Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall's Full of Color and Creativity!

"Enchanted Spot" 8x10 oil (on hold for show)
Happy fall all! As a painting instructor this is one of my busiest (and therefore favorite) months but because of that I haven't had that much time to participate Leslie's annual September "30 in 30" painting challenge.  But I still strongly believe that relatively small "almost" daily paintings are one of THE best ways to improve your painting skills so I hope you'll keep painting and growing!

In a previous post, I mentioned this is a sensible season to invest in both you and your creative tools. Unfortunately, I think many artists (and this is too bad) abandon art simply because they are using not the right materials. On the other end, I've had beginners spend thousands and that's not necessary either. Here are my thoughts on what you might want to upgrade or enhance in your studio or creative space:

  • Does your color seem dull, strange texture? A student brand or old tube may be the culprit. Superior quality (professional artist) paint or simply fresh paint. Maybe slowly start replacing your student paint for a few nicer tubes of paint? That being said, there are some “student” paint pigments I still use and like (thalo blue for example). 
  • Brushes seen better days? Better brushes or just new clean brushes with good edges, etc. I use mostly Silver Bristlons, Rosemary's and Winsor Newton Monarchs since I prefer synthetics. In general these are in the 10-25 dollar range for small/medium sizes online but they also last much longer than craft quality brushes. Tip: Winsor Newton Non Toxic Brush Wash--pricey but you don't need much and works better than anything I've ever found. 
  • Have you ever worked on the very best surface you can find? For oil painters this could be linen or Ampersand Gessobord.  And for really large paintings? I use one of the weekly coupons for one of the big craft stores or wait for a sale to buy their best gallery wrap canvas. 
  • Easel—I really like a crank easels—In a dry climate (where wood splits/loosens) that’s just worth the extra cost for me because I know they will last a long time. Tip you can often find good easels used and a little paint splatter won't effect the function--just be sure to test them.  
  • Tempered glass palettes are super easy to clean and strong--Haven't broken one yet! I buy mine online at Store Supply Warehouse. Be sure to cover your high quality paint and store in a cool place. 

I hope those tips make your fall painting adventure more enjoyable! P.S. There are a few spots left in my my next Denver oil painting class (6 weeks) starts on WED. October 26--Please visit the studio website for more info.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Parade of Color and Thanks!

"Sea Treasures" For Sale at Parade of Homes Dream Home 
In my previous post I was sharing my thoughts about about how artists might want to consider  upgrading their studio/supplies this time of year.  Promise to return to that line of thought soon. But my art week was so robust I wanted to I wanted to send out a few "thank yous, thank yous" to the art universe...

First, a very special thanks to the lovely Foothills Art Center in Golden, CO and to my wonderful artists (several who came from far away which is always appreciated!) for a super enjoyable oil painting workshop--It was a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to returning to this inspirational venue next year!
Artists enjoy color at Foothills Art Center workshop!
I always learn something when I teach too. Some of the students where taking demo pics and writing notes along side with a cool iPad notebook app called "Bamboo" which some of you might enjoy/find helpful for classes. (Note to self--Time for a better stylus!)
"Summery Hen" oil painting workshop demo
Looking for an affordable weekend oil painting workshop? My next "Glowing Colors" transparent oil painting workshop will be one day Saturday October 28 at Curtis Art Center on October 28. You may find more info/registration links here.

Second, I'm honored to part of a special local artists show at one of the Dream Homes (not far from my studio on South Garfield) on the Denver Parade of Homes tour this year. The setting is a gorgeous contemporary home so it was a "joy and challenge" creating some contemporary abstracts that would be a good match in this special setting. (My post image today is one of these.) All the art in the house is for sale too and the show is Free so stop by if you get a chance!

Also, reminder my group Denver painting classes resume in just a few weeks on September 14--Registration is now open! The Thurs. AM class is Glowing Colors in Oil Painting (10 weeks) where I'll share my tips and techniques for working with transparent oil paints.

The PM class is "Show me the Colors" (5 weeks)--Which will be kind of "color bootcamp" with tips, theory and exercises for oil, acrylic, and watercolor painters. You can register/get more info on the Park Hill Art Club Website. 

You can win cool art books on the studio FB page this September!
Finally, be sure to follow/like my art studio news on Facebook--I'll be giving away some of my favorite art books in September--So stayed tuned for that. Thank you again everyone who supports me in my art adventures. Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Brushing Up on Your Art

Just "some" of my studio brushes--The good, the bad, the old..
Happy late August! I love summer but as a painting teacher (and an artist who loves to also take classes myself) I always look forward to this time of year. Not only is it the perfect time of year to take a class or workshop, I think it’s great time review of your art and/or craft supplies.

As an instructor, I see some well-loved supplies (as in they haven’t made that brand in over 20 years). Some “antique” supplies may be just fine but others, well frankly, it may be time to just let go.

Nowadays we could include technology in that studio enhancement as well. Every time I upgrade my "older but still OK" laptop, tablet, website, camera, phone, etc. I think—Wow this is so much easier/better/faster...I should have done that sooner.

I’m really careful when it comes to studio expenses. But I also believe that if you invest in a class or workshop it’s worth having “up to date” fresh supplies that won’t hinder your experience. There’s a good reason for instructors to include a supply list. They want you to have the tools you need to get the job done.

Another thought:  What if you’re next painting is one of your favorites or even your “chef d’oeuvre?” You’ll want to be sure you’re using the best supplies you can practically afford.

Do you like art supply deals? This is a good time of year for that too. Often local art/office/craft supply stores or online art stores (i.e. Jerry’s, Blick) feature sales and/or special pricing, free shipping, coupons, etc. this time of year. (Tip: Google shipping coupon, etc.)

Personally, my art supply spending approach is “happy medium.” This means not “found in attic/garage” or “borrowed from my kids” but also not the break the bank either. And of course you don’t have to upgrade your studio all at once.

In my next post I’ll share my thoughts about what specific supplies you might want to shop for/replace and why. Until then, I hope you all enjoy getting ready for fall art or painting classes! You may find more info about my Denver area painting workshops and classes here.  

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!