Monday, February 27, 2012

Painting of the Week

Before I reveal this week's Painting of the Week, I have to share the exciting news from the outdoor art festival I participated in this weekend.  It is almost unheard of for a traditional still life painting to take first place in an outdoor art show but it did happen.  My painting "Carolina Blue" was given that honor and I am thrill. 

Carolina Blue
30 x 36 oil on linen
And for all of you that stopped by to see me, I appreciate the support and kind words.  Now for this week's Small Gem.  Know that the tangerine tree is now bare and this is the last of the tangerine paintings until next year. 

Tea and Tangerines
5 x 7 oil on canvas birchwood panel
Actual size framed  8.5 x 10.5


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Glazing--Love It!

If you haven't tried glazing to complete a painted image, it's a magical experience.  Okay, maybe not magical but a whole lot of fun.  I would have demonstrated this process but the changes are very slight after each pass.  Everyone says it takes patience and they're right.  Having another piece to work on is necessary.  Here's a reminder of what the grisaille looked like before color was added.

Here is the final image.

The background was glazed with sap green first, then ultramarine blue with a small amount of burnt umber.  Another layer was added of the last two colors but with more burnt umber.  Shadows were glazed in again with all three colors mixed making really soft cast shadows.

The peaches were first glazed with different colors in the different areas.  Alizarin crimson with sap green made the darkest part of the three peaches.  Cad. yellow deep with yellow ochre was first glazed in on the light side.  I can't remember how many layers were added and adjusted but the final surface says PEACH.  Every part is a glaze color application except the white fabric in the light and some of the reflections in the glass.  I chose carefully which edges I wanted to bring forward but the majority  have that soft and lost edge.

I had to go back and reread parts of Virgil Elliot's book (see the listing below on the right), as well as, talking to Deborah Paris, a real expert in this area.

I will have this for viewing at the Art Fiesta this weekend in New Smyrna Beach.  If you are in the area, stop by.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's On the Easel

I'm a perpetual learner.  Can't help it and don't want to.  I love reading about how the Old Masters created their paintings, as well as, more modern techniques. But my heart lives in those paintings that have the deep transparent glazes that have been built up from thin layers of paint.  Yes, it takes patience and drying time between layers and yes it's not what most people want to learn when I teach.  But it speaks to me at a level that is so deep that words can't express.  What is it that the 19th Century Tonalists were able to create that I don't get with current painting techniques?  Glazing produces such rich lights and atmosphere that evokes mood that I can't get any other way. 

On my easel is a small still life, 8x10 on a linen panel.  I'm going back to my roots with a grasaille created with raw umber and Gamblin's Fastmate Titanium white.  This alkyd will dry within 24 hours.  Below is the actual still life and the grasaille.  Lights are painted a value darker than the actual value and darks are painted one value lighter because glazing darkens colors.  My whites will be scumbled in producing lighter lights.

Painting of the Week

This week was extremely productive.  Very seldom have I had three paintings going at one time.  I will share my 16 x 20 and an 8 x 10 this week .  Plus, I finished my third Small Gem--Danish Cup with Grapes.  This cup had a stand-in and was painted from the memory of the original cup given to me in love.   Enjoy!

Danish Cup with Grapes
5 x 7 oil on birchwood panel
Actual size with frame 8.5 x 10.5


Small Treasure

The things we cherish
Come in many forms and from many places.
Each comes with a memory
And sometimes even a lesson.
So it is with this demitasse cup.
A gift given in love
And taken back in anger.
Life has taught me that holding on hurts
Letting go in love heals.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Artist Tip

PAINTING IN MASS - Learning to Simplify - The secret to creating an illusion of light, form, space and depth depends on the artist's ability to simplify what he/she is looking at (still life set-up, model, landscape, etc.) into simple value shapes, or patterns of light and dark.

The words seem so easy and yet each day I teach, I struggle to get this idea and ultimately skill across to the painter sitting at his/her easel.  Painting a grasaille as the image above, is what painting mass looks like.  Squint down and see only values.  Limit those values to three or four.  If you can do that, you can paint anything.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Print Store

David has been working day and night on my website and blog and is almost finished.  One of the new features that is amazing is The Print Store (you can find it at the top of the page under BUY MY PRINTS and follow the link).  He has taken many of my best paintings from the past and has formatted them for the store.  When I checked out the ones he selected, I almost cried.  So many pieces I had forgotten about.  Each painting brings back a memory--awards, people who bought them, and the actual experience of painting it.  It was like walking down memory lane.  Now you can have an affordable piece of my work framed and in different sizes.  They make a great gift too.

The Glow
This brought back the memory of it winning an award at the Halifax Art Festival.  Another one of my little gems.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Painting of the Week

"Grapes and Peach," (I should really think of a more unique title) is the second in my new series I call Painting of the Week. I know, it sounds a lot like A Painting a Day, but it takes me a little longer to complete even one of these Small Gems when painting in the indirect method of the Old Masters as I do.  Because the indirect method uses multiple layers of glazes, the resulting painting has a luminosity and depth that can only be achieved using the indirect method.  I hope that you enjoy these Little Gems along with the lines of prose that describe what inspired me to paint it in the first place.

"Grapes and Peach"
4 X 5 oil on linen birchwood panel
8.5 X 7.5 with frame

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The Promise

Now the flowers have fallen
For they have withered and died.
Stems full of promise,
Budding with life
Waiting to bring forth 
New Fruit

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Finally Finished-Maybe

For those of you that have been following this painting, you can see I have made some major changes.  First lesson learned.  A beautiful, colorful antique quilt wants to take center stage.  I had to remove it.  The focal area is the colorful spools of thread.  The rabbit is a supporting character along with book and mug.  The drapery has been changed and the white spool of thread is now yellow.  I needed the yellow to be repeated somewhere so the book color wasn't an isolated color.  Am I finished?  It feels finished because I have accomplished my intended goal BUT the mug doesn't have the Mary Had a Little Lamb design.  Also Jane is alone on the book cover.  Decision--Dick or no Dick?  Does it need it?  I'll put it aside for a few days and come back to it later. 

                                                        Here is the original photo
Any questions or comments are always welcomed.  I really enjoy painting with you guys looking over my shoulder.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fun with Fringe cont.

Back to the rabbit and a problem to solve.  It turns out the rabbit is the easy element in this painting.  The dark background around the neck of the rabbit allowed the light areas and bright colors to pop with blobs and dashes of color.


Now for the problem area.  The colorful quilt with the dark triangle draws your eye to that area and away from the intended focal point.  (See earlier post)  The dark area under the quilt was going to be the wooden surface that supported the quilt.  Too much contrast, too much color.  Here is how I handled it--so far.

Removing all the colors in the quilt except the blue and yellow ties the colors from objects in the still life.  I turned the wooden box into a draped surface.  This helps but I'm still not quite sure this solves the problem.  So much more to do and so many more problems to solve.  That's what painting is about--solving problems.  The yellow and blue book will have writing and figures on it.  This has to be handled softly so it doesn't draw too much attention there.   Tomorrow is another day with more problems to solve.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Busy Husband

Some of you may know that my husband, David, is the business side of my art and takes care of all the computer work (other than blogging and tweeting).  He also enters my work into the various shows, competitions, and sends off the images to various sources.  Being married to a photographer/ journalists/ Motorola techy has its benefits.  SO when I opened my e-mail Saturday and found a notice from Old Masters Maroger saying I was the Artist of the Month, I was totally caught off guard.  He had entered me into this competition without telling me.  I appreciate this honor and want to thank all who had a part in this decision.  Check their website out and learn from their videos about how to use Flemish Maroger, Black Oil, Mastic Varnish, and  Italian Wax medium. 

Be sure to check out my Painting of the Week that was posted Monday.  It glows with luminosity and is a true jewel.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Painting of the Week

Each Sunday I will be posting a mini painting for sale that you may purchase with just one click.  As an indirect painting, my mini paintings require 5 to 7 days to complete unlike an alla prima painting.  Subscribe to my blog so as not to miss one of these Small Gems.  This week I've painted tangerines from our backyard tree.  It includes one of my gold frames custom made for these small gems.  Enjoy!

Florida Tangerines

5 X 7  oil on a primed birchwood panel
Actual size in a gold frame  8.5 X 10.5


How lovely it is to live in the sunny South
With sun rays enveloping each day
Fingers of gold and warm air abounds
And golden orange jewels
pepper the trees
Sweet necture of the tangerine.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Real Face of Leonardo DaVinci

After teaching all day, I took a break from the canvas but not from blogging.  Found this short four minute video from Ted Talks about the real face of Leonardo DaVinci.  Interesting. 

Hope you enjoyed it.  Have you done a self portrait?  If so, e-mail me at with an attached image.  I will put all the images into a blog on Feb. 13th.  I will even add mine although when I did it my hair was a different color (lots of gray) and most people thought it was my mother.  I've improved since then.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun with Fringe cont.

The fun continues and here is the evidence.  Not only fun with the fringe but also color.

I have the most fabulous brush that is thick, soft, and provides soft yummy edges.  Here is a close up of the brush work for the fringe.  The light and shadow shapes of the whites are subtle.

The head and ears are made of muslin fabric and edges are crisper in some places.  Again you can see the dark mass around the neck made of mostly dark blue fringe.  There are pops of color but that is part of the details that I will save for later.

The spools of thread, mug, and pin cushion are hard edge objects that I play against the softness of the fringe.  At this stage I have just blocked in light and shadow shapes.  This will be the focal point area.  You can see the soft yellow of the book that was reduced in its intensity so as not to draw your eye to that area.
More work on the head and ears while the edges are still wet and I can work the edges into their environment.  The eyes are very small dots but create a slight indention and value change.   I'm loving it so far.

And finally a larger look at the entire painting.  After looking at the antique quilt and the boring arrangement of it, I created a triangular drape that is more interesting.  I am modifying the colors to repeat what will be in the book, spools of thread, book, and the colors that will be in the neck fringe.  This is just a block in at this point.  I feel the design of the quilt will need to be softened and treated with less intensity.

Stay tuned to see more stages of this painting.  In the meantime, be sure to sign up for the newsletter.  And I want to thank all of you who have purchased the demo book "Italian Repast."  I appreciate everyone's support and following.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fun with Fringe

Today was the most fun I've had in a long time as I painted my fringed rabbit.  Instead of a challenge as I previously thought, it was a breeze.  I just had to remember light shape, shadow shape.  I began with a charcoal drawing on the linen canvas.  Once I was pleased with the rendering, I sprayed it with fixative.

I can hear the critics saying that my drawing is too tight and it leads to filling in between the lines--like a coloring book.  Not in my case.  This gives me the freedom of pushing the paint into its environment knowing that my placement is spot on.  Remember--connect your edges to its environment.

Next, I toned my white canvas with a mixture of cobalt blue and burnt umber.  Then I pulled the lights wiping them out and then squinted down to locate the darks.  The fabric fringe around the rabbit's neck is a flurry of multi-colored dark fringe.  It's all dark to me and that's the way I handled it.

 Now for the background that I call AIR.  Just like in a landscape,  as you recede into the distance, color becomes more grayed.  I am painting with a north light and so the cool light makes me think cool greenish blue.  The gray-green will play nicely off the spots of red that are peppered throughout the objects.  Wet edges need to be worked into wet edges so I persevered and began painting in everything that touched the background.  Check back in tomorrow to see the fun I had with my big brush.

Thanks to all of you that signed up today for my newsletter.  I appreciate your support which helps all of us to believe in our chosen path. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fun in the Classroom

Today was a teaching day with my students so I wasn't able to get back to my own work.  I am grateful for each student that comes into my studio.  They teach me as much as I teach them.

Today Rahna brought her iPhone with the app-- Accu View.  She took a photo of the still life, made a grisaille, and then gridded it.  Finally cropped it with great negative shapes.  Unfortunately, it only works on iPhones.  If any knows of an app for the Droid that does the same thing, let me know.

Pam is finishing her still life of cherries in a bowl and it looks like it's a keeper.  She is an professional photographer by trade  and shared today about lighting at different times of the day.  Sweet light is a magical time and we talked about the colors that reflect off the creek at this time of the day.  Living on this waterway is pure magic at sunset.

Remember to sign up for the bimonthly newsletter that will come out at the end of February. 

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