Saturday, September 17, 2016

Avocado and Tomatoes in Black and White - and More about Notan

fine art black and white oil painting of avocado
 "Avocado and Tomatoes"
approx. 8 x 11 inches, oil on Arches oil paper
One-Dollar Auction!
Click to bid

After reading this post by James Gurney, I decided to try some notan sketches on brown cardboard as a warmup for this painting - and it was fun! It's so satisfying to put thick white paint over a midtone surface. Why? Who knows - but I'll be back for more. 

notan black and white oil painting of avocado and tomato

The idea with notan is that midtones have to get lumped into either dark or light - you only have two values to work with. These forced choices remind us that we are interpreting, not copying the subject; composition is something we impose on nature. Two artists will not come up with the same value scheme in a notan sketch. There is no right or wrong way to do it. 

Also, it looks cool!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Orange Orbit" oil painting and work-in-progress, notan to finish

art painting oil painting of oranges by Sarah Sedwick
 "Orange Orbit"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

While I had this still life set up, I thought I'd try a vertical rectangle in addition to the square composition I painted first. 

These oranges were really patient! They stuck with me for weeks - and I even ate one of them after I finished this today. So maybe they really were from outer space....orbiting. Hm.

Here's my progression from notan to a 4-value sketch to my underpainting to the finish! No shot of me eating the orange, though. Next time.

art painting oil painting process notan sketch underpainting

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Alla Prima Portrait Sketch; Limited Palette Workshop Demo

 Zorn palette portrait workshop demonstration painting by Sarah Sedwick
 "Sketch of A."
approx 8x11 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

This month marks two years since my first portrait painting workshop. Amazing how time flies! And although I've painted this model quite a few times, it's always nice to revisit a familiar face - especially one with such lovely coloring. I've got pinks, peaches, greens, lavenders, and orangey-browns in those flesh tones - all mixed from three tubes of paint! 

My work-in-progress shows how I painted the face out beyond the contour lines, and then re-drew that edge with the darks in the hair. I also painted the setting of the eye before putting too much detail into the eye itself. 
And the ear - well, I got that on there early and then left it alone, because this.

Zorn palette portrait workshop demonstration painting by Sarah Sedwick

Friday, September 2, 2016

Orbit: A new allaprima still life, plus workshop announcements!

art painting still life oil on canvas by sarah sedwick oranges orange art
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

Here's the progression for this one. On the left is a 3-value oil sketch, in which I resolved to keep my lightest lights in the foreground and on the left diagonal half of the composition. In the center is my underpainting, in a mixed up warm orange - you can use any colors you like for this stage as long as you don't add any white. 

art oil painting still life process allaprima  
For a lot more about my process, consider joining me for a workshop! I've got several coming up this fall, but my baby is the 3-day Dynamic Still Life class in Oklahoma City this October:
art painting workshop still life oklahoma city
info and registration here!

If you're looking to try oil painting for the first time - or get a new perspective on a familiar medium - I offer a one-day Intro to Oils every month at Oregon Art Supply. September's is coming up, on Saturday the 10th. 

oil painting class art workshop eugene oregon
Info and Registration here!
More workshops, including two in the Portland, Oregon area, can be found in the right hand sidebar, or here. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pink on the Inside

grapefruit oil painting still life by sarah sedwick
"Pink on the Inside"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

Another piece from my Still Life Open Studio sessions - if you're in the Eugene/Springfield area and looking for some artists to paint or draw with, join us! Next meeting is September 8th.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cozy Cantaloupe

cantaloupe melon fruit oil painting by sarah sedwick
 "Cozy Cantaloupe"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

There are some truly tricky and subtle oranges going on in cantaloupe. I suspected as much, but I'm not sure I've tried this subject before - at least not in color!
 painting in progress cantaloupe by sarah sedwick
 As you can see, I threw pretty much everything-but-the-kitchen-sink at it, warm-color-wise: clockwise from bottom left - yellow ochre, hansa yellow, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, titanium white, cadmium red light, cadmium red, alizarin crimson. That's a lot of tubes, for this limited palette girl! (The blues are cerulean, ultramarine, and ivory black, in case you're curious).

sarah sedwick oil painting palette

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Color Has Value

cantaloupe oil painting by sarah sedwick
"Cantaloupe Slices"
9 x 9 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

If there's one thing I say over and over again to my students, it's this: you can paint something any color you want, as long as you nail the value, it will work! 
The single most important element of realistic representational painting is value: how light or dark something is on the gray scale. And that's relative to everything else in the painting - so our goal as painters is to train our eyes to perceive that hierarchy of values. 

Sketching is great for this, but black and white oil studies are even better. You kill two birds with one stone, really - focusing on values, and also practicing your mixing and brushwork.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Three Tangelos

oil painting of oranges by Sarah Sedwick
"Three Tangelos"
9 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

These funny looking oranges are a cross between tangerines and grapefruit. Wikipedia claims that they are "juicy at the expense of flesh." Which I think should be the alternate title of this painting, don't you?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Whidbey Island Weekend

 "Dappled Light"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas
Available through Brackenwood Gallery

I had a FANTASTIC weekend, making my second visit to Brackenwood Gallery on Whidbey Island, Washington. (You can read about my first visit here.) 

They call these gallery visits "Artist's Salons," how lovely. And so civilized! I set my easel up outside the gallery doors and chatted with the people who strolled by all afternoon.

 Those gorgeous apples came right out of my hosts' garden on the island, and they were delicious! I know, because I ate them as soon as I was done with this painting. Farm to easel to table? More like ground to hand to mouth. But yes!


Whidbey Island is so great, and so are all the people at Brackenwood Gallery. I'm already looking forward to next year, when rumor has it, I'll be offering a workshop through Whidbey Island Fine Art Studios as well! Exciting!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Self-Portrait, With Video

 "Self-Portrait (Hopeful)"
approx. 8 x 11, oil on Arches oil paper

This self-portrait began as a demo for an online student. At the end of our session, it looked like the first image on the left - so that was about an hour-and-a-half. I worked on it for several more hours, and you can see the progression:

I really enjoy painting for my online students - it's like having excellent company in the studio, with the added bonus of having video documentation of my painting process! I edited this one down to just the block-in - it's about a 15 minute video:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Plum Parade - Now It's a Series!

 "Plum Parade"
approx. 8 x 11 inches, oil on Arches oil paper

Here it is, the one that made it a series. And my third one-dollar auction of the week! You can see the first two here and here.

All three plum paintings, in chronological order. Which is your favorite?

Left to right: "The Red Snake," "The Red Knife," and "Plum Parade," each approx. 8x11 inches.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Red Knife - Another One-Dollar Auction!

"The Red Knife"
approx 8 x 11 inches, oil on Arches oil paper
One-Dollar Auction!

Here is the second in my plums-and-strawberries series. It officially went from a "thing I'm doing" to a "series" when I painted the third installment this morning. Hopefully you'll be seeing that one soon - it still needs its highlights touched up.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Plum Line

 "Plum Line"
9 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

I painted this at Still Life Open Studios - a new project of mine, which is exactly what it sounds like: a drop-in studio session dedicated to my beloved subject, the not-your-momma's still life!

There was a LOT to choose from this week: melons, flowers, strawberries....but I seem to be on a plum kick lately, and I loved using a combination of Ivory black and Alizarin crimson to push those luscious purples as dark as could be.

Just a note: I've got a coupon code for FREE SHIPPING in my Etsy shop this month. It's AUGUST. Go figure!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's One-Dollar Auction Time!

"The Red Snake"
approx. 8 x 11 inches, oil on Arches oil paper
One-Dollar Auction!

This was kind of a demo for my Online Mentorship students, a couple of whom are working on loosening up their process this month with one-hour paintings. They are doing some incredible things! Here is a blog post one of them wrote - I promise, I'm not making her work THIS hard, she's just incredibly motivated. When I say I get as much from my students as they get from me, this is what I'm talking about. What an inspiration!

And speaking of inspiration, I had some help naming this painting. You know who you are, and thanks. ;)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Painting a Dead Horse

 "Dark Horse"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

My new project, Still Life Open Studio, is rolling along! It's a gathering where I set up a still life, and you come and paint it! Well, I paint it. You work in any medium you choose. 

This month's session was inspired by Georgia O'Keefe - skulls and flowers. I had the whole gang assembled - Bambi, Bessie, and Mr. Ed. Yorick was on an artist's residency and could not attend.

I'll be hosting two sessions in August: the 11th and the 25th. Come see what I concoct theme-wise! It's still a mystery to me.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Yellow Path (aka Lemon Pie, the Sequel)

 "Yellow Path"
24x12 inches, oil on canvas
$700, framed

Here it is, the missing slice! 

I enjoyed playing with all the different yellows in this setup - once I got past my freakout over being out of Cadmium Yellow. Seriously, that's like a chef running out of butter! But just like a chef with enough milk and elbow grease, I made my own perfectly suitable substitute using a combo of Indian yellow and Cad yellow pale. No churning required.

A warmup sketch. Getting comfortable with those whipped-cream ridges! Eeek!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Lemon Pie

 "Lemon Pie"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

Why does time always seem to speed up at the end of the month? I at least attempted to slow down this week by spending some time with this lemon cream pie. If you want to find out what happened to the missing slice, tune in tomorrow!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Avocado Appetizer

"Avocado Appetizer"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

I'm really doing the yellow thing lately - well, always - and it doesn't get much more gorgeous in the yellow-green department than an avocado!


No video of this one, but if you're interested in my process for beginning a painting, I have a new video on YouTube. Watch it here!

Strangely enough, my last avocado was posted on July 24th....2008!? Exactly 8 years ago? There are no coincidences....


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Teaching In My PJ's

 "Purple Arrow"
8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

My new online art mentorship program is off to a great start! It's been a couple of months, and the improvements I'm seeing in my students' work are exciting - plus, I'm loving watching them inspire each other (and me). It's like art school, without having to get dressed. Not that I put too much effort into that back in the art school days....

This piece was a demo for one of my students - I recorded our session, and edited it down from over an hour to about 20 minutes. You'll hear us chatting about various things... some related to this painting, some not. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Artist's Vacation

 "Oranges on a Grey Plate"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas
Sold, workshop demo painting

 I just returned from a wonderful whirlwind week in the Midwest. I think it's safe to say I covered all my bases while I was there, too! I taught a workshop, had a gallery opening, visited my father in Cleveland, my sister in Chicago, hit two amazing art museums, and did plenty of other cool touristy stuff - since, after almost a decade in the Pacific Northwest, I am pretty much of a tourist in the land where I grew up.

It all started at BayArts, in Bay Village, Ohio - a pretty amazing place. Here's a panorama of my solo show, "The Color of Light." 

Next up was a workshop. BayArts has a fantastic classroom. You know the feeling a space gets when art is made there for years and years? Lots of that going on here!

It was a great group of students - enthusiastic and talented. Check out their paintings from day two!

Then I decompressed from all that artmaking with some hardcore art viewing. Modigliani at the Art Institute of Chicago:

I have lots of workshops coming up, including another round of the same workshop I just taught at BayArts, at home in Eugene. Spaces are still available for this Saturday and Sunday. Info and registration here. Join us!