Monday, April 14, 2014

Still life painting demo

"Happy Family"  Acrylic  8x10" Purchase Info
This weekend I taught a "How to paint fast, loose and bold" workshop. Here is my demo from the first day. We had a fun group and everyone did plenty of exercises to loosen up by using less strokes, bigger brushes, more paint, and working faster. Thats always the hard part - getting everyone to load up their paint brushes with lotsa paint. I tell them to pretend they have stock in the paint company. And when that doesn't work I've got an exercise or two up my sleeve that makes it impossible to "dab" with small brushes. Pictured below is our happy family from the Art League of Nassau County, plus Katie from Michigan hovering above (who took the photo).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Three White Houses

"Three White Houses"  Oil   9x12  Click for larger view
Yes, they actually are white. I was in a fauvist mood and pumped up the color. Why not... its fun!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Last Class

Blue bottles and Bowl   Acrylic 9x9"  Purchase Info
Today was the last (local) class I will be teaching for a couple months. It was actually a complementary make-up session for all those who missed a class or two during the 8 week period. About 1/2 the class  showed up -  so I had time to paint too. Then we all went to the diner for lunch. I couldn't ask for a nicer group of gals to work with. Some of them are coming to my workshop in Italy  this September.  Register now if you want to join us, class size is limited.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

White on White

"White Cups"  Acrylic  8x8" Purchase Info
Today I took a one day workshop on painting whites. There were several still life setups in the room to paint from, all white on white. I chose the cups. It is so fascinating to see all the various shades of subtle colored greys - they are actually there if you look for them, but elusive unless you keep comparing different parts of the setup while painting.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Critter Comforts

Carmel Mission  Acrylic  8.5x6.5" Purchase Info
It's nice to be back home. Seems I've been on the road for quite a while. I'm just returning from a great workshop in Cary, North Carolina, we covered a lot of territory. In the beginning of a workshop I ask each person what their goals are, take notes, then check with each person on the last day to make sure their goals were accomplished. Everyone was happy!
    Just as the workshop was ending, I was asked to do a final demo. With only 1/2 hour left, I picked a photo that is a little outside my comfort zone, and told everyone that I was not feeling confident about doing this demo, especially so fast, but I'd do it anyways, since I had asked them to be brave, experimental and non-judgmental about their work and I should do the same. I didn't have time to sketch it out and make sure I got the drawing correct, but at least I did have a small 3-value thumbnail sketch to refer to. I used a 2 inch brush and finished in exactly 35 minutes. I say "finished" but it wasn't, really. Working so fast and not cleaning out my brush much in between colors made for a muddy looking sky and some too-neutralized greens.
     So last night I went to my studio and spent a few minutes cleaning up some of the colors and adjusting some values. I also changed the value of the sky from a light to a middle value, which made emphasized the stucco wall and helped the composition. Below is a photo of the demo painting and the value sketch, and above is the finish, with better color, using some smaller brushes for flowers and vegetation. I like the final painting and feel like I stretched a little. I'm glad I stuck my neck out and tried something I hadn't had time to plan out, especially as a final demo in front of 16 people. The moral of my story is, its essential to move outside your comfort zone if you want to grow. The only risk is not taking one.  I have a lot of favorite sayings about facing fear but one of my very favorites is: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."  Now if I could just motivate my critters, who are clearly stuck in theirs!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to put figures into an urban landscape painting

Behind the New York Public Library  12x12", Oil

New York Public Library  12x12", Oil
Lawn Loungers  8x8", Oil

The New York Public Library Lion ("Patience")   12x12," Oil

Blue Shirts  12x12," Acrylic

That is perhaps one of the more challenging aspects of urban landscapes. Especially when working "en plein air" in NYC. FYI, no one poses for you unless they are asleep. And if you can spot someone who hasn't had 5 cups of coffee and actually stays put for more than a minute or two, consider yourself lucky. Gotta capture that pose quickly!  I learned this last year when I was hired to stand outside on the busiest intersection of Manhattan, 42nd street and Fifth Avenue/Bryant Park, and paint the city sights - en plein air. No safety nets - such as photos, pre-location scouting, protection from the elements (or the crowds). Just stand there and paint whatever. Often I did 2 paintings per day, in oil or acrylic.  It was a wonderful opportunity to take those moving, grooving, hustling New Yorkers and quickly incorporate them into a painting. The trick is getting the gesture and "shorthand" right.

Luckily, in my upcoming "Paint NYC" workshop, we will be painting "en plein studio", in the comfort of the National Academy of Design which is directly across the Street from the Guggenheim Museum and Central Park. The participants will work from photos - theirs or mine - so no need for rushing to capture those moving figures. We will work on gesture, composition and design, simplifying buildings, perspective and... cars! Yes, what is a city without cars? (Hint: if you don't get the cars right, they look like something out of a cartoon book.) The shorthand I will teach about painting figures and cars will help you add them to your paintings with ease.

So, if you want to learn how to capture the energy of New York City, register today for this workshop from May 19-23, 2014. But don't wait - registration ends very soon! If you are considering it, better call today and let your intentions be known. Hope you can join us for this unique city experience.

Click here for more info at Sedona Art Center or call 928.282.3809.

PS - btw, when I say no protection from the crowds, I'm not joking...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Let's Paint NYC in May!

57th Street Dusk  Oil  10x12"
I will be teaching a "Paint the NYC Urban Landscape" workshop from May 19 - 23 sponsored by the Sedona Arts Center. The agenda will be simplifying detail, learning to put gestural figures in street scenes, learning "shorthand" for painting cars and crowds, combining limited values for drama and more.
Capture the energy, excitement and colors of NYC - in person and in paint! For more information and registration click here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fruit Fest Demo

Fruit Fest  Acrylic 10x10" Purchase Information

 I'm in Cary, North Carolina teaching a "Loosen up!" Painting workshop with a fantastic group of gals. There are a lot of wild women in this group, who apparently have been wanting to let loose, and thats just what they are doing - with fresh, unexpected color combinations and exciting brushwork.  Here is my demo from yesterday, and a photo of the class. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Yellow Tulips

"Yellow Tulips"  8x8" Acrylic   Buy Now

Just returned from my recent workshop in Carmel CA at Carmel Visual Arts. I had a great group of 17 students who went from 0 to 90 mph in 3 days. The progress they made in so short a timeframe was stunning. We started the workshop with value simplification studies, moved on to methods for creating interesting brushwork (in fewer strokes) and finished off with 15 minute paintings.  I'll be returning to teach an intensive 5 day workshop November 3-7 2014. Interested? Better sign up now - its already starting to fill. Other topics to be covered: Color theory, color mixing, working with color schemes, creating colorful greys, and much more.  This time I'm going to allow for more chill time in Carmel - it is heaven on earth... and a great gallery town.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NYC Canal Street Pretzel Vendor

"Canal Street Pretzel Vendor"  Acrylic  12x12"  Buy it Now
The biggest challenge to this piece was cleaning it up - too many cars, signs, people, just too much clutter. I'd way rather clean up a painting than my studio!

There are a few spots left in my upcoming "Loosen Up" workshop in Cary, NC - we will be grooving out freely (with paint) ... here is the info  Loosen Up! March 14-17, 2014 Cary, NC

Monday, February 3, 2014

Soho Florist

 SOLD  "Soho Florist"  Acrylic  12x12"  Click to View  

A typical colorful scene in New York...vendors tending to their fruits, vegetables and flowers. Who can resist?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Personable Pug

"Personable Pug"  Acrylic  6x9"  Click to Buy

I am a big believer in the notion that if the values are correct, you have plenty of leeway with color. That is the focus of this week's Daily Paintwork's  "Creative Color Challenge". This painting was created from a b/w photo of a pug. I had a little fun with artistic license, but I kept the values true.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Patti Vincent's Kitty

"Max"  Acrylic 6x6"  Click to Buy

I did this painting for the DPW Challenge. I couldn't resist, as I'm always blabbing about translating values to color. You can read about it here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Soho Shopping Buds

"Soho Shopping Buds"  Acrylic 8x8"  Click to Buy

Who can resist window shopping in Soho? It is serendipity at it's best!

etc: I have added "Click to see more" to my blog title. Reason being, several people have asked how to go to my blog and see all the posts, upcoming workshop listings, and also be able to comment... I guess it is not clear that the title is clickable. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Soho Showers and Shoppers

"Soho Showers"  Acrylic 8x8"  Click to View
Another rainy day in NYC. Rain, snow, sleet or hail, shopping will prevail.

etc: I have added "Click to see more" to my blog title. Reason being, several people have asked how to go to my blog and see all the posts, upcoming workshop listings, and also be able to comment... I guess it is not clear that the title is clickable. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Midtown Showers in NYC

"Midtown Showers"  Acrylic 8x8"  Click to View
Dreary but colorful ... a typical rainy day scene in the city

I'm really excited about my upcoming workshops ... I will be demonstrating methods for loosening up with acrylics or oils. We will be painting cityscapes, still lifes and more!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tulips in a Glass

"Tulips in a Glass"  8x8"  Acrylic   Buy it Now $100
My 8 week painting class started yesterday, this is the demo I did to show my process. I used 2 brushes, each 2" wide. They are the type with the short handle and wide ferrule, like house painting brushes. One brush for used for the pinks and reds, the other for the greens and blues. There were a few times I was tempted to use a smaller one for the details and highlights, but for the sake of the demo and to encourage students to try working with larger brushes, I didn't. It took a half hour from start to finish, with a lot of stopping for explanations. I did 4 b/w value studies of this setup, and randomly chose one of them as my guide for the demo.

The only reason I can think of to paint fast is that there is a certain gesture and economy of brushstroke that results in an energetic and lively look. When I tickle and fuss with a painting for hours or days, it looses this quality. The brushwork gets muddled and overworked, the colors lose their zest. Not to mention that when you go over the same passage several times, you start getting a built up texture from the underneath acrylic brushstokes that have dried, and sometimes that texture is unwanted. When I feel my paints start to get sticky, I know it's time to wrap it up.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

City Shapes

"City Shapes" 9x12   Acrylic Click to View
This painting is from a photo I took in Times Square. The challenge was to simplify!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How I spent my new years eve 2013

"Effervescent Intersection"  10x12" Acrylic  Click to View

I think the title of this painting may have something to do with the mood of the night. OK, a little bubbly was consumed. I spent it solo, as usual, (not complaining). Hubby had a jazz gig in Times Square and I was not up for the ordeal of the park-o-rama, wall to wall crowds, not to mention it is freezing!!! Staying home with snoring kitties and the fireplace humming away + my paints and brushes seemed like the perfect way to usher in the new year - it was!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dressed for the Fest

"Festive Fowl"  12x16" Acrylic  Click to View
As we find ourselves in the tail end (sorry, couldn't help myself) of 2013, I hope this finds everyone in a place of cheerful optimism in welcoming in the new year. Myself, I'm grateful to be on this journey of being an artist, and all the new avenues of learning and discovering it constantly serves up. At times it is a frustrating, daunting and downright exacerbating path, but as every artist knows, there is often an unexpected breakthrough just around the bend that sustains the passion to keep pushing the envelope. Thankfully, this path is never boring; new discoveries abound as quickly as we open ourselves to them. Wishing you all happy endings and inspired new beginnings. Cheers!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ruminating Rooster

"Ruminating Rooster"  12x16"  Acrylic  Click to View
As the proud "mom" to 3 lovely chickens  (as well as an array of other critters), I can tell you they are full of charming personality and nuanced moods, can you tell?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ranting Rooster

"Ranting Rooster" 12x16 Acrylic  Click to View

I decided to get out my big brushes and have some fun. I ended up with a series of 4 roosters.
Happy holidays to all - Hope your new year is something to crow about!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Precious Metals

"Precious Metals"  8x10"  Acrylic on Canvas  Click to Bid

I have brave gals in my friday morning class - whatever I put in front of them, they just dig their heels in and paint. Despite a little bit of whining (this is too hard!) they always come out with flying colors and great paintings. I have to admit, this one actually was pretty challenging, considering all the shimmery metallic reflections to deal with. I decided to set up an easel and share their pain. All I know for certain is that as challenging as this was to paint, the true pain is in strapping them on and trying to walk. Seeing this painting has revived my husbands attempts to get me to wear them again.  Fat chance!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

J Train Blues

J Train Blues  Oil  8x10" Click to view

How to create a (potential) flop:  Wait till the painting is done and then realize there is no focal point. Then decide what image would make a good focal point, and realize you don't have it. Then look for that exact specific image, at the correct angle, and realize you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Then spend a bunch of time to create the specific image without decent reference and try to figure out what it would look like, and what size it should be, and what the lighting would be, and hope like hell it looks like it works in the scene. Prepare to cry in your beer...
Lesson learned...I got myself in a pickle, then luckily managed to get out. It was a lotta work.

Next time: think first, plan a little, nail down the focal point, finish the painting, and then ... drink the beer

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Un-Nude Ascending a Staircase

Blonde Ascending a Staircase  8x10"  Oil on Gessoboard
Most people don't think of subway stations as being particularly colorful. This one in Queens would prove them wrong...gotta love those pastel hues.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chelsea Hipster

Chelsea Hipster  6x6" Oil  Click to Bid
This scene is 25th and 10th, the heart of the gallery district in Chelsea, where everyone looks at art... and their phones.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Converse Low Tops

"Converse Low Tops"  6x6" Oil  Click to Buy
While most people are engaging in typical holiday activities, I have finally eeked some time to paint!

About 10 minutes into this painting I thought, gee, didn't do a very good job of lighting this - the subject matter is almost entirely in shadow, with no clear definition of the light/shadow areas, other than the cast shadow. Oh well ... stop yer snivelling and make it work (my favorite mantra to myself).  I decided to pull out the oils for a change of pace. I have a lovely stash of Williamsburg Oil paints that have been collecting dust since August, last used during my plein air NYC city gig.

Oils and acrylics, such very different exotic and wonderous animals. I don't think I will ever be able to choose which one I love better. I'm thankful for that too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

...On the Road Again

"Willie"  18x24" Pastel 
like Willie, I've been on the road a lot, since about mid-September. Between teaching gigs, doing DVD's, lectures, trade shows, and even a grammar school reunion, I've been here there and many places in-between. Now I'm ready to head homeward and get back to daily painting. Even weekly will do.

Posted here is an illustration I did in the early 80's for RCA Records, "Willie Nelson's Greatest Hits" album cover. I don't think Willie would mind my dredging him up as a blog post to suffice till I can create something new. Looking forward to home sweet home... er... studio sweet studio so I can start pushing paint around again... I miss it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sleeping on the Job

"One Slacker"  6x6"  Acrylic  Click to Buy
Looks like the rest of the crew is poised and ready for action. Everyone except this one slacker, who is clearly down for the count. There's one in every crowd...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cleaning Crew

"Cleaning Crew"   6x6"  Acrylic on Gessoboard  Click to buy
Uh-oh, I'm at it again, snagging the cleaning products in my studio building. Hope no one needed the Dr. Bronner's handwash, Murphy's Oil Soap or the water mister tonight...they will just have to forgive this artist who could not resist their alluring colors.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Autumn Colors

"Autumn Colors"  11x14" Acrylic on Stretched Canvas  Click to Buy
Who isn't inspired by the spectacular colors of a crisp autumn day?
 In New York, this is the most beautiful time of the year!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Rose is a Rose (is a Rose)

"A Rose is a Rose"  8x8"  Acrylic on Gessoboard  Click to buy
Pink roses are my favorite. But I also can't resist those elegant creamy white roses. Then again red roses are so sumptuous. Nevermind... they are all magnificent!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold, 8x10", acrylic Click to Buy
A painting from Tuscany, one of the most beautiful places in the world...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Painting Demos, again

Red Petals  8x10"  Acrylic

I've been practicing demo paintings for an upcoming video shoot... landscapes, tuscany scenes, still life, etc. Here is a little flower painting ... still trying to decide what subjects would be best for the demos. Yikes, getting filmed...its a bit scary!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Painting Demos

It has been a busy summer - with very little time to post - or paint! Mostly I have been teaching painting and "painterly collage" classes, and teaching workshops in monoprinting, how to create textural, layered surfaces using acrylics, and image transfer techniques, amongst others. 

Yesterday and today I made up for lost time - I did 9 paintings as practice exercises for my upcoming video shoot in Ohio. I will be teaching a little bit of everything in these 3 videos - designing with values, color theory, and fast, loose painting.  Posted here are some exercises I will demo for the "translating values to color" segment. 

Now that summer is coming to a close I am ready for it to start. Tomorrow I'll be taking off for a few days to go camping and canoeing in the Adirondacks and the weather is supposed to be perfect... I can't wait! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Zig Zag Thru Midtown (again)

Zig Zag Thru Midtown II,  Acrylic  14x14"  Click to buy 
Have you ever finished a painting and then said to yourself - ' It works, but it's not what I was aiming for'.  That happens to me often enough, and it usually means I want the painting to have a looser, more abstract quality about it.  

Often before I start a painting, I will sketch it out in charcoal to get the basic drawing and proportions accurate. This is how I started the painting in my previous post from July 3. The only problem with this approach is that it can feel like I'm just "filling-in-the-lines", working in a coloring-book manner, which can feel constricting.  For this painting I decided to just jump in head first with paint, without working out the drawing first, and gradually "sculpt out" the shapes and whatever detail was necessary. This approach, to me, is much more engaging, and feels less mechanical. It forces me to work out the drawing while I'm painting, without the security of a safety net. It also makes me "react"more, stroke by stroke, to continually make choices about the balance of shapes and overall design. 

As I look at both paintings side by side, I'm not sure there is an obvious difference that I started them in completely different manners. But as the artist, my experience working on each was so different. I was more creatively engaged in the second one, and felt much freer in every way, including more freedom in color choices. 

In the end, for me, its about keeping the experience imaginative, fresh and somewhat unpredictable.  Which means experimentation and going outside my comfort zone... I suppose that translates into a higher liklihood of more pieces that "fail"... but how can one grow or have breakthroughs if they are not experimenting and taking risks? In other words, that old saying comes to mind... no pain, no gain.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Zig Zag thru Midtown NYC

Zig Zag thru Midtown  14x14" Acrylic  Click to buy
So where was I before I left for Indiana? ... oh yeah - Bikers in NYC. Here's another on that theme...