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!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

One More From the Coast

 "Yaquina Bay Boats"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

I saved the best for last, location-wise, on this trip to the coast. I love the fishing boats in Newport harbor, but the best light (and fewest tourists) are in the early morning. Which I've had to discover by trial and error. Lots of walking around thinking about painting and not doing it. Picking a perfect painting spot seems to be more a matter of serendipity than science. Why can't someone just come along and tell me exactly where to stand?

When I showed up to paint these boats, serendipity was on my side. I parked my car, wandered directly out onto the boardwalk, and saw my painting in front of me. Sometimes you find yourself in the right place at the right time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seal Rock: Getting Over My Issues.

 "Seal Rock"
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas

I've had issues with Seal Rock in the past. Fog, Food poisoning....bad paintings....but Seal Rock is my husband's favorite beach on the Oregon coast, because the enormous yellow rock protects the beach from wind, keeping it warm enough to frolic on (in bathing suits, which no one would dare wear on the OR coast, except Jesse and Ellie, because they are extremely warm-blooded, and also crazy). To keep out of the wind, you have to climb down a nicely paved path just south of the rock itself, but for this painting, I set up a quarter mile down 101, at a viewpoint off the highway. I climbed over the guard rail and planted my easel and umbrella in the clifftop dirt. It was a great spot, and a not-too-windy day - considering - luckily I stayed upright long enough to sketch this in. I also enjoyed talking to the many photography enthusiasts who seemed to know the spot well.

Ah, Seal Rock. I may finally have figured out what my husband sees in you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Early early.

 "Yaquina Head Lighthouse from Agate Beach"
11 x 14 inches, oil on canvas

One of my favorite things to do at the coast is run on the beach. Early. The light is so spectacular at sunrise. Instead of running this morning, I dragged my gear out onto the beach (not a short hike), optimistically planted my umbrella in the sand, and began to paint. Well, the light - and the umbrella - didn't last long. But I got this down on canvas before I was forced to flee by the advancing sun.

After wading back through the rapidly drying sand, I retreated to town for coffee and breakfast!

 Painting with subject, taken well after I'd gotten the intial light/shadow realtionships down.

...And in case I haven't made you Oregon-coast-jealous enough: my lonely easel on the sunrise-washed beachscape: 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Street Art

"Above Toledo"
12 x 9 inches, oil on canvas

Toledo, Oregon is a sunny little town about ten miles inland from Newport. It has a vibrant arts community, and I was lucky to be there during their annual art walk. After exploring the town, I decided to stay and paint a while. I didn't even need to search out a parking garage to get this view- it's a seriously hilly place! (and there aren't any, anyway - parking garages)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Ocean Rocks, Yes It Does

 "Ocean Rocks"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

On my second day at the coast, I returned to Yaquina Head - site of this lovely lighthouse - to capture a scene I'd scoped out on my previous painting trip.

If you stand next to the lighthouse and look to your left, you see this:

 ...And if you stand there long enough without a jacket on, you get VERY COLD, like I am in this picture!

Friday, September 12, 2014

On A Beach. Ona Beach.

  "The Bridge to Ona Beach"
8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

After the excellent time I had painting the coast back in July, I was determined to return before the end of summer. And I did, last week!

I started out at Ona Beach, a lovely spot just south of Newport, where Beaver Creek meets the sea. Colorful kayakers crossed through my painting several times during the morning, and a group of boisterous kids built a campfire nearby, sending smoke signals across my view. Also there were clouds. Moving clouds. But how could I complain? I was in one of my favorite places on earth, doing the thing I love to do more than anything else. It was bliss - and a great way to warm up for plenty more coastal action.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

McKenzie Art Festival Paintout

 "Leaburg Dam"
16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

Well. This paintout was a blast. And it was three weeks ago. Bad blogger! Since then, I have been to the coast to paint (much more on that tomorrow), and to the Bay Area for a wedding. Also plenty of other stuff that I can't even remember right now because I'm busy planning my next adventure: the Hillsboro Plein Air Plus paintout, which is this weekend in Portland!

But back to three weeks ago...The McKenzie Art Festival paintout is a nice event, in conjunction with a sweet little arts festival with live music and a display of vintage RV's. I arrived early to get my canvases stamped, and headed out to find a good spot, finally settling on the Leaburg dam. A picturesque spot - but more importantly, a spot with parking, porta-potties, and SHADE!


 The day got sizzling hot, and I had to shed several layers before dropping my painting off to be juried. Here is my piece, below my friend (and figure-painting companion) Farley's entry:

With only seven artists in the contest, I still felt honored to take third place. Here I am in the winner's circle, with friends Farley (1st place), Patti (juror), and Brent Burkett (2nd).

I'm the one in red, in case you're new to the blog. :)