Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Simple Joy of Painting What You Know Best

"Gleaming Goose" 8x10 oil on professional cotton panel--For sale @ SAM in June
April is a promise that May is bound to keep.  Hal Borland

Happy Spring everyone! The first week of April always has a big red star on my studio calendar each year. It marks the 2 month point (or about 8 weeks) before my favorite annual Denver art event: SAM (Summer Art Market) which is June 7/8 this year.

When you need to fill a 10x10 tent with your best possible art eight weeks goes by in a flash. For the SAM I prefer to offer a wide variety of sizes and price points to meet the needs of a variety of collectors. So one day I’ll work on a smaller daily oil painting like this 8x10 sunlit goose and other days I’ll be tackling a much larger abstract. Let's just say I'll be happily in art creation mode for the next 8 weeks.

We've all heard the creative writing tip: Write what you know.  Along the same lines, I think it makes sense to paint what we know best. Just look at art history and see how the masters captured the intimate world around them.

One of the places I know best is Wash Park--my local city park where I often take at least 100 photos a week if not more. As a result I have hundreds of reference pics of the more common park flora and fauna such as this lovely young Canada goose. OK. Maybe not the most exotic bird, but they’re easy to photograph and I love the striking dark/light pattern on their heads especially in the warm sunlight. I certainly enjoyed painting this little study yesterday.

Speaking of spring, in my next post I'll share some of my ideas for those of you looking for seasonal spring painting subjects (as I did last fall.) Wishing you all a warm and colorful spring!


  1. Love you use of color. It does make for happiness!

  2. That's so nice Helen--thanks very much. Painting colorful birds really does make for an enjoyable morning of painting! Cheers and happy painting, Aimee