Friday, October 31, 2008

Not in the Zone

Maybe it's because it's Halloween, but every now and then it's like I'm a zombie at the easel. That was the case last night. I hardly got any painting done on this little panel... not that what I did do was bad, but it was agonizingly slow. Just imagine me sitting at the easel (I don't always sit, but this one is small) cross-legged, slouched way forward, eyes droopy, painting sluggishly.

Perhaps I just need more sleep!

I similarly completed next to nothing on my own painting at my small still lives class that morning. Talk about an off day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rave: My New Favorite Paint Brushes

I picked up a Winsor & Newton Monarch Mongoose size 4 filbert at a local art store, and after using it a couple times I decided to order about 10 more from Dick Blick. I was a little hesitant to spend so much of my order on paint brushes, but every time I use one of these I just love it! I've never had a brush hold it's shape so well, and they are both firm and flexible at the same time.

I love, love, love these brushes. Seriously.

Starting Belly #2

Yesterday in the studio I started moving on to painting the 2nd belly. I have a good base, but another layer will go over this. Can't wait to get back to it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Narrative Painting Update

Getting all the skin-tone values nice and low... but just noticed how off the value on the light area of the neck is. Wow! I'll have to fix that tomorrow. Anyway, in these darker paintings I really like to get the values low so that I can build up layers of light on top. This helps add interest and depth to the color, and also follows the Old Masters' rule of having thin shadows and thick lights. Every time I go and look at Rembrandt I am reminded that I have to be more liberal with the paint in those light areas.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

November Classes at Hilliard

Now is the time to sign-up if you are interested in the November classes at Hilliard Gallery in the Crossroads Arts District of KC, MO! I only need 3 confirmed students per class to make sure they go through, so if you would like to attend, please sign-up early to help avoid canceled classes.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions!

Saturdays in November - Portrait and Figure Series
Take one, two, or all classes in this series that focuses on the realistic portrayal of people. The Portrait Drawing class will focus on drawing the head in charcoal by creating an accurate envelope and then massing in values to give form, solidity, and a likeness. Portrait Painting will expand on the Portrait Drawing as we create an initial line drawing in oil paint and then create form using color, value and accurate skin tones. Everything becomes more complex as the focus shifts to the figure, and sight-size will help to create a correct representation of the figure with little confusion, so we can then concentrate on expressing the nuances of anatomy and structure. In the final class in the series, Figure Painting, we will try juggling all accumulated knowledge using sight-size to create our initial line drawing, massing in initial values and missing accurate flesh tones.

Models 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 classes available on the Hilliard website and at the gallery.

  • Saturdays 12 pm - 3 pm
  • Portrait Drawing: November 1st
    Figure Drawing: November 8th
    Portrait Painting: November 15th
    Figure Painting: November 22nd
  • Location: Hilliard Gallery
  • Cost: $40 per class, or $140 for all four classes
Hilliard Gallery
18th and Oak
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 561-2956

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Narrative Painting - Slow Progress

I've been working a lot on the face, above, to try and get what I feel is an overall good balance of value and chroma. It's been difficult, but at this point I feel like I am in the ball-park enough that I can move on for a while and use it as a thermometer to gauge the values/chroma on the rest of the painting. Right now, it looks a little awkward in comparison to the rest of the composition, which has lots of lighter and more saturated passages. Hopefully it will all come together in the end!

After I got the face at the focal point more or less settled, I quickly scrubbed some color into the remaining blank areas of the canvas. I can't wait to get back to this, though I am not quite sure when that will be since I have a hectic schedule for the rest of the week. (Please excuse the value-finder taped to the canvas; I have a lot of trouble figuring out the right values and light balance once I am home!)

Studio Update - Painting the Wall

Jamie and I spent the weekend cleaning up and painting the wall of my studio. I should take a good picture of the line where we stopped cleaning the wall... you can see an edge in these photos where my neighbor to the left cleaned up higher than we were able to reach. That might give you an idea of how dirty it was! Slowly but surely all of us at the Pressroom Studios have been cleaning, painting, and improving the space. It takes time, though, especially with the floors since the dirt and dust continues to settle back down.

Anyhow, we painted the wall a dark gray-green. It really looks quite a bit darker in real life, until you get close to it. The color is inspired by what has been referred to by some artists as "Whitaker Green," after the artist William Whitaker and the color of his studio walls. The color is a perfect background for skin tones, being complementary to their hue and quite desaturated, which makes even pale skin like mine glow in front of it.

Here's the before picture of what the wall looked like before we painted. Jamie has also primed my sides of the pillars at the front of my space, and we will paint those areas to match.

Next on the list, I am going to create a 3 panel movable wall and paint it the same color as the studio wall. Then, I will be able to control more of that light that is bouncing all over the place and also block nude models from view. I also need to get some curtains up, and we are considering painting the floor in order to lessen the amount of light that bounces off the floor and onto the model. Now that the sun is getting lower in the sky, and these are south-facing windows, direct beams of sun and light reflecting from below are becoming big problems, which is why I have temporarily moved my set-up to the corner.

Jamina Bone

As I am sure I have mentioned before, I have had an apprentice working with me in the studio. I am really pleased with the work she has created since we started working together in August, and so I thought I would share some of it here. Both the painting, above, and drawing, below, were done completely from life. (Kudos, Jamie!) She has also been great about helping me clean-up and fix-up the studio. More on that in the next post. Already I am anticipating missing her when she leaves for Chicago next summer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Little Paintings - Cherries!

The above little 4" x 4" painting was done as a demo during my Thursday still life painting class. I was so excited about this little subject (if you know me, then you likely also know of my affection for cherries) that I decided to do it all over again last night with a different background color. Perhaps I will see what they look like with all sorts of different colors behind them. I also like how you can tell I had light from windows in the version above, but light bulbs on the 2nd version, by the shape of the highlights. Both are 4" x 4." Keep in mind that is likely smaller than they appear on the screen!

Both of these cutie-pies are available on Ebay.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Painting in Need of a Name!

I finished this painting last night, and I still don't know what to name it! Everything I think of is either already taken by a previous painting, or I have in mind for future paintings. Please feel free to leave your suggestions here, otherwise I might just pick one that is in my head for a future similar painting, and then just add "II" to the next one. It's 12" x 16" oil on panel, and hopefully soon I will get a picture where the bottom half is clear.

Anyway, I have been busy painting and working. Below is a small painting I did during my Thursday Small Still Life class at ARTichokes, available on Ebay. I've also been working on my big narrative painting at the studio and might even have updates to share with you in a day or so!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Article in the KC Star

Today there's an article about the emerging arts scene in KC, KS which highlights the Pressroom Studios! Pick up a copy or read it by following the link below:

Downtown arts community gradually emerges in KCK

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Creativity and Mental Illness

There's so much I could say on this subject, but I don't have the time, nor perhaps the inclination to attempt writing it all out anyway. However, I would like to present the following for your consumption:

Experts ponder link between creativity, mood disorders

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pumpkins on Ebay!

I love fall, and I love pumpkins. This little guy embodies the season to me. 5" x 5" oil on panel.

This narrative presented itself and I couldn't resist! Oil on panel 5" x 7".

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Small Still Life Class Starts Thursday!

This Thursday I start leading a class at ARTichokes that is all about painting these quick little still lives. I, personally, have a lot of fun trying to pin down a new object in one sitting. Today I painted this little guy, and started another composition with him and two of his friends which I will finish up tomorrow. Both paintings will be available on Ebay soon. If you are interested in getting into this yourself, I bet the ladies at ARTichokes will still let you sign up!

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

Progress on "Jamina"

Today I started laying in some flesh tones on my portrait from life of my apprentice, Jamina Bone. She's looking very serious right now, but as I soften things some and also add in cooler tones this should come together.

New Narrative Painting

I've been trying to get the canvas covered on this one, in between all the other things I am working on, and I am almost there. Finally I have a week that is slim on classes and private lessons, so I hope to be able to get a lot done on this in the studio over the next few days. Since taking the reference photos for this, these lovely ladies had their babies one day after the other! I have yet to meet the little munchkins in person, but perhaps this will be a good week for that, too.