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April Bouquet Miniature Floral Painting

Spring has officially sprung and i hope that my newest Monthly Miniature floral painting reflects that. You may have noticed that my first four paintings in this series all have a slightly different feel (see them all on the Monthly Miniature page). Part of the change is the increase in plants and insects awakening to populate each months painting, and for April, I wanted to pack the painting full of new lush blooms. I have included seven types of plants (some in different colors), three insects and the nest of a Dark-Eyed Junco that my husband found in our yard. You can find a complete list at the end of this post.

In addition to changing the subjects in my paintings, I’m also changing how they are composed. For each of my twelve miniatures this year, I’m studying a different master of still life paintings from Northern Europe (1600-1800). I’ve long admired paintings from this era and this series is giving me the opportunity to luxuriate in the detailed little worlds created by so many different artists. See the inspiration behind all of the “In Season” miniatures in previous posts.

Abundance of blooms: Gerard Van Spaendonck

Flower still Life, oil on canvas, 22.5″ x 16″

Gerard Van Spaendonck (1746 – 1822) was an influential Dutch painter, who settled in Paris early in his career. He is known for his fabulously dense oil paintings filled with a wide assortment of flowers and a variety of other living creatures. Gerard was a master at creating an explosion of color and texture.

I’m generally drawn to simple compositions, but I wanted to go in a different direction with this painting and he was the perfect muse. I’ve been excited to change the subjects of each Miniature and highlight what is currently in season. It’s been an interesting challenge to also think of creating a mood that is reflecting the sparsity or abundance of things available as well. I have each month sketched out for the rest of the year already!

I carefully choose each of my blooms, but heavily referenced his composition from the painting, “Flower Still Life”. My plants came from a variety of places; some I found online, others were purchased, and some I picked from my garden which is starting to explode! The Seattle Growers Market is a great resource, with public hours on Fridays, 10 am – noon. I took photos and mixed everything together on the computer for the composition (Pixelmator for Mac). I posed as much as I could in a Frankenstein taped up heap to reference from life but used my digital mock up as a primary reference for plants. The birds nest with egg and caterpillar were painted solely from life (my three year old son got caterpillars for his birthday!)

What’s in my painting?

Birds and Insects:

Bumblebee
Housefly
Painted Lady Caterpillar
Dark-Eyed Oregon Junco nest and egg

Plants:

Anemones – white and yellow
Euphoria
Grape Hyacinths
Kale

Ranunculus – red, white and pink
Salal (leaves)
Tulips – rainbow parrot, flaming white parrot,  Absalom, mint green parrots

 

March In the Artist’s Studio: Commissioned Paintings and Custom Frames

pet portrait painting of cat in progress by Rebecca Luncan

Shiro in progress
5″ x 5″
oil on aluminum

 

Child Portrait painting in progress by Rebecca Luncan

Robbie in progress
oil on aluminum
17″ x 15″

Painting in a traditional style, takes many layers of paint and lots of time.

Visiting an artist’s studio, you will see multiple painting in the various stages of completion. By first doing a thin coat of paint and mixing more oil medium with my paints for each successive layer (known as working lean to fat), my paintings will last for many hundreds of years without cracking or buckling. Not all artists care about the longevity of their paintings, but for me, I care out of respect for what I’m doing and for the work countless others have done throughout the long history of painting to figure out best practices. It also creates a rich depth that you can’t get with just one layer of paint!

Please take a look at my pet and human portrait galleries and visit my Commissions page to learn more about my commission process!

 

Octagonal picture frame

Octagonal picture frame in progress

Artist Rebecca Luncan cutting a liner for a custom frame on a scroll saw

Cutting a liner for a custom frame

 

An artist’s studio isn’t only for painting!

I often hire local framers (my favorite in Seattle is Gallery Frames) but sometimes I like to make and finish them myself. This frame, pictured in multiple parts above, will be for an oval family portrait I made several months ago. It took some brainstorming to figure out the perfect frame I’m really excited for it to be completed!

I hope you’ll check back soon to see how these pieces progress!

Visit Rebecca in the Studio!

Seattle independent filmmaker Aaron Bourget has edited a video from a recent visit to the painting studio.

It’s difficult to be in front of a camera (especially when 6 months pregnant!) and Aaron really helped make me feel more comfortable. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into what’s hanging in the studio, and what I’m working on!

Thank you Aaron!

September Miniature Painting, Life with Rabbits in the Studio

Studio Rabbits, oil painting by Rebecca Luncan

Studio Rabbits – September 2015, oil on aluminum, 5.25″ x 3.75″

A glimpse into the artist’s studio, halfway through the “Monthly Miniature – Rabbits” series

I live on a quarter acre just north of Seattle and this is where you’ll find my studio, in a converted garage at my house. I love having company in the studio while I paint, and some of that company is very furry. My dog Mona curls up neatly behind me and keeps me warm (it can get chilly in Seattle), and rabbits Charlie and Ellie lie on the rug at my feet. It’s a good thing I wear grubby painting clothes anyway, because the rabbits nip at my pant legs to remind me when it’s dinner time. There are plants and birds to see out windows on two sides. Today there are stellar jays feeding on sunflowers.

Though they have the run of the house, the rabbits spend most of their time in the studio. When not under my desk, Ellie naps in her favorite blue chair. Charlie likes to flop on his side on a rug near the wall. And they both like to sit in the windowsill looking out. I love when I’m picking strawberries in the front yard, and I hear people walking by exclaiming, “Oh my gosh, there’s a rabbit in the window!” Sometimes I open the back door and let them roam the yard, but Ellie has become a cunning escape artist, so they’re on house arrest until the yard is better secured. It would also help if the neighbor behind us could resist tempting them with carrot treats.

At 17′ x 24′ it’s a big space for someone working so small, but it’s very full of framing supplies and tools, painting and drawing supplies, lots of art books, and printers. The walls are lined with finished paintings and works in progress. I usually have around six paintings at various stages of completion, in addition to handpicked frames and prepared metal surfaces for at least 20 more. In this month’s “Studio Rabbits” painting, you can see three paintings from my “Open, Closed, Away” series hanging in the background.

I finally convinced my soon-to-be husband (and editor, web developer and photographer) to move his office from a spare room to a corner of the space in here. It’s a big room, and he doesn’t seem to mind having a giant mat/glass cutter mounted to the wall in his area. So far it has been working great, but I hope we’ll be able to keep it warm enough in the winter. My little space heater can only do so much! But we’ll figure that out when the time comes. The bottom of his pants are as yet mostly intact. (There’s a cozy rug under my desk, and I give them more treats.)

 

Bride of Frankenstein Painting Begins!

Bride_of_Frankenstien_Bunny_oil_painting_underpainting

I’ve been commissioned to do a portrait of The Bride of Frankenstein from the 1935 film starring Elsa Lanchester. The commission was influenced by a current body of work that I call Mismatched Portraits, and my fabulous patron, Jennifer, who is also an artist, invited me to compose it any way I liked.  This is an image showing the very first stages of the underpainting.

I’ve also included some of the first paintings completed in this series below.

Contemporary Portrait Painting of John Wayne, OIl on aluminum panel, by Rebecca Luncan

Mismatched Portrait (John), oil on aluminum, 3 x 5, 2014

Contemporary Portrait Painting of Louise Brooks, OIl on aluminum panel, by Rebecca Luncan

Mismatched Portrait (Louise), oil on aluminum, 3 x 5, 2015