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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Drawing Lilies

Lilies seem to be the favorite flower to draw, so I finally gave it a shot this week.  They were a bit more difficult than the gladiola, but still fun to draw.

This bloom was a beautiful color.  I think part of the reason this flower was a bit difficult is because it was such a vibrant pink that it was hard to capture the essence of it in graphite.

This is where I got a little off course.  Luckily, Katie Whipple, our instructor showed me how to measure the petals to make sure everything was in the right spot.  The six petals were basically across from each other, so it was then easy to see and fix any mistakes.

This is the finished piece.  I'm actually happy with it, something that does not often happen to me with drawing.  In fact, I may get myself some colored pencils and give that a try.  I'll always be an oil painter, but lately I've been having the urge to do something different every once in awhile.  I feel like it's time to expand my horizons a little bit and this has been a good place to start.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Still Life: Pitcher With Tangerines And Grapes

Hello all, hope everybody is having a good day.  After a month long reprieve, winter has finally arrived in New York, which means it's time to hide out in my studio for the rest of the season!

It's been quite a busy week over here.  Last Thursday evening, I finished up a new still life.

This was the (almost) original set up. I started out without the fruit for reasons I'll explain below.   I was not sure about this one from the time I set it up until about four sessions in.  Luckily it all worked out.

This was the original block in.  As you can see, there is no fruit here.  I was doing something else in my studio and got a bee in my bonnet about using this pitcher in a painting, so I set up a still life and blocked it in.  Not the most convenient way to do things, but when inspiration strikes you just have to go with it.

My next day in the studio I brought a bag of fruit with me and started experimenting.  I was not thrilled with the fruit at the market that day.  I wanted to use some oranges, but every one they had was enormous.  They looked like oranges on steroids, so when I happened upon a bag of tangerines, I decided to try using them.  It worked out fine and of course I added some grapes.  We joke in class that it is illegal to do a still life without grapes and it probably should be!  Like a little black dress, they help with a multitude of sins and I like painting grapes, so why not keep using them?

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but alizarin backgrounds can be really hard to paint.  It is a transparent color and takes many coats to look the way it needs to on the canvas, plus drying time in between.  In fact, I had to let this one sit for five days after the first few coats as the paint was just not covering the canvas.

I think this was session three or four.  Finally, it is beginning to look like this painting might be successful!

At this point, I was just adding coats of paint.  I know many people find this stage frustrating, but you have to keep going.  Eventually it all works out.

Finally, last Wednesday, the time came when I knew the painting would work out.  The pitcher starting looking like porcelain, the fruit compote was resembling glass and the darks and lights were evident in the painting.

Then came the fun part:  putting in the pattern.  When you are using a blue and white prop, the painting really comes alive when you get the pattern going.  Some painters do the pattern right at the beginning, and while I definitely understand working on the whole painting at once, I like to do the pattern last for a few reasons.  One, I like to do several coats of white on porcelain objects as I've found it takes a few passes to get the porcelain look.  Two, and most importantly, if the paint is dry when the pattern goes in, you can easily wipe it off if you make a mistake (which happens quite often in my case).  And three, sometimes when I start to put the pattern in, I realize that my shadows are not dark enough and I can easily fix it rather than having to wipe out the whole thing.

Once the pattern was done, I realized the painting needed a few tweaks.  There were a few places where things looked like they were floating, a sure sign that you need to darken the darks and lighten the lights.  I darkened up the shadows under the pitcher and the fruit compote, as well as all the tangerines on the right side.  I then lightened up the fabric in front of the pitcher.  I also darkened the wood shelf.  Even though it was lighter in real life than I've shown it here, it did not work to have the light colored fabric and the light colored wood shelf.  So I darkened up the shelf a bit and that helped the whole painting.

Here is the finished painting.  I'm really happy with how this one turned out.  It's always fun to take a chance and try something new.  Of course, I'm already on to my next piece, as well as attempting to turn a field study into a large painting, something I've never done before.  I'll keep you posted!