Maori Dancer

Maori Dancer — 14″ x 18″ oil on panel $750

Here’s another dancer painting. He was enacting a Maori War dance. I loved the power of the pose and the dramatic light. It’s another one in which the photo doesn’t really do it justice. I’ll try to get a better one soon.

Ray Robert’s Workshop – Maui 2012

Ray’s amazing 20 minute demo!


Ray and his wife, Peggi Kroll-Roberts
I was fortunate enough to participate in Ray Roberts plein aire workshop in Maui last week. What a blast! Not only was it great fun, it was a great learning experience, and Ray and his wife, Peggi, are wonderful, warm, people. A pleasure to have met.
I have only painted “en plein aire” a few times in my life, with no direction except what I had read. In fact, this is the first time I have taken a workshop from an established artist. I have taught them (how to paint animals in acrylic from photographs) but had never taken one.
Anyways…the object of his plein aire teaching is to use these small plein aire sketches as reference material to utilize in the creation of a more finished studio painting. He doesn’t create them to sell.
Some of his most useful tips apply to all types of painting, not just plein aire and I found them incredibly useful. 
Some of them were:
  • ALWAYS do a number of value studies, or Notans…either in just two values or three. Do a few different greyscale ones, and a few color ones, to feel out which one will make the best painting. It will be almost immediately evident. (I thought so anyways!)
  • Translate a scene from your grayscale study to color. It helps immensely in reading the values.
  • Avoid equal shapes, masses,  and divisions. It makes things boring and repetitive.
  • Start with your darkest darks and lightest lights. Once they’re established, it’s much easier to find the middle values.
  • Borrow from everything around you to make a great painting. You don’t have to paint the exact scene. Remove elements, or add them, to make the best scene.
  • Shadows in a landscape are cooler and lighter farther away from the source (under a tree) and warmer and darker towards the source, as they’re reflecting light from the source. The farther shadow reflects light from the sky.

These are only a few of the great things I learned. Peggi has invented a few very useful plein aire tools that they sell on their website.

You can check out Ray and Peggi’s beautiful work at

Tahitian Dancer

Tahitian Dancer — 12 x 16 oil on canvas covered panel $600.00

I finally painted something in Maui that I’m happy with! Yay! I’ve been painting plenty, but nothing good enough to share until yesterday…I was going to show you an in progress progression, and managed to remember to photograph the first step, but I guess I got so excited about the painting going so well, that I forgot to take any more pictures!
Anyways, we saw a Hula show last week, where they do a lot of traditional Polynesian dances. I managed to take quite a few good shots for reference. This girl was dressed in a Tahitian costume, which was very unique. I loved how her dark hair contrasted with the light background, and the strong light on her face made for a dramatic portrait. I tried to work loose and keep it fresh…I’m pretty happy with it.
The photograph of the painting is a bit contrasty, but it’s pretty faithful to the colors.
Thanks for stopping by!