“Clouds Gathering over Grandfather”, 12×12, Oil/Panel
This scene was painted in one of my favorite places to paint in the Blowing Rock area. Up Shoals Mills Road you can pull off and get the most spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain. This particular day, we were dodging thunderstorms all day. I was lucky to get a span of time to paint!!
Hope you can join me Saturday, August 11th from 5-8 pm for “Small Works”, a group exhibition of works smaller than 14×18″ at Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery. The show will run from August 6 through the 20th.
I am a part of a wonderful little group of artists who paint together every week from life. Today our model “no showed” so Todd – one of our amazing artists – agreed to model. This is from a 3-hour session, painted with the Zorn Palette.
The Zorn palette has become my go to palette. It’s so much easier to only have four colors out, and I feel like if Anders Zorn liked it, I’m good with it!! I’m starting to use my palette knife a bit more in places. All those daily paintings using the knife has made me so much more comfortable with it.
Looking forward to teaching another Zorn class. I’m waiting for the doctors to give us a gameplan for getting my husband well before I feel confident to put it on the calendar. Hoping to teach a beginners oil class as well — and maybe a palette knife class. I’m really enjoying teaching!
Excited that this piece is a finalist in the Richeson75 Portrait/Figure Show 2015. It also recently received an honorable mention in a local show for the Guild of Charlotte Artists. I’m thrilled of course. Most of the RIcheson75 shows are online only, but in this case they ask that you ship your painting to their gallery in Wisconsin for a final judging. So cross your fingers! I’ll ship it the beginning of October.
Many of you have asked why I named this piece “Harmonica Mark” — since he’s playing a drum. Mark plays music with my husband and a group wonderful musicians, who jam at our house on a regular basis. He plays harmonica, but also some percussion. When he posed for this painting it just felt right to include this drum.
I’m in process of producing a whole series of musicians pieces. I’ve done color studies of several and taken photos, but commissions have slowed me down getting back to the larger paintings. Hope to begin them again soon.
All the best to you and yours! And to those who it applies “Happy Painting!!”
Recently I got an email announcing that my painting “Kalvin, Portrait of a Young Man” had been juried into the American Women Artists 2015 National Juried Show. Needless to say I was excited, humbled, overwhelmed and even a bit weepy. Being an artist is such an emotional roller coaster. Constantly painting and working… trying to improve. Trying to create something that feels right, conveys some emotion, is visually compelling in some way. It’s a huge challenge, one that I don’t think you ever “reach”, but so compelling for me that I can’t stop. And then on top of that, if you want to make a living at it, you have to put it out there for the world to see and hope and pray that some like it — hopefully love it.
So I’m thrilled that this painting will be part of the AWA25 show at the Bonner David Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, November 12-30, 2015. There were close to 1000 entries from 400 artists and 60 paintings were chosen to be in this show. There will be a week of festivities since this is also the American Women Artists Organization’s 25th year. American Women Artists is a non-profit organization dedicated to the inspiration, celebration, and encouragement of women in the visual fine arts. I so appreciate their mission and am grateful to get to be a part of their celebration!
Always something to learn! That’s what I tell my husband when he wonders why I keep going to workshops. If I walk away with one thing that inspires me, points me in a new direction, solves a problem I’ve been wrestling with, it’s so worth the time and money. You see I’m old. I didn’t keep at this painting thing after college. I studied painting in school but I had that idea that I could never make a living at it so I tried everything else. Everything else always seemed to be somehow related to art though. Stained glass —there may still be some restaurants in Kankakee, Illinois with some of my windows. Handpainted and silkscreened clothing — children’s line and an adult beachwear line. Graphic design — did titles for Marty Stouffer’s wildlife series. Faux finishing and murals—painted lots of houses here in the Charlotte area. I’ve finally come back to strictly art for art’s sake. I love to paint! I am passionate about it — plein air, people, dogs….
This portrait was done in Dawn Whitelaw’s portrait workshop. I’ve always admired Dawn’s work. It has a loose freshness that I really enjoy. And I was pleasantly surprised at what an incredible teacher she is. She obviously takes it very seriously and puts lots of time and energy into preparing her workshops. One of the things she stressed was to really look at your subject and decide what to focus on. What’s compelling about that face? She also asked that we really address our whole canvas as we go. How to handle the background, etc. It’s so easy to just focus on the portrait and fill in the background later — but they all relate. We studied lots of successful portraits to see what worked and didn’t.
I’m pleased with the results of this painting of Don. He was an incredible model. Typically the model sits for 20 minutes, takes a break, sits again, etc. Don was happy to keep sitting despite our efforts for him to take a break. He has such a strong face with so much character — I think that makes it easier. This is one of the few paintings that I have not touched since that session— frequently I will rework them once I get them back to the studio.
This painting thing is a never-ending source of joy and frustration! I’m happy to say I’m completely addicted. Always challenging and always something to learn! Happy painting!
Had the lovely opportunity to do some plein air at Badin Lake this weekend. Beautiful place, gorgeous weather. Got to zone out for three hours painting! My favorite thing!!! The top painting was done completely with palette knife. I did block in with a brush of course. Then I tried to very deliberately paint it from the back forward. First laid in the sky, then the farthest view, then closer, etc. etc. I’ve read recently that that is the best way to have success with the palette knife. Not my style to be very deliberate!!
The next painting I changed the focus to the clouds, which were moving quickly! So I can’t say that I painted them specifically. Just tried to get their essence from observing. This one I used my brush but tried to load it up with more paint than usual. So much to learn with plein air!!I think I could have blued or grayed down the farthest scene to make it more successful.
Finally posting this palette knife painting that I did of a dear friend, Mark. It’s been at the Elder Gallery waiting for their June Salon Show of Carolina’s Got Art. I am so pleased that it was accepted! I’ve missed having it around. Despite the fact that it was a labor of love, it was quite a challenge. After incorporating palette knife into some of my plein air paintings, I decided to attempt one of a portrait. First I did one of my daughter, from a photo. I was excited about the possibilities. I’m always trying to strike some balance between realism and pushing the edges to create a loose excitement in my paintings.
Along the way I decided to start a series of portraits of local Charlotte musicians. My husband plays music with some folks and quite often they jam at our house. I love the music and the musicians, so it was a compelling concept. Mark was the first of that group. And silly me, I decided to give the palette knife a try. I blocked it in with a brush, but committed to the knife for the rest of the painting. I found out along the way that it’s best to complete an area before moving on. Once an area that has been knifed is dry, it’s very difficult to go back in. As a result, I sanded out Mark’s face many times until I was satisfied.
I was surprised at how well the knife worked for Mark’s hands. Hands are such a challenge for me, but they seemed easier with the knife. I can’t get too anal with the knife, which is why I like and hate it. I haven’t decided whether I’ll keep the knife for the whole series of paintings. I think I’ll let the subject and the painting determine that.
I’m hoping to incorporate some audio in the final show. If anyone knows where I can get a relatively inexpensive way to have a small audio player with each painting, I would so appreciate the information. I’d love to have a snippet with each painting. The gentleman in this painting has done some amazing spontaneous poetry in the middle of a blues jam! Would love to share that with his painting!
Wish me luck with my palette knife portrait pursuit! I’ll need it! Hope to see you at the Elder Gallery on June 5th for the opening of Carolina’s Got Art Salon Show! And hopefully at the show of my Charlotte Musicians! All the best!!!!
This is a recent painting of a waterfall in Boone, NC. I have been viewing a DVD by Jeffrey Hein, who is an amazing painter (www.jeffreyhein.com). He talks about using transparent darks and opaque highlights in this film. I remember him discussing his exploration into transparent colors a few years ago at the Portrait Society conference. That concept went right over my head. He again mentions that keeping your darks transparent helps with the illusion of depth and making forms turn. I won’t do his information justice, but I did accidentally find that worked in this particular painting.
I blocked in the stream area and some of the other darks with some combination of Sap Green, Alizarin Crimson Permanent and some Ultramarine Blue. I kept that transparency particularly in the forefront of the water. I think it made a difference in creating depth. I also kept it in some of the darks in the bushes with the green and blue.
Looking at the painting again I’m not happy with that triangle of trees above the bright green patch in the background — also the clouds follow that line as well. I’ll probably go back in and adjust those so they don’t look so contrived. But all in all I was pretty happy with this painting. It’s a combination of brushwork and palette knife. I didn’t try to demand that I do palette knife everywhere.
Of course the next day I went out and tried to duplicate that sense of depth with transparent darks and was not as successful. But it’s a concept that I want to continue to explore. In fact I think that Jeff Hein has an opaque and transparent version of all his colors on his palette.
All in all a fun weekend painting! Happy painting to you!!!
Palette knife painting has become my new obsession. In my desire to loosen up my style, it seems a natural choice. You can only get so detailed with the knife. It’s frustrating at times — when I’m trying to get some little area done and I desperately want to pick up the brush. I’ve done a fair amount of knifing during plein air, but recently I decided to try it with portraits. This is from a photo of my beautiful daughter Katie. It’s interesting. Not my best painting but interesting enough that now I’ve started a large portrait/figure piece using that technique. Part of it my desire to “make a painting” not just a picture of someone. We’ll see how it all pans out. I definitely haven’t forsaken the brush, but intrigued.
Once a week at least I try to paint from life. There is nothing quite like it for seeing all the colors that are really in skin or anything else for that matter. Often I end up refining the painting later from the photo. If I do it soon enough I can usually remember the colors and values. I get so caught up in the painting at the time that sometimes I don’t see some of the proportion problems. Hopefully I catch those when I review it later in the studio.
This beautiful young woman was a wonderful model. I don’t get to paint African Americans as often as I’d like. Their skin presents a whole new set of values and colors. I got to use oranges and ed oxides in a way that I would not normally. But I would never see some of these were I not painting from life.