Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prepping for class

Yesterday I realized the images I'd last posted
 were the "experiment" I did in my studio
 to prepare for the
"Grey Day Landscape" exercise.  
When presenting an exercise
 I've never down before,
I like to do a "test run" ahead of time. 

This is the actual 20 minute demo 
I did in front of the class. 

 From this image 

I used to be terrified of doing demos. 
Now I embrace them 
because something interesting always happens. 
And I love the whole "thinking on your feet" 
aspect of it. 
You never know what is going to happen! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Grey Day Landscapes

For our last class of the session last week 
we talked about "grey day landscapes" 
and how to make them more exciting. 

"Path to the Sea"
8 x 8 

I took this fairly boring image
with no light and shadow pattern, 

did a quick black and white thumbnail 
to determine the composition, 
then mapped it in with orange. 

I made up the colors to give it a little jolt,
and to have more fun! 

To paraphrase Charles Hawthorne;
"Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision- 
it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so." 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Glorious Fall

We have had the most glorious Fall this year.
Day after day of bright sunshine,
cerulean blue skies, and brilliant color.
A difficult subject to paint,
because it's almost too unbelievable.
But so compelling.
This was outside my studio
screaming at me.

Glorious Fall
8 x 8 

A few previous attempts at same subject: 

Ironically, last week a student brought in this amazing book,
filled with over 400 brilliantly reproduced paintings by the 

The best $25 you could spend on this fascinating topic.
They do fall landscapes better than anyone and the  
reproductions are gorgeous.

Another incredible book on that topic is 
It's the amazing story of the life of Emily Carr,
a Canadian writer and painter,
and the only woman invited to join the group. 
Happy Reading! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pattern Painting Exercise - revisited

I rarely introduce the Pattern Painting exercise
because it's the complete opposite of
the One Hour Approach
and can get confusing.  
However, after seeing the Upside Down Paintings 
the class did last week,
I knew they were more than ready for it.
I was not disappointed! 

Such strong design 

So simple yet so expressive. 
It tells a story.

This just works on so many levels. 
Shapes, color, design.

Lousy image, sorry! 
Very strong painting, "exaggerating the values"

Marsha's first version

then she did this in the last ten minutes of class.
From an Instagram out of a book. 

Just another hard day at the office! 
Are you kidding? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Workshop "Shake Up"

Every year, I take a workshop with someone
whose approach to painting is completely different than mine.
It can be a bit painful yet it's always exhilarating,
and it forces you to grow and mature as an artist.

 I have just signed up for a figurative workshop with 
Terry Muira in Nashville, TN in February. 
Figure by Terry Muira

Oh baby. 
This is totally out of my "comfort zone"! 
Softer edges, different paint handling, 
 and less literal translations.
I knew I needed to take it when I read this on his blog: 

"Mindlessly copying what we see, even if accurately done, 
will only give us an imitation of reality, 
lacking in artist's intent and expression." 

I experimented a bit today.  
"Sunday Brunch"
8 x 8 

I tried put the focus on the mimosas by
blurring out the edges on everything else.
Hey. Thats why I'm taking the workshop! 

Speaking of that: 
I get so much inspiration from reading 
other artists' blogs. 
Here are some of my favorites who have 
shared lessons they've learned in workshops recently. 

Thank you fellow artists! 
That information is invaluable! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Boston Bricks

I had about an hour to paint today
and I'd found this in my studio and finished it up. 
I'd started it a few weeks ago, got interrupted,
then forgot about it. 
(From a photo taken last spring) 

Early Spring, Newbury Street 
9 x 12 

I'm finding the color of Boston bricks 
can be just as challenging as 
the color of sand. 

Our 3 year old lab Cello is re-habbing 
after surgery on her ACL last week. 
She can't get up my studio stairs for a few weeks,
so I'm painting in the lower level, 
with her on a bed next to me.
Not a bad set up! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Painting Upside Down

I am having so much fun with the "Painting From Photos" 
class on Thursday afternoons. 
Yesterday we painted upside down. 

This exercise really forces you to see the 
strong patterns of light and dark shapes.
Your brain works completely differently. 

My "demo"
When I turned this over, I realized 
I'd made them too skinny and tall.
But that's the fun of it. 

I like to outline the big shapes with a marker
to help separate them. 

The students brought in their own images
and went to town.

Sorry I didn't get images of the photos these were from. 

Turning them right side up for the first time is such fun.
Results are very dramatic, expressive, 
and surprising! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Best Gift

Our daughter was in a wedding this weekend
 in Northern California of a friend of hers 
who grew up in Marshfield Hills, MA. 
She commissioned me to do this for a wedding gift. 

Marshfield Hills General Store, MA 
8 x 10 oil 

I enjoyed painting this because I love Annie 
and the friendship she shares with Grier. 
The General Store is a landmark building 
across the street from where Annie grew up.

One of the many gifts of being a painter! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Boston Inspiration

I was inspired by new subject matter 
while in the city last week. 
I caught this guy on his "stoop" in the bright morning sun. 
(With my 50 x zoom) 

"Sunday Paper, South End"
12 x 12 

A complicated subject,
so I tried to simply hint at things. 

I am giving a 20 minute talk at the 
Pot Luck gathering next Wed night 6:30 - 9:00.
It's open to anyone so stop on by. 
Bring something to nosh on, they have wine. 
I'll be talking about the One hour Approach 
and show samples of exercises we do. 
It will be entertaining. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dissecting a Photo

My goal in the "Painting From Photos" class 
I'm teaching at NRAS this fall,  
is to show how to dissect a complicated photo 
into big shapes of light and dark.
The results are looser, more expressive paintings.  
 I introduced my favorite "limited stroke" exercise today
I did this demo in 21 strokes. 

From this image. 

The idea is to do a "map"
(Outlining only the big light and dark shapes)  
Count the spaces. 
Give yourself one stroke per space. 
If you lift your brush it's a stroke!  

Mitchell Johnson-ish?

From this photo. 

 Here are a few more done from 
images the students brought in. 
(or had on their I pads or phones) 
This is 16 x 20! 

Kate used a huge brush and lots of paint.  

Marsha's Mid Century interior

Dawn's red cup
Mary Jo's apples

This exercise supports the idea that
 if you have a strong composition with correct values,
you can then take a painting anywhere you want.
I find that so liberating.