Category Archives: Paintings

Looking to the Past

Looking to the Past by Mary Ellis LaGarde

I fininshed my first painting in the new studio in Naples.  It is entitled “Looking to the Past”.  It is a portrait of a young Native-American girl who was participating in a pow-wow ceremony in Houston.  I was struck by her appearance.  She was facing West and squinting into the sunset while all her tribal elders were looking East towards the arena where the ceremony was taking place.  In a sense, painting her in the classical style is my own form of looking to the past.  It would be easy and quick for me to paint an abstract version of the scene but I could only do her justice by painting her in the detailed and time-consuming classical Venetian method.

Native Princess Part 2

I  sprayed a matte retouching fixative on my charcoal drawing yesterday to hold the charcoal on the canvas.  Then I painted over it a touch of a light transparent wash mixed with Van Dyke Brown oil paint diluted with Gamsol.  The idea is to create a tea stain over the sprayed charcoal to hold my drawing in place.  Otherwise, the charcoal will easily smear and create a muddy mess.  
 
Today I added a layer of blue oils mixed with a hint of cobalt violet to the canvas.  The object is to begin a background for the sky on the underpainting. If this dries well tomorrow,  my next step will be to begin adding the grisaille.  
 
 
I’m always a bit afraid to start the grisaille on my paintings because I feel very strongly that I must be totally committed to the underdrawing before I move forward.  I believe that the design and drawing stages are easily the most important steps in any oil painting. The drawing acts as a scaffold-like structure. With a good drawing in place, the artist can be free to express light, shadow, character  and mood. A drawing can therefore make or break your painting.

Native Princess

Here’s what’s sitting on my easel today.  This ” Native Princess” is a charcoal sketch on stretched canvas.  The subject is a young native American woman Richard and I saw at a Pow Wow in Houston.  Now that I completed the under sketch, I will work on the grisaille (a grey scale underpainting). The good news is that we had minimal damage from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey so Richard was able to focus on fixing my Sorg easel that was broken in our move from Colorado to Naples, Florida.  It feels good to be back at the easel.  I can’t wait to begin painting this young lady.

Aspens Spring I

Aspens Spring I by Mary Ellis LaGarde 36" X 60" Oil on Canvas
Aspens Spring I
by Mary Ellis LaGarde
36″ X 60″
Oil on Canvas

Mary LaGarde finished her latest painting.  The painting, Aspens Spring I, is oil on canvas and is 36″ X 60″.  Mary is a portrait painter by background.  She decided recently to use the Venetian method of portrait painting to create portraits of aspen trees.  She believes that the subjects of her paintings have almost human characteristics which she attempts to capture in her paintings. Mary has the amazing ability to paint with both her right and left hands and it is not unusual to see her painting with the canvas upside down.

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Aspens Winter I

Aspens Winter I by Mary Ellis LaGarde
Aspens Winter I by Mary Ellis LaGarde oil on canvas 36 x 60″

 The subject of Mary’s painting is an old aspen tree she found while hiking near Mount Evans in Colorado.  As usual, she used the Venetian painting technique which is very time-consuming.  She started with a charcoal under-drawing.  The under-drawing was then covered with an under-painting or grisaille.  After that, she spent months adding layer-after -layer of pigments and glazes working from the dark pigments to the lights.  The painting is oil on canvas and is 36″ x 60″.

Aspens Winter I by Mary Ellis LaGarde
Aspens Winter I by Mary Ellis LaGarde

Aspens Winter III

Mary LaGarde Winter Aspens II Oil on Canvas 18" x 24"
Aspens Winter III
Oil on Canvas
18″ x 24″

Mary found this grove of Aspen trees near Echo Lake in Colorado.  She used the Venetian painting technique consisting of a charcoal under drawing, a grisaille, and layer upon layer of pigment to create an almost three dimensional look.  The process is very time consuming with this painting having taken several months to complete.

Study of Picasso’s “Guitar and Violin”

Study of Picasso's Guitar and Violin by Mary Ellis LaGarde
Study of Picasso’s Guitar and Violin by Mary Ellis LaGarde
36″ x 48″ Oil on Canvas

Mary painted this oil on canvas contemporary piece one weekend in 2004 as a gift to her husband.  She studied Picasso’s Guitar & Violin painting for inspiration but incorporated her own ideas into the piece. Continue reading Study of Picasso’s “Guitar and Violin”

Study of Monet’s “Bouquet of Mallows”

Study of Monet's "Bouquet of Mallows" by Mary Ellis LaGarde
Study of Monet’s “Bouquet of Mallows”
Oil on Canvas
18″ x 24″

Mary visited Monet’s house, gardens, and studio in Giverny, France several years ago.  She decided to study the techniques used in one of the most famous French Impressionist paintings by Monet.
Continue reading Study of Monet’s “Bouquet of Mallows”