Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October Classes and Workshops in Kansas City

More workshops are coming up soon! Register ASAP if you're interested.

10-06-2008 through 10-08-2008 - Figure Painting from Life
Accomplished figurative painter Lacey Lewis will lead you through her creative process in this 3 day workshop at Hilliard Gallery. Lewis will demonstrate her technique and thought process, and will cover a wide range of subjects related to figure painting including lighting, anatomy, skin tones, and appropriate color palettes. Model and a light lunch are provided, and a limited number of easels are available for student use. Please check easel availability when you register. A list of materials needed for the class available on the Hilliard website and at the gallery.

10-09-2008 through 10-30-2008 - Small Still Life Paintings
Join in on this fun class that is perfect for beginning as well as seasoned artists! Each week you will create your own small still life and paint it in one sitting on a small panel. Bring your favorite small subject to class, or chose from those provided. Lacey will be there to guide you as you explore a wide variety of colors, textures, and compositions.

  • Thursdays October 9th, 16thm 23rd and 30th 10 am - 12 pm
  • Location: ARTichokes
  • Cost: $145 plus tax

10-17-2008 through 10-19-2008 - Figure Drawing from Life
This 3 day workshop is more than your average figure drawing class! Figurative artist Lacey Lewis will teach various methods for creating an accurate and meaningful drawing of the figure in charcoal, including the principles of sight-size. Model and a light lunch are provided, and a limited number of easels are available for student use. Please check easel availability when you register. A list of materials needed for the class available on the Hilliard website and at the gallery.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nectarines - 5" x 7"

I was a little too busy this past week to do my little paintings because of workshops and classes and such. Plus, nectarines are quite a challenge to paint!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Portrait Workshop Demo Complete

I finished the demo up during class today. It's been difficult to get an accurate picture of it, though. Whenever I have a lot of blue in the painting, I have trouble. The slide-show of progress is below.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I have quite a few heads on the easel right now. Above is the demo I have been doing during my Portrait Painting Workshop at the Carnegie Arts Center. This is two days worth of work, above. Yesterday I did the monochrome; it took 3 hours minus breaks and time for instructing. The addition of color was completed during today's 6 hour session, again with breaks and also a presentation on skin tones. I estimate have 5-6 hours of actual painting time into it at this point. It's small, though, 12" x 9". *I tried to post this so that if you clicked on the above image, you would see a slide show of all the steps leading to its creation. Unfortunately, that isn't working. After I finish this up tomorrow, I will create a slide show and post it on my website for your consumption.

This is another small portrait I have started of my apprentice, Jamie. How lucky am I not only to end up with an enthusiastic and really helpful apprentice, but one who's super cute to boot! I am happy with it at this stage, except for the very last mark that I made before cleaning up. I put a light mark by the far eye to indicate a bit of skin that can be seen, and now she looks cross-eyed. Rest assured, this will change!

My friend, Amy, has done some sitting for me as well. This portrait is larger, though I can't remember the dimensions, and I approached it in a somewhat unorthodox manner. This is why I have only posted a little piece of the portrait, which is farther along than the cropped-out areas. Yes, her eyebrow is temporarily missing. I think this will take a while to finish because she doesn't live very nearby and when we are together we do a lot of chatting.

Finally, Seamus modeled for my Thursday portrait drawing class so I had another chance to sketch him. This one has a much different character than the profile, which I find interesting.

Still to come are pictures of my new narrative-type painting, nectarines, and a new class!

Stay Tuned - More Soon!

I wish I had more time to update my blog. I like blogging, if only to help myself keep tabs on my work. Right now I am smack in the middle of portrait painting workshop, and did a neat little demo in my portrait drawing class last week, and also started a new big painting in the studio. I will have time to post about these soon, but not right now!

So, please do stay tuned. :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Figure Painting Progress

Progress on the figure painting. Everything is basic and cartoon-y, but that's fine at this stage.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Field Trip: The Wilcox Museum at KU


Last week I was reading a post in the Gurney Journey blog (currently my favorite art blog!) about the plaster cast collections that art schools used to have. I knew they were used in ateliers, but I didn't know that art schools or universities used to have relatively extensive collections of them, or that many of them were destroyed in protest against ideas that were deemed outdated. For a while now I have been coveting a cast of my own (a small one, of course, preferably a bust) and have a cast of a hand and/or a foot on my wish list as well. I was therefore understandably excited to find out this collection of casts is practically in my own back yard! A trip to Lawrence was added to my to-do list at once.

To me, a trip to Lawrence also means a trip to The Mad Greek. This time it just happened to fit the theme of the day! They also have a collection of casts, but they are small and located way up near the ceiling. No good for drawing, but good to look at none-the-less. After stuffing myself with yummy Greek food, I dragged my husband along to admire some [copies of] Greek art.
The collection is contained in two adjoining rooms at the Wilcox Museum, though the second room is primarily dedicated to coins and other artifacts. As mentioned on the Gurney Journey blog, the one drawback in the museum setting is lighting. There are lots of spotlights pointing in every direction, which would make getting a good range of values difficult. However, the cast of Hermes, above, is nicely lit for value drawing if viewed from the front.

While this sort of lighting is not conducive to drawing with a full value range, it would still be great to do line drawings from.

They have a pretty good collection of busts, as well. I think there were a couple more behind that wall that I forgot to photograph... I seem to remember two of Athena, one with a helmet, but I could be wrong.

Poor Homer is alone in a corner.

I had to. I know, I am silly and immature, but isn't the lighting great? I was wondering about the differences in texture here. If you look at the calfs, they are completely smooth. You start to see some marks on the buttocks, and then if you look at the top of the picture by the ribs you see a lot of texture. I want to find out if this texture was on the original and if it was common to have the various textures or if this was an artifact of repairs or related to the casting process.

This is one of the smaller casts. They ranged in size from about 18" to, well, larger than life. The following pictures are to give you an idea of the scale of some of the full-sized copies.

I read on the museum's website that the room can be reserved for events or classes, and immediately thought that it would be fun to lead a class there myself. Perhaps I can even get them to let me alter the lighting a little just for the class, or to bring in my own special lighting.

If you are local, you really should visit this collection. If you are elsewhere, visit plastercastcollecion.org to find a collection near you.

Teaching, Painting, Doing Stuff

The blog has been quiet, but I've been very busy! Right now, I have two portraits-from-life in progress, a small figure painting in progress, and the above nectarines also in progress. I also had lots of private lessons, my Thursday portrait drawing class, and yet another field trip last week. I will post about the field trip in another post shortly.

Portraits from life are a challenge! Right now is an exciting time for me because I am learning a lot now that I can regularly work from life in my studio and am doing these little still life studies (new subject matter each time!) However, it's also frustrating that I haven't been working on something more serious or narrative... though what is more serious than improving at your craft? Food for thought. Hopefully some more work on my little figure painting and bringing the life portraits up to a finish will help with those feelings.

*I almost forgot to mention that Friday I was art... I was part of my friend Rachelle Gardner's installation downtown. Check out her blog and she should have pics from Friday soon!

This week I will be working from life in the studio, and then in addition to my Thursday class I will be teaching a portraits from life workshop in Leavenworth Friday through Sunday. Check back for images as my paintings progress and for a recap of my Friday field trip!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I went a little crazy at the grocery store and bought some fruit, including these Bosc pears. Had lots of fun painting them! Pears just seem to have more personality than most fruits. In fact, there's another composition I will paint soon that I have had in mind for about a year now, but I had to fine the pear with just the right personality.

The individual pear painting is up for auction on Ebay, and the other one will follow soon. Click here to see all my Ebay auctions.

Field Trip: Signature Canvas

Today I took myself on a field trip to Signature Canvas in Kansas City, MO. I've heard lots of great things about their canvases, but have yet to try them out. After being in contact with them via phone and email, I placed and order and am anxious to try my new canvases out. Picking up the canvases provided a great chance to take a tour!

Meet Alicia! She's generally here to greet you in person or by phone or email, and she's very pleasant to deal with. We had a good conversation while I was there about materials, the art market, BBQ and frozen custard. It seems lately where ever I go, at some point I have to mention BBQ and/or frozen custard. She also showed me how to adjust my new canvases via the keyless frame, which is much more awesome in person than it looked to me on the website, and which they have a patent for.

This is a photo of the area where they cut lengths of poplar and build the frames for the canvases.

Here is where they actually stretch the canvases. This shot doesn't give a lot of information... I had to be ambiguous in this area with my photo-taking because they use a secret-special method for stretching.

Here's where they package the canvases before they are shipped out.

Not only do they make and ship custom canvases, but if you are lucky enough to be in KC, you can visit their outlet store which is right in the warehouse! I had no idea they would have this many canvases in their overstock area, and they are all deeply discounted. I'm certainly going to have to return for this.

When the tour was over and we were finished making small talk, Fernando helped me carry my loot out to the car. I'm really pleased that I've hooked up with this company. They are local, which is a plus, their product appeared to be much better than other canvases I have used, and I like that I can call them and know the person on the other end of the line. I plan to start a painting on one of these new canvases very soon, and I will report my experience here. Meanwhile, if you are local, take a tour yourself!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I thought I'd post my images of the demos I have done during this weekend's workshop and last Thursday's class here on my blog. The workshop was small, so I was able to get more work done than during the portrait drawing class, where I seemed to babble on and on and let my hands float in circles in front of my flapping gums rather than putting them to work with the pencil. Above is a Bargue plate I used to introduce my students to the technique of sight size. We spent 3 hours on the first day of the workshop using sight-size to work from the 2 D reference, in order to prepare for the next day's stab at using the method to work from life. I certainly see lots of things that are 'off' on my copy, but seeing as these are intended to be worked on for a much longer length of time, I can't say I am too disappointed.

The second day of the workshop was 6 hours of still-life drawing. Again, I was able to work quite a bit on this since the class was small. The students' drawings came out *wonderfully!* They have said that they will email me pictures of both their Bargue copies and their still lives, and hopefully I will get to share them here. It was very satisfying to see what great work they were able to produce in just one day, especially with a method that can seem so complicated at first.

Here is my Bargue plate demo from the Thursday portrait drawing class, in progress. Due to the aforementioned gum-flapping, I only got a partial envelope and some shading on the cheek done before the end of class. That night I worked on it for a little bit and was able to finish the envelope and add a little more shading, but even what I have down is still not right. You can see the shading in the hair is still too light in places, and I haven't even begin to model that half-tone on the cheek, between the shadow and lit areas. I will continue to work on this and post the progress here!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Workshops and Open Studios!

Today I started a 4 week portrait drawing class at ARTichokes with a great group of ladies. I started them off with the daunting task of a head and shoulders Bargue plate. This always makes me very aware of just how tight a$$ed I really am, especially in the presence of artwork with such free-flowing brushstrokes and thick knife-work. I often thing, "Rembrandt did it, (at least in the highlights) so why can't I lay it on thick and leave it there?" As well, it's always a push/pull with me... lay the paint down like you mean it, but don't sacrifice accuracy!

I digress. I am looking forward to the following classes with these women, and also to this weekend's sight-size workshop at the Carnegie Arts Center in Leavenworth. As I work on the demos for these classes I will post images here to give you some idea of what we're doing, and perhaps I will even get to post some student work. We will see!

If you are bummed you missed these classes, please check out my schedule here as I have quite a few classes and workshops coming up.

The only drawback (hah! pun) of this weekend's workshop is that it conflicts with this month's 2nd Friday 'Follow the Dotte' Art Walk in Kansas City, KS, which the Pressroom Studios (where I have my studio) is participating in. Therefore, unfortunately, I won't be able to meet and greet. However, my lovely apprentice, Jamina Bone, has agreed to open my space to visitors in my absence. Please do stop by and say hello! I will have some work on display there, and you will get to see Jamie's awesome work-in-progress oil painting of a skull.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Peaches and Cherries

Today in the studio, I finished this painting. "Peaches and Cherries" 5" x 7" oil on panel.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Starting a New Painting

Today has been a very productive day for me. I finished up the blue glass painting that was started last night, and I began a new painting. It is on a 16" x 12" panel.

I started off by drawing the above lines on the board with charcoal and a ruler. These help with composition and placement. Notice in the drawing below the placement of the head within the top-middle diamond shape and that the model's line of sight follows the triangle-shape through the bottom right-hand corner.

Here everything has been drawn in with charcoal and some shading indicated. I use charcoal instead of graphite because graphite may become visible through the paint surface as an oil painting ages.

With the drawing complete, I 'ink in' the contour lines with oil paint that has been diluted with OMS. In this instance I used raw umber, though burnt umber or asphaltum yield similar results.

After the contours are set, I generally begin painting in the darkest-darks and/or the background. Here you can see a couple shadow values were blocked in before the end of the session. I plan to work on this again tomorrow and will try to take more step-by-step pictures to post.

Blue Glass - Small Painting

There are now a total of four small paintings listed for sale on my Small Paintings Blog through Ebay. I'm happy to be getting so much practice painting these little works that are so different from my people. There are certainly more figures on the way, though!

Pressroom Studios - Website

The Pressroom Studios, where I have a space, now has a website. More will be added as I am able to gather more information and images, and as the place as a whole comes together! www.PressroomStudios.com

Friday, September 05, 2008

Two Shows Opening Tonight

My work is included in two openings tonight! I will be at the opening of my solo exhibit at the Carnegie Arts Center in Leavenworth from 6-8 pm. The National Small Oil Paintings Exhibition will open almost simultaneously in Wichita, where my paintings Mala, Mortalitas, and Facade are on display. If anyone is in Wichita, please head out and let me know how it goes!

Solo Art Exhibit at Stacks Gallery 09-05-08 through 10-06-08
Solo exhibit at the Stacks Gallery at the Carnegie Arts Center in Leavenworth, KS. Special workshops and presentations in conjunction with the exhibit will be held.

National Small Oil Painting Exhibition 09-05-08 through 10-19-08
Three of Lacey's paintings were accepted into this juried exhibition. Opening Reception and Announcements of Awards September 5th, 2008 from 5-7 pm.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bring the John William Waterhouse Exhibition to North America!

The John William Waterhouse retrospective exhibition is scheduled to open in Europe in 2008/9. So far, no North American museum has shown an interest in hosting it. The purpose of this petition is to urge one or more museums in North America to offer to host the Waterhouse exhibit.

The work of John William Waterhouse (British painter, lived from 1849-1917) is very popular today. Examples of his work include The Lady of Shalott, Ophelia and St Cecilia (they can be seen on the Waterhouse fan site @ www.jwwaterhouse.org).

The upcoming retrospective exhibition will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us to view so many of Waterhouse's paintings in one location. It would be a major disappointment if Waterhouse fans in North America are unable to share in this experience.

By signing this petition, Waterhouse fans worldwide are showing their interest in seeing the JOHN WILLIAM WATERHOUSE exhibition come to North America.

Museums of North America -- please heed our plea!

Bring the John William Waterhouse Exhibition to North America

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Monday, September 01, 2008

"Security" :: Finished

Oil on Canvas 40" x 30"

This painting was completed today, I think. I keep going back to it again and again, but that has to stop! It's time to move on to a new composition. For now, I am happy with the muted color scheme I have going on in this one. Hopefully everyone has had a swell Labor Day.

Midnight Oils - Long Island

I recently learned that the above painting, Mortalitas II, will be included in the Midnight Oils exhibition at the Smithtown Township Arts Council's Mills Pond House Gallery on Long Island. The show will run October 4th through November 5th.

Seamus II - Life Drawing

This is the first male nude I have drawn in a long time! Last week I worked on this for three sessions in my studio, with Seamus patiently modeling for me. I am not sure if I will be able to finish this from life or not, or if I will decide to leave it as-is. This week is going to be too busy to to allow for sessions long enough to really work at it, and I am not sure I will be able to either keep the set-up as is or recreate it later.