Saturday, August 18, 2018

Art Journal Pages: Late August

You know when you have one of those moments, when you drink in the natural world that God created and just feel so inspired and appreciative of the beauty of it all?  Here's a couple pages of that inspiration for me today.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Can an artist work without exposure to hazardous-solvents?

 I have met a lot of people who don't want to work in oils because of the hazardous fumes and chemicals.  I was one of them and, in fact, way back in college in many years ago; I took a studio painting class in which we all used paint thinner and I even ignorantly rinsed the paint of my hands with it!
After some research on the subject, I believe that you can work in oil and still avoid paint thinners and other hazardous chemicals.  I thought I would post here how I work in oils.  Here is a photo of two of the flow mediums I work with when I am oil painting.  The two pictured are Walnut Alkyd, Safflower, and I also use Linseed oil.  I add a little of these oils to my paint when I need to increase flow, but end up using very little of them.  I pour a tablespoon or so of each into 3 tiny mason jars and choose from them as I paint.  Safflower should be used sparingly, but doesn't yellow as linseed tends to.  Walnut oil is good overall, but I tend to use it with darker pigments and save the safflower for lighter pigments.  If you keep them in the fridge between uses, they will stay fresh for months.

On the oil paint tubes, you will either see an "AP" or a "CL" - the AP means it is safe to use and the CL means it has hazardous properties.   All my oil paints have the AP label, and I tend to use Winsor and Newton's Winton oil paints.

To clean my brushes, I use a little jar of "The Masters" brush cleaner and preserver.  It is a solid substance that looks soap-like and after wiping off my brushes, I load them up with this and rinse them.  It takes a long time to use the jar up, so one little jar can last for months.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Watercolor Pool Painting

16 x 20" watercolor, gouache
I got an idea to paint a few large watercolors in this theme.  I like the contrast between the detail of the figures/floats and the abstract nature of the water.
I have several projects now in the works.... the large oil of my first swimmer's series, more large watercolors in this theme and a new painting I'm starting for a charity auction.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bubbles, deep shadows, highlights continued...

Painting the water is a cool challenge.  I am letting myself interpret the water how I wish and only looking at the original photo for a general reference of light and dark areas. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Swimmers continued...

The photo above shows my latest work on the water highlights and bubbles.  The photo below shows the development of the swim caps.  The pictures look different in color due to the kind of light and camera I took the pictures with.  (While I am in progress, I am not so concerned about the color in the photo.) 
I really like how while much of this painting is realistic, much of it is abstract, due the water.  I am really loving this process - I just wish I wasn't so busy that I have to walk by my painting for weeks while I attend to work, grad courses and other things in life.

Monday, June 25, 2018

still in progress...

This is taken in artificial light, but it shows the white bathing suit I finally chose for the left figure.  I painted about 9 paper suits and posted them over the figure and polled my facebook audience ( click here for ArtofChristineBlain ) for opinions, as I struggled to decide the color/pattern.  Before long, I had singled out a plain navy, a red and a white suit, but so did several others.  With the 3 suits in a triple tie, I kept placing them over the figure and kept stepping back and analyzing what my eyes did as they looked at the painting.  Finally, I had to imagine the colorful shadows on the white that would eventually tone it down, and then imagine the bright sparkles on the water surface that will eventually blend it into the water a little more.  Once I realized this, I could tell that white was the most cohesive and complimentary partner for the other suit.
The next step is to deepen the skin tones on the left while adding refracted light patterns and then on to the hair and bathing caps. After that, the pool water and surface highlights will get tackled.  It has been a slow process, as it is a large oil, and as I have been moving, working and doing grad courses!


Sunday, May 6, 2018

First in Swimmers Series - In Progress

I am inspired to start a new series in oil that captures the wonderful feeling of summer and childlike playfulness. This first painting is a challenge, as I am in the throes of understanding the way the water refracts the sunlight, causing interesting lines and shapes on my subjects.  My two lovely models are two of my three sisters, and I have chosen to paint them in vintage 50's swimsuits.   

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Buoy Shack
16x20" acrylic
on 2" gallery-wrapped canvas
This buoy covered shack is a famous landmark located on Bailey Island in Harpswell, Maine.  Bailey Island is home to beautiful Mackerel Cove, which affords many sightings of boats, fishing villages and the rocky Maine coastline.
This one proved to be a challenge for me.  After 5 different skies and several redo's in other places, I am finally happy with the result.  I really liked the scene and composition so I didn't want to give up on it.  Although oil has its own challenges, it may have been easier to use in this case.  

Friday, March 16, 2018

On the Easel...

I chose this scene from among the photos I took this summer while traveling up the coast of Maine.  Although I am liking the way it's turning out so far, it hasn't been an easy process, as I have had some artist's block/struggle on this one.  I joke to myself that I should title it "The Fourth Sky" since in this case, the fourth time's a charm!  Stay tuned... we will see if I can finish this one without any more problems!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Commissioned Horse Paintings

Jewell                             Arabella
Two 11x14 inches
on 2 inch gallery wrapped canvas
These beautiful horses were the subject of my latest commission.  People who own and love their pets know how much joy that an animal can bring to one's life. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mini Art Journal

I created this mini art journal as a sample for my journaling workshop. Its always fun to choose a favorite subject in nature and study it up close - kind of like discovering "a world in a grain of sand."


Friday, February 9, 2018

Art Journal Pages


As I teach a course on visual journaling, I am turning out a few pages/covers along with my adult students.  While visual journaling is a lot of fun, it is also a great way to de-stress.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Warm January day at Hampton State Beach, NH

Even with a grey winter sky, it was warm and beautiful - horses and dogs all over the beach. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

26 Seconds

26 Seconds
mixed media
        UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) estimates that every 26 seconds, a child is trafficked into slavery, many of whom are trafficked into the sex slave trade.  This is a tragedy beyond comprehension that our present generation is witness to.  Many of us wonder how we can help - how we can possibly make a difference.  One way is to support organizations that rescue these children out sexual slavery and then protect, restore and empower them to live healthy, productive lives. 
        One such organization that is close to my heart is Destiny Rescue. One of their latest fund-raising projects is called "Her Red Shoes" - you can read the story behind the infamous red shoes and the little girl they belonged to HERE    Since January is Human Trafficking Awareness month, it is a good time to think about how we can help.
Check out Destiny Rescue at

Her Red Shoes...


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Evening Feeding

16x12" acrylic
on 2" gallery-wrapped canvas
These three horses are rescues at Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester, NH.  The two mustangs on the left were rescued as 6 week-old foals when they were separated from their mothers during a controversial round-up in New Mexico.  Because they were tiny foals, they weren't worth their weight in freight to ship to the meat rendering factory and left in the desert to die. For a month, they were too sick and weak to travel, but eventually arrived at the farm, where they were cared for. That was several years ago, but now they are healthy and well and have been given Navajo names (Ayasha and Enapay). The paint horse (Kieli) was born here at the farm as a result of a PMU pregnancy, and is considered one of the farm's horses.
I am happy to be able to help raise aid for Live and Let Live Farm, as they are a great example of caring and kindness to our animal friends.

Monday, January 15, 2018



11x14" acrylic
on 2" gallery wrapped canvas
This painting is another that will go into the All Creatures Great and Small Art Show to benefit Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester, NH.  The horses (Nico on the left and Neptune on the right) are two that were recently rescued and are enjoying a good life now at the farm.  After reading about the companionship these two horses have found in each other since being rescued, I came across this scene in a reference photo.  I recognized this interaction as a moment of solace between two creatures who have lived through hard things...