Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Still Life: Spode Bowl With Fruit

It has been quite a week over here.  There is lots happening and I hope to have an exciting announcement for you soon.  In the meantime, I finished up a new painting, the first of 2017.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to set up this still life.  I had no fruit or flowers, but decided to get going anyway (big mistake).  I actually worked on it like this for a few sessions, but as I kept going, I just knew it was not going to work out.

My original plan was to put fruit in the bowl and a flower or stem in the bud vase, but I just wasn't feeling it.  I finally stuck a faux flower in the vase and decided to forget this plan and move on to something else.

I went looking in my stash of props and decided to replace the bud vase with a candy dish.  I have a few vintage candy dishes and have been using them a lot lately.

This is the revamped set up.  Much better, right?  As soon as I set this up, I knew it would work.

As you can see, I just replaced the bud vase with the candy dish and then blocked in the fruit shapes.

At this point it was really just a matter of layering on paint until everything began to look like I wanted it to.  And it's always a happy day when your white objects actually begin to resemble porcelain :)

As I was nearing the end, I thought all I had to do was put in the blue and white pattern and I would be done.  However, after I did that, I realized things were still not quite right.  After some time just sitting and looking at the painting, I realized that it needed a little boost, so I darkened up the darks and lightened up the lights.  That helped give the painting a needed dose of drama and while doing that I realized a mistake with the grapes.  It is a little hard to tell, but the grapes coming out of the candy dish are more forward than the grapes in the bowl.  I had to lighten the grapes in the candy dish so that the viewer could easily see that they were closer.

Spode Bowl With Fruit, 12x9, oil

And here is the finished painting.  I spent a long time yesterday fussing with little details that no one looking at the painting will ever know about, but I think that is what makes a good painting;  attention to detail that is not obvious to the viewer.  I felt like this painting took forever, but it was really only one week of work.  I'm already on to a new one, but I'm very happy with how this painting turned out.

Btw, I got the Spode bowl on Amazon for $21.00.  Not an affiliate link, just sharing a good deal!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy New Year And Scottsdale Painting Updates

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone is enjoying the start to 2017.  Unfortunately, I started out the new year with a major technical difficulty.  Some of you may have tried to access this blog and were redirected somewhere else.  It took a bit of doing, but I finally got things back to normal.  Thanks for your patience.

Last week, I did a bit of updating to the paintings that I shipped home from Scottsdale.  Since I had very limited time with the poses, I didn't bother too much with the backgrounds, figuring that I could take care of them later.

This was the painting of Kyla when I took it out of the box.  While in class, I just threw some alizarin on the background to get it in, but I spent the rest of the time on the model.  I knew I would need to add more color once the painting arrived home.  I also had to fix the spots on the four corners of the canvas.  In order to mail the painting home, I rolled up balls of blue tape and put one in each of the four corners, then I place another canvas of the same size on top.  The tape keeps the canvases separated for the trip home.  

The background on this painting needed a few coats as alizarin is a very transparent color, but after applying the first and then letting it sit a few days, I was able to apply enough color to get the background into shape. 

The photo above is the first coat on the background and below is the finished piece.

Next up, my painting of Dani.  This painting consisted of two three hour poses, so again, I mostly ignored the background.  

Since this painting had my familiar green background, the color mix was french ultramarine, transparent red oxide, and cadmium yellow light.  No transparent colors were used, so I just needed one coat to finish up the painting. 

Having a finished background really makes a difference.  It can be hard to finish up a painting after a workshop, but luckily in this case it worked out.  

I'm currently in the middle of two still life paintings.  I hope to have at least one of them to show you soon.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Paintings Added To The Drop Down Menus

Hi Everybody.  I hope all of you are enjoying this holiday week.  I've been hard at work photographing paintings, old and new.  My photography skills are better than when I started blogging, so I felt it was time for an update.  Here are the photos of my newest paintings, but please check out the drop down menus and let me know what you think.  I always love to get your comments and emails!

Lilacs, 20x16, oil

Lady Apples With A White Cloth, 12x16, oil

Lemons And Grapes In A Silver Bowl, 16x20, oil

Wine And Fruit, 16x20, oil

The Hexagon Vase, 20x16, oil

Winter Bouquet, 16x12, oil

Fruit In A Glass Candy Dish, 16x12, oil

Red And White Vase With Fruit, 12x16, oil

Fruit In A Blue And White Compote, 9x12, oil

Hope you like them!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Some Photos From The Scottsdale Artists' School

I'm currently in the middle of two still life paintings.  One seems to be going along quite easily and the other, not so much.  Eventually they will both be finished, but in the meantime, I thought you might like to see some photos from my week at The Scottsdale Artists' School.

I can't say enough good things about the school.  Not only is everyone there extremely nice and helpful, but the building itself is amazing.  The day before the workshop, we stopped over to the school to register for Gregg Kreutz's demo as well as pick up turp and linseed oil and a few other things that we needed.  The school is located in a lovely old building, but the decor of the inside blew me away.  We have many art schools here in New York City, but ambience is not something that is a priority.  In fact, some of them are downright dumpy.  But in addition to the care they take with everything else, the school is beautifully decorated and a place that I was very happy to spend time in.

This beautiful glass cabinet resides in the front desk area.  One look and you can see why I love it.  It contains my two favorite things:  blue and white porcelain and art books.  It is also beautifully styled, something that the frustrated interior designer in me really appreciated.

On the opposite wall, there are a ton of bookshelves with beautiful sculptures on top.

I was ready to move into this room!

And check out this enormous classroom.  The people doing still life painting all had their own set ups and there was plenty of room for those of us doing the models.  Consequently, there was no jockeying and fighting for space, which was very nice.

And speaking of rooms I want to move into, check out the student lounge.  This was another beautiful room at the school.  Students can eat lunch here or just relax and take a break.  I ate outside every day as I was determined to get as much sun as possible while in Arizona, but I would have loved to spend more time in this lovely and serene room.

Though it was a bit cooler than I'd hoped, we were still able to take our lunch break outside in the sun.  The grounds of the school are lovely.

The city of Scottsdale is a huge arts destination and we were lucky enough to be there on the first Thursday of the month.  All the galleries were open late and we walked from one to the other.  It was fun to visit places and see paintings that I'd only heard about or seen online.

It was cold at night, but the musicians were still out entertaining us.

I snapped this out of the car window on our last day in Scottsdale.  It is a lovely place and I can't say enough about the Scottsdale Artists' School.  A great school with beautiful, professional models and an amazing staff.  I have to give a shout out to Mimi, who seems to keep the place running.  If the students need anything, Mimi takes care of it.  I loved my week here and  I hope I get to visit the school again sometime.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gregg Kreutz Workshop At The Scottsdale Artists' School

Hey Everyone.  I'm back from a great still life/figure workshop at the Scottsdale Artists' School.  My teacher, Gregg Kreutz, was the instructor for the workshop and we all had a great time.

The week long class was a mix of still life and figure.  Since I do still life all the time, I decided to concentrate on painting the models.

We started the first day with Gregg doing a demo of our beautiful model, Dani.

This is the finished demo.  Just beautiful and done in two and a half hours while answering questions from the students.  (Sorry for the glare in the photo.  We had overhead light, which is not great for photos).

Then it was time for us to begin painting.  It's been quite some time since I have painted a figure so I was a little rusty, but got back into it in no time.

This was my view of the lovely Dani.  Side views are so hard for me to do.  It's much easier to paint a model who is facing you, but in a workshop that will probably not be the case.

This is my block in.  That was the easy part.  The hard part is getting the flesh color right and of course, the features on the face have to be correct.  With a model or figure, the viewer can tell immediately if something is out of place, so it's really important to take the time to get it right.

This was the end of the first three hour session.

And this was the end of the second three hour painting session.  My regular readers know that what I really needed was a full week (or more) on this pose.  I'm a very slow painter, and I'm happy with what I got done, but I would have loved to bring home a finished portrait.

Luckily for me, the next pose was for two full days.  Here we had the lovely Kyla posing for us.

For this pose, I was looking at a three quarter view, so as Gregg explained, the face is no longer an oval.

Here is the block in.  This painting was actually a bit easier since I was using a larger canvas.

This is where I left off at the end of day one.  The canvas was covered and the most important part, her face, was in good shape.

Here is the finished painting.  Of course, I wouldn't have minded an extra day or two on this, but I'm happy with it.

We had three models while we were there, and they were all beautiful, professional and could hold a pose.  It was really a pleasure to paint these women.


And... here is my painting of Kyla the last time I saw it!  There was a bit of a delay in the UPS pick up, so I'm hoping it arrives soon and all in one piece.  As I said on Instagram, say a prayer to the art gods for me that the painting arrives intact.

Scottsdale Artists' School was a great place for a workshop.  I'll have pics of the school and Scottsdale in my next post.