Red Flower Crown

Part of a series of paintings for the International House in March 2020

Red Flower Crown 2019
Red Flower Crown, 10 x 10 x 3/4 inches oil on canvas by Marlene Lee

The process….

Deciding on the background was a bit challenging but I went with the warm darker blue background.


Done at Patris’ Studio. 3-hour pose by this young woman, a teenager. But as always I tend to make young people look much older. Limited palette, Zorn – ivory black, cadmium red, yellow ochre and titanium white.

Work in progress paintings are featured on my Facebook fan page, MarleneLeeArt.

Abby @ Patris 121415
Abby, oil on linen panel, 10 x 8 inches

Oil on “Mylar”

An artist friend gave me a sheet of “mylar” to try. There’s another name for it – duomar or something like that. He had toned it with burnt sienna, otherwise it was usually clear. It’s slick to work with so I had to make sure one brushstroke at a time. Interesting effect. Maybe I’ll work more with it.

Sri, oil on “mylar”, 10 x 12 inches


This is Dozer. My sister had flown from out of state and handed me this photo of my nephew’s new dog to paint.



Before I painted, I wrote about the photo of the dog, what I saw in the photo; what was appealing – the dog’s expression, his sad look, his expressive eyes, his huge head compared to his small body.

Then I painted. I was surprised how easy it came. I think I had captured him.

8 x 10 inches, oil
8 x 10 inches, oil

There was a Youtube interview by How to Sell Art Online that I watched which inspired me to write. The interview was with Lisa Call. She teaches art workshop where the participants are encouraged to write and write and write.

So I followed this lead. I don’t write usually but I found that writing does bring out thoughts and “concrete” them on paper. Though this is my first I planned to put writing a part of the process of painting.

Young Man with Bushy Beard

One of my students had told me of a website that had great photo references for faces – Portraits for Drawing. It’s from there that I painted this portrait.

young man with bushy beard May2015 oil 6x4

I felt pretty good about this painting. I was careful with my brushstrokes that is not to blend too early but simply paint tiles of colors.

Size is 8 x 6 inches.

I’ve been watching a lot of videos by Zimou Tan. Most of his demos of alla prima portraits are small and are finished within 3 hours. So I follow suit. Instead of working 9 x 12’s which usually takes much longer to complete, I’ll just work in a 6 x 8 format.

6 Hour Pose

In class today we start the 6 hour pose. If I hadn’t mentioned it in my previous post, I’m taking an alla prima class taught by Paulo Ruvalcaba at the School of Light and Color.

The model posed for 25 minutes and then took a break. After each pose I took a photo of my WIP. Since it was a 6 hour pose, I worked slowly and more deliberately. And worked on a larger canvas panel, 11 x 14, instead of my normal 9 x 12.

The first 25 minute was spend measuring twice before “cutting”. I found myself readjusting the features a few times.
6 hour pose 1

Once the block in was established for the shadows, I came in with shadow color and light color for the skin. The hair was done with a separate color pile with more of a greenish tone.
6 hour pose 2

Here I developed lighter tones to the skin and hair. The lower lip is more rosy. Paulo pointed out that at this stage I need to break down the big shapes to smaller shapes.
6 hour pose 3

From this point I continued to develop the values in the light area and darkened the shadows. I paid attention to the 3 areas of colors in the face…top third is much lighter and yellow, the mid third tends to be more reddish due to the cheeks and the lower third is more gray.
6 hour pose 4

I was able to develop the lower third to have more of a greenish/gray tone in the shadows of the cheeks. Since there was a few minutes, Paulo suggested soften some of the edges.
6 hour pose 5

to be continued next week….