Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Light in August

"Painted Path" 8x10 oil on Ampersand Gessobord (collection artist)
Happy August everyone! Many thanks to all my summer students who keep painting and working hard despite the many other enjoyable distractions of summer.
Happy hard-working oil painters in my Denver oil painting summer class
New August Oil Painting Workshop
Before my group painting classes resume this fall, I’m really looking forward to teaching an enjoyable 2 day “summer retreat” oil painting workshop at the Foothills Art Center in Golden on August 23/24. Think of it as a 2 day painting vacation—with comfortable AC! We’ll learn lots so come join us! You may get info and register for the workshop here: http://www.foothillsartcenter.org/adultsclasses/

Summer’s Picture Perfect
Quick reminder that summer is the perfect season for what I like to call “image collection.”  Whether your summer travels take to you exotic locales or just really enjoy local exploration like I do here are some quick tips for taking painting reference photos:
  • Venues like cafes, parks, farmer’s markets, gardens, street scenes, festivals, neighborhoods, trails, marinas, the beach, etc. all make for interesting photo references you could use later for a class or workshop. 
  • What makes a strong painting reference photo? That’s going to differ depending on your art goals but in general it might be a subject you enjoy (like my pinto horse today), or dramatic light and shadow, interesting shapes or textures, eye catching color, early or evening light, etc. Again the more photos you take the more ideas and options you’ll have.
  • Once you have man photos it can be very helpful to take a few hours and sort them into groups or galleries with painting themes like landscapes, still lifes, flowers, skies and clouds, animals, people,etc. This makes it much easier and quicker to find just the right photo when you need it later. 
Finally, be sure to have some kind of back up for your photos—either with a cloud, online storage, or on a memory stick just in case. Happy photo gathering--Have a wonderful summer and hope to see you in a class soon!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Goin' for the Gold-Finch!

"Goldfinch Blossoms" SOLD--thank you!
Happy Summer everyone! First a giant thank you to everyone who helped and supported me during my busiest event of the year--the Denver Summer Art Market a few weeks ago.

Any outdoor event in Colorado is always a bit of surprise but it was gorgeous dry sunny weekend. Almost 100 on Saturday but thankfully my tent partner had a portable bucket misting fan (from Home Depot) which was very popular! I also tried a "gel cool pad" for my chair which I threw in the freezer the night before. Highly recommend for any warm weather event for a quick cool down!

And of course thanks to Denver's best art shoppers for stopping by and collecting my art for yikes almost 20 years! (Started very, very young..;). Sold many of my favorite recent paintings like this cheerful goldfinch painting posted today.

It's a lot of work getting ready for an art event like this but it's so rewarding. You get some time out of your studio, you meet and connect with many new people, you get a ton of painting practice and build your inventory--I painted over 50 new paintings.

With the Market behind me though I'm getting ready for some exciting new art events including...
My NEW 2 Day Glowing Colors Oil Painting Workshop: August 23& 24
Location: Foothills Art Center in Golden, Colorado
Click here for more info or to register.
Foothills Art Center Golden, CO
In the workshop I'll be sharing my tips for using transparent colors to create an exciting under painting which the method I use for many of my animals, including the goldfinch here. I don't often offer a 2 day intensive workshop so this is a good opportunity if you've been looking for an in person painting experience to learn this very popular method.

And finally thanks to all my current summer students for taking time out of their busy summers to paint with me! See you at the easel soon!


Friday, June 2, 2017

June Bugs and Art Markets

"Beach Bug" 8x10 oil painting on Gessoboard (on hold for SAM)
And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days. James Russell Lowell

Happy June Everyone! Welcome to one of the most beautiful months in Colorado. I know I haven't been posting much this year. But only for good reasons--such as lots of teaching, painting, some travel (had a wonderful time as I always do recently in Santa Fe), and well thankfully that keeps my calendar pretty full. I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying the beginning a summer.

Summer Art Market: June 10 & June 11
For me, as many of you know, for 15+ years (give or take) that means getting ready for Denver's annual Summer Art Market--Weekend June 10 and June 11. Today's painting is a sneak peak of one of my paintings for the Market.

If you haven't been this is a fantastic art event with tons of original art by over 250 local artists. This year I'm looking forward to sharing a tent with a very nice Boulder artist (Ms. Lori Mattina). So come visit us on Grant Street (Booth 75--between 2nd and 3rd streets).  Yes outdoor art festivals can be a lot of work but I always look forward to shopping the festival myself as well as selling my own art.

New Summer Oil Painting Class: Starts June 14
For anyone looking to learn that very popular oil painting technique with a transparent underpainting that I love so much I'm teaching one group painting class this summer at the Goodson Rec Center. It's a really fun group of students and very affordable--so come join us if you'd like to learn this colorful fun method. Click here for more info and to register. Class starts WED June 14.

P.S. Many, many thanks to all my amazing and always hard working spring students at Park Hill Art Club and Curtis Art Center--I look forward to seeing you in the fall if we don't paint together this summer!


Monday, January 23, 2017

The Start of Something Colorful

"Purple Paint" 8x10 oil on archival gesso panel
This pinto horse painting is available at Framed Image Gallery in Denver

Beginning with audacity is a very great part of the art of painting. -Winston Churchill


Happy Monday everyone! As a painting teacher many new or "rusty" artists often ask (and rightly so) about the process of painting. More specifically, I'm asked: How do you start a painting? or What exactly do I do first?The truth is a variety of "starts" get the job done. That being said, here are four "sound beginnings" (for wet in wet oils) I find most helpful:  

1.Time for Toning?
I don't always "tone" or color wash my white canvas first but if you're the kind of artist who likes to leap and "just get going" this can be a good first warmup step. I say "wash" meaning a thin layer of acrylic (needs to dry) or "watery" oil paint (using Gamsol or other non toxic thinner.) 
I like warmer toning but you could tone in any color including black. You could also mix color into some white gesso and use that to tone--especially if you desire more tooth/texture on your surface.
2. Thin Darks to Thick Lights
Tried and true for most most occasions. Block in your darkest darks (thinly), then medium values and finally your lightest values (and thicker paint) at the end. I find the "darks first" reveal a light/dark design (i.e. notan) you can easily see from the get go. I find this is a safe, organized approach--also keeps me from using too much white too soon.   
3.Bright Color to Dull
Do you have a lot of "islands" or "spots" of bright color in your painting? If you've read Carol Marine's Daily Painting then you know she suggests starting with intense colors--imagine a bright pink bloom in a sea of dull green leaves. This approach helps keep your color notes cleaner as you work quickly with wet in wet oil paint--some might say a more "painterly" style.  
4. Colorful Under Painting
One of my favorites--But more time consuming because it can take some planning. Imagine a light blue sky painted over a peachy or magenta underpainting. Note this can be done wet in wet or over dry paint on a white (not toned) surface. Great if you like color surprises and "vibrating broken" color you seen in pastels.

In today's horse oil painting I combined darks first with bold color under painting. I hope that overview of "good starts" was helpful. How do you like to start your painting?

P.S. Speaking of new starts, I FINALLY created a studio page on Facebook so please feel free to follow me/friend me there as well. Thanks for your support!


Friday, January 6, 2017

Fresh Year, Fresh Paint!

"Sagey Sorrel" 8x10 1oil on canvas 
Available at Framed Image Gallery in Denver.

A very Happy New Year everyone!  While I don't love the cold, I do relish the fresh start and clean slate we get every January. Before jumping into 2017 though I wanted to take just a quick minute to review what I realized in retrospect was a really exceptional art year...

My thanks to everyone for your support--especially all my students and fellow artists! Let's take a quick look back at some highlights as they say. 
  • Won an award at the Colorado Horse Expo which I plan to enter again this year. 
  • Attended PACE in sunny Tucson where I met hundreds of artists and saw many fantastic demos. Still thinking about San Diego PACE this year...We'll see..
  • Participated in my 15th Denver Summer Art Market--Always my fav art event of the year.
  • Enjoyed a really informative Derek Penix painting workshop
  • Met the painting legend Richard Schmid who also signed his books for me. Mr. Schmid was fortuitously here in Denver for a lovely retrospective show of his work at Gallery 1261. 
  • Met 100+ local artists teaching workshops and classes 
  • Refreshed my Scarlet Owl Studio website (where you can find info about my classes/ workshops)
Not bad for one year right? As I look forward now though I know I need to continue to balance all this exciting art activity with easel time. Got to put in the work for the reward as I tell my students.
Of course it's highly enjoyable "work" when it's a subject you love like my horse painting I did for my gallery's western/cowboy themed show this month. 

Until my next post, best wishes for a successful and rewarding year of creativity and color!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Building on Color (Jon Redmond Talk Notes)

Park Caretaker's House Study-9x12 oil on linen-SOLD
Happy Challenge Day 6: Isn’t it interesting to meet an artist you’ve admired “from a far?” Sunday I went to a fantastic talk by Pennsylvania painter  Jon Redmond who was in Boulder teaching a workshop (which I unfortunately couldn’t attend but am guessing students are greatly enjoying this week.)

Redmond’s oil paintings have a beautiful sense of light, simplicity and texture. If you have Al Gury’s  book “Alla Prima” you’ll find this beautiful minty green claw foot tub painting on the back cover.
Jon Redmond Tub Painting 

Redmond explained this tub was in an old building which had seen many renovations. While I enjoy organic subjects, I’m often intrigued by painting that explore the mystery of place like this. You can find some great examples his paintings (which include a variety of subjects) and a detailed interview with Redmond here.

Inspired by Redmond's sunlit building paintings, I decided to post one of my Hopper inspired paintings. I find light falling on structures like this gorgeous white house very captivating. Redmond said he enjoys painting windows especially bay windows. Speaking of white, he also mentioned he looks to black and white films for visual inspiration which makes perfect sense from a shape/value standpoint.
Redmond White House Oil Painting
I'm not a "light" traveler, so I’m always fascinated by compact lightweight painting kits. Redmond's fit into a small backpack (so he could easily bike to locations). It included: a compact camp chair (he paints seated), a trim folding panel holder/palette (think wooden laptop), his paints, (here’s his suggested color palette for another class), brushes with sharpened ends (so you can stick into the ground!) and an interesting pottery “scraping” rubber tool. 


Redmond also mentioned that he sometimes paints on frosted Mylar (in addition to a traditional gessoed panel) and I’m very interested to try this surface soon. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Painting in the Secret Garden

"Rainbow Flyer" 8x10 oil on panel (scarlet macaw painting)
Happy September everyone! First, I want to thank everyone who attended to the “Secret Garden” Art & Birds Fundraiser over the weekend where I was honored to be one of the featured artists. Thanks to my friends and students who stopped by to support this unique event. You can see a short video of the special event here.

I enjoyed sketching the great horned owl (probably my favorite raptor), watching the other artists paint and of course taking lots of close up reference pics of all the birds including owls, hawks, eagles, and colorful parrots like this gorgeous scarlet macaw.

September 1 also means that’s it’s time to join over 1,000 other artists for the fall “30 in 30” online painting challenge! Lately, I’ve been out and about in the Denver area talking to many artists about the many pleasures, benefits (and yes trials) of “almost” daily painting. So listening to my own advice and planning to post more art this month. And if you are joining the painting challenge thanks for stopping by and best wishes for an enjoyable and productive month--in the studio or plein air.


If YOU want to paint more this fall I still have room in my Thurs. AM Denver painting class at Park Hill Art Club  (near the zoo) which starts Sept. 15. This class is also super affordable for a 10 weeks
of colorful fall painting. Please write to me via my website if you'd like to join the class. Cheers and happy September everyone!