Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My New Studio Reveal!

Last December I moved into my new studio space.  It is actually the space that I was in, but now the whole thing is mine.  Luckily, I have a very handy husband and he renovated the whole thing for me. I showed you some in progress shots, and now I'm excited to show you the entire studio!

This was the space when I moved in three years ago.  It needed some work, but that north facing window sold me on the place immediately.

And this is how the space is today.

I am so happy to have my own studio.  Now that I am not all cramped up and I have a place to store my things I have gotten so much painting done in there.

This is my original still life shelf.  Now that I have the whole space, I put another on the opposite wall.  This way I can work on two paintings at once.

Please ignore the dirty paper towels.  Just keeping it real.  Painting is a messy business.  

The room is a rectangular space so we (and by we, I mean my hubs), put drying racks up along the length of the longer walls.  He made them out of pieces of molding and they work perfectly.

This is on the north facing wall in between the two windows.  I have another on the opposite wall as well as two smaller racks on either side of the still life shelf.

One of the best parts of having the space all to myself is that I now have a closet.  Artists have a lot of stuff and it is nice to finally have somewhere to keep it all organized.

I keep everything in the closet that I don't need on a regular basis, but have to keep in the studio.  On the top shelf I have supplies.  Paper towels, trash bags, cleaners, my smaller blue and white props and two bins on the top shelf.  The bottom bin has my travel supplies and you will think I am crazy but the top bin is filled with large folded plastic bags.  I saved the bags for a few years every time I bought a frame or canvas and that is what I use to cart my paintings to shows.

I also keep my french easel, my extra canvases, and my handy porter carry boxes in there.  Having all this stuff put away has made such a difference.  It is a lot easier for me to work when there is not clutter all over the place.

The hubs made this cart for me (by the way, he has a name, but is completely internet averse, so he shall forever be known as the hubs).  It is on wheels so I can move it anywhere.  The top shelf usually holds my brushes and other supplies and I keep my heavy props on the middle shelf.  I can also use the top shelf for still lives if I need a set up lower than the height of my normal shelves.  The gray box (painted the same color as the walls) acts as a tool box.

One of the few things I purchased for this new space is this cart.  It is the Winsome Wood cart and I got it on Amazon.  It too is on wheels.  I use it for storage and as a desktop as it is the perfect height for my laptop.

I've had this cart for years.  It holds my palette and paints.

This is the famous art cart from Ikea that everyone with a blog is talking about.  I got this when I was still sharing the space because it holds a lot and is on wheels so it can be moved around.  Having everything on wheels makes life so much easier.  I can use all these pieces as I need to when painting, or move it all out of the way for open houses and receptions.

I have a bulletin board on the closet door.  I keep notes for suppliers there, cards I like and notes regarding shows.  I use an index card and write the name of the show, the drop off, reception and pick up dates and the name of the painting.  Shows seem to happen all at once and this helps me stay organized.

I know it's a cliche, but I also have an inspiration board.  I keep my ribbons there as well as cards of Ganesh (remover of obstacles) and Lakshmi (goddess of prosperity).  Who could not use help from either of them, right?

This board started out as a plain cork bulletin board from the Container Store, but I wanted something a bit fancier, so the hubs had the idea to cut a piece of wood the same size as the board and attach it to the back.  He then wrapped the fabric around it and stapled it to the back the same way you would reupholster a seat cushion.  I love my bulletin board and it really makes the studio look nice.

I have one more cabinet in the studio.  I keep it under my still life shelf and this is where I keep my fabrics.  I used to have them stuffed into a bin and it is so much easier to find what I want now.  The top drawer has old hand towels.  A white hand towel that has been washed a million times is very good for cleaning the dust off of paintings.  The box on the top is a paint keeper.

I hope you enjoyed this look at my studio.  I know it was a lot, but I always like to know how people are using their workspaces, and I thought you guys might want to see what I'm doing. If you want to go back and read about the renovations, that post is here.  

I have to send out special thanks to my talented hubby.  He not only renovated the whole place for me, he also covered bulletin boards and painted boxes to match the walls even though he thinks I am nuts with that sort of thing (I am).

Thanks also to Shauna Haider of Nubbytwiglet and We Are Branch studio.  I took Shauna's Blogcademy class years ago and followed her long before that.  She wrote many posts about moving out of her house and into her first office space and it really inspired me.  Shauna made a good point that you are going to be spending a lot of time in this space, so why not make it as nice as you can.  She also wrote about panicking a bit when it came time to sign the lease.  I did the same thing, but just followed her nothing ventured, nothing gained approach.

Sources:  I'll make the list as complete as I can.  If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer.

Wall Color - Benjamin Moore Herbal Escape

All Renovating Supplies - Lowe's

Blue Art Cart - Ikea

Wood Cart - Amazon

White Cabinet - Gifted from one of my besties, but originally purchased at Wayfair.

White Art Cart - Purchased many years ago from Cheap Joe's

Bulletin Boards - The Container Store

Paint For Small Bulletin Board - Benjamin Moore Country Life

Fabric For Inspiration Board - Already in my stash, but purchased years ago from The City Quilter

Still Life Props - Ebay, Craigslist, and The Enchanted Home Shop

Easel - Bought years ago from Richeson

Desk Accessories - Poppin and The Container Store.  The business card holder is a tiny easel I picked up in Paris years ago.

Anything else you want to know, just ask.  And as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Review: Oil Painting Essentials By Gregg Kreutz

Hi Everyone,

I'm very excited to finally be able to share this with you.  Gregg Kreutz's new book, Oil Painting Essentials, Mastering Portraits, Figures, Still lifes, Landscapes, and Interiors is out today.

As regular readers of this blog know, Gregg has been my friend and teacher for many years.  I was lucky enough to see parts of the book as it was being written and photographed, but seeing the book as a whole has been very exciting.

I'll start off with my favorite thing about the book:  it actually describes how to improve your paintings.  That is something not easily found in art books, but in my opinion it is the most important.   An author just droning on about how to make a painting great is not helpful to me.  Oil Painting Essentials has step by step instructions for everything from how to begin a painting to setting up a still life to how to wrap up and everything in between.

Copper Pot, 18x25, Gregg Kreutz

This is a page I shot from the book to illustrate how to begin a painting.  The book is filled with great tutorials like this.

Dark Glass, 10x12, Gregg Kreutz

Mexican Pitcher, 18x24, Gregg Kreutz

Brass And Gold, 12x16, Gregg Kreutz

Still Life With Chinese Screen, 24x28, Gregg Kreutz

Above are some of Gregg's still life paintings.  I'm so glad the vase above has been immortalized as I leaned on a shelf and broke it :(  The book covers still life, portraits, landscapes and interiors as well as drawing and painting the figure.

Another page of the book.

Below The Manhattan Bridge, 42x34, Gregg Kreutz

Assisi Morning, 14x12, Gregg Kreutz

Paris Street, 18x22, Gregg Kreutz

House On The Ridge, 14x18, Gregg Kreutz

The Framer, 28x24, Gregg Kreutz

On The Table Cloth, 27x22, Gregg Kreutz

The Set Up, 22x30, Gregg Kreutz

Golden Earring, 24x20, Gregg Kreutz

One of my favorite parts of the book is the section on painting studio landscapes.  As you may recall, I went nuts a few months ago trying to turn small field paintings in to large studio landscapes.  I was not very successful so I'm excited to get into the studio and give these lessons a try.

All of the beautiful images above are in the book and there are many more.  The book is so beautifully done it could stand alone as a coffee table book, but it is so chock full of information that it belongs in the studio.  I've been in Gregg's class for many years and I learned so much from reading the book.  Whether you are a brand new painter, have been painting for years or just like to look at great art, this is the book for you.

Obviously I'm biased, but I hope you'll order the book and give these lessons a try.  You can order the book here.  If you do, please leave me a comment and let me know how you like it.

PS: If you are in the New York City area, On June 14, 2016, Gregg will be doing a talk and book signing at 7pm at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, NYC.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

David A Leffel, The Mastery Of Light Retrospective Exhibition

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the opening reception of David Leffel's retrospective exhibition at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu.  It was a fantastic exhibition and it was great to see so many of David's paintings all in one place.

There were two rooms filled with portraits and still lives.  There was a great turnout and it was so fun to see everyone from The Artists Guild as well as workshop participants that I've met over the years.

As you can see, David has done many self portraits.  I have never attempted it and don't know if I would, but I always like to see how other people do it.

After taking a look at the paintings in the small room and catching up with some friends, I went into the large exhibition room.  This is where all my favorites were hanging.

This is a large portrait that David did years ago of Sherrie McGraw.  I was lucky enough to see this a few years ago during their Taos workshop and it is one of my favorite paintings ever.  I was so excited to see it again.

Do you recognize the couple in this painting?  It is John Mellencamp and Elaine Irwin!  John is an amazing singer and songwriter, but he is also a painter and took lessons from David Leffel.  When John and Elaine married, David was in attendance at the wedding and he was commissioned to paint this portrait of the couple. Sadly, they are now divorced and rumor has it that Mellencamp is dating Christie Brinkley.  Just to fill you in on the gossip :)

I love all of these still life paintings.  The light that travels across them is so beautiful.  A good reminder to myself that I need to pay more attention to that.

David signing books

A beautiful book was published for the exhibition and David spent almost the entire reception signing them.

Me with the man of the hour

Tim Newton and Jackie Kamin.  Tim is the chairman of the Salmagundi Club here in New York.  It was so fun to run into him at the show.

In the middle of all this, a crew was filming the reception!  They have been working on a documentary about David Leffel for the last three years.  The director told me that it should be finished up in a few months and then they will start submitting it to festivals.  I can't wait to see it.

Such a sweet story behind this painting.  I love the fact that he wanted to paint someone who had lived life.

Check out this close up.  The colors of the white vase are amazing.  So often we think a white vase has to be white, but adding in all the surrounding colors makes the vase look so rich and helps integrate it into the rest of the painting.

Tim Newton,  Jeremy Lipking and Gregg Kreutz.

My favorite pic of the night.  Such a sweet photo of David and Sherrie.

This was a fantastic exhibition.  If you are near Los Angeles or want to do a fun friends trip to LA for the weekend, you should definitely pay a visit to the show.  There were a bunch of us who got together with friends and made a fun weekend out of it.  I had never been to Malibu and it is absolutely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

The day after the show we did some sight seeing around Santa Monica.  A beautiful, fun place to hang out for the afternoon.  It was so fun to see the pier in person after seeing it several times in movies.  The perfect weather did not hurt either, especially since spring is only making sporadic appearances here in New York.


Hope you enjoyed this look at the exhibition.  I'm off to the studio now to try to finish up at least one of the three paintings I am working on.  Have a great rest of the weekend!