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!
I had such a wonderful time with this painting! I have a very dear friend, Marjie, who lives in Denver, Colorado. We’ve known each other for over 40 years. She is an artist as well — pastels, sculpture and glass work. We had great plans in November for her to come join me for an “Artist in Residence” week at Table Rock State park. She booked her ticket and we made plans. Then I got the news that the wildfires in North and South Carolina were encroaching on the park and my “residence” was cancelled! I was so bummed! Marjie decided not to come and take care of some other business in Colorado.
I felt so badly about not getting to spend that time together – and her losing that money for her ticket! It was a perfect opportunity to show her my love and appreciation. Initially I asked her to send me pictures of her pups, thinking I would do a pet portrait of those two cuties. But once I saw the photos I had to incorporate her husband Dave.
I used my favorite palette for portraits these days – the Zorn palette. White, black, yellow ochre and Cad Red Medium. I pulled it together from three different photos. It was one of those paintings that seemed to flow. Sometimes all the pieces come together — and sometimes, I wipe them out, turn them to the wall and fret about them. Perhaps because it was a labor of love, it came together easily.
Here’s to wonderful friendships that endure no matter what! Love you Marjie!!!
What a treat it was to paint sisters! I completed this commission for two sisters, Desi and Willa – at the request of their parents. They both recently achieved some major milestones in their lives by completing their master’s degrees, so Tom and Reba (their parents) decided a great way to celebrate was having their portraits painted. I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of this!
The first step in the whole process is a discussion of what kind of portrait you would like. If you look at my paintings, some of them are a bit looser and some are more refined. Are you looking for a casual or more formal look? Will it be a head and shoulders; or part, or all of the body? Loose abstract background or more details? Inside or outside? Do you want your dog in the painting? You can see there are lots of possibilities. Once the initial decision about direction has been made, the actual process begins.
My process (for now) has been to ask for 3-4 hours initially with the subject I’ll be painting. I take tons of photos, so that we can find some that seem to suit the person I’m painting. Then I spend some time doing a head study to record that person’s coloring in paint. Photographs are not the same as real life. Ideally, it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to paint the entire portrait from life, but there are few folks who are willing to take the time for that.
At that point, sometimes I will do a small, quick study for the client of the painting concept. Otherwise, I will begin the actual painting, using a combination of photographs and my study from life. I have recorded color notes in paint that will help me “translate” the photographs. Once I feel that the painting is complete, I will arrange for the client to view that painting, either in person or by photographs. This is an opportunity for the client to make adjustments. There are details that are important to the client that I may not be aware of — so this is an opportunity to make sure I have addressed those.
Portraits become heirlooms that are passed down in families — reminders of the people in our lives who are the most special to us. I am grateful for the opportunity to play a part in this process. There is something special and magical about painting someone. Hopefully a bit of their “soul” comes through in the process.
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!
Harmonica Mark Finalist in 2015 Richeson Portrait/Figure show – Carolinas Got Art Show at the Elder Gallery
Happy New Year!! I have so many mixed feelings this time of year. Holidays are fun, but so distracting that I feel I have to completely regroup to get back to some sense of normalcy. So I’m slowly getting back on track.
I had an amazing 2015. It was the first year that I really tried to enter some shows and had great results. All of this happened in 2015!!!
Finalist in the American Woman Artists National Juried 2015 Show at Bonner David Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Selected as one of 30 artists to participate in the 2015 Piedmont Paint Out in High Point, NC. Received “Artists’ Choice Award”
Finalist in the Richeson75 Figure and Portrait Show 2015
2 Honorable Mentions in the Guild of Charlotte Artists, 2015
Honorable Mention, “Colton’s Choice” award and “People’s Choice” award in the Matthews Art Guild, 2015 – Matthews Alive Festival
Finalist and Award of Merit in the 2015 Spring Online Show for the American Women Artists
Selected for the Carolina’s Got Art Show at the Elder Gallery, June 2015
Kalvin, Portrait of a Young Man AWA National Juried Show, Award of Merit
I love painting people, but up until now I’ve pretty much stuck to portraits. To make a living at that though I need to really market myself as a portrait painter. So that is part of my next step I believe. Also I’d like to take that passion for painting people into some figurative paintings that aren’t so “face specific”. I’m hoping to do that some with my musician paintings. So far I’ve pretty much focused on their faces, except for “Harmonica Mark”. I’m doing studies that are recognizable, but thinking in the bigger paintings that I’ll try to take them to a more abstracted direction. All musings at this point until I make it happen.
Artists’ Choice Award, Piedmont Paint Out
Also love the balance of my plein air paintings. So that will be another part of the puzzle. Hoping to do some larger paintings to appeal to some galleries. It seems most are not as interested in the small 8×10 or 11×14’s that we typically do as plein air painters.
The other big nemesis for me is the marketing part. If I had my druthers, I’d just paint. But it’s crucial to get your name out there to reach potential clients and galleries. So that’s probably the biggest piece of the puzzle for me this year. Putting together a plan that helps me accomplish that.
“Lucci” People’s Choice Award at the Matthews Alive Festival
Any ideas, suggestions welcomed!!! Once again Happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2016 is a wonderful one for you and yours!!
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!
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!!!!
Well my husband graciously allowed us to talk him into modeling for us. The last time I tried to get him to pose it wasn’t too successful. I told him to bring his guitar, but once he started to play I realized there was no way I was going to be able to paint him. No way to hold a pose and get into the music. This time he had three artists that he had to answer to so he was the perfect model. Think I may change the background, but I’m happy with the likeness.
This is Pamela — an amazing artist friend who I paint with —and recently modeled for us. We have a wonderful small group of women artists. We paint from life together, critique each others work and mainly support each other in this crazy life as an artist. I painted her one morning — about 2 hours — from life. Came back to my studio and completely wiped it out. While some of the brushwork was nice — it didn’t look a thing like her. So I worked from photos. I know that’s a faux pas for some artists. I’m an desperately trying to make the transition, but I’m still struggling and sometimes I resort to photos to help me along.