Saturday, March 29, 2014

White on White

"White Cups"  Acrylic  8x8" (Sold)
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.