Tuesday, September 1, 2015

All These Lovely Tokens

"Appeeling Orange" 6x8 oil on canvas panel
By all these lovely tokens September days are here, 
With summer's best of weather And autumn's best of cheer. 
Helen Hunt Jackson



Happy September everyone! Little late in posting today for the “30 in 30” debut because I was at jury duty this AM (pretty good excuse right?) and then treated myself on a Tuesday to a delightful taco patio lunch with friends (it’s a gorgeous day!) but I’m back in the studio now. 

I love the back to school season! This month, I’m honored to be teaching 3 classes and taking at least 2 interesting workshops. I still have room in my Tuesday afternoon Colorful & Quick (Successful Daily Painting) class. Click here for more info. I’m also taking both an abstract workshop as well an oil painting workshop with artist Tim Horn

Tim Horn Landscape Painting
I’ve always been drawn to Californian paintings. That distinct glowing light always gives a strong but comforting déjà vu. So Tim’s work caught my eye right away. I feel very lucky Tim’s offering a workshop not far from my studio at the Blackridge Artist School.

As if September wasn’t busy enough (and again I couldn’t be more grateful for this) it also marks the beginning of Leslie Saeta's "30 in 30” painting challenge as many of you know. I’m sticking with color as my theme and posting an oil painting study of oranges (the color as well as the subject.)


As part of the challenge I'm also going to try to read an art book a day (OK maybe every few days). Today's book is LoriMcNee’s new book: Fine Art Tips. It features many contemporary painting masters (such as Denver’s own renowned Dan Sprick). If you like "step by step" painting approaches as well as some helpful business tips from Lori I’ll think you’ll enjoy this as well. Thanks everyone and to my fellow "30 in 30" artists have a great month of painting!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Explore. Dream. Discover. Paint….

"Blue Nutty" 6x6 oil on linen panel (on hold for art event)
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. 
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover.’  
Mark Twain

Happy Monday everyone!  I think one of the best things about "almost" daily painting is the “Why not? Let’s give it try!” approach you can have each day in the studio.

Lately, I’ve been gravitating toward some bold graphic looking art and thought painting on a black background (black toned canvas in this case) would be perfect for this. Also, since I often favor such bright intense colors (as you may have noticed!) the black acts as a striking dark neutral balance. 

Want to see more examples? Daily painters who do a marvelous job at this are Karin Jurick and Cathleen Rehfied. Carol, a student in my class last week, also painted an exciting abstract on a black canvas.

In today’s little nuthatch (one of my favorite backyard bird models) oil painting I’ve used a 6x6 Raymar linen panel primed with black acrylic gesso then sketched with white pencil (note white chalk would work as well.) I loved the effect and will definitely add this to my daily "bag of tricks" and try again soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your own creative exploring, dreaming and discovering…

Denver Fall Painting Classes & Workshops
Since my Thursday AM class “sold out” so quickly (thanks again painters!) I’m planning to announce another weekly painting class soon. Probably on Tuesday afternoons so please stayed tuned for that. 

Also I’ve added 2 weekend painting workshops for this November. For more info about these please go to my Denver art classes info page on my website. Or feel free to write to me directly. Thanks and happy painting!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Daily Painting by the Book


Exercise from Oil Painting: The Workshop Experience 6x8 oil on panel
 A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors. (Charles Baudelaire)

Happy August Friday everyone!  Busy working on some small commissions and getting ready to teach my “almost” daily painting (DP) class which starts next Wednesday. I’ve been looking forward to this class all year!

I’m also teaching another DP class in September which I’m pleased (and flattered) to report say “sold out” quickly. So thank very much artists (returning and new) for your loyalty and interest in my new classes!
Come paint the colors of fall with me in November!
New: Fall Weekend Denver Painting Workshops
Speaking of classes, I’ve just added two new fun November weekend painting workshops at the Curtis Art Center: Artfully Autumn/Fall Colors and Mixed Media Masterpieces. You can find more info about these painting workshops here.
Painting Exercise/Study of Goerschner landscape 6x8 oil on panel
Summer Art Reading
I read new art books all the time in the summer but I also like to revisit favorites like this week’s Oil Painting: The Workshop Experience by the late Ted Goerschner. (Usually on Amazon used for just a few dollars.)
I love art technique books with painting exercises you can practice as you read along. (How to See Color and Paint It is another good one.) These "step by step" paintings can be great warm ups or just an easy way to try a different approach. 

Today I’m sharing the 2 small landscapes I painted “along with” Ted in his book which also includes clean color and design tips as well as some valuable "before and after" critiques of student landscape paintings. And of course, Ted's high chroma light and shadow paintings are enjoyable on their own.

OK, gorgeous day for a sunny patio happy hour here in Denver but I still have some work in the studio before I can call it a day. Cheers! Enjoy your summer weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Secrets: 6 New Art Tools for Under $20

In summer I like to make the “process” of painting as relaxed and enjoyable as possible while still being as productive. This means I'm always on the hunt for "new and improved" painting helpers and art supplies. I've come across some very affordable (most under 10 bucks) artist "accessories" recently and wanted to share them with you. Enjoy and happy summer painting!

A New Take on an Old Colorful Favorite
If you’re like me you have a few color wheels in your studio. Recently though I came across this interesting “color harmony” wheel (seen above). This version includes pigment names as well as a neutral gray (not white) background. You can order here on Etsy for about $15. (Watercolorists you may also find a detailed Quiller color wheel helpful.)

Centurion Linen Pad
Linen is my favorite oil painting surface so thanks to my artist friend Dan for showing me these handy professional linen canvas pads (avail. in oil primed or acrylic gesso). The very portable pads come in a variety of standard sizes. (Note you can always adhere the linen to a hard surface later.) Great for studio or outdoors! A 9x12 pad with 10 sheets is just $19.99 currently online at Jerrys.

New Gamblin Solvent Free Medium
Thanks to Gamblin, I paint almost 100% solvent free in oils. I’ve used their Solvent Free Gel (in place of a medium such as Liquin) for a while now and am very happy with it. I just tried their new solvent free medium (thinner than gel) and so far it's great too and helps make summer painting a breeze!
Portable Brush Cleaner
Need more a compact brush cleaner for plein air?  How cute is this compact super lightweight Guerilla Mighty Mite (which comes in in 2 sizes). Fill this Winsor Newton Solvent Free brush cleaner and I'm good to go for convenient toxic free brush cleaning indoors or out!

Zipper Mesh Brush Bags

You know how long painting brushes sometimes don’t fit in a conventional bag? These Creative Mark mesh bags help you organize your supplies on the go and they're stronger than your typical plastic grocery zip bag. Best of all my favorite the longer brush bag is under $2.00!



Art Tools on Tablets
I've used a couple of artist  apps for a while now on my iPad: ValueViewer and AccuView and find them extremely helpful. Recently I also added Jackson's Art Grid--another very useful app which allows you to easily crop and grid over a photo you take as you work or one you already have. 

P.S. For more info about my upcoming Denver painting classes and art workshops please visit my website.

Friday, July 10, 2015

You Can't Steal a Gift


Student "master copy" of Edgar Payne landscape (acrylic on canvas)

You can’t steal a gift. Bird [Charlie Parker] gave the world his music, and if you can hear it you can have it.” Dizzy Gillespie

I'm back from my beachy summer break following June's Summer Art Market. It was a super busy sunny (rain free!) successful weekend! Thanks to everyone who helped and supported me--art shows take a village! Special gratitude to my collectors for ongoing their support of SAM and the Denver art community.

Coming Soon! Fall Painting Classes and Workshops
Back in the studio I've been putting together some really interesting new fall classes and workshops which you can find on the my website. Hope to see you there!

I'm particularly thrilled to be joining the Park Hill Art Club (PHAC) as a Thursday morning painting instructor starting September 17. Thank you again PHAC for inviting me!

My student Michele working on her version of a Wolf Kahn landscape.
If you're a Denver artist and not yet a member be sure to check out this very established and active group of almost 300 artists (you don't need to live in the Park Hill area to join). PHAC offers high quality affordable classes, workshops and other painting events.

Lately several of my students have been working on "master" copies (see Anita's lovely Payne landscape posted today). So wanted to share some thoughts about why a master copies are so helpful to artist. (Along these lines have you read Steal Like an Artist yet?)

In many ways the act of creating a painting is problem solving. For an artist viewing a great painting by a master artist is visual gift. One that helps us "solve" the same puzzle we're about to tackle.

Yes, I often work from photos. But the more I work with other artists I also find that painting (copying) another painting vs. painting (copying) from a photo reference is more relevant experience. It’s “apples to apples” or more specifically it’s “paint to paint” rather than “pixels to paint.”

Here are 10 questions you may find helpful while reviewing a masterwork (or a painting you simply really love.)

  1. How do you think the artist started their painting? Why?
  2. What colors (and even more specifically what pigments) did they use and why?
  3. What attracts and holds your eye?
  4. Why do you think they painted what they did?
  5. How have they created form?
  6. How did they arrange their values? Is there a dominant value?
  7. Where do you see hard edges? Softer edges?
  8. What design elements and principles can you find?
  9. Consider the paint application and brushwork--Is it heavy, thick, thin, washy?
  10. What do you like best? Least? Finally what elements could you incorporate into your own painting?
Thanks everyone--Have a sunny safe summer weekend!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Best Art Event of the Summer!

"Love, Peace, Owls" 18 x 24 mixed media on canvas
Happy June everyone! It’s finally here....June 13 & June 14 is Denver’s big annual Summer Art Market (SAM).

I'm happy (and proud) to say it's my 14th year as a SAM artist! While it's hard work (almost daily prep since April) it's still my favorite weekend of the year!

I know summer is a busy time for everyone but please be sure to stop by if you’re in town and say hi—SAM is free and a great family outing as well with music, food and kid’s activities.  Here’s the detailed info:

What: Summer Art Market—over 250 fine artists!
Where: 2nd and Grant (near Speer and Broadway in Denver)
When:  June 13 and June 14 (Saturday  10A to 6P and Sunday 10A to 5P)
Where to find me: Booth 146 (on 2nd just west of Grant)

I may be a little biased but I really do think variety and quality of original fine artwork is amazing from traditional oils to contemporary sculpture! And there are price points for everyone!
"Copper Canter" 18 x 24 mixed media on canvas

"Growing Strong" (detail) Mixed Media/Collage 20 x 30

Getting ready for SAM---paintings and more paintings!
Speaking of pricing better get back to framing, tagging, etc. (you can see my living room staging area above) with just days to go. Here are a few of the nature inspired acrylic mixed media paintings I’ve been working on.  Have a great summer week everyone--hope to see you this weekend!

P.S. Want to paint this summer? There are still some openings in my next group class (Painting Nature and Florals) which starts on Wednesday, June 24. Please visit my website for more info. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Top 10 List Just for Artists

I’m going to share that in college I had three big celebrity crushes: Han Solo (I mean Harrison Ford), Don Johnson (I mean Sonny Crockett) and David Letterman...
College Era Dav--Maybe he's reading my letter??
So I’m a little melancholy painting in the studio this morning after watching Dave’s last show last night. My crush on Letterman was so well known that my friends wrote a letter to him (on my behalf) proposing marriage to him. (Sadly, I did not get a reply.)

I have fond memories of gathering around my little color Sony TV with fellow students to watch Dave even if we had an early exam. So in honor of Mr. Letterman I’ve put together my own artist themed (of course) Top Ten List…Ladies and gentlemen here we go... 

Top 10 Best Things about Being an Artist
10. Wearing a teal beret (and maybe even a red cape) to the Costco seems perfectly reasonable.
9.  When someone says: My child is a wonderful artist--You really DO want to hear about it.
8. What happens at the art supply store…Stays at the art supply store.
7. Everyone wants to be your Pictionary partner.
6. You think something “sketchy” doesn’t sound well that bad.
5. Your somewhat “eccentric” collection of bones, rusty cups, and old string is perceived to be “charming” and “artistic” by friends and family.
4. You CAN draw a straight line.
3. You know there's way more than 50 shades of gray. (Thanks to my friend and fellow late night fan MR for that one.)
2.Your artistic license doesn’t require a photo.

And the number one best thing about being an artist...
1. Your “non traditional” schedule allows you to stay up late and enjoy the same crazy shows you watched in college!

Thanks for all the memories Dave—you'll be missed! P.S. My next upcoming group class starts Wed. June 24. For more info please visit my website. Cheers everyone!