Friday, March 27, 2015

Mixing it up in the Studio

"Love Nest" 16 x 16 acrylic mixed media (on hold for Summer Art Market)
There are colors which cause each other to shine brilliantly, which form a couple which complete each other like man and woman. Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh's birthday is this upcoming Monday (March 30) so that was my quote choice today. (Did you know you can read (or search) all of Van Gogh's letters archived online in this wonderful resource?)

Given his love of color, I think Vincent would approve of my painting goal this week. Which is 12 paintings each with a dominant color working around the color wheel. My initial plan was to go in chroma order but as you know a painting often takes you by surprise and so I let the main color emerge as I worked on it.
"Dream Tree" 16x16 acrylic mixed media (on hold for Summer Art Market)
"Bloom to Grow" 16x16 acrylic mixed media (on hold for Summer Art Market)
 My previous post was Green and Blue Green. Today I'm posting Yellow Orange (one that I really ended up loving), Violet, and Red (a strong hue so that was a challenge.)

Mixed media/acrylic paintings are perfect for this “exercise” because they dry quickly and are easy to change on the fly. It’s probably my favorite aspect of working with acrylics. FYI, most of my paintings from now until June will be available at the Summer Art Market: June 13 & 14. I like to have lots of inventory for SAM collectors who are so loyal to this wonderful event.

For more info about my Denver art classes or upcoming painting workshops please visit the Scarlet Owl Studio website.   Thanks and have a colorful spring week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Colors by the Dozen

"Lucky Me" 12x12 acrylic and mixed media on canvas panel

“Gather the best you have to offer and create a heartfelt, prosperous life full of purpose.”
Gail McMeekin

Happy first week of spring everyone! I was thinking about my upcoming color workshop this week and decided to try a series of 12 mixed media/abstract paintings that feature each hue on the standard color wheel. 

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day last week I began with green and green-blue. For more interest and challenge I also sprinkled in in some complementary colors and “spice” colors (as mixed media artist Robert Burridge calls them) rather than painting purely monochromatic.
"Look at Me" mixed media and acrylic on canvas panel
One hears all the time that you need a “play day” or if you have time “play week” in the studio. That sounds awesome but I often think I just can’t afford that kind of luxury...

But by working on a collection or themed body of work I stay focused and motivated from start to finish. And in the end actually have a lot of work to show for my time. I’m already looking forward to working my next set of colors (maybe orange or violet??) today.
I love audio books in the studio--nice purple too!
Coincidentally, while painting I was listening on audio book to 12 Secrets of Successful Women by Gail McMeekin (hence my quote choice today) a popular creativity coach. It was the perfect combination on a day devoted to color exploration. I've discovered listening to podcasts, audio books, etc. like this helps keep my busy left brain occupied while I work on more abstract paintings. Wishing you a prosperous week full of purpose!

P.S. As an artist I can’t image what it would be like to be color blind like many of the men in my life tell me they are. Have you seen these new EnChroma glasses designed to help the colorblind see colors they’ve never seen before? Check these out.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Painting the Spirit of Nature

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Happy Monday everyone! Yesterday, it felt like summer. I finally turned off the studio heat, opened all the windows and enjoyed an iced coffee instead of a winter cappuccino. Not quite spring break in Cabo but still pretty relaxing for mid March.

Prior to this weekend though, I’ve been getting more than a little anxious waiting for spring. But of course, as many winter plein air painters know nature is still all around us. You just might have to look a little more closely (and be willing to brave the cold.) 
"Crow on Ice" 8x10 oil on linen
As I’ve noted before I get my daily winter nature fix at my nearby park where several large ponds attract plenty of usual aviary suspects even on the coldest days such as crows, gulls, geese, starlings, pigeons, flickers and ducks. .  
Washington Park bald eagle (hanging out in evergreens)
This year we also had some eagle and hawk sightings (as you can see) which was exciting but truthfully I enjoy painting the “everyday” birds like my high key gull and snowbound crow today. It was a happy coincidence that a recent  DPW weekly painting challenge a couple of weeks ago was bird themed. The challenge inspired by this wonderful Robert Henri (his book The Art Spirit is one of my favorites) quote:

Paint the flying SPIRIT of the bird 
rather than its FEATHERS.

It's another gorgeous day so time to get back to the easel and find out what I already know....Have a colorful week! P.S. For more info about my upcoming spring and summer workshops please visit my website.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Art of Painting a Zorse

Zorn Palette Oil Painting Horse Study 8x10 on linen
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Da Vinci

Happy March everyone! First, you may be wondering: What's a zorse? I'll get to that in just a bit...

Are you ready for spring? I sure am. In May I’m teaching a six week Confident Color oil painting workshop (where I’ll be sharing my thoughts to strengthen skills like color mixing, harmonizing, dominance, etc.). 

I’m always researching, reading, and thinking about color...I've been thinking a lot about color exercises that have helped me over the years. And of my favorites is exploring a modest limited palette—such as three primary colors (technically pigments) and white.  We juggle so much as painters—shape, design, edges, values---So using a limited palette helps at least simplify your color choices.
"Mosey Mare" 8x10 oil on linen
For today’s small equine oil studies on linen I chose the “Anders Zorn” primary palette—Basically an opaque warm red ( cad. Red light or napthol), a dull light yellow (yellow ochre),  and black and white (I used Utrecht Titanium which is oddly a mix of Titanium and Zinc when you look closely on the back but I still like it.)  Typically, I might have used this Zorn palette for a figure or fall landscape but I thought it would be good match for horses. I love the violets it creates...Anyway I’m calling these Zorn horses—or just zorses for fun. (Can you tell I’m a product namer on the side?)

I don’t know about you but I’m really looking forward to spring painting this year. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful spring’s right around the corner week!

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!