Tag Archives: Charlotte nc

Alla Prima Portraits, using the Zorn Palette

Alla Prima Portraits using the Zorn Palette 

3-day Workshop with Robin Wellner

November 1, 2, 3 2023 – $375, includes model fee

Contemporary Art Studios, 10100 Park Cedar Dr., Suite 188, Charlotte, NC 28210


Painting portraits is challenging – but incredibly rewarding! Using a limited palette that we know works makes the color choices so much easier. One look at Anders Zorn’s paintings is enough proof that this palette can produce some incredibly beautiful portraits. Using the Zorn Palette will give you freedom and versatility and allow you to concentrate on some of the other aspects of portrait work. Robin Wellner has been working with the Zorn Palette for several years and is offering a workshop to share what she has learned about this palette, as well as other hints about creating a realistic portrait and likeness.
The workshop will start each morning with a demo and instruction. After lunch, you will have the opportunity to paint a live model. There is nothing like painting from life — even if you choose to work from photos in the future. The insights you gain will transfer to your photo work. Instruction will include values, color, painting shapes rather than lines, specifics on painting features, and measuring for an accurate likeness.
As an artist, Robin Wellner specializes in portrait and figure work, as well as plein air and landscapes. Her portraits have been featured in several national shows, such as, American Women Artists, Oil Painters of American, Richeson Portrait and Figure shows.

Plein Air Painting on a Bike

Maiden Voyage

Today was my maiden voyage — riding my bike to plein air paint.  I uplifted my bike with some big baskets so I could fit all my gear. 

Painting by bike

Fun!  Makes it so much easier to look for places to paint.  Not trying to drive a car and scope out possibilities!!  This particular tree is one that I always look at in my neighborhood.  I love the twisting branches — it looks like one of those trees on the coast that’s been windswept.  

This is Day 2 of the 30 day challenge.  Once again if you purchase this painting, half of the price will go to a charity to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Make sure and let me know which charity you prefer.  I mentioned 3 in my first blog post about 30 in 30.

All the best to you and yours!!!




Painting Portraits with an Audience, and a Ticking Clock!

This is me at the Portrait Paint Off trying to complete a painting in an hour and 45 minutes.  Clearwater Artists Studios, in Concord, host an annual portrait paint off with five selected painters.  The whole event is 3 hours — with wonderful baked goods and baskets of goodies to be raffled off.  For the last two hours, we paint, with an audience of about 150 people.  They were wonderful supportive and didn’t ask too many questions.  Which is a good thing, since I tend to switch off the talking part of my brain once I start painting.  I love the opportunity to paint with other painters.  Gordon James, Barbara Ellis, Isaac Payne and Mark Stephenson were the other featured painters.  It’s such a delight to see how everyone handles the same model in a completely different and wonderful way!
This is an iPhone shot of the final painting.  I started with my Zorn palette, but introduced some other colors because of her dress.  We had another row of painters who could set up behind us, so we had a full house of painters and audience.  

Grateful to Sarah Gay and Clearwater Artists Studios for the opportunity!!  Painting with the clock ticking is a good practice I think!


Plein Air at Freedom Park – Day 24

Plein Air at Freedom Park

The weather here in Charlotte was glorious today, so I went to the park to paint today!  Felt so good to be in the sun!  Day 24 done with the bridge at Freedom Park.

All the best to you!!


Ode to Lesley – Day 6

This painting was inspired by my friend Lesley Powell. http://www.lesleypowellart.com  She’s an incredible artist from Charlotte who does beautiful landscapes and still lifes.  She recently posted a painting she’s working on with a silver pitcher in it.  In my quest to find subject matter for this daily painting challenge, I realized I have one of those pitchers!  Yay – one more day resolved.

Still Life

Ode to Lesley

Here’s my setup:

It was fun!  I wavered between handling it with a brush or a knife, and compromised on a combination.  

So another day down in my 30in30 Challenge and Strada Easel Challenge.  I’m learning lots and it’s a great way to get your head back into painting after the holidays!


Portraits from Life – Day 5

Grateful to be back painting with my portrait group for Day 5 of my daily painting.  We have a small group who paint together every week and share the costs of a model.  It’s my favorite thing to do!!  I love painting people from life!  

First of all I love people and then of course I love to paint, so it’s the perfect combo.  So this is my daily painting for Day 5 of the Strada Easel Challenge and the 30 in 30 challenge.  See you tomorrow!!!


Zade 1/5/16


Salad Day 4

Salad Day

Today was a little easier — Didn’t wipe out a painting!  Getting my lighting figured out and resolved to keep doing my palette knife – except for those days when I paint people.  Tomorrow I get back to painting with some good artist friends.  We paint a model every week from life.  One of the best things I do for my art work.  Nothing compares to painting from life!  

Enjoy my Salad!  Think I’m gonna go cut these up and have lunch!!  



Thirty Paintings From Life in 30 Days

Happy New Year!  I’m trying to start it off with a bang!  Dottie Leatherwood got me inspired to do the 30 in 30 challenge and the Strada Easel challenge .  30 in 30 is daily painting for 30 days – starting January 1.  The Strada Easel challenge is to do those 30 paintings in 30 days — all from life.  So I’m “double-dutying” them.

It’s been a really rough Fall.  My husband has been in and out of the hospital since mid October, and of course his health is my top priority.  But it does mean I haven’t painted as much as I’d like.  So I’m hoping this challenge will help me jump start my new year.  We still don’t know what going on with him, but while they try and figure it out this will give me some sanity I hope.

So this morning I set up in our music room and did this interior. Painting in my pjs!  I lit this from above to show you the texture.  It’s not as light at the top as it looks here.

Here it begins – Day One of Thirty Paintings from Life in Thirty Days.  Happy New Year to you all!!

Morning in the Music Room






Painting Energy


“Percussion” Painting Energy

Thank you Jim Brock for your patience with me— taking pictures and posing while I tried to do you justice!  I’ve had so much fun with this piece.  I was not worried about doing a “likeness” – although I think it does look like him.  It is part of my “Musician Series” that I am slowly putting together.  Mapped out with a brush and finished completely with knife —  using only four colors!

The Zorn palette has been my go-to palette lately for portraits.  I’m constantly amazed at the range I can get with only four colors – especially since two of them are black and white!!! It’s quite freeing to limit my choices.  For those of you who are interested I’m using yellow ochre, Cadmium red medium, Mars black and Titanium white.  And for those of you who are really interested, I’ll be teaching a class on painting the portrait from life using the Zorn palette.  It starts on September 12 as a six week class.  It will be a small class — maximum 6 people. Right now I have 3 spots left. Please let me know if you’d like more information.

I worked from photographs in “Percussion”.  I had to pull the hands from two different photos to get a composition that I was happy with.  Because of the knifing,  there’s quite a bit of texture on this piece – which doesn’t register very well in the reproduction.  There are broken edges throughout the painting, but I wanted the emphasis on the broken edges around his hands to bring your eyes there.  Hoping that it will also give you a sense of the amazing energy that comes when Jim Brock plays percussion.  He’s quite amazing!  And sometimes it’s not just drums — it’s an assortment of percussion pieces—some are designed for that purpose and some are incorporated through Jim’s incredible creativity.  I’m hoping to reach a level of mastery that Mr. Brock brings to his music in my painting one of these days.

Painting the energy of the music, rhythm and the people is my goal with “Percussion” and my musician series. Hoping they will push some visual energy into the rooms they occupy while the music keeps playing….


Hanah from Life

Hanah from Life

Hanah from Life

Recently had the opportunity to paint one of my favorite people – Hanah – from life.  I love our little painting group.  We hire a model virtually every week and paint from life.  We paint for three hours – 20 minutes then hopefully a 5 minute break if we don’t get too chatty.  It is probably one of the best things I’ve done for my learning in painting.  Seeing those colors in people’s faces that you only see from real life.  Photos just don’t do it!  And I know I’m prejudiced, but to me there is something magical about capturing someone on canvas.  Someone described it as “capturing their soul”.  Don’t know if I’d go that far, but I still think it’s special.

In addition to the wondrous opportunity to paint from life, there is a wonderful camaraderie between our little group of painters.  We share our latest tricks, gadgets and ideas.  We critique each other’s paintings — always with kind intentions — because we are there to grow and learn.  And sometimes we just can’t see where we’re off.  It’s so helpful to get that feedback.  It seems we all have areas that we are blind to.  For instance, I invariably make everyone’s chins too short.

Sometimes I’ll take these back and complete them with the photo I take.  In Hanah’s case, I have not done anything additional.  Haven’t decided yet whether I will.  Sometimes I like the freshness of the painting, even if everything is not perfect.

The last few sessions, I’ve been experimenting with the Zorn palette: yellow ochre, cadmium red medium and Mars black – and white of course.  I love it!  With this piece of Hanah, I did add a little Ultramarine Blue to get that color in her shirt.  I recently completed a much large painting – 30×40- completely with the Zorn palette — I will show you that soon.

Should any of you be so inclined, please let me know if you’d like to model.  We’re always looking for new faces!  We provide chocolate, coffee and friendly conversation — as well as payment of course!

Thank you Hanah for allowing us to paint you from life!!!  It was an honor and a privilege!