Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, etc. etc. Murphy's law and all those sayings struck yesterday eliminating the daily post. A technical glitch with my computer put the kibosh on what I intended to post. Now that it has taken the better part of today to get fixed, I am re-posting the small portrait study I showed at the beginning of this series of "one-a-day" posts. I did not say much about it previously, but will get into it a little more now.

About six months before I moved here from Arizona I did two portraits. One was a single 16"x20" portrait of a friends wife. The other was a portrait of the husband the same size. These were my first forays into doing portraits. I was probably more surprised and happy with both pieces as the couple was. Adding portraits to my portfolio was still not part of my future goals.

When I arrived here in Texas and got my studio set up and began painting it was more landscapes and florals. I got a call from a long time friend who still lived here and he wanted a portrait done. Not having a local gallery outlet here yet and like most artists and happy to get a commission I agreed to do it. I used photographs and several sittings and again pulled it off and had a very happy client. this lead to another portrait and another happy client and taking with a few other people about commissions. Consequently, I have decided to also pursue doing more portraits. This painting is a study for my next one.

                      "Portrait Study of A Young Woman"  12"x9" oil on panel. This piece is available since I have made another, the client likes the pose better.

I would also like to say something about my method of drawing. I stick with the basics of drawing the human head or in some cases the full figure . The very fine figurative artist Steve Huston has some excellent, detailed, easy to understand instructional videos on YouTube on the same method I use. I truly believe it is why I have been successful doing portrait, achieving a likeness of the subject withou no experience doing portraits of actual people. Sure I have done a lot of figures, nudes and otherwise, but those rarely, if ever included a good portrait quality likeness. The lighting and design the pose made were the focus of those paintings, not a perfect likeness of the subject, as a portrait requires. So I encourage anyone wanting to do figures or portraits really get these basics down so you do them with every drawing and painting you do without think. In other words do it automatically, just like breathing. Not only will it make everything easier, it will improve your paintings quicker. And we all know a better painting is what we are all after.

For this study I made some quick marks, measuring with a proportional divider. Once I had the accurate locations of each facial feature and their shapes, I switched to a bristle filbert and raw umber from Daniel Smith. I love using this brand in this color because it makes such a nice full range of very neutral grays using LaFranc titanium white. There is no yellowish cast as one sees in many other brands of raw umber. It has several other advantages also. It is very fast drying and speeds the drying of the white, making the grisaille ready to paint over the next day. It also works well in flesh color mixes. Don't get me wrong, it is not mixed in every color I make when I get into the full color work, but is in some transitional areas and maybe some shadows. I use a limited palette for figures and everything I paint, no matter the subject. It consists of a warm and cool of the three primaries. The exceptions to this only occur in a few florals, where I might add or substitute a color due to the color appearing on the actual flower.

My basic palette I use at this time is:
Titanium White                       LaFranc
Winsor Lemon                        Winsor Newton
Cadmium Yellow                    Utrecht
Cadmium Red Light                Utrecht
Permanent Alizarin Crimson   Winsor Newton
Ultramarine Blue                     Utrecht
Cobalt Blue                              Utrecht
Raw Umber                              Daniel Smith

Occasional additions to my basic palette might include:
Transparent Red Oxide             Rembrandt
Permanent Rose                        Winsor Newton
Magenta                                    Winsor Newton
Viridian Hue                             Holbein

My brushes are mostly bristle flats and filberts from Trekell. Mongoose flats and sable rounds from Rosemary and Co.  I also have a couple of cheapo bristle brushes from Home Depot for toning a canvas or massing large areas when first laying in a painting.

Trekell brushes are excellent brushes and probably equal in quality T Rosemary and Co. for hog bristles that I use. I am in the process of changing to all Rosemary and Co. brushes when I need to order more. This decision has nothing to do about the quality of the Trekell brushes. I want that clear. I am only changing to all Rosemary and Co. to make ordering easier and stay with top quality brushes. It is strictly for my personal convenience and no other reason.

Monday, June 19, 2017

               Day Five of Seven new posts in a Row

This recent piece is an 8"x16" oil on an oil primed RayMar canvas panel. It is a piece that is part a real scene and some imagination on my part. It is based on a reference I gathered while still living in Arizona.That is the reality part. My imagination was used to make the scene more generic and somewhat common scene found in the western U.S. and could be in any state from Arizona or New Mexico in the southwest or Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho or any northwestern states. It could also be in parts of Texas.

The original reference was photographed in Arizona, as I said, about 6 years ago, if memory serves, but I ran across the photo in one of my photo reference albums a few weeks ago and used it to make this painting. I hope you like it.

                    "A Break In The Clouds"   8"x16" oil on panel Available through my studio

Friday, June 16, 2017

                                     Day Four Painting

This one, I just put the finishing touches on this morning, so I went ahead and took it's picture and decided to post it instead of the one I had planned to post today. Originally this began life as an 8"x10" plein air piece I did not get to finish due to the lighting changing to fast and getting to dark to see my colors correctly. Consequently, it was never finished, but every time I went looking through plein air pieces and photos the scene kept catching my eye. So earlier this week I decided to paint it in the studio using the unfinished piece and the photo I took when I set up to paint it in the field. I also decided to enlarge it to a 16"x20". Bottom line this is a brand new, still wet painting, but from a now, year old unfinished sketch and photo. I hope you like it.

    "Afternoon Shadows" 16"x20" oil on panel Available from my studio. Contact here or Facebook

Thursday, June 15, 2017

                     Another New New One For Day Three

Today's painting is a Texas Hill Country scene near the end of this springs Bluebonnet season. I got out there early one Saturday morning and saw this off the side of the road that goes to the southern shores of Canyon Lake. It is a 12"x16" oil on a RayMar panel. I did it from a photo I shot as there was no good safe place to set up to paint even if the light were not changing so fast.

   "Last Days of Spring"  12"x16" oil on panel   $1800 Available from artist. I may be contacted here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

   Day Two and Another Post

Well, so far so good on my goal of posting a new piece every day for a week, even if late in the day. This painting is a scene not far west of New Braunfels, Texas, I finished recently. It is an oil on a 16"x20" RayMar oil primed panel. I thought I should say something about these panels I use. I order them from RayMar in Phoenix, Arizona. They are very well made. RayMar has a whole line of panels using cotton mounted on them as well as several grades of Claussens linen. I use a smooth portrait grade cotton that I prime over the acrylic primer. I do this myself using Gamblin's oil foundation oil. I allow it to dry thoroughly, usually about two full weeks now that it is summer. I then hand sand it, still leaving some of the cotton weave showing. This gives me a smooth, but varied surface with a nice "tooth" to paint on. I have come to like this very much and it saves a lot of time from prepping Dibond panels that I used previously. These panels weight half or less than the Dibond. This is a huge help when painting in plein air. It also costs much less doing it this way.

I keep a selection of sizes primed and sanded, so I have what I need when ready to paint. So, that said here is "Herefords and Oak Trees."

 "Herefords And Oak Trees" 16"x20" Oil on panel   $2600  Available through my studio and contacting me here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

                                                    Finally Another Post
Well, if there is anything I know, it is, it is a very good thing that I am a painter and not a writer. My handling of this blog is a great example how not to maintain a blog. That said, it does not mean I haven't been painting. I certainly have been spreading paint and using a lot of art supplies. I've been doing some portraits, landscapes and florals and toss in a few nudes now and then. So without further ado today begins a daily posting for at least the next week.

All paintings are available from my studio unless otherwise stated.

This is "Garden Roses" it is a 12"x16" oil on a Ray Mar panel and oil primed. It is available from my studio. $1800 payable through Pay Pal. Please contact me through this blog.

This next one is an example of one of my portrait studies. It is 12"x9" again on an oil primed RayMar panel. Contact me here to purchase of talk with me about portrait commissions.

                                                     "Portrait Study"   12"x9"  available

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Well, here we are the middle of September, and I am just now getting around to posting a couple of new paintings that are ready to go. I have more that I have done since my last post, and will be posting them soon. I've come to the conclusion that it is a good thing I am a painter because I sure seem to avoid or just plain forget about posting something new on a regular basis. Sort of defeats the purpose of this blog, so I guess I better work on my time management and discipline for tending to this.

I have been switching to painting on Ray Mar canvas panels which I re-prime with a white lead ground made by Natural Pigments. I really like working on these panels prepared this way. In the  past I had been mounting Claussens linen to Dibond aluminum panels. But since I don't seem to work as quickly as I have in the past, I am always looking for a more efficient way to use my time without raising the cost of my materials. Using these panels and preparing them as I do has meant only a very slight increase in cost to pay for the Natural Pigments ground. Although, I make up for that in preparation time. I can prep 20 panels of various sizes in about 2 hours, instead of taking a full day to do a dozen panels the old way. Drying time is longer, but I just prepare a variety of sizes at one time ahead of when I actually need them. Doing it this way, so far I have not run out of panels to paint on in the sizes I want. With the exception of a special commission piece, that needs to be a specific size, I don't imagine I will be in need of panels to work with. As a famous burger joint advertises, "I'm lovin' it!"     

One of the nice things about living here is so many things are right off the many Farm to Market Roads winding through the Texas Hill Country and surrounding areas. This especially helps old guys like myself who don't get around as well as we used to. I found both of these paintings just a short ways distance from each other. The light was good and the subjects cooperated. So here we are, two 9"x12" oils on panels and being brand new where you can still smell the varnish are available from my studio which you can contact me here or my Facebook page, John Cox Fine Art, for more information on these. I hope you like them.

"The Red Calf"
9"x12" Oil on panel

"The Three Amiga's"
9"x12" Oil on panel