Thursday, February 26, 2015

Painting Paints and Thinking Twice

"Painted Pony" oil on gesso panel 8x10 (on hold for future show)
A horse is worth more than riches.  Spanish Proverb

Brr…Our warm weather streak came to abrupt end this week. Today, I woke up to several inches of snow which is pretty from a landscape painting perspective but not enjoyable to drive in. 

It’s not going to be easy to get out and about today (I adore my old car Maxine but she’s not very snow worthy) so planning to work on finishing some paintings I started a while back. Do you have a stack of those in your studio? Mine's getting pretty high...

So yesterday I finally put the finishing touches on these daily oil horse painting studies. As a lifelong horse lover and painter, of course I love “paint” horses—How can you resist a horse splashed with color by Mother Nature?  Paint horses are not only valued for their fancy patterns but I’m told are also smart, friendly and wonderful equine companions. I'm always on the lookout for them when I'm out taking photos.
"Sweeter Grass" 8x10 oil  on gesso panel (on hold for future show)
Last week at Jay Moore’s color workshop I took a couple of dozen of pages of notes. A few key guidelines have come to mind while painting this week. One that’s really helped is: 
Think twice, paint once
Kind of simple right? But it’s true and it works. The more time you invest up front in a painting the less time you’ll spend correcting, scraping, etc. You’ll absolutely save time in the long run. Plus, you’ll likely craft better brush marks and shapes along the way.

Thanks everyone—I hope you have a safe, colorful and cozy winter week! P.S. You can find out more about my new upcoming painting workshops here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Learning & Teaching: New Workshop Announcement

"Garden Jumble" oil on linen (work in progress)

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Ghandi.

First, hi to all my new recent students--It's been wonderful working on some exciting painting projects this past month. As always, thanks for sharing my studio.

Speaking of teaching, I'm very pleased to announce I'm teaching 3 painting workshops (6 weeks each) starting this May at the lovely Curtis Arts Center in Greenwood Village. This is a great option if you are looking for an adult group class or specific theme workshop. The Curtis Center has a very nice comfortable class room as well. I thought long and hard about the themes. I hope you like them as much as I do. Here's the workshop line up. Again, each session is 6 weeks on Wednesday mornings.
  • May 6: Confident Color for Oil Painters
  • June 24: Colorful Nature (Painting Florals)--Subject focus so your favorite medium!
  • August 12: "Almost" Daily Painting--Primary focus oils but other media OK
You can find more info about my workshops on my Scarlet Owl Studio website or please feel free to email me with any workshop questions.  
Curtis Art Center Classroom--comfy and well lit!
I've already started thinking about class agenda, exercises etc. We'll have fun but be prepared to work hard and learn lots!

The only thing I love more than painting and teaching is learning. I took a few days off this week to enjoy an excellent color workshop with western landscape master painter Jay Moore which took place at Jay's amazing studio in Parker, Colorado.

Met some wonderful talented artists, enjoyed many "aha" moments, and watched Jay paint a gorgeous landscape demo from start to finish. Really what more do want from a workshop?  I can't recommend Jay enough for a class or workshop--especially if you love landscapes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year, New Art

"Snow Dog" 8x10 oil on linen
I believe in living life the way that you want to live it every day, and if you do that, you don't really need to have New Year's resolutions.  American Designer Tom Ford

Happy New Year! My daily "resolution" is always to find more painting time. But with teaching, post holiday exercise, dinner with friends, daily errands, etc. I think a more realistic goal is to simply to paint as often as I can. That way the blank canvas feels more welcoming than foreboding...

Speaking of teaching, a big January thank you to all my ongoing and new students! You bring color, creativity and your unique spirits into my studio every week. I look forward to painting with all of you in the upcoming year and helping you achieve goals as well. Thanks too all my collectors for your support as well last year!

Quick note about my paintings for sale—If you see a painting that you’re interested in but that’s not for sale at my online DPW gallery I may be setting it aside for a gallery, show, festival, etc.  So it may be in a “holding” pattern but still available, so do feel free to contact me.

And if you’re interesting in my private painting and art classes in my Denver art studio (sorry for SE friendly sentence!) please check out my student testimonials and class info on the Scarlet Owl Studio website. 

Regarding today's post, I took this picture on very chilly New Year’s Eve in my beloved Washington Park. Initially I skipped over this photo but realized that honing in on the couple (as well as their shadows) created a much more dynamic and interesting design which I really enjoyed painting. Thanks all--I hope your New Year is filled with peace, creativity, color, and success!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

An Oil Painter's Confession

"Bella Buckskin" 24 x 24 acrylic on deep gallery wrap canvas (in progress)
After a super sunny warm fall it's suddenly freezing in the Mile High City today! As with all poor weather, this is the ideal excuse to skip my "non art" errands get some work done in the studio.

More specifically, I’m prepping for my painting demo tomorrow evening at the lovely Cherry Creek Country Club. My thanks again to the Club for the invite! Picking a demo painting subject is never easy (at least it's not for me) but I’m pretty sure I’m going to work on one of my favorite types of paintings—a contemporary colorful equine painting which is my post today.

As a daily painter I will always adore buttery alla prima oil painting. So I'm sometimes asked why I still use acrylic paint. The fact is that acrylic has many advantages which many of my painting students enjoy every day in the studio.

So I thought I'd share 10 reasons why an oil painter like me still uses acrylics depending on the project and why you too might appreciate this flexible and versatile medium:
  1. Do you tend to change your mind as you paint? Acrylics dry so quickly I can easily paint over a section or “correct” with some gesso.  .
  2. I’m braver and more experimental with acrylics—You can fix just about anything even if you paint thickly. (No “fat or lean” rule like oil.)
  3. Depending on the canvas size, I could (and have) change the entire background color in less than 10 minutes.
  4. I can quickly glaze a thin transparent layer of paint over a section to adjust or enhance a color. (Just about impossible in wet in wet oil painting.)
  5. If oil is "black tie" I think of acrylic as "casual Fridays." Plus it's more affordable. No fancy linen or sable brushes. And while I prefer pro grade paint like Liquitex Heavy Body I've done perfectly well with Hobby Lobby brand (love the turquoise!) and even 50 cent "mistake" hardware paint leftovers.  
  6. Large fresh acrylic paintings are easy and clean to transport. If you have thalo blue oil paint on your steering wheel or leather seats you'll appreciate this. 
  7. The harder edges of the acrylic work well for a bolder, more graphic style. 
  8. I could easily add a “mixed media” component like pastel, collage or a texture gel/paste for interest and variety.
  9. Blending acrylics and soft edges can be tricky but it becomes easier with alacrity, more paint, and practice. (You could also add a slow drying medium or blending medium.)
  10. Usually, I can complete a larger painting in acrylic faster than I can in oil paint—this is very helpful for art deadlines like shows, festivals, etc.
Thanks and best wishes for all the time you need to be as creative as you can be!

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Treats & Tricks

Painted Pumpkins on Pearl Street
TGIF and Happy Halloween Everyone! Thanks again to everyone who supported me through last month’s “30 in 30” painting challenge.  While I wasn’t able to keep posting the entire month (kudos to you if you did!), the challenge was a fantastic launch to super successful fall art season. It's been a warm and sunny October in Colorado but I've managed to keep busy in the studio too. Here are some highlights.

All Colorado Art Show
The little bird painting I featured on day one of the challenge was not only accepted in the All Colorado Art Show it sold on opening night to a delightful new collector. Plus my student won a ribbon for her beautiful abstract—congrats Nancy!
Framed Image Gallery Fall Show
Sold my horse painting (thank you another new collector!) and completed a another horse theme commission. I’m so glad buyers share my lifelong love of horses! I’ll be likely painting at least one other equine painting for the gallery’s upcoming January “Ranch and Range” show. For more equine art, please see my Pinterest Board "Horsing Around."
Favorite New Studio Product
As an oil painter I usually wear barrier cream and sometimes gloves but I still manage to get little bits of dried paint on my hands.  The solution? Trader Joe’s Lavender Salt Scrub. It’s tough on paint but leaves your hands super soft and moisturized—and it smells like a French garden. A super affordable treat!
Like a mini-spa for tired artist hands! Mmm...
Amazon’s Best Selling Painting Book
I’ve had Tues. November 4 on my studio calendar for ages in eager anticipation of Carol Marine’s new book “Daily Painting” which debuts that day. (You can pre-order now and save some money.) It’s already the best selling painting book on Amazon! Congrats and thanks Carol for sharing your painting insights!
Caroil Marine's New Painting Book Debuts Nov. 4 on Amazon

Free "Painting Preview" Software: FotoSketcher
Deciding what photo to paint from next can be a challenge but here's a program that can help. Typically, I'm very cautious when downloading anything from the Web but so far I've enjoyed this easy and free program that applies different paint effects (my favorite is "expressive brushstrokes") to your photos. (Note: Higher res photos may take a few minutes.)
Country Club Demo
I’m very honored to be a featured artist at the lovely Cherry Creek Country Club in November.  This is a private “members only” event but if you happen to be a member of the Club please stop by and say hi on the evening of November 14. I promise I’ll be painting not golfing!
October Pearl
Just in time for Halloween I’m posting a sunny pumpkin painting on DPW today.  FYI my 8x10 oil paintings now sell for about $400 at the gallery so these are a super value (like most DPW paintings) starting at $75.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Challenge Day 18: The Color of Peace & Joy

"Peaceful Petals" 8x10 oil on linen--in progress
Happy Thursday everyone! I’ve missed posting for a few days but have greatly enjoyed teaching this week, enjoying the gorgeous weather, and getting ready for the many fall art shows on the horizon in Denver.

(Speaking of shows, I’m very happy to report that my Day 1 challenge painting (my Blue River sparrow) was juried in the All Colorado Art Show.)

But today I’m back at the easel and my goal was high key ethereal colors. I’ve always loved this type of painting. (If you like really gentle light colors too you may enjoy my “High Key Heaven” art board on Pinterest.)

On a pigment note, I've been hearing a lot about Gamblin's warm white (which is a mixed white with a little hint of an yellow/orange) and thought it would be interesting to try in this. For those of you who feel your whites get too cool you may enjoy it.

I thought a sunlit peace rose would be a perfect high key subject. Originally cultivated in the 1930’s in France, the trade name "Peace" was publicly announced in the U.S. in April 1945. Later that year peace roses were given to each of the delegations at the UN inaugural meeting with this note: "We hope the 'Peace' rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace".

Interestingly in Italy rose is known as “gioia” or joy—also an apt descriptor for such a blissful and colorful flower.  Wishing you all a peaceful and colorful week as fall approaches!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Challenge Day 14: Reaching for the Sky

Rainy Sky Study--9x12 on linen (study for larger painting)
The sky is the soul of all scenery. It makes the earth lovely at sunrise and splendid at sunset. In the one it breathes over the earth a crystal-like ether, in the other a liquid gold.  American landscape painter Thomas Cole

Almost at the half way point in what feels like a painting marathon but in a good way...

Tomorrow AM I have to have a chipped tooth fixed. I'm lucky that I like my dentist but I’m already hoping I won’t be too uncomfortable to paint afterward.  I’ve already put the appointment off for a few weeks but felt it was time to just get it over with. Also, I didn’t think my dentist would quite understand about the 30 in 30 painting challenge.
Alaskan Sunset Study
In the meantime, I wanted to post a few sky color studies today. Why skies? If you enjoy painting landscapes I think the sky is one of the most interesting places to both study and inject color. On any given day, as Hudson River painter Thomas Cole points out, the sky can display a prism of painting challenges. Skies can be every color on the color wheel especially during unusual weather. So if you're working on a landscape that you feel needs some extra color interest look to the sky.
One of my fav sky photos this summer--double rainbow over Red Rocks
P.S. For all you sky, sunset, and cloud fans you may enjoy more colorful sky paintings on my Pinterest board: The Sky’s the Limit.