Friday, December 12, 2014

Two Shows And A New Painting

Today is an exciting day for me as I have paintings in two different shows tonight!  My painting Lupines In A Blue And White Vase was selected to be part of the Huntington Arts Council's still life exhibition.

The exhibition will be up from today, December 12 to January 4, 2015.

The second exhibition is a fundraiser for the Art Guild Of Port Washington revitalization fund.  As I've mentioned before, a fire after Hurricane Irene caused damage to the building where the Art Guild is located.  After three years the building is up and running again, but there is still work to be done and I was very happy to donate a painting toward this effort.

Members of the Art Guild were given a 10x10 painting panel and asked to contribute the painting.
I never work on square panels, so it took me awhile to work out a design, but once I did, I got to work.  

This was the set up.  I went with a small pitcher so I would not have to worry about shrinking the size of anything.  Then I just added some oranges and grapes and got to work.

This is the block in of the set up.  I was happy to see that it worked on the square panel.

Next I put in my background color.

After blocking in the shadows, I got to work filling in the rest of the painting.  At this point, it was just a matter of layering in the paint until I got the painting the way I wanted it.

This is the finished painting.  I'm thrilled to report that the painting has already sold, but there are many others for sale at the exhibition.  The show will be up until December 21.

If you are on Long Island, please check out these shows.  I'll be at both receptions tonight.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peonies Update

Hi Everybody.  I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.  I've been painting away and I recently finished one of my "updates."

I cannot find the photo of the original painting, but it was pretty much what you see here.  There was one more orange on top of the bowl of oranges and a not very well painted peony laying in front of the vase.

I painted this many years ago.  A friend brought these peonies from her garden for us to paint.  I always liked the flowers, but was never happy with the rest of the painting.  It was the best I could do at the time, but when I recently pulled it out I knew I could make it so much better.

As you can see above, I started by fixing the dimensions of the vase.  It was not quite perfect so I took out the old T-square and worked on the vase until I was happy with the shape.  Next I repainted the background.  It wasn't horrible, but a few more coats of paint definitely made it look a lot richer.  I also got rid of the bowl of oranges and the peony that was lying in front of the vase.

Next up, I painted out the pattern on the vase.  It took a few tries before I was happy with the color of the whites and the shadow, but that is the great thing about oil paint.  If you are not happy with something you can just paint right over it.

I also pumped up the color on the flowers by making the darks darker and the lights lighter.

After all of that was done, it was time to put in the pattern on the vase.  This was going to be tricky as the vase does not belong to me.  My plan was to fake it by using a pattern from one of my vases and hoping for the best, but then I got very lucky.  I was looking for something in a cabinet at the Art Students League and I was stunned to see the vase sitting right there!  I brought the canvas in there, painted in the pattern and brought it right back to my studio.  I was thrilled to be able to use the original vase and it looks so much better now than when I originally painted it.

At this point, I needed to do something about the rest of the painting.  I considered re-doing the bowl of oranges, but I was never thrilled with that in the first place, so I decided to do something completely different.  A friend gave me a pretty compote and I thought that would go nicely with the vase.  I added some red grapes as I thought they went well with the flowers.

I added a few more oranges and decided to change the grey shelf to the color of the brown one in my studio.  While I was doing that I changed the shape of the white cloth as well.

This is the finished painting.  It took about six years total, but I'm so happy with it now.

And just in case you were thinking that painting is a glamorous way to spend your time, this is just part of the mess that had to be cleaned up on that last painting day!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

American Artists Professional League 86th Grand National Exhibition

Last Sunday was the reception for the American Artists Professional League's 86th Grand National Exhibition.  The AAPL was formed in 1928 to promote traditional American art.  Every year they stage a Grand National Exhibition.  Artists from all over the United States submit their work for review by a jury. My painting, Purple Flowers And Oranges, was chosen for the show.  This was my second year in a row exhibiting with the AAPL and I was thrilled to be chosen for this amazing show.

The reception featured a demonstration by Thomas Torak (he was also the winner of the Best In Show award).  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the demo to show you because the reception at the Salmagundi Club was so crowded that I could not get close enough to get any shots!  The gallery was packed with visitors.  I was so happy to see that many people interested in the art.  Sometimes, especially in New York City, it can be hard to find interest in traditional art.

I was truly amazed at the quality of work in this show.  Every place I looked I saw something beautiful.

Purple Flowers And Oranges, 12x16, oil

Thank you to the AAPL for a wonderful show and to the Salmagundi Club for hosting a great reception.  I had a fabulous time and judging from the size of the crowd, many others enjoyed the afternoon as well.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Painting With The Artists Guild In Taos, New Mexico

Hello from rainy New York.  How is everyone?  I was in a bit of a painting slump, but I am very happy to report that I have a few new paintings to show you.

Last month I traveled to Taos, New Mexico to take a one week workshop from the teachers at The Artist Guild.  We painted all day and then had demos at night.  It was a great week with great teachers and I learned so much.

There were classes with models and still life set ups, but I can do those any time so I chose to stay outside and paint the mountains every day.  I've never painted mountains before, so this was not an easy task, but I had a great time and learned a lot.

One day we had a demo with teacher Jacqueline Kamin out in back of the hotel where the classes were held.  She painted the landscape and then we set up our own easels in the afternoon.

This was the view Jackie painted.

I took these photos standing in a thorn bush so bear with me, but at least you can see how the painting came to be.  She started with a simple block in.  Just the shape, size and placement of the mountain to start.

After the block in, Jackie started working on the painting.

The sky is in as well as the darks.

Painting by Jacqueline Kamin

This is the finished painting.  Jackie did this demo in about an hour.  Mine, on the other hand, just got finished yesterday!

This is the painting I brought home with me.  I worked on it for one day, so it was really just a plein air study, but as I was looking at it on Tuesday I wanted to try and finish it.

The main problem I was having the whole time I was in Taos is that my mountains kept looking like Hawaiian volcanoes.  I have never been to Hawaii, so I don't know why that kept happening, but I did realize a few days ago that my landscape was way too green for the desert.  If you look around in Taos, there is a lot of green everywhere, but it is a very muted green.  After looking at my photos I realized that I needed to tone down the landscape and pump up the sky.

I started by putting a layer of yellow ochre over the entire landscape part of the painting.  That helped to tone everything down.  I then added yellow ochre to my ultramarine blue and cad yellow mixture to make sure that my new greens stayed muted.

This was how I left things on Tuesday.  When I got back to the studio I realized that the sky was wrong and I was not thrilled with my desert plants.  I got rid of the plants and just put in the idea of the color of the landscape, if that makes sense.  I also put another layer of blue (mixed with some cad yellow deep) into the sky and got rid of the clouds.  The clouds were there in real life, but I realized they were not helping the painting so I got rid of them and added clouds in places where I thought they looked good.  Yes, I did take some artistic license here, but I'm a believer that you do whatever you need to in order for the painting to work.

This is the finished painting.  I'm pretty happy with it now.  I don't know that I'll ever do anything with it, but it will always be a lovely reminder of a terrific week spent with friends and great artists.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Art Guild Of Port Washington Members Show

Hi All.  I hope everyone is enjoying autumn.  We are having summer weather here in New York and it is so nice, though coming to an end on Sunday.  I mentioned in my last post that I was working on a portrait.  That turned into two portraits, but unfortunately, neither worked out.  They are not horrible, but not worth putting in a frame either.  I was feeling very bummed out not to have anything to show for four weeks of work, but that all changed with The Art Guild Of Port Washington members show.  I have been a member of The Art Guild for years and they always put on great shows and events.  Unfortunately, after Hurricane Irene, there was a fire in their building and they have been closed down for the last three years.

Happily, on September 21st, the building was ready to host the public again and the Guild had their grand reopening and members reception.  I walked in and was talking to some people in the lobby when a friend of mine told me to go in and see the show.  I did and just about fainted when I saw my painting with a second place ribbon hanging on it!

The reception had a big crowd and it was so nice to see the building full of people again.

The juror for the show was Diana de Santis, an amazing artist that I have long admired, so that made the award even more special to me.

The juror of the show, Diana de Santis, on the left

Painting by Diana de Santis

Getting my award!!

The Art Guild Of Port Washington staff

It was a great day and I have to say a special thank you to the staff for keeping the Guild going the past three years.  I know there will be many great events to come!

*Are you an artist or art lover who would like to join the Guild?  Click here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Landscape Show At The Huntington Arts Council

My painting, Abingdon Square Market, was selected to be shown at the Huntington Arts Council's landscape show.  I was thrilled to be picked and it is always such fun to see your painting hanging in a show.  The opening reception was this past Friday night.  I don't have too many photos as the place was jam packed!  People had to go out on to the street because there was no place else to go.  I was happy to see so many people there.

This is the painting.  Every Saturday morning, a farmers market sets up in Abingdon Square here in New York City.  I set up right across the street and painted this scene in a few hours.  I really lucked out with perfect weather and a perfect view.

Thank you to the Huntington Arts Council for putting on a great show and reception.