Friday, August 27, 2010

Scandalous Daisies

First quick "Happy Birthday" shout out to my younger brother, Bryan this week! This quick watercolor sketch was inspired by my re-read this week of Charles Reid's Painting Flowers in Watercolor as well as some "Denver daisies" (a cheerful flower that had a bit of controversy here in Denver, thus my title!) given to me by my student, Louise. Thanks again Louise!

As an artist it's always a personal luxury to paint just for you. Whether it's your most beloved colors, a favorite subject, most comfortable method, etc. In this painting, I wanted to honor my the beginnings of my "art career" many moons ago in a small town in Michigan. Where, while still underage, I was hired "illegally" as the official illustrator/calligrapher for at our library (the matriarch librarian told me to lie on the application when she saw my sketchbook and so I did.)

After class, I spent many wonderful hours in the library basement getting paid to draw brochures, posters, calendars, etc. in pen and ink. The only down side was endless hours shaking and cleaning out those super fine Rapidiograph pens--those of you who've used them know what I mean...Which makes using a super fine Sharpie as I've done here all the more enjoyable!    

Finally, warm welcome and thanks to my three new artist students this week--Mike, Shelley, and Stacey! It was great to meet all you and I look forward to lots of great fall painting. Quick reminder, if you are looking for a casual, creative open studio class on Mondays, we've still got space in September/October for watercolor, acrylic, or oil--Beginners are always welcome!   

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Passport to Pink

 "Passport to Pink
24 x 24
Mixed Media Collage on Panel
Price: $495 Framed
Hope everyone is enjoying a great summer weekend. I'm getting ready this morning to drop off my very rosy mixed media collage to Core New Art Space (a great contemporary co-op gallery located in the Art District on Santa Fe here in Denver) for their PINK show which starts on September 9 where a portion of the proceeds will go our local Susan G. Komen For the Cure chapter.  Inspired by passports and travel, this particular piece includes old text (both Western & Eastern), stamps (both postage and painted), and words in French and English.    

Core New Art Space holds a special place in my heart because it was one of my first major sales and I've also won an award there as well. So if you are in the Denver metro area, and especially if you like pink and want to support a wonderful non-profit please be sure to check out the show. I'm really looking forward myself to seeing how other artists interpret the pink theme.

This week I've also been working on a larger piece (about 3ft x 4ft) on an older stretched canvas I came across at a local tag sale. As much as I love painting small daily studies, working on a more expansive scale can be very rewarding and has really inspired me to continue paint some larger pieces in late summer/early fall. So be looking for those...

Finally, quick kudos to all my ongoing students this season for all your hard work! I do have a few slots open for fall students so please drop me a note if you want to join the Monday painting group in Littleton or take a private/semi-private session in Denver. My fall class special is 20% discount for any new students who sign up for a minimum of 4 sessions.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sunflower Power

"Sunflower Power"
Transparent Watercolor on Arches 140 CP
12 x 12 

Is it really Friday already? While I paint mostly in oils now, particularly since I joined the daily painting movement, I still like to splatter colors, layer rich glazes, and "wipe out" out interesting shapes. Push pull, push pull...And it's also a glorious way to wind down from a busy week.

Last weekend, I was reading several watercolor books including artists Jane Hofstetter's excellent 7 Keys to Great Painting. One of her 7 keys is "Pattern" so I was really pushing myself during this painting to focus first and foremost on the BIG light and dark patterns (letting your  midtones find their own way). I think this is especially important with complex florals and/or nature scenes.

This reminds me of one of my favorite studio tips (which originated from one of my favorite watercolor teachers--Ms. Jackie McFarland) and those are red colored glasses.  You can also use a sheet of red acetate of course, but red glasses are usually easy to find online and any style will do. Anyway, pop on a pair and you can instantly see and compare your values. 

Finally, thanks to my eBay painting collector for your purchase! Here's this week's eBay painting--an 8x8 original oil Daily Painting of a pear. I'll be donating one of my larger mixed media collage pieces (which I'll post soon) to the Core New Art Space "PINK" show in Denver where a portion of the proceeds will go to the local Susan G. Komen Foundation.  The show runs September 9-26, 2010.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Slice of Summer

 "Summer Slice" 
8x8 Oil on Linen Panel
Price: $40 + $5 shipping 

Hi All, first, I thought it was time for a refresh of my blog look and feel and while I personally like a dark rich look, I know they can be hard on the eyes so I'm trying out a lighter template.

I don't know about you, but it's about this time of year I start to get a little (a lot actually) panicky about summer's end lurking around the corner. With that in mind, I was looking around this morning for something to paint that would be a little "slice of summer" and the seedless baby watermelon seemed an obvious subject fit. Also, the watermelon is a great example of natures brilliant hue combination of a red/green complement that can be so exciting to paint.

As a foodie, I also think it's kind of cool that watermelons seem to be one of those polarizing foods/flavors that people seem to really like or dislike. For example, I love watermelon but cantaloupe or honeydew, while beautiful to look at, not so much with the flavor for me.

Also had a great time while painting today listening to all the helpful "studio secrets" on the Artists Helping Artists BlogTalkRadio show. It was interesting to discover that a few of my own "studio must haves" such as walnut oil and/or Murphy's Oil Soap for brush cleaning, bungee cord for paper towel roll on easel, the small canvas holder (which I blogged about recently), were other painters' favorites as well. But there were many new tips/tricks that I look forward to researching further such as "photo cubes" for taking pics of my art. 

Quick note, we have extra space available in our Monday Open Studio Class from 10A to 2P  in downtown Littleton so please let me know if you'd like to join or pass the word along to a fellow artist--oil, acrylic, and watercolor all welcome since our focus is color!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Clementine, Darling?

"Clementine, Darling?"
6x6 oil on linen panel
Price: $60 + shipping

After teaching a morning oil class (great job Bob!), I was in the grocery store looking around the produce section for some daily painting inspiration (and healthy snacks!) when I spotted a big bag of Florida clementines. The warm orange hue was so vibrant and juicy I had to get them as models. 

This was also my first painting on my new RayMar linen museum quality panels and they are a really lovely painting surface--a little tooth but not too much. To use a cooking term, I'll say the panels were al dente! In this particular case, I toned the canvas first with a nice rich quin gold.

For fellow painters, my tip today is next time you want to lighten an area, try the "friendly neighbor" --a lighter hue on the color wheel before using our "go to" white, so yellow-green for a green subject, red-violet for a dark violet subject, etc. You may even want to take white off your palette altogether for a while as an experiment in maintaining bolder, cleaner colors.

For more information about my work or classes, please feel free to email me anytime or visit me on TeachStreet. Thank you!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Sale: Horse Code

"Horse Code" 
8x8 oil on panel equine abstract painting

Thanks again to the Artists Helping Artists for their fantastic blog tips show yesterday. Based on Leslie and Dreama's helpful comments, starting today in my blog, I'm going to try to have at least Friday as a featured Daily Painting sale day for all my blog readers.Also, starting this week I'll be selling a few of my older (but still good!) Daily Paintings on eBay all starting at under $50.

Finally, welcome to all my new summer students this week and next, I look forward to painting some masterpieces with all you! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

French Lipstick

Happy Thursday everyone, as always thanks for stopping by! For my quick 6 x 6 Daily Painting this morning, I wanted to paint a reflective object. So I choose this lipstick tube (which also had a funky tapered shape) with shiny black and golden surfaces. As a painter, I'm always interested to see how other artists render different (and sometimes challenging) textures and surfaces such as glass, metal, fur, leather, wood, etc.

That being said, even though I have a more "painterly" approach, my goal is still to accurately record the shape, value, and color. The key, I find, is to have faith and confidence that by doing this you will achieve a happy result in the end.

Today's Studio Tip: The more thickly I paint in oils (which I'm really beginning to enjoy in these little paintings) the more I use my handy and affordable Kemper wipe out tool to help with correcting areas that get a bit too heavy. I think this tool was designed originally for ceramics, but it works great canvas and Masonite  panels.  

Speaking of supplies, like many oil painters, I love to paint on linen but it can be expensive and hard to find. So am really looking forward to receiving my new linen panels from RayMarArt. I've noticed that they are the "panel of choice" for many daily painters and conveniently are available in the 6 x 6 "daily" size.  

Looking for texture painting examples? I can't help but admire contemporary Colorado realism painters Daniel Sprick and Scott Fraser for their amazing mastery of textures and reflections. For more interesting examples of textures, visit the Daily Painters site and type in the search box terms like gold, silver, glass, etc.

And since it's Thursday, I'm also looking forward to listening later to the Artist Helping Artists show where artists Leslie and Dreama (and often a guest) share helpful information and tips. Next week's show "Studio Secrets" sounds particularly intriguing--I can't wait!

OK, back to the studio for some more practice...have a great day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Little Green Apple Holder

On Daily Painter Carol Marine's website she generously and openly shares a lot of info in her FAQ section that I don't always see artists willing to share--particularly what I call the mechanics of painting. Type of brush, panel, easel, paint, lighting issues, etc. For those of us who paint frequently, it's these kind of tips that can really make a difference.

For those of you who paint on small canvases (such as the 6x6 or 8x8 sizes that are now so commonly seen for Daily Painters) you'll likely understand that I was particularly interested to see how she, er, wrangled them.  Online I've seen a variety of methods for handling these little gems (which tend to be unstable on big wooden easel), but thankfully she shared an example of her little panel holder which you can order through her site. Basically it's a square with top and then a wedge piece that you can slide in from the bottom to hold the panel in place.

I was going to order the one from her site but I realized I had lots of extra Masonite in the garage to first give it a try on my own. I spray painted mine a flat black because I thought it would be helpful to have that value judgment as well.  A dark gray would work well too I think, but I happened to have a nice flat black spray on hand.  

What I really love about this "method" is that the panel holder acts as seamless frame so you can easily brush off the sides and edges of the canvas panel and not have your brush stroke interrupted. Anyway, here you can see my 30 minute "quick paint" test of half a Granny Smith apple where I'm playing with primary colors around the yellow-green apple. (I was also testing out a new Liquitex flat synthetic brush which was, for me, a bit too soft and floppy for oil, so I'll just save it for acrylic.)  A big thumbs up though on the panel holder, though, so again my thanks to Ms. Marine for sharing.

Speaking of thumbs up, earlier today I watched the documentary Art of the Steal, about the controversy surrounding the incredible Barnes Foundation, an unsurpassed collection of post-impressionistic paintings, many iconic, now worth billions. If you're interested in art history and the politics of art, I highly recommend it. The award-winning film raises compelling questions about private collections, museums, and the role art plays in our overall society, as well as our economy. 

To all my students, I look forward to seeing you in the studio this week! In the meantime, enjoy your easel time!