Friday, October 31, 2014

Float On!

"Float On"
12 x 9 inches, oil on canvas

These glass floats are an Oregon coast antique shop staple. I didn't head to my Toledo residency with these in mind to paint - in fact, I thought I'd be painting fish all week - but that was not in the cards, as I'll tell you much more about tomorrow.

Here's how this painting developed. I sketched in the underpainting with a mix of Cadmium yellow and red, dulled with a tiny bit of Ultramarine blue. I like the warmth peeking through, even though the dominant colors of the piece are cool coastal blues and greens. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Floats and Tea: An Oregon Coast Still Life

 "Floats and Tea"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I'm posting a series of still lives this week, painted on the Oregon coast in the amazing studio owned by Michael Gibbons. Click on the home tab above and scroll down to see more of them!

Here's an in-progress shot of this one:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Coast Still Life, and Excitement in the Mail!

 "Stone, Shell, Glass, Metal"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Conveying various textures is something I talk about a lot in my workshops. The trick to differentiating a rough rock from a smooth blown-glass ball is all in the transitions between values, which sounds ridiculously simple, but it isn't. Really, it's all about observing. The transition from a highlight to a midtone is what shows our eyes whether they're looking at a piece of velvet or a shiny metal pot. Is it a smooth, gradual transition, or a sharp juxtaposition of bright light next to dark? 

Speaking of painting tips....I just cracked open a very exciting envelope from Random House: my friend Carol Marine's new book!

 I was lucky enough to receive my copy early because I'm included in the book! Carol used this funny picture from last year's Bad Art Destruction Party:

Plus, she included one of my paintings as an example of using perspective in a still life.

What an honor! Really, if you paint, or know someone who does, this book is a must-own. Go buy it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beachy Still Life

 "Sand Dollars and Floats"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I went to Toledo last week planning to paint still life, but I decided to take nothing with me. No props. Ok, yes, I took some of my favorite backdrop papers, but I wanted to paint whatever came my way. There was nothing at the studio, though! It was a blank canvas. 

Luckily, there's a bustling antique and beach-mobilia industry at the coast, and I was able to get my hands on some beautiful, simple stuff. Sand Dollars and floats.

Here's a progression for this piece:

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Coastal Retreat

 "The Last Raspberries"
12 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

Honest, I did not intend to be out of touch for the past week! But what a glorious week it was....

I rented a studio in Toledo, Oregon, and painted up a storm. It was a perfect little place: a renovated, historic building from the 1880's, which used to house the Justice of the Peace for this tiny coastal town. It's owned by Michael Gibbons, an artist who paints amazing Northwest landscapes. The light in the studio is sublime, and I think you'll see the evidence in all my work from the week!

Here's my block-in for this piece:

 And here's the approach to the studio:

Skylights, north-facing windows, peace and quiet. Lack of wifi kept me from blogging, but really, isn't an enforced internet break what we all need sometimes?

The weather was typical Oregon coast October: windy, windier, rainy, and chilly. I was perfectly satisfied to stay inside and focus on still life, painting my beach-walk finds and some antique store treasures. Stay tuned for much much more!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Workshop, Way Down South!

 "Demo at Shreveport no. 1"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Wow, what a weekend! And, yes, I do know it's Thursday and already almost another weekend. I'm talking about last weekend, which I spent in Louisiana teaching! It's taken me this long to get this blog post together - I had loads of great photos to go through, and yes, a wee bit of flying trouble which delayed me a day getting home.
But I'm here now, and ready to take you back in time...

Shreveport is beautiful, just look at this!

The workshop was hosted by one of the students, whose lakefront property and amazing studio were perfect for the class - and more than luxurious for me. I'm so grateful to have gotten to spend time painting there!

Here's how we set up the space before everyone arrived:


 Here are my artists, getting busy:

 They were a talented - and motivated - group, who came well-prepared to do some serious painting.
As you can see, I'm not kidding about the talent:

In fact, I got so jealous watching them paint that I had to do a little painting of my own after class on Saturday night - the teacher's homework!
 "Demo at Shreveport no. 2"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

For our final day of class, I broke some eggs. They make a good change of pace after two days of fruit.

Here's my demo, which I painted after lunch, you know, just in case anyone was tired. Were they tired? I couldn't tell! They were the most enthusiastic cheerleaders ever.

I don't know how many times I used the phrase, 'Can I just take you all home with me?!'

"Demo at Shreveport no. 3"
10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Thanks so much, ladies, for a great workshop! 

Five Exciting Lemons

"Five Lemons"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Hey all! I'm blogging to you from (the vastly inferior method of) my phone on the shore of a gorgeous lake outside of Shreveprt, Louisiana! Tomorrow I begin a still life workshop with a group of enthusiastic ladies and I don't know how I'll ever sleep tonight. Excited! More soon!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Plein Afterthoughts

"Purple Morning Shadows"
10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

This one snuck home with me from Hillsboro, a little warmup from around 7 in the morning, near downtown. The storefront is a barbershop, and the owner was kind enough to let me charge my phone inside while I painted outside!

Friday, October 3, 2014

From Palette to Painting

 "Blue Shadow"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I've been doing a LOT of limited palette lately, so it felt good to wallow around in my normal array again. My palette got more complex, but my subject is nice and simple: a contiguous color scheme (yellow-green-blue), and an old standby, lemons!

Here's my palette:

And here's how the painting came together:

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Figurative Sketch, a One Dollar Auction, and a Calendar!

 "The Red Wrap"
16 x 12 inches, oil on paper
$1 auction!

Well, folks, there are still some places where one can work from the nude here in Eugene (Go here to read all about our recent local arts-scandal), and I am proud to be a part of one! This was painted last night at Maude Kerns Art Center's weekly open studio session. All media are welcome, though Tuesday nights' attendees are mostly oil painters.

This was completed in three 45 minute sittings, using (what else?) a Zorn palette.
In other news, my 2015 Calendar is out! All still life, no nudes - so totally suitable for offices, cubicles, kitchens, your mother-in-law's Christmas stocking, etc......Check it out!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Teaching the Zorn Palette Portrait

Demo no. 1, 8 x 10", oil on canvas

Whew! What a weekend. I just spent an exhilarating three days working with a fantastic group of artists, exploring the Zorn palette and honing our portrait skills. We were hosted by one of the gems of Eugene, Oregon Art Supply. As my students remarked over and over: taking a painting class in an art supply store is like being a kid on Christmas!

Above is my demo from the first day of class. Nothing breaks the ice like a little performance painting! 

In the afternoon, we did some one-hour sketches - and lots and lots of mixing with our limited palettes of Cadmium Red, Yellow Ocher, Ivory Black, and Titanium White.

Student work, 1 hour sketches

I've said it before on this blog - I love to wield the timer while teaching. True to form, the next morning, I had them do 30 minute sketches! To prove it could be done, simply but effectively, I turned in my homework:

 30 minute Zorn palette sketches, oil on paper, approx. 6x8 inches. From photo reference. Painted by me.

And here is my demo from the day - A 30 minute start on the left, and a few more details added later on:

Students hard at work, painting our lovely (and statue-still) model Jennifer:


After surviving the timed-painting torture/warmup, they dove into some larger paintings for the rest of the day:

 On the third day, we rested. Just kidding!

Demo no. 3, 12 x 16", oil on canvas, sold

 On the third day, with yet another lovely and patient model, we painted up a storm. Here's my demo, approximately 2 hours. I can't believe I didn't get a shot of the students' paintings. They were phenomenal. 

It was three days of hard work, every minute was fun, and I can't wait for the next time! Lucky for me, another session of Painting the Zorn Palette Portrait is happening November 8-10th. Call Oregon Art Supply to reserve your spot. Tuition is $200, plus a $30 model fee. Only 6 spots available, so don't wait if you'd like to join us in November!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Zorn Gets Glamorous

14 x 11 inches, oil on canvas

One of the best ways to get to know somebody better is to have them sit for you! I've been admiring Sadie's unique look since I met her last year, and finally got up the nerve to ask her to model! I enjoyed chatting with her while I painted, even if it did make her mouth difficult to capture. :)
I used a Zorn palette - that's Cadmium red, YellowOcher, Ivory Black and white only. It's amazing what you can do with so little.

I'll be taking my Zorn palette show on the road this weekend, with a three-day portrait workshop at Oregon Art Supply. It starts tomorrow, so stay tuned for updates!
(Spoiler alert: Sadie will be modeling for the class on Sunday!)

And yes, I'll be teaching this workshop again before the end of the year, if there's demand - so call Oregon Art Supply and let them know you're interested (if you are)!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Skulls Fall Into My Lap

"Horse Skull no. 1"
11 x 14 inches, oil on canvas

I'm calling this 'no.1' because I plan on painting this dead guy many more times (since I'm hosting him for a year, while my friend and model Tahni is in Sweden studying Swedish) She found him in a field near her family's farm south of Eugene years ago, and has kindly entrusted him to me while she's abroad. This isn't the first time art people have leant me skulls. Isn't life beautiful, artists?

The vase is full of Lamb's ear leaves, which Ellie picked from our yard - we're not in short supply - it's the only thing we seem to be able to grow! I kind of thought they worked, color-wise. Then, as I was painting, it dawned on me: Horse skull and lamb's ears. Hm.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Reporting from Hillsboro: Warning: LONG and picture-heavy post!

"Water Lilies"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas
$250, framed

Last weekend, I set out on yet another plein air painting adventure. I'd been told that Hillsboro had an absolutely amazing plein air event, and I wasn't misinformed. It's a little town about 15 miles North of Portland, Oregon, and I rolled in early, ready to explore and paint! Here's what I saw downtown:

Promising painting spots everywhere I looked.

After getting my canvases officially stamped, I set out for a local park, designated as the day's painting spot, complete with models! (The above painting of water lilies was sketched as a warmup, just getting a feel for the park.)

A huge reason I wanted to attend Hillsboro's paintout was that they provide "Tableaux Vivants," or "Living Pictures," in case you don't speak French (which I certainly don't). Last summer, I taught a workshop on painting the figure en plein air, but it didn't end up being outside because of weather. The light outside is so much more colorful and random than anything the studio can provide.

Here I am happily - and nervously - starting my first "tableau vivant." A work-in-progress:

And here's the finished product! I was happy - and hot. The Hillsboro paintout folks were very attentive to both artists and models, providing chilled water and lots of sympathy, but secretly all of us Oregonians were enjoying the unseasonal September heat.

That evening, a Nocturne-paintout was hosted by a downtown eatery. Never having painted at night, I was once again nervous, but ready to try:

I could see my subject well enough by the ambient light from the shop windows, and my headlamp alternately illuminated my palette and my canvas (as I looked up and down), but I still wasn't entirely sure what I'd done until the next morning! Hey, that happens at home in the studio, too, with being exhausted.

It turned out OK!


Bright and early the next morning, there was another Tableau Vivant, this time with models in historical costumes. Being a huge Anne of Green Gables fan since childhood, I was captivated!

The whole thing began at 9:30 am, and I was out warming up even earlier - wandering the local farmer's market and painting some early light. My flip-flops were off and my toes were in the grass by 10 am, and it was sweltering! What a great late summer paintout.

 And here's the finished product from that session, which lasted two hours! How those ladies made it in their costumes, I don't know. But I hope they enjoyed some of the good farmers market food that I did after it was all over.

 All of these pieces are for sale, although they will be on view in Hillsboro at the Walters Cultural Arts Center until November. So contact me if one captures your fancy!