Monday, October 31, 2016

Visual Trick Or Treat At The Art Guild Of Port Washington

Happy Halloween!  Today is the perfect day for this post.  The Art Guild of Port Washington had a very fun show this month, Visual Trick/Visual Treat.  The show was centered on fall, Halloween, and artwork that could "trick" the eye.

Of course, we started out by decorating the gallery and then put on costumes ourselves.

This guy was hiding in the corner

Normally the staff hands out the awards, but this time we had three witches to do the honors.

Yes, that is yours truly in the cat costume.  Check out the boots :)

The giant pumpkin showed up a few days later, but I had to post it.  It weighs 125 pounds!

This was one of the most fun receptions I have ever been to.  Everybody had a good time and there was some great artwork.  Thanks to The Art Guild for a great evening.

Have a great Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Still Life: Fruit In A Glass Bowl

I finished this new still life a few days ago.  A couple of weeks ago I decided that I wanted to paint something using this glass candy bowl.  This was a spur of the moment decision, and I had no fruit or flowers in the studio.  I decided to just block in the bowl on the still life shelf and deal with the rest of it later.

Since I was happy with the start, I brought in a bag of fruit the next day in order to make a proper still life set up.  If you look closely, there was originally a blue and white pitcher on the left side of the candy dish, but I decided to leave that out and just go with the fruit.

This is the arrangement that I settled on.  I then proceeded to block in the painting.

This was the end of the first painting session.  I'm always happy when the canvas is covered on the first day.

This was day two.  I was happy at this point as the painting seemed to be going well.  Sometimes on session two or three things don't seem to be going smoothly and it is quite anxiety provoking, so it's always nice when things are on track from the beginning.

At this point, I also put in the glass bowl.  Glass can be really hard or really easy.  Luckily this time it was really easy :)

Getting the colors done correctly on the white cloth was the hardest part of the painting.  It took some time to get the white the way I wanted it.  After a few coats of paint I was finally happy with it, so then it was time to find some spots of personality in the fabric.  These little details make a piece of cloth look so much more interesting.

The last step was putting in the embroidered design.  It took a few tries to get it right.  To achieve the look of the embroidery, I painted in the design, then wiped it lightly with a paper towel.  I then painted over that and took a small palette knife and wiped out the design a little bit.  I repeated this three or four times until I was satisfied that the blue flower looked like it had been embroidered on to the cloth.

Fruit In A Glass Bowl, 11x14, oil

Here is the finished painting.  This was a fun little piece to paint.  I'm starting a new painting this week with another candy dish and some blue and white pieces.  I'm also at work on two other paintings.  I'll have those posts for you soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Designing Nature With Katie Whipple

The past few weeks I have been taking a class called "Designing Nature" with Katie Whipple at the Grand Central Atelier here in New York City.  As all of you know, I love painting my fruit and flowers, but drawing is another story.  I really do not like drawing.  I'm not very good at it, so I avoid it if possible.

At the beginning of the year, I decided that it was time to get back to drawing.  I've been wanting to take a class on drawing flowers.  Not because I'm going to stop painting.  It was really more of a desire to learn about the structure of flowers.  With oil paint, it is very easy to just get something on a canvas.  Plus I always feel stressed to go as quickly as possible before the flowers start wilting and die.

All I was finding were botanical classes, which is not something I am interested in.  I like to look at botanical art, but it is not something I want to do myself.  Over the summer, I looked at Katie's Instagram page, and she mentioned her new class.  I checked out the description and it sounded like the perfect class for me.

Each week we bring in a bloom or a piece of fruit and just work on that one thing for the entirety of the class.  We have the option of drawing or painting, but I am sticking with drawing as that is what I need to work on.

Here is a sunflower I did the second week of class.

I am working on grey toned paper using pencil and white charcoal.  Of course, I started out trying to draw every little petal, something I would never do while painting.  Luckily, Katie spotted me and came over to remind me to start out with the basic shapes and work from there.  

After getting the shape of the flower right, I started putting in the petals, paying careful attention to their shape and making sure they went in the proper direction.

At this point, I started adding in the darks and some lights.  This was my first experience using white charcoal and I really like working with it.  

As you can see, I went a little heavy on the darks.  I'm still trying to master getting the right dark with a pencil.  In a painting it is very easy.  You just mix up the appropriate color and put it on.  If it is too dark or not dark enough, it is very easily fixed.  Not so with pencil.  I'm practicing using a lighter touch and I think that is helping.

Leading up to the big finale...

This is where I finished for the day.  It's not great, but not horrible considering it was my first time out drawing flowers.  

The week after I did the sunflower, I decided to tackle a pear.  Pears are hard to paint (for me) and I discovered, even harder to draw.

This is the end result of the pear drawing.  I can't believe I'm going to put this on the internet for all to see, but I like to be honest about my art trials and tribulations.  This little pear drawing took me about three and a half hours!  Yes, you read that right.  Just getting the shape and proportions right took a long time.  

Katie doing a demo of a rose for the class.

All drawings and paintings by Katie Whipple

Katie brought in some of her own drawings and paintings for the class to see.  Aren't they amazing?  If you would like to see more of Katie's work, check out her Instagram feed.  Tons of beautiful roses and peonies that she has been painting.  

Even though drawing is hard for me, I'm really enjoying this class.  It's always good to challenge yourself and drawing is certainly doing that for me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Still Life: Red And White Vase With Fruit

I recently finished a new still life.  This painting was a bit different for me.  I did not use one of my usual blue and white vases.  Instead I did something new and went with red and white.

Back in September, I attended a still life workshop with Gregg Kreutz at the Chelsea Gallery and Studio in Huntington, NY.

We started the day with a demo, then we all moved on to our own set ups.

This was the original set up.  I made one change right away.  I started the painting as if the still life were resting on a wooden shelf instead of on the fabric.  An all fabric still life can sometimes be trouble, especially if the fabric does not have a pattern.  As Gregg says, you want to be sure your painting does not look like a window display at Macys.   I blocked it in and then got to work on the background and covering the canvas with color.

The block in went pretty well and I did manage to get the rest of the painting covered by the end of the first day.

On the second day of the workshop, I continued putting in the color.  I tried to get as much done as possible since I would not have the set up available after the workshop finished.

This was the painting at the end of the workshop.  It was nowhere near finished, but a pretty good outcome for me.  I rarely get very far during workshops, so I was happy that I had enough done that I could attempt to finish in my own studio.

I worked on the painting for a few sessions and while it was going well, the bottle was just not happening.  It was hard to paint when it was in front of me.  There was no way I could do it from memory.

Instead of giving up on the painting, I subbed in one of my own porcelain vases.  I decided to go with a red and white vase this time.  You know I love my blue and white, but the red made a nice change and fit in well with the rest of the painting.

I drew in the shape and went to work from there.  It took quite a few coats of paint before the vase began to look like porcelain, but there is no way around that.  You have to take the time to get the base right before you paint in the pattern.

I'm not sure if you can tell the difference in the photos, but the more coats of paint I put on the vase the more it started to look like porcelain.  After five or six tries I was finally happy with the look of the vase and added in the pattern.

And here is the finished painting.  I had a good time doing something new and I'm thinking about getting some different colored vases for future paintings.

If something is not working in a painting, don't be afraid to change it up!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A New Still Life: Fruit Compote On A Rug

I finished a new still life last week.  It is a small 9x12, but it took me weeks to finish it.  There is an old saying that a small painting takes just as long as a large one, and in this case it was true.

This time I used a rug for the background.  I think this is only the second time I've painted a rug, and this time turned out much better than my first attempt.

This was my first day block in.  In order to get the colors of the rug the way I wanted them to be, I used many coats of paint on the background.  Even though there are a few different colors in the rug, I began by putting a mix of transparent red oxide and cadmium red light on to the background and then letting it dry.  I chose the red mix because that seemed to be the most prominent color in the rug.  I let each coat dry and then added another.  I think it took a total of five coats of paint.

I believe this was my fourth week on the painting.  As you can see, the color of the background is very rich.  After this dried for a bit I was able to start putting in the design of the rug.  I also finished the fruit and the compote, with the exception of it's blue pattern.

This is the finished painting.  I had a crazy last day working on it.  I began by putting in the pattern on the rug.  I used my small t-square to make sure I got the lines straight, painted in the colors of the pattern, then used a palette knife to make the edges just a bit imperfect.  That is how I achieved the "ruggy" look.

Since I was on a roll, I then painted in the blue pattern on the compote.  Amazingly, I finished that in about 10 minutes!  You just never know with a pattern.  Sometimes it goes right in, other times you agonize for days ( as I did in the painting I just finished).

I'm really happy with this little painting.  It was fun to do and something different from my normal work.  I finished up a new still life today and I will have a post on that coming up soon.