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...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Colorful Friday!

"Colorful Cadence" dressage horse painting 8x10 oil on Ampersand Panel
Are you online shopping for “black Friday” art supply deals like I am? (As a color sensitive artist I feel like Black Friday should be more positive like Fuschia Friday!) Color name aside, so far I've  stocked up on basics like Centurion linen and Ampersand panels as well as a Silver brand Bristlon brush to try since this is the one that Carol Marine says she uses.)

Today, while frosty cold am very relieved to see the sun's return after a rather gray Thanksgiving. In addition to running some errands (need more Fitbit steps after pie!) I’m heading out to take photos. Speaking of photos, if you're looking for painting subjects and art inspiration this is a good time to review and revisit your photo files. 

As you grow and evolve as a painter you may discover a photo gem that catches your eye on second go round. That was the case with this painting of a lovely silvery horse I’d taken a picture of at a dressage show in late summer.  As a casual rider I’ve always admired the movement and precision of dressage—both on the part of the horse and rider.  It’s like horse ballet! Also there's something energizing about painting a warm sunny day when the actual weather conditions are less than ideal.

Before I get back to surfing for bargains, just wanted to remind everyone of my winter 2016 painting classes. Starting first week of January, I'm offering three affordable weekly Denver painting group classes on Tues, Weds, and Thurs. (And my Tues. class is ongoing in December.)

So if you’re looking for a way to add color to your life and stay inspired during the long winter months be sure visit my classes/workshops page. In the meantime, happy painting and holiday shopping! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter. Spring. Summer. Pumpkin....

Looking forward to painting these colorful farmer's market pumpkins...
Oh how we love pumpkin season. Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin.... 
We anxiously anticipate it every year. Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer

Happy Fall Friday! I too love the pumpkin season. Am often stocking up at TJ’s so I can enjoy gluten free pumpkin pancakes and muffins year round. Am also eagerly anticipating making my own favorite pie recipe next week: "Santa Fe" Pumpkin Chiffon: Chocolate crust, spicy pecan sprinkle and tequila cinnamon whipped cream...I know. Yum...

Now back to art. Thanks to all the talented artists who joined me for an adventurous mixed media workshop last Saturday! Also special thanks to everyone who supported local artists at the Park Hill Art Club Fall Show last weekend. I sold several recent posted paintings such as my sunlit horse and VW bug--Thank you very much buyers!

A busy art season continues tomorrow where I’m back at Curtis Art Center teaching a one day Artfully Autumn Painting workshop.  Am excited to help students with some of my favorite colorful subjects like owls, ravens, autumn leaves, pumpkins, gourds, vines, etc.

Last Friday I visited the fascinating Wyeth show at the DAM which featured the families' love of pumpkins, Halloween and other spooky subject matter.  
"Pumpkinhead" Self Portrait by Jamie Wyeth
Loved this giant looming raven painting by Jamie Wyeth.
As I look out the studio window today I can see winter looming. But that's OK. Colder weather means I can really get cozy and focus on studio or class painting and build my inventory for the warmer months. If you're looking to stay creatively active this winter come join me and my awesome students in one of my Denver painting group classes I offer on Tues, Wed, or Thurs mornings. We'd love to meet you! For more info please write to me or visit my classes page on my website. Thanks everyone!