Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Blogcademy New York City Reunion

It's been a crazy week over here, so I was thrilled to take a break to attend a lunch for the reunion of the first Blogcademy class, which took place right here in NYC.

I was so happy to see the fantastic Blogcademy headmistresses as well as some of the former students from the original class.  If you are unfamiliar with The Blogcademy, please check out their site.  Shauna, Kat and Gala run two day blogging workshops all over the globe.  If you want to start a blog,  improve the blog you have, or learn about the business side of blogging, this class can't be beat.

We had a huge table at the Smith Restaurant.  I'd never been there before, but I'll definitely be back.  Great food, service and atmosphere.

The top photo is me with Gala, the one below with Shauna.  I didn't get a picture with Kat, but I will next time.

Here is the schedule of classes.  If you have the opportunity to learn from these amazing women take it.   I'm so glad I did!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two Down, One To Go!

Yes, I finished another painting yesterday.  If you recall, I was working on three paintings at the same time.  Not my usual way of working, but with flower season in full swing, I have had to change things up a bit.

I did not paint this in my studio, so I just have a few not so great phone snaps, but I wanted to show you the painting right away.  I will take it home next week and sign it, then in a few weeks it will be ready to be varnished and photographed.

This is the end of the second painting session on this piece.  After blocking everything in (including the background), I added the shadows.

This is the end of day three.  As you can see, things are much more refined than in the first shot.  The shadows and highlights are in.  Now it is time to add the details.

This is the finished painting.  I darkened up the shadow on the white vase and added in the pattern.  Then I tackled the pattern on the fabric.  Funny thing about that - it took me over an hour to do that small vase and about twenty minutes to do the fabric!  Painting can be strange like that.  Something you think will be difficult is easy, and another thing that looks easy can make you want to tear your hair out.

So that is it for this one.  Next up, the hydrangeas I have been working on.  The flowers are long since done, but I'm concerned that the glass isn't "glassy" enough.  Of course I'll show you the whole process.  We'll see what tomorrow brings - hopefully a finished painting!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


  The peonies are done!  After nearly going crazy with them on Tuesday, yesterday everything went very smoothly and I unexpectedly finished the painting.  Here is the original set up.

I started out by blocking in the placement of the vase and flowers.

I use a mix of ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide to do the block in.  As you can see, it is very simple.  Just enough to get the placement of the objects before the actual painting begins.  

Next I put in the background.  This is a great method I learned from Gregg and I plan to do a whole post on it in the future.  

Then the fun starts.  I started painting in the flowers and put a coat of white over the vase, just to get the whole canvas covered up.  

This is where things got tricky.  I ended up changing the floral set up a few times until it looked good on the canvas.  Of course, that meant that I had to wipe out the flowers multiple times so that they corresponded with the set up.  I'm telling you, these peonies drove me nuts.  I literally had to lie down after working on them all day Tuesday.

Yesterday I figured I was in for more of the same, but the stars finally aligned and I finished up the entire painting in just a couple of hours!  I decided to ignore the flowers and just work on the vase.  That got me going and I realized I only needed to change out one flower.  After that I just had to darken up some shadows and add in the blue pattern.  

And here is a shot of the finished painting.  I took this with my iPhone very late in the day so the lighting is not ideal, but since it is going to be quite some time before it is varnished and photographed (due to the fact that the flowers have about fifty coats of paint on them), I figured I would take a shot now so you guys could see the finished painting.

I considered spending some more time on this, but realized that I was getting dangerously close to what Gregg calls "don't blow it" territory.  You know that thing that happens when everything is good and then you make one stroke too many and then you have to redo the whole painting?  I did not want that to happen so I quickly signed it and declared it done.  (Blogger reversed the signed and unsigned paintings and I could not get it back.  Sorry about that). 

Next up, finish up the still life and then it's on to the hydrangeas.  One down, two to go!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Painting Updates

Hi Everybody.  I wanted to update you on what has been happening in the studio.  I'm working on three (!) different paintings at the same time.  Normally I start a painting and work on it until it is finished, but that is on hold for the summer.

Every year around this time, I start seeing all the gorgeous flowers at the greenmarkets, and I was always so disappointed that I did not have a place to paint them.  Now that I have my studio I'm so excited to be painting all of these beautiful flower arrangements.

I started out with some great hydrangeas and ranunculus.  I got the flowers all painted in, but the rest of the set up has been a struggle.  The correct way of working is to paint the whole canvas at once, but with flowers I break this rule because they don't last long and aren't easily replaced.

I was working away on this painting when I spotted a booth at the greenmarket selling the most beautiful peonies.  Of course, the hydrangeas went on hold while I got to work on the new painting.

I snapped this with my phone so it is not the best photo, but I wanted to show you how it is coming along.  This was the end of day three.  It's been a bit of a struggle.  The insane weather we had last week and oil painting do not mix very well.  We had five inches of rain on Friday!  The panel was not drying overnight and my paints were a bit sticky.  I'm hoping for better weather and more progress on this over the next few days.

I showed this painting in my last post.  It needs a bit more work as well and has some greenery that has to go in tomorrow.

So that is what I've been up to the last two weeks.  I'm hoping to have some finished paintings to show you over the next week or two.  Unless I find another bouquet I can't resist...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Hello Everyone,

I wanted to check in to say hi and show you what I've been up to the past week.  I've been a bit under the weather so there has not been much painting going on, but I did work on this still life setup this week.

This isn't the best photo.  I just quickly snapped it with my phone at the end of the painting session.  This was day two working on this painting.  It needs another two or three more to get it finished.

I also stopped by New York City's version of Monet's pond.  Here are a few snaps that I took last evening.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of algae floating around, but I will take some artistic license and pretend it's not there.

I had intended to set up there tomorrow for a day of en plein air painting, but then I saw these beauties at the farmer's market.

There was a whole stand dedicated to peonies.  You know I couldn't pass those up, so tomorrow will be a studio day while I get these painted.  Peonies don't last long so they have to be painted right away.
I'm hoping some of the closed buds open up by tomorrow morning, but either way I can't wait to paint this bouquet.  

I'll be back tomorrow with a full recap of the peony painting event.  Can't wait to get started!