Friday, September 28, 2012

And the Winner Is . ..

Just had the drawing for the giclee from the list of newsletter subscribers.  Congratulations goes to Debbie MacDonald.  Please contact me with your address so I can mail you your print.

I was asked recently how the 5 day workshop I gave two months ago went.  My hats off to all artist who do this on a regular basis.  There is a big difference in weekly classes and a workshop format.  I was exhausted but the students did great, learned a lot, and felt it was well worth the time and expense.  Here is the finished demo I did for them during the first two sessions. 

Some of the elements that were discussed in doing this piece was painting white fabric, the use of grays and the beauty they bring to your painting, painting translucent surfaces like the tangerines, and a composition element I call mass, line, and dot.  Any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Exploring the Power of Grays

Sometimes it takes a while to find your way in the world of color as a painter especially when living in Florida. The Sunshine state brings out the colorist in most painters I know who live here.  Homes are open design with big windows, and with beautiful sunlight days the sunshine flows in abundantly.  Most people love big, bright colorful paintings on their walls, what walls they do have because of so much glass.

I've tried painting the intense colors but they are just not for me.  My first art teacher told me that neutral grays are easier to live with over a long period of time and that bright, intense colors aren't.  I think he was right.  The delicate warm and cool grays of the color wheel make me tingle with delight.  Intense color for me, used sparingly, and supported by an abundance of grays is my re-found friend as I explore my color interests. In fact, the more I explore color the more I am convinced this will be my palette for a very long time.  "My name is Debbie and I am a Tonalist."  Saying it is half the battle.

Below are photos of the painting I just finished along with a photo of the actual still life, and the first pass of color, the finished (I think) piece and some close ups.

The photos aren't the best as far as the lighting but you get the idea.  The beaded tassel and the brandy in the overturned snifter are the only intense colors.  Just enough!  The fur piece is my grandmother's muskrat collar.  I remember her wearing it and was fascinated with the beady eyes looking at me.  There is an actual head and dangling legs on this thing which I carefully tucked toward the back.  I truly don't see how ladies of the day wore this gruesome looking creature but it was fun to paint.  Chime in on your feelings about using grays in your paintings.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Teaching Studio

My husband David and I have been busy renovating the area where I teach painting.  I think that it is now finished.  Some of the changes include wall mounted electrical outlets for each individual mini painting studio; a great safety feature - no more extension cords on the floor.  I sewed black curtains that hang from ceiling to near the floor.  These curtains help to keep the lights from one student's still life station and easel from contaminating the still life station and easel-palette light of the next student to the left or right.

Each student also has their own still life pedestal with internal storage, an easel, palette table, and chair - if one does not want to stand. The wall and floor is painting in a neutral gray or green making each area very comfortable and conducive for color management when mixing paints and applying to canvas. In addition, each lamp fixture is equipped with a color balanced bulb. And even the ambient lights are color balanced too. This 'system' seems to be working out well, and my students really seem to love it too. One of my students who has lived and studied in Italy exclaimed that the new teaching studio now looks and feels like an atelier that she experienced in Florence. 
We have room for six students which is just the right number for me.  A six students cap allows me to give everyone quality individual instruction.  We also have a learning area with a flat screen monitor to show images and videos.  And of course, music.  With my new iPad3 and speaker system, and with Pandora or my iTunes playing in the background, it all makes for a very pleasant atmosphere.  All we need now is a coffee bar.  Oh, we have that in the kitchen just down the hall. Okay, what can we do next? I'll have to think about that.  Any suggestions?

Monday, September 3, 2012

One More Time

I said I wouldn't paint the French lace tablecloth again but I lied.  There is something about the fabric and intricate pattern of beautiful grays that calls me back time and time again.  When I was in Denver for the OPA National Exhibition, I discovered an interesting ceramic pot in an art gallery that I just had to have.  Put the two together and magic happened.  This pot offered the challenge I was looking for.  The pattern is more of a three dimensional relief that reminds me of the stratus of earth sections when you view a cross section.  The siennas and oxide reds are beautiful and very dramatic.  I've been asked just how I paint the lace and this intricate cloth.  That's not a simple question to answer but I do have some basic advice for the beginning pass that I can share.

First, it is critical to look at the cloth and see two values, light and shadow.  Ignore the small light catching lace that is dark all around but because it is raised, its surface catches small spots of light.  Mass in the lights with a value of about a two and a half to three and the darks with a value of around five.  In my earlier paintings I made the dark shapes too dark because when you squint they do appear darker but now I know not to be deceived by this dark value.  Open lace work like the left side and at the bottom is massed in loosely.  The left side is in the light and the bottom is mostly in the dark.  I'm not concerned in the first pass of the subtle value and temperature shifts.  That comes later.  My two values are made with raw umber and zinc white.  Zinc white is more transparent and mixes with less chalkiness.  Keep edges soft even if they appear hard.  A hard edge where needed can be added later.  The other important decision and part of the first pass is to decide on your background air color.  Here I have chosen a dark, almost value 9, of my black mixture with a heavy amount of transparent red oxide.  This is applied with lots of turpentine and applied thinly.  Mix a lot of air color to be used in the next layer when the first layer has dried.

The next pass is more complicated but know that it takes a lot of squinting and adjusting of values within the light and shadow value. These white values  have slight temperature changes that I don't always see but I paint them nevertheless to give it the lace feel of dimensionality and tonality.  Directions at this point is almost impossible.  I go on autopilot and work on sections at a time usually top to bottom, right side to left side.  I think it's a brain dominance thing.  One thing at this point is to let the painting tell you what it needs and what looks bests as opposed to what the actual white fabric looks like in front of you.  I don't know if any of this helps but this tablecloth has taught me more than any workshop or class I have ever taken.  If you have any specific questions about this process, I will be happy to try to answer them.

My newsletter will be published by the end of this week so if you haven't signed up yet, please do so.  Your name will be added to those already receiving the newsletter for a giclee print.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...