January 12, 2016

A Willing Heart – Day 10 Challenge Painting

It’s January and you know what that means? Time for a painting challenge, 30 Days 30 Paintings. The goal is to be creative in some way, every single day. It’s an excellent challenge because there’s a measure of accountability, which I need, and of course, a reason to paint.

Okay, I don’t need the reason, but having the accountability means that I don’t make excuses. But in spite of that, I’m running a few days behind on this challenge and it’s only going to get worse with my show this weekend. Between a sick kid and the time I spent at the stables, there were some nights I couldn’t paint. I’ll catch up after Tri Con. Or not. No worries either way, because the whole point is to be more creative and that has definitely happened.

So I’ve changed palettes a few times since the month started. You can see where I started with Traitor. Really fun and bright palette. Then I moved into the blues, here and here and here. A moment of muted colour with one of my all time favourite paintings, Amy Pond which led into reds and finally my current warm palette. 

Playing around forces me out of my comfort zone and gives me a chance to play. For me, art is about the journey of creating and this challenge, oddly enough, gives me the permission to make the journey fun.

Right now, I’m working my way through The Hobbit. I’ve always wanted to paint my way through Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Middle Earth and I finally feel like I can do it justice. It’s pure joy to paint the dwarves in all their uniqueness and moods.


The warm palette works really well when started on a black canvas. Allowing me to muddy the yellow ochre without making actual mud. It pops, but I vary the opacity of the colour to add visual texture.


This is still in the moments after Bilbo refused to sign the contract. Thorin Oakenshield now has the key to enter his lost home but he doesn’t have the burglar he needs for the job. Having redemption and vindication is within his grasp but slightly out of reach and it pains him. He is warmed by the idea that the company he keeps is stronger because of their willing hearts.


I adjusted the methods with this painting a bit, going less for layers of colour and mixing as I went. Raw umber and burnt sienna came together to deepen the shadows while keeping the alive feeling in Thorin’s face.

I spent some time on his eyes since his hope and despair were coupled together there.

Something new I’ve been playing with is adding in some lines around the nose, edging a bit more carefully around the face and so on. Not an outline as much as a defining line. I think it makes all the difference.

I had a lot of fun with this one, working to capture Thorin’s intensity.

sm_20160111_212631-1“A Willing Heart”


Acrylic on canvas

Original and prints are for sale.





Want to see my work in person? I’ll be in Kitchener for Tri Con on January 16th and 17th. Check out my events page for more details!

Plus, follow along as I paint my way through this month. 30 Days 30 Paintings is a fun challenge which can yield some surprising results. I’m currently painting my way through my backlog of pieces that I had planned over the last couple of years. And some new ones.  Follow along here and on Facebook where I paint live nearly every night.