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In My Studio This Week – A Happy Couple and Some Splatter

In my studio this week I finally had the motivation to put the large canvas on my easel and go forward with the theme of mature people enjoying life. I found a photo of a happy couple and did some photo editing to make a reference photo. I also got ambitious and went into splatter mode on the metal leaf canvases I made the previous week. See the details below:

A Happy Couple

I unwrapped the first of the large 2’ x 3’ canvases I had purchased a few weeks ago. I set it up and proceeded with my vision. I started with acrylic washes in neutral colors. I made stencil of a wine glass from cardstock and used it in a few places on the canvas.  I sketched the figures with charcoal and sealed it with a fixative.

Canvas with first layer of acrylic wash, stencil, and charcoal

I applied some paper napkins in the window “panes” and spray painted over them to help blend them into the background. I used a brayer to apply paint to simulate the window frame. I used a wash of transparent yellow oxide paint to warm up one side of the canvas.

Canvas with a layer of collage ange using a prayer to apply paint

I started with darker paints to create the shadow areas. Look at those glasses! This is definitely what is called “the ugly stage.” I was going for a realistic look on the faces and hands and a more abstract look for the rest of the painting.  

Canvas showing a couple drinking wine and hugging each other

I painted over the glasses so I could work on the eyes and started filling in the clothing more.

Draft version of a painting showing a couple drinking wine and hugging each other

I thought the left side of the canvas needed something, so I added hummingbirds using a stencil. I also was struggling with the woman’s face and worked to try and get it right.

Canvas showing a couple drinking wine and hugging each other

I colored in the hummingbirds and added more lines to the faces. The wine glasses were a bit off, so I reworked them.

Canvas showing a couple drinking wine and hugging each other

I added more detail to the hands. I felt another hummingbird on the right side of the painting would complement the composition. 

Canvas showing a couple drinking wine and hugging each other

At this point, I’m done with the acrylic and will move to oils to finish. I’m not sure if I’ll add the glasses to the woman’s face yet. It’s hard to get them to look right. What do you think? Should I add glasses? I look back at the series of steps and feel like some of my earlier versions are better.


I was searching for a flat place where I could lay out a tarp and splatter paint on the gold leaf canvases I had. I found space in the garage and set up an area on the floor.

I splattered the paint in layers, starting with the darkest color. I used Payne’s Grey, Quinacridone Magenta, and finished with a metallic Phthalo Green. The goal was to get the paint spattered onto the frame as well as the canvas. The Phthalo Green ended up all over the wall and floor even with the tarp laid down. I was able to clean up the garage floor (thank you epoxy flooring). The walls will need to be touched up with paint. For some reason, I tend to always make a mess when using Phthalo Green paint and it is one of the most difficult to cover up.

Two framed canvases with paint splatterd on them

I plan to use these as the backdrop for a hummingbird painting or maybe I’ll try a dragonfly.


I’ve been dealing with resistance – a common struggle for creatives. I find myself pulled away from making art by all the distractions of life – taxes to file, bills to pay, phone calls, email, and the internet rabbit hole. I’m also still having a hard time pulling together the references to use for the next painting in the series.

This week I will be distracted again. This time doctor appointments that involve a little travel.  Thank you for being here and sticking with me on this journey.

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