Sunday, December 30, 2012


Our GJWP challenge this month is 
to paint in the style of Matisse.
(Check us out on the first of the month!)

These challenges are my favorite because I enjoy researching. 
I always discover some amazing things! 
I never knew that after 1948, Matisse was bed ridden,
 yet he produced a number of works known as gouaches decoupees. 
They were made by cutting or tearing shapes from paper painted with gouache. 

The Snail 
Henri Matisse 

These works were quite large and 
were done by assistants under his strict direction.
This one is 10 feet by 10 feet! 
Read more about this on the 
Tate website. 
Color Wheel 
8 x 8
by Nancy Colella 
papiers decoupes'

I painted assorted types of paper (watercolor, bristol, cardboard, tissue) 
with oil paint using my basic pallet. 
Then cut out shapes and glued them on a board, 
loosely thinking about the color wheel. 

Matisse said; 
"The technique allows me to draw in the color. 
It is simplification for me. 
Instead of drawing the outline and putting the color inside it- 
the one modifying the other- 
I draw straight into the  color"
Quoted in Amis de L'art October 1951. 

 I'm all about simplification!

Friday, December 28, 2012

"Back to Basics" Class almost filled!

I just heard that my 
Back to Basics (#320) class
at the South Shore Art Center
(Tuesdays 1/22 - 3/5  9:30 - 12:30) 
Cohasset, MA  
is almost full! 
Three spots left. 
This is just a nudge. 
If you were thinking about doing this,
NOW would be good.  

I have a some fun new props!  

My goal is to present basic tools everyone needs 
to build a strong foundation for good painting. 
Suitable for beginners but geared for experienced painters 
who may just need to re-charge their batteries.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beach Wreaths

My friend Margaret, a retired respiratory therapist, 
came over yesterday to "play" in the studio. 
I had collected all kinds of stuff on the beach 
so we got out some cardboard and glue guns 
and went to town! 



Happy Holidays!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Fixing" Paintings

Just what  I needed. 
A long rainy day in the studio.

I listened to Christmas music and fixed up paintings that 
have been sitting around the studio
 bugging me.

"Sunday Ride" 
12 x 24 
I took the trees out of the background 
and softened the horizon line on this one.  

"Off to Paint! "
8 x 10 

I rarely paint from images of people posing,
 (looking in to the camera)
I love this though because it's of my friend Sally 
who is always prepared and will paint any where, any time! 

"Danny Caught a Fish! "
11 x 14 

Whenever someone catches a fish on the beach, 
there is always a flurry of interest. 
This was going to be wiped the day I did it. 
Now I'm glad I saved it!  

"Bocci Boys"
11 x 14 

My son and his pals play a lot of Bocci on the beach.
I'd used cad red to do the "map"for this and had left a lot of it showing. 
I covered them up, changed the color of the sand, and worked on the water. 

I feel like I spent the afternoon at the beach.
A nice break from all the incredible heartbreak 
we are all feeling.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Visit

 The Visit 
11 x 14 

While working with the Alzheimer patients,
I am constantly reminded how devastating
 this disease is for their loved ones.  
My heart breaks when I watch the visits. 

Let's all think about those who are 
struggling with this, especially during the holiday season! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Colors" in fox hunting

I researched Fox Hunting on line and found this 
 link to some of the terms used. 
Apparently "colors" refers to the distinctive color of coat and buttons
 each hunt club adopts as their livery. 
Usually hunt staff and male members only wear the scarlet coats.  

Scarlet Coat 
8 x 10 

 I added the blue sky here, 
thinking it would make that red jacket stand out even more.

They NEVER use the term "dogs" when hunting. 
They are referred to as "hounds" only!  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

More fun with Fox Hunting

The Fox Hunt 
8 x 10 

Even though the subjects in this are all in direct sunlight,
(no strong dark and light shadow pattern)
the image attracted me because of all the black and white shapes 
surrounding the one big red one. 
I used a board that I had toned with high gloss exterior paint 
so the surface was really slippery.
It helped keep things loose,
but I found it hard to control the brushstrokes.
Oh well. It's fun to be out of control once in a while! 

On another note: 
I recently ran across the work of 
Chicago based artist Darren Thompson.
I love this guy's work.

Talk about loose and juicy! 
His paintings are so expressionistic and full of energy.  
A real inspiration! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sunday Hunt

I recently reconnected with a friend of mine from Chicago 
who does a lot of horseback riding. 
I found some great images of her on one of her hunts on her Facebook page 
and thought they would be great subjects for some larger paintings.

Sunday Hunt #1
12 x 24 

The figures and the horses were working well in this,
but once I added the background, it felt overworked and fussy.
(And the heads feel a little too big.)  

Sunday Hunt #2
12 x 24 

So I did another one and made it ALL ABOUT the 
figures and the horses. 
What do you think? 

Last week, I bought lots of new odd sized larger canvas's 
to play with and I'm psyched! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Repeating a Good Time

I rarely offer to re-do a painting that has sold.
Somehow it feels like trying to repeat a good time, 
which we all know, doesn't always work out. 

Busy Beach Day 
8 x 10 

A woman in NYC saw this on the Cove Gallery website. 
It had sold so she asked if I had anything like it. 
I did not, but I thought it would be a good challenge to try it again. 

Busy Beach Day II

I think it has the same feel and happily, 
she is delighted and is purchasing it to give to her daughter! 

The added bonus: 
The flood gates are open and 
I am painting again! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Sip and Sketch"

Thank you everyone who wrote to me 
regarding my "painters block!" 
As much as I know we all go through it, 
it's great to hear how others deal with it! 
To help move things along,
I hosted a small "Sip and Sketch" last night in my studio.

There is nothing more cathartic than sitting around 
with talented artist pals 
chatting and sipping wine 
while doing blind contour drawings of each other 
(and Cello!)  
 I think it reminded all of us just how important 
(and fun!) sketching is! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Edouard Vuillard

 My pal Sally and I found some great art books 
at a Church Fair recently. 
I am thrilled with this paper back
published by the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1954
in conjunction with an exhibition that summer.  

It is a real treasure; 
a chronological look at the artist and his work, 
filled with great colored images.  

Lilacs, 1892

Self Portrait 1892 

These two are not his most famous paintings,
 but they represent his interest in pattern painting! 
(See my previous Pattern Painting post) 

Note: I'm having significant "painters block"right now.
Change of season. Full moon. 
Whatever it is, I am trying to accept it, so am spending time 
looking at art, reading about art, 
and complaining about it to my friends and family.
Sorry guys.  
This too shall pass. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

In the Style of Van Gogh

Our challenge this month is to do a painting 
in the style of Vincent Van Gogh.

I've been spending a lot of time
walking in the woods lately
(with Cello!) 
 so I thought I'd do something with trees. 

"Color in a painting, is like enthusiasm in life"
Vincent Van Gogh 

I love that quote! 
I saw it in Haidee- Jo Summers's fabulous new book! 

I did this quick sketch on my I Pad 
first to experiment with some color! 
Such a fun tool. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Back To Basics" continued

I'm trying out a few exercises I may do with the 
"Back to Basics" class I'm teaching in January.
I'm starting with one from Peggi's Value and Color DVD.

 I took the drawing of the sphere and block,
and massed in everything in shadow in one color.  

I adjusted the shadow values, 
then moved on to the masses in light.

The whole time I reminded myself about 
cast shadows, form shadows, 
shadow core, reflected light, 
half tones and accents. 

Then, I took two objects similar to the sphere and cube; 
a yellow cup and a red box, 
and painted them in color, using the same approach. 

This is an incredibly valuable exercise.
A good drawing and a clear understanding of those terms
(and how they help suggest form) 
are the foundation for strong paintings. 

I need to get really comfortable with this. 
before I have to demo it in front of the class! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Back to Basics" class

Recently, I was feeling like I needed to take a  
"Back to Basics" painting class.
A "refresher" course of sorts.   
So when the SSAC proposals for winter classes were due, 
I decided to teach one instead. 
That way, I would be sure to re-learn everything!
The brochure came out this week:  

"Back to Basics"
 for Stronger Oil Paintings
Nancy Colella
 Do you lack confidence in your drawing skills? 
Are you confused about “shadow core” or “reflected light”? 
Do you struggle with the difference between color and value? 
This six-week course will put you back on track. 
We will practice simple techniques for better drawing. 
We will explore light and shadow on a form 
and do exercises to help us see value in color. 
Classes will include demos, exercises, discussions and critique. 
This class is suitable for beginners, 
as well as experienced painters who need a “review” of the basics. 
Tuesday am 9:30–12:30 
$175M $215NM 6 classes 
South Shore Art Center 

Practice Drawing
(Measuring with a brush) 

this summer and finally got to play with it today. 
What a valuable learning / teaching tool!  

Taking a class is a great way to warm up the winter blues! 
And they make great gifts. 
To yourself!   

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's Not A Face

I brought my failed attempts at painting faces 
to the GJWP meeting this week
hoping for some advice. 
It worked! 
Paula V. looked at me and said,
"Stop thinking of it as a face.
Paint it like any object"!   
Thank you Paula! 

This time, I approached it the same way I do all my subjects.

I did my map, 
blocked every thing in shadow in with dark shapes.
From there, I added the lights, 
adjusted a few things, and stopped. 

My figurative work is less about portraying a likeness, 
than it is about describing a moment in time.
So I want to get really good at 
 simply suggesting facial features accurately.
This will take LOTS of practice!
Any one want to come over and model?

Monday, November 12, 2012

One More Small Works Show!

Barefoot Lunch 
8 x 8 

This painting and four others 
will be showing at the 
158 Newbury Street 
until December 23rd. 
The opening reception is this Thursday evening 
5:30 - 7:30 pm

To give a gift of original art 
is many times more meaningful (and lasting) than a gift card,
 don't you think?  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Win Win Situation

Every year the 
holds a Holiday Art Sale.
Artist members can submit up to 25 pieces 
and are encouraged to keep the prices low. 

I've submitted some of my old favorites,
that have just been in the studio too long. 
Older work that I'm fond of but need to let go. 
They are all in one-of-a kind distressed wood frames
and are priced to sell!
Like these: 
9 x 12 

"Happy Hour" 
8 x 8 

The buyer gets a great bargain, 
and I get the paintings into new homes!  
(and NRAS makes some money!) 
It's all GOOD.  

Opening reception this Friday 7 - 10 pm. 
Don't miss this OR the opening at SSAC the same night! 
Looks like a busy night for Small Works bargains!   

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Simple Gifts

These three small works  
(and many more) 
will be available at the 
"Simple Gifts Show"
opening this Friday 
Nov 9  
6 - 8 pm
Through December 23rd!  

You Talkin' To Me? 
6 x 6 

6 x 6

Double Trouble 
6 x 6 

This is a great opportunity to purchase fine art at great prices! 
Hope to see you there! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Painting Faces

8 x 16 

For years I have avoided "doing faces" in my figurative work.
For all the obvious reasons.
I've decided to finally make that a personal challenge.  

Thought I'd post some of my disastrous attempts.
I tried to just focus on the planes of the face
Not the details.

No. This is NOT Angelina Jolie!

A little better, but the mouth is still awkward! 

Tried a different angel for this one, thinking that was the problem. 
Now she looks like she just had oral surgery!  

Too much botox!!! ? 
Boy. This is difficult.  

The slightest little move of the brush changes everything!
I clearly need to do A LOT more work on this
and I'm not giving up.

Stay tuned.  

Note: I did these for the GJWP "HAT" Challenge this month. 
Needless to say, none of them could be be posted!  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Red Hat

The GJWP challenge this month was
Click here to see this month's entries!

"Red Hat" 
8 x 8 oil 

I think hats make wonderful subjects
 because they are great indicators of sunlight.

This painting will be one of five 
that will be part of a 
at the 
Copley Society of Boston 
158 Newbury Street Boston, MA 
November 15 - December 24 

Opening reception Nov 15 
5:30 - 7:30 
Stop by! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You Gotta Love NYC

Our plans to get to the Edward Hopper House 
opening reception in Nyack, New York  
were dashed with the pending arrival of Sandy Sunday afternoon.  
We did, however, get to NYC on Saturday 
and, as always, I was not disappointed by all the "visuals."  

I took this out of the cab window in SoHo.  
Those are real underwear attached to that canvas.
Kind of creepy. No?
I wonder how much that will go for. 

This poor waiter was clearly embarrassed 
about taking a "Banana Split" for a walk. 
(But then again, look what he's wearing!)  
It was Halloween weekend after all. 

I thought this was a clever way to advertise.
Made me want to go in and get a blow out!

Just a couple of Cow Boys and Girls
hailing a cab. 

We are now back in Boston awaiting the arrival of Sandy.
Many prayers and thoughts go out to all 
who will be affected.
Be safe!