May 29, 2013


8 x 8" original oil

May's wee eBay painting is Mu. I knew when I chose to use the Greek alphabet to name each of my 2013 eBay paintings it would be funny when I got to Mu. Next comes Nu. ha ha. Not every eBay painting gets a name as cool as Delta or Alpha. I can't wait for Omega. 

This painting is bright, cheery, PINK, and ready for someone's wall who needs a pick-me-up. My originals start at $250 so these little eBay auctions are a great deal with the opening bid at $100 and you are missing out if you let this one slip by!

Happy Spring. It's time for watermelon, flip flops, the smell of cut grass, and the twittering of birds. This painting reminds me of all those happy things.

a detail of the juicy color and brush strokes

Note that this painting is on 3/16" masonite and very easy to pop into a custom frame or table-top easel

May 28, 2013


6 x 6" original oil
This beautiful doggie is Mazie. A couple was shopping at Deseret Book in Orem and saw some of my tulip paintings in the original art gallery. They fell in love with my painting style and when they found out I also painted dogs, they contacted me and commissioned me to paint Mazie as a surprise for Father's Day. The wife's father has a love for animals, especially dogs, and Mazie is his baby. I am so excited for him to unwrap his Father's Day present and see his little portrait of Mazie! I just love painting dog portraits, so contact me if you're interested in one, too. 
I love Mazie's coloring. The black, white and siennas are so pretty together and provide such a high contrast. Her face looks a lot like my lab's face, and I love the short hair. She is just beautiful. 
The hardest part of this painting was her eyes. They are looking right at the viewer and there are so many little colors and reflections in them, and the fur around the eyes has so many changes. I dabbled in this area for a good hour to get it right. The thing about eyes is that you can't get just one right, you have to repeat and get two right, and get them looking in exactly the same direction. I love her little muzzle too, with the whiskers and black nose. In the reference photo she is sitting and leaning against a couch. My dog does that too and it's so funny how they'll lean to one side like a person. My favorite thing about Mazie's pose is that she is leaning to one side, so her shoulders are asymmetrical, balancing the tilt in her head and pronounced ears. 
Happy Father's Day to Mazie's dad!! It was my pleasure to do this little portrait of your baby. ;) 
a detail of Mazie's face showing all of those little brush strokes in an area only a few inches by a few inches

May 27, 2013

Ben and Leroy

 6 x 6" original oil
commission: 3 of 4

a detail of that shaggy goodness

6 x 6" original oil
commission: 4 of 4

Ben is the shaggy dog, and Leroy is the black dog. These two paintings finish up the commission of four I've been working on. Penelope and Charley were the first two. These four paintings are headed to Texas where the pets all live and play and live a good life.

Ben's painting was intimidating - I won't lie. When I saw that shaggy fur I didn't know where to start. Since I paint alla prima, or all at once wet on wet, I knew I'd have to figure out how to make him look shaggy without just making a mess of wet paint. It turns out if you paint the undercolor first, then paint the shag in thin brushstrokes over the top while it's all still wet, it makes a dog. 

Leroy's painting was even harder since the reference I used from the client was an image of him standing in grass under a shade tree. He's a black dog, so pretty much there were no details available. I had to invent paws and push the contrast on the reference photo so that some of his highlights would show up at all. The other hard thing was getting the reference photo to work in a square composition. I had to cut off his back end to get it to feel balanced. I could have shrunk him down completely so that all of  him would fit in a square, but too much negative space would have dominated and his painting wouldn't have fit with the other three that have minimal negative space in comparison. I pushed the blues and violets on his fur highlights to add something different so it wouldn't be just all black. Thankfully he has a red collar which was a nice peekaboo of color.

A big thank you to Gallery MAR in Park City for arranging these commissions! I love painting pet portraits, so if you'd like one, contact any of my galleries or me and we'll get it going!

May 22, 2013


6 x 6" original oil
commission: 2 of 4

Charley the dog. He's a cutie. He's in a group of four paintings headed to Texas. Penelope was the first painting. Charley is the second, and I've got Ben and Leroy coming up. So fun. I imagine them all running around on a little farm having fun together.

Click here to see more of my animal paintings, and I love commissions! Thanks Gallery MAR for coordinating these four.

May 20, 2013


6 x 6" original oil
commission: 1 of 4

Penelope the's like a character from a children's story book. How cute is she? She is a different breed than I've ever seen, because her body looks more goat-like. 

Gallery MAR, my Park City gallery, does a great job of finding me commissions. Penelope lives in Texas, and her owners were recently in Gallery MAR where they saw my dog paintings and fell in love. They commissioned a painting of their Penelope as well as their three dogs named Leroy, Ben and Charley, which I'll start work on tomorrow.

To see my dog paintings that Penelope's owners fell in love with at the gallery, click here. I love pet commissions!

May 15, 2013


10 x 10" original oil

The word 'sherbet' makes me snicker. It sounds like 'ribbit' and that is another word that makes me snicker. Some words just sound funny, ok? HOWEVER - there is a wonderful, beautiful thing about actual sherbet that comes alive when the weather gets hot, and that is seeing a pile of it in a cold bowl with a gleaming silver spoon. Raspberry and orange sherbet are excellent together, and such a bright color. This painting has yummy, bright color, and I like to think that if I was to eat this painting, it would taste like raspberry and orange sherbet. Thanks to my friends for helping me see this and coming up with the title. 

The hardest part of this painting was just focusing. I have my irons in so many fires right now. I am grateful to be very busy with paintings, commissions, and shows. I like my busy times to be balanced with 'nothing times' - days when I do nothing but maybe read a book and make a nice dinner. Everybody needs a 'nothing day' to remind us how nice it is to have work at the same time it is to have relaxation. 

I remember where I was last spring when I shot the photograph for this painting. These tulips were growing in a large bed near the Water Tower Plaza parking lot at Thanksgiving Point. The sun was setting and I popped by to see if I could find any paintings in the season's remaining tulips. I got this great photo but the next few days were so hot - the next time I saw all of these tulips they were all spent and wilting. I love it when I'm able to catch them while they're beautiful and make them last, and I love selling them to collectors who appreciate the same thing!

The best part about doing this painting was the variety of reds! I used quinacridone red, translucent magenta, cadmium red, napthol red, quinacridone violet, another purple that's new that I don't recall the name, and cadmium orange to name a few. Color is so dynamite in backlit tulips, especially these deep-hued ones! I love it. Mmm. I'm telling you, I just want to eat this painting. Time to put sherbet on the grocery list!

Editor's Note June 2013: I sold this painting this morning, and it makes me so happy to meet new art collectors and send my work home with them as they begin or add to their own collection of Cristall Harper originals. Many thanks, and come back again!

May 13, 2013


6 x 6" original oil

If there is any one thing in this world that my lab loves more than life, it's cheese. She can be asleep in the Lovesac upstairs in our house, and downstairs in the kitchen I'll open the cheese drawer and I will hear a flurry of paws pounding down the stairs, and by the time I close the fridge door, there she is on the other side, staring at me with that look on her face like, "Hey, I totally know that's cheese in your hand. I am starving. I haven't eaten in like 56 days. I need a few slices of that cheese."

I was bribing my sister's dog with string cheese one afternoon, trying to get it to look at the camera while I photographed her. Buttercup was "off camera" but very much aware of the fact that I had cheese in my possession. I laughed out loud when I saw how still she was trying to hold, how attentive she was, staring that cheese down. I snapped this pic just at the right moment when she went to lick her chops. Yes, she did get a small piece in the end. She is a good dog, after all. 

I painted this piece live at Gallery MAR last week at their Friends of Animals Fundraising event. I met some fellow dog and pet lovers, and it was a great experience to be in the gallery and in front of the patrons. The gallery sold one of my dog pieces as soon as they took it out of the box to hang it up. Thanks Gallery MAR! 

"Atta Girl" 6x6" original oil with it's brand new owner and me at Gallery MAR

May 4, 2013

Raspberries and Cream

 17 x 19" original oil

Thanks DC and NH for the title idea - it's perfect.

Spring has been madness. Snow, wind, sun, squat down/stoop/kneel and photograph tulips for 5 hours, paint, paint, photograph for hours again, back aches, knee aches, paint, repeat. I have a two hour massage coming up and I may never get off the massage table. Nope, sorry. I'm too relaxed to move and drive myself home. I'll take another two hours, please. This, however, is what I live for. I love preparing for big shows and painting a new series of work. I am so excited to share my latest pieces with you. Click here for details about my upcoming shows.

My raspberry bushes are leafing out and looking for the sun. It's almost time for the buzzing of honeybees to come from that area of my yard, followed by the excitement of handfuls and handfuls of fresh, sunny raspberries. Mmm. Summer in my mouth. 


Don't forget to place your bid on my little April eBay painting, Lamda. It's for sale until May 7th to the highest bidder. My monthly eBay pieces are a great way to collect original artwork.
"Lamda" 4x4" original oil