"Swimming in Paint"

This is about the most fascinating career choice I ever made, that of an Oil Painter

Saturday, January 21, 2017


This year each month the first (3) Sundays is designated as single sessions and make-up dates. Last Sunday, our first of the year, was a mixed bag of old friends getting together and a few putting their toes into the sandbox for the first time with us.

The team, like last year, jumped right in. I was struck by the diversity shown below. So we had a good day. I also noticed some cleaner palettes, working off single piles of paint and a bit less paint on them and me and more on the canvas where it belongs!  "Progress" the coach loves to see!








I'm headed on over to Crossroads now to open the doors at 9:30 for the Saturday team......can't wait to see their smiley faces this morning because I'm in the mood to paint!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Getting back in the groove

WOW! Last week was hectic, getting back into the painting groove after a long holiday always is. Like the first day at school, exciting but not sure what to expect and a million questions. After the first day I was always glad when the last bell rang..... unless we were doing art projects, then there was no limit on my time. Swimming-in-Paint is a bit like that. If you're not at a stopping point no one wants to pack-up and leave...not even me:=)

This year Swimming-in-Paint is a bit different from last. Our class will cover a full month. We have three Saturdays set aside for quick studies - basically working on a single theme chosen at the outset. The last weekend of the month, Saturday and Sunday, is left to a more serious work based on our previous three Saturdays. The process will be repeated each month throughout the year.

(The first three weeks)
Our first class gave me some visual material to assemble a mission board for the team going forward. 



The hunt has many elements attached to it besides horses and riders in red riding coats. The hounds, the fox, the landscape setting, trees, sky and weather conditions.......hummmm. Well, no question when it's laid out like this, there's a lot of moving parts to a grand painting theme. Because of that, each element depends on the next, any weakness distracts from the whole and why paintings can fail.

Ideally a representational artist needs to paint anything well so it makes sense to organize and work one step at a time........toward an end goal.

Can't wait to see how this plays out in our last weekend!!

The team, this year is using Jerry's cost effective Centurion oil linen painting pads for our first 3-week exercise. The pads are effective, easy to store flat and if worthy of a frame can be stretched. Blue tape keeps it contained and gives us a preview of what it might look like in a frame. My favorite part, ripping the tape off! 

"Every painting presents problems, how fast we solve them will have an everlasting effect on our result. Keep it simple, work on your weakness! "  

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Due to snow and ice Sunday class at Crossroads is canceled. Call Crossroads Monday to reschedule 804-278-8950

Keep safe and warm!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

First post of a new year!! Hughes Wall Easel

A Happy and Successful New Year to all!! 

I took some time off from painting and blogging....to clean out the attic, only to fill it up with "new stuff". I wanted to start the new year with a clean slate that required a major home decluttering and revamping.....mission accomplished! Now my studio is so wonderful and nice, I hate to mess it up, but will soon enough:=)

I'm often asked about my studio. Construction of the easel, floor recess and skylights were done a few years ago. I just now got around to making it presentable. Check it out below!






My wall mount easel setup with pit and open ceiling will easily accommodate a 8'x10' canvas - completely finger tip adjustable to eye level while standing or sitting - custom made by Hughes Easels.

I can say with more than (2) years of use and hundreds of paintings my Hughes easel is undoubtedly the best thought-out piece of equipment on the market. Counter balanced for ease of movement regardless of the weight......large heavy frames, a piece of cake. As big as this wall mount easel is, it takes very little room, is simple to adjust.....which makes it a no brainer.


This Saturday will start the second year for Swimming-in-Paint and I'm very excited to get back to it. I'll be a little rusty at first and we may have a little snow to deal with but I'll be there at 9:30am to let the troops in. 

I wonder what this generaton will be called?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Swimming-in-Paint "Sunday painters"

 Swimming-in-Paint 2017 info quick link top right sidebar 

If you missed or were not able to do the January (5 session) workshop there is an opportunity to become a "Sunday Painter". We'll offer a special overflow class, (3) Sundays each month for those not able to do the main event workshop.  It will be a wonderful way to spend the day exploring representational painting with like minded painter friends or just try your hand with oil painting. Everyone starts somewhere.
  • It will always require a minium of (8) members to make it happen. 
  • Open dates are January 8th,15th and 22nd
  • 10:00am to 2:30pm 
  • Lunch 12:15 to 12:45 - brown bag
  • $40.00 per session contact Crossroads to sign-up (804-278-8950)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Painting Fast and Furious

 Swimming-in-Paint 2017 info quick link top right sidebar 

Over the last many weeks, during "Swimming-in-Paint", I worked from a Centurion Oil primed painting pad.

The change from my norm was basically to share ideas quicker with the team. Using a clean glass palette with a small razor blade tool I'm able to show techniques like  "shovel up paint" onto my painting surface more quickly. Keeping my brush clean with a palette knife - collecting paint into a "single working mud pile" continually adjusting it with other colours....not wasting paint or medium or losing a beat to an end goal........a sign off!

Working "fast and furious" is refreshingly liberating and produces expression in the moment.......perhaps the best and most truthful expression of all.

I thought it might be fun to share some fast paced 12x12's with you...... perhaps they will encourage this simple practice of doing quick renderings to elevate paint quality, perfect stronger compositions, painting shapes as opposed to objects and exploring lost and found edges with lots of paint so the composition emerges naturally. Regardless how or what you paint it always deserves a proper painting surface for the intent.

a great oil painting surface
 + cool tools
 + a reference or not
+ some oil colour
 + some time

A few might even end up on a wall because these real linen canvas oil painting pads can also be quickly stretched and popped into a frame.

A small touch of colour and a scale change effectively allow the eye to rest and then lead on.

Friday, December 2, 2016


My painting method is direct

based on molding shapes, depicting light and shadow. Broad base at the beginning and continually refined (not over worked) until the desired effect is achieved or until the energy dissipates.....always the time to stop or sign off! 

chuck larivey

SWIMMING-IN-PAINT 2017 will be different than last. The team will sign-up a month at a time as opposed to the open single sessions we did in 2016. Each month will have (5) full sessions, (3)  Saturday sessions will be devoted to painting small practice works concluding with a great (2) day large format Saturday & Sunday session.

Choose your own subject, focus on it for the month.....learn and study it, with plenty of small quickly related small practice studies that revolve around your chosen subject. The idea is to get comfortable painting shapes, gestures and the colour, light and shadow rhythms that best represent your subject and painting intent.

During the week, binge on it, go online, look and study other examples that might be useful in your own work. Come in Saturday with a painting plan of what you expect to accomplish.....block the time and execute your plan.


  • At sign-up indicate your "subject preference" for the month - related references will be available or combine them with your own to form personal painting ideas.
  • Choose a single standard small works study size for the month (8x10, 12x12 or 11x14) Recommended Supplier: Jerry's, Centurion Oil Primed smooth linen, pads, panels or stretched canvas. Note: Linen pads can be mounted or stretch if worthy of wall space and the most economical surface to use for this type of work.

The last Saturday and Sunday session will apply everything learned from our small works to create a wonderful final work on a large format stretched linen canvas. (size determined by team member)

This process will be repeated each month throughout 2017  (Excluding December)

 Team limited to 10
fee $200
(Printed material list available at sign-up)

Contact Crossroads Art Center to reserve your space



January 7, 14 ,21 , 28, 29(Sunday)
February 4, 11, 18, 25, 26(Sunday)
March 4, 11(Classroom 2), 18 , 25, 26(Sunday)



5X7 References will be available or bring your own

  • Brown bag or order lunch from Gretchen's before class. The lunch table is a wonderful time to chat and study our progress.
  • JERRY'S - Centurion double primed oil linen canvas pads for quick learning studies (20x16 shown)


  • Royal soft grip brushes (SG4500 Series) available at $3.00 each.
#10, # 8, #6 & #4 Royal soft grip SG4520 Filbert (rounded flat)
#12, #8 & #4 Royal soft grip SG4510 Bright (flat)
  • Glass palette - old picture frame glass works with a white sheet of paper and a cardboard backing or foam core with blue taped edges to hold it all together.
  • Flexible palette knives similar to the those shown
  • Small light weight paint scraper - available from hardware & paint stores
(16x20 shown)

  • Paper towels (3 or 4 sheets folded into quarters or halves)
  • Clean cotton rags - (cut up old cotton Tee shirts and white socks work well)
  • Odorless mineral spirits - at least 8 oz.

Basic palette
  • Neo Megilp oil painting medium (Gamblin)
  • Titanium White - fast drying Griffin alkyd (Winsor & Newton)
  • Naples yellow
  • Lemon yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow medium
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Red
  • Permanent green light
  • Sap green
  • Chromium Oxide or green oxide
  •  Cerulean Blue
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Dioxazine Purple
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Permanent Rose

Specialty colours I always share.
  • Alizarin Orange (Williamsburg)
  • Sevres Blue (Williamsburg)
  • Ultramarine Blue French (Williamsburg) 
  • Provence Violet Bluish (Williamsburg)
  • Persian Rose (Williamsburg)
  • Cadmium Vermilion (Williamsburg)
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon (Michael Harding)
  • Unbleached Titanium Pale (Williamsburg)

NOTE: Bring all your colours - I share all my colours - if a special colour works for you then buy it.

I don't normally use earth colours or black but I have them just in case.

Water based oils seems to work with regular oil paints and medium (Neo Megilp)