Multitasking A Painting

TheDayFinallrI’m usually not very good at multitasking, so I was a little reluctant when it came to multitasking a painting, but for this new image “The Day Begins” there were two design motives I wanted to work toward, I just couldn’t decide which one to choose, so I chose both.

The first one was texture, a gritty, vintage americana like texture, which I went about creating by first underpainting the canvas with warm tones, adding some greenish passages beneath where the red barn would be. Using a fan brush and some turpentine, spattering some areas caused drips, blooms and generally what appeared to be roughness. I let this dry overnight.


The other design motive was to showcase the sense of bright sunlight without washing the scene out in the light and having the shadows sink into darkness. Limiting the values to mid tone and lighter would combat this. Keeping the shadows lighter would allow me to infuse some color from the bouncing sun light.

Knowing the red barn would be a huge part of the color palette here I decided to see how light I could make that red, than key everything that value or lighter in the painting.


Working the shapes; thinking color, value and texture was a challenge but luckily this subject was pretty straight forward so I didn’t have to fight the drawing too.

I was happy with the result, sometimes it pays to try something different!


New Painting, Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon by Diane Eugster

This is the kind of scene I love to paint, relaxed, casual and fresh. The vintage feel of the old porch and Adirondack chair set the perfect mood.

I have a sort of scale the I rate the difficulty of a subject on, this painting was right up there on the chart.

List of challenging things

+2= Full body, requires accuracy.

+2 =A small head, requires accuracy and softness.

+1=A small head at an angle, things are not where you expect them to be.

+2= Wild foliage, needs to be greatly simplified.

+2= Layered subject, foliage in front of a chair, in front of a girl, in front of a house.

Block-in for Sunday Afternoon


This was almost a ten on my scale, which made it fairly complex, but that’s ok, as long as I realized what I was getting into, the frustration level was kept to a minimum by slowing down and really concentrating on what I was looking at.

I used my limited palette of White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium, Viridian and Cobalt Blue.


A Photo Shoot, Starting at the End

Harley, posing at the "train station"
Harley, posing at the “train station”

I have a bulletin board in my studio, that holds all kinds of relevant things, enty forms, shipping box size charts, but most importantly inspirational images.

My bulletin board



These images are the basis for the feeling I wanted in my new round of paintings. This is where I start, at the end. Now how am I going to get there?

Person; I hired one of my favorite models, Harley, to help me achieve my goal.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.49.00 PM
Clark County Heritage Museum

Place; This one was a little more difficult. Where within a 30 mile radius could I find a location with a 1920’s – 40’s look? Neighborhoods, interiors, museums…..yes….our Clark County Heritage Museum has a transplanted street of houses from that era.

John, helping me with location snapshots.
John, helping me with location snapshots.

Going out to the location before hand, seeing the actual layout as well as things like what direction the sun was coming from,  where the restrooms were, all very helpful information in formulating a plan.

Some of the old luggage a friend loaned me
Some of the old luggage a friend loaned me

Thing; the props. This is the fun part. The museum had a train station, so retro luggage was high on my list. I asked around and bingo….my friend Judy had some old luggage that she generously lent me.

Old gloves, my neighbor Carol had a great pair of cream colored short gloves.

Vintage style dresses, yes the Goodwill is my go to fashionista boutique. Found a variety of things that could work. For my esthetic, keeping the value in mid range and tones muted works best.

Farm related props , a bonus, the museum also had a relocated barn; metal pails, work gloves, the apron I made for the my painting in the previous post.

Now I was ready to make the plan. Using the snap shots from the previous visit I layed out a simple story board of each location and what props were needed.

Knowing the layout I was able to make the best use of time, keeping clothing changes to a minimum while getting maximum impact. This also helps to keep me on track. Otherwise it’s easy to lose focus, go in another direction, spending way to much time.

Having an assistant, my husband John, was a super help, to not only assist with carrying everything but working with my portable lighting when it was needed.

On the day of the shoot we experienced the expected, a beautiful day, and the unexpected, two school bus loads of kids, but it all went well and I was very happy with the photos I took.

Creating the Story

We have a Shaker style dresser that I have always liked for its simple austere styling. It seemed like a worthy subject for a painting, however something more needed to be added, something to tell a story.

It occurred to me an item of clothing, hanging on the dresser would complete the scene, so I went to my favorite source of inspiration, Pinterest. After poking around for awhile I decided some type of a pinafore apron would be just the thing to enhance the idea.

Where would I get such a thing? I’ll have to make it. After drawing some sketches, the type of fabric was the next decision. Some type of sack cloth or gauze or….linen…..I just happen to have some natural toned linen curtains (not in use), perfect.


Above is my work table with the repurposed curtains , soon to be a Shaker apron. This was really fun, cutting, gathering and making the garment something that I  pictured hanging on the dresser. And the painting began-

ShakerDemo1I liked the almost abstract feeling of the simple shapes and how the color blocks related to each other. The canvas was toned a warm color to set the palette for the warmth in this scene.

ShakerDemo2The story was starting to evolve at this point, texture being one of the key elements I really wanted to show case.

Creating The StoryThe palette I used for “Shaker Inspired” was Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow light, Cadmium Yellow medium, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Deep and Viridian Green.





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