I like to paint a verity of subject matter, whatever inspires or challenges me at the time. Usually that means multiple paintings that share something in common and become part of a series. This blog is about my paintings and the inspiration behind them.
This blog post is a deviation from the rest of the website which is devoted to my oil paintings. I’m a graphic artist by profession. Fans have requested to see some of my graphic designs. This post is a convenient way to display a sampling of my graphic design work for all to see.
Click on the thumbnail image to see the full design.
This collection of paintings are artworks I’ve done through the years on Africa. I didn’t plan on doing so many about Africa, it just happened that way. Most of these works were commissioned by various customers.
After having done so many paintings about Africa and the research involved to make each one successful works of art, I find myself drawn to this continent. I have an adventurer’s heart deep down and simply love to explore the world.
This surreal looking artwork is not really an abstract at all. In fact, it is a realistic landscape painted from a reference photograph (colors and all) of the Camelthorn Trees located in the sand dunes of the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Africa.
This raging elephant was almost a commissioned painting. I was approached by a potential customer wanting me to do a painting of an African elephant for them. They had recently gone a safari in Africa and witnessed an elephant charging their vehicle. They sped away, however, they were so impressed by this massive animal that they sought me out. Their inquiry never turned into a commission, so I decided to do a painting anyway. It sold to another customer after it was completed.
This elephant was a commissioned painting. My customer contacted me after seeing the Raging African Elephant painting above on the internet. He wanted to buy it, but it had already sold several years back. So he commissioned this particular elephant painting plus two others on Africa.
The third work of art in the commission series on Africa is this painting of Victoria Falls. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this series of commissioned paintings. The commission came at just right time in my life. I was in a slump and having a hard time wanting to paint. This was just what I needed to get out of the slump and start painting again.
This work of art was a commissioned painting created from a photograph supplied by my client. I was contacted by my customer who had gone on a hiking expedition up Mt. Kilimanjaro some years back. They snapped this photo and wanted me to do a painting for them.
Below is a list of all my oil paintings on this website. If you don’t find the painting you are searching for here, then chances are it is not one of mine. Of course this list isn’t exhaustive. I’ve been painting since my preteens and that was before the Internet arrived on the scene and I built my website. Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of those early paintings either, only my memories. So there are some paintings by me out in the world that will only be enjoyed by those who possess them.
One of the most beautiful places in the world to capture a sunset in oil on canvas is Texas. Being a native Texan, of course I’m prejudice! The Lone Star State with its wide open prairies, cacti, ghost towns, old west culture and billowy clouds make a wonderful backdrop for some of the most breathtaking sunsets anywhere in the world. Artists, like me, who are fortunate enough to live here get to regularly enjoy countless opportunities to capture on canvas the setting sun in all its grandeur and splendor for our many sunset paintings. Those who don’t live here can delight in making trips to Texas to see the setting sun for themselves and take it back to their studios in the form of digital photos for many future paintings to come.
Texas cities can make a great sunset cityscape with the unique sky line each metropolis has to offer. Head to the Gulf of Mexico and artists can experience the sun going down on the beach or head out west for a more mountainous terrain and get a glimpse of the mountain peaks of Big Bend National Park as they silhouette them against an orange glowing sky.
Many artists love traveling here to capture the setting sun in all its splendor as it disappears below the horizon. Here are a couple reasons why:
A beautiful sunset helps the viewer to appreciate the finer gifts life has to offer. People are naturally drawn to a sunset and there are a few special places on earth where one can embrace a beautiful sunset. Texas just happens to be one of them.
A beautiful sunset helps to inspire you. There’s a reason sunsets are timeless and constant standbys of poets, writers, romantics, and artists — they are inspiring. There is something inherently powerful and spiritual about sunsets.
Some Quotes About Sunsets
“Peace… is seeing a sunset, and knowing Who to thank.” – Unknown
“The setting sun, and the music at the close, As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last, Writ in remembrance more than long things past.” – William Shakespeare
“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” – Mahatma Gandhi
A few years back my husband and I took a trip to San Antonio TX the day after Thanksgiving for a long weekend. While there we spent the evening strolling the streets around the Alamo when we came across an artist selling his space art on the sidewalk. The interesting part about this he was painting them right then and there as spectators watched. It was fascinating to watch him create faraway worlds, moons, cosmic formations and alien landscapes. I could have watched him for hours.
When we returned home from that long weekend, I decided to do some space paintings of my own. Space paintings isn’t a new genre of art for me. I actually painted my first outer space painting as a young teen for an arts and crafts show. My love of the iconic TV show Star Trek led me to paint the “Starship Enterprise” in orbit around some distant planet. The painting got a lot of attention at that small art show and later sold.
Decades would pass before I did another otherworldly painting and that space art painting was a commission. The painting consisted of a lunar landscape depicting Apollo 14’s mission to the moon and man’s first footprint left there. This sparked a renewed interest in creating more space landscapes to add to my repertoire of genre space art. I titled the commissioned painting “Man’s First Footprint on the Moon”. It now resides in the private art collection in Japan at an American military base. A few months later I was also commissioned to paint another cosmic painting. This time it was to be the land rover tracks left behind on the planet Mars.
Texas is known for its many beautiful sunsets in the evening sky. Growing up in Texas, I had opportunity of a lifetime of observing many beautiful skies filled with a wide array of shades of orange, yellow, purples and blues. Is it any wonder that I would choose to create sunset oil paintings as part of my repertoire of art? Sunsets are certainly a favorite genre of oil painting for me because of the many bright colors. I also appreciate the fact that the sky at sunset (or sunrise) can be incorporated into many different settings of landscapes, seascapes, and even skyscapes.
I love beautiful sunset oil paintings and I’m not alone. Here’s why:
Sunset paintings are a picturesque representation of the evening sky and sun in all its grandeur and splendor. Just the way God intended.
Artists worldwide love to paint sunsets because it gives them opportunities to include vibrant shades of yellow, orange, blue and purple, along with earth colors of dark browns and rich blacks which work together to create warmth and charm within the wall art.
The rays of light that bounce off and peek through the clouds create excitement and drama like no other. They catch the eye of the viewer drawing him/her in.
Sunsets are for romantics and many artists of oil paintings have captured the romance of a setting sun in some of the most exotic places in the world. Sunset paintings in these settings allow the viewer to be whisked away in their imaginations to some faraway places.
Sunset paintings look great in just about any room of your home, office, or place of business.
Sunsets have been a favorite genre of mine to paint throughout my life as an artist. Sunsets (and sunrises) are beautiful subjects for paintings with the rich, vibrant, warm colors like red, yellow and orange. They may be outlined with the beach, sea or mountains. And clouds are also an integral part with their multitudes of colors as the they capture the last rays of the setting sun. Each painting below is an original painted by me. Several of the ones shown are also part of other collections or series.
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas
This is a sunrise painting I was commissioned to paint. Sunrises are also a favorite of mine and this one particular is no exception. I love the way the warmth of the sun begins to peek from behind the building on the peer and shine down in the water and bath the side of the boat.
One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from a renown artist who, after having viewed several of my paintings, pointed out that I had my own art style. I was surprised to hear that, because without realizing it, through the years, I had actually developed my own unique style of painting. Up until that day I hadn’t given much thought to even having my own style much less trying to develop one. What’s more, I barely even knew what an art style was. I knew all the Old Masters had it, or so I was told, and that it was something good to have. So I set out to find out more about artistic style, what it is and where it comes from.
What exactly is art style?
Artistic style is a specific characteristic or group of characteristics that is consistently present in the artworks of an artist. It’s that extra little thing, referred to as “identifiable style,” that an artist does to distinguish his/her work from the work of other artists.
Many artists, whether they realize it or not, have an identifiable style of painting. Their personal style is neither good or bad. It is simply the result of the particular choices and decisions a painter makes in the course of composing their oil paintings. These decisions are what defines the identity of an artist’s style and is made up of a combination of the mediums, technique and subject matter chosen. It’s not that an artist chooses to paint landscapes, still life or portraits — those are only genres. Rather, it is HOW the artist handles each of the various art elements (line, form, texture, value, color and shape) that make up the composition. Click for more information about the basic art elements.
Should you develop an art style of your own?
If you ever hope to be taken seriously as an artist, then I would definitely say “YES,” for the following reasons:
(1) Developing your own original style will help to define you and set you apart from other artists. It’s your individuality and uniqueness as an artist.
(2) It’s what allows others who view your work and know that it is a work painted by you without having to look at the signature on the canvas.
(3) It offers you a way to have personal satisfaction from your works by expressing your own ideas and inner vision.
(4) If you plan to display your paintings in art galleries, then a distinct art style is something a gallery owner or curator will want to see in your work.
(5) Finally, developing your own style is a necessary thing if you want your paintings to capture the eye of art collectors. Many collectors hold to a certain opinion of, “if it looks just like the real thing, then I’ll just take a photograph and hang it on the wall.” For many art connoisseurs, an artist’s personal style is the essence of the art.
How do you develop your personal painting style?
Before I can tell you how to do that, I first need to tell you how to absolutely NOT develop one. You won’t develop your own style by copying the works of other artists. Let me repeat that. If you copy the works of another artist, you will never develop a unique art style of your own. The reason for this is when you copy someone’s work, you are merely imitating the choices and decisions that have already been made by the artist who’s work you are copying. Novice painters often do this. They copy the works of other artists they like and this is a disservice to the world of art. As long as they continue to do this, they will never develop their own form of unique artistic expression and move beyond being a mere hobbyist to a serious artist or even a professional one. Your style is developed by the decisions and choices YOU make about the different elements that go into your painting.
An artist’s unique style does not develop over night. It evolves over time as a result of either conscious or unconscious effort on the part of the artist and it will most likely change a number of times as the painter grows as an artist. The best way to develop a style is to do a lot of painting. In doing so, you can expect your style to progress as you acquire more experience, knowledge and skills. As you move from painting to painting, you will find that certain artistic characteristics or qualities will keep reoccurring. This is your unique style. One thing to keep in mind about style is that you do not have to stick with the same one all your life. You can change it at any time and you will be surprised to find that it can and often does evolve.
All my paintings are composed and painted on commercially pre-primed and stretched canvas. I prefer the type of canvas that wraps all the way around the stretcher bar support. This allows me to carry the painting around the edge of the canvas giving it a more finished look. This also means the painting will not require a frame for display unless one is desired.
Gesso Primed Stretched Canvas
Even though the canvas I use has been pre-primed by the manufacturer, it’s not sufficient. Additional layers of primer need to be applied to provide adequate support for the pigment. Before I can begin a painting, the canvas must be primed and prepared to receive the oil paint. I apply two layers of gesso on the stretched canvas and allow each layer to thoroughly dry between coats. Then the canvas is lightly sanded to smooth out any rough spots. It is during this stage that I try to prepare as many canvases as I have on hand. This provides me with a ready supply of primed canvas to have on hand anytime inspiration strikes and I want to start a new painting.
Click for more information on what to know about gesso. For step-by-step instructions on how to prime a canvas using gesso, check out this article on WikiHow: “How to Prime a Canvas“.
Sketching The Image
After the canvas has been properly prepared, it is now time to start sketching the image on to the canvas. Every painting starts out as a simple grid drawn on canvas. This grid serves as an aid in placement of the focal point and other elements where they will best compliment the overall composition. Using a pencil or stick of charcoal, I begin sketching the image that will eventually become the painting. I try to make the sketch as detailed as I can making sure to include the shadow areas too. BTW, I don’t usually make my grid lines this dark. It’s best to keep them light. I only made them dark for the purposes of this example. I will erase them before the layer of underpaint goes on.
The Underpainting An underpainting is the first layer of paint to go onto the canvas and serves as a base for the additional layers of paint that will follow as the painting is developed. It is an important layer and is made up mostly of medium (a mixture of mineral spirits and linseed oil) and pigment. I use this underpainting layer to get rid of the stark white canvas surface and to begin blocking in color which also helps to define the basic outline of the image. I keep this layer thin making sure not to cover up my sketch lines. That will happen later as I develop the painting. Once the underpainting layer has dried, I begin laying in oil paint layer upon layer until the painting is complete.
Painting In Layers
I paint in layers and allow each layer to dry before applying the next. This takes longer to finish a painting, but this technique allows me to achieve the affect I’m working toward on each of my paintings.
After the painting is completed and has had opportunity to dry for a minimum of six months, I will then apply at least two coats of artist grade clear varnish to protect the painting and make the colors pop.
The Finished Painting
The Large White Dog
Pet Painting by Teresa Bernard
16″ x 20″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas
Sneak Peeks I like to share my finished paintings on Facebook as sneak peak for all my followers before adding it to this website. Click the LIKE button to the left to receive these sneak peeks in your newsfeed or click here to visit my Facebook page.