Archive for September, 2010


Posted in still life with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by Chambers Art Studio
Purple Irises

Purple Irises

Here’s another flower painting I finished recently.  These Irises are descendants of flowers my late aunt had grown.  She gave us some bulbs many years ago, and these are all that have survived over the years.  Irises are my favorite flower as they remind me of my Grandmother.

This painting was done on an 8″ x 10″ panel.  It took me a while to paint it, as I used many layers of glazes to give the petals a look of translucency.  The wood grain of the table too was painted using many glazes.  Each layer has to dry before going on to the next step of the painting.  I’ve heard it said that the Great Master Titian would use up to forty glazes while painting a picture, and Titian has been called the greatest colorist of all the Old Masters.

It hasn’t been easy lately for me trying to paint while I’m in so much pain.  But it seems that this is the state of things for now, and I don’t want to sacrifice my art unless I’m absolutely forced to do so.  I’ve seen a photograph of Monet in his old age painting outside in his beautiful water lily garden, where he had brushes tied to his hands so he could still paint despite a crippling arthritic type condition (a condition perhaps due to years of exposure to toxins in his paints).

“Create something beautiful every day.”

This has become my motto.  Even in the dark loneliness of suffering, create something beautiful.  It gives hope to what can sometime seem to be a hopeless situation.


A Technical Note About Painting Portraits

Posted in painting on September 26, 2010 by Chambers Art Studio

When I returned to regular painting a couple of years ago, I began by painting several portraits.  One of the first problems I encountered was getting natural looking flesh colors.  This seems to be one of my biggest challenges in painting pictures of people.  Mainly I struggled with getting an accurate color “temperature”.  My flesh tones always seemed too cool, and it was difficult to get a balance between shadows, mid-tones and highlights.

I began in earnest to do some research, reading about both modern and classical artists and their color palettes.  I was surprised to discover something.  It seems that not all white oil paints are created equal, and they have various ranges in “temperature”.  I had always been aware that Flake White and Titanium White  and Zinc White were available, but I didn’t really think about there being a difference between them.  It seems that Titanium White and Zinc White have cooler temperatures in appearance than the others, and Titanium was the one I had been using.  Now I use “Cremnitz” White, a thicker and heavier type of Lead White.  Of course, one has to use precautions when working to avoid too much contact with the skin because there is toxic lead in the paint.

WebExhibits is an excellent web site where one can learn all sorts of technical things about the history of painting and art.

Un bon prêtre

Posted in portrait on September 26, 2010 by Chambers Art Studio
Portrait of Fr. Stephen

Fr. Stephen

Here’s a  sketch in oil I did of a good friend, Fr. Stephen.  I’ve known him for many years…he was still a seminarian when we first met.  He later became the pastor of a local parish.  Fr. Stephen has a deep love for God and the Church, and is a very holy man.  It was a privilege to get to paint his portrait.

Is Vermeer in here?

Posted in painting, still life on September 22, 2010 by Chambers Art Studio
Still Life Interior

Still Life Interior

This painting is an “homage” to Vermeer, of a sort.  It isn’t very big… 11″ x 14″ inches to be exact.  Copying Vermeer’s “The Art of Painting” in the picture was a fun challenge… its about the size of a large postage stamp. My photo of my own painting isn’t the greatest, though.

Still Life Pair

Posted in still life on September 17, 2010 by Chambers Art Studio
Still Life with Peaches

Still Life with Peaches

Still Life with Pomegranites

Still Life with Pomegranites

Here are two paintings I created to hang together.  The tapestry tablecloth in the paintings are the same pattern.  In these paintings I wanted to evoke a strong chiaroscuro effect.  I think the dramatic lighting was inspired by the Dutch still life paintings of the seventeenth century. Both are 8″ x 10″ inches.


Posted in Fibromyalgia on September 17, 2010 by Chambers Art Studio

The title has a double meaning.  I’m back posting, and the reason I haven’t posted was because of back pain.  Actually, it was due to the strong medicine that the Pain Clinic prescribed…too strong.  I just couldn’t take it.  Basically I’ve been asleep since Wednesday.

Portrait of the Artist’s Mother

Posted in portrait on September 14, 2010 by Chambers Art Studio
Portrait of the Artist's Mother

Portrait of the Artist's Mother

This is a portrait of my mother I did a couple of years ago when I first went back to painting.  She is eighty-eight years old, and I told her I wanted to paint her picture as I see her daily, dressed in her “house dress”.  She agreed to pose for the picture, but wasn’t too happy that she had to be dressed in such plain daily attire.  After all, she is a fine southern Lady.  Well as it turns out, I painted another two portraits of her after this one, which I will show in a future post.  It just happens that I entered this painting in a local art show this year and it won “Best of Show”.  It was prominently displayed in the city’s cultural activities center for a month, much to my mother’s chagrin.  She exclaimed to me, indifferent that I had won best of show, that she was going to be “on display to the whole town in her house dress!”  Bless her heart…what a hoot!

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