Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cheryl Ann Final

Final session with the model, but not a final painting. Ran out of time! So, will touch this up later if I get the chance. Aloha!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

oh, yeah, part 2

Hard to believe I forgot to post this progress picture on Tuesday...best I could do on the image. Having lots of fun with this one... Sadly will miss the next session with this model, so will just have to hope for the best at the last session in 2 weeks. I'll try to find something to post in the meantime....Aloha!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Silver and Gold

Thank you to our friend Karen for posing for this sketch. Karen is a friend who counts as silver and gold, new to me and longtime to my Sweetie. We had a delightful weekend visit before she headed back North, but only after trying Carolina style BBQ and having an adventure with an Eastern Red Bat who was thinking of moving in. We'll be looking for other excuses to have pumpkin pancakes now, too. It's the time of year to treasure friends...Aloha!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The color of courage

Portrait class this week seemed to be a lot about color. The subject maybe be basic, but not simple, even when we break it down into Hue, Value, Temperature and Saturation. For the beginning artist, the technical "how" of achieving a desired color is imperative. The use of it, though, that's where expression  the fun begins!

Art keeps changing over time and culture with differing emphasis on symbol, or line, or form, or color or "reality" or "abstract"...there's no permanence or perfection or even progress, necessarily. As Tom says, we just keep trading our problems in for more interesting ones. Mastery begets new questions and on we go. And as Casey Baugh reminded us last spring at the Portrait Society of America meeting, Art is truly a universal language, at least to humans. What a grand adventure!

This is the final week of the How Do You Paint Courage exhibit which is finishing its tour at the Center for Creative Leadership.  [link How Do You Paint Courage]
In the photo on the left you can see Tom Edgerton's painting which I finally got to see in "person". I know the colors in the painting were chosen very deliberately and the result is quietly powerful. As courage often is.

And here is the beginning of a portrait with a new model who brought some nice colors into the sitting. It's going to be a lot of fun. Aloha!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Simply Jean

The day started gray, but now the colors outside are shining and glowing...even in the studio I think they are echoing within us. Hope you are feeling it, too. Aloha!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Value Relationships

Sounds like something to put on a Tshirt...along with Love One Another. We were speaking primarily of value relationships today in portrait class. Looking not just at the question of what value is this particular spot, but what's the relationship between these two areas of light and dark. Value shifts, even when subtle, do so much to express form in painting.

Still, Value Relationships is not a bad thing to keep in mind on  Election Day...it's easy to feel "unloved" when we allow issues to divide us. Sometimes it's easy to equate "issue" with "value", but we might find perfect agreement on values and yet find ourselves on opposite sides of any particular issue. Where some say that the end justifies the means, Gandhi said the end is the means. So, every day,  I'll  try to keep patience and respect close at hand. After all, we're neighbors. Aloha!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beautiful Fall

Jean's Jamaican background is showing...the perfect hat for this unusually cold autumn. My daughter came up with the today's title: Beautiful Fall and she's absolutely right. It is beautiful...from inside the warm house especially! Time for roasted marshmallows and lots of candy tomorrow! Aloha!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Here and Now

Here and Now  is a pastel painting which I just completed for the already sold out 21st Annual March of Dimes Chefs Auction.  Many talented Greensboro chefs celebrate local foods and we are fortunate in the Triad to have some wonderful restaurants and food sources (a shout-out to Maxie B's too, with their dedication to local ingredients...just a personal favorite). With that inspiration, I rounded up some Restless Soul Red Table Wine from Old North State Winery and My Three Sons gourmet Pimento Cheese from right here in Greensboro and displayed them in another local favorite of mine (my Sweetheart's back yard). By the way, quite a delicious set-up!

The tradition of "nature mort" (or still life) is often a reminder of the transitory nature of things. Picture my little table full of goodies precariously balanced on the grass. Then picture me picking it all up and moving it between photos as I chased the setting sun across the yard. Yes, we really are moving over 1,000 miles/hour as our planet spins...and that's not counting the orbit around the sun. So, all the more reason to enjoy our fleeting, flying moments. Here and Now is an elusive concept. Aloha!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Karen today

This go-round produced a much better likeness and a more satisfactory painting for me. I think Karen liked the previous painting I did of her (May, 2012), which had a green background and showed blonder hair, but I wasn't pleased with the lack of finish at the time, after only two sessions. She's a great and very generous model, so I hope we'll be painting her again.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Karen Take 2

So great to be back in the studio today! This painting is really requiring me to look and study, then look and study some more. It's moving in the right direction, but really can't wait to work on it some more!

Also in progress on a larger still life...just in the drawing stage yet. But I need a 28 hour day or two. Aloha!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Let's try that again

My previous painting with this model never really "clicked"...I just didn't do her justice. Happy to have another try and I think at least it's a better beginning. Had to leave this at a rather awkward stage, though, which brings me to the consideration that some artists would never consider posting anything on "The Internet" that isn't finished or perfect. Hmmm, not me! Sin on boldly, I say. But that's just me...


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spikes and Sparkle

It has been said that a portrait reveals the artist as much as the sitter. I feel like this portrait captured the sitter in appearance and spirit, and that expresses my point of view. Will be missing the final session with this model, but this one I'm signing...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

just a thought

Dream. Do. Aloha.

Staying focused, not freaked

So...I'm afraid I had a little freakout during today's session...concentrating super hard and maybe struggling a little at that moment. And found myself getting (much too) upset by our model's movements. A bit ridiculous since that's what living, breathing human beings do! And that was the moment when focusing too hard became losing focus....ah hah. Lesson learned.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Still

Another large canvas, with a larger than life image. No drawing at all on the canvas, as I was starting in on a loaner canvas that already had paint on it (thank you to whoever left it behind in the studio). So, the circumstances dictated: lots of paint on the brush, covering lots of canvas fast, so that the previous (now upside down) image would "go away". Frankly, I love painting like this! The added interest in the background and having plenty of paint to push around on the canvas are really appealing.

Finally the evenings and mornings are wonderfully comfortable, but the daytime is still full-on hot...I think it shows in this painting.... Aloha!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Refining Pete

Not that Pete is someone who could or should be refined...but the painting is a little farther along. Today was kind of a long day that involved hives, antihistamines and major caffeine infusions...hhhmmmm. Don't think that's the ideal combination for artistic endeavors, so I was happy to make any progress at all. Til next time! Aloha!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Painting Pete

Can you see that we have some back-lighting in this set-up? This painting seems all about temperature shifts and capturing some of the really great colors which the light is picking out. Pete is happily a model who can carry a pose like this, and also he doesn't make too much fun of me for all the squinting and sticking my tongue out that he has to endure looking at while I'm concentrating. Glad nobody is taking pictures.

Tom Edgerton, our illustrious leader, frequently says something along the lines of "A bad day painting is still a pretty great day". And today was a good day painting. Aloha!

Monday, July 30, 2012

More is Better

"More is Better" because at the start, I put more paint onto the canvas, which also had, already, a surface layer of dried paint (an older portrait study). This made for a very different experience than applying thin layers of paint on the typical stark white and unyielding canvas I usually start with (no, I never remember to tint a canvas ahead of time). This was a lot more fun and seemed to hold more creative possibilities.

Also, more is better in terms of painting the same model. Fourth time around with this model...and finally a straight-on view. Three more sessions, so excited about this one.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Final session Amber and Azure

Very happy with the sense of the individual that this painting is moving toward. Perhaps I caught a little something of her. These sessions seemed to just fly, and it was really hard to put the paintbrush down tonight.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Easing along

Patience has never been my strong point. Perserverence, yes. Patience, no. But it seems to be growing on me. Tonight's session was steady progress...I liked the colors I was finding. Certain passages were repainted, and then repainted again. Mostly it was about the form tonight, and a little bit about the highlights.

Kind of relaxed and focused. The time really flew by. And, oh yeah, I wore my new glasses...so THAT"S what she looks like...Maybe David Kassan's binocular usage is a good idea after all.

Hope everyone found some treasure to enjoy today. We found a hidden treasure of baby birds tucked away in a nest on the deck. Carried their sweetness like a happy secret all day. [Happy secrets, by the way, are the ones that you can't wait to share]. And Amber finally got to share her reason for being a bit tired this session...courtesy of the arrival of her very handsome newborn nephew. Congratulations, and Aloha~

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lost and Found

There is often discussion in painting about "lost and found" edges... But in today's posting, I am thinking about lost and found colors.. Here's an element of painting with a range of possibilities. Set the sensitivity dial to HIGH and every object becomes a kaleidoscope of colors: wam highlights, cool shadows, neutral "local" color, reflected lights. Can we "lose" the object? Yep...in an exaggeration of color, cohesiveness is lost. But this is more likely due to colors that don't make sense (the wrong temperature or value), rather than a mere abundance of color.

Unless one is looking directly at the sun (not recommended) or artificial light, then all the light that enters our eyes has been modified during its journey. I love thinking about how natural light has made that journey all the way from a sun, through space, then the atmosphere and maybe bounced around a number of times, before finally it has its moment on the retina. That means automatically that the light we are seeing is in a spectrum of colors. Only in more extreme, limited lighting situations (night for example) do things become uniform as color possibilities become lost.

As far as our brains are concerned, color does not seem to be the main thing that defines an object. Black and white pictures work. So, set the sensitivity dial to LOW and get black and white, or monochrome (something else and white) or "cut out" collage-like paintings where each object is rendered as one color..Can we "lose" the object here? Yes, there are situations where color might be the only contrast available to distinguish between objects. That's why "green" means "go", after all. And why red is the go-to color for the stand-out dress.

Happily, we are talking about ART here and ART is almost always a positive force in the universe. Pretty sure that art can save lives but not likely to hurt.anybody.  So...take two helpings of color in whatever dose level you like. Sometimes a little goes a long way, sometimes more is more. Enjoy...it's like treasure, only free. Aloha!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back to the mainland

Just in from paradise....

Back to the mainland after an incredible time in Hawaii...moments I will cherish for the rest of my life. Swimming with sea turtles, sharing lau lau and poi, stepping through the magic of a lava tube.  The Aloha Spirit is alive. Terribly tired but managed to make it to portrait session tonight and happy to see one of my favorite models. This is as close as I could get to the colors...Aloha!

Ko Aloha Makamae E Ipo  David. You are my inspiration always.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A picture of Zora

I wanted to do a picture with this model, not exclusively a "portrait", by addressing compositional elements and exploring the feel of the piece. So this was a bit of a stretch, with the limitation of keeping it strictly from life and in the time we had with the model. It was fun to paint, especially trying to hit the different textures.

It seems everyone I know is off to the beach, so have fun and enjoy the summertime! Aloha!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One step forward...Zora

Moving forward with this portrait study...worked especially on the face, background and flowers. Would have liked another two hours today!

And one step back...I ran over my cell phone with the lawnmower last Friday, including the memory card, so have lost all my recent contact information and probably some old ones too that weren't backed up. So, if you get a chance, it would be great if you could give me a call and leave a message or text to help me rebuild my contact list. Hope you are all enjoying summer! Aloha!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Degas, Bart Lindstrom, Tom Edgerton and Me...

First chance to paint since returning from the PSOA meeting, back in Tom Edgerton's class. Only two  students showed up, so I got to help set up the model.. One of my favorite Edgar Degas paintings came to mind while setting this up,.  Portait of Mademoiselle Malo...

Here is a quick study I did of this painting years ago (I think I spent an hour or two on it, in acrylics)....

This session, I took a run at some of Bart Lindstrom's recommendations. First, some very short preparatory sketches. From what I gather, he probably does them smaller and more about the values. I'll probably try that with more practice.

Then, a very fast little color study in the upper right corner of the canvas. He suggests doing several of these, and trying to incorporate all the major colors (ROYGBIV).  Definitely would like to explore this more!. So, when I started painting, it was with a plan. Although less of the over-all time was spent painting, it seems like it came farther along. Doubt I will ever be the type to meticulously draw out a perfect image and then color it in with layered glazes, but I enjoyed this somewhat more measured approach than my usual diving in with paint flying.We'll see how it turns out...

Two more sessions with this model, Happy Dance! Aloha!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friends...just a quick note to share a drawing here at the Portrait Society of America in Philly!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Final Amber

Thought I would have one more session with this model, but turns out I'll be working instead of in class next week, so this is it. Really enjoyed these sessions! Gearing up to start painting outside class more, but this week it's OFF TO PHILLY for the Portrait Society of America conference! Have been looking forward to this all year...and can't believe it's been a year! Aloha!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amber Session Two, Refining

Very happy about how this is coming...slowly and working all over the painting, refining the drawing and still working a lot with the values of the shadows especially. The light was changing in the room a lot today...and some of the effects were fun so I put them in...but it's definitely nice to have a little more time to look closely and be more deliberate.

We were talking about birthdays in class and it got me started thinking about how the WWF says we are literally using resources at a rate that two planets couldn't accommodate...and I thought do we have any goals at all as humans? Is this the best we can do as a species...a sort of monster ball where even managing not to massacre each other seems out of reach? And I wonder...if we could live 200 years, would we behave any differently? Our young people have a lot going for them.. I'd like to take the long view for their sake.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Angel in pencil

Quick sketch...movement and all. With gratitude for mothers and magic breaths today, Aloha!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Beginning a new portrait...should have more sessions with this model, so limited this to trying to get the lights and shadows in place, without rushing. We are following a lighting pattern used by Anders Zorn with light from both sides, pushing the shadows to the center of the face. Our model is a delight...strong features and her hair is the color of amber...this will be fun. Aloha!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Courage by Tom Edgerton

Cause to celebrate! Tom Edgerton has received a Certificate of Excellence for his painting "Courage" in the 2012 Portrait Society of America International Competition. Tom is a world-class artist and his portraits have been honored in this prestigious competition in previous years. His work speaks for itself, but I get to speak up for him (since he is way too modest) and say how very much I appreciate his teaching and how much I enjoy watching him constantly raise the bar for himself and for his students. It's exciting, it's fun, and his paintings clearly enrich people's lives.

This painting seems to say something about living fully and richly. How is it that something that is strictly superficial (paint on canvas) points the way to a lasting beauty that is beyond appearances? Well done, Tom.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Karen Session Two

We did have a second session with this model, after all. Seems like I was just starting to "see" it , when it was time to pack up and go! Probably one of the more frustrating sessions....sometimes when that happens it's because I'm learning something new on some level. So I'm hoping that's the case here and maybe it will bear fruit still. Aloha!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Once again with speeding

Another single session portrait, about 2 hours. Working with some new brushes, and colors. A bit more deliberate in approach (at least for me).

Most of my painting in the last year has been with water soluble oil paint. There are times when I miss acrylics, especially when painting two colors next to each other that I don't want to mix at all (very different values and colors that I want to be separate). Acrylics do tend to stay put and it's easy to paint right over something almost immediately.. Not so with oils! Hence the wiping out and repainting or the layers of glazing. The upside of oils is the blending and mixing, which I am just starting to appreciate and play with.  Aloha!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another Fast Portrait Painting

Was out last week, having a marvelous time in Hilton Head, SC!!! Back in class this morning, but we had another model who couldn't make it, so Karen was nice enough to step in for us. Don't know if we'll have the chance to work on this again or if this is a one-session painting, so we all tried to take it as far as we could in about 2 hours.

And nothing to do with painting, but it made me smile, so just have to share this link....Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) - YouTube

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Speed Portrait, Tom Edgerton

Only about 1.5 hrs in this portrait....apologies to Tom who has a much gentler expression than this, but didn't quite get to finish! Our model was a no-show, so Tom had to critique without really being able to see the model (himself). He set up an interesting lighting arrangement  too, so it was a true challenge. Guess what? Challenges are GREAT when it comes to paint.

Have been working a bit extra in the last month, so almost no painting outside of class. This makes me a little crazy...thanks for hanging with me! Also a warm welcome to new followers...Aloha!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Final Portrait Red and Green

Only three sessions with this model...ran out of time to to really finish to the level I wanted, but c'est la vie. Fun to do anyway.  My copy of The Bostonians Painters of an Elegant Age arrived already, but have only had time to make a glancing acquaintance with it, enough to be pleased with the purchase. Have been looking at Classical Painting Atelier by Juliette Aristides lately as well, which I purchased at last year's Portrait Society of America meeting. Aristides has made a very straightforward discussion of "classical" painting methods accessible and provocative, by incorporating a generous mix of paintings both contemporary and classical. Among them, Rubens' Four Studies of a Head is an education all in itself.

Sometimes, it's great to soak in the influences...and then get back to the paint. Aloha!

Hey, Happy Birthday to my dear little blog! One year and counting!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Bostonians

Ordering this book today: The Bostonians Painters of an Elegant Age by Trevor Fairbrother after seeing it in class today...

My intention in this portrait is putting it all together. Trying to work with composition, values, edges, and the over-all impact as it comes along. This is starting to be fun...

Friday, March 16, 2012

For reference: Tulips in Red and Blue

Painting is on hold this week....too much of the bread-winning and family health issues to focus. But still thinking about painting. Many of the Daily Paintworks artists and others have shared visual references online, so I thought it might be my turn. I did a painting "from life" of this scene.This little photo captures some of what was delightful to my eyes. If you use this in a painting...Great! Send me a picture and I'll post it! Aloha...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Madelaine session 1

Painting in class is a lot like sketching in public. It helps to leave the old ego at home. For me, the first marks especially need to be free and open to the magic in the image. Often the act of painting feels very much like I am channeling energy and the more "I" stay out of the way, the better it goes. So, a part of me is analyzing and thinking about angles and edges and values, but the part that is actually getting the paint on canvas is just plain having fun. It's really exciting! So, I share these progress pictures without worrying too much that they aren't "perfect". Cause Perfect isn't really invited to this party...ENJOY! Aloha!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Last session Alethea

I'm really pleased how this painting turned out. A little less battling with technique and a little more expression of how things look to me. Thanks also to everyone for comments.

Tom Edgerton brought a sample of one of his finished portraits to class today and gave us all a bit of inspiration, as well as some solid discussion of technique. It's hard to convey the amount of sheer effort that goes into a good portrait, and Tom does GREAT portraits. Aloha!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Color Crazy

Today's portrait session seemed like major progress. Refining the drawing a lot. And some success at making the color work to "turn the form" or add to the structural sense. Sometimes my biggest challenge is learning to trust the process and not to rush. I tend to exaggerate whatever I'm doing, whether it's the line, the shape, the color. So, learning not to settle for less, to stay relaxed and keep on refining. Probably there's a life lesson in here for me, too! Aloha

And, yes, I am crazy for color.