Sunday, March 29, 2009

Out-of-doors still life

It seemed like a good idea at the time ..I set up a little still life station in the back yard, but brrrrrrrr! I certainly could have used an outdoor heater! End result=mediocre painting with crookity bottle. I was frozen throughout the whole effort. Well...nothing a little hot chocolate can't fix.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Artist2Artist at the Columbia Art Gallery..and a question

Today I attended the Columbia Art Gallery's Artist2Artist Personal Development Fair. The keynote speaker was Alyson B. Stanfield, "artbiz coach" and author of  I'd rather be in the Studio. I purchased this book a month ago and haven't read it yet.  I am inspired by today's presentation and I'll start reading the book next week. I enjoyed Alyson Stanfield's no nonsense message.."If you want to be an artist have to be have to have the stomach for it" .....The stomach for it?? Well, I hadn't thought about it in those terms before, but come to think of it I have always subliminally known that the business part of an art career is not for the faint of heart. I do more promotional things than many other artists, but no question..I can definitely improve. I learn unexpected things all the time about better approaches than I have enlisted in the past. I learned several weeks ago from Becca Bernstein what a great resource Facebook can be for getting the word out about events. Stanfield insists that social networking is a great tool. Alyson Stanfield also told us today that a free Blogger account is not ideal. She prefers Typepad or Wordpress for versatilities that free Blogger doesn't provide. One way to reach people and connect with them is to ask a question, according to Stanfield.. is my current question..are you on Facebook? Have you found it helpful in your career? Also..what do you think about Blogger vs. Typepad & Wordpress? (Answer any or all of my questions...and I will give you a PRIZE)!*
(*ok..ok..I'm sketchy on what the prize will be..but I'll think of something)

Friday, March 27, 2009

"The trouble with these lemons"..end of workshop critique

At the very end of our still life workshop Elio gave us the opportunity to submit paintings for critique. Some participants brought work that was painted previously and others just presented the workshop paintings to review. This was a real bonus as it helped to reinforce all the things we had learned during the week. Elio says..."the more you learn about painting....the more you may feel dissatisfied with your work...but don't think of this as a negative," he goes on to say, "it only means that you are not willing to become complacent".
Well, right on Elio. You know, I read things over the internet for about a year about Elio and what a great teacher he is. I confess to having been just a little skeptical. I realize now all that lauding is for real and at the risk of sounding a bit gush-y myself, I can not agree more... Elio completely ROCKS. He knows how to impart knowledge and obviously loves visual art and gives 110%. My awareness went up one complete big notch. I'll be signing up for his July Gorge Plein Air workshop. Elio is an outstanding artist AND an equally talented teacher. 

(Phoebe Dylan painting)

(Workshop paintings for final review)

Last still life ...Oranges on a platter

My Jullian easel nearly fell over again today twice. I liked being able to paint bigger (this is 14 x 18) but geez louise that "nearly falling over thing" can make a person jumpy. Remind me to put a wrench in my backpack. I had a battle with this oval platter..Elio said I seem to have trouble "reading" shapes in the plates and bowls...I got higher marks for using squared up marks in preparation for the painting.. also, he felt I made a big improvement with the maroonish vase. At the beginning of the week I painted that vase very flatly without enough consideration for the reflected lights. Hooray for me, I also finally absorbed and accepted that it should not be painted in a near-black color. 
Elio said that many times our paintings suffer from values that are all too close together. It is a very common "ailment". He recommended that we look at our problematic painting through a red piece of transparent plastic to determine if we see darks and lights. No matter what you are trying to express... a painting will be pretty darn dull if all you see through the plastic is medium gray-gray-gray with no darks or lights. Here is my painting changed to grayscale in photoshop. I managed to enlist some adequate lights and darks...although I am aware that it could have been better...I know I can practice this and improve.

Day five of Elio Camacho workshop..."Questions?"

On the final day of the workshop Elio asked us what specific questions we had.. "Can you show us again how you blend one color into another" and " what kind of lightbulb should we use at our still life station at home*" were the types of questions he fielded for about an hour.
After the Q&A session we collectively tried to assemble one last arrangement of items for our final still life. "No more apples!" one insists.."I hate that big brown jug!" says another. Finally it was decided that cutting an orange in half would give us something new to think about and we all went to last time.
(*Eiko Supreme Photoflood, available at Photo stores).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day Four of Elio Camacho workshop..."Color"

I used my half sized Jullian Easel today. I have only used it twice before and I discovered that it is missing a crucial piece of was a challenge to keep my painting upright...the whole contraption just listed slowly to the left. Elio loaned me a big clamp and I soldiered on. This painting..the largest one I have completed during the workshop (14x18)..gave me fits and I found the foreground apple to be next to impossible to paint. At one point it looked more like a hay bale than an apple..a half an hour later it looked fruit-like, but like a red pear. In the end Elio helped me to see that the foreground apple needed to be rather quiet colors and very simple shapes. He will give us "report cards" tomorrow and he has already told me that it is likely that he is going to tell me that I need to .....paint ......more......apples.

At the end of the day Elio treated us to a plein air demonstration behind the Kingstad Center. He probably did two paintings, but this is the first one and I left right after he completed it. He used all the colors of everything in front of him but he took liberties with reality..changing the tree line and emphasizing the clouds.....but not too much--the scene looked quite a lot like this. We were impressed, as usual!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Elio's painting from today

This is the painting that Elio did while we worked on our paintings during today's workshop. He took a short break (from instructing us and helping us all day long)...Off in a dark section of the room, for a very short while, suddenly he emerged with THIS. Elio has been telling us that those people who won't practice still life because they think it is "dull" are selling themselves short. All good artists will practice still life, he says, because it is a perfect opportunity to control your own environment and really engage in direct observation. All of us in the workshop agreed that his painting is proof positive that if you put down the right values, the right shapes, the right temperatures and colors...Voila!'ll have a really beautiful painting.

Wednesday..Day three of our workshop

Elio's talk this morning was about the importance of finding points within our drawing to check for accuracy. He also showed us how to check our angles by holding up a brush with one hand (to replicate an angle we see) while simultaneously putting the corresponding mark down with the other hand.
I did a passable painting in the morning..but for some reason it will not photograph properly. I suffered through this 2nd painting.....& even though it is nothing to write home to Mother about ....I can see that I am making progress. (Man, I wish I would have painted that dark bottle is crooked!)
Elio spends a lot of time with each student... making sure we understand the concepts he is explaining. He is not coddling us, but he isn't letting any of us get away with anything either. Tomorrow if the weather is good we have an opportunity to paint outdoors after our regular session (that ends at 5pm). You can come out and join us the end of the day we'll be behind the Kingstad in the wetlands (where we painted during the "fall-in/fall out" paint out last year).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two paintings from still life painting session/workshop (Tuesday)

In today's workshop I started to GET a couple things that weren't as clear yesterday. I was able to really see subtle colors that had previously eluded me...and I felt I was better at seeing reflected light too. I worked on those grayed panels that I made last night and that helped me define color and values.
Elio also worked with me specifically on how edges meet...another great workshop day!

Day Two of Elio Camacho workshop..."Form"

(Elio's illustrative explanation of creating form with directional strokes)

Today Elio challenged us to carefully consider the shapes/forms of things. There was much discussion about brushstrokes and how directional strokes help define things, bringing shapes forward or making them recede. Instead of painting the objects that we had out in a traditional demonstration Elio elected to just talk to us about these things and field our questions. After this we went to work on our own paintings. No flowers today...just bowls, pots, oranges and one major jug... so that we could concentrate on clear uncomplicated forms.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Two paintings from still life painting session/workshop

oil on 11 x 14 canvas panel

Day One..Elio Camacho still life workshop

It was a rainy day today..but that didn't matter to those of us at Elio Camacho's still life workshop at the Kingstad Center. Elio began by doing a demonstration and then, in short order, we were turned loose to do our own version of a still life of some daffodils in a black vase. It was a challenge for those of us who were using colors we have never had on our palettes before. I used the Classic Artist oil paint for the first time too..and I was pleasantly surprised. Reasonably priced and the colors are rich and luminous. Elio didn't want us to use any medium and also not to wash-in in with mineral spirits. He does all that he can to keep the colors pure and bright. Mineral spirits or turpentine breaks down the paint and  to this he says ixnay!  
I had erred by not having pre-toned my canvas panels with a medium gray (as instructed in the materials list), why didn't I see that? Well,  when I got home I knocked some out...but now I am fretting that they might be too dark. Geez. I will look at them again in the morning. I have never pre-toned my panels before! Most everything in this workshop seems foreign to me..but that's good, right? It is very desirable (according to Elio)  to "get out of that comfort zone". Day one is under my belt..and I am looking forward to Tuesday.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting ready for the Elio Camacho Still Life Workshop..& you can join in!

Photo courtesy of: Wild River Coast Arts

Today I am gathering up my supplies to begin a workshop with Elio Camacho. I was supposed to take his plein air workshop a year ago but I had to cancel and now I get this second opportunity to work with him. Elio was a student of Ovanes Berberian  who learned to paint from Sergei Bongart. How's that for an impressive roster! Well, those men know how to apply the fearless color. As a "stimulus package" Elio told me that if a painter is interested they do not have to sign up for the full week (I did!) ..if a painter wants, they can sign up for "the day rate". It is a great last minute opportunity if you are looking for some exciting new painting information. Throw in with us! The workshop starts tomorrow, Monday, March 23 and goes through March 27. Leave a comment here or email Elio to find out more:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kingstad subject|object Reception

The Kingstad subject|object Reception was perfect...and a highlight was seeing two of my artist friends from my Plein Air Painting group.
(Pictured left to right: Artists Debra, Katherine, Curator Lora Fisher ..and me on the far right). The Show will be up until May 30. Make sure you get by to see Becca Bernstein's exceptional portraits and all the work from 22 mixed media artists.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Broadway lights dimmed for...Natasha Richardson

I have been a Natasha Richardson fan beginning with the movie Nell. Like so many others I am shocked that she died as a result of a fun ski outing with her sons. I know none of this has anything to do with painting...but I feel compelled to share this touching video because ....well....just because.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Zoe, from today's life painting session

I got two paintings in today..despite having to leave an hour early. Our model was great looking with black hair and a neat transparent top/dress that made her seem all french-maid-like. No chance for a crooked eye this time because I had the profile view. Next week I will miss the life painting session because I am taking Elio Camacho's still life workshop. According to the materials list I am going to get to introduce Pthalo green and Pthalo Blue to my palette. That is going to be so interesting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

subject | object at the Kingstad Gallery, Reception March 19 Thursday 6-8:30pm

(Click to Enlarge)

You are cordially invited to subject | object, a mixed media exhibit:
Kingstad Gallery, 15450 SW Millikan Way,Beaverton, Oregon 97006 503.626.6338
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 19, 6:00 - 8:30 pm
Please come if you can make would be great to see you there!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ramblings about most recent life painting session

Here is another of my results from life painting that has a few good things and a few wrong things. This model was dressed in a red sun dress and a lavender scarf. A Bolshevik Kirsten Dunst! (On the subject of Russian Impressionists...I just got my Sergei Bongart book from eBay..what an inspiring book). At the end of our session today I vowed to get new brushes.
Isn't it funny that lately I have been noticing that one of my eyelids is starting to droop ...and I painted the model's eye wonky? Her eyes are perfect....why didn't I paint them that way? This must be one of those times when the artist subliminally painted a bit of herself. I may have a go at correcting the eye later (on the painting..*I* don't think I am a candidate for is a condition called ptosis and my old Aunt had a bad case of it too...she never had it fixed).

Bringing the outdoors.........indoors

I was scheduled to be in a "small works" show this month..but it fell through. I had work ready for it so when it didn't come off and Deanna Everson offered me the opportunity to show in her shop in the Pearl.... I happily agreed. Plein Air paintings always seem to energize a space ......with warm scenes of the natural world.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gesture Drawings/ Life drawing

Don't you love gesture you can get a sense of the model with just a few scribbly strokes? I photographed my results from my last two sessions and threw away the "hard copy". This seems an effective way to keep track of what I accomplished in class. Do you go to life drawing..? Do you love to draw? I do!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Todo en Talle!* Cuban Art Reception, March 3, 2009

Tonight I attended the reception at the Broderick Gallery for "Todo en Talle!" an exhibit of Cuban art. The work on display is an intriguing mix of subtle and powerful pieces that spark all sorts of endless conversation....(mostly along the lines of "whatever the artist meant by this....I like it").
An unexpected surprise for me was that even though I am far from Cuban...George included my two paintings and hung them in a lovely space. (Thanks, George...!)
(*translation = "this covers everything")

Two paintings from life painting session

I enjoy this model very much, but for some inexplicable reason I find it a challenge to paint her as young as she is...I keep adding a decade or so to her looks. She also has what you could call strong features and it is easy to make her look manish...Well, despite this.. I was fairly satisfied with these two oil sketches. An interesting side note is that she had to leave just a little early so she could attend Dragon Boat Practice (she's a rower). People are endlessly interesting.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This seems frameable

I've been cleaning my studio over the weekend. I have zillions of paintings in various stacks. One of these days I really have to chuck a lot of the dreck! But, here is what I have to report...some of my early paintings are acceptable...these occasional good paintings are mixed right in with the purely horrible paintings. Here is my results from a 2005 "Master of the Month" assignment on WetCanvas. it is a copy of a (somewhat obscure) Sargent painting called Venetian Interior. I really love the warm and cool grays in this painting....(Sargent was so great!) and look! I painted with black! Isn't that some sort of art crime?