Friday, March 22, 2013

Skinny Lady

"Skinny Lady", Acrylic

I've been prepping all week for my 3 day Seductive Surfaces Workshop in Syracuse, NY. I will be showing artists how to use gels, pastes and mediums in their artwork, to get very creative effects and exotic textures that can't be achieve with paint alone.  I created about 16 demo boards of various techniques to demonstrate.

A "skin" is another word for a dried acrylic film of paint, paste or gel. Often I look down at my palette while I'm working on a painting and think "my palette is more exciting than my painting!" So I let it dry completely, then peel it up and use it in bits and pieces, sometimes as bits of collage in paintings, I've even glued it to earrings to spice them up. My husband walked into my studio and I pointed at one of the demo boards that had a big multi-colored skin glued on, and he suggested it would be cooler if I turned it into "something". So I took the middle area and turned it into a woman's face. Vouila! Instant fashionable lady with matching hat and jacket. Skins - they're cool!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Oops, someone pointed out to me that the link to the students' work didn't work... the link to click on is "Students Work 3-10-13" which is underneath the "Color Theory" book image, on the right hand side of this page...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Workshop Weekend

Pink Rose 1, 6x6" (45 minute demo) Acrylic (Click to Bid)

Pink Rose 2 (15 Minute Demo)  8x10" Acrylic  (Click to Bid)

This weekend I taught a 2 day "How to paint fast, loose and bold" workshop at my studio. In order to live up to what I am promising in the name, a certain amount of discomfort is involved. The workshop starts out pleasant enough, but I gradually keep turning up the heat, so to speak, with exercises that push everyone further and further out of their comfort zone. Towards the end of the workshop their brushes have grown larger while their time allowance per painting has shrunk exasperatingly small. It doesn't feel fair to inflict this torture on them, watching from the safety of the sidelines, so I jump in too, and we all feel the pain together. Such fun, eh? 

The ah-ha moment comes when they look in disbelief at the paintings they have created in a timeframe that previously seemed un-doable. In my experience the only way to grow, in painting or in life, is to push the envelope and reach for things that seem too hard. What makes a great workshop, from my standpoint? Seeing  the transition from doubt to confidence that happens when painters realize they "have what it takes" to reach their goals. Especially in those whom have not painted in many years, and leave inspired and enthusiastic. It is very rewarding, and a true win-win, as I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. 

Posted on a another page are some of their paintings, many created in 15 minutes! (See the link "Students Work 3-10-13" on the right, under the "Color Theory" book. BTW, in case it's not obvious, the goal of painting fast is not to break speed records, but to cure "detailitis". Or in other words, learn how to edit out unnecessary detail. Oddly enough, it's much easier to paint every detail we see, than to simply.

I'll end this post with one of my favorite sayings, " Life begins at the end of your comfort zone".  

Upcoming Workshops:
Paint Fast, Loose and Bold in Tuscany (Expect plenty of red wine, italian feasts and chocolate ... you will feel no pain here).  Sign up before March 30 and save $125.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Demos, Demos and more...

Rose, 6x6" acrylic on Gessoboard  Click to bid

Demo city. I have been doing lots of demos. In January I was asked to write another book (to be published in fall 2013) and it will be comprised entirely of step-by-step painting demonstrations to illustrate various lessons. It has kept me very busy painting, but obviously, not blogging. I don't think the publisher would appreciate my posting the paintings before the book is published, so my daily blogging content is limited for this reason. 

Above is a rose demo painted during a recent workshop I taught. It was done on 6x6" panel, with a 2" brush. Students often don't see how it's possible to paint with such a large brush on such a small panel, until the actual demo. I do this as an example of an exercise that helps to loosen us up. As painters, we can tend towards tightening up over time, resulting in work that looks stiff and tired. Losing a bit of "control" can help get the painterly quality back in our work.

The workshop name is "How to Paint Fast, Loose and Bold". I will be teaching this in Cary, North Carolina, April 14 - 16.  If you want to expand your horizons further, join me in Tuscany for a full week of painting plein air July 17-24. I'm told that registrants before March 30 get a $125 discount.  Painting, wine, day trips, chocolate tasting parties... o la la!