Monday, March 31, 2008

Post Spring Break

"Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake"
oil on canvas, 5" x 7"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

"The Red Vase"
colored pencil, 7" x 12"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

It's been awhile since my last post. My only excuse is that I've had two spring breaks in a row. First week was my college-aged daughter's spring break. She's getting married in May, so we were busy with wedding "stuff". This past week was my two high-schooler's spring break. I did get some artwork done though, as evidenced by the two pictures above. I probably won't get too much painting done in the next month or so - I'm busy getting colored pencil work done for some upcoming shows.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring at Last!

"Spring Beauty"
oil on canvas, 8" x 8"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Spring seems to have finally arrived here in Arkansas. Daffodils are all over the place and bluebirds are anxiously inspecting our three birdhouses. Wednesday afternoon the temperature reached 80 degrees. It's hard to believe, but my kids actually missed two and a half days of school last week due to snow days. Arkansas weather! I grew up in Arkansas - I can remember as a kid hearing the old folks say "If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pitchers and Pears

"Pitchers and Pears"
colored pencil, 12" x 24"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Not much painting going on this last week because I was finishing up this larger colored pencil work. I really enjoyed drawing the colors and textures of the various pitchers. I have several shelves filled with ceramic items in my studio, but am filling the need for MORE... unfortunately, when I get that feeling, I usually end up spending hours and hours on ebay looking for more stuff...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Star Fruit

"Star Fruit"
Oil on gallery-wrapped canvas, 5" x 7"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Paint What You Love!

"Donut With Sprinkles II"
Oil on canvas, 6" x 6", $100
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

I've heard it said that you should paint what you love - I guess that's why I keep painting donuts! My model actually had more sprinkles than this, but at some point enough was enough.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Winter Sycamore

"Winter Sycamore"
Oil on canvas, 7" x 5", $50
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

There's a recreation complex close to my home that has a walking/jogging track all the way around it. About midway around it is a grove of sycamore trees. On the pretty winter days when I jog there (I only jog on pretty days in winter!), I'm always struck by the beauty of the white limbs against the clear blue sky.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


14" x 16 1/2", colored pencil
Copyright 2008, Sheila Cantrell

Here's the colored pencil drawing that I've posted "in progress" pictures of a couple of times. It's now completed and only waiting for a name. Usually I have a name - often before I ever put pencil to paper. This one has me stumped though - I'm pretty ambivalent about all of the obvious names for it (Mangoes in a Box, Boxed Mangoes, Mangoes and Box, etc.). I've thought about calling it "Side by Side" or even "Head to Toe" since the mangoes are turned in opposite directions. Any suggestions out there?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Apples in Oil

"Apples III"
Oil on canvas, 6" x 8", $100
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

It's kind of strange - I very rarely have apples in my colored pencil still lifes, having a decided preference for pears. And yet, I seem to keep painting them in oils. When I first started painting in oils, I had trouble with red - it seemed like the shade I wanted was always elluding me when I mixed the paints. So, I kept doing still lifes with red objects to force myself to get it figured out. I'm pleased with these apples because they came out "spot on".

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Donut

"Sweet Heart"
Oil on canvas, 5" x 7", $60
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ready for Spring

"Sunlit Tulips"
Oil on canvas, 6" x 6"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Details, Details...

"Last Glass"
Oil on canvas, 7" x 5", $150
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

I recently purchased several Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold II brushes in itty-bitty sizes. I decided to put them and myself to the test and see just how much detail I could get into a 5" x 7" painting. Above is the result - I did it all in one day (yesterday), but it took a major part of the day to accomplish. I'm please with it as well as my new brushes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Work in Progress, Continued...

I've been back working on this colored pencil drawing of two mangoes nestled in tissue paper in a cardboard box. As you can see, I've finished up the second mango and have started in on the tissue paper. I'll save the bottom edge of the box and the black background below it for last - mainly so I don't have to worry about smudging the black into the tissue paper areas along the bottom.

I've included a close-up photo of the top right-hand corner so you can see the wax bloom that has started in the black area. "Wax bloom" occurs when a lot of pigment is burnished into an area. After a few days to a week or two, some of the wax will migrate to the top, giving dark areas a cloudy look. I'm not worrying about it now. Once I'm finished with the drawing, I'll carefully polish the black areas with a soft clean cloth which will remove the top coating of wax. Then I'll spray the entire drawing with a fixative. The fixative spray will keep the wax bloom from reoccurring.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Oil on canvas, 5" x 7"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Monday, February 4, 2008

One and a Half

"One and a Half Apples"
Oil on canvas, 5" x 7"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Friday, February 1, 2008

Red Heart

"Red Heart"
oil on canvas, 6" x 6"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

And yet another donut - I'm still having fun painting these - I just don't know how many more my waistline can take.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Work in Progress

One of my intentions when I started this blog was to post work-in-progress photos of my larger colored pencil paintings. I've been remiss in doing that and what with the new year and all, have added that to my to-do list. So here is a photo of a work in progress. It's two mangoes lying side-by-side in tissue paper in a corrugated cardboard box. This one is larger-than-life (14" x 16 1/2"). Down on the bottom left-hand corner you can see how I'm building up the dark background - first with a layer of Tuscan red, followed by dark green, and then a final layer of black burnished on top. The tissue paper will be a light blue color to play off of the orangey-red of the mangoes. I want to get the dark, rich colors of the mangoes established before I render the tissue paper.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Sweet Heart

"Red Striped Heart"
6" x 6", oil on canvas
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

I went back to the bakery for more heart shaped donuts. This time they had red icing instead of pink. I had bought a set of these cool deco shaped plates last year at a flea market. The set was in assorted colors - blue, green, and yellow. The yellow's not working with this donut series, but I do like the iced donuts against both the blue and green plates.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Donut Hearts

"Donut Hearts"
Oil on canvas, 5" x 7"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Here's another painting of these delicious looking heart-shaped donuts. Who needs a box of chocolates for Valentines Day when you could just have donuts? (Don't forget the coffee!)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Donut Love

"Donut Love"
oil on canvas, 6" x 6"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Apparently Valentines Day is right around the corner... Wal-Mart's bakery had all of these delightful pink iced heart-shaped donuts for sale this morning. I couldn't resist putting one on a green plate for this still life.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Still Feeling Blue...

"Mangoes on Blue Cloth"
oil on canvas, 7" x 5", $100
Copyright 2008, Sheila Cantrell

I enjoyed painting the blue cloth in the last still life so much that I decided to use it again. Here it is with two mangoes. I really liked the composition on this one and how the colors turned out. It seemed more interesting to set it up with the light coming from the back-right side and having the shadows come forward.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Gold Nugget

"Gold Nugget Squash"
oil on canvas, 7" x 5"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Yesterday's painting - I picked up three of these Gold Nugget squashes a few weeks ago because the color and shape seemed interesting. Since they're winter squashes, they've been content to sit around on a studio shelf without spoiling and just cooling their heels until I got around to them. Seems like I've been on a complementary color kick here lately. The orange of the squash was elusive to capture, but I think that I got pretty close. It was a relief to move on to the cloth which I had fun painting. I went with a very dramatic black background. I really like how it makes the squash and cloth colors pop.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hide and Seek

"Mango Hide and Seek"
oil on canvas, 6" x 6"
Copyright 2008, Sheila Cantrell

Daily painting from Monday - I had a darker background on this originally, but the mangoes were a little too hidden, so I lighten up the foreground and background this morning and I like the effect much better. I meant to save the original photo of the painting with the darker background so you could see the difference, but alas I overwrote the file after I took the second photo... You'll just have to take my word for it that it's improved.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Blushing Apples

"Golden With a Blush"
colored pencil, 8" x 6 3/4"
Copyright Sheila Cantrell 2008

Here's a small colored pencil that I just finished up today. Did you know that golden delicious apples are really more yellow-green when the grocer first puts them in the produce aisle? As they ripen, they turn more and more yellow. That makes the color seem like a moving target when you let a couple of days go by between the start and end of the drawing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Pears

"Red Pears III"
Oil on canvas, 6" x 6"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Slices and Sticks

"Slices and Sticks"
Oil on canvas, 8" x 6"
Copyright 2008 Sheila Cantrell

I'm back to painting after a little break over the holidays. This is a not-so-subtle use of complementary colors - oranges slices and cinnamon sticks on a blue plate. By the way - what title sounds better? "Slices and Sticks" or "Sticks and Slices"? Either way sounds like an advertisement for some new kitchen gadget. This one really strained my nearly non-existent title creating skills. I'm entirely open to other title suggestions...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Flying Pig

"Flying Makes Me Happy"
colored pencil
8" x 8"
Copyright 2007 Sheila Cantrell

Here's a small colored pencil drawing that I finished a few days ago. I found this cute little pig manikin at an art supply store last month. I bought it for my daughter for Christmas because, not only is she an artist, but also a student at the University of Arkansas, home of the Arkansas Razorbacks (woooo-pigs-sooie). So how could I resist giving her her very own pig manikin? I borrowed him back right after Christmas to do this little still life. He looked so happy on his pedestal! I wanted to make it look like he was flying, so I put a blue sky with stenciled clouds in the background and added a couple of Monopoly hotels so he could feel like he was really high in the sky.