a few bugs that got stuck on the canvas while I was painting with the doors open after an 80-degree day.