Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fresh Summer Colors

"Totally Tomatoes" 8x10 oil on Gessoboard (SOLD)
In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

Ahh...late July. It's that time of year in Denver when I enjoying do a lap in at my local park almost every day.  One of my seasonal art goals was to take breaks outside as often as possible and keep up my 10,000+ daily steps. (I've apparently walked the length of Italy so far--but without the likely pizza and gelato stops along the way.)

For taking reference photos (like this monarch butterfly below) I prefer visiting the park in early AM (if I can get going) or "golden hour" if it's not too warm. Yes, there's a lot of green out there but you can also find other vibrant colors such as lovely white egrets, blackbirds, gardens, sunsets, etc. And of course local farmer's markets are full of fresh color ideas. All will be welcome painting subjects when winter comes.

This month I'm teaching a really fun Wed. AM color class and also getting ready for 3 new fall group Denver painting classes: Wednesday mornings at Curtis Art Centers and  Thursday morning and afternoon at Park Hill Art Club (PHAC).
Monarch in red lily at Wash Park garden

For those of you interested in the Park Hill Class you do need to be a PHAC member but then you can take lots of great classes and workshops through the year. You can join here. Fall class registration will "live" on Tuesday, August 15. I like to give everyone a heads up because popular classes may fill up quickly.

Speaking of that a warm thanks to all my new painting students who "sold out" my color class this month at Curtis. I'm really enjoying the class and look forward to teaching a similar color theme when fall classes start there on Wed. Sept. 14.

And later this fall I'll be teaching an class specifically dedicated to one of my favorite "glowing color" oil painting techniques that is becoming very popular with online workshops. So be looking for more info on that. In the meantime, I hope you enjoying discovering "color surprises" in your world no matter what the season. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Colors Dazzle in the Desert

My Colorful Tucson Arizona Collage: Spring Break 2016

Happy June everyone! Thanks to my friends and followers for being patient while I took a “spring break” from just about everything but art and painting. In fact, the past couple of months were jam packed with non-stop exciting art events….

  • Drove to the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE) as a first timer in beautiful Tucson
  • Taught a floral painting workshop
  • Took a floral painting class (yes I enjoy painting flowers!)
  • Taught 3 group classes a week until a few weeks ago
  • Painted over 50 daily paintings for two art market!

Thanks to all my art collectors too who purchased paintings at the Park Hill Art Club Spring Art Show as well as the Summer Art Market last weekend. It was a beautiful but plus 90 degree June weekend so I greatly appreciate if you came out to support the event and all the 250+ artists.  Thanks!

My photo collage today is my tribute to all the dazzling desert colors from Tucson. Truthfully, I didn’t get much time to paint at PACE but did take photos every day. Late April was the perfect time to enjoy bright desert blooms and spring wildlife. I even had a lovely view of the Catalina Mountains from my patio at the relaxing El Conquistador Resort. (FYI, next year PACE is another one of my favorite cities--San Diego!)
There's so much I could write about PACE--from the really cool "welcome goody bag" to dozens of amazing demos and art talks by artists I've previously only seen in books or magazines. As advertised, it's a jam packed agenda from breakfast to late night. There was even a nocturne painting session with PBS parks painter Stefan Baumann.  And of course every day at PACE you meet nice artists from all over the country--So a quick hello to any fellow PACE attendees!

As an art supply lover another highlight was shopping in the Expo hall--I bought some new Rosemary and Richeson brushes, some Shiva paint (which I can't get locally)and this handy easel brush clip. LOL--You can even see me rushing around the hall in a PACE video as I side step the camera crew!

It's good though to be be back home in the studio and have some these big events behind me so I can connect with all of you as well as enjoy summer in the Rockies. Happy summer painting everyone!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Competitive Spirit of Art

"Rooted in Red" 8x10 oil on canvas (avail. at Framed Image Gallery)
I have been up against tough competition all my life. 
I wouldn't know how to get along without it. 
Walt Disney

Happy Sunday everyone! I really enjoy this time of year because it always brings new artists into my life. I'm proud to say our town is filled with artists from all over the country as well as the world--I have several international students who are excellent painters. And last night I watched an inspiring documentary about history making ballerina Misty Copeland. It got me thinking even more about creative expression and competition.

Sometimes my art friends note (perhaps with a bit of concern) how "competitive" our town is (we do love our sports here-go Broncos!) and recently I heard a comic thank a Denver crowd for simply "coming inside." But I don't think this "outdoorsy" competitive spirit is necessarily a bad thing. (If nothing else living in a sporty fit town encourages me to be a healthier artist.)  

That being said, I don't think we want to get too hung up on what another successful artist is doing  and feel bad in our comparison. But with an art bar set high, I tend to be on the lookout for opportunities to grow and learn--In fact  have already signed up for a Derek Penix workshop in June and am really looking forward to that.

Speaking of competition one of my art goals for 2016 was to enter more juried shows.  I’m very happy to report that my little dressage horse oil painting that I posted recently was juried into the Colorado Horse Council’s upcoming March equine art show. If you like art and horses (or both) be sure to come out for this family friendly event! You can find more info here.

Spring Painting Classes Starting Soon!
My popular Thursday oil painting class Park Hill Art Club (PHAC) begins March 17—which is also the day of my demo and spring workshop preview at noon. I offer both a morning and afternoon session (you may also stay for both). Registration opens at 7A this Tuesday Feb. 23. Classes often fill quickly. Please visit PHAC for more info and to register.

If you're looking for a painting class closer to the south part of town, my Feb/March class at Curtis Art Center in Greenwood Village starts this WED. Feb 24. at 9:30. This is a really comfortable class room with super nice artists so come join us! If you have any questions about my painting classes as always please email me. Looking forward to seeing you soon at the easel or other art event!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Touchstone of Painting

"Melon Medley" 8x10 oil painting on archival canvas panel
Available: Click here to purchase. Thanks!
Bring a brioche, I want to see you paint one: still life is the touchstone of painting. Manet

Happy mid-January everyone! I love getting “back to work” after the holidays. I’m not really someone who enjoys longs breaks so I’m really enjoying teaching all my new winter session classes out and about and in my studio.

Each week I’m blessed to work more than 30 creative painting students! If you teach you know this can be a lot of energy output but it’s so rewarding and inspiring. (For more info about my classes please visit my Denver painting class/workshop page on my website.)

As a busy art instructor (thanks students!) I'm often asked how I make time for painting. It's not always easy but it helps to stay so motivated that it would be strange NOT to paint. Painting challenges like this month's "30 in 30" help as does teaching. Winter is also a great time of year to be inventory building for the spring and summer shows.

Speaking of summer, I know watermelon is more of a summery fruit but I've always loved the intense color pop that certain fruits can add to a still life (think of Cezanne's oranges.) Or just look at these two beautiful still life examples featuring watermelons from masters Peale and Bongart. Angus Wilson (a color contemporary still life painter) also includes melons in his works.
Sarah Peale

Sergei Bongart
Thanks for stopping by! I wish you a healthy creative week and continued happy painting to all the 30 in 30 challenge artists!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Things That Have Never Been: Happy 2016!

"Blue Ice Gull" 8x10 oil on linen panel

And now we welcome the New Year…

Full of things that have never been.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Don’t you love fresh starts? As a painter the start of the year always feels like a squeaky clean slate (or should we say big blank canvas?) on which you have the opportunity to paint your life anyway you want...

After an enjoyable but looong holiday break, I’m so excited to see my students again next week at my group classes. I still have a few painting class openings (Tues and Wed mornings) so give yourself a creative treat and paint with us! You can click here for more info about my Denver painting classes and art workshops.

As many of you know it’s not always easy painting throughout the holidays but I’ve managed to get a few bird daily paintings done such as today’s hungry gull (who like me would probably rather be at the beach) sliding around an icy pond on a sunny but frigid AM here in Denver.

For many daily painters January also means the return of Leslie’s AHA “30 in 30” painting challenge! I signed up (as I think over 1,000 artists have from around the world) and am going to try my best to keep painting and posting as much as I can during a fun but hectic teaching month. Did you know there's also now an AHA artist forum which you can find here.

Speaking of classes, since I first heard the news I’ve been looking forward to Dreama Tolle Perry’s online class which some of you may know starts next week after much anticipation. If I’m reading Dreama's emails correctly I’ll need to set my alarm for 4AM to register in my time zone. 

Since I’m teaching (thankfully) and can’t make it to a Dreama workshop this winter (as I’ve been lucky to do in the past) it’s worth it. Anyway, I can’t wait to paint “along with Dreama” again. Assuming I get in, perhaps I'll meet up with some of you "online" enjoying her class as well.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and colorful new year filled with amazing creative adventures and life changing discoveries! P.S. Happy Birthday to all you creative Capricorns like my niece who turns the big 0-9 today!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Let's Figure it Out! (PKR Workshop Review)

PKR inspired high key still life study 8x10 oil on custom panel
Happy winter weekend everyone! Back in October I was lucky to finally take a Peggi Kroll Roberts (PKR) oil painting workshop (art bucket list--check!) at Blackridge Artists School here in Denver.  Spoiler alert: It was an awesome workshop and lived up to all the glowing reviews I’ve heard about Ms.Roberts.

First, to learn more about Peggi and her art be sure to visit her attractive website where you’ll also find helpful “how to” downloads, DVDs, painting tools (like the MVP I always use), workshop list, etc.  Peggi also sells some painting studies in her Etsy shop.
Colorful light and shadow notan exercise in PKR workshop Day 1
From the start, Peggi offered captivating demos and gentle critiques. I haven’t painted a live model in a few years so her positive attitude and patience was greatly appreciated. For example, she sketched out a quick anatomy proportion “reminder” that I could use as reference while measuring the model.
Peggi's demo of one of my favorite Mary Cassat "flat shapes" exercise
My "stained glass" exercise from live model--really enjoyed this one!

Day one the class (a super nice group of hard working ladies) painted simple lighted still lifes concentrating on light and shadow notan separation. Day 2 and 3 we painted a variety of enjoyable exercises working from the live model. As much as I enjoy working from photos, I always feel like a "true artist" when I tackle the challenge of a model.
Adding more color in the lights exercise--cantaloupe study
I particularly enjoyed Peggi’s  warm ups and exercises—such as the “limited brush count” and working very high key for which she is well known.  My big “take away” was Peggi’s  paint loading—it’s was at least the thickness of her brush! This generous paint renders splendid “waves of color” brushwork as you can see in this petite still life I purchased for a “reminder” souvenir back in the studio!
Peggi Kroll Roberts still life study--check out that paint!

Day 3 Workshop-Model in red dress study

Thank you Peggi for visiting us in Denver and sharing your passion and knowledge. I look forward to seeing you again in a future workshop!

Friday, December 4, 2015

No Hour of Life...

"Bending Blue" 8x10 oil on archival Ampersand panel
For Sale at Framed Image in Denver 
No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.  Winston Churchill

Happy First Friday everyone!  I’m going to add to Sir Winston Churchill’s assertion that I feel the same about time spend painting in the studio. I don’t think we should ever feel guilty about time spent on creative pursuits. Even on a tough painting day, I try to appreciate and enjoy every minute.

Quickly, thanks to all the artists who've already joined my Thursday painting class at Park Hill Art Club starting in January. This is going to be an exciting “daily painting” class where we emphasize color for 6 weeks. It's just about sold out but as I write this, I think there are 1 or 2 spots left in either AM or PM—to register or for more info please click here. Looking forward to seeing you there!

I had such a gratifying time painting my light and shadow horse oil painting last week that I wanted to do paint another.  I choose this reference for both the gesture of the horse and the lighting where his head was mostly in shadow.

Today’s Painting Tip: Look for the light! As a painting teacher, I often see even advanced students working from a nice reference photo but the lighting (indoors or out) is flat or overcast—dare I say even gloomy or just blah. 

That's OK if you goal is subtle and understated but I think you’ll find that an exciting painting will be easier to achieve if you have dramatic or attention-grabbing light conditions. I’ll go so far to say that interesting lighting can make an “everyday” object into a very special painting subject!

P.S. Next time I'll post a still life painting inspired by today's announcement of Pantone 2016 Color of the Year or should I say Colors?? Stay tuned...